Effective Lead Generation for Gyms

Steffie Bryant from GymSales Software joined us in the FitNation Lunch & Learn webinar to share her knowledge and valuable insights about how to effectively generate leads as a gym, and which prospecting pitfalls to avoid. In short, an episode you really don’t want to miss!

Steffie’s career accomplishments include over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry in sales and operations both in and outside of health clubs. Her prior roles have encompassed building and overseeing high-performing teams. She has a passion for teamwork and collaboration along with a true love for the wellness space.

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Alex van Hagen: Welcome, everybody. Yes, it is that time again, we are back for another episode of Fitnation’s Lunch & Learn. We want to thank everyone for taking the time to join us today. Quick disclaimer, we feel every topic is really important that we talk about, however, today we focus on something that really is the lifeblood, not just of Jameson Studios, but pretty much every business around the world. That topic is, of course, lead generation and prospecting for new clients. Ours will luckily have a special emphasis on the fitness industry directly.

So we’ve invited someone to help educate our listeners on that. Who would that be? That is Steffie Bryant, she is one of the leaders today may a branch of the very successful gym sales software. So Steffie’s accomplishments include about 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, both in sales and operations and then also in and outside of health clubs, so I think she has a breadth of experience that she can definitely share with us. She has a knack for building and overseeing high-performing teams, and today we’re going to be focused on effective lead generation for gyms, prospecting pitfalls and how to avoid them, and also how to prospect with limited resources.

So this is a topic, it won’t ever be relevant, so we really look forward to a lot of our listeners getting value for this for some time to come. I’m going to stop talking now. Steffie, thank you for taking the time to join us.

Steffie Bryant: Thank you. I’m really excited to be here today, and I think our conversation is going to bring up some really interesting points. So I’m really looking forward to getting into it.

Introduction

Alex: Awesome. Well, we are happy to have you. Always a good starting point as a bit of a background, maybe you can tell us a little bit more about yourself and what you do for gym sales.

Steffie: Yeah, absolutely. To be honest, you did a great job at introducing me, really.

Alex: [Inaudible 04:07].

Steffie: No. So I’ve been based here in the [inaudible 04:11] region with gym sales for the last two, three years but prior to that, I was actually working in the industry. I’ve worked within Australia, you can probably tell from my accent that’s where I come from, and I come from a background of, as you said, sales and operations. So I’ve been really lucky, I’ve worked from the ground up. I’ve seen the highs, the lows, I’ve been amongst it and I completely understand what our industry goes through on a day-to-day basis. So yes, that’s probably a bit about me.

Alex: Nice, thanks. Can you tell us a little bit about the mission of gym sales and what you guys are really trying to accomplish here?

Steffie: Absolutely. So we are a prospecting CRM, so our aim is to be able to support the fitness industry in particular. It’s quite often actually we get others from the outside industries and they come to us and they say, oh, you’ve got a great prospecting platform, let’s use it and actually we don’t tend to work with them because our mission is to support the fitness industry. Our founder actually had his own health clubs and he was using the good old excel spreadsheet, a bit of an archaic system, couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t getting leads, wasn’t getting sales, I should say, was getting the leads, but wasn’t getting the sales. So Tristan being the man that he is went and created gym sales and nine, ten years later here we are and I’m really proud to be a part of such a great business. I’ve used it and we’re here to help the fitness industry really convert those leads into sales.

Alex: Awesome. It seems like a lot of the listeners or guests we have, I should say, but a lot of the things that they’re working on it started from this concept of necessity, it’s the mother of all invention. So they realize there’s this big gap and instead of just not doing anything, they decided to build something themselves. So good to hear that he’s built up a successful product.

Steffie: Yes, absolutely.

Lead Generation in the Age of COVID

Alex: So we’re going to talk today a lot about lead gen and prospecting pitfalls and also, as I mentioned, prospecting resources in an age of COVID where people obviously there are fewer resources going around. Maybe we could start at lead generation and just work our way kind of logically through that sales cycle. Lead generation in the age of COVID from your perspective, what kind of things do operators need to be keeping in mind right now?

Steffie: Yes, good question. I think lead generations changed. It was definitely changed, particularly at the moment with, I don’t know what it’s like there based in Amsterdam, but very much here in the UK, for us to actually go out to an event or pound the pavements, as we used to say actually it’s not going to get the return that we need and we’ve very much gone digital. So I absolutely think there is a need for digital lead generation and whether that be that you provide a service. So whether it be a short-term membership or whether it be a digital offering, so we look at your online workouts and things like that.

So it was giving access because they’re all generating leads but I also think there’s one and I see it quite often in those companies that are doing really well at the moment, they’re maximizing every opportunity and that’s referrals and it’s using their members to generate more leads and bring those people in. So they’ve got really good relationships with their members and they’re constantly giving them an opportunity to bring a friend or a family member in and we always say referrals are your best lead generator and I still think they are

Alex: A hundred percent agree and then you think about, especially referrals right now, why would someone be so high on a gym? Probably because it’s very clean, people are keeping COVID rules in mind, social distancing and so it’s really something that they feel comfortable about bringing someone else in. So a hundred percent agree with you there. We probably hear that construction next door, as I mentioned in our pre-call, they’re starting to do some nice drilling. So listeners at home this is definitely the age of COVID, we’re doing our webinars from home and just listening to construction and other life actions happening around us.

