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The majority of people want to try before they buy and there is no exception when it comes to gyms. Potential members want to spend a few days trying out the equipment, meeting some of the staff and members and getting a good feel for the center before they commit to signing up.
Many gyms charge ridiculous prices for first time casual visits and don’t offer free trial passes. This is a great way to lose potential members and leave them with a lasting negative impression.
When someone makes an enquiry at your gym offer them a free 5 visit pass to come down and try out the facilities. There is no obligation to sign up and they are free to use the gym, group fitness classes, swim, spa, etc. Treat them like a valued member from day 1 and exceed their expectations with great customer service.
When handing out Free 5 Visit Passes have a quick registration form to take down the person’s name, email address and phone number. Even better, register them as a trial member on your system, take their photo and give them a membership card with 5 free visits loaded on the card. They will feel part of the place before they even sign up!
Make it easy for people to receive the free 5 visit passes. We recommend the following methods:
Give them a tour of the facilities, fill out the form to capture details and hand them the free pass.Make sure you don’t keep them waiting, it needs to be a simple and efficient process
Make sure the banner is one of the first things people see when they land on the site (top right is ideal).Visitors can simply enter name, email and phone number to receive the free pass instantly
As soon as they submit their details an automated email is sent with a link to download the free pass.The prospect can then print the free pass or take a photo with their phone.They can then come down to the center to validate
The benefit of capturing details via an optin form is that you can continue to market to the prospect via an automated email series over a period of time.This enables you to build a quality relationship by adding value, providing free tips and useful information
Facebook is one of the most powerful strategies that you can use for your gym (we will discuss Facebook in more detail under Tip 5)
2. Member Referral Program
A member referral program is a powerful strategy to attract new members to your gym.The key with the member referral program is that it must be easy otherwise people won’t do it!
A great strategy is to print off some free pass cards and send a pack of 5 to all of your current members in a mail out.Include a letter with the free pass cards outlining the terms of the member referral program along with the benefits.
The member can then easily hand out the free cards to their friends and family and they can come in to the center to validate the card.
On the cards include name, email, phone number and referred by.When a prospect comes in to validate the card you can enter their details on the system and take note of the member who referred them.An easy system is to offer the prospect no joining fee on their membership and offer the referrer one free month.This can be easily processed in the next direct debit run.
You can also create a ‘Refer a Friend’ form on your website and Facebook page.The member simply enters their details in the form along with the names and email addresses of the friends and family that they want to refer.The prospect receives a personal email from their friend with the special no joining fee offer along with a download link including the free pass card.They can then bring the pass in to the center to validate.
3. Invest in a Modern Website
We are amazed by the number of extremely poor websites that we come across in the Health & Fitness industry. First impression is EVERYTHING!
Approximately 70% of prospects will do a search on Google to find the nearest gym in their location and check out the website BEFORE coming down for a visit. 20% will be referred by family or friends and 10% will drive by and drop in to have a look.
What impression are you making to the 70% of prospects who check out your website? Does your website show up on the front page of Google when people search in your local area? Has it been updated with the latest timetable and class information? Do you have images to showcase your facilities and provide impact or do you just have a bunch of boring text and links? If your website is old, boring and outdated then people will assume that your gym is also old, boring and outdated!
A modern and up to date website is crucial to make a great first impression when people land on your site.
We highly recommend the following features:
The average member at a gym is worth between $500 – $700 per year.If 70% of your potential members are getting a poor first impression from your website and going somewhere else, how much money are you missing out on each year?
Updating your website should be listed as the number one priority in your marketing budget!
Watch the short 3 minute video below to find out more about our custom website package:
For more information about our website creation packages Click Here and enter your details at the top of the home page for full package information
4. Create a Facebook Page
Facebook is one of the most effective marketing methods for generating new members, adding value to current members and increasing membership retention. Every gym simply must have a Facebook Page! A basic page is free to set up so there are no excuses!
Facebook currently has more than 700 million users worldwide and the average user has more than 200 friends. People are now spending more time on Facebook than any other website (including Google!). When used correctly, your Facebook Page can generate huge amounts of traffic and interest in your gym.
Benefits of a Facebook Page
To create a new Facebook Page go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
If you are really looking to capitalise on the power of Facebook then we highly recommend creating a custom Facebook Page to take your marketing efforts to a whole new level!
