We’ve put together 42 activities from our most popular blogs to serve as a kind of checklist for your gym, box or studio. If you have some other great strategies for growing your fitness center through marketing, sales, automation or member retention, we’d love to hear from you!
CHAPTER ONE – 7 Ways to Generate Leads for Your Gym
This section also answers popular questions asked such as: “How do I increase membership sales?”
No matter how great, different, or fun your gym is, new membership sales are not just going to come waltzing through your door. You might occasionally pick up a new member through a referral from a current member, but most of your new members are going to arrive by generating your own leads. If you’re not an internet marketer, you might not know very much about creating leads. In general, there are three steps to generating leads.
First, you have to create a great offer. Second, you present that offer to the right people—the right people being those who are likely to come in and use your gym. Third, you call those people to action. Here are seven things you can do to make sure this process works:
- Ensure that you have a website. If you don’t yet have a website, you are missing out on lots of qualified leads. Many local gyms will sacrifice a website in favor of social media, believing social media and local directories are the best way to reach out to local clients. That’s just not true. A website with a strong brand message that allows prospects to sign up online is an absolute necessity in this day and age.
- Be an expert. Today’s consumer only wants to workout at a gym that is a health and fitness mecca. The best way to display your expertise is to provide helpful, valuable health and fitness-related content to site visitors and email list subscribers. This demonstrates your knowledge and builds a connection between your brand and expertise in that prospect’s mind.
- Keep it local. The vast, vast majority of your members will be from your local area. Being present on local directories like Yelp, YellowPages, and Google Plus Local will make you more visible to people looking for a gym in their area.
- Collect reviews. Before taking a leap and signing up with a gym, interested parties will want to see that other people already use your gym and have benefited from membership. As your current members to review you both on local directories and on your branded website.
- Make it social. Unlike many small local businesses that might not feel they have any place on social media, your members will want to connect with you via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Every time a member “checks in” at your gym, they are marketing you to their friends and followers. You can generate even more leads by using hashtags to get involved in relevant conversations.
- Set up a referral program. Word of mouth is still the very best way to generate new leads. Establish a ‘refer a friend’ program that rewards your members for telling their friends and family members about your gym is a great way to encourage the people who already use and love your gym to generate new, qualified leads.
- Get involved and bring your business cards. When your community has an event, make sure you are there, business cards in hand. Getting involved in your community is a great way to increase brand recognition and to build a positive association between your gym’s brand and potential members. Use these events to network.
Prospects hate listening to a sales pitch. They love, however, being offered information and entertainment. Using these strategies will help you generate more leads that will convert into members of your gym.
Clubworx Pro Tip – Make sure your Contact Us form links directly into your gym membership management software. If you are a Clubworx user you can simply add a snippet to your website and ensure all inquiries from your website end up in your Prospects List within Clubworx.
CHAPTER TWO – 7 Ways Gym Owners Can Use Facebook and Instagram to Increase Gym Membership Sales
This section also answers popular questions asked such as: “How do I advertise my gym membership?”
If you are not yet using Facebook and Instagram to market your gym, it’s time to start. Facebook has the largest user base in the history of social media, and while Instagram’s following is not as large, they are far more engaged and active than those that use Facebook. Both of these platforms are excellent for connecting with and generating leads from your local area. Here are seven ways you can do this:
- Offer a behind-the-scenes tour of your gym. Before signing up, potential members will want to see whether or not your gym has the equipment and/or classes that they want to use or attend. Facebook and Instagram are both great avenues for posting short videos or pictures that give a “behind the curtain” look at what your gym offers. By posting photos of the events held at your gym, your personal trainers, and your space, potential members can get a “feel” for your gym’s culture.
- Highlight your community involvement. Today’s consumer prefers to give his money to business owners that give back to their communities. Instagram and Facebook give you the opportunity to show off the events that you host for the community and the community events that you sponsor or participate in. Local people will find those posts and see that your gym cares about its community. Remember to use hashtags relevant to the event for extra visibility.
- Show of your equipment and floor space. Whenever you get a new piece of equipment, post a picture of it to your social media. You can even create a short video, starring one of your trainers, showing viewers how to use that piece of equipment (or any piece of equipment on your floor). These types of pictures and videos are a stellar way to engage your followers who are not yet members.
- Highlight your members. With the permission of your clients, take and post pictures and videos of your happy members using your equipment. Showing real people, actually making use of your gym, and doing it happily, cements social proof. It also shows those looking for a gym how fun and effective your gym is.
- Don’t forget to hashtag. Hashtags are the best way to categorize your posts so those interested in #bodybuilding, #cardio, #weightlifting, #weightloss, etc. can find them. You can also search hashtags to find topics and conversations relating to local events and participate in the conversion to build awareness of your business. Pay attention to what’s trending (both fitness wise and locally) and use those trends to create engaging, current content.
