Club Insider

Critical Website Strategies Every Club Needs

Part II

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Casey ConradCasey Conrad

In the first article of this series, we discussed that the increasing use of the Internet by consumers to locate and research products and the decreased effectiveness of traditional marketing means club operators must utilize the Internet as a significant marketing component. We established that the primary goal of all Internet marketing is to build a massive list of prospects who have opted in to your database. It sounds simple enough, but it is considerably different than traditional "list building." Specifically, you are not just trying to attract prospects who are close to buying but a wide variety of prospects with varying levels of interest in fitness, not necessarily a club just yet. Once someone has identified himself by opting into a list, club operators can then use specific strategies and offers to move the prospect closer to a buying decision with the ultimate goal being that of a membership sale.

With the primary goal of all Internet marketing being online list building, identifying the best capture mechanisms is critical. Although there are many different ways to attract online prospects, this article will focus on situations where people are visiting your website. The reason for this is because prospects that are visiting your site are "low hanging fruit." That is, they have already found your website --something you have spent lots of time and money promoting-- so why not start with the easy leads.

Online Guest Passes

The first website capture mechanism that every club must utilize is an online guest pass. Although many clubs have a guest pass option on their website, most are doing it incorrectly. First, the link for the guest pass is often so buried within other web pages that the majority of visitors don't ever find it. Second, the request form is set up with too many required fields (name, phone number, address, etc.) that the click to opt-in rate is very low. Third, the delivery system for the guest pass allows people to "cheat" the system because so long as they fill in the required fields a PDF version of the guest pass pops up on the screen. This results in entries like, "Fred Flintstone" or "Mickey Mouse." Finally, leads are usually sent to the inbox of a club manager (or owner) who then forwards them to the appropriate salesperson, which leaves a lot of room for human oversight and error. If your club is falling prey to any one of these mistakes, you are underutilizing your website for guest pass prospects.

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