If you’re reading this, chances are you are a gym owner, gym manager or personal trainer and you are struggling to come up with ideas to increase gym memberships and personal training client numbers. Fear not – you’ve come to the right place. We are here to help!
Marketing Your Gym
Keeping a steady stream of clients coming through your doors every month can be challenging. We are going to show you that this doesn’t need to be the case.
There is a multitude of ways you can market your gym, especially in the digital era we now live in. However, much like in fitness, there needs to be an end goal. Without a goal
Before we get into the meaty part of this post, give this short exercise a try…
On a piece of paper, write out a list of your current gym marketing methods. Have these methods provided any significant results? If yes, which ones? Did they cost you money?
Now, next to each method, write the cost of marketing of each method. How effective was each method? What was your return-on-investment for each method?
Perhaps you have not tried any effective methods of marketing your gym and just found yourself becoming “comfortable”? If that’s the case, don’t worry! It’s never too late to change your ways. It is, however, better to act now rather than later. Your competition is already moving. Now it’s your turn!
Lucky for you, in the fitness industry there are lots of fun and engaging campaigns you can run (pardon the pun!) to market your business.
So, without further ado, lets get into some of them…
Black Sheep Social – Tips for Driving New Clients to Your Gym
Run a Corporate Challenge
This is a really fun way to get large groups frequenting your gym. With so many businesses in your area, every gym should be utilizing this strategy. There is a real onus on employers to look after their employees’ well-being, and this will be a great way to do just that!
Approach local businesses and get them to “compete” against each other in a year-round series. Business owners love competition, and getting them to compete against other local businesses will get everyone working toward a goal in order to gain the bragging rights. The competition could be whatever is suited to your gym. Total weight lost. Most hours logged in the gym. Biggest strength increase. Training for a marathon or Tough Mudder competition.
The competition will need clear guidelines, a time-frame and a visual record of who’s winning. The winner can win free memberships, products (such as protein powders, vitamins, gym gear, etc.) and/or a trophy to display in their business for the year.
Start a “Refer-a-Friend” Campaign
One of the most effective ways to get new members in your doors is to start a “Refer-a-Friend” program.
At the end of the day, your current members will always be your best sales people. You should be leveraging their positive experience and turning it into new members and increased revenues. You don’t need to over-complicate things here. Simply reward your current members with a free month of membership for each new member they bring in. Make it worth it for your members and they will act!
And the best part? You won’t lose any money giving away the free month.
During your member’s free month, you’re simply making the same one month of membership as usual owing to the new member they referred. It’s basically the same as if they were still just paying their membership. The second month though, you will now have two members paying membership. You’re now making twice the revenue you made the previous month. This cycle will continue perpetually if you reward your members accordingly.
Feature Gym Members Every Month
Give your members a confidence boost by featuring a ‘Member of the Month’ on your social profiles each month. Recognition is the best form of motivation and your members’ results will resonate with potential new members. Snap a picture of your ‘star member’ (with their permission, of course!) and share why your member is such a star client, and list what they have achieved since working with you.
You can incentivize your members with exclusive rewards for gaining ‘Member of the Month’ status. Some examples might include a place on the ‘Member of the Month’ wall, a cool accessory such as a t-shirt or hoodie with the gym logo or a complimentary month in your gym. Reward your current members. Keep them happy, and they will spread the word!
The primary reason you should consider blogging for your website is to establish yourself as an expert in your field. The most important thing in the health and fitness space is to provide your audience with fun, relevant, informative content. By doing so, you will establish your credibility and your audience will be engaging with you, away from the gym setting. Provide great content and your audience will grow as it gets shared with friends across social media.
Blogging will also make your website much easier to find in search engines. Google rewards websites who have fresh indexed pages on their website. In other words, blogging on your website will help to increase traffic. This increased traffic will end up in new leads for your website, provided the content is relevant.
Run a Weight Loss Challenge
Weight Loss Challenges are a great way to grow a new group of members and build a community within your gym. A weight loss challenge will help to accomplish a number of things: It will help new members get into the gym. It will get current members to lose weight. It will give your business great exposure.
Weight Loss Challenges should have specific goals, specific start dates and specific end dates. Be sure to reward the winner(s) with something desirable and related to your gym and/or the fitness industry in general. Provide fun and motivational sessions, impressive results, tailored meal plans, and an awesome experience and the challengers will become long-term members. A win-win situation for both parties.
Start Providing Meal Plans
If you’re not doing it already, you should be! If you feel you’re not qualified to give nutritional advice, we recommend that you check out some of the nutrition courses run throughout the country, particularly those aimed toward the fitness industry. It will pay you dividends time and time again.
One of the toughest aspects for your members will be their battle with foods. They can put in all the work they want in the gym, but if their diet isn’t aligned with their goals they will never get to where they want to be. A big problem for the clients is simply not understanding what to eat or how to make healthy food taste good. This extra service which you can provide to your members will put you ahead of the pack and position you as a ‘guru’ or ‘expert’ in their eyes.
Run a Flash Sale to Mark Special Occasions
It is important to mark and celebrate special occasions. What better way to do so than by running flash sales for new members! Your gym is celebrating its first anniversary? Run a promotion to celebrate! Get new people in the door with a unique offer. Hold an open day to celebrate your first successful year in business. Give the visitors a tour of your facility and run reduced membership rates for anyone who signs up on the day.
