The number one thing I find myself on the phone helping struggling gym owners with is marketing. Here are some the mistakes they’re making along with quick fixes for each one.
Mistake #9: Not having a plan
Despite all the great options listed above, you cannot do them all. You need to decide what is best for your business right now and then map out a plan to get it done.
The Fix: Go out and purchase a whiteboard calendar that has all the months on the year on it. This allows you to see the entire year at once. Start to fill in everything you want to do to bring in new members.
Mistake # 10: Not leveraging Joint Ventures
I want to tell you the story of how I sold my wife.
Got your attention J
When we moved into our new space there was a dance school next door. They had a hugely successful business of girls ages 5-18. Even better, there were 2 parents for each family that were right smack in the middle of our ideal client. They walked by our facility every day, they parked their cars directly in front of our doors to wait for their kids. It was a perfect situation.
I heard a few of the other local business approached them to do a joint venture, but had little luck. These girls were super focused on building their thriving business.
One day, I got a call from one of the owners. She was in a bind and needed a personal trainer to teach fitness to their dancers. It just so happens that my wife is a lifelong dancer and has been a fitness pro for close to 20 years. She was the perfect person for the job.
In addition to building relationships with the dance club by having my wife as one of their employees, I negotiated direct response marketing emails for them to send to their list of clients about our trial membership in exchange for having my wife work there. We gave each of the parents of the dance school a special offer to come and try our facility. It has been a win/win for both of us.
Joint ventures, when done well, can be wildly successful for your business. You want to look for businesses that are non-competing, but have a strong ability to reach their own audience, usually via social media, email or in-person.
Mistake #11: Not using email effectively
I think this is one of the biggest mistakes I see in marketing, both in the fitness world and in business in general. Having an email list is a very inexpensive way to talk to your universe any time you want. The key to email is consistency and sending content that adds value. When I tell rookie business owners that we send 5 emails a week they usually cringe and respond with something like “aren’t you just bothering people? Wont they just unsubscribe?” I respond by saying that people who weren’t going to buy anyway are the ones that unsubscribe. You need to send emails that add value to people’s lives. In the fitness facility world, it’s things like success stories, recipes, motivational emails, funny videos, nutrition tips, etc. All these things add value to people that are interested in living healthier lives. Therefore, we send and continue to send for the foreseeable future.
The Fix: This really depends on where you are. Here are the steps
- Have an email list that has all of your members, past members, prospects and anyone else in your universe that could either refer you a member or become a member themselves.
- Email the list regularly. Start with a minimum of once per week and increase as you have the bandwidth. Send it on the same day and at the same time.
- Provide value. Don’t send endless emails about things like cancelling due to snow or trying to hammer them with a 15% discount before you’ve provided value. Your emails should do 3 things: Educate, entertain and inspire. Once you do this consistently, you earn the right to sell. The majority of our emails follow this strategy and it’s why when we periodically sell something, it usually works. On Black Friday we sold 25 Trial memberships at $99 each from 4 emails. If we never provided value, the results would not be as promising.
Mistake #12: Not getting good at public speaking
This is one the world’s biggest fears, but those who overcome it will get massive returns. Both of my businesses were taken to the next level after I spoke in public on a regular basis. Simply stepping on stage earns you instant respect and credibility. It takes courage to get on stage, but like anything, the more you do it the better you’ll get.
The Fix: Just start with small mini seminars at your facility. Do a nutrition workshop for your community and just get some practice. I would start with setting a goal of 6 mini seminars a year and then progress to one per month. These live events will bring huge returns in the form of new leads and conform your authority in your community as an expert. My favorite book on speaking is the Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo.
Mistake # 13: Not asking for a referral at the point of sale
When people sign up for a full membership at your facility (not a trial) they are the most excited they will ever be. It critical to take advantage of that and ask them for a referral. Make this simply part of your process.
The Fix: Offer them a free 30-day trial membership for them to give to a friend as a thank you for signing up.
VERY IMPORTANT Ask them this question: Who would you like to give this to?
This is a very different question than “Do you know anyone that would want this?”
Asking them “Who would you like to give this to” focuses their mind a specific person and not the task of finding someone for you.
We always follow up with an email to give them instructions on how to give the gift to their friend including a sample email that they can simply copy and paste.
I hope you enjoyed this and found some insight into getting your marketing back on track.
I help fitness professionals turn into successful business owners.
If you need my help to grow your business, I’d be honored.
Send me an email at email@example.com and lets get on the phone so I can help you implement some of these strategies.