If you run a fitness studio or independent gym, you already know that getting new members on demand is tough. You need new members for your studio to grow, but most gyms struggle with knowing how to actually bring people in.
Here are 4 things that our most successful fitness studios are doing to get more members and how you can implement them for your own gym.
1. Have a REAL Social Media Strategy
Social media and public relations are 2 of the least understood but most effective ways to get your fitness studio in front of a TON of people. But for these to have the most impact, you need a real strategy.
Everything you post on social media needs an action plan. What do you want to accomplish by posting it? How will you measure that post’s success? Let’s break it down by your two main categories of social media content.
Anything that reaches your audience without a paid budget behind it is considered organic. Organic posts are the easiest social media posts to create as well as the most common, but that doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly. Here are some things to consider when creating an organic post:
- Time of day: People tend to be on social media more often during certain times of the day. Posts get the most engagement between 1–4 p.m. on Facebook and between 12–3 p.m. on Twitter.
- Goal: Everything you post on social media should have a purpose. What do you want people to do when they see your post? (Ex: read an article, request a demo, claim an offer, etc.) Keep that goal in mind when creating your post.
- Success: If your posts don’t bring in sufficient results, something needs to change. That means you need a way to measure success for each post. How many people need to meet your goal to make that post a success?
- Response: You can’t rely on your audience for all of your engagement. Some of it needs to come from you as a response to the people who comment on or share your organic post. If you don’t have the ability to manage this yourself, consider hiring a person dedicated to managing your social media channels and maintaining that brand image.
The average Facebook post reaches less than 3% of your Facebook followers organically. Paid posts — whether a boosted post or a full-on advertisement — are a great way to increase that reach. Here are a few things every paid post needs to be successful:
- Audience: When you boost a post you can choose which people you want to see it. These include people who like your page, people who like your page and their friends, or people you choose through targeting (like age, interests, location, a custom audience).
- Clickbait: Every paid post should include something enticing that makes people want to click. This can be an engaging video, a great headline, or a killer offer (more on offers later).
- Visuals: Want to really grab your audience’s attention? Use images or video along with the text in your paid posts. A picture’s worth a thousand words, and thanks to Facebook’s new emphasis on video, that’s especially true when those pictures move.
2. Create Great Offers That Convert
We’ve seen studios get great results offering 1-2 free weeks. It’s long enough for people to visit a few times and fall in love with your studio, but not so long that you lose money on people who don’t purchase a membership.
I talked with Rob Childers — one of our awesome account managers here at Loud Rumor — about the benefits of using free offers during Episode 016 of The GSD Show. In this clip, he explains one of the reasons they’re so effective:
So when presented correctly, a free week offer brings in a ton of leads (people who claim the free pass by filling out a form with their name, email and phone number). One fitness studio we work with had 227 leads respond to their offer in 1 month. Another independent gym got 476 leads in over the same amount of time.
That really hits home when you look at how many of those leads convert. On average, the fitness studios we work with find that once they get a new lead in the door:
- 30% purchase a membership by the end of the free period
- 28% purchase a membership within the year
That’s an average of 60-70 new, paying members every month using these offers backed with an awesome sales and follow-up process.
So if you’re worried that using an offer like this will cost you in the long run, don’t be. Once you sign your first couple of members, that free week more than pays for itself.
If you want to learn more about which offers get the best results for fitness studios, watch the full episode with Rob Childers:
3. Know How to Get These Offers in Front of the Right People
Having a great offer is an important step to getting more members for your studio. But it’s even more important that you know how to get that offer in front of people who will become paying members.
You’ll want to push out your offer everywhere, including:
- Your website: On your homepage, services page, contact page, etc.
- Your social media accounts: Post about the offer on your Facebook page and then pin that post to the top so it’s always the first thing people see. Do the same with your Twitter, etc.
- Your blog: Write an article about someone’s experience using your free week and mention how it helped them transform within that time period.
- At your storefront: Place cards that advertise your offer at the front desk.
- Paid advertising: Let’s jump into this a little more ….
So paid ads can be a little intimidating. There’s so many options out there when it comes to the best copy, images, and budget to use. But once you understand a formula that really works for your industry, it can bring in some killer results.
Paid ads allow you to target audiences that you know would want to sign up. This might be based on your current or ideal customers. Our favorite and most successful advertising method for fitness studios and gyms is Facebook ads, which let you choose who sees your offer so that your marketing spend gets used in the most effective way.
We could talk about the awesome power of Facebook all day. But we want to show you a successful way to actually do it. Here’s a breakdown of how we build campaigns for studios that generate 300+ leads a month.
4. Become a STUDENT of Sales
Once the leads start pouring into your inbox, you need to be able to sell them on your memberships. This is where so many fitness studios fail because they don’t want to seem “sales-y.”
The key to not sounding salesy is to believe in what you’re selling. If your workout service really does help transform bodies, health, and people’s overall well being, then don’t be afraid to encourage more people to hop on board. You’re bettering their lives.
So when someone claims your offer, contact them immediately to schedule their first visit … and we do mean immediately. Studies show that your best chance to reach someone is within the first 5 minutes of them opting in.
After 10 minutes you are 10 times less likely to reach them, and after 30 minutes, that likelihood decreases 100 times.
Once you reach someone who has redeemed your offer, it’s important to stay in front of them until they either sign up or ask you to stop reaching out. One of the studios we work with put together a great process for contacting their leads:
- Within 24 hours: A staff member calls the lead to schedule their first visit.
- Within 48 hours: If the team was unable to reach the lead via phone the day before, a text is sent to the number the lead used to claim the offer. The team also sends an email.
- Within 72 hours: If the team hasn’t made contact yet, they make a second phone call.
- Within 96 hours: The staff sends a second text and email.
- Day 6: After waiting 2 days, the team calls and emails again.
- Day 7: If the lead doesn’t respond, the team sends another text message.
- Day 8: The team sends another email asking if the person still wants to use their free pass.
- Day 9: The team makes a final phone call.
- Day 10: The team sends a final text message.
- Day 11: If the lead hasn’t responded to any of the team’s contact attempts or asked them to stop, they are added to the monthly newsletter email list so that they continue to see the fitness studio’s brand in their inbox.
Now for those of you who worry this process might make your gym seem pushy, let me stop you right there. This strategy helped that studio earn a 300% ROI. You can read more about their campaign here:
These 4 tips make a great foundation for getting more members for your fitness studio. Follow these steps and you can’t go wrong. And if you want even more tips for turning your gyms’ prospects into members, check out our 7-point checklist to close more of your fitness leads:
Mike Arce is the CEO and founder of Loud Rumor, a lead generation company for fitness studios and independent gyms that supports their customers with sales training and techniques to grow and scale.
Mike has spoken for companies like Infusionsoft, the Better Business Bureau, ASBA, and Local First – all on the topic of Local Business Internet Marketing. He has a passion for local businesses and helping them grow. You can get fresh, updated tips from Mike here.