Zone Health and Fitness consistently connects with members and prospective members by using both traditional and new media. With the opening of a second location in 2017 as well as involvement in many community events, Zone Health and Fitness is building strong relationships within Marion County.
Zone Health and Fitness partners with events that focus on healthcare (i.e. Heart Walk with American Heart Association, Relay for Life, Alzheimer’s Walk), and organizations that benefit underprivileged children (i.e. Boys and Girls Club, Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection).
Zone Health and Fitness should be named the Wilton F. Martin Communicator of the year because the organization participates in a variety of community events and with that participation comes effective communication and publicity from these events. The values of the Zone are portrayed by their staff at events such as car washes, leading warm-ups for 5k’s, giving away water bottles as well as partnering with other organizations in Ocala to promote their Corporate membership programs.
The Zone was also faced with a unique challenge last year when prior to the grand opening of the West location, Hurricane Irma hit Ocala. Instead of closing the doors to the gym, the Zone invited community members (members of the gym and non-members) to come and fill up water bottles for free. The Zone also rushed to get their power back on and invited everyone to use their showers, childcare services, and programs as they knew many people in Ocala did not have access to these services at that time.
The Zone primarily uses social media as a way to connect with people in Ocala. By harnessing Facebook and the strength of their members, Zone tracks shares on Facebook and boosted posts. Their initial post sharing the news of the expansion of locations reached 48.6 thousand people and 2.7 thousand engagements (reactions, comments, or shares) with more than half of the reach from organic shares. In addition to boosted posts on Facebook, the Zone also uses Facebook Live to show behind the scenes videos of construction of the West location and giveaways.
The Zone planned the launch for the new location for Black Friday and created a countdown on social media. Prior to opening the West location, the Zone West location had 650 members and the membership has grown to 1,450 members in less than six months.
Another strategy used by the Zone was print media. The Zone used print to communicate the different programs offered at the club as well as a monthly newsletter detailing events classes, and campaigns. The newsletter is emailed to members and some content pieces are used on their blog. Additional print strategies include partnerships with Ocala Style and Ocala Magazine.
Other communication strategies include billboards strategically placed around Ocala, direct mail pieces sent to Marion County residents, and company trucks. The Zone also leverages community relations by participating in CEP events and creating partnerships with other organizations throughout Marion County.
In less than four years, the Zone has grown to a club that hosts more than 6,000 members at two locations. The financial software used by the Zone (ABC Financial) ranks the Zone in the top one percent of growth for their club. They have been voted the Marion County Startup Business of the Year (more than 3,000 businesses competed) and the Best of the Best Health Club in Ocala for two years in a row.