You'd probably think that I was off my rocker, especially since you haven't seen any teenage girls from Wisconsin being abducted by UFOs and forced into weight loss clinics.

Certainly, the stories that we find in the tabloids aren't credible and shouldn't be used to guide our investment decisions. However, from a marketing and sales perspective the people that put out these publications have nailed a foundational marketing principle. It's this foundational marketing principle that is the main reason some of these tabloids sell like crazy. If used correctly, this same marketing principle will turn your nutrition program marketing approach into a gigantic vacuum that will literally suck in tons of new clients.

What sells those tabloids and magazines are the headlines. The headlines inevitably determine whether the reader will continue reading the publication or the advertisement. In fact, one of America's most famous copywriters, John Caples, says in his book, “Tested Advertising Methods,” that the headline is the most important part of an advertisement and is responsible for 50 percent to 75 percent of the advertisement's success or failure. So, what does all of this mean to you as a health club owner or operator? It can mean the difference between the success or failure of your nutrition program.

SELL THE BENEFITS

The principle the tabloids use is called a benefit-rich headline. It will do wonders for all of your marketing pieces. A benefit-rich headline is a headline that conveys a benefit, instead of just a feature, to the reader. The concept of benefits vs. features is directly out of sales 101. Unfortunately, the concept gets lost when most club operators design their nutrition program marketing pieces. Here's a gold nugget to remember the next time you put together a brochure or flyer for your nutrition program: people don't buy features they buy benefits. Your members don't want a 12-week nutrition program. They don't want 12 nutritional consultations. They don't want to spend an hour each week with a nutrition expert. They don't even want to learn more about nutrition. What they really want are the benefits of each of those things. For some people, that could mean losing weight, for others it could mean toning and firming and for others it could mean more energy and a healthier lifestyle. Regardless, what's important to understand is that the most effective nutrition marketing pieces will focus not on the program features such as the number of consultations, weigh-ins or body fat readings, but instead they will focus on the physical and mental benefits that people will gain from the program.

The sales copy or content of your marketing pieces also should focus on what your club members want, not what they need. Remember, your members don't want a 12-week nutrition program. They want the benefits. They may need a 12-week program, but what they want are results. You are still going to give them a nutrition program because that is what they need, however, when you're doing your marketing, you're going to concentrate on the benefits and results that they want and will obtain from your program.

By replacing the typical marketing humdrum used throughout the industry with a benefit-rich, results-driven, niche-type of headline, you will see a dramatic and immediate flood of new prospects requesting information and pouring into your nutrition program.

Todd Brown, CCN, CSCS, MES, is the director of personal training and nutrition for the seven WOW! Work Out World facilities in New Jersey. He can be reached via e-mail at tbrown@workoutworld.com.