Benefits of a Custom Facebook Page
Just 2 x 12 month members can pay for your entire custom Facebook Page investment. For more information about our custom Facebook page services go to http://www.marketingforgyms.com/services
5. Encourage Staff and Member Interaction
One of the biggest problems I faced as a gym manager was encouraging my staff to interact with members on a consistent basis. It took some time and patience to make this a new culture in our club but the rewards were definitely worth the effort. One piece of advice à Don’t hire introverts if you want your staff to interact with members!
Members love feeling like they are part of a gym and staff interaction is a key to ensure they feel connected.Here are some tips that can be easily implemented straight away:
6. Exit Survey for Cancelled Members
The Health & Fitness industry typically has a very high turnover of members. The majority of gyms lose 50 to 100 members per month and gain 50 to 100 new members per month. A very small percentage of gyms actually survey their members when they cancel. This is such a simple process and can provide some very valuable information about your member satisfaction, staff performance and facilities. The survey can be completed as the member fills out the cancellation form. Some member won’t fill it out but many will.
The form can include the following questions:
Each week go through the comments and take the feedback on board. Members often see things from a different perspective and highlight areas that you can improve. Often making simple changes and improvements can have a big impact on client retention.
7. Weekly Fitness Tips
Now that you have a great website and custom Facebook page the key is to provide some regular fitness tips and information for your members! This information can be a great way to keep in touch with members, add value and maintain motivation.
You may be thinking …. I just don’t have any time for fitness tips! You may not have time but I guarantee your staff do! Think of how many hours your fitness staff are standing around between assessments with nothing to do. It is a perfect time to write up a short article or record a quick video message on their smart phones to upload directly to Facebook or to the website (preferably both).
Create a rotating roster where each staff member needs to add some content once per month. If you have at least 4 instructors then you have enough content to post an article or video every week.
The videos or articles can be demonstrating new exercises, nutrition tips, healthy recipes, motivation, goal setting, etc. Also encourage members to comment on the posts, ask questions and provide feedback. They can also submit requests for future topics. The articles and videos can be archived on the website and fan page so future visitors can search through the database of content.
8. Run Monthly Member Challenges
A great way to maintain member motivation and generate more energy in the gym is to run regular challenges. In our gym we purchased a huge whiteboard and put it up above the benches. Every month we would run a new member challenge. The board would be divided into male / female and different age categories. We offered prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each category at the end of each month (free drink bottles, t-shirts, membership discounts, etc).
Here are some ideas for Member Challenges:
Have a staff leader board as well as the member leader board and the key is to make it more fun than ultra competitive!
Other Ideas – Organise monthly beep tests for members, blood pressure checks, running groups, boot camps, etc
9. Organise Regular Social Events
I can hear many of you taking a big sigh but Social Events make such a big difference to the culture and feeling at a gym. It is a great way for staff and members to connect on a different level outside the gym environment. They do take a bit of organising but the rewards are definitely worth it!
At a minimum a yearly Christmas Party is essential. A members BBQ is always a good option and you can often get bread and sausages donated from the local butcher / bakery. Spend a few hundred dollars on some beer, wine and soft drink, chips and nibbles and you are good to go.
Other events could be for Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Open Days, Fun Runs, Charity Events, Easter Party, Christmas in July, Trivia Nights, Car Boot Sales, etc.
Staff must be encouraged to really get behind the event and speak to members to ensure you get a good attendance. You can also offer free prizes, give aways, special offers, games and activities on the day to encourage people to attend and also bring their families along. A jumping castle for the kids is always a winner!
If members feel connected to your center socially then it will have a huge impact on your retention rate!
10. Reach out to the Local Community
It is crucial to get the local community involved with your center. Spend a day walking down the local shopping strip and introduce yourself to the business owners. Offer all staff members a special membership rate and ask if you can
place a flyer in their shop window. Many shops will also let you put flyers on the counter or display business cards. Offer no joining fee to everyone who is referred from a local shop owner.
Create a banner in your gym with a list of local partners and help them to promote their business. You can have a noticeboard allocated to ‘Community Partners’ and all gym members could receive 10% off their products and services (they just need to show their membership card on purchase). The local business owners will love you and they will send a huge amount of business to your gym.
Invite the local shop owners to your open days and social events. Tell them they can set up stalls to promote their businesses in exchange for some freebies on the day. This creates a win / win for everyone and ensures you get a good turn out on the day.
Thank you for taking the time to read through the Top 10 Marketing Tips for Gyms Ebook. The tips above are all simple to implement and not rocket science. Often the simplest strategies are the most powerful but they are also often overlooked. I guarantee that these strategies will go a long way toward increasing your membership numbers and retaining your current clients. Taking ACTION is the key!
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Yours in Health & Fitness,