Steffie: I’ll have a dog barking very soon, I’m sure.

Ideal Prospecting Flows

Alex: That’s okay. So we start generating these leads, say someone gets a referral and they’re interested in speaking with this gym, that sales manager starts to pick it up. What is an ideal prospecting flow for you guys look like if you look at it from a high-level snapshot?

Steffie: Another great question. I don’t think there is an actual this is the ideal way of doing it. I think it really depends on where your gym is based. We look at demographics and I actually had this conversation with a client just recently, they’ve got sites located in an older demographic, and then they’ve got sites that are located in a city center and their touchpoints or their prospect flow is very different in each location. So I think the first thing you need to know is you’ve got to know your business. You’ve got to know who am I talking to and who are my prospects mainly? Are they older, younger? Are they digital? Are they not digital? And then you have to create your prospect flow around that.

It’s something we’re constantly doing with our clients and our new clients is we look at their prospect flow when we go. What’s your demographic? How do you communicate to them currently? How do you think you should communicate to them? Is it SMS? Is it email? Is it phone calls? Is it how many emails? A really good statistic actually we have is it takes twelve touchpoints to actually convert someone and actually when we look at data, most salespeople or most team members give up on touchpoint six, they go, oh, I’ll see you later and it’s really interesting actually when we take on a new client, they’ll go, oh, we don’t want to bombard them, we only want to hit them three times and a common question that goes is why, they’ve inquired with you, they’ve inquired with the gym down the road, and they’ve also inquired with five other gyms in the area and I can guarantee you, the first one that gets them in is the first one that’s going to convert them.

You’ve got to be on top of it as soon as that lead hits your system. So whether it comes from a Facebook website, whether it comes from a referral, you’ve got to be in contact with them and have those touchpoints and I think another prospect flow as well is they might contact you now and then life happens. We all know that life happens, doesn’t it? And then five weeks later they go, oh, actually I’m now ready to get back into the gym and I can guarantee you, they will contact the one that they’ve had the most contact with, or they’ve got that relationship with. I actually take that experience into myself. I recently changed gyms and I canceled my old gym and then I actually thought, oh, actually I need a bit of a break for a second, life gets in the way, doesn’t it and actually, it was the gym that regularly contacted me and I had that relationship with that I joined and actually, it was further away.

Alex: You made me realize that actually the gym that I go to, I was referred there by somebody. So yes, I was referred there so I can absolutely see already that the things that you guys are saying to focus on, it can absolutely be true. And if I think about the only sales process we went through for that, even though I pretty much knew I was going to go there anyways, they still have to track me down a bunch. Like I was, if I’m honest, an easy sale and I think he still had to hit me up six or seven times and I was open to the idea. We see the same thing, you and I both work in tech sales software in our day jobs and yes, I see similar statistics that it’s double-digit touchpoints and also in a variety of channels just to try and get through and I at least just make yourself open and present and relevant. So I guess the moral of the story is don’t give up early and try and be a little bit inventive with how you get there.

Steffie: Yes, absolutely. Because, again, talking about that, sometimes some areas are more receptive, like they’ll respond to your SMS or they’ll respond to email, whereas others will respond to actually a phone call and I think a common thing sometimes we see is that some clients will just go down one route, so they’ll just do emails and actually you really do need those different communication channels because you’ll pick them up here and there along the way.

Alex: Yes, absolutely. So other than, I think the number of touchpoints is a really key KPI that gyms should be focusing on. How much should we be doing? Maybe not necessarily how much is too much or how little is too little, but just focus on that. But are there other really key metrics that you think are really important for gyms to understand about the prospects as well? [inaudible 13:21].

Steffie: Yes, again, you have to know your numbers, any time we’re talking about lead generation or we’re talking about sales conversions, another common question I’ll ask is, what are your numbers? What is your lead-to-sale conversion rate? What is your contact to appointment ratio? What is your show ratio? And you’ve got to know these numbers because even as a sales manager, myself, I would always look right, are we hitting our targets? If we’re not, let’s work backwards through our funnel, our good old funnel. So if we’re not getting the sales, are we closing? How are we closing? Are we having good conversations with these people with our offering? And then you could backtrack from there even more. So how many people are we actually sitting in front of? Are we booking enough appointments?

Because again, that’s another common area that seems to fall short, and then it’s okay if we’re not booking the appointments, how many people are we actually talking to? And out of these people that we’re actually talking to, are they good leads? So where have they come from, are they fresh leads, or do we actually need to start lead generating and capturing more leads and filling the funnel? And I think that’s one, we talk about the funnel all the time and it’s something that as a business operator, we need to know our numbers because the goalposts never changed. But the way we get there will constantly fluctuate and it’s being able to react and I always talk about being proactive and not reactive, but sometimes in these cases, you do need to be a bit reactive, but to be reactive, you need to be proactive and know your numbers.

