- May 7th, 2013
When it comes to running a successful health club, increasing your membership base is the name of the game. Unfortunately, many health clubs limit their marketing plans to basic referral programs and mailbox flyers. If you're interested in expanding your gym's membership, learn three smart strategies that can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
Acquisition and Retention
A successful health club marketing plan doesn't just center on acquiring new members; it also focuses on maintaining existing ones. The following three marketing strategies can help you drum up new business, while also helping keep your current customers paying their monthly dues.
- Leverage your trainers - Most health club owners fail to recognize that they aren't just a place to work out; they are a part of the multi-billion dollar wellness industry. It's important to take advantage of this role by offering events and programs that pull people in to the club. Numerous health clubs use their trainers to host events that teach everything from strength training to nutrition; however, few realize they can go even further by offering educational sessions on weight loss, organic foods, stress management and effective training strategies for specific sports. The possibilities are virtually endless for thoughtful health club owners, who are willing to put forth the effort.
- Community involvement - Smart health club owners work within the community to connect with potential customers and increase brand recognition. For some, this means sponsoring runs and other recreation activities; for others, it means connecting with local apartments, businesses and associations to offer tenant and employee discounts. Whatever the case, businesses that establish roots within communities tend to enjoy higher profits and increased customer loyalty. This is an especially useful strategy in smaller communities, which have limited pools of customers.
- Cultivate loyalty - Almost every gym has a referral program that rewards existing members for recommending new customers. That said, few gyms offer loyalty programs which reward existing customers for their continued membership. While most gyms focus all of their attention on luring in new clients who are far more likely to lose interest and cancel their memberships after a short while; smart gym owners invest in maintaining their loyal members who are committed to fitness. When you make your long-term customers feel appreciated, they will do your marketing for you via word-of-mouth advertising. This may mean offering coupons for any extra products or services you provide, such as massage, tanning, supplements or clothing; or it could even mean membership discounts. Study your budget to see what you can afford. In the end, you're not just paying to maintain a valuable member; you are recruiting him or her as an agent who will talk your company up amongst family, friends and co-workers.
- April 29th, 2013
By: ABC Financials Internal Training Department
We all know that people are the most important asset in any company. A well-trained and efficient employee can sometimes seem worth their weight in gold. Often we find ourselves saying, “If we had just three more like Smith, MAN, we’d be rocking.” It’s easy to assume that these employees come to you already amazing; however the reality is that those individuals have had a very unique set of circumstances that have trained them to their current level. So the question is, how do you recreate this in your current workforce?
One of the first steps is to assure that your employees are comfortable with the tools they will be using on a daily basis. As software is ever changing, it’s important to take advantage of the training materials immediately available. This will help ensure that your employees are staying up to date and aware of the latest features and enhancements. These resources can prove invaluable in the continuing education of your staff.
One of the easiest ways to access ABC’s training materials is on our Help website. You can also view video tutorials and help documentation on the most common questions you have about our software simply by visiting https://help.abcfinancial.com/
Additionally, many of these resources can be found within the various software solutions ABC provides. In the DataTrak software, you will find help documentation by clicking the blue question mark in the upper right hand corner. There is also a movie icon that will take you to the video tutorials, which will educate you on the various areas of the software.
(DataTrak upper right hand corner toolbar)
Once you have logged in to the Online Business Center, you will see a Mics. Links section listed on the right hand side of the screen. Under this option you have access to Tutorials, Web Help and Release notes that can assist in gaining a better understanding of the features and tools available to you.
(Online Business Centers “Misc. Links” section)
When logging in to the Club Reporting System, you should immediately see the most recent release notes with a brief description of the changes that occurred. Additionally, in the upper right hand corner, you will see a toolbar with options such as Recent, FAQ, Help and Release Notes. All of these sources are valuable and can provide you with a greater level of understanding of the product.
(Club Reporting System upper right hand corner toolbar)
Another resource available to our clients is the Client Services and Technical Support departments. Both are trained in the various usage and functionality of our software solutions. Should you have any questions that you are unable to find an answer to, please do not hesitate to contact either of these teams.
And of course, there is always the Internal Training Department. This department was created to provide learning opportunities over the phone and via webinar style training. This department consists of trainers who are well versed in the usage and functionality of ABC’s software solutions and they would be happy to assist you with your training needs. If you would like to schedule a training appointment with this team for a particular software package or a specific component within the software, please contact your Account Executive. They will be happy to assist you.Read more...
- April 29th, 2013
By: Margaret Payne
Product Marketing Manager
Big data security breaches, where millions of credit card numbers have been stolen or compromised, are in the news now more than ever. What you don’t often hear about is the security breaches that are happening at small and medium-sized businesses every day.
