WebSavvy Chat: Marketing Corporate Wellness, Nutrition Franchises, Trial Member Turnover, LinkedIn Networking

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Transcript of a WebSavvy chat on marketing corporate wellness, nutrition franchises, turnover, and LinkedIn networking

Q GNC: I work in marketing support, developing marketing programs for our franchisees. We have 30 locations that sell health and wellness products. Right now all of our marketing is web-based, but it doesn’t seem to get the flow to the stores that our franchisees are expecting. We do email marketing to people and we had done a little Google adwords. Our email list mainly comes from our store customers.

A: GNC, sounds like the issue is probably that you are preaching to the converted, so to speak – customers who already know/like you. On your website, do you have a newsletter signup or an email marketing promo signup on every page? I would definitely want to see some kind of email signup. You should also see this article on 55 Ways to Get Email Newsletter Subscribers. Also think about doing some direct marketing maybe, via postcards to connect the dots between the stores and the site. An additional option is to use a combination “tell a friend” and an opt-in form to receive newsletters and such.

Q (Amy): I do marketing as a consultant for a community fitness and wellness center. Is anyone using “social media” marketing?

A (Bluebonnet): I’m a care manager for older adults. I am on LinkedIn and I also have a MySpace page. I am a member of a couple of groups on LinkedIn (Health & Wellness Product Information Group, the Geriatric Care Managers Group and the Florida Healthcare Industry Group) that I use for networking with other healthcare people. and I also add every new client to my LinkedIn network and then see who they know as a way to find new clients.

Q (Chet): I’m the sales VP for a corporate wellness company. My sales team goes to HR directors to sell corporate wellness programs. All our deals are slow to close. Any ideas on fixing this?

A: HR’s not the place to get a decision. Plus, corporations are slow to decide, period. We find that a phased lead gen approach works well. Start with a free webinar – that gives you a low-pressure “marketing thing” to invite HR directors, CFO, VP-Ops, etc. to that’s not too salesy. The problem is that corporate wellness sales teams will do one pitch, to someone who’s very low in the organization, and then send a proposal. We’ve also seen success with clients who offer a small pilot that takes away the risk of getting started.

Build a case, with stats, on hard money savings from reduction in insurance costs. Money savings always get the attention of CFO.

Another common mistake is focusing most of your sales pitch on “the problem of obesity of America”. Businesses don’t buy corporate wellness based on that. As Amy said, you need to talk numbers. Not just insurance costs, but also presenteeism and absenteeism.

Q (Amy): How do you get HR, CFO, VP-Ops to Webcast? Unless topic delivers something tangible, senior people won’t attend. IMO, webcasts work for developing interest with individual members, which also initiates word of mouth marketing.

A: Pick webcast topics that are like cookie crumbs enticing them closer. Example: Best Practices in Reducing Healthcare Costs Through Corporate Wellness. I don’t think you should prospect truly senior people out of the box, either. You work your way to them through their subordinates – that’s who you invite.

The only concern I would have in a top-down, bottom-up approach is that corporate wellness is just not top of mind for most senior execs, especially these days (credit crunch). I think part of that is how the corporations themselves are presenting their wellness programs. That’s why you need to be innovative in promoting hard money savings. Business is business.

Q (Darryl): I do marketing for a group of twelve health clubs in N. California. People sign up for our program, but then they usually cancel after the 30 day trial. We are looking at buying some lists because we’re having trouble getting enough new members. Do you think this will work?

A: Ooh, I really don’t like buying email lists. Be careful about buying lists. Ensure that the list members have opted-in to receive wellness industry information. Otherwise, you will be spamming folks. Not where you want to be.

Are you selling to the right prospects that are a good fit for your clubs? Also, consider tweaking the 30-day trial. I bet people sign up just to get the 30-day freebie, planning all along to bail out. Maybe a 1-week trial? Or, we have a client that charges for the first month, but promises a 100% refund if you’re not happy.

Q (Darryl): I have wondered about that. We do big open-house signups every weekend plus at malls and shopping centers. I do see a difference in cost of open house against leads, signed up members, and members who stay past the 30 days, but my GM cares more about new member numbers.

A: Sounds like a shotgun approach vs. a rifle shot approach. Wastes a lot of effort on people who aren’t interested and attracts everyone who wants something for nothing. You need to know what’s working and what’s not…otherwise it’s throwing good money after bad. How about % rebate of membership cost if the member stays for 6 months, 1 year, etc.?