Case Study



Why direct mail still works for fitness marketing


Hockessin Athletic Club (HAC) had worked with the same health club marketing company for years. Then they started to see a real dip in their direct mail response rates. The postcards weren’t working for acquisition anymore, and they blamed it on the digital age.

As they were losing their faith with direct mail, HAC ran into the UpSwell team at the annual International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) show. They soon discovered that the problem wasn’t new technology – it was old thinking. Our fresh ideas were enough to overcome their hesitation about leaving a long-time provider.


HAC didn’t just need more leads – it needed more qualified leads that would convert. So, we did a member profile analysis, identifying the ideal income threshold for new members. As it turns out, many of their previous mailers had been going to unqualified households that didn’t have enough disposable income to join a high-end athletic club.

Our data-driven approach let us precisely target only the best prospects for HAC, via specific income and age filters. The resulting list was more targeted than ever before. The leads were far more qualified. And by the third mailing, HAC had tripled their response rate.

Our fresh thinking brought new impact to the postcards’ design and messaging, too.
Several options have been tested, including variable data printing, new mover mailers, and the use of plastic postcards. The response rate and the ROI just keep climbing.


year-over-year increase in response rates


per piece saving


client confidence restored in direct mail

“Switching providers to UpSwell was one of the best moves we’ve made for HAC. We have seen triple the return in some cases because of their expertise and thoroughness. UpSwell offers a fabulous combination of creativity and knowledge in both the fitness and marketing industries.”

Lisa Maguire
Marketing Director, Hockessin Athletic Club

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