Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Casey Conrad Visits FitZone for Women in Westminster, CO

For those of you who watched the explosion of the women's 30-minute circuit business you know that the space became over-crowded with some franchisors selling way too many locations way too close to one another. As a result many of these facilities have closed their doors because their simply was not the market share in most towns to support more than one of these types of facilities.

This FitZone for women is relatively new to the market so they have had to deal with both competition and the economy since day one and they're doing well. What is interesting is that they are much more than a circuit facility, as you will see. In addition they have added things like personal training and other ancillary revenues. Kudos to them and some great insights for those who are struggling with this type of model.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Casey Conrad visits Miramont Lifestyle Fitness in Fort Collins, CO

Miramont Lifestyle Fitness has three locations in Fort Collins, Colorado; Central, South and North. Cliff Buchholz, a long time club operator has done a spectacular job of making these three locations destinations. He is also doing some pretty amazing things with his programming, which I've blogged a bit about over the past few months. Check out all these program (short term)options--all for around $149.

* Quickstart (learn to exercise)
* Wellness Coaching (life guidance)
* Healthy Back
* Healthy Lifestyle (Weight Management)
* Take Conrol (diabetes program)

Of course, they also have individual and group personal training. This approach allows them to attract people that aren't yet ready to commit to a memberships AND allows them to approach corporate accounts with measurable and cost effective options.

Because of multiple locations and footage, there are two videos on this post.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Casey Conrad Visits Lifepointe in Lincoln, NE

Lifepointe is an absolutely amazing facility. New and affiliated with the hospital it has first class facilities all the way around. It's also attached to an Urgent Care facility run by the hospital. Interesting though is that it is a for profit division of the hospital organization. Although my entire visit was impressive from a marketing standpoint what is really interesting is the number of different educational programs and, of course, rehabilatative offerings they have. One in particular was "Know Your Numbers." At this session anyone who has had bloodwork can come and hear about what their report means. Of course, every attendee gets a 7 day guest pass to the club. Hmmmm, I wonder if clubs could do some sort of cross promotion with their local hospital or docs with something like that? Definitely worth the watch.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Casey Conrad Visits Better Bodies in Omaha

Sorry for the delay in this post but I have been staying in camp grounds that have had terrible internet connection.

If you are a mid-size, mid-priced club you know how difficult it is to compete. You're not the biggest box and you're not the low priced box. So, how do you maintain membership sales? Better Bodies in Omaha,NE is doing it by focusing in corporate memberships. See my visit below:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Casey Conrad visits Lady Fit in Ottumwa, IA

Sorry for the gap in blogging. I have been staying in camping grounds and areas where the Internet connection isn't strong enough to upload the video footage. It's amazing how spoiled we get with technology and when it's not there it drives you nuts.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get a few visits up on the Internet this week so keep checking.

In a day and age when many women's only circuit facilities are struggling or closing, this facility in a relatively small town is doing great. This mom and daughter team have owned their facility for 8+ years but have moved a few times. Now they own their building and have done something very interesting; they have created a destination of businesses that cater to women. This helps the traffic and the joint marketing opportunities. They also do some very clever things with marketing. For big clubs you may laugh at their "smallness" and their cute marketing ideas but the bottom line is that it works. They had over 125 people show up for an anniversary open house!

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Visit to the Refinery

I am loving my near cross country trip visiting clubs that I would have never otherwise had an opportunity to see! Some have been around for a long time but this club is relatively new at just over 4 years. Perhaps most interesting is that the owner is a developer of apartment complexes and decided to put this facility underneath the apartment building. The club is half underground and half on the ground floor. Wait till you see their "group ex" rooms and what they/it is used for on the weekends! Also interesting is that for a smaller size club they have a dedicated corporate salesperson.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Casey Conrad Visits Anytime Fitness in Indiana

