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Transformation Challenges


Well-designed fitness contests generate business by exciting members with new goals and enticing prospects to join


BY BARB GORMLEY


also lead to a flood of media coverage and compelling testimonials. The best news? A successful chal-


A


lenge doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming for staff members. However, to deliver positive results for both your members and your club, a challenge needs to be thoughtfully de- signed and structured.


What does a transformation challenge look like? Although every club’s transforma-


tion challenge is unique, the common goal is almost always to motivate par- ticipants toward success with friendly competition and, in turn, to boost club membership and retention numbers. Most club challenges focus on help-


ing members improve their fitness, lose weight, build muscle, exercise more regularly and/or experience the club’s ancillary services. The ultimate design and complex-


ity of a challenge and the layers a club chooses to include ultimately depend on the budget, staff availability and an- ticipated member participation rates.


Get people excited According to Deneen Laprade, a


26 Fitness Business Canada March/April 2014


first-rate transformation chal- lenge can perk up business and create a buzz of excite- ment on the gym floor. It can


former fitness club owner who is now a marketing coach at Susan K. Bailey Marketing in Belleville, Ontario, when she was in the club business she couldn’t afford to not regularly run a transformation challenge. “It’s truly one of the best ways to


reach the de-conditioned population who aren’t walking into your facil- ity now,” says Laprade. It’s also an ex- cellent way to energize your current members and encourage them to step up their games.


Design both a campaign and a program Laprade emphasizes that there’s a


difference between a “campaign”–the marketing aspect of a challenge–and a “program”– its structure and design. And every transformation challenge needs both of these. While a club can often design an


engaging transformation program on its own or easily buy into a readymade program, creating a winning campaign can be more challenging for those without a dedicated marketing team. The marketing experts’ role is to pull


together a mix of posters, e-blasts, fly- ers, direct mail pieces, social media posts, educational articles, landing pages, T-shirts, prizes and press releas- es to bring it to life and to entice your members to join in. In these cases, clubs often find it more economical to purchase a package of campaign mar- keting tools from an outside resource (see Ready to Roll sidebar). “Put a tracking system in place for


each marketing vehicle in your cam- paign,” says Laprade. “Which ones drove people to the challenge? How many registered, participated and completed the program? And how many prospects converted to clients?”


Don’t lose the trees for the forest Remember that the ultimate goal


of your transformation challenge is to boost your club’s membership and retention numbers. You can succeed at this by, during your challenge, con- sistently highlighting and showcas- ing your terrific facility, programs and staff and your challenge participant’s outstanding fitness achievements.


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