Measure Effective Marketing Gains

Measure marketing.

Before I start, did you see Gary Vaynerchuk’s video about the fitness industry and social media?

Now, effectively marketing your gym should show some strong similarities to how many of you measure your own personal fitness training. In my last post, I wrote about how marketing via social media is about more than just showing up. If you want to be effective in your marketing, you’re going to want to start setting some goals and ways to measure your progress.

So, what are your goals for your marketing and social media programs and how will you measure them? Outside of sales and some basic metrics, this is an area many small and medium business owners neglect with their marketing, but it’s also an incredibly important one to focus on.

Step 1: Start by being realistic.

Like many of you, I’m a small business owner and a manager. When I started my business, my main goal was to keep the lights on. Period. When I started working out, my goal was to be less of a P.O.S. than I was a few years ago. Both of these things are still important to me today, but my goals have matured. If I set better goals earlier on and followed a plan, I’d probably have had a better go of it and be in better shape.

On your side, it’s a safe bet to say that you also want to keep the lights on. You want to maintain and grow your membership base. You want to be able to pay your employees on time. Now what else? Is it getting more people into a certain time slot for training? Is it selling an added service or more T-shirts? Is it increasing membership via referrals? Be realistic as you set these goals.

Step 2: How do we measure success?

With your marketing and social media, just like with your members, you’ll want to develop ways to measure how you’re progressing against your goals. This part is rarely fun. Measurement takes work.

We all know the scale is not a great indicator of personal health. The scale is the easy way out in measurement. It won’t measure strength gains or fat loss.

Similarly, with social media measurement, there’s a lot more to it than ‘likes’ and shares.

Shares do not necessarily convert into new members and ‘likes’ won’t replace worn out equipment. Those are ways to measure, but they’re not always accurate representations of your goals.

So how do you measure the strength of your marketing program?

It comes down to testing and tracking. If your goal is to increase attendance at a certain class, then measuring the success of that is relatively easy – assuming the class is at a time your members can attend. Remember, goals need to be somewhat achievable.

If your goal is to sell more T-shirts or increase referrals, that can be both easy and hard to measure as well. For example, maybe the shirts are priced too high or the design isn’t appealing. With referrals, how easy is it for people to refer their friends for a trial class via your website? Do you have the right tools and assets in place on the back end?

Step 3: Test and refine.

No matter what your goals are, I’d suggest testing your images and text. I said this in my last column, the most valuable lessons I’ve learned have been through doing. So do that yourself.

Many ad agencies subscribe to testing the A and B scenarios. When are you posting and where? Color photos v. black and white. Instagram vs. Facebook v. SnapChat. Type of language, tone of voice, what is being done and even the shape of the person in the photo should all be varied and tested. Why not throw a third testing option into the mix to see how that rates?

And as you measure, you should definitely include likes and shares as they’re important in terms of engagement, but they’re not the end-all in judging the performance of your marketing.

Like with your members training, it’d be a mistake to focus on one specific goal for your social media and other marketing efforts. Come up with a well-rounded program that includes three or so goals, then get after them.

You’ve seen the memes about what happens when you continually skip leg days. It’s OK to do curls for the girls, but don’t neglect other areas.

Bill Byrne is a director at San Diego’s Remedy Communications, a PR and social media firm with clients ranging from action sports brands to leaders in finance, technology and business-to-business solutions. His short-term goals for the last year included getting a new headshot for work and increasing his max pull-ups to 21. He’s failed at both, but is happy to note he is making progress in the pull-up department. More info on Bill and Remedy Communications can be found online at