With obesity rates soaring in the UK there has never been a better time for your fitness business to thrive… right? With at least three of the books in the top 10 on Amazon being about diet or celebrity-endorsed fitness regimes, we can see that people are interested enough in fitness to invest money in it. The market is ripe for picking so why is it that, according to the IHRSA, on average 81% of fitness studios close in their first year?
Marketing intelligence company Leisure DB reported that in the UK in 2018, there were 7,000 gyms, with 10 million users and a market value of £ 5 billion. With 1 in 7 people in the UK a member of a gym, why are so many gyms struggling to stay afloat?
In a highly competitive industry, it is more important than ever to be able to stand out from the crowd. But how can you make sure that your fitness business is the one that people will flock to?
1. Create a Community
The industry giants, such as Slimming World and Weight Watchers, are successful for a reason. Their weekly meetings give the user accountability for what they do, and also give them the support of a community. It’s never been easier to create an online community of like minded individuals who are willing to offer free advice and support. These can be set up within minutes on Facebook and give you a great platform to showcase your expertise.
By creating a Facebook Group for your members, you can offer advice and answer their questions in real time – helping members of the group away from the gym floor creates greater engagement with your clients. You can invite them to do daily challenges and they can check in with the rest of the group for accountability, or you can just start a topic that you know will engage them.
Remember to add regular calls to actions within the group inviting your members to invite others. Your current members already know how great you are, but by offering a small portion of your service for free on a public platform, people will be hungry for more and this will hopefully get them queuing up to spend money with you!
2. Generate a Lead Magnet
In order to keep a steady stream of leads interested in your service, it’s important to develop a growing email list of contacts you can send information to (see the section on content below). One way of achieving this is with a lead magnet – a piece of information that is valuable enough to your target market that they will be willing to exchange their email address (and full permission for you to contact them).
What you create is totally down to you and the area you work in. It could be anything from a 6-week fat loss plan, to a recipe book! Make sure that it is valuable and you can start building your email list. You can start slow, and just post this to your business Facebook page, or you can put some money behind it and invest in some social media advertising. Popular tools to help with this include Aweber and Leadpages.
3. Build Your Tribe
So you’ve got a steady stream of emails coming in from your lead magnet, what do you do with them? The important thing is now to build trust in your expertise with your captive audience by sending them regular and educational content. This is now your chance to shine, and give your voice to the content. The emails should be short, engaging, and always link them back to either your website, or invite them to contact you in your CTA – Call To Action.
How often you send these emails is up to you. Some will do them every day, scheduled to go out first thing in the morning to give people daily motivation. Whereas others will do a weekly or a monthly “news roundup”. The important thing to remember is consistency. The worst thing you can do is start with regular daily emails, and then stop and switch to ad hoc ones. Work out the time that you have to write emails and schedule them in advance if you can. Using a system such as Mailchimp will allow you to schedule them well in advance, freeing up your time to do what you are good at!
4. Be social!
When raising your fitness business profile, it’s important to use social media marketing as a way to showcase your service. But make sure that you’re using the right platform for the right purpose:
It’s important that you have a presence on this. But remember you will be posting about your business, what motivates you, the people you admire, and inspirational quotes. It’s unlikely that you will find people browsing for fitness classes or Personal Training Sessions on LinkedIn. Make sure your profile is up to date with your contact details and hours of work, and post once or twice a week. Remember that LinkedIn is a professional place, so not the right platform to post your overnight oats and protein consumption!
Despite not being the most aesthetically pleasing of the social media platforms, Twitter is increasingly becoming a visual platform for short videos and funny GIFS. It is also a great way of tagging people you work with, or want to work with, and getting people to engage with you. Never be afraid to ask for an RT (retweet) and avoid over selling.
You only have a short window to get in front of people, so you will need to up the frequency of your posts, and in some cases send similar tweets out across the day. This is where scheduling can be helpful (see the scheduling section below).
Twitter is very good at connecting people to network with, but you have to put into it what you wish to get out of it. That means responding, liking and retweeting to people you follow. An easy way of making sure that you don’t miss the people you want to engage with is to create Lists.
You can then add key people to these lists (e.g. if you want to start engaging with a local business with the end goal of working with them on a corporate membership or offer, then add this to a list called “business targets” and make sure you engage with them on a regular basis. We affectionately call this “twitter flirting”).
5. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
You are busy actually working with your clients, so you don’t want to spend valuable client time, or your own personal time, hopping around social media. And you certainly don’t want to be typing out a mistake-riddled email when you are tired. The most effective way to ensure that you are in people’s inboxes and across their phones is to schedule. Firstly, block out a morning or an afternoon to this, and cut off any distractions.
Sometimes bringing your laptop to a café and leaving your phone on airplane mode can be the best thing for productivity. This is a meeting with yourself once every two weeks where the magic happens. It’s amazing what you can produce in 3-4 hours of uninterrupted time. Use it well. When I used to work in the fitness industry, Friday afternoon was my time to schedule a week’s worth of emails, tweets, Facebook posts and write a strategy for the following week. This would free up my time to work with clients.
6. Don’t be afraid!
You may be good at training people in the gym, or taking someone to their target squat weight, but how are your writing skills? It’s important that you hone these, even though there are no right and wrongs to blog or email writing. People buy from people, so be yourself and talk in the style you would face to face. Make sure your personality shines and talk about things that are passionate to you.
If you are involved in charity events, tell people! If you’re looking to expand into new markets and are afraid of that, tell people! Your vulnerability will also be your asset where people can relate to you.
7. Start a Podcast
But remember the rule for regular content – don’t promise a weekly podcast and then deliver every 3-4 weeks. People will easily forget and move on to the next person!
8. Referral and Loyalty Schemes
Just like the big players in retail, you should have a reward scheme for your loyal clients, with something they can receive of value at the end of it. This could be a card they have stamped per PT session or class they attend – it should always be something that you can bring back to your business and give your value to the client.
A free PT session, a free pass to a class you teach, a month free of membership, or free products that you are an ambassador for! Referral schemes are also great. Don’t forget to incentivise your clients with something that is worth them telling their friends, families or colleagues about. How about offering them a free PT session per 2 friends they refer to you?
Read all of this and not sure where to start? If you run a gym or bike shop, are responsible for marketing a fitness business, or are a personal trainer who wants to increase their clientele, we can help!
Cariad has a wealth of in-house experience specific to your industry, get in touch to discuss how we can help you achieve your targets.