Offer Remote Classes
With the growth of video technology and the ever expanding reach and speed of the internet, remote classes have never been more relevant. Virtual training is now a simple, accessible and affordable avenue to explore.
Consider using an online platform such as Digicom for video conferencing or create an online course you can promote all over the country (or world), irrespective of location. This is a great way to keep in touch with members who have relocated, are away for an extended period of time or even to reach new members further afield.
Try the Senior Market
The senior audience is growing more and more health conscious these days. If you’re not already tapping into this market, you are almost definitely missing out.
This age-group not only has the time to attend classes, they also enjoy getting out and socializing. They will be very likely to refer friends and will be easy and fulfilling to coach. Another great point to mention, the seniors are available for day-time classes. This means you can keep your gym full, even at the quiet times when everyone else is at work.
Organize Information Evenings
Another fun way to keep your members engaged in the fitness world is to organize information sessions. Each session can have a guest speaker and can be focused around a specific topic. This month you may have a competitive body builder come in to explain what they do and answer questions. Next month, an accomplished athlete. The month after, a nutritional expert to speak on dietary requirements and fun recipes or a psychologist to speak about mental health and overcoming mental blocks. The possibilities here are endless.
Members and non-members will be extremely grateful for the value and knowledge provided. Some events can be labelled ‘Members Only’. Such evenings will also allow you to speak, present your knowledge in your field and gain more credibility among your members and any non-member attendees at the event.
Run a ‘Try Before You Buy’ Campaign
Nowadays, everyone wants to try something before they buy it. This is no different when it comes to gyms.
People want to get a good feel of the equipment, the staff members and the general ‘vibe’ before committing to sign up. Many of your competitors will likely charge high fees for non-members to come in and use their facility, leaving a “bad taste” in these potential members’ mouths.
Be different. First impressions are everything, and offering non-members the ability to try your gym for free before signing up will leave a long-lasting good impression. By treating them as a valued member from the outset, they will feel welcomed and will be likely to sign up and recommend you to their friends as a result of your outstanding customer service.
Invest in a Modern, Professional Website
As I mention in my previous point, “First impressions are everything”. This could not be more true when it comes to your website.
The internet is rife with extremely poor and outdated health and fitness websites. A significant portion of users will do a Google search for a gym in their area and look through the website before deciding to visit. What kind of impression are you currently making on these prospects? Does your website show up on the first page of Google when someone searches for gyms in your area?
A modern and up-to-date website is crucial in making a good, lasting impression on potential clients. How much is each potential member worth to your business each year? If your website is making a bad impression and these potential members are going elsewhere, how much money are you leaving on the table each year?
Add ‘Exit Surveys’
It is very easy, as a gym owner, to know why your members have signed up with you. However, the majority of gyms are missing out on some valuable information which could aid in member retention rates.
Why have past members left? Why have they moved from your gym to another?
Your members and past members will see your gym from a totally different viewpoint than you. It is important to gain an understanding of why your members are leaving you so that you can highlight any areas which your business needs to improve on. These seemingly small, insignificant changes may have a dramatic effect on your member retention rates.
Organize Social Events
Social events are extremely enjoyable and a great reason for your members to get out and have fun. They present an opportunity for you and your team to connect with your members on a different level outside of the gym environment. It will give your members an opportunity to see you and your team as “human”, away from your role as their trusted fitness professional.
Staff members should be encouraged to get behind these events and ensure that there will be a good turnout on the day (or night). Ask your members to bring along a guest (a partner or friend) to the event. These guests will also get to know you and your team at the event and may be potential members for your gym.
Most importantly, members will feel socially connected to your gym after such events. This will have a huge impact on your retention rates. Don’t forget, it costs much less to retain a current member than it does to chase down a new member. Treat your members well, and they will stay loyal.
Partner Up With Your Local Community
It’s important that you get your local community involved with your gym. Likewise, it’s important that you, as a business owner, get involved within the community. Introduce yourself to other local business owners and ask if you can place an ad in their shop window or notice board. Offer the business owner and their employees special membership rates. If someone is referred from the shop owner, offer that they will pay no joining fee. Or perhaps offer the shop owner a flat rate referral fee for any new members he refers.You can have a wall or a noticeboard in your gym allocated to ‘Community Partners’. All gym members could receive a small % discount off their products and services when they present their membership card . The local business owners will love you and they will send a huge amount of business to your gym.
You can also invite these local shop owners to your open days and social events. Let them know that they are free to 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.
So, what did you think?
What did you think of our tips for bringing new clients into your gym every month? Have you already tried some of the tips? Do you have any more tips you could add to our list? Are you going to implement some of the ideas from this post? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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This is just the tip of the iceberg for marketing your gym or personal training business.
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Author: Ricky Peters, Founder of Black Sheep Social
Ricky, a qualified Chartered Accountant, founded Black Sheep Social in 2017 to do something different than the corporate world he was used to. With big dreams and goals of creating a business that helped people grow their businesses and fulfill their dreams, he has created a company that creates reliable results, consistently.