I think that you would agree me when I say:
“Marketing is one of the biggest problems gyms owners will ever face”
What if there was a marketing system that automatically just prints cash for you…
Wouldn’t that be great?
There is a way to have a marketing machine that works for you.
It’s not a secret.
In fact, most successful gym owners do the same things.
They build the right systems and develop a magnetic message that attracts clients automatically.
This is the system and “secret” that I’m about to share with you within this article.
A Sea of Gyms
There are now more than 50 million gym members in the US that’s a 22% jump since 2005.
With 30,000 gyms in the United States alone how can you stand out?
With the wide range of different fitness facilities such as:
- Health Clubs
- Crossfit Boxes
- Yoga Studios
- Pilates centers
- Dance centers
A prospect doesn’t just choose what gym to go to like they are all the same. There are a lot of different choices out there and different businesses will be offering different services.
In order to attract members that you like, you have to deliver a compelling message that magnetically attracts your ideal clients.
This process can be automated once you build it.
The question is…
How do you develop that message?
The first step in this process of building a magnetic message is to find a niche.
I know it can be difficult for gym owners to be put in a box, however, by specializing and “niching down” you create a more powerful, targeted message.
If you try to “fit in” with bigger and better gyms around you, you will struggle to find and members.
Remember, you need to bring something new or improved to the table… you need something so good that people will be willing to go through the trouble of cancelling one membership and signing up to yours.
Imagine making a gym so good that people are willing to travel long distances to attend!
Before we develop this “magnetic message” we have to answer three questions that will help us determine what we want to deliver.
These Questions include:
1 – What’s your specialty?
2 – What are you known for?
3 – What type of training do you enjoy the most?
These three questions are important questions that you must answer in order to create a “magnetic message”.
When you find a niche, you automatically separate yourself from all the other gyms and fitness centers.
You stand out instead of fitting in.
Even though the health industry is growing at a rapid pace you’ll find most people think of going to a gym is a luxury… crazy, right?
Although it’s probably not true as the average gym membership only costs $41/month…
Nevertheless, this is still the perception among most people.
Your magnetic message should make sure that it attracts people that can actually afford your services.
Or else, you’ll be wasting your time.
Become a Specialist
Let’s take a look at three great examples of specialists in their own field:
1 – Martin Rooney of (Training for Warriors)
2 – Todd Durkin of (Fitness Quest 10)
3 – Eric Cressey of (High Sports Performance)
From the name of the gyms themselves you can already tell that they specialize.
Besides being very successful personal trainers their gyms are unique.
For example, Eric Cressey’s gym is located in Hudson, MA.
Its 31 miles outside of Boston.
It’s almost in the middle of nowhere…
Yet in the bitter Massachusetts winter, professional millionaire baseball players travel all the way to little Hudson to train at his gym.
Do you think baseball players like spending their winters in Hudson?
Of course not!
They come in droves because of the amazing results and experience he produces at his gym.
They’re magnetically attracted to his message.
The atmosphere, the history and the magnetic message is what attracts them into the bitter cold Hudson weather.
By focusing on serving professional baseball players he becomes known as an expert which leads to referrals from the pros.
Becoming famous in your niche is what can create the best, magnetic type message.
Professional athletes, high-income people and all of the in between want to train with the best. If your gym is known or famous for a specialty that somebody is really interested in, people will travel, they will pay and they will refer.
Deliver an Amazing Experience
Let’s look at Martin Rooney’s case for example:
Martin Rooney’s Training for Warriors program’s success can be attributed to many things, but one thing that separates them is that they deliver an amazing and unique experience.
Martin Rooney’s Training for Warriors program has over 90 locations and has trained many of the top UFC fighters in the world.
This success has evidently allowed Martin to scale his business, making sure that each gym is known for exactly the same thing.
“TFW is not designed as a sport or competition, but focuses on you competing against yourself.” –Martin Rooney
How many gyms have a unique message like this?
When you walk into a Training for Warriors gym you see trainers all wearing the same shirts, have the same barbells, dumbbells, etc all aimed to deliver a unique experience.
That is what TFW is all about.
Without the proper systems in place, your gym will struggle to survive.
The most successful gyms have a systemized process that allows them to scale… just like Martin’s.
This is what separates the average gym owner, struggling to keep one gym alive to the successful gym owner with a range of locations.