This is a very interesting blog posting. Imagine your club is in an agricultural town of 6,000 population. your club is 6,000 square feet and you have 1,200 members! Now imagine that 300 of them--or 25% are using personal training. But not just enrolled in PT but enrolled on 12 month EFT contracts. You read that right. This is a very, very interesting model/insight. Actually, I think this is worth the entire trip from a "Wow" factor. What makes it more interesting is that it is a very similar model to the one I saw at Urban Active in Ohio. Both are posting incredible numbers--numbers like I've never seen before. When I saw what this small facility was doing it really hit home. You know, it's one thing to think, "yea, a big club with thousands of members should be doing that kind of PT revenue," but when such a small club, in a median income town of about 32k posts these kinds of results it is impressive. It is CULTURAL.

Sadly, I cannot post the blog video tonight b/c I am in a remote place and the ocnnection is so weak that it keeps kicking me off. So, you'll have to wait till tomorrow but I bet I've got your attention now!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Casey Conrad at the IHRSA Institute in Lake Tahoe

I'm here at the IHRSA Institute for Professional Club Management speaking on Marketing. Great group of attendees this year and WOW, what a location!

We did a really cool team building exercise today and if you watch the video for today's post you'll see me embarass myself on the world wide web! All good fun.

Of course, in addition to having some fun during down time the sessions here are fabulous. Great opportunity to learn new things, remind us of things that work and network with other industry professionals.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My visit to Urban Active, Columbus, OH

I spent an entire day in Columbus and toured 5 Urban Active Fitness clubs. For those of you who followed this story in the industry the owner, Royce Pullman, was a former Gold's Gym operator with 18 locations. He created his own brand, Urban Active, and broke off from Gold's. Two+ years later and he now has 33 locations with the ultimate goal of 100. I have no doubt they'll get there. Really nice clubs and the value proposition is incredible. 40,000+ square foot locations; group x, basketball courts, Cycle rooms, Cardio Cinemas, childcare, tanning, big juice bars and monster cardio and strength training areas and indoor running tracks. All this for $39/month!

Too much to type about in one blog posting but let me bullet point out key insights I took away.
* Strong sales force (3+ per location).
* Scoreboarding every single day.
* Strong guerrilla marketing by every sales staff member.
* Add-on EFT's for tanning and personal training.
* PT contracts are for ONE YEAR. Yes, you read that right. More on that later.
* Very open floor concept creates a great environment with lots of energy.
* Sales systems with a lot of accountability (what a concept).

Two videos are below. One is a tour of their most recent Columbus location and the other are sales, marketing or operational insights that I took snipits of. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Casey Conrad's Visit to Galaxy Fitness

Long time club owner/operator, Denny Doyle, from Greensburg, PA opened a new club about 15 minutes from his first one, Westmorland Athletic Club. WAC is a full service club where his new one, Galaxy Fitness, is a low price model. Interesting, as he is not the first club operator who is opening a low cost box to diversify and/or to beat a potential competitor to the market place. Difference is that his model is more of a hybrid with the low cost for fitness only and then an add-on for group x. This is becoming a common approach. Also, he has a Parisi Speed School in the facility. This is a very interesting angle to reach kids and even the family market. The club conversion from a cinema is cool.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Casey visits Precision Fitness

The first club I visited was Precision Fitness in PA. Smaller town, probably 10,000 square feet, owned by a chiropractor and the GM is an Exercise Physiologist. The layout of the club is interesting, as you'll see, and their facility is amazingly clean--actually looks brand new after 4 years.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Caseys discovery adventure begins!

As many of you know, I have planned a near cross country trip to visit health clubs to discover what they are doing that gives them a competitive advantage. My goal is to blog the cool and unique things I see along the way. I started my journey today and this video gives you a quick introduction to me and my travel companion. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Casey Conrad talks health club eMarketing at FitLife Convention

This past weekend I was at the FitLife Convention in Bend, OR. Health clubs from OR, WA, WY, MT and ID were there. I gave a seminar on eMarketing emphasizing that clubs need to incorporate capture mechanisms into every marketing effort made. Whether someone finds you through the Internet or they get to your website through a more traditional medium your primary goal is to engage them and find ways to capture their contact information. This allows you to turn them from a visitor into a prospect.

