Every health club owner knows they need to market their business. Advertising, seasonal promotions, social media postings, local signage, and more, all contribute to the intricate balance of maintaining your customer base.
Many business owners, though, fail to plan long-term, allowing opportunities to slip as they run their day-to-day operations. These missed revenue generators are needlessly frustrating.Here’s why an annual marketing plan is so important.
1. Long-Term Marketing Strategies Prepare You for the Unexpected
Vow this year to plan ahead. Building your marketing plan based on a full year’s calendar assures you are more likely to arrive prepared for a seasonal dip or a national event important to your base. It takes time up front, discussions with staff, and delegated responsibilities, but the end result is a roadmap that is both productive and accountable.
As Business.com stated, “A good marketing plan targets whom your buyers are, it establishes the service or product you are offering, and it determines your unique selling proposition.” In other words, it provides the insight required for good decision-making.
2. Preparation Defines Objectives
In order to figure out where you want to go, you need to figure out where you are. Comprehensive marketing plans establish objectives based on recent financial reports, current services, competitor activity, and marketplace characteristics, as well as employee feedback.
Experts suggest choosing objectives carefully and not taking on too many at once. Zero in on the ones which will have the greatest impact. Establish performance expectations on that one specific area, and drive resources and campaigns towards it to see actionable, measurable change.
3. Objectives Feed Goals
Once you know what one or two major accomplishments you’d like to focus on — a retail center, fee-based virtual classes, medical certification status, increased auto-debit membership accounts, decreased cancellations — then you can set concrete, incremental and measurable goals to reach these objectives across time.
4. Planning Identifies Key Customer Traits
The phrase “buyer persona” is all over the Internet. Latin though it may sound, it’s actually a composite picture of your ideal customer, generated from market data and internal and external research. Before you can decide what strategies or tools your marketing plan should include, you need to know who is likely to sign up. Identify existing and ideal-future customers. Study their demographics, challenges, aspirations, and motivations, and formulate ideas that address their interests. The emergent picture will help you build campaigns that ring with their core values.
5. Leverages Assets and Exposes Competitors
Marketing decisions are based on what you do well and communicating that to an audience. Your gym does something better than the competitor. Maybe it’s a stable studio with experienced, highly certified trainers and a reputation for safe, challenging classes. Each marketing plan forces the hand of its owner — your strengths, your market challenges, and your competitors’ successes and weaknesses. By facing this trifecta together, you promote along your strengths and absorb knowledge from competitors’ approaches.
6. Keeps You on Task — and on Budget
Time and money need structure. A marketing plan with an objective, goals to meet it, and defined channels to reach customers naturally pushes questions of money and time to the surface. How much you can invest will define the promotional tools — free, inexpensive or pricey. Delegating time for marketing each week ensures the work gets done. Depending on the size of your gym, this is where you assign tasks and convey expectations to employees.
7. Forces Conversion Strategies
Conversion is a fancy word for “buy.” Or, how are you going to make money off all this? A strong objective can sharpen employee sales skills, or refine in-house tours, as our previous blogs have suggested. Additionally, an online presence might require specialized back-end software apps or plug-ins, such as Hello Bar, funneling sales back into your business. Better and easier on-site sign-ups can strengthen campaigns, as well. Regardless of where the purchase takes place, good planning will reveal which business area needs attention.
8. Bridges the Gap Between Operations and Marketing
Often, running a gym can consume an owner’s time, not allowing for fundamental planning such as marketing. By taking the time to examine and document your year’s strategy, you can take back control and steer your gym effectively into the future.
The Tools are Out There
The Internet contains mammoth amounts of information to help a business owner craft an effective marketing calendar and plan. Click on the links below for some excellent blogs and articles that will point you in the right direction for specifics and templates. Marketing plans have been around a lot longer than the Internet — you don’t have to go this alone.
A final, important consideration when preparing for this upcoming, possibly rocky, year: Be sure your gym management software offers you easily accessible sales information, simply understood customer data, and costs little beyond a monthly subscription fee. If your program hides information or makes it difficult for you to pull out the facts you need, call Gym Insight. Our technology is built in-house — no third-party plug-ins or complicated retrieval protocols. Our subscription-based pricing never includes any extra fees. We are, quite simply, the easiest-to-use fitness center software on the market!