Grow Your Health Club With Location-Based Marketing

December 12, 2011

Think you’re on the cutting edge of the health club industry? You’ve got the best gym software to stay in touch with members 24/7. You’ve got the most qualified staff around and your equipment is top-notch, but are you marketing as effectively as you could to bring in new members?

Take some steps beyond Facebook by increasing your engagement with consumers via location-based marketing. Follow these 3 tips to spread the word about your health club:

1. Learn the Lay of the Land
If you haven’t used location-based social networks yourself, now’s the time to start. All the sites are accessible via your mobile device’s GPS system, which finds you and shares the various locations nearby. You can check in via your smart phone to any place – either those that are already listed or if the establishment you want to check in to is not listed, a visitor can add it. The list of networks is long but here are some favorites:

  • Foursquare – Probably best known – check-ins accumulate points towards special awards
  • Loopt – reviews of locations, friend finders, special member deals
  • Gowalla – Info on all the hot spots in cities across the country
  • Google Places – rating and sharing of locations
  • Buzzd – local city guides with up-to-the-minute reviews
  • DailyPlaces – updates on all the daily places people frequent

For those overwhelmed by all the choices, Georillas is a consulting company that helps businesses implement location-based marketing.

2. Do the Leg Work
Once you’ve determined the networks you want to include in your marketing plan, make sure you understand the criteria for each.

Don’t assume that once your information is listed it’s always accurate. You should consistently check to be sure everything is current, but go beyond just listing your physical address and phone number. Create custom icons that incorporate your logo for easy check-in visibility.

To remind users to check in, put those icons on promotional signage in the entry way and throughout your club with the encouragement, “Find us on Gowalla” or “Check in with us on Foursquare”.

3. Invite Users to Engage
Now comes the fun part. Learn how to incorporate rewards, special offers and promo codes into your network presence. You can create any number of contests to encourage check-ins.

For example, the person who has the most check-ins at specific locations on Foursquare becomes “the mayor”. Your mayors might be able to receive special gifts, discounts, parking or be touted at each location.

Be sure to integrate your promotions on your website. Your gym software can register member sign ups and their check-ins can build a buzz of excitement around new classes and special events. In addition, link your other networks (such as Twitter and Facebook) to increase the reach of your programs. Probably the best attribute of location-based marketing is the fact that your audience is promoting your club for you. Use their check-ins and positive referrals to build awareness of your brand and set you apart from your competition – you’ll see your membership numbers (and your cool reputation) enjoy new growth.