- Host a photo contest. Both Facebook and Instagram make it easy to host a photo contest. Come up with a hashtag and encourage your followers to share photos with that hashtag. Make it health and/or fitness related, like the #bestbeforeandaftershots. Offer something valuable as a prize—it could be cash, but free classes, personal training sessions or free month’s membership is just as valuable.
- Connect with your peers. Don’t be afraid to friend and follow other fitness studios or gyms. Engaging with the content they post is an excellent way to broaden your reach and get your name in front of their followers. Commenting and liking will direct their followers to your page, where your content will encourage them to contact you.
Facebook and Instagram are great platforms for generating leads, but in the end, you will need a fantastic website to win over those leads and convert them into members.
Clubworx Pro Tip – If you are not using the Clubworx website builder, make sure your website has links to your Facebook page as a bare minimum. You should also have links to any other social media channels and your blog prominently displayed on your brochure site.
CHAPTER THREE – 7 Tips for a Website that Converts Page Visitors into Gym Members
Your gym needs a website; it’s as simple as that. Even though your members will, of course, have to come into your gym to use it, they want to be able to get information about your gym, sign up for it, register for classes, etc. online. Having a great website will help you maximise your marketing efforts, generate more leads, convert more of those leads into members, and retain more of those members. Here are seven tips for creating a website that actually converts:
- Create a compelling headline. The headline on your site is the first thing that most site visitors are going to see. It needs to be eye-catching, engaging, and memorable. This is the first impression your website will make on visitors, so make it count.
- Aim for simplicity. It can be tempting to cram as much information and as many features onto your gym’s website as possible. This is probably going to end up confusing, frustrating, and/or annoying anyone who visits your website. If you want to convert more of your views into members, a simple website without unnecessary design elements, animations, or navigation is ideal.
- Clearly state the value of signing up with your gym. If a prospect is visiting your website, it is probably because they want to know how they can benefit from being a member of your gym. You should clearly state what members of your gym receive when they sign up, why your gym is the best place to work out, why your gym is unique, and why site visitors should join.
- Allow online registration. If a person is using the internet to look for a gym to join, they probably want to join that gym online, instead of having to make the trek into the gym. Make it easy for them to sign up at the time they are interested. It is convenient for your prospect, and it reduces your paperwork!
- Post reviews. Social proof is one of the most important aspects of any consumer decision. Someone who is considering signing up for your gym will want to see first, that others are also members of your gym and second, that they enjoy using your gym. Posting real reviews from your members is a great way to fulfill both of these criteria.
- Make it responsive. A responsive website is designed to function perfectly and look great on any size screen. With over 50% of all online traffic now coming from mobile devices, it is extremely important that your website is just as functional on smaller mobile screens as it is on desktops and laptops.
- Test it. Once you have your website built and optimized, you are not allowed to sit back. You have to be continually testing it, employing changes, testing it again, changing, and testing, changing and testing. This is the only way to make sure that your layout, navigation, load speed, headlines, and content are as effective as you want them to be. When you make a change, split-test it, so you can determine which version of your website pulls in more conversions.
Design, snappy headlines, and upgraded functionality are going to win the war of conversions. If you want to be continuously pulling in new members for your gym, using these tips to improve your website is the best way.
Clubworx Pro Tip – Your class timetable can be an excellent marketing tool. Make sure it is published on your website so potential customers can look at your offering. It is also a great way for your members to book into classes 24 x 7.
CHAPTER FOUR – 7 Ways to Follow-Up with an Old Lead
More than 70% of all business leads never get a follow-up, according to a recent Harvard Business Review study. That’s a huge percentage of potential gym members that will fall by the wayside, simply because you were either not aggressive enough to follow up or you simply forgot. If you have a set of leads that have gone cold, either from inattention or through inadequate follow-up, here are seven ways you can rekindle those leads and turn them into members.
- Send an email, inquiring if they have met their fitness goals. At some point, that lead was at least vaguely interested in becoming a member of your gym or studio. That probably also means that they had a fitness-related goal. Sending a friendly email, asking how those goals are coming, is not presumptuous, nor will it be annoying to the lead. They will either be relieved to hear from you again because they are still looking for a gym, or they will be more than happy to talk about their recent success.
- Send your prospect an update about your gym’s latest promotions. A good way to reignite a prospect’s interest in your studio or gym is to regularly send out emails detailing what new specials and promotions you are offering. Maybe their interest waned when they heard the full price of your monthly membership, so hearing that you are offering a promotion for half-off membership for a limited time is a great way to push that prospect towards becoming a member.
