Category: Community Relations

Aging Well Evanston celebrates its 20th Year

We’re pleased to volunteer with Aging Well Evanston. The volunteer planning committee organizes an annual educational conference for older adults in our community. This May Aging Well celebrated its 20th year, and featured keynoter Emily Rogalski, PhD., who presented her research with Super Agers.

Smart Marketing for Your Fitness Business

Digital, digital, digital. If you’re wearing an exercise tracker, welcome to the new world. I am curious how many FitBit users input additional data and manage it. For fitness owners and leaders who are also technology geeks, this is second nature. But for most exercisers or those just starting to exercise, digital tools may not be that useful to reach actual goals.

Digital marketing is a different story for business owners. Everyone is using digital marketing. (Hello, website.) What I often see is that many businesses don’t use digital tools to collect valuable information from customers at enrollment or during the prospect phase. Here are four essentials for successful marketing, digital or traditional:

  1. List inventory. How many lists do you have? It doesn’t matter if data is in an excel file, a club management system or Mail Chimp. But it does matter if the data is old, inaccurate or not segmented.
  2. Segment your lists. Why do we segment? One simple reason is to better understand customer types and target information by age, household types, interests or purchases. Is your current system capable of producing a mailing list (or email list) for customers who have bought massage or personal training? Be sure to set key categories within any system and audit data periodically.
  3. Identify number of visits per user periodically. Exercise frequency or visits is a basic benchmark. Many corporate wellness contracts require verification of visits per month to approve reimbursement. This data also may be used to establish member rewards programs.
  4. Health improvement. We’re in the business of improving people’s health. Can we show that? Actual biometrics may be managed through software such as TriFit, often only used by personal trainers. One way membership/sales can assist is by asking members to rank their health (from excellent to poor). After six months, re-ask this question and note if there’s been an improvement and congratulate the member! If not, time to check in on their exercise goals and program.

Beware the one-size-fits all software program: it often cannot segment AND include contract information for database marketing. If you have had success, please email me, and I’ll write a case study in a future column. There is a downside to using multiple programs as data is often duplicated or incorrect. This makes it even more important to manage lists and mailings (email and physical) through a yearly promotional plan.

It may seem easy to start digital marketing projects, but it’s difficult to retain quality and professionalism unless you dedicate personnel to manage the data and have a communications plan in place. One way to make content more meaningful is to personalize with photos or video of members (or team members) and their success stories. Make that a part of everyone’s job description, otherwise you’ll never have enough content.

Digital marketing is here to stay and grow. So take the time now to make sure team members understand the communications process for inputting and managing data and collecting great stories.

Take Charge with Choose to Lose

Start planning now for a Spring 2015 promotion to build leads, sales and ancillary revenues. Last week at Club Industry in Chicago, I had the opportunity to present some thoughts on how healthclubs and wellness facilities could expand their referral network in the healthcare community. We have had success with developing self-referrals through a community-wide event, Choose to Lose. Here are some steps to get started.

First, identify the following:

  1. Project Goals
  2. Planning Phases
  3. Team/Resources
  4. Analysis & Results

I. Set Project Goals for Weight-loss Program (8 or 10 weeks)

Losing even 10 pounds can impact a variety of chronic disease conditions.

  • Participant objective, enroll 500
  • Sales objective, 125 new members, plus 8-week guest pass sales of 250
  • Community involvement of fire/police teams or other civic group. Your center/club will help them meet their objectives.
  • Program objective is to build awareness of your center’s leadership role in the community as a resource for health & wellness
  • Participant completion objective of 30%
  • Public relations objective is to receive press coverage of civic team and the medical fitness
  • Establish marketing/communication budget & tactics that integrate with your Facility’s role as a Thought Leader

 II. Project Phases

  1. Planning (Several key components below)
  2. Sponsorship & Partnership Outreach
  3. Development of 8-week self-guided program, supplemented by educational sessions with our experts (tie-in local physicians)
  4. Police & fire program, identify fitness leaders to coach groups to reach goals
  5. Communications plan, internal & external
  6. Weigh in & Weight outs, data analysis
  7. Results & PR

III. Team/Resources

  1. Your Staff
  2. Local Healthcare organizations for Screenings or Referrals
  3. Screen Team & Screening tools
  4. Potential local business partners for sponsorships

IV. Final Analysis & Results

  1. Press release with results to all local media
  2. Article/blog for digital media
  3. Video testimonials of participants with results
  4. Analysis of program, did it meet goals, why or why not?

PLANNING – Thought Leadership

  1. Develop Theme/Concept for Promotional Campaign
  2. Identify key groups for building awareness
  3. Create content for press/your center’s blog
  4. Solicit other media sponsors
  5. Create messages for front-line staff

PLANNING — Program Content

  1. Reference organizations, resources for weight-loss, walking
  2. Determine staff needs for weekly weigh-ins, education
  3. Determine method for follow-up, emails, e-news
  4. Organize fun event to incent people to complete 8 weeks
  5. Tie-in sales promotion to successful completion or special offer during program
  6. Assign staff for phone call follow-up on regular basis
  7. Track usage of guest passes

FACILITY PLANNING — Sign up Week & Weekly Weigh-ins

  1. Develop process for weigh-ins, other screenings & data collection
  2. Develop registration form, HIPAA compliance, waiver for data, etc.
  3. Testimonials from participants, release for images/story
  4. Handouts/guidelines for participants on key health benefits
  5. Speaker schedule for educational sessions at key intervals
  6. Determine if data will be logged in system/website, establish criteria