HOW YOU PROMOTE YOUR GROUP FITNESS PROGRAM CREATES AN IMAGE OF YOUR BUSINESS AS A WHOLE.
By Maureen Hagan, PT
he emphasis and value you place on programs, classes and instructors says a lot about your business and how you value and treat customers. Existing and prospective members rely on the information you give them to form an opinion and make a decision. To be an effective group fitness manager you must be able to PROMOTE in ways that give you the biggest bang for your marketing buck. Refer to the following key points when developing your strategies: P: Plan ahead. R: Recognize resources. O: Optimize opportunities. M: Maximize markets. O: Out of sight, out of mind. T: Timing is everything. E: External marketing makes sense.
final marketing goals for the year. When it comes to promoting your group fitness events, there is only one objective: Draw enough people to fill the classes. When classes are full, energy is high and members are having fun and they'll come back for more. Planning monthly, quarterly and annual events in your group fitness department also gives general managers and the entire staff something exciting to look forward to. This will help keep group fitness in the forefront of everyone's mind. Vision combined with planning creates opportunities for everyone in the club to achieve success.
Be creative when using available resources such as the Internet, staff and pre-existing community events. These assets provide you with endless ways to communicate and promote yourself and your club without having to spend a lot of money on direct marketing campaigns. The Internet makes promotion simpler than in the past, so send members e-mail blasts. Direct them to your website often, so they can learn more about the club and what you offer. Monthly or at least bimonthly newsletters, e-mails and other communications (such as a member website forum) can also help you connect with members. Let them know about new classes, spe-
cial referral promotions and upcoming member seminars. If there is a diet or a fitness fad, educate them about it in an article. You can also introduce new associates or changes in club policy. The frontline staff, including customer services representatives (front desk), sales associates, personal trainers and floor trainers--and most important, your group fitness instructors-- are your biggest marketing allies. They will be the most passionate about the events and have the greatest opportunity to promote both inside and outside the club. Arm them with the most accurate, detailed information about new services so they can relay it to your target audience. The community is your backyard, so get out there and play! Participate in local events and fundraising efforts. This will put your name into the minds of countless people. Existing members value the fact that you're outreach-conscious and they're proud to see their club and instructors in the news. There is no better way to promote your programs than to go to the people you want to have as members and introduce yourself.
Promotion opportunities help you build your clubs' brand and increase the program's value. Consider it a marketing event every time you change your group fitness schedule, and create a theme. For example, as kids go back to school it's an ideal time to reintroduce classes and new programs, especially short-term, 6
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