How to Market Private Clubs
Keeping membership numbers at a certain level is critical to keeping a private club afloat while maintaining the high standards your members expect. Since most clubs rely on monthly or annual dues to fund their activities, your marketing strategy should include quarterly reviews to confirm you are on target with your membership goals. Two of the club’s primary goals should focus on ways to reach a certain number of new members while keeping current members interested in the club's activities so they renew their membership in the future.
Conduct a member survey to learn what amenities and benefits appeal to your current club members. A focus group of qualified prospects may also give you an idea of what features and benefits potential members are looking for. Identify common characteristics, such as the distance members travel to reach the club, household income, forms of media they read or listen to and outside interests. The results of the survey and focus group should help you identify a suitable target audience from which new members will come. You will also get ideas on what changes to make to benefits and amenities to attract new members. The results will also provide valuable information on the marketing message you need to create to entice new prospects to join.
Once you know your target market, make it easy for them to join your club by making the payment process instantaneous. Renewing members also may feel more compelled to stay in the club if the payment process becomes easier. Set up a credit card payment system, and send marketing messages about options to pay with a credit card to give cash-strapped new and current members an incentive to pay their dues. Add a shopping cart to your club’s website so both new and current members can easily pay online or renew their fees. Taking credit cards manually or over the phone may also help members stay on top of their club dues.
Encourage members to engage with the club via social media to help build trust and a sense of community, vital components to maintaining membership numbers and making members feel more involved. Postings should make members want to interact with the page as this makes the possibility of future postings more likely to appear in the news feed of each follower. Your club's social networking pages can be open to the public, giving you a way to ask members to share the postings with prospective members as a way of contributing to the club, or your club may prefer to limit the pages to current members, giving the membership yet another exclusive benefit of joining the club.
Your current club members provide the best advertising mechanism available, so ask satisfied members to invite their qualified friends and acquaintances to join. Stress the importance of finding new people to join the club at club meetings and through club literature, and remind members of the benefits of belonging. Make it easy for current members to introduce prospective members by holding events where non-members are welcome. Ads placed in local or regional publications may also draw interest. Sending personalized direct marketing letters gives your club a way of making prospects feel special and honored with the invitation to become a member.