Here’s a scenario to think about today: You offer tons of programs over four seasons of the year, so you have a good idea of what classes, times, and parts of the year are popular with your customers. You know when people register. But do you know when your customers get motivated to register?
To find the answer to that question (as is the case with many questions these days), just Google it. Actually, “Google Trends” it. Google Trends is a tool that shows how search volumes change over time. YMCAs, for example, can put in different search terms to see the peaks and valleys of the term through Google. That way, you know when your customers want to kick off a new journey of exercise and can market to them in a timely way.
Here are examples and insights for worldwide search terms over the last 12 months, that show trends on a weekly basis:
1. “Summer camps”
When do you start marketing for your summer camps? When do they start? There is a build up of searches until it peaks the first week of June. Does that align with your marketing calendar and start dates?
2. “Yoga classes”
This is the classic New Year’s Resolution search. Traffic peaks from January 1 – January 7. Is yoga part of your marketing plan to capitilize on resolutions?
3. “Zumba classes” and “dance classes”
These searches also peak the first week of the year with a second peak in late July for “dance classes”. Consider narrowing the search to your state to see if the trend persists. Is there enough data to alter your dance class marketing?
4. “Spinning classes” and “workout classes”
Here is another set of New Year’s Resolution searches. However, notice that these also pick back up in the summer.
5. “Best hikes”
The first week of July sees the most worldwide searches for “hikes”. If you manage parks and hiking trails, is this consistent with what you see?
6. “Youth basketball leagues”
The end of October is when this search peaks as parents look ahead to the basketball season. When do you market to your parents? When do your leagues start?
The six graphs above give a good indication of worldwide trends. However, if you go to Google Trends yourself, you can tighten up the data. Sort by country, state/province, or even city within the US. There may not be enough search data to fill the graph for really narrow trends, but play around with it. What can you learn about your customers and members from Google?