For a fitness studio, the one process that can be difficult to get right is the gym sales process. There is many different experts offering a variety of strategies to succeed in sales. However, these strategies, like the fitness industry itself, is changing and evolving on a regular basis.
Society in general has become more health concious than previous generations and, because of that more and more people are interested in keeping fit. The industry has experienced unprecedented growth in the past number of years to service this new demand for a fitness. As well as that there is a more diverse customer base powering this demand.
Changes in demographics and technology means that the sales process is ever changing. But these changes just mean new opportunities, a chance to stamp your own mark on the way how marketing strategies are implemented from here on out.
Health clubs, like other businesses, have to constantly evolve in order to keep up with market demands. Because of this gym owners have gotten creative over the years. Implementing various marketing tools that have garnered alternating levels of success in reaching out to potential members.
In this article we will go through what has worked in sales throughout the decades and then lay out some new strategies to help you boost your sales numbers.
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What’s Worked Before?
Pre-Digitization in the 1980s
In the heavy duty 80’s, before Google revolutionized corporate availability, your standard marketing campaign for business owners at the time required extensive research done by the sales team. A club or local business would often go out and see what people thought directly via questionnaires, polls and call ins. A fitness club essentially had to be their own search engine. They would do follow ups on potential members via their home phone number. Ad campaigns were run during television during key hours, newspaper ads and referral programs helping spread word of mouth.
It all took effort, but it worked.
Viral marketing then came in the form of VHS tapes, they helped spread the message even further with legends like Billy Blanks dominating the market. Gym membership sales grew exponentially during this period as personal training became ever popular, while free classes reeled in any doubters.
Eventually management software aided the front desk in keeping everything together and helping gym owners find their ideal target audience. Leading to further evolution in sales strategy.
The Rise of the Internet in the 1990s
As society moved more towards the athletic and lean look of the 90’s, technology became more involved with the sales process as the Internet offered a way for the fitness industry to reach potential members in ways they hadn’t heard of before.
Gyms were now able to utilize emails, team up for co-marketing and even start a blog. Google opened the pathway between local businesses and the public, allowing for quick searches and reviews. The first online advertisements becamee available, targetting prospects based on their search preferences.
Gyms became more inclusive and moved away from the macho bodybuidling of the 1980s. This inclusiveness led to an environment where a referral program thrived, as long time gym goers would invite friends and family members.
As heavy duty gyms leaned more towards becoming health clubs, marketing strategies evolved along with them. A gentler color scheme took hold of campaigns, focusing on improving oneself rather than just looking to shred fat and impress at the beach.
The Social Media Revolution in the 2000s
In the 2000s social media began to take a foothold in our daily lives. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram took the forefront, each offering ways to share information with each other at a pace not seen before while offering entertainment that truly took the world by storm.
Rather than paying loads of money to start a website, gym owners could simply open a free page as a way to reach out to new customers and post testimonials from current members. Multiple platforms made access to contact information much easier to obtain, while providing access to literally billions of people at the click of a button.
By simply promoting a special offer on your social page, a gym can reel in new memberships at a much faster and more affordable rate than ever before. But it doesn’t mean that every online method has been effective.
So what are the best techniques for today?
7 Strategies to Help Boost Sales
1. Make Sure Your Website Is up to Scratch
A recent study showed that at least once a month, 69% of people are looking for a local business online. The competitive nature of the fitness industry means you need to stand out – and first impressions matter. This is the first direct interaction between your fitness business and your potential customer.
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Be clear, concise, and unique. For example, if you have an Instagram ad that promises a 10% signup discount by the end of the month, make sure that the offer is easy to see as soon as someone lands on your website. Some quick landing page tips would be to:
- Use videos as they increase conversion rates by 80%.
- Ask for customers’ contact information, such as their email and phone number.
- Keep written content concise; get straight to it, and present easy navigation so users can click to specific pages for more information.
- Try not to transfer inbound traffic straight to transactional pages.
From there, your customers can move onto other parts of your site that focus on aspects such as personal training, group classes, and membership plans. If you’re in need of inspiration for your website, check out these 18 effective gym website ideas.
2. Create an Event
These are timeless, they can be anything from a healthy bake sale for the girl scouts or a car wash by the local sports team. If you create an opportunity to interact with the community in a way that benefits them and possibly offer entertainment, then you have gone a long way to building rapport and establishing a positive base to build upon with the locals.
Some examples of successful fitness events include 5k runs, obstacle courses, strong man competitions and sports events. You can team up with local businesses to work as sponsors and help promote on various social media platforms to create a sense of hype leading up to the event, if done right, there will be a big turnout and it will be a great representation of your business.
3. Use Email Marketing
The numbers don’t lie. According to Mailchimp, one of the top email services for businesses, open rates for the health and fitness industry stand at 20.06% while click rates are at 2.06%. That means that in every 100 emails you send out, two people are clicking over to your website, interested in what you have to offer.
The advantage of email is that it’s yours. With the ever-changing scenery of the internet, it’s nice to have something that is totally in your control. Every year, Google has a new SEO algorithm that keeps us on our toes. Facebook can change its policies overnight, leaving your head spinning trying to adjust your social media campaign to fit.
4. Create a Corporate Strategy
I feel this one cannot be understated, if you can get a partnership with a few corporate entities in your area and offer their employees special rates for gym membership. You will receive a constant stream of long term members that come to workout during the week.
Not only will this work as a cash cow throughout the years, but will build successful long term relationships that provide you with easy access to event sponsorship, co-promotion and reduce your need for extensive marketing.
5. Launch a Referral Program
A fitness business thrives on good word of mouth, whether they come from testimonials, positive online reviews or simply a group of people interacting with one another. Succesul gyms and studios are focused on creating community, a place where friends can meet after a day at work to relieve stress and improve their health at the same time.
When it comes to getting feet in the door, a referral program could be just what your business needs. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust referrals from people they know. As well as that 74% of people regarding word of mouth as a key influence on their purchasing decision.
6. Grow Your Organic Platforms
Social media is free so it’s a platform any gym or fitness trainer should take full advantage of. The key though, is to provide quality content that builds your authority. Creating content consitently that provides real vlaue to your followers is excellent for building up your reputation as a reputable source of knowledge. The information you have gathered over your years as a fitness professional will prove extremely valuable.
In our increasingly connected online world getting as much traffic to your website as you can to build its authority. The best way to do this is to produce quality written, video, and audio content regularly. The same goes for your social media channels. The only way to grow your social media is to post engaging content that makes your followers react by liking, commenting, and sharing the content.
7. Offer Courses
The fitness industry is always changing, one year there is a new dance-fitness craze, then the next it’s yoga and so on. One way to stay on top of everything is to offer courses focused on strong trends happening in the fitness industry.
By doing this not only do you empower anyone who partakes in the course, by providing them with a certificate and another means of income, but also build connections with them as you open new classes for them to lead. People always buzz over a new class, if you have a good referral system your current members will bring their friends too or you can even promote a first class free deal to get things started. Either way, by adding more variety to your gym, you open the doorway for more members.
In the end, just know your target market
At the end of the day, knowledge is power and understanding your target audience is the key to any successful sales strategy, without one you’d just be guessing what kind of message you want to send and who you want to send it to.
Research is a key component to any marketing campaign, once you’ve built a strong sales team and have a solid idea or product to sell, try to find out what kind of strategy will work best for you.
A good plan will bring you success.