Alex: Nice. Yes, I think that is, especially if you think about maybe doing some outbound prospecting efforts. I don’t know how many gyms you talked to do that, but it seems like that’s the first thing to fall down the list of priority is being that kind of proactive. It’s always nicer to attend to the most squeaky wheel if you will. Maybe this is a loaded question, I don’t know if you can answer it in one go, but from what you’ve seen, how many gyms do you think are doing prospecting right? And that could mean a lot of different things for a lot of different gyms, but in general, what’s your consensus here?

Steffie: I would say 80% do it really well and I mean that, I think 80% do it fantastically, they know their business, they know what their marketplace is and they know how to go capture it. Sometimes where I see them fall short is they’re great at going and grabbing all these leads but then they don’t follow them up. They capture them and then you go fantastic and you’ll actually, we look at data sometimes and they get the lead 10 days ago and they haven’t spoken to them or they haven’t emailed them and it’s like, you’ve spent all this money on these leads and going out and capturing them, but you’re not following them up? And I think where we say, do people, or do businesses capture leads? Yes, I really do think 80% have it right but it’s in the follow-up where it falls.

Common Mistakes Made in Lead Generations

Alex: Yes, and I think maybe that could be one of the key points that I was going to ask next and maybe we’ll see what else you have to say about this, but going off of that the 80% that are doing it right, it seems 20% are doing it wrong, no one is going to say that they do it perfect. So there’s always room for improvement. What kind of common mistakes do you see taking into account that not following up a lead on time, maybe something else?

Steffie: Yes, so not following up, I think also, I don’t think people do it wrong, I just think that there’s an area for opportunity. I think that sometimes some businesses get very stuck in their ways. So where pounding the pavements has always worked for them or where Facebook lead ads have always worked for them, it only works for so long and then you’ve got to get inventive, you’ve got to try something different and I think that’s probably the difference between those that do it great and those that could do it better is the ones that are doing great are thinking of new ways all the time of how to get better.

How do we capture more leads? What is it? I can’t remember the latest stats, but let’s just say 20% of the population have a gym membership and 80% don’t and yes, you take into account there are some other statistics around that, but those that are creative and not just thinking about 20% have a gym membership, let’s just chase those and beat the price and stuff. But they’re also thinking about how do we get a community active? How do we get people into the gym? How do we, we’re in COVID at the moment, it is the best time at the moment to actually think health and fitness and to bring those people in and get people active and those that are doing it well are doing things like that. And yes, I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I went off on a tangent and now I’ve lost the point of the conversation.

Ways to Positively Impact Lead Generation

Alex: I know exactly what you say. It’s about thinking maybe a little bit outside the box and doing things a little bit differently and one thing I was going to ask you here is if you had to give advice to say a gym operator or a studio who feels that they’re doing a good job following up their leads, they feel like they’re kind of tracking well with our conversation so far, but maybe what’s one change you think most operators could make that could even positively impact their lead generation or prospect end flow even more? [inaudible 19:03].

Steffie: Yes, I mean the ones we’ve already spoken about, so absolutely knowing your numbers. I think it’s great to say, yes, I’ve got this great prospect, but actually, what are your numbers saying to you? Is your touchpoint actually working? Because I think so often we see that I get a new client and look at our prospect, Jenny, it’s amazing and do you know what it is amazing, but for six locations it’s amazing and for one location it’s amazing for a month and then all of a sudden something changes within the area or a new gym opens or whatever happens and actually, they need to change it. So they need to keep up with the times and I think you’ve got to know your business, you’ve got to know those numbers and you would notice they, they change all the time. One minute, you’ve got a sales consultant who is fantastic at building rapport and then the next minute you don’t and actually, you’re not having those same conversations. So then the lead, so much could impact it and I think you just got to know your business.

So I don’t think there is one magic thing that can make an impact. There are so many things that can make an impact. But absolutely I’ve always drilled home and even to my team, when I was running gyms was know your numbers, know where you are, know your game plan, and actually your goal posts never changed, they never do. Your target are your targets, you’ve all got to bring in your return on investment, all that and actually it’s your game plan that changes. And if you look at rugby or the euros are on at the moment, they don’t go out and then they just stick to one plan because actually the other team’s really good at, I don’t know, I don’t even know football talk but defense maybe, or whatever it’s called. They have a huddle and they have to change the game plan and they put a different player on or they take that player out and it’s exactly the same, exactly the same.

Alex: Basically, don’t get too bogged down in one thing, be open to iterate, be open to adjust and one thing we’ve talked about here as well, is treat things like experiments if need be, because experiments they’ve maybe have even a little less, you’re less married to the result. If you feel like you’re going down one route and you want to treat it maybe as an experiment, does this actually work, do some testing on it and then if you like the way that goes, iterate a little bit more, iterate a little bit more, and that can be how you can just always be on your toes or just be able to be able to react when for example, a global pandemic starts to hit and everything gets turned on its head overnight. Hopefully, we never get there again, I think people will be a little bit more prepared next time around [inaudible 21:50] next time around. As far as like, omnichannel goes, now this, we don’t want to read this at the same point, but it’s going to vary from gym to gym. We’ve already established that, but as far as omnichannel goes, so using social media, using texts, using this, what kind of insights or what kind of things do you guys focus on with your own prospects and customers there?

