By: Jim Thomas
As a club owner, other than paying your people, your number one job is to be sure you’re driving guest traffic into your gym. In other words, you need to be sure the door is swinging, the phone is ringing and the email is dinging. Far too many clubs give up when they don’t’ have initial success. In the end, you must become an expert at attracting attention to yourself and you must be consistent in the delivery. Here are some basics;
- Member referrals. Let me ask you this question; if I were to stand at your front desk and ask each member if they had current guest passes, what would they say? People love to refer but you must have a process in place and staff must believe in the referral program. By the way, it’s not about asking members to bring in someone to join.
- New Member Email. Do you have a new member email (letter) in place that shows next steps for the new member? Such things as explaining guest policy and how billing works, instructions on downloading your app, promoting Facebook check in promotions at the club…of course, you should include a guest pass.
- Website. Is this an online brochure or a lead generator? Are you utilizing your social share buttons to share the content from your web site? Do you have a product and services menu so you can promote everything you do and not just one thing? Are you set up to collect leads? Do you respond promptly? How many leads are you getting each day?
- Blog posts. A simple 250 word post will do the trick. We like to see a post at least once per week. This is a great way to help with online search, keep people on your site longer and position you as an expert in your field.
- Deal of the Day. Hang in there with this one. Be sure you look at it as lead source and not a discounted membership program. Your cost is nothing, so keep trying until you find the deal that works. Get creative and don’t be afraid to negotiate with Groupon, etc. Then be sure you have the proper sales process in place to properly direct the prospect.
- Email Marketing. Be sure to break this down into categories; members, Alumni and non members. Be consistent in your deliver, for example, the first of every month. Be sure you are delivering content the customer can use. Provide links directing people back to your web site. You will receive an analytics report on who clicked these links and these become new leads.
- Social Media. Post. Post. Post. Share. Share. Share. And it doesn’t have to be all about fitness, share pictures for mom on Mother’s Day, dad on Father’s day. Show your favorite pet, flags on national holidays. Only about 5% of your network will see any individual post, so you must post frequently to get noticed. Share posts of companies and people you want to get to know.
- Press Releases. Submit press releases on a regular basis. Member success stories, new product offerings, staff promotions, special events, etc. This is not only a great way to build your internet density, but when appropriate, tag the local media in your area on Twitter for additional exposure.
- Networking Events. One of the key elements on successful networking is the one-on-one (which can also be used in your gym for referrals.) Here’s how it works; you meet with someone from the event to learn about their business and how you can help them and offer referrals. It’s as simple as that. Then refer. In most cases, this person will respond in a similar manner and you will gradually build up a group of ambassadors that are seeking to refer you and your gym.
- Speaking Engagements. This is like giving your networking a vitamin B shot. There are plenty of groups in your area that are seeking speakers. And don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself to be a speaker, it’s typically only 5 – 10 minutes…just give them information they can use.
Now, just do it…everyday!
Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.jimthomsondemand.com