By Bryan O’Rourke
One of the biggest shifts in consumer behavior during the past decade is the increasing use of the Internet as a key part how people shop for goods and services. Health clubs are not immune from this trend. The fact is that club members trust traditional advertising less and less. Therefore, marketing’s key goal should be to gain the trust of potential and existing customers so they do business with you. Smart health club owners and brands are evaluating their messages and engagement efforts closely. They are also considering how customers are relying on social media networks more and more as part of the buying process.
More people are now spending time on Facebook and other social platforms than search engines like Google. As the age of Social Media has emerged, networks are providing paid advertising opportunities for businesses to reach customers in new ways. Given multiple online advertising options what should gym owners do? I recommend trying these new advertising options and here are five key things you should keep in mind if you do.
1. Plan For It
While being a different medium, paid advertising on social media platforms like Facebook still requires a plan and must fit inside the context of a business and marketing strategy. If your goal is to build your membership base by 15% and personal training revenues by 20% you need the marketing budget and promotional tactics to get those results.
2. Know Who You Are Targeting
People who use social networks divulge a lot of personal information in their profiles, which is helpful to advertisers. Social networks like Facebook let you choose which groups you want your ads to reach. Health clubs can target ads based on profile information, like age, gender, location, and interests. You can choose to target people who are fans of your company’s Facebook page or friends of your fans.
3. Test A Lot
Ad prices on Facebook and most other social networks are set by an auction process, similar to Google AdWords. You can pay based on the number of times people see an ad or how many times the ad is clicked. Most Facebook advertisers choose the click through payment method. However, it’s worth testing both payment types to see which is more cost effective.
4. Track Campaigns
Services like Facebook track how many times your ads are shown and the number of clicks they receive. It doesn’t track what users do after they click. For example, did the prospect join your gym or just visit your website as the result of the ad? While Facebook is working to include more information in its reporting tools its important to do your own tracking. Programs like Google Analytics, which is free, or HitsLink, can help to track which Facebook ads actually create new business. Use these services to track your campaigns.
5. Make Creative Ads
It’s tough to get noticed so creating good ads is important. Usually ads from different advertisers run next to one another. Photos and messages from friends also compete for users’ attention. You need to stand out and unconventional advertisements often work best. Being irreverent, different and trying to share unconventional messages and images that connect with prospects is the most effective way to advertise. Be creative and your ads will generate better results.
Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, and shareholder and executive in several fitness and health club companies. He serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and is a partner in The Health Club For Women and Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee. To learn more contact Bryan here today .