Steffie: So we definitely suggest that you use different channels. I think we all should use different channels. I think we remember talking before about different demographics, everything like that. Yes, you might be using one particular channel with those demographics, but actually having different channels or different means of communication, you’re just going to capture a wider audience, aren’t you? And that’s the aim of the game at the end of the day. You want to get your name out there, you want to get your brand out there, so how do you do that? And I think it’s having at least three different channels, like a three-channel strategy and having those, yes.

Alex: Would you say, I mean, I would imagine phone calls, probably email followups, but personally, I use texts a lot. I’ll be texting my own prospects through WhatsApp most of the day and using that as kind of a, maybe a quicker way to just establish some rapport. I don’t know if gyms are actually doing that that much, but I mean, what would you say, actual WhatsApping back and forth?

Steffie: Yes, I think it’s changed, I look back to 10 years ago, now I’m showing my age, when I was a membership consultant. It was phone call, phone call, phone call, phone call, and that’s what it was. SMS and email kind of didn’t really play into it, whereas now it’s very much, I know myself when I go and book a doctor’s appointment or a physio appointment, I just do it online, it’s easier. I don’t have to ring someone up, I don’t have to talk to someone, I just book it online and actually, we’ve seen that change. A common thing that gyms use now is a thing called a booking scheduler. So rather than the prospect having to have a conversation with you and then you book an appointment for the tour, a lead comes in from your website, an email goes out immediately and in that email has a member of our team will be in contact with you soon. However, if you can’t wait book a time here and they go through and they book a time to come down and tour your facility. Now that person tours your facilities, they’ve not even spoken to anyone, that was unheard of 10 years ago.

Alex: Yes, it’s just about removing friction, isn’t it? So how frictionless can this process be?

Steffie: Yes, absolutely. But then you turn that on your head and you go into a demographic that’s slightly older. So if I look at you, your leisure centers, where they have that slightly older demographic, they don’t use that. It’s literally about phone calls and conversations with these people because that’s how they get a response. Sometimes there will probably be a bit more email savvy but definitely not using a booking online or anything like that just doesn’t happen.

Alex: In this age where, especially right now I think we’re predicting and even a lot of UK operators specifically are seeing a huge surge in sales numbers as gyms go back open. There’s this refocus, this re-shift towards health and wellness, not just going to the gym so your biceps could look better or you look good at the beach, it’s really about something more of your youthful, holistic health. What would you say about prospecting for a competitive advantage in today’s environment?

Steffie: Yes, I think, I mean, we always talk about you’ve got to know what you’re good at, don’t you? Your point of difference, I think as a business, yes, you have to know your numbers, but you’ve also got to know your point of difference. What are you good at? What do you offer that potentially someone else doesn’t or what do you offer that you’re really good at? I think you’re a hundred percent right, everything has gone a lot more holistic and actually, I was involved the other day on a panel where we were speaking about the whole holistic versus digital versus; the marketplace has changed dramatically and I think if you’re not changing, you’re not keeping up with the game.

You can’t stay the same and those that are doing really well well are bringing in things around health and wellbeing. So actually a local gym recently that is a client bought in a physio that now rents a room and I know it’s just the smallest thing, but actually, it’s that whole health and wellbeing, a nutritionist or even group outdoor workouts or going for a walk, it’s all different things that you can add into your, I guess, your bricks and mortar and you can bring in those social aspects because actually, that’s what people want. We’ve nearly had what a year and a half of being socially distant and not being able to talk with people.

People just want to have a connection with someone, a conversation with someone and being able to, I think create those connections or those social groups are definitely having a competitive edge. I always can try and compare a local CrossFit gym and a big box gym and I think a local CrossFit gym, or everyone always says, why are they so popular? But they are fantastic at creating that human connection and the social aspect of it. Whereas unfortunately, sometimes our big box gyms don’t necessarily have that. I’m not saying not all of them, but some of them don’t, they don’t create that environment. So actually someone just goes in and they train and they leave. Whereas CrossFit gym, I become accountable to the ten other people or six other people in my class at that time and I think if you want the competitive edge, it’s creating a community that encompasses your membership base.

Alex: Yes, and really that was even supported by the data recently in the UK where upon reopening the retention numbers for these smaller, more communal, more high touch kind of businesses fared a lot better in terms of member loss than the big box gyms. And I mean, I think you and I both work with a lot of big box gyms ourselves and also small operators and so, yes, I think the message, I suppose, therefore for the larger gyms is to try and be more communal and try and create that social touch. And then yes, for the smaller gyms, it’s not just keep doing what you’re doing, but also think about what other services or how can you make this even more of a close-knit kind of tribe, if you will, to make sure that people just don’t even think about going anywhere else.

Steffie: Absolutely and I look back actually to my days of running a gym and I was fortunate. I was really successful in the gyms that I ran and people would say to me, what’s your magic formula, and I was like, there’s no magic formula, but we create a community. We put on member events, we put on running groups and we create those social environments that actually your members do the work for you. You don’t have to ring and check how they’re getting on at 30 days, how they’re getting in a 60 days, don’t get me wrong, those calls are really important, but actually the other members within your gym group are actually going to do that for you. So I think there’s a lot to be said for creating that social space within a gym.

