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(Editors' Note: This article is part of Club Industry's report, "Technology's Role in the Future of the Fitness Industry," which can be downloaded for free by going here.)
Why are boutique clubs such a threat to multipurpose health clubs? Perhaps it is that boutique studio owners care about each member using their club because they have to. Their membership numbers are small. Every member counts. The truth of the matter is, if you don’t care, you should, and if you do care, then you should be doing a lot more to engage your prospects and members.
Does this sound familiar: someone is interested in joining your facility, they fill out a free pass (or paid trial), you send them the pass and you contact them into perpetuity until they come in and join. You can find some systems that help you execute this process perfectly. But prospects and members want to feel like they are important, very important.
It is easy to make a person coming into your health club feel special, but what I am talking about is making everyone in the entire prospect and member database feel special. Because most full-service health clubs need a considerable volume to operate, it is a monumental task to expect a high-touch approach can be executed to the level needed. But do not give up hope.
In order to offer this type of service, you must implement the concept of managing by exception—the practice of examining the financial and operational results of a business and only bringing issues to the attention of management if results represent substantial differences from the budgeted or expected amount.
Instead of worrying about people who you did not reach, create enough volume of people that are interested. The easy answer is we are already doing this by sending out email blasts, making phone calls, sending mailers, etc., but this is talking at the customer. What I am talking about is talking to the customer. Unfortunately, this takes a different skillset and an understanding of how to make technology work for you.
Boutique clubs are proving out the high-touch, high-price/low-volume model works. What I am advocating is implementing a high-touch, high-volume/low-price model that will directly impact your bottom line. Technology that is now available is going to play a large role in shifting the fitness industry. The only question will be whether your parking lot is big enough.
David Steel is founder of Sneeze It, a division of The Steel Method, where he serves as chief viral officer and helps his clients boost their marketing efforts and online presence. Steel educates companies on how to attract prospects, build a lead pipeline and convert those leads into customers. He is a best-selling author and online marketing expert who has given speaking engagements in the United States and abroad on how to create successful—and lucrative—digital and social marketing campaigns.