- Direct old leads towards your social media pages. The advantage of having a social media page (a Facebook and Twitter, at the very least), is being able to properly display your personality. Though your ultimate goal is to advertise and gain more members, that doesn’t mean you can’t be social on social media. If an old prospect sees your gym’s personality, they are more likely to take the leap and sign up for a membership.
- Ask past members why they left. When someone cancels a membership, you might feel the urge to cut any and all ties with that person. Don’t do it! Sending an email to former members, asking why they canceled is an excellent opportunity to first, learn why you are losing sales, and second, gain a little insight into how you can improve your sales process and win those members back. If they left because monthly dues were too high or because they were bored with the equipment or the classes, take this opportunity to pitch a promotion or new classes.
- Have your staff build relationships with prospects. When someone shows interest in your business, it can be tempting to immediately switch into sales mode. Building rapport between your trainers, gym sales staff, front desk staff and potential members not only makes it easier to convert prospects into members, but it also lays a foundation for future contact if a lead doesn’t convert.
- Make it easier to sign up. In today’s tech-savvy world, you’re going to lose leads if you don’t make it easy to sign up online. Instead of going through the “hassle” of actually walking into the gym or calling a phone number, most leads will just find a gym that does allow them to sign up online. Don’t drive people away by being “difficult.” Get an online registration and member management system.
- Make your center a fun place to be. Many people will drop off of your radar simply because your gym isn’t fun. You already know working out can be fun, but the atmosphere can be fun, too. Organizing events for holidays is a great place to start and are an excellent way to reach out to old prospects again.
The best way to avoid having to rekindle an old lead is never to let a lead go stale. Stay on top of your leads and you’ll see more profits and increase membership retention.
Clubworx Pro Tip – Clubworx’s sophisticated reporting lets you segment your prospect and members so you can send highly targeted messages. That is the key to following up with prospects. If you have captured their interest and some other critical information, you can send personalized messages with a few clicks to follow-up. The more relevant your offering is to their needs, the more likely they are to convert.
CHAPTER FIVE – 7 Ways to Turn an Inquiry into a Gym Member
One of the most frustrating aspects of owning a gym is seeing qualified, excited people, who would potentially be great gym members, fall by the wayside. Not everyone who shows interest is going to join your gym or studio—some will go to your competitors, some will simply lose the fire and decide not to join any gym, and some will simply be unconvinced and leave without signing up for a membership. Here are seven ways to ensure more of those qualified prospects become members:
- Ask why the prospect has chosen to contact you. Your job, as a salesperson for your gym, is not just to talk about your hours and the cost of membership. There will be people who only need to learn the basic information about your gym to be convinced to join—most people, however, are going to need a little bit more. When someone contacts you for more information, be sure to ask why they contacted you. This information will help you present the right information in the right format, to make sure that prospect wants to join your gym.
- Show prospects around your gym. Giving a potential member a tour of your gym is a great way to point out all of the advantages of joining, especially if you have already asked what they hope to get out of a gym membership. If they want to take a fun exercise class, you can display your list of sessions and the class spaces. If they want to sign up for personal training, you can introduce them to your personal trainers. They can get a feeling for the atmosphere in your gym and see why it will be a great place to work out.
- Sweeten the “free pass” pot. A free pass is a great place to start. If you can sweeten the pot with something else free—a session with a personal trainer, a health assessment, a pass to a class they would enjoy taking—you’re more likely to see that free pass turn into a membership. This trial period is a great way to get someone into the habit of coming to your gym, but if you can also use it show all of the great benefits of being a member, that prospect will be compelled to sign a membership.
- Be vigilant with the follow-up. Have a standard process in place that you follow with every single opportunity. Very few of the interested people are going to sign up on the spot. Some will want some time to think, others will forget to sign up when they had intended to. Following up with those who show interest in your gym is an important part of capturing both those who need a little more time to think about their choice and those who get busy with other areas of their lives and forget to sign up. Sending out a message the day after they visit, asking for feedback, is a great way to keep in touch. If they still haven’t made the leap, another email, after three days, offering a free personal training session or some other freebie can reignite interest. Stay in contact, and with each contact, make sure you are providing something of value. If, after two weeks, they have not pulled the trigger and signed up, add them to your email list.
- Let your current members be your salesmen. You have no better salesmen than the people who are already members of your gym. If you invite prospects to special events, where they get to interact with people who are already using and loving their memberships, not only will they see the benefits of joining, they will start to see the culture of your gym.
- Reach out via your email list with valuable information. That prospect has already shown interest in living a healthier life. By adding him to an automated email list, that will send him weekly or monthly emails with helpful health tips, you can continue to engage with that person, adding value to their life, even if they have not yet signed up. When you add value to the lives of your prospects, they are more likely to sign up in the future.