As a result of this serious and growing threat, the five major card networks (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and JCB) established the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) as a set of requirements for merchants to use when configuring their IT and payment-processing environments. To become compliant with the PCI-DSS, all merchants must complete an annual Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) and potentially a network vulnerability scan (only certain business types require scanning).
As a PCI Level I compliant vendor, ABC Financial continues to do the work necessary to be a security conscious partner for you. While this commitment to the security of your data goes a long way towards ensuring you too are PCI compliant, there remains accountability and responsibility at your level. To ensure your business is secure, you need to take steps to address this security business requirement head-on in order to be as protected as you can be.
To help you protect your business using long-term data security best practices, ABC Financial launched the ABC Financial PCI DSS program with our data security partner, Trustwave, a leading provider of security services and PCI DSS compliance validation tools for merchants. You’ve been pre-registered in Trustwave’s TrustKeeper PCI Manager and the simple process will help you activate your account. Have your ABC Merchant ID ready, and follow these simple steps:
- Visit the program welcome page at www.pci.trustwave.com/abcfinancial
- Register in TrustKeeper PCI Manager.
- Answer the series of questions about how you process payments.
- Follow the PCI Wizard path to help simplify the self-assessment process.
If you have difficulty logging in, please email TrustKeeper support at email@example.com.
To cover the cost of the PCI program and the value of the services provided, the nominal fee of $19.00 has been assessed on your monthly ABC billing statement starting February 2013. ABC allows 6 months from the first credit card payment processed or provided as documentation to complete the compliancy process. If you decide not to take the necessary steps or show your due diligence in becoming PCI compliant ABC can assess a non-compliancy fee of $49 per month until compliancy is addressed and passed. Any club that has been with ABC prior to February 1, 2013, the non-compliancy start date is August 1, 2013. Anyone starting with ABC after February 1, 2013 will have 6 months from the onboarding date to take the necessary steps and complete the PCI Compliancy program.
If you are not using ABC Financial for your daily payment processing/point-of-sale station and use a third party vendor that requires you to become PCI Compliant then you do not need to complete the process via ABC. In order to show a passing status with ABC and Trustwave, simply email a PDF copy of your Certificate of Attestation to firstname.lastname@example.org. ABC will upload the certificate for you. You may log into your account portal at any time to view the account, check your current status and make changes to your profile.
For questions about the program or your requirements please contact Trustwave at 877-815-3414Read more...
- April 29th, 2013
By: ABC Financials Internal Training Department
The Schedule Close Out section of DataTrak provides a quick and efficient way to manage events on the calendar. You can access this feature in DataTrak by navigating to the menu/Schedule Close Out.
The Attendance link displays events with a pending status for that day. You can select and update specific events or use Include All to update all the day’s events.
Unbooked Employee Events
The Unbooked Employee Events link displays events that are scheduled without an employee assigned. You can select and add employees to these events from this page.
Unbooked Location Events
The Unbooked Location Events link displays events scheduled without a location. You can select the event and add a location from this page.
The Unfunded Events link opens the Manage Events page using the Unfunded favorite display. By clicking the No link under the Status Funded column, the Edit Event pop-up will open. Clicking Fund from this view will open the Point-of-Sale and allow you to purchase the service and fund the event.
ABC Financial knows your time is valuable and we have provided this feature for your convenience. If you still have questions regarding Schedule Close Out, please contact our Technical Support department at 1-877-222-5767 and we will be happy to assist you!Read more...
- April 29th, 2013
By: Tim Carter
Revenue Now Manager
The Revenue Now program is a flexible and quick source of funds for your business. We simply advance funds against your future monthly receivables. The Revenue Now program allows you to grow proportionately with the growth of that receivables base.
Revenue Now – A simple Process!
- Typically, No Financials are required
- No facility fees – No audits – No up-front fees – No hidden fees
- No pre-payment penalties
- We have the ability to approve your funding request within one business day
Use the funds to:
- Purchase new equipment
- Pay taxes
- Improve your club
- Do a marketing campaign
- Fund new location or whatever your needs may be
Revenue Now vs. Receiving a Bank Loans
Banks like to make their decisions based on your credit and therefore applying is slow, tedious and unpredictable. If your credit is not perfect, you may not qualify. If your balance sheet is not strong, you may not qualify. If you are not profitable, you may not qualify. If you are in an industry the bank finds too risky, you may not qualify. It takes time for banks to dig around and identify all the risks. In other words, be patient and don’t wait for the last minute to apply.
If you are experiencing cash flow shortages, cannot obtain traditional financing or just need money to expand your business without all the red tape, call us at 866-420-6422 or email us at email@example.com to see if you qualify.
