How creating value for your clients will drive your fitness business growth

By Melania Armento

Published 19 May 2020

We have already discussed the importance of rethinking your business before (re) opening your facility in this article,  so today we are going to share the ultimate tips to have a successful gym sales funnel for your fitness business.

The type of  sales funnel we’re going to design for your business is known as the Value First funnel. While you may not have heard of this funnel type before, you’ve no doubt experienced it. It’s the most widely adopted and effective funnel used by some of the biggest online brands in the world.

Why do you need a sales funnel?

If you run a gym or studio you can probably tell me right now without much thought who your competitors are. There’s that big-box chain down the block, there’s a boutique studio 2 miles away, there’s a bootcamp that runs in the park three streets away.

Do you need a gym sales funnel for that? Who you’re competing with and how you compete with them is clear for all to see.

  • You provide X classes, while they provide Y.
  • While you have X memberships, they have Y.
  • You are priced to target the X market and they’re focused on the Y.

But the industry has now changed. Do you know who your competition is now? Sure, the competitors that you’re familiar with may still be there, and you’ll continue to compete with them as normal. But with so many of your members becoming familiar with online and self-coaching, can you be certain those are your only competitors today?

What about Peleton who saw a 300% increase in bike sales in March 2020, and a 500% increase in app downloads? What about Planet Fitness who launched an online coaching and streaming service that very same month? They may not have a site near you, but do they need one anymore? What about the immeasurable increase in free fitness content uploaded to YouTube and Instagram?

What the industry tells us about clients behaviors

In the space of one month, the fitness industry became way more competitive. From billion dollar businesses launching national services to self-employed personal trainers creating free content online. With 18% of consumers already reducing their day-to-day expenses and 70% of consumers asking brands to offer free services to help out, these new players are more appealing than ever.

A freemium offering, like the one we’re about to discuss, keeps you in the fight. It allows you to collaborate with existing and new members alike by empathizing with their new situation. You probably have already seen this kind of funnel, haven’t you?

Launch your Value First Funnel

First of all we need to explain the characteristics of the Value First Funnel and what makes it different from any other sales funnels you may use for your fitness business.

Any sales funnel starts understanding your buyer persona, the users you want to get to your business. Who are you selling to? What are their challenges? How do you aim to solve their problems? Usually you don’t just have one type of buyer persona, but several different users profiles. You need to be able to connect to each one of them and offer them a great experience.

The value first funnel is noticeably smaller, but it’s mostly different because it delivers value to your clients even before they pay by making use of a Freemium offering.

Freemium is used to describe a highly valuable offering that you give to potential clients before they pay anything to sample the high quality of your service.

That might sound absurd to you, even impossible. How are you going to give your time and expertise away for free? And why would you take that risk during difficult times? You’re not just trying to grow memberships, but also the revenue that those memberships bring in!

Don’t worry. These concerns are natural, and we’ll explain the “how”s throughout this guide. For now, let’s discuss the “Why” of this strategy, as in “Why in the hell would I give my service away for free?!”

Sales Funnel: Dos and Dont’s

Along with allowing you to compete from a marketing perspective, by allowing you to offer a something-for-nothing service, it also allows you to avoid the inevitable “race to the bottom” where companies start trying to lower their pricing to capture more of the market.

This behaviour creates a no-win cycle of devalued and low cost services where every competitor is trying to undercut the one next to them.

By offering a free option you:

  • Beat them to the bottom to capture more of the market than they can during their “race”,
  • Introduce those members into the quality of service that you offer.

This means you don’t need to lower your prices for your paid services, because you’re justifying their cost by demonstrating the value before asking for payment. In other words, while your competitors are trying to differentiate on price, you’re offering your potential customers an opportunity to experience your service first so that you can differentiate on quality of service (not price!)

These are only two of many reasons why the Value First funnel has become the dominant one across industry leaders in the online space (others include brand differentiation, lead acquisition for nurturing, and many others).

Along with being a powerful approach for businesses, it’s an empathetic approach for consumers. It allows you to offer a service that bridges the gap between Desire and Ability to purchase for them. That’s why it needs to be a core component of any business looking to thrive, not just survive a recession.

Eager to know more about strategies to survive 2020? Don’t miss our latest eBook.

Free eBook here

Melania Armento

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