Gym owners are passionate about fitness and they’re committed to sharing that passion with others. However, they can only accomplish their goals if people join the gym and maintain their memberships. Even the best-equipped, most-inviting gym won’t be able to succeed if no one knows about it. Gym owners who are struggling to attract interest and develop a brand reputation can read on to find some easy, actionable tips for improving membership rates.
Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail marketing is a time-tested tool for generating interest in a new business, and it’s just as effective in today’s highly digital environment as it was before the invention of the Internet. To develop an effective direct mail marketing campaign, gym owners need to identify their target audiences, decide on a format, design custom promotions, then print and mail their postcards to anyone who might be interested. Working with a specialist like UpSwell makes the whole process simple and affordable.
Active Social Media Storytelling
While in-person communications like direct mail marketing provide a higher ROI than paid searches and online ads, every local gym still needs to maintain an active social media presence. That doesn’t mean just creating a Facebook page then counting on current members to generate interest. Gym owners and their digital marketing teams should focus on active social media storytelling campaigns that demonstrate the facility’s value and support the community of members.
Active storytelling involves letting people get to know the coaches, sharing photos of the gym and the community members who use it and letting people know what’s going on with news-style stories. It’s best to partner with an experienced marketing agency that can help business owners handle their gyms’ social media presence to maximize the impact of each post.
Personalize the Experience
Today’s gym goers want to feel special. Creating a personalized marketing campaign and gym experience can thus be viewed as one of the keys to increasing memberships. It’s fine to cast a broad net and reach out to large audiences to get people interested, but once people turn into leads, it’s time to start treating them as unique individuals. Instead of giving the sales team a script to read off when they start moving potential members through the sales funnel, make sure the whole team is well-versed in different communication methods and techniques for making the sales journey more pleasant for members.
This advice extends beyond basic introductory information. When people respond to online or print ads, try to find out about their goals, values, and communication strategies. That way, when they reach out for more information or head in to take a tour, the sales team will be able to point out specific classes, equipment, or other benefits that set the gym apart from the competition.
Use Referral Programs
Referral programs allow gym owners to leverage the power of current members’ enthusiasm. The people who already patronize the gym do so for a reason, and they know just what it has to offer and who will be most interested in joining. Encourage them to bring friends or family by creating an effective referral program that provides incentives for all parties. These incentives can include discounted memberships, free t-shirts, or even free fitness classes.
Don’t like the idea of giving away perks for free? Just keep in mind that referral programs tend to provide an excellent return on investment. They encourage current members to reach out to others either in person or online, complementing the gym’s direct marketing and lead conversion strategies. Plus, people referred to the gym by current members of the community are more likely to stick around, which helps to improve retention rates.
Keep Track of Leads
Most fitness enthusiasts don’t just see an ad for a gym and then rush out to sign up for a membership. They need to be coaxed into making the switch from working out at home or attending a different gym before they can be converted into members. Keeping track of potential leads ensures that all the effort gym owners put into marketing and sales won’t go to waste. It also makes it easier to personalize the sales funnel so that each lead feels like a potential valued member of the gym community.
Set up a system for keeping track of leads, especially if the gym relies on multiple sales representatives. Each time someone reaches out or follows up with the lead, have the team member take note of it in a tracking system. It’s best to assign a specific member of the sales staff to each prospect, then have that person offer the team updates on progress via the tracking system or routine meetings.
Create a Welcoming Environment
A lot of people are scared to switch gyms or start working out in public because they aren’t comfortable with their current fitness levels. Unfortunately, those are the same people who could benefit the most from a gym membership. Gym owners should take steps to create an environment that feels just as welcoming to complete newcomers as it does to serious fitness enthusiasts.
Creating a welcoming environment starts with updating the company’s website and advertisements to ensure they reflect the community’s attitude. The sales staff should also be trained to communicate effectively with people who are not experienced athletes. Individuals who want to adopt healthier lifestyles and become more fit may appreciate introductory classes or even a free first session with a personal trainer. If the first people they meet at the gym make the whole experience feel accessible, they’ll be much more likely to get on board with a full-time membership.
The Bottom Line
Increasing gym membership rates requires complex marketing and sales strategies that prioritize personalized experiences. Treat every lead like an individual and make sure everyone from the marketing team to individual sales representatives and class leaders or personal trainers goes out of his or her way to make everyone feel welcome. When in doubt about how to move forward with a new marketing strategy, it’s always wise to consult an expert.