Because some clubs are seeing an increase of 30 percent to 50 percent in new members in January, according to an article in Men's Health, marketing is especially important at the beginning of the year. Postcard marketing is still a vital part of health club marketing, but its success comes down to mastering its three most essential elements: size, design and list.

Size

Questions often asked in this area are:

1. What size postcard do I need?

2. Can I get away with a smaller card?

3. What is the benefit of a bigger card?

This element is crucial because it is the most important factor in getting the attention of your prospective members. In competitive industries and markets, a bigger card gets attention when competing with letters, bills and other postcards because a bigger card is easier to see. The rest of your card's design doesn't matter if your prospects don't give it a second glance. Of course, not everyone will need a big card. Sometimes a smaller one is perfect. Most direct mail companies give you a variety of sizes, but they usually are small (4x6), medium (5x8) and large (6x11).

To find out how big your postcard needs to be, answer these three questions:

1. How much do other companies in your industry market?

  • Not at all/I'm the only one (You can lean towards a smaller card)
  • Light to Moderate Amount (Lean toward a larger card)
  • Moderate to Heavy Amount (You need a large card)

2. Do your competitors also mail postcards?

  • No (You can lean towards a smaller card)
  • Yes (You need a large card)

3. How much explaining does your offer require?

  • Not that much/Easy to grasp  (Smaller card is fine)
  • A little background info (Medium should do the trick)
  • A lot/Details are important (Go big or go home)

 

Design

Once you have their attention, it's show time. All the elements of your postcard should fit together like the different pieces of a puzzle, with each piece having a marketing purpose.

Here are the 10 elements every marketing postcard needs to be successful:

  1. Clear headline
  2. Supporting graphic
  3. Color that pops
  4. Intriguing sub-headings on the back that lead into benefits
  5. Benefits
  6. Enticing offer
  7. Business name and logo
  8. Call to action and/or expiration date for the offer
  9. Contact information – website, map, phone number
  10. Return address

Elements one to three take the prospects' attention and turn it into interest in your gym's services. Choosing the right size gets your card noticed. Perfecting the first three elements makes your prospects want to read it.

Elements four to six take your prospects from "interested" to "sold." The sub-headings keep and build their interest. The body copy is filled with benefits that make your services appealing. Then, an irresistible offer, such as a one-week free trial membership or 35 percent off a yearly membership, seals the deal and makes them want to call or stop in.

Elements seven to 10 open the lines of communication and give your prospects that last push over the edge to persuade them to take the next step toward becoming a member. You have to give them as much contact information as possible. Give them a phone number, email and website. The more opportunities for contact that you provide, the more likely it is that they get in contact. Your final move is to actually tell them what you want them to do. If you don't tell them exactly what they need to do, they will simply do nothing.

List

Your mailing list is so important to your campaign's success. If you send your postcards to people who aren't qualified to take advantage of your services, you're just wasting money on postage and postcards. You have to find your ideal target market—the prospects who already want your services and just need a reason to choose you over your competitors. You can find your ideal prospect by analyzing your current members. After all, they already chose you. If most of your members are males between the ages of 30 and 50, then they are your mailing list criteria.

Here are three things to keep in mind:

1. Income level. Target an income level that correlates to your gym's membership fees. If your gym offers premium services for premium prices, send cards to prospects who can afford to pay premium prices.

2. Mailing schedule. When you do this mailing at the beginning of next year, mail at least three times in January and again in early February. People are making their New Year's resolutions to exercise more, and you want to help them out with that.

3. Past members and current leads. Don't give up on members who have stopped coming. Add your past members, as well as all your current leads, to your mailing list.

Mastering these three essential elements can make your mail campaign the most successful one ever.

BIO

Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of marketing firm PostcardMania. She began PostcardMania in 1998 with nothing but a phone and a computer. Gendusa's original vision for PostcardMania was a full-service postcard marketing company helping clients create turn-key marketing campaigns with graphic design, printing, mailing list acquisition and mailing services. Since then, PostcardMania has evolved and expanded to offer its clients fully integrated services, including email marketing, pay-per-click management and website development. In 2012, PostcardMania reached almost $20 million in annual revenue, and the company now employs more than 195 people, prints 4 million postcards and mails 2 million postcards each week, and has more than 57,000 customers in more than 350 industries. You can connect with Gendusa on Google+.