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Radio. The Quicksand of Advertising?

Radio… a powerful communication device with the ability to target a wide audience? or a simply a large drain to wash away your annual marketing budget?  Are you getting the returns that you anticipated from your radio advertising?  Do you even know what return on investment you currently achieve?

If you can’t quantify both numerically and financially the success or otherwise of your radio advertising then you may as well be gambling your advertising budget on the Trifecta at Trentham each weekend.  You need to know the number of enquiries and appointments achieved and the subsequent membership sales generated as a result.  Is this return on your financial investment what you have budgeted on?  Are there other more cost effective methods that perhaps you could utilise?  Only you will know. 

When you are considering advertising on the radio there are a number of points that you must consider to evaluate the suitability of this medium.

Do you have a strong brand?  If you do not have a strong brand, you may be advertising for ALL the other gyms within your local area.  An individual may hear your piece on the radio and it may serve only to encourage them to get back to their regular gym, or persuade them to attend their local centre, or another facility that they drove past recently.  If this is not you then you miss out.

When do people hear your radio advertisements? People must be exposed to ads or other marketing at a time when they can take action.  If not, your message and emphasis may be lost.  If members of the public are hearing your advert whilst driving, or when busy at work for example, they may take notice of the advert at the time, but may not be in a position to take any action or, at least, write the details down.  If this is the case then the message is lost and again you may just be advertising for the masses.

Which radio station do you use?  Is the market that your radio station targets the market that correlates to the type of members that you are trying to attract.  For instance, if you want to attract older members to your club, then placing your advertisement on ‘The Rock’ is probably not very intelligent. 

 “People must be exposed to marketing at a time when they can take action.”

 Make sure you know the numbers of listeners that your station attracts as a percentage of the target market.  Compare this with other stations.  Do not advertise on a station purely because it is the one that you listen to, or simply because it is the cheapest!!  Discuss with the station the results you want to achieve through the campaign. 

What are you trying to achieve out of your radio marketing?  Are you currently adopting a multi channel marketing system, with radio serving to build brand recognition and in turn assist your other more direct marketing approaches?  Or is the campaign purely aimed at gaining enquiries and, subsequently, new members.

Know what you want to achieve from your radio advertising campaign.  If you are not achieving the results that you are after… conceivably radio advertising is not the most appropriate type of advertising for your club.  If this is the case, look for more effective and cost efficient ways to market your club.

Up sell, Up sell, Up sell!

Its simple … if someone walks into your facility do you want to sell them a membership or package for $99 or $999? 

Now if you suggested $99 … stop reading right now, turn off your computer and go back to whatever you were doing 5 minutes ago… you obviously took a wrong turn and have come across this publication by mistake...

For those of us that are constantly looking for ways in which to improve our business and our bottom line – the answer is obvious.  Sure we want to assist our members in achieving their goals, we want them to become a habitual exerciser and to live a fulfilling and happy life … we all know that.  But lets be honest, we also want to get as much money out of the person as we can while showing them value for that money.

How do you upsell to your members?  The first answer to this questions is... ask.  If you don’t ask your customers they will not up sell themselves?

Take McDonalds for instance.  How many additional super combos do you think they sell everyday simply by asking “Would you like to upsize that?”  Sure, I know fast food chains are probably not the best way to convince you of the benefits of up selling in a fitness centre … so how about something a little closer to home. 

Fitness First is a very well know chain throughout the world and in recent times they bought out the ailing Healthlands chain in Australia.  The Healthlands clubs were losing millions of dollars per year.  The first thing they did when they took over… hiked up the price of their memberships.  You cannot provide BMW quality service for Toyota style prices.  However, one of the other approaches they took was packaging 3 packs of personal training and selling them through point of sale.  Staff became experts at up selling members on their membership to include these PT packs and over 50% of club members were involved in Personal training following the first year.  A huge range of benefits accompanied this including increased revenue, and increased retention – as members were getting the results they wanted – and a lot of customer contact in the process.  In one year Fitness First turned the chain into a profitable business.

The second lesson of up selling is presentation.  How you present your memberships / services is paramount in what customers are likely to choose. 
The best way to present your memberships … no question .. is to sell the weekly price.  “Our memberships start from $X per week…”  Take the following example:

"Our 6 month membership is $442" vs.
"Our 12 month membership is $780."

Chances are the member will opt for the 6 month membership as they will compare the larger lump sum price without something else they could have purchased for the same amount.  Also they may struggle to have the available cash to afford the latter membership.  

Now consider the following:

"Our 12 month membership is $15 per week" vs. "Our 6 month membership is $17 per week."  

Presented in the corrected way chances are the member will opt for the lesser of the two payments and hence the larger gross value membership option. 

Consider the ways in which you present the services that you offer … could you get more out of each customer?  Remember, there are 3 ways to improve your bottom line.  Increase the number of customers that you have.  Increase the length that they remain as a customer and increase the amount that each customer purchases from you.