Revenue Now is an affiliate of ABC Financial Services.Read more...
- April 29th, 2013
By: Gary Jahnke
Bar bells are staples in the fitness industry. Used as a tool to improve, bar bells are accessible and effective. From a business standpoint, the same can be said for bar codes.
Bar code technology has proven to be a fundamental means in helping businesses improve their processes. In the fitness industry, bar codes can help in the following areas of your business:
- Membership Registration
- Facility Access
- Point-of-Sale (POS)
- Loyalty Programs
- Fixed Asset Tracking
There are a lot of things you can spend your money on to potentially improve your business. A bar code system is one of the hidden gems that deliver an immediate payback in terms of:
- Improving your customer’s experience
- Making your operation more efficient
- Helping you make better decisions because information is more accurate
Let’s talk about how bar codes can improve your customer’s experience – an initiative that all business must covet if they want to sustain success.
How many of you currently register a new member by quizzing them on their name, address, city, state, etc. as they sign-up? Not a big deal if you don’t mind your employees making mistakes as they manually key in the data. It’s not a big deal if you don’t mind having your new customer state their personal information out loud for others to hear. Worse yet, your new customer has to re-state the information or spell out the information as your employee tries their best to get the info correctly into your system. (Cue the trumpets). Bar Codes to the rescue!
Utilizing bar codes as part of your new member sign-up will change the above scenario in two simple steps:
- Ask your new customer for their Driver’s License to assist in the registration process.
- Scan the 2D bar code on the back of their license with a programmed reader to automatically populate the fields in your membership info screen.
That’s it. Pretty cool huh! Your membership sign-up process improves because it takes less time, it is more accurate, and it doesn’t require your customer to verbalize personal information – smiles all around! Are you familiar with the phrase “building your brand”? Well, positive customer experiences are an important part of brand building in addition to being known as a club that is innovative and in tune with improving all facets of the business.
The great news is that implementing a bar code system is easy and very cost effective. Typical components of a bar code system are:
- Bar code reader
- Media (a card, label, or phone screen with bar code on it)
- A program or application that accepts bar code data
The news gets even better! The bar code reader can be used for multiple purposes. Multiple use is always a good thing for improving your return on investment whether you are buying a technology related item or a piece of fitness equipment.
The same bar code reader can be used to:
- Automatically populate fields on the Membership sign-up screen(s)
- Allow entrance into the facility by scanning a bar code on a membership card or a Smartphone
- Scan the UPC bar code during a point-of-sale transaction with your customer
- Scan the bar code on inventory item and automatically enter data into a field in Excel or other program as the keyboard data entry
- Scan the bar code on a membership card or Smartphone to collect data, time and date stamp as part of Loyalty program
- Scan the bar code on a fixed asset and automatically enter data into field in Excel or other program as the keyboard data entry as part of inspection or inventory program
Bar Bells and Bar Codes. One makes you stronger; the other makes your business stronger.
For more information on introducing bar codes into your business contact Huzzard Systems today at www.Huzzard.com, 800-321-9094.Read more...
- April 29th, 2013
By: Jim Thomas
Jim Thomas’ Fitness Management & Consulting
It’s always interesting to see the different ways health clubs across the country go about selling a membership. Most that struggle in the sales process have made the process overwhelming and complicated without even realizing it. Most that do well in the sales process seem to have figured out a way to make the entire process very simple.
So, before you continue reading, I'd like you to take a moment right now and decide whether you think selling a health club membership is simple or complicated?
Ok, please continue.
People demand the simple in their lives and they see the value in simplicity. Simplicity sells and people who visit your health club are even willing to pay more money for things to be simplified.
Now let's come back to selling a health club membership and whether it is complicated or simple.
I think that many health club owners have been convinced that selling a membership is difficult and complicated but we also use the perspective that selling a membership is complicated as an excuse to miss the sale. Let me explain this a bit further.
Many health club owners have been told selling a membership is difficult, overwhelming and complicated. They have been convinced that:
- As the health club facilities and services we are selling get more and more complicated…and the competition increases, the selling of these complicated and highly competitive facilities and services must by definition get more complicated as well.
- As the number of people involved in making a single buying decision increases (husband/wife, corporate sales), the more complicated the selling of a membership becomes.
Since many owners have been convinced that selling a health club membership is complicated, they start to believe they need a complicated membership sales process and complicated sales tools in order to effectively sell. As a result, lots of health clubs do not maximize an opportunity that is right in front of them.
