During the turn of the century, a junior U.S. Navy Ofﬁcer gave his superiors an idea of constantly ﬁring upon targets using a method of continuous-aim ﬁring. It never occurred to the leaders of the ship to overcompensate for the perpetual motion of the ocean, so the results because of his suggestion were incredible.
There are many similarities between a navy vessel in the water and a ﬂedging company on the vast ocean of advertising. Both are ﬁghting for advancement, both are in constant motion, and both are trying to hit the fast-moving targets. How did the Navy win? By using the continuous-aim ﬁring strategy. They found their target and kept ﬁring until they saw results, and then, they still kept ﬁring. READY. AIM. FIRE. FIRE. FIRE! This is what successful businesses do.
“Direct mail doesn’t work.” You’ve likely said it, or at least thought it, and I’ve heard it thousands of times over the years. For the most part, it’s true! How about this: Direct mail doesn’t work for the same reason diets don’t work!
We all know “that person? who is starting a diet again or keeps complaining that they’ve “tried everything,? and it still doesn?t work. We both know that what they really need to do is start making small changes (eat less, move more), set some realistic goals and stick to it. Although there will be peaks and valleys, success is right in front of them if they are willing to reach for it, make a plan and work at it with consistency. Now apply that same approach to your marketing. Give it the effort it deserves, make a plan to ﬁght for your market share and work to gain your prospects attention!
The sole goal of marketing is to create enough interest to make the phone ring and the door swing. It cannot and will not sell memberships. That?s your job! With that thought in mind, consider that there are really only three things you can offer to entice your audience:
Time! Money! Stuff!
Time – Most people are more likely to buy something if they are able to try it ﬁrst, risk-free. Whether it is a free trial or a paid trial is up to you, but the trial membership offers you a way to create and establish value while removing a barrier of entry. It gives you the opportunity to earn their business without high-pressure sales tactics and to show them how you will help change their life.
Money – The staple of low-priced clubs and the bane of those that are higher priced. Price can be used effectively, but it is a strategic move. Too many times the club thinks their “% off? or “pay only $X? offer is great but neglect to include the perceived value of the offer. Pay only $20 Enrollment -a $200 savings! Discounting can be a dangerous game, and if practiced long enough, people will learn that your enrollment fee is negotiable, and you won?t have a leg to stand on.
Stuff – A very effective, but seldom used offer. People love free stuff, especially in a sluggish economy where consumer conﬁdence is low and few are buying. The strategic beneﬁt behind this offer is that it gives you the ability to maintain your rates and enrollment fees, but at the same time, add value. If you utilize this offer, make certain you give something of value, not just a t-shirt. Why not a shirt, hat, water bottle and free club coupons, all inside your club sports bag? Now that has value –perceived and real– to entice a prospect to come check you out.
So, now you have a great offer that people won?t be able to resist. How are you going to tell them? That answer is not quite as easy. There are inﬁnite possibilities and a ﬁnite amount of money with which to do it. Direct marketing is still the most cost-effective way to generate trafﬁc. The difference is that direct mail is just one tool in your marketing toolbox. Used correctly, it can be one of the most effective, but if you use only direct mail –unless you are one of the few lucky ones -it rarely works, especially if you do it only once or twice a year.
A consistent marketing campaign can include direct mail, ﬂyer inserts, newsletters, door hangers, take ones, guest passes, email, web, etc., anything that gets your message directly into the hands of the prospect. The more you can diversify the vehicle and point of delivery, the better chance you have of making that lasting impression in the prospect?s mind.
Prospects buy when they want to buy and join when they want to join. The goal is to put your message into as many hands, as consistently and frequently as possible. You need to own that spot in their mind, so that when they are ready to make their buying decision to join a club, or lose weight, or change their life, or whatever their reason is, yours is the club they come in to join.
Remember again, this great analogy, and as a club operator or marketing person, keep it in the back of your mind whenever you wonder why your marketing doesn’t work:
There are many similarities between a navy vessel in the water and a fl edging company on the vast ocean of advertising. Both are fighting for advancement. Both are in constant motion. Both are trying to hit the fast-moving targets. How did the Navy win? By using the continuous-aim firing strategy. They found their target and kept fi ring until they saw results, and then they still kept firing. READY. AIM. FIRE. FIRE. FIRE! This is what successful businesses do.
If you feel your marketing isn?t hitting your target, or your results are not what they used to be, consider the above and come out fighting for your market share. If you?re not going to fight for it, your competition is going to take it from you, and likely without much effort, but definitely with a little strategy!