If you want to see the free replay of a webinar I recently gave on eMarketing go to:

Find more ways to leverage the Internet and your marketing will become more effective and less costly!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Casey Conrad: How to make club marketing cool!

I recently bought a pair of really cool shoes called Five Fingers. You wouldn't believe the response I've gotten to these. Watch this video and ask yourself what would happen if you could create raving fans like this.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Casey Conrad; The "halo effect" in health club marketing

I listened to a speaker this week talking about human behavior and the "halo effect." Listen to how this concept applies to marketing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Casey Conrad discusses how club operators should "always being marketing"

I was on a conference call with a colleague today. He's not in the club business but is in the "health and fitness" sector. He told me that last week he was flying home from giving a seminar (that hadn't been as profitable as he hoped)and he began casually conversing with a guy next to him. By the end of the flight he had sold the guy on an extremely profitable training program. Morale of the story is that in business you should always "be on," always "be marketing" because you never know when an opportunity will present itself.

When speaking at local seminars and conventions I often discuss being a "brand champion," and remark at how few of the attendees wear a company shirt to such events. The response (excuse) I usually get is "I'm not working today and am sick of wearing the club shirt."

My reply to that is lost opportunity because, as this story shows, you NEVER know when you are going to meet someone, somewhere that will lead to future business.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Casey Conrad tells "the word on the street" for club marketing

With the new eMarketing products that Smart Club Marketing is providing health clubs I have been speaking with quite a few club operators from around the US in the past couple of months. Two days ago I was on the line with a multi-club operator and his statement has still been stuck in my head because it's not the first time I've heard it recently: "I simply have stopped most traditional marketing efforts because they weren't giving me any results. Instead, I have our sales teams focus largely on guerrilla marketing while my efforts are on automating the eLeads from our website that are increasing in numbers."

Some club operators are still spending money on mediums that aren't giving an ROI but are doing so only becuase they feel they don't know what else to do and "I've got to do something; at least I know I'm out there." I say that is denial in the worst sense of the word!

The way people are buying has changed and therefore the way we market must change with the times.

If a medium isn't at least paying for itself STOP it. Try something new but don't throw good money after bad mediums just to do "something."

Start using more Internet mediums; opt-in's, auto responders, blogging, social networking, local SEO (search engine optimization), etc.

Casey Conrad

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Casey Conrad shows a health club feature that can be used in marketing and sales

A couple of weeks ago I was at a friend's club in NY and saw first hand how their Cardio Cinema provides a unique marketing and selling advantage. The Cardio Cinema is a completely dark room that plays actual movies. This allows members to dis-associate from the fact they are exercising. Imagine using the flip video (like I'm using) to show people how cool it can be to exercise while watching a movie. Check the short clip out. And, even if you don't have a cinema take the concept and apply it to what your club can do to help people make exercising more fun. Do that and you'll sell more memberships!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Casey Conrad gives more insight into Program Marketing for Health Clubs

Are your beliefs about how health club memberships should be marketed and sold preventing you from being more successful?

I ask this of you because of a conversation I had yesterday with a long-time health club operator. Here was his situation; he’s been in the industry for over 20 years; he owns two locations; business isn’t so good right now; he called to inquire about having me do some sales training with his staff.

When someone tells me they want sales training the first thing I do is ask them about their marketing and specifically do a comparison of their number of tours year to date and by month compared to the last two years. It was obvious from the numbers that, although on-going sales training is important, his problem wasn’t necessarily sales skills, it’s a numbers problem. He doesn’t have enough traffic walking through the doors.

I spent some time discussing with him strategies and tactics to attract more traffic but he kept fighting me on it, constantly saying things like, “But we want to accomplish this,” or “But we tried something like that once and it didn’t work.”
Reality check: Today’s market is different than anything this industry has ever seen. What may have worked two years ago won’t necessarily work today; what didn’t work two years ago might just work today.

