Table of Contents:
Marketing in the Web Age
Web vs. Print
What To Put On The Website?
Simple Components of Express Gym Websites
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The Web: Your Best Salesperson
In the health club business, be it with express gym or even a multipurpose health clubs, the name of the game is memberships. Have enough happy members, and everything else pretty much takes care of itself.
So then, the challenge becomes how to compete for prospective members. The competition may not even be the gym down the road but the prospect's option not to join a club at all, just do walking, or worse, stay sedentary.
Closing the membership sale hinges upon the quality of your product in the ability of you and your staff to address the specific needs of each prospect that walks through the door. A Web cannot close the sale, but it can go a long ways toward bringing prospects into your club for a first time visit, the rest is up to you
|The basic principles of marketing have been around for eons, since the early bazaar marketplaces of Marrakech. What's different today is that because marketing information can be digitized and broadcast over the Web, information is both ubiquitous and instantaneous:
- Information is weightless and this drives down the cost of disseminating it.
- Information is boundary-less in this means, for some business models, that the world is your market.
We live in a age where marketing information can be digitized and made available at the speed of light. Even the smallest gyms can use the power of the web.
- Information travels at the speed of light and this means that once posted, your information is immediately available to everyone.
Specific Affects on Health Club Marketing
Every business uses a Web in specific ways that suits the nature of their product or service. But for budget conscious express gym, a lot can be achieved with a very simple 3-6 page website.
Prospects Can Learn About Clubs
If the prospect is thinking about joining a club, or curious as to whether a club can help them, they can surf the web and compare and contrast all the clubs in their geographic area.
Unobtrusive and Anonymous
What's different is that the Web shopper can remain anonymous, and gather information without feeling they (a) are imposing on someone, or (b), that they'll be vulnerable to the hard sell.
Clubs Can Gather Information About Prospects
In some cases, clubs and gather information about strangers. This can be achieved through online forms that are filled out by the Web visitor, and updated indelibly to a database. A primary example would be a free trial, which I'll talk about it a little bit.
Once you capture that email address, you'll have the ability to continue communicating with that prospect through a value-added mechanism called the E-newsletter.
Clubs Ideally Suited to Web
I would submit that health clubs are ideally suited to the Web. That's because there's a fraternal sense of belongingness by your customers that very few businesses enjoy. They are not "strangers" but are "members". Very few retailers know their customers on a first name basis the way you do.
You will find that your members would actually look forward to any new information you post on your Web. We typically refer to the Web as "new media". So it begs the question, where is the money going to come from to pay for this new thing that I didn't budget for? There needs to be an economic balance point between new and old media in your marketing equation.
Reallocate Money From Print To Web
The Web is the new paradigm, and as more and more young people graduate school and infiltrate the workplace, the Web will become their sole means to gather information, and many printed brochures will go the way of the dinosaur. Kids today don't even know how to use a phone book, but rather look things up on the Web
A savvy business owner of today, would offer both printed and the economic brochures, and the bold ones, will go entirely into the electronic camp.
The Web is the Great Neutralizer
Express gyms may be a competition with a larger multipurpose gyms, but more probably are in competition with a strong branded circuit franchisee in their town.
Without getting into the discussion of the benefits of independent over franchise, the independence definitely have more freedom to use the Web to their best advantage.
This one fact alone could give them a leg up, competition-wise.
Email: A Way to Increase Frequency…for Free
Not only do you want us to stay in continuous contact with your members, but you want to use this medium to periodically touch your prospects, until eventually they join.
Email is an effective means of increasing your marketing frequency for little cost.
||Tightly coupled to the Web paradigm is email. So much so, that the user interface most widely used in email settings is that of HTML, or a web page. And the beauty is… stamps are either free if you send them out from in-house, or less than a penny each if you use an outside service for an email blast engine.
This model can only happen if you accurately collect, store, and maintain e-mail addresses. It should be part of every application form when a member joins, and also part of every guest form a free trial form.
I published an in-depty column on this very subject : "Email, the Next Great Marketing Weapon for Health Clubs"
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Web vs. Print
Marketing in the Web Age