Is your YMCA’s traditional marketing to build membership not as successful as it used to be? Why? Your new members are savvy online researchers. In fact they are Google search experts now. Google search has given them the ability to research instantly where they are going to be spending their money on workout memberships. It’s time to follow their eyes to the Internet and be sure that your YMCA can be found easily inside Google and other search engines.
Here are 5 tips to help you build membership traffic, tours and new membership signups online for a very low cost.
1. Understand the keywords people search for when making a purchasing decision for working out.
Start using keywords on your site that are tuned for selling opportunities. When people search for a YMCA they are searching for a “gym”, “workout facility”, “Cleveland gyms” and other keywords that are related to their geographic location. When you start using these words on your website over and over it will greatly affect how often your site shows up on a Google search result pages for these selling keywords. This is called keyword indexing.
The name of the game is to rank “organically” (aka FREE) on the first page of results after a Google search. So start writing with search engines in mind.
Example Link: Search for Clifton Gyms and you will find http://www.garfieldymca.com
2. Embrace the Landing Page Concept
The landing page concept is very important. Think of a landing page as the ideal sub page for a new client to “land on” when they are doing a search for “Elmwood gyms”. This page is very easy to create and has a lifetime of return on investment because it will always remain indexed in Google for years to come. It becomes your ultimate YMCA salesperson.
Here is an example of a great landing page: Elmwood Park Gyms
Easy form to fill out for guest pass sign-up
Graphical view of guest pass
(side bar: a landing page is not the home page, its a subpage built specific to a keyword search and should be the first page that someone sees when doing a Google Search)
3. Call-to-Action - Having a great call-to-action is essential. Your call to action needs to not only draw in people but be of interest to those people. Here is an example of a call-to-action:
We created this call-to-action for customers who wanted to download our whitepaper on the 8 Must Haves of a YMCA website. Your call-to-action needs to draw in your members, entice them with something they want. For a YMCA, your call-to-action could be centered around your guest passes. If you look at the landing page for Elmwood Park (above, #2, you will see the call-to-action on the right hand side - the image of a guest pass with an arrow pointing to the form. This is a great call-to-action to encourage people to fill out a form requesting a guest pass to your YMCA location.
4. Interest and Sign Up Forms on the Side Bar above the fold.
The signup form is critical to your success. Not too many fields are needed. Make it easy to fill out - it should be partially above the fold. Meaning, you do not want the user to have to scroll down on the page to fill out the form. If they can see it above the fold, or partically on their screen, they will be more willing to fill it out.
5. Measure - Rinse and Repeat The Effort
Once you have a page working and bringing in leads, do another one and another one. Build 2 a month and in 12 months you have pages bringing in leads that hopefully have turned into customers. Once something works - keep using it. Don't kill it but use it to your benefit.
Case Study Fact: Another YMCA that we saw exponential growth with is the Garfield YMCA in New Jersey. We created about eight landing pages - one catering to each of the surrounding suburbs they wanted to reach - and used keywords and phrases to attract those members. They wanted to see an increase in their summer camp attendance as well as their summer membership. Elmwood Park is a suburb close to Garfield, NJ - when searching for "Elmwood Park Gyms", Garfield YMCA ranks at number one.
Basic SEO can only get your site so far when it comes to ranking in the top 5 of a search on Google. By generating landing pages can help your site rank more often. For example, we recently helped a YMCA location in creating landing pages to draw in more members from the surrounding suburbs. We noticed that there was an opportunity for this location to include "Painesville Gyms" in their landing page because that is the phrase that many people were searching for when looking to join a gym-like facility. As you can see - Lake County YMCA has ranked at number 3 on a Google search for "Painesville Gyms".
Using keywords that are opportunities will greatly affect how often your site shows up on a Google search. Another YMCA that we saw exponential growth with is the Garfield YMCA. We created about eight landing pages - one catering to each of the surrounding suburbs they wanted to reach - and used keywords and phrases to attract those members. They wanted to see an increase in their summer camp attendance as well as their summer membership. Elmwood Park is a suburb close to Garfield, NJ - when searching for "Elmwood Park Gyms", Garfield YMCA ranks at number two. When someone who is searching for a gym - their first choice is Garfield YMCA.
More often than not, people are not quick to click on the ads that show up right above the organically ranked list of choices. Ranking within the top 5 is ideal and great for the inquirer - especially if it fits their keyword search. Garfield increased their guest pass sign-up this past summer by 287%. Landing pages can help your site rank higher on a search engine, organically, than just using typical SEO practices. Are you using landing pages to increase your membership and sign-up requests?