Complexity in the sales process provides us with many additional sources of excuses and gives us the ability to cover up our failures in the sales process. If you are selling complicated facilities and services at your health club, you can use the excuse that a prospect failed to see the value of your health club because the facilities and services are so complicated and overwhelming. If it is taking a long time for your prospect to make a decision to join, you can make the excuse that selling a membership is complicated as there are lots of people involved (husband/wife, corporate). You could go on and on making excuses because selling a health club membership is complicated.
I would like to say to any health club owner, manager or salesperson that selling a health club membership is not in fact complicated; it is in fact quite simple.
Even if the facilities you are selling are overwhelming and complicated, so what? You are not selling a complicated facility or service; you are selling a solution to a problem. You’re selling strategy, a plan and focus is around the solution to your prospect's problem and not around your complicated or overwhelming facility. Whether your health club is complicated with every piece of equipment imaginable or just a simple workout studio should not be relevant to the membership sales conversation.
If you are willing to take on the belief that selling a health club membership is simple and you are prepared to give up the excuses you can use if you believe selling is complicated, then what is your next step?
I suggest that you look at the membership sales process you are using and if it is complicated, replace it with a proven, simple membership sales process. Find something that can be effectively used by everyone on your staff.
Commit yourself to finding and learning a simple, beginning-to-end, membership sales process that focuses on selling solutions, benefits and results to the prospect (as opposed to selling facility and price) and which works whether one or more people are involved in the buying decision. If you do, you will naturally be a lot more successful at selling health club memberships and you will enjoy it a lot more too.
Selling a health club membership really is simple and simple sells. Now, try it and see.
Jim Thomas’ Fitness Management & Consulting
- April 29th, 2013
Alex has been an employee of ABC Financial Services for the last 7 years. He started his career in our call center as a Customer Care Representative. He has worked in Technical Support on our Help Desk and as an On-site Implementation Manager. He currently holds the position of Deployment Project Manager. In this role he oversees the deployment and integration of DataTrak into all onboarding clubs.
During the time Alex is not working, he enjoys running and exercising. He has recently signed up for the Chicago Marathon. He also loves traveling and spending time with his family and friends.Read more...
- March 28th, 2013
By: Dana Milkie
Sr. Vice President of Client Management
I’m happy to report that IHRSA 2013 - Las Vegas was a huge success for ABC! It was awesome to see so many of our valued friends and partners in attendance. We hope that you were able to take as much away from IHRSA as we did. It is because of the many great relationships that we have forged over the years that ABC continues to grow and get better and we greatly appreciate you all for your ongoing business and support. We look forward to helping you to continue to grow in 2013 and look forward to seeing everyone in San Diego in 2014!
- March 28th, 2013
By: Bryan Smith
Product Marketing Manager
Next to keeping your clubs filled around the clock, one of the most important things a club should pay attention to is your customer service interaction. Your means of communicating with members is VALUABLE and should be treated carefully. Email has become one of the most effective ways to communicate with your members; however you could be making some big mistakes if you’re not watching out for the following five key things.
1. THAT’S WAY TOO MUCH INFO - Most clubs like to run promotions using email blasts, which is GREAT! The problem is most members may look at your email and trash it if they are overwhelmed by all of the information and busy graphics. Unless you are truly sending your member an informational letter, your message is better received with a message that is short and sweet!
2. SPAM FILTERS ARE THE DEVIL - Did you know you might be sending a lot of your emails to no-man’s land? SPAM filters look for key things to try to identify who may be soliciting inappropriately. For example, key words that you’re using and big images may be increasing the chances that your message is never seen! Learn what keywords increase your chances for your email to go to SPAM by clicking the below link.
SPAM Alert Words - http://bit.ly/WSpsrM
3. SO, WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO AGAIN? - Do you have a clear message? Are you giving the member a clear direction? A good offer should have a “Call to Action”. For Example, “GET CREATIVE! Try ABC Financial’s Club Marketing Services.” This tells the reader they can be more creative if they use ABC’s Club Marketing Services.
4. YOU LEFT ME HANGING! - Any good offer or promotion extended in an email should allow the member to click to learn more. One of the biggest reasons why prospects may not be taking advantage of the offer is because they may be going to a landing page on your website where they have to figure out what’s next. Make sure your email is short and sweet but once they click to learn more, lead them to a place that gives them more detail and provides a simple way to sign up.
5. ARE YOU SURE YOU MEANT TO SEND THIS TO ME? - Everyone likes to get information that is relevant. Make sure that your letter or promo/offer is targeting a relevant segment of your members and not just to all members. Sending irrelevant messages reduces your chances to connect with that member in the future.
Email is one of the best ways to instantly communicate with club members. Take advantage of your resources here at ABC Financial’s Professional Services and let us help you tailor a winning Email Blast for your very next promotion. Contact your Account Executive for details or email us at ProfessionalServices@abcfinancial.com.