Data-Driven Marketing Provides Direction

October 4, 2021

As a data-driven marketing group, everything we do begins and ends with data. And we love using said data to educate our clients and the industries we serve. No doubt the Fitness Industry has been hard hit in recent months, but there is hope for a bright future. We’re seeing it in our client’s data for their activity over the past 4+ months. Our first campaigns after the shutdown took place mid-May, and we now have enough data to share these insights.

In some cases, new-membership marketing has taken a backseat to the financial, health compliance, and staffing limitations of clubs as they reopen across the country. Some marketing budgets have been cut–either to keep cash or to align with capacity requirements. While what it means to “reopen” has varied, new member acquisition trends have been consistent.

  • Direct mail and social media performance—as measured by conversions of new member households—is the same or better than it was before the shutdowns.
  • New movers are more attractive than ever and best reached by direct mail. Movers by nature vet themselves as agile and less concerned about the risks of going about their daily lives. They financially qualify themselves as able to spend by purchasing homes that fit the income and demographic “goodness-of-fit" for a club. Almost every club we have done a campaign for has seen above-average performance from new movers and many are making a sustained monthly commitment to engage this flowing audience.
  • Social media is more profitable than in the past. Activity on Facebook and Instagram is up. Competition for ad space in-and-out of Fitness is down. Our curated target lists are generating great ROI percentages, outperforming audiences generated using Facebook’s internal list-building system. As a result, Facebook places greater emphasis on our client’s ads because it makes them more money. Mix all that up in the social media ad caldron and you end up with significantly lower impression and click costs which translates into lower acquisition expenses and greater ROI and campaign profitability.
  • There are target personas showing weakness vs. pre-shutdown performance. Families with younger children – either because of safety concerns or difficulties dealing with school-aged children and the nuances of what school looks like – are converting at lower percentages. We’ve also seen consistent weakness in seniors without children … while seniors with children are performing better than before the shutdown.
  • Young professionals and families with older children have been resilient personas … and we’re even seeing young professionals convert at a higher-than-usual percentage in direct mail – not just social media.

Social media is an attractive place to be with new-member marketing campaigns right now. No doubt about this channel being a smart place to start. New movers – which are best reached with direct mail – have shown resilience in the reopening market and are more likely to join a gym than ever before. And, for clubs that have the capacity to be more aggressive, there are several personas converting at better-than-average rates in both direct mail and social media.

The point is new member marketing is strong right now. The facts are that the new member campaigns are performing at pre-shutdown conversion rates. And the digital trends make it easy to avoid the few lackluster audiences and pull ROI percentages that have historically been hard to achieve.

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