With any comprehensive health club marketing plan comes a lineup of SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, timely) marketing goals. Understanding if your strategic marketing plan is working is crucial to its success and ongoing implementation. That’s where the “M for measurable” comes into play from the SMART goals: use benchmarking to help determine whether your marketing efforts are successful with supported, quantifiable statistics.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 B2B and B2C benchmark reports, less than a quarter of marketers are able to prove content marketing ROI (return on investment), with measurement being a key area of difficulty.
Don’t fall into this trap of ineffectively measuring your ROI!
Your health club can, and should, use benchmarks to maintain a true and specific understanding of where your marketing efforts are leading the way and where efforts are lacking. From there, marketing course corrections and adjustments are key to its success.
We understand that you may just be starting out with this whole benchmarking thing, so we’ve put together three easy tips for this initial launch of setting benchmarks:
Tip #1: Be Cautious of Industry Standards
The key to setting benchmarks initially is to not compare your health club to industry standards, for a couple of good reasons. First, industry benchmarks are difficult to come by and the reports that are published and available for review may not have sample companies that are quite comparable to yours. Second, how the benchmarks were accessed should be questioned, as many are self-reported and therefore potentially moot.
Instead, it’s best to use your health club’s own marketing goals, efforts, and results as the guideline to create your own unique, and always evolving, benchmarks.
Tip #2: Create A Comprehensive Benchmark Spreadsheet
First things first: create a spreadsheet to organize and track all marketing efforts and planned benchmarks. Include overall marketing goals and the associated KPIs (key performance indicators) to determine effectiveness of your content.
KPIs may include the following: email open rates, email click rates, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, landing page conversions, website traffic, website traffic by source (organic search, social media, referral sites), page views, downloads, blog comments, likes/shares/tweets, email subscriptions, new customers, conversion rates and more.
Note: Tracking can be done weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly. Although it’s recommended to start with monthly and adjust to more or less frequently based on your best judgment of the health club marketing needs.
Tip #3: Set Strategic Goals Based on Historical Average (To Start With)
Take a look at the three previous months to track and include statistics for how each KPI performed within each goal. Calculate an average of these preceding months to use as a trajectory to set monthly, or quarterly, goals for the year.
The goal percentage change will depend solely on your marketing efforts and overall objectives. For example, if you are pushing hard to send more traffic to your website via Facebook, set that goal a few percentage points higher than the prior month or quarter. Similarly, if you are not making a huge effort to increase email open rates, then keep that goal the same percentage as the prior month or quarter.
The Bottom Line
Always align your marketing goals with your marketing efforts. After several months of efficient tracking, a pattern may begin to emerge and you’ll be able to set more realistic goals moving forward. But you have to start somewhere – so set measurable goals as we’ve outlined here and implement your marketing efforts to reach those goals each month or quarter. Remember, you can always adjust your health club marketing plan and goals as you go!
Now that you’ve created and tracked your own benchmarks for health club marketing goals, what trends have you noticed? Are you able to better plan for marketing efforts based on the trending data? Share your best practices with us!