Effective Prospecting and It’s Effect on Long-Term Retention and Member Engagement

Alex: And one question I wanted to ask you, and maybe this is a good segue for it is how effective prospecting can help with long-term retention and member engagement. I think we’ve already started to go down that path. So maybe if you want to elaborate on that a little bit further, I think it’d be really valuable to hear.

Steffie: Another great question. You are full of these good questions aren’t you? I think it’ starts from the moment you get a lead, you set the tone and I mean that, I think you’ve always got to be in communication with your prospects and your members and it’s creating that supportive environment and it’s having again, using those different communication channels. Sometimes you often see that they use all these different communication channels in prospecting and then they become a member and they stop. It’s like, oh, we only use email. Well, hang on a second, why are we only just using email?

You’ve used all these different channels and you’ve done all this great work and you’ve communicated with these people and then we’re all just going to filter them into one way and it’s all the emails will do it. You’ve still got to keep up those touchpoints and we always speak the first 30 to 60 days of a new member’s life cycle is critical. That is when they’re developing their new habits, we talk about what is it, 21 days to make a habit and it’s so important, but it’s so often that you see in some of these gyms or they get a sale and that’s it, game over. They’re on the member journey, they’ll be fine. You don’t just stop there, get them involved, get them involved in your app or get them involved in your group fitness classes or give them a challenge.

I think a great thing that I’ve seen from a client recently was they created this new member challenge. So they created milestones and they would actually, they’d get like gifts and they’d get like different things and actually it’s great because their members actually stay on and they have completely increased their retention and I think you can’t just drop them at a sale and so often we see that.

Alex: What you’re saying right now, it definitely spans, as I mentioned earlier, this spans all industries, it’s not just necessarily the business industry, but especially for a gym service where people, there could be the options, just go to the closer one of the cheaper one right down the street. If you’re not creating that special experience or they just feel like they’re another member, what’s to keep them from just moving right on. We work with something here called a mutual action plan and it is that life cycle of going through the sales process, signing an agreement, and then what happens afterwards and so really we put signing the agreement right in the middle, because that’s only halfway through what we’re trying to do. The real goals, the real results are what comes after that and that’s where the long-term partnership and that’s where renewals are going to happen and it’s exactly what you’re talking about there. The same thing happens in the gym industry with how people will renew their membership, whether they think about it, whether it’s pay as you go, whatever it’s going to be, it’s creating that experience afterwards.

Steffie: Absolutely. I always compare it to a relationship, you’ve worked so hard to get into this relationship and you’re dating and it’s fun and great and then all of a sudden you’re in a relationship and it’s still great and then all of a sudden it just goes stale, and then the next minute they’re breaking up because they’re not putting the same effort in, and I think it’s exactly the same. You’ve got to put the same effort into when they’re a prospect, when they’re set to, when they’re a member, you’ve got to keep putting the same effort in and if not more, when they’re a member.

Differences Between the Sales Cycle of Verticals Within the Fitness Industry

Alex: A hundred percent agree, a hundred percent absolutely agree. We also wanted to talk quickly about maybe the differences between the sales cycle of the verticals within the fitness industry. So maybe how a personal trainer selling his services, how that relationship or that sales process might go differently compared to a gym and someone buying just a monthly membership. Maybe we can elaborate on there briefly if you notice any differences between your own customers.

Steffie: I always talk about this with my experience. So a couple years back, I was a member of a gym, so I got a started and it was all going wonderful and then I was like, oh, do you know what? Maybe I should do some training, some personal training. So I spoke with a personal trainer and I had a limit. I think it was, I don’t know, $50 a week or something and I was doing one session a week and I never spent more than $50 a week, that is all I’m going to spend. Three months later, I was spending $150 a week on personal training. Now, the reason I was spending that was because I saw the value, I absolutely saw the value. So this personal trainer not only did one session a week with me one-on-one, but then he did small group training where I was then accountable to other people within the group but then he would do the smallest thing of bringing us a protein shake or bringing us a towel.

So all of a sudden you just see value and then I went from 50 to 75 to 125, all of a sudden I was paying 150 and I didn’t question it once because I saw the value in it. And I think being a personal trainer you are selling a service. I mean, yes, we’re selling a service as a gym membership as well but as a personal trainer, you are one-on-one with that person and you’ve got to build value into what you do. How often do you walk into a gym these days and you see a personal trainer teaching a client yet they’re on their phone and they’re not even paying attention to the way they’re doing it and then they wonder, they come to you, how do I build my client base, I’m not doing really well. I said, well, first of all, pay attention to your client.

Alex: Yes, be present.

Steffie: Be present, and also know that your brand is on show all of the time. So when you go in do a teacher group fitness class, you are on show, but also you’re on show five minutes before you teach that group fitness class, because actually they’re watching your interactions. They’re watching what you’re doing. How often again do you go in and they’re on their phone or they’re not interacting and actually you don’t want to go train with that person, you want to train with the person that had a smile on their face and said, hey, how you doing? How’s your training going? Not a person that goes, oh, and I think when we had, I know we’ve probably gone off on a bit of a tangent, but there has to be value in it, if people see value, they won’t question it. I mean it the same with gym memberships, but definitely with personal training, because it’s a more unique, one-to-one service that you’re selling.

