Taking Wellness on the Road

Problem: As health educators, we know that the majority of the public will not come to us.

Solution: Go to them.

Mobile wellness programs are intended to make an impact by either encouraging goodwill or generating revenue. The target markets consist of communities or corporations. By increasing the public's awareness of your club's health and wellness programs, the consumer is more apt to get involved. The more contacts in the community that you can make, the better. On the other hand, too much time can be spent on programs that don't generate money or yield low attendance. Expect a period of trial and error during the initial development.

Here are programs that will allow you to bring wellness to people outside of your club.

Nutrition: Start by providing consultations. Get involved with area restaurants to aid with the development of healthier menu selections. As part of this "Eat Well" program, promote participating restaurants. (For example, we promote our partner restaurants in our newsletters.) Restaurants can also promote your fitness center by placing its name on the menu or place mats when applicable. Place mats can include a food guide pyramid that younger patrons can color.

Health fairs: These are great ways to show a community presence and educate the nonmembers. Educational flyers are easy to develop and people who attend health fairs don't hesitate to pick them up. Make sure that the flyers look professional and that your club's name and phone number are on each handout.

Community fairs are also a great time to provide free blood-pressure checks and perform cholesterol/glucose screenings for a fee. Continue to track every participant's health screening information through a database. A database is vital so that each individual's needs can be better assessed and followed once a relationship is established. If you have people's attention, don't let them get away.

Cholesterol/glucose testing: This doesn't need to be limited to health fairs. If done correctly, cholesterol/glucose testing can be a great source of income.

Numerous portable machines have hit the market that produce quick results with high accuracy. Develop relationships with area community centers, local shopping malls, and/or grocery store pharmacies so that you may offer screenings at their location on a regular basis.

Testing does not necessarily have to be performed by a nurse or medical technician. Check with the manufacturer for recommendations when hiring personnel. Some clubs have been able to find qualified volunteers to do the testing.

When determining how much to charge, find out the machine manufacturer's suggested fees. Also, compare the costs of other area screenings. Finally, figure out how much you must charge to at least pay for the expenses of doing the screenings.

Corporate programs: The largest margin of off-site profit can be found with corporate wellness programs. Fitness center personnel are able to offer a vast array of programming and services, including fitness center design, personal training, lectures, and health screenings. Utilize the strengths of the club's sales team or designate one motivated person to focus on mailings and phone calls to area corporations. This can easily be tied into corporate membership sales.

One thing that can also boost corporate wellness programming is marketing to the current membership. They are familiar with the benefits of the club, but may not know that services are offered off-site. Utilize member newsletters and flyers in the club for additional marketing. Once members learn of your corporate services, they may ask what you can do for their companies. They could even inform their employers about your services. Corporate programming should end up being a leading source of mobile wellness revenue.


Marketing to Corporations

Tips to gain corporate clients for on-site programming:

- Market to current member's companies

- Join area rotaries and business organizations

- Use regional development board directories

- Develop a professional mailing piece

- Mail your brochure to the person making decisions

- Follow up with a timely phone call after mailing

- Try to set up face-to-face meetings

- Provide evidence of corporate wellness success


Databases

You should create a database of people who participate in your mobile wellness programs and what their interests are. This allows you to follow past participants and specifically market to them because you know that they are a direct target.

A database has many advantages. Namely:

- Elimination of paper files

- Easy marketing to former participants

- Research data through different queries

- Tracking of participant outcomes and changes

- The ability to follow up with high-risk individuals

- Generation of monthly reports for department wellness success