- Make sure your gym management software tracks leads and conversions. If you do not yet have gym management software that tracks interested parties, now is the time to get it. It’s less expensive than ever before, and it is an essential tool for gyms that want to manage their membership and stay on top of prospects. It should show you your conversions and your progress, on top of keeping track of your current members.
All of the money that you spend generating leads will be wasted if you can’t actually convert those leads into memberships. If you have done your market research, you already know how the cost of your gym compares to your competitors. Most prospects do not make a decision based on the cost of membership, but rather on the benefits that come along with that cost. Your goal should be to show your prospect the benefits of signing up with you. These tips will help you do that.
Clubworx Pro Tip – Ensure you are regularly comparing your lead and conversion statistics within your member management software. Small tweaks to your processes that result in even a slight improvement to your conversion rate can make all the difference to the success of your business.
CHAPTER SIX – 7 Member Retention Strategies You Need to Implement Today to Grow Your Gym
This section also answers popular questions asked such as: “How can I increase my gym membership retention?”
Would you believe that tennis clubs actually have the highest member retention rates in the industry? Clubs that offer a specific range of services, including a fixed time each member can practice, which means that most members play with the same people every time they visit the club, have the highest rates among all tennis clubs. The social aspect of this system encourages people to keep coming back. What member retention strategies can you implement?
- Structure your sessions and classes so that your members are likely to be with the same group every time they attend. Most people like to attend the same classes, at the same time, on the same days of the week. That means they will likely be training with the same people every week, too. If you set up your classes or training sessions to allow for the kind of social interaction that keeps tennis club member retention so high, you’re more likely to see those same kinds of numbers. Smaller sessions and classes mean more interaction, which at the very least will build some positive peer pressure and at the most, develop a close-knit group who motivate and push each other, even outside of the gym.
- Provide your members with regular assessments. While many people will come to the gym, use your equipment, and leave without wanting or needing any kind of assessment, making assessments available to those who want them is a great way to build loyalty. When you give your members an opportunity to see their progress and to get tips about what areas they could improve, they are more likely to return to your gym.
- Get involved with regular training sessions. Not every member of your gym is going to be willing to hire a personal trainer. Instead of expecting that everyone who needs help with the equipment or with upping the intensity of their work outs will ask for help, make training sessions available for those who want to learn how to use your equipment or want to rev up a current routine. These sessions are also a great time to talk to your members, to get their feedback, and to find out what motivates them. This, in turn, will allow you to offer motivation when it is needed.
- Keep a close eye on attendance. Those who use your gym or studio regularly are very unlikely to suddenly cancel their memberships. Instead, it is those who used to attend and no longer do, or for whom attendance has started to drop off, who are more likely to cancel their memberships. This means you need to have a system for tracking how often each member shows up and how long they stay. Have a system put in place that allows you to contact members who have stopped visiting as often as they once did. Offering a discounted training session, a free evaluation, or other incentive is a good way to rekindle that person’s interest.
- Encourage your members to try new things. The benefits of this strategy are threefold: not only will it help people get and stay fit, it will also improve gym loyalty and decrease the likelihood that a member stops coming because she is bored with her workout. Getting involved on the gym floor and encouraging members who only ever run on the treadmill to try a different cardio machine or even a weight machine, is a great way to show your members that you care about them, and therefore to build loyalty.
- Consider changing your operation hours. Many gyms and studios are open from nine in the morning until five in the evening. This is also when most people are at work. Those with busy schedules can rarely make time to visit a gym, even one they have committed to be a member of, during these eight hours. Consider opening earlier and/or closing later.
- Change who you target. Instead of just sending promotions out to current, active members, try sending promotions out to less-active members or even to those who have cancelled their memberships. Offer discounts or promotional rates to those who haven’t been visiting as often as they once were, or give away a free personal training sessions for those who renew their membership in a certain time period.
Maintaining your membership is extremely important. This is how gyms succeed and stay profitable, especially since you have expended so much time and money to generate that lead and convert them into a member. Use these strategies to retain more of your members. Using management software can make it easy to manage your attendance, see who isn’t attending, and send out promotions, encouragement, and motivation to those who look like they might be thinking of canceling.
Using the strategies and tips that you have learned in this blog will help generate leads for your gym, convert those leads into members, and then retain those members. Use this checklist to make sure your gym is making the best use of its lead generating and membership converting potential.
Clubworx provides Online Member Management Software to Fitness businesses including PT Studios, Gyms, Health Clubs, Affiliate Boxes, Martial arts, Dance or Yoga studios across USA and Canada. Clubworx will help your fitness business by streamlining and automating the day-to-day administration through a simple, flexible, online system. Put simply, Clubworx gets fitness club owners out of the books and back into doing what they love.