Alex: I think one of the things I’m picking up from you as well, that it was really valuable for, I think really listeners to understand is it’s not just like the one thing, it’s not the quick fix. It’s the little things that build that foundation that then it just starts to snowball positively. If you do all the little things right, then you start to reach these big goals later on down the line. So things like, and if you’re familiar with the Atomic Habits book by James Clear, super famous book on really good habit management, that seems to be one of the similar concepts as well. It’s just like these little changes, it’s like what is it in investing the compound interest, right? Like if you invest, I don’t know, however much per month or per year, at the beginning it’s small, but once you start to do that continuously time and time and time and time and time again, it just grows exponentially and this can be the same way.

Steffie: Yes, and it’s funny, even linking that back to, we’re talking about numbers before knowing your numbers. If you increase by 1% every day, actually, by the end of; I told you my dog would bark. By the end of the week it’s 7%, and it is those little habits, it’s the little things that make such a difference and so often people forget about the little things and they’re so important.

Alex: Yes, it’s the tiny increments for sure. And on cue as well the construction is continuing through our call. So it’s just a nice call here. What about how gyms should think about the prospecting resources when maybe they have 30, 40, 50% less team than they did in March of 2020 or February of 2020? How does prospecting with lower resources look right now?

Steffie: Another great question. I was actually talking about this with a client last week, we were talking about how the workforce has changed or the team is pretty much halved in some respect. So I think getting automated, so taking away those manual tasks. So we talk about automated items, when they’re a member, how can you automate some of those sorts of things and I know we’re saying get personal and you can absolutely still be personal with some of these automated things, but take away some of the manual tasks. So you give your team the opportunity still to have those quality conversations, because those quality conversations lead to referrals, which lead to leads, or those quality conversations to a member also stop them from canceling because you’re creating those conversations.

So I think you’ve got to give your team time to still be able to have those important conversations and those important interactions. Again, another touchpoint I used to talk about when I was managing teams, how many interactions have you had today? Not necessarily interaction with text message, but an interaction as in, have you spoken about someone’s work out today or have you spoken about what they’re doing for the weekend? How many interactions, and you should start to give your team goals around that, take away the manual tasks from them and I think so often I go into a client and their team is so bogged down with all these manual tasks that they then can’t have those quality conversations and I think yes, that’s really important and I know I’ve gone completely off topic.

Alex: I really don’t think so. I see the same thing here is like, if you can eliminate these things that basically just start to frustrate people day in and day out, that just becomes an undeniable task that they have to do, updating the CRM, manually typing this kind of stuff in, manually changing all these different settings then yes, it’s just once you have to do that a lot makes you less likely to go chat somebody up just to see how they’re doing. So I totally agree that if you can decrease the amount of manual admin work, it hopefully allows them the opportunity to do more engagement, relationship building things, because the other stuff is set it and forget it is automated now. So I think that’s a super good example.

Steffie: Yes, absolutely. I think also you can’t forget about having a digital presence and I know we’re going more and more and more digital, but you’ve got to be able to leverage those digital platforms. So, if you do have an app, how you’re actually capturing leads through that, do you have a referral program in place? Even if you do have an app, maybe it’s got workouts and everything on it, can you somehow leverage that so that actually you could do a non-membership sort of seven days access, then you’re capturing information, you’re still capturing leads. How can you use Facebook to your advantage? Are you running lead ads? Have you got a group? Have you got a community group? Are you running competitions?

You can make videos these days, there’s so much you can do. But it’s also the basics as well, having a presence. If I go and type into Google ‘gym in my local area’, you need to be the top and if you’re not, you need to go and talk to someone that can help you get up there because that’s so often than not actually does drive traffic to your page and Instagram and can you leverage social media, I want to say famous people, but what are they?

Alex: Influencers.

Steffie: Yes, there you go, influencers, I should say, but can you leverage them? There’s so much you can do without actually having to get your team to go and do it as in pound pavements, handout flyers, anything like that. There’s so much digitally and you can also do, well we all know Facebook and Instagram competitions where actually they will do the work for you, like, tag follow, comment, get someone else, think of something like that. So I think there’s so much that you can do and again, I think it goes back to the theme that we keep talking about, do something different, be inventive, don’t just stick with one way, think of different ways you can do it, communicate differently, automate what you can and then have those interactions and think outside the box.

Alex: The one that actually sticks out to me and it’s not necessarily just the gym industry, but any online company or any company who is responding to their reviews, whether it’s super positive, super neutral or super negative. I think those companies, if you can have a human response to that, and it’s not just okay, there’s a bad review of their app, it says, oh, we’re sorry, please contact support@company.com. It’s actually more like respond to what they said that’s negative, offer some sort of say opportunity to expand more, make it more personal. But then on the flip side, if it’s a really great review, celebrate it. So how has it be personal and sometimes some social media managers are going to be better than that. They’re going to be more witty and snappy with their responses, but just that level of engagement and interaction, to me it really sticks out if you see Google reviews and they responded, it shows that the company actually cares a lot versus ones where it’s just like 10 reviews, four of them are bad, three of them are good but there’s just no interaction from the company whatsoever. I think it’s a huge missed opportunity.

Steffie: I have to agree with that, particularly when you say, oh, please send it here, thanks for listening.

Alex: Yes, thank you, I will send it to my general support inquiry and it will be filed away and never be discussed. So we’ve talked about prospecting lead generation at a high level, but maybe it’s just an opportunity to talk about gym sales specifically, how do you think your best customers are using gym sales the best, and this could be specific to the product, or it could be more about the process, but I’d be really interested to hear about this from your perspective.

Steffie: Yes, I think we’ve spoken about it throughout. So it’s knowing your area and then it’s using those different touchpoints. So we provide an automatic or an automatic cadence. So they can personalize it and they can make it fit them, which gives those clients, the ability to chop and change it as they need. So the ability to be able to interact with them by email, SMS, but also we talk about the one-percenters and one thing that our system does really well is it gives the operators the ability to be able to see what’s going on. So you can listen to your phone calls, you can see how your team’s actually having those conversations, but then you can see the data. So often we hear that our team member goes, yes, I did 25 calls today. You go fantastic, what were the conversations like? You can actually jump in and you can listen to them and hopefully we don’t see this very often anymore, they say, yes, we did 25 calls and you go, oh, great, you did 25 calls in two minutes.

Alex: None of them picked up.

Steffie: But it’s a simple thing it’s like, you can actually see, okay, I did phone calls and a common thing we see is really high call attempts and not many spoken to and actually what happens is they make the calls the same time every day, because we’ve got multi-skilled teams these days. Our reception teams, our front of house are very much doing everything. They’re doing the workload. So they are very much system people and they’re very much, I’ve got to do this, then I’ll go do that and that, so then their calls end up being at 9:00 AM every single morning and actually that’s why they don’t get through to anyone because they’re making the same calls to the same people at the same time every day.

Actually when you highlight that and you change it, all of a sudden their contact to appointment ratio changes, and then all of a sudden they’re booking appointments, then all of a sudden they’re converting sales. And I think you’ve got to, I know we keep talking about it, but you’ve got to know your numbers and you’ve got to have visual over them as well. Sometimes we see, you know, we’ll talk about numbers and they say, yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re getting a hundred leads in and we’re converting 50 of them or we’re converting 20 of them and actually then when you start to drill into the detail about, okay, so talk to me about these contact to appointment ratios, or talk to me about your show ratio, they actually don’t know the detail around it and they’re the things that make a difference.

We see about a 40% increase in those with the show ratio, if they have a confirmation text the night before. So we actually did a bit of a pilot with some of our clients where some of them didn’t have it, some of them did and those that didn’t, we ran it for a certain amount of time and this is what their show ratio was and then we actually put on this automatic text message that went the night before, and it was reply why to confirm, they increased by 40%. So it’s those little things, and I know we keep talking about it, but the little things make such a big difference.

Future Prospecting Trends to Affect Industry

Alex: It adds up. It really does. Nice. And starting to round out a little bit here, I mean, from your perspective, what you guys see I imagine, as you mentioned, you have a lot of data. What kind of prospecting trends do you think are going to start to hit the industry here in the next six to 12 months?

Steffie: Yes, I think we’re going to continue along our digital platform or our digital platforms, I should say. I think you will start to see operators become even more savvy and you’re already starting to see it, even with, I know, simple join online’s now, it’s making them join there and then. So I think you’re going to continue to see that happen but I think also in the digital space, you will see things, we were talking before about apps and work out and giving access to those that aren’t members. I know a lot of operators have done that throughout COVID lockdown times, but I think you’ll continue to see that change and evolve but I also think you are going to see the old school come back as well. I know you and I recently were talking about can’t wait to actually get to an event and have a session with someone. I’m actually counting down days so I can have an event and I think it’s the same without our gym members or our gym prospects, they’re exactly the same.

Yes, they can get back into the gym at the moment. In some areas they can’t, like in some of the European areas, actually, they can’t at the moment, but for those that can, there’s still a limit on it or they’re still a bit hesitant about it. So I think as the world starts to hopefully come back to post pandemic world we will start to see probably some of those old school channels start to come back in. I think it’s always changing, I’d love to say, hey, this is what’s going to happen, wouldn’t that be nice?

Alex: [inaudible 50:10] one year to talk about your predictions and see how it goes.

Steffie: There will be like flying dogs, [inaudible 50:18].

Alex: I hear exactly what you’re saying and for me sometimes, we use automation technology, I’m texting all the time, but honestly just a quick phone call can get to the point and get things done so much quicker than a lot of these other methods and that’s just for me and the customers and the prospects that I personally work with. So again, if you feel like you have a younger demographic who is not going to pick up their phone, but they respond really quick to an automated text or a personal text, whatever it’s going to be, lean into it.

Steffie: We were actually talking about the different areas in the different regions, you would understand this, when we talk about things within the tech space, we talk about things being done in the bar or in that side of the world. Whereas, if I talk to those in America, it’s very different in the way that they do business. So it really depends on your region and your demographics, doesn’t it?

Conclusion

Alex: Yes and I guess knowing that first and foremost, it can allow you to be the most successful in all these other different aspects that you can hopefully start to take on. Awesome. Well, Steffie it has been an absolutely fantastic conversation. I really want to thank you a lot for coming on the show and sharing a lot of your knowledge. For the people who are listening and they want to learn more about yourself or about gym sales, where can they go to find you?