Listen to my audio where I briefly discuss the strategy and some tactics for driving more prospects through your doors. Copy and paste the link below into your browswer and you can listen to the audio:

Keep on marketing! Casey

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Casey Conrad answers health club operators' questions about Program Marketing

After yesterdays post and video discussing Program Marketing I got some e-mails back asking me a couple of questions.

First, what length of time should a program be?

Of course, there is no absolute answer but it is best to keeep it somewhere between 4-12 weeks. That will depend upon the program. For example, if you are going to offer an introduction to fitness program, that includes structured time with a trainer either individually or in a group, I'd lean to 4 & 6 week options. If, on the other hand, you are talking about a weight loss program, you are better off with something between 8 & 12 weeks to improve the weight loss result.

Remember, here, although these programs can certainly be sold to members what we are trying to do is create short-term programs that appeal to people who aren't coming into the club right now because they are either intimidated or don't want to deal with the "signing up" for a membership. We are lowering the barrier!

Second, what should the pricing model be?

Again, there is no absolute, but if you follow the reasoning that Program Marketing allows you to attract people who wouldn't otherwise join the club, it is best to try and keep the price down as low as you can--within reason--where the customer recognizes that you are offering good value for money AND you are transparent with them as to why you are doing it; i.e. that you want to earn their trust.

That said, if you can keep a program between $49 and $249 you will attract more people.

Keep the questions coming. In good health. Casey

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Casey Conrad talks about Program Marketing for Health Clubs

Most health clubs I talk to these days all are facing the same issues:
1. How to get more tours to walk through the doors.
2. How to increase the % of tours to people who join.
3. How to find new, creative ways in marketing that reach more prospects.

Program marketing helps with all three of these goals. Program Marketing refers to the creating of specific, short-term, niche programs that make it easy for a never before member of a club to have a positive experience with the club. Ultimately, the goal is to give them a great experience, earn their trust and eventually have them become a member.

Many club operators are fearful of offering programs because they don't bring in the net profit or addition to the EFT that a regular membership does. This is short-sighted. Someone who is ready to join and knows what they are doing with exercise won't buy a program--they'll buy a membership. It is those that are reluctant to join that will gravitate towards a program.

The sky is the limit; introduction to fitness, group exercise, weight loss, low back pain relief, yoga . . . any type of entry level program that can deliver an outcome will work with Program Marketing. Check out the video below to see how one club is using this strategy to drive more tours and sales.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Casey Conrad provides training in Sao Paulo Brasil

This past weekend I was in Sao Paulo, Brasil to give a 2-day for 150+ health club operators from throughout the entire country. Marcos Tadeu, founder of Fitness Management School, Brasil, was the host. We spent the entire second day on how to successfully market. Anytime I do an entire day of training on marketing I ask the audience several "self-assessment" questions:

* Do you have a 12-month marketing plan that details out the specific
promotions by month, the campaign titles, the deadlines, etc?

* Does your marketing plan include specific activities in each of the 5 pillars;
External, Internal, Guerrilla, Corporate and Community efforts?

* Are you incorporating eMarketing strategies into each and every promotional and
advertising effort you do? Specifically, are you trying to turn every marketing
effort into a capture mechanism that will obtain the names and e-mails of

* Are you using Program Marketing as a way to reach more prospects and lower the
barrier to entry, helping us bring a new untapped market share into the club?

These are just a few of the "big picture" questions to ask yourself. Remember the
"6-P" philosophy; "Proper prior planning prevents poor performance!"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Casey's Teleseminar was a Smash Hit

Casey's Teleseminar, "How to Turn Web Leads into Sales" was extremely popular. If you missed it, watch this video.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fitness Business Pro Publishes Casey Conrad Article

Casey recently published a great article “Marketing in a Tough Economy.” Visit the link to read the article: