Fitness business owner: Why isn’t your January income as good as you’d hoped for?

By Léa - Marketing Editor France

Published 16 January 2020

In the fitness world, January is framed as a big moment for gyms and studios everywhere. With the trend for getting-fit (thanks to New Year’s resolutions) reaching its peak this month, it can feel confusing and disappointing to be left with little revenue increase. 

Your gym could be suffering from one of four key problems.

Problem one: People are still in holiday-mode

Problem two: You’re having issues with payments

Problem three: They’re signing up with your competitors

Problem four: Members leave after a trial period

Let’s fix that!

This blog post will unpick some of the reasons revenue may have slowed down this month and then give you the tools to turn things around. 

Problem #1  People are still in holiday-mode 

The weather is cold and people are still recovering from all of those mince pies and Baileys. This may account for class cancellations and a limited number of new members coming into your gym. 

How to fix it: Give them an incentive to leave the house 

Hold a fitness challenge and encourage people to get out of the house and onto the gym floor. This is an effective way to target gym-lovers. After all, what fitness-fanatic doesn’t love an organised challenge? 

The best way to track a challenge like this is to use an app with a digital community feature. This way the participating members can keep up with what one another are doing and see each others progress. This challenge could be anything from learning to do the splits to increasing deadlift weights. 

Australian gym F45 are excellent at rolling out challenges for their members. This image shows how they use their website to build excitement around their 8-week challenge. They include a countdown to push more members to sign up. The F45 challenge includes a meal plan and workouts are done at the F45 gym. This ensures that members leave that Christmas-feeling behind and step-up their game when it comes to fitness. 

Learn from F45 and make it easy for members to sign up to email notifications via a landing page on your website. 

Offer incentive prizes for challenge winners and participants. Make sure that you push out advertisement of this challenge on your social media and encourage your members to spread the word. 

F45 uses platforms such as Instagram to share the results of challenges and get members fired up for upcoming ones. 

Problem #2 You’re having issues with payments 

Sometimes, it can be the payments themselves that are causing you bother. You could still be trying to manually organise payments – or perhaps you are struggling to keep track of members that have not paid or whose credit cards have been rejected. 

How to fix it: Find a software solution 

The easiest and most effective way to solve this issue is to use a membership management system to control your payments. Software such as the fitness membership management tools created by Virtuagym can provide you with an all-in-one solution that not only helps you manage and coach members but will also help with payments.

Problem #3  They’re signing up with your competitors 

The fitness industry is saturated with great businesses and brands that may provide tough competition. It’s possible that while people are looking for a gym to help them fulfill their New Year’s resolutions this January, yours hasn’t made the cut. 

How to fix it: Build your brand 

Making sure that potential members choose your gym over the one down the road means investing time and effort into driving new customers into the building. This is most effectively done by building brand awareness. 

Consider what makes your business stand out from others locally. Then spend time advertising these features to those in your local town or city. Engage with your immediate geographic area and posit yourself as part of a wider community. Y Club gym in Manchester uses Twitter to stay engaged locally and paint themselves as a key voice in the city’s fitness scene. 

Foster this feeling of togetherness within your gym too by using an app to create a digital space in which members can chat and share updates. This way gym-goers will be part of something bigger. Creating a community that holds members accountable and allows them to share their progress is a key selling point and could be the difference between them choosing your gym over another.  

You could also build an online presence for your brand by offering visitors to your website and social media pages access to e-books, newsletters and infographics. Keep them updated with the kinds of content that position you as the authority of all things fitness in their area. 

US based-gym-brand Equinox uses Twitter to share blog posts that help gym-goers improve their workout sessions. People will look to them and their page for information. This helps them to stand out against their competitors.

By introducing challenges and incentives, building brand awareness and better organising your payment systems you can ensure that your January disappointments turn around in February. 

Problem #4 Members are leaving after a trial period 

You’ve got a load of people through the door by offering new years trial period incentives. But after opting for the discounted membership, they stop visiting your gym. 

How to fix it: Grow your community 

The best way to retain members after a trial period is to give them a good reason to stay. You could have the best equipment and training plans but if your members don’t feel as though they are part of your fitness community, they will have little good reason to stick around. 

By fostering a sense of community amongst your members you can keep them from ending memberships prematurely and develop new leads. 

One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that your members feel part of the gym after they leave the building. By using an in-built digital community, like on the Virtuagym app, you can provide an online space for members to contact one another, share progress pics and statuses and receive updates about your gym. 

Ultimately, you shouldn’t be too disheartened that January wasn’t the mad rush you had hoped for. According to reports, March is actually the busiest month for many gyms, with January running behind as a close second. So regardless of January results, stay positive for now. This year could be your biggest growth in revenue yet.

Léa - Marketing Editor France

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