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Ten Guerrilla Marketing Ideas

The wonderful thing about guerrilla marketing is that you are only limited by your imagination. Literally, you could apply an endless number of ideas to health club marketing. Fortunately, all guerrilla marketing efforts should be no or low cost, which means that there really is no risk. Get together with your team of salespeople, department managers and anyone else who wishes to participate. Let the ideas fly. You would be amazed at the creative ideas the group will spark.

Old stand-bys, such as business cards, guest passes, promotional flyers, lead boxes and take-ones, can be successful depending upon the marketplace. However, below are 10 other guerrilla marketing concepts that I have seen clubs successfully use. Try some of them out or use them to come up with other ideas.

  1. Car tri-fold hangar. Imagine that as you pass a car in the parking lot of your local mall, you stop because it catches your attention. Two balloons are hanging out the window. As you walk closer, you see that an acrylic tri-fold brochure stand hangs out the driver's side window and the company's brochures are displayed with a large "FREE. Take one" sign on the front. How cool is this? And it is so simple to do. Go to any print shop that makes banners and ask to buy a small amount of white banner material. Cut the material into straps that are approximately 4 inches wide by 12-18 inches long and then glue one end onto the backside of the tri-fold acrylic stand. As you shut your car door, simply drape the long tail of the banner material over your window, and when you shut the door, it hangs just below eye height for most people.
  2. E-pass on back of business card. Instead of printing guest passes on the back of your club cards, put a Web address on which an opt-in page allows people to register for a guest pass. By doing this, you capture names and e-mail addresses, and you know how many people are interested in redeeming a pass.
  3. Social networking sites. Sites like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Squidoo are free. Get someone on your staff to put your club profile on Facebook, post exercise tip videos on You Tube and write short informational articles with links to your main site on Squidoo.
  4. Advertorial fliers. With the member's permission, write a story about a member's success with weight loss, personal training or another program at your club. Format the story using photos so it looks like a newspaper article. (Never use a newspaper's name, and do not make up a name.) Make copies and distribute the copies as you would any other guerrilla-marketing flyer.
  5. E-book offers. Have the staff make an e-book about one aspect of exercise that would be interesting to prospects. Place the offer for the e-book on all your marketing materials. (See information about marketing to alumni within "Marketing in a Tough Economy".)
  6. Take-one mailbox. If you are located in a strip plaza or location where people walk by your door, put a mailbox in front of your store with the words "Free. Take One" written in large letters on it. Place club brochures or other marketing materials inside (never pricing information).
  7. Online retail coupons. Have a place on your Web site where members can access coupons to local retailers. In exchange for giving the retailer the exposure, have them do the same for you on their site or place some other marketing materials at their location.
  8. Member success guest passes. This idea is great for clubs offering any type of weight-loss program. Print a short run of customized guest passes for members who have been highly successful. The passes should feature their before and after photos along with the amount of weight and inches they lost. They will love giving them out, and they are compelling.
  9. Tear-off flyers. For those hard to put places, have a version of your flyers formatted so the bottom is a series of cut/perforated tear off tags (like you see on campuses when people are looking for a roommate).
  10. Five days for $5 coupons. Find local organizations that are trying to raise money. Instead of selling candy bars at a nominal profit, have them sell guest passes that give the purchaser five days of consecutive use to the club for $5. They keep all the money, and they give you the buyer's information as a lead source.

Casey Conrad has been in the health and fitness industry for more than 25 years. A featured presenter and columnist in more than 17 countries, Conrad has written and produced more than 30 books, audios and DVDs about sales and marketing. For free marketing resources, visit her site at

Conrad is a member of Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro Editorial Advisory Board.

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