Really, there is a better way

Don’t be a one-man charity system for advertising companies, yellow page ads, and landlords.

As we head into the New Year you’ve got to be asking yourself “is there a better way.” After being in the fitness industry for over 40 years, I’ve seen a lot of things and many that made me shake my head and wonder what the heck some of you were thinking. And yes, there is a better way to do many of the things mention in the caption of this article. So read on.

First let’s discuss advertising and marketing. But before we get started, please understand that I’m only giving you a smattering of what you need to know and do. Traditionally speaking, you should be spending 7-10 % of your gross income to further the branding and growth of your business and the monies should be spent equally internally and externally. You’re probably asking yourself what I mean by internally and externally. Well, internally meaning that you promote from within, you do things for your members and in return ask them to do something for you. Promoting externally would be radio, yellow pages. television, newspaper, and flyer etc. As with both types of programs, you should be measuring the results, and the return on investment. However, with both types of programs (internal and external) some of the benefits can’t be measured because the exposure alone will continues to brand and further promote your business. As new technology has evolved, many of the traditional method of advertising no longer seem to work as well as they did in the past. If you look at your past advertising campaigns, I’m sure you will find that all of them have had a diminishing return on investment. Remember the old saying “You can’t expect different results if you keep doing the same thing over and over.”

This brings me to a point where I would like to share with you a new marketing medium we have secured rights to; it’s called GFA e-Marketing. This new technology puts the power of zip code-targeted email marketing in the hands of every fitness professional wanting to attract new customers to their business, regardless of their advertising budget. Our email database is the largest in the nation, totaling over 250 million emails. It includes 100% opt-in subscribers and is updated daily. You can now attract more fitness-minded people to your business for just a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. How many email addresses are within a five-mile radius of your location? You might be surprised, give me a call.

Now let’s move on to yellow pages. This type of advertising is becoming more and more ineffective as technology improves. Don’t be fooled by the yellow page companies, forget about the promises made by the yellow page sales representative (ie. free colors added to your ad, a lager ad for the same price you were paying last year, and more). Do what the big companies do. But before I tell you their little secret, I want to explain the two ways consumers use the yellow page book. # 1. If they know your companies name they will go directly to the white page listing in the front of the phone book and look up your name alphabetically. #2. If they don’t know your companies name the probably will go to the yellow page listing under the “Health and Fitness” category and start looking for fitness facilities. Which bring me to the little secret big companies have known and used for years. While many of us have been caught up paying outrageous prices on a monthly basis for a yellow page display ads, big companies have been advertising in the same area just that they appear several pages before the display ads even appear or even looked at. How do they do it? It’s simple, kill your display and request an in column ad in the listing area under “Health and Fitness.” Still think the yellow pages deserve a large share of your monthly advertising budget? Compare the size (thickness) of this year’s phone book to last year’s . . . and think again.

And … now on to landlords. The basis and foundation for a successful business is in the lease. It has always been my opinion that tenants don’t get what they deserve, they get what they negotiate. When it comes to your facility rent, landlords always seem to have the upper hand and that’s generally due to the tenant creating a poor foundation when going into business. If your looking for a new location, ready to sign a renewal option, or having problems with the space you lease, now is the perfect time to pay your landlord a visit. Many landlords across the country are also feeling the pinch and may welcome a discussion about lowering your rent, offering you a rent concession, or possibly renegotiating your lease. Though there are no guarantees, you won’t know unless you ask.

The strategies you learn and practice now, when the economy is flat, will serve you now and in the future.

For more information on this subject, give us a call at 925-672-4800 and we will gladly do our best to answer your questions. You can also visit our website at www.globalfitnessassociation.com/info for more information. 

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