Marketing Tanning in Fitness Facilities
Tanning Bed News
Excerpt from "ClubSolutions Magazine"
Fitness professionals know that almost all of their customers desire not only to be fit and toned but to have a year-round healthy, golden tan. Fitness centers are taking advantage of this trend by adding tanning to their facilities as a profit center. Once you've invested in tanning equipment, the next step is to effectively market your tanning service. With the right marketing strategy, you can maximize your profits and increase your overall client base.

Advertising plays a very important role when it comes to promoting tanning in your fitness facility. There are many different advertising tools that you can use in order to promote tanning. The success of tanning as a profit center for fitness facilities can be affected solely by the way it is marketed. There are three elements that should always be considered when putting together a marketing plan:

1. Choose the type of advertising that works best for you. Depending on how much money you want to spend, you can choose from tools such as: the Internet, newspapers, yellow pages, direct mail, displays, posters, signs, etc. Make sure that travelers passing by your building can see that tanning is an optional service that is open to the public. Once the customer enters your facility, you should have various memberships, packages, and products on display at the entrance or other high traffic areas. Ask your tanning sales professional for ideas and information to assist you with this process - many companies will offer banners and posters free-of-charge.

2. Make your tanning service and its value known to the public. One of the most important aspects of marketing any service is the perceived value that is seen by the potential customer. For example, club owners can attract customers by giving them a free month of tanning upon signing up for a fitness membership and vice versa. This will entice the customer not only to sign-up for a lengthy membership, but it will also give them exposure to all of the services that are offered. The key is to create synergies between all of your businesses. Repeat tanning business will be a direct result of these benefits.

3. Train your employees on tanning. Once customers have entered your facility, make sure they are getting information specific to their needs. This makes it extremely important for your employees to have the ability to answer any questions related to your tanning products and services. Take the time to train your employees appropriately so they know how to effectively communicate with your customers regarding their tanning needs. Most tanning industry suppliers provide this type of detailed training. Studies show that the biggest source of advertising for most companies is word-of-mouth. Focusing on customer service will insure word-of-mouth recommendations- your most cost-effective form of advertising - to grow your business.

Advertising is sensitive to demographics such as age, race, and gender. Adjust your advertising efforts to fit the needs of customers with various backgrounds and remember to try and find each of your target customer's "hot buttons" when creating marketing materials. Sensitivity to those areas will enhance customer growth. Remember that the busy season for tanning is from January to June, so plan accordingly! Make sure to use the majority of your advertising budget in the months leading up to the busy season. This will attract the highest number of customers' possible at times when business is slow, or when customers are deciding where to tan during the upcoming season.

The best way to find out what your customers want is to ask them. You can do this through a survey or by simple conversation. You will find out what they want, need, and are willing to pay for. You can even ask new customers how they found out about your facility; this will allow you to track which marketing techniques work the best. Listen carefully to the feedback they give you - this will shape and mold your future marketing efforts.

You cannot expect to maximize your profits without investing some time and effort into your marketing strategy. By taking the time to review the three easy steps listed above, you will be right on track to seeing your profits grow. Just remember that successful companies respond quickly to changes in the marketplace. Needs and preferences of your customers are going to always be changing. Therefore, it is important to track your advertising efforts so you can change your marketing plan accordingly.