Club Insider

How to Create a Marketing Machine

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Casey ConradCasey Conrad

Marketing: we all need it, we all do it, but most of us aren't satisfied with the results we're getting from it. There are two primary reasons why clubs aren't maximizing their marketing efforts. First, they don't have a 12-month marketing plan that utilizes a diverse number of mediums to create a synergistic effect in their marketplace. Sadly, most make decisions month to month. Second, operators don't make a clear enough distinction between marketing and sales with their membership departments. As a result, one of the most powerful marketing tools, salespeople, don't help drive membership sales. The end result is that, all too often, sales are only from those prospects already walking through the doors. It may sound like doom and gloom, but the great news is that, for most clubs, there is an incredible untapped potential for creating a club marketing machine. Let's explore those possibilities.

We've all heard the expression, "proper prior planning prevents poor performance." This adage certainly holds true for marketing. Successful clubs have a well thought-out marketing plan that includes something from ALL of the following efforts EVERY month:

  • External, like newspaper, direct mail, Google Adwords, Facebook Ads;
  • Internal, such as referral campaigns, alumni and missed guest strategies;
  • Guerrilla, including such things as lead boxes, flyer drops, joint marketing with local businesses and general one-on-one networking.
  • Corporate, which would be any way to promote memberships to local businesses;
  • Community, which is any PR or philanthropic effort that creates goodwill.

Clubs that use a majority of their monthly marketing budget towards traditional efforts get some response, but clubs that take the same budget and disperse the money out over all five of the marketing efforts get a much greater number of leads and membership sales. And, yes, this is still true in today's digital world!

The reason for this is because a customer needs to see, hear, read or experience something about a product or service 5 +/- 2 times before they will respond. These are called "exposures." Therefore, if a club has diverse marketing efforts, prospects are much more likely to meet the threshold of 5 +/- 2 exposures quicker, resulting in their taking action to call or visit your club sooner. Of course, an entire book could be dedicated to this subject. My goal in discussing it here is to simply make you aware of the need and motivate you to begin formulating a comprehensive annual marketing plan.

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