ABCs of a Great Web Site

Creating a great club Web site that improves sales and marketing efforts can be as easy as A-B-C if you include the following key elements in your online presence:

A - Activities (Daily, Weekly, Monthly): List as many events and happenings at your club to excite the reader.

B - Background of Club: Reinforce how many years you have been in business and the commitment to the community.

C - Content: Include class listings, a fitness column by your head trainer, workout tips, new products/merchandise - the list is endless! Cover the basics and update frequently.

D - Directions: Include driving directions and maps that can be printed out.

E - E-mail: Give visitors a way to reach you 24/7, and be sure to answer your mail within 24 hours.

F - FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions): Convert your member brochure copy into a simple Q&A format and post to your site, saving hundreds of phone calls!

G - Graphics: Use clear photos, logos and typefaces that download quickly.

H - Hours of Operation: Put this on the home page or make it a clear link.

I - Interactive: Invite visitors to take a survey or fitness test or take a virtual tour (see below). Make your site "sticky" by offering ways to keep visitors on your site longer.

J - Joint Alliances With Other Clubs: List affiliate locations in other states, or have a link to your association site so members can find a member club from the road.

K - Keeping Track: Offer a journal site visitors can print out to help them track their workouts and goals.

L - Links: Connect to other key fitness sites, making your site a valuable information resource.

M - Members Only: Limit access to a part of your site to club members. Give hints about this section to entice visitors to want to join.

N - Newsletter: Offer to e-mail a member newsletter, or simply post your current newsletter to the site.

O - Online Store: Sell club products online using a simple downloadable fax-back or mail-in order form for additional revenue.

P - Phone Number: Place on every page of your site - A MUST!

Q - Qualifications of Staff: Include a photo and bio of all your trainers and instructors, using their expertise to sell your club.

R - Recipes: Post a new healthy snack or entree weekly.

S - Search Engine/Site Map Page: Include one of these to help site visitors find exactly what they want fast and easy.

T - Testimonials: Do a member survey and ask respondents to comment about your club. Be sure to ask permission to post their names and praises!

U - Unique Selling Point (USP): Determine the one point that sets your club apart from the local competition, then emphasize that point throughout the site.

V - Virtual Tour: Scan photos of key club facilities, then assemble into a linked set of pages on your site similar to a slide show.

W - Web Browser Testing: Check the appearance of the site on all the major browsers before posting your site.

X - eXtras: Consider something FREE a visitor can print out from your site - a coupon for a complimentary visit, a fitness test or a simple calorie counter chart.

Y - Youth Activities: Show photos of kids' classes or daycare services to sell parents on family packages.

Z - Zippy Splash Page: Think of your opening page as a billboard; what will draw visitors to want to know more?

- Kellee "Sparky" Harris is director of global sales and marketing for Active Arts, a sports software development company based in Portland, Ore. She also serves as internet columnist for Sporting Goods Business magazine and editor-at-large for esports-report.com. Harris can be reached at sparky@active-arts.com


Business Alliances

According to Club Industry Magazine's 1999 Survey of Buying Power, 84 percent of our readers have formed alliances with other organizations to gain new members. For example:

* 54% have formed alliances with corporations (employers).

* 49% have formed alliances with health care providers (HMOs, hospitals, etc.).

* 40% have formed alliances with colleges and schools.

* 38% have formed alliances with rehab facilities.

* 27% have formed alliances with hotels and/or resorts.


New Study Can Help Clubs Market to Women

Looking for a new way to draw more women into your club? Then perhaps your marketing materials should cite a new study from Harvard University.

Harvard researchers found that women who followed all of the standard health advice can reduce their chance of heart disease by 82 percent. This advice included things such as a sensible diet, not smoking and keeping weight down. It also included getting at least a half hour of moderate to vigorous exercise daily. This means that women who work out reduce their risk of heart disease dramatically - quite an incentive to start exercising.