Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Black Friday Marketing Strategy for Health Clubs

It's no secret that Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. Most businesses are opening up early, distributing advertisements in the local newspaper, and staffing for huge sales. Consumers continue to line up for early-morning Black Friday shopping because this day usually offers the best discounts of the season.

But how can a circuit training health club, or any gym for that matter, take advantage of the Black Friday phenomenon? How can you, as a gym owner, ride the "Black Friday train" to huge sales and profits?

First of all, you must realize what you are NOT. Even though YOU know that your gym is awesome, you're still not a huge destination for Black Friday morning. If you're offering gym memberships at 90% off, for example, and MegaMart is offering IPODS for 90% off, you're going to lose. In other words, the vast majority of consumers are going to be out shopping for Black Friday "toys" like electronics and other giftables. They're really not looking for a health club membership, which everyone already knows they SHOULD buy but they just haven't gotten around to it yet.

So, keeping in mind that a gym membership is probably NOT at the top of the list for most Black Friday shoppers, you should avoid going toe-to-toe with the big boys. If MegaMart and other popular retailers are offering their discounts from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, then you should offer your best discounts from 7:00 am to 11:00 am. Acknowledge that customers, if given the choice, are going to choose MegaMart first. That's okay. You just want to position your sale so that they can ALSO visit you when they're done buying gadgets.

Once you've picked the time frame for your Black Friday sale, you'll need to plan the offer. Make it BIG and keep it LIMITED. That's the reason why Black Friday sales are so successful!

If a customer can come into the fitness center Saturday and get the same gym membership deal that was offered on Black Friday, then something's wrong. You'll never pull people in unless the Black Friday offer is not only good, but GREAT. So, if the best offer you've ever run is 60% off registration, then offer 65% or 70% off registration this Black Friday only from 7:00 am to 11:00 am. Make it a big deal.

Now that you've identified the time you're going to run your Black Friday sale, and you've also created the offer, now it's time to let the public know about it. Although your facility, and your budget, is probably too small to run a full newspaper advertising insert you can still get the word out. Try the old-fashioned but effective yard sign out in front of the health club. Send out an email to all current gym members. Send a postcard to every single person on your lead list (folks who have previously expressed an interest in joining the fitness center but haven't yet done so). Send a postcard to every expired member (ex-member) inviting them to come back. Think outside the box and let people know about this sale!

Finally, the key to Black Friday success is being appropriately staffed to handle the influx of business. If you've done a good job of letting the public know about a great offer, then you're going to be busy. Plan to have everyone working during Black Friday morning. You may even want to enlist the help of some friends and family as temporary workers. The fact is that most people coming in on Black Friday will be brand-spanking new prospects, and you'll never get a second chance to make a good first impression! If you leave a customer waiting for 25 minutes because you're not staffed correctly, the odds are good that they're going to bolt out the door before you can sign them up.

Planning a Black Friday promotion is not only easier than most gym owners think, but also has the potential to generate much higher sales that most people anticipate. Get planning today, and good luck on Black Friday!

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