Do you really need to “market” your gym?
Recently, there has been a lot of talk in the Affiliate gym circles about whether or not one needs to be marketing his or her gym in order to grow out memberships. There are lots of opinions out there — from people who have complex multi-step sales funnels that are powered by expensive software, all the way down to people who believe that the right people will magically show up to their gym and everything will work out just fine.
More often than not, the right answer lies somewhere in the middle.
While it’s accurate that your CrossFit gym probably doesn’t need a room full of hard-charging salespeople to bring new members in the door, there are a few key areas that should be looked at. In short, your marketing efforts should be authentic, consistent and interactive:
Authentic: Not everyone is a talented copywriter, and that’s totally cool. There are people out there who are great with words, so if you know one, use them. Authenticity isn’t that you have to physically write all of the words, but that you need to ensure they accurately represent the culture of your gym. A big part of your marketing should showcase the success of your members. For example, by sending out a “Member Spotlight” feature to your email list, you’re not only marketing your gym in an authentic manner, but also giving your leads the chance to make a personal connection with one of your members. It’s a good idea to vary the age and gender of the members that you feature in order to achieve the best results.
Consistent: If you’re going to respond to a potential new member a certain way, it’s crucial you do it that way for everyone. As a gym grows and starts to delegate these tasks to their Coaches and/or administrative staff members, consistency can start to suffer. Does someone who calls your gym on a Thursday morning get the same information that someone would get on a Monday afternoon? Does your gym follow up with these potential members consistently? One great way to achieve this is to use email automations — as long as it’s not the only thing you are using. Automated emails without personal interaction to back them up won’t get you very far, but if you’re using the emails to drive the lead to a phone call or to visit the gym, you’re bound to have great results.
Interactive: Once a potential member walks into your gym, the challenge has really just begun. Do you simply let them strap on their shoes and jump into a “Free Class” or a “Free Week”? Having a chance to test the waters will work for your Type-A personalities, but many people will need a bit more interaction if you want them to join your Box. Once a potential member walks in the door, block out 15 minutes to just sit down and talk with them. Ask them why they are there, what their goals are and what motivates them, making sure you write it down. There is no better way to increase retention than if you check in with your member every few months and ask them about the progress they’re making on the specific goal they had mentioned. Personal relationships will outperform slick sales tactics every time.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t take a crazy amount of money or huge team of people to market your gym effectively. All it takes is an authentic strategy that is delivered via multiple methods of communication on a consistent basis, and a plan to build a personal relationship with everyone who walks in the door. If you can achieve those three benchmarks, you’ll be on track to building a fiercely loyal membership and enjoying the quality of life you deserve.
By Matt Verlaque, the Director of Operations at Run Your Gym which specializes in marketing software solutions for Affiliates. Contact him at email@example.com or visit. runyourgym.com.