Enter BriefYourMarket

As a university leisure centre, Sport Sheffield have a consistent pipeline of customers and leads, with approx. 30,000 students per year.

Whilst faced with challenges common to the industry, such as disruption from new models and market saturation, they’re also faced with lower attendance rates during non-term time.

For Sport Sheffield, implementing a strong digital marketing strategy with BriefYourMarket.com has been a business priority over the last five years.

With an average email open rate that’s twice the industry average, and £283,659 generated from one quarter, Sport Sheffield have succeeded to employ digital marketing to their advantage.

Pounds worth of revenue generated in four weeks


Average email open rate (where the industry average is 23%)

New memberships in Q3 2019

The early bird campaign

“We definitely get a lot of traction from the early bird campaign, it’s probably the biggest one that we do all year – generating 636 new memberships for us last September at a value of £137,442.

We’re also seeing traction for some of our newer promotions.

One of the best examples of that is Black Friday. That was never something that we did, but we tried it over the last couple of years, and that’s really gaining momentum.

The first year, we did it quite last minute and it got some traction but wasn’t great. And since then, we’ve put some real planning into it, got all the marketing set up and ready to go way in advance, and that’s paid dividends for us.

We’ve had some really good results out of that.”

Lee Beckett | Sport Sheffield

Campaign ROI:

£137,442 in membership revenue

636 new sign-ups

An email open rate of 41.2%

…with over 3,806 unique email click-throughs

The health and fitness market has evolved considerably in the last decade. Following the emergence of low-cost and no contract gyms, leisure spending from consumers aged 18-34 shows increased fluctuation.

For businesses that use the traditional contract model, it’s crucial to appeal to an audience who are increasingly drawn to flexibility over long-term commitments.

Limited time offers are just one of the techniques that can achieve this purpose, particularly when delivered ahead of peak periods. Another tactic is targeted marketing to your most engaged contacts, as they’ll be the easiest to convert.

However, not every business will have such a clearly defined and niche target audience; with Sport Sheffield’s memberships largely made up of university students, staff and alumni.

Strategic marketing practices require an understanding of your target audience and competitors, with reporting suites like BriefYourMarket.com’s dashboard key to defining your unique ‘best time to send’ and locating your hottest prospects.

The content-packed campaign

“For our content marketing, we have an annual marketing plan. So, we roughly know what we’re going to be doing throughout the year, with some major milestones to work towards.

But we’ll also take stock of what is happening around us. Our ‘staying active’ campaign resulted in 581 new membership sign-ups, worth £128,666 in revenue.

The BriefYourMarket.com system works really well for our strategy. Taking September as the big example, we can plan everything in advance and create campaigns and plot them out six weeks or a month ahead of time.

That way, we know they’re all taken care of and ready to go, and as those dates roll round, things just sort of kick off.

So, it takes a bit of pressure off, especially when the students actually land in Sheffield and it’s usually quite busy on the ground anyway.”

Lee Beckett | Sport Sheffield

Campaign ROI:

£128,666 in membership revenue

581 new sign-ups

An email open rate of 45.1%

…with over 3,395 unique email click-throughs

The millennial generation are willing to pay more for classes that are engaging, specialised with smaller class numbers, and tailored to their fitness goals.

Another key driver for millennials is brand alignment – does this product or service feed into their self-image and lifestyle?

For Sport Sheffield, they have a defined brand message to convey; that they are advocates for student well-being.

By tapping into the benefits of exercise beyond physical gain – e.g. boosts in productivity, self-esteem and mental health – they generated 581 sign-ups from this campaign.

Content marketing is not about being heavy-handed with your sales message. Instead, you should comment on key topics of interest for your members in a persuasive and memorable way.

Having a defined identity gives you a boundless supply of content and a strategic differentiator against your competitors. It’s what keeps new members signing up and your existing ones from quitting.

The features behind BriefYourMarket.com

“We use BriefYourMarket.com’s automated emails for reminders for people just coming out of their annual contracts, which seems to work really well. We get a good return rate on members receiving those emails.

Communications Managed has also been really good for us.

We used them last September due to staffing changes at the time, so it filled a gap for our marketing and gave us something different in terms of content – we’d definitely think about using it again in the future.

At the moment, we’re following up on the emails on a regular basis to identify leads. We have a routine, so we know where our peaks and troughs are during the week and target our emails around those where we can.

Whilst there’s certainly more that we could do with targeting specific people from our emails, we find the Return on Investment dashboard really useful.

We’ll quite often have a look at that and see how each campaign’s doing and which one’s performed better than others.”

Marketing and the GDPR

“Before the GDPR set in, we had our best year ever using BriefYourMarket.com.

The regulation then came into effect, which as we’re part of the University of Sheffield, meant that we obviously took quite a strong stance on the GDPR and didn’t send any marketing at all to our staff or students.

So, that year after its implementation, we saw an impact on our bottom line.

In 2019, with new system features like the Return on Investment dashboard and a different approach from the university, we have clawed back that deficit by a considerable margin.

We’re still not up to our 2017 levels, but we’re pretty up on last year so BriefYourMarket.com’s had a particularly big effect this year.

Having the system has helped us to take advantage of what we can now do with the GDPR.”

Lee Beckett | Sport Sheffield

The most successful leisure operators are the ones who optimise location, occasion and channel. So, how are you applying these elements to your own fitness facility and service?

For more information on applying a bespoke nurture-marketing journey for your members, click below to book your consultation.