Know When To Market 

You already know which month generates the big increase in memberships.

January is the month when people try to make good on their New Year’s Resolutions.  The desire to get in shape and look good for the coming year is THE huge seller for health and fitness clubs.  Research says that 12% of all new memberships occur at the beginning of each year.

New members join fitness centers during January because of their desire to have a healthier (and better-looking) life.  Granted, a high percentage of members actually stick to their plan to “get healthy and in-shape.

BUT, once you get them signed up you have the opportunity to get creative about ways to keep them on as longer-term members.  Obviously, it’s important that your club gets its fair share – or more – of these clients.

Over time, the proven method to gain new members has been direct mail.  Even with the advent of “everybody does everything online,” the advantage goes to clubs that have something in front of potential members BEFORE they go on line.

Nobody, especially younger consumers, believes everything they see online.  So, having a head start on digital searches is critical.  Research shows that people will start their online search for something they are considering purchasing based on something in that category they remember seeing.

The default questions AFTER someone finds a site and feels that it represents a club they might want to join are based on several things:

  1. Is this the kind of club – and people – that I want to spend time with?
  2. Is it convenient to work and/or home?
  3. Is the price something that they are willing to pay? (Hint: perceived benefits from amenities tend to soften price resistance)

Other items considered during online search are reviews, testimonials, social media, and etcetera.  HOWEVER, what marketers call top-of mind-awareness has a major impact.  People don’t like to make blind choices.  Something they know or have heard of is the first place they will look for.

So, having some awareness with potential members can give you a big advantage.  However, the question is WHEN to send out your materials.

There are several schools of thought about when you should ramp up your marketing efforts to get members.

  • One thought is to get started in November and December in the hopes that prospective customers will remember your club when they decide they need to do SOMETHING about getting on the road to their goals to join
  • Another point of view is that your materials should be designed to hit during the first and second weeks of the new year
  • The most successful results for clubs, based on years of research, indicate that regular efforts during the year with a major effort in early January provide the biggest intake of new members

While each of these plans have their merit, your club’s plans need to be based on your own experience.  The point is – how can you get the maximum effect during this period?

Back to industry research:

  • Materials that show the actual facility – and members – have much more impact than stock photos
  • Maps or indications of location are important
  • Lifestyle and amenity information are also important

But, the biggest factor is familiarity.  Regular efforts throughout the year have been demonstrated by virtually every research study done to have the biggest impact on a club being considered by a potential member.

Ideally, your online materials would be on point and your direct marketing efforts would be continuous.  However, getting that top-of-mind-awareness during the period that generates the single largest membership intake is critical.

At Capital List, we have the right data to reach the right people, so contact us for information on how you get your club noticed – especially at the right time

Contact us for free list research, mailing, E-mail and Telemarketing Lists of all types.

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