A successful system include things like:
- Lead Generation
- Sale Forecast
- Membership Calculators
- Payroll – etc…
Do you have a system in place for referrals?
What kind of incentives do you have for current members to bring their friends?
A great way to create referrals is to offer packages to friends of current members.
Some ideas include:
- Bring a friend for free on Fridays
- 50% discount for Friends of Members for the first 3 months
- Get a free month of membership when you refer a friend
Referral marketing is a very powerful method of marketing and can be used to generate a lot of leads, without any extra work.
You need to make your gym “the place to be” for your target audience and members of your niche.
Once you build a solid reputation for your gym, referral marketing and word of mouth will simply take care itself. You just need to kick start it, provide a few incentives and everything else will come together.
Every gym should have a website.
There’s no excuse.
Most gyms have crappy websites that don’t deliver a message or make an impact.
Some websites don’t even display pictures of the gym… something that a lot of people are interested in.
Having a website is like an owning a piece of real estate.
You have to own your online space.
All gym websites should be used to build your email list.
These email lists can be used to nurture leads into members or / and then to deliver promotional emails, providing value to give more reason to stay at your gym and even marketing new offers – (products / services)
Not all local gym prospects are ready to buy a membership from you now but by getting them on your email list you get to build a relationship over time that can turn into a customer later.
Email is one of the best ways to notify anyone of sudden updates, too. This will help to avoid disappointment or complaints when any issues with the gym arise.
Lead generation Systems
1 – Local Business Partnerships
According to the IHSA survey, over 50% of members stay with their current gyms based on their locations.
This means as a local gym owner you have to make people aware that you’re in their neighborhoods.
A great way to do this is to partner with local businesses in your neighborhood.
One example is, if you know your clientele is mostly female you can go to the local hair salon and offer their customers a 20% discount.
Another example could be to partner up with a spa and agree to advertise each other’s businesses.
This a great way to generate local leads for your gym.
As soon as you enter town (especially if you don’t know it already) try to make yourself as a person representing the brand well known in town… attend lots of public events and try to talk to as many people as you can.
2 – Flyers in Direct Mail
Direct mail still works.
It’s a multibillion dollar industry. You can get a well-designed flyer for cheap and have a direct mail campaign to different zip codes.
If you even just get one or two customers from this campaign it will be worth it. Remember, each customer could lead to 10 more through referrals.
You can hire somebody to deliver these leaflets for a reasonably low cost and as mentioned, printing / designing can also be cheap.
Try Vistaprint for a wide range of designs on all types of sizes of leaflets / flyers.
3 – Targeted Facebook Ads
Facebook allows you to directly advertise to any zip code in the United States.
Creating a targeted ad that delivers a message to your ideal audience is a fantastic way to generate local leads… brush up on your copywriting skills or hire a professional for this one.
Facebook is a beast and there’s a lot to cover so I won’t be able to get to, however, the best way to do this is to hire an expert and be prepared to spend money.
A professional will be able to set-up extremely high quality ads and often end up being worth the investment in the long term.
4 – Email Autoresponders
Once you start adding people to your email list, you have an opportunity to nurture and build relationships in order to create an email autoresponder series that delivers value.
5 – Sales System
The most successful sales systems follow scripts that build relationships.
Once you develop your system for sales you can use a software like Gym Insight’s to automate this process.
You need to plan in order to be successful. Going into marketing your gym with a solid, well planned out system, you are more than likely going to struggle or worse, fail.
Approaching marketing with a solid sales system / sales funnel that is planned out from a prospect first hearing about your gym all the way to purchasing a full membership, you will be a lot more successful.
6 – Outsource
Most gym owners aren’t experts in all these areas. You should focus on your strengths and hire people that are better than you in the other areas.
This creates a stronger team that plays to their own strengths.
Many Sole Traders in the world go out and try to absolutely everything themselves.
Progress is slow and they are busy for what seems like 24 hours a day, every day.
As a gym owner, you must be able to let go of some of the responsibilities… it may be hard at first (losing a bit of control of what goes on) but it will be worth it in the end.
I hope you learned the most important aspects of marketing the Lazy Man’s Way.
You have to develop systems for all these areas and once you have it, you’ll have a marketing machine.
Put in the work now and reap the rewards later.
Guest Post Author: Mauricio Cardenal is the founder of The PT Advisor. He’s been helping Fit Pros grow their business online since 2014.