Steffie: First of all, thanks for having me on the show and second of all feel free to jump onto my LinkedIn account. So Steffie Bryant or feel free to head over to our website. So gymsales.net, follow the links through to the Amir region and you’ll be able to reach out to me.

Alex: Fantastic and I think we’ll put some information in our show notes as well. Okay. Excellent. All right. Well, Stephanie, again, one last time, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. This has been another episode of Fitnation Lunch & Learn. Thank you for tuning in and we’ll see you next time.

The 2021 Gym Checklist – Are You Ready for the First Quarter?

It’s the first month of a new year and in order to prepare for the first quarter, there are a few things you should consider in order to make 2021 a year of huge growth for your business.

One of the biggest January cliches is that gaining and attracting new clients is the most important thing you can do this season.  Yes, getting more people through the door will lead to more sales.

But don’t overlook the importance of engaging with your current customers and making sure they stay with you even as the new-year-new-me January crew pour in. And of course, you also want to make sure that your brand new customers like your gym enough to stick around.

This checklist will help you find new ways to engage with your customers and give them an experience that will make them glow as though they’ve just exited a 7 am online spin class.

Get yourself ready for new years with the latest update of our gym software.

How to Attract New Customers

Okay, so let’s deal with this biggie first. Attracting new customers is the best way to scale up your business.

Luckily for you (and thanks to new year’s resolutions), every Instagram influencer and his uncle will be hitting the gym extra hard at the start of this quarter.

This is the perfect opportunity to bring in new leads and score yourself some year-long memberships. Now is your prime time to get those customers in!

Step one in attracting new clients is to implement an effective social media strategy.

This could be as simple as regular posting and could be as advanced as paid advertisements. Around 45% of the world’s population use social media, with an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes spent per day on social networking platforms. Use incentives such as discounts, giveaways or a referral system to make your advertisements stand out.

For more information on how to improve your social media marketing strategy, click here.

Here’s a great example of a fitness brand that is getting it right when it comes to online advertisements.

Ashley Galvin has built her brand as a yoga instructor that runs online fitness classes. She perfectly exemplifies how social media can be used to target an audience and drive them to subscribe to classes.

Ashley yoga advertisements on Instagram collage

These images feature a video advertisement created by Ashley and shared on Instagram.

The short video shows a combination of yoga poses and then cuts to bold white lettering that tells viewers they can achieve goals such as to ‘tone and define’ their whole body. It also invites the viewer to watch a longer video to get more information.

This ad is shown to a target audience as they scroll down their Instagram newsfeed. While a video may require more budget to produce, this method can also be used by creating attractive graphics for your target customer profiles to view instead.

Remember That Creating a Call-to-Action Is Key

You should make it easy for social media users to sign up to classes or for membership directly after seeing the ad. When viewers click on Ashley’s page, they see that her bio also includes a call-to-action.

She provides a link to her website, details her latest class launch and the paid ad also means that a link to watch more on the website is also provided at the bottom of the page.

It’s easy to focus on lead generation. But remember that the flow of potential customers quickly increases management and conversion costs.

This is where Lead Management comes in. This will help you figure out how to communicate and who to communicate with. It will determine your messages and when you send them. Understanding leads and effectively managing them is a great way to increase profits and drive more sales.

The moment a person subscribes to a membership they should receive an email of confirmation with information on your gym and how it works there. Leave a week before sending a secondary email so that you don’t inundate them with marketing.

In this second email, you should redirect them to another point of sale. That could be premium membership, classes or a point of sale online such as a webshop. Include a call-to-action button and links in your email so everything is easier for them.

Use a lead management tool to keep track of your actual and future members so you can focus on marketing and sales. You’ll have the data of all of your leads in one place.

You can also easily interact with them via automated emails and messages – saving you a ton of time in the process. And we know your time is worth GOLD in January.

Engage the Customers

Once the new customers have arrived, you have to offer the best service possible so they stay in your gym and don’t go running off to your competitors.

You can have the best marketing strategy possible but if the service you offer doesn’t live up to the hype, you’re going to lose your clients faster than you can say ‘power snatch’.

For starters, having the right and most qualified trainers for the job is essential. You could also try offering advanced personal training. If you pair this with tracking to encourage motivation, it could place your gym above the rest.

Live streaming platforms and best workout challenges
fixkes || Shutterstock

 

Engaging customers is all about motivating them to keep going to the gym and the best way to do this is to allow them to keep track of their evolution and see the results for themselves.

For this, you need a complete app that can offer full tracking of what you are doing at the gym (or on online classes) but also workout plans that you can customize. This means your teachers can focus on motivating clients, while they are equipped with the best tools to drive results (and keep people coming back for more).

Fitness challenges ideas to boost engagement

Create a Smooth Client Experience

Creating a seamless client experience is paramount to keeping clients motivation up. This will keep them coming back to your gym and they will act as social proof, telling their friends and family about their positive experiences.

You need to give the best tools to work out so your gym becomes a second home to them. You have to make it as easy as possible for them, which will end up making it all easier for you too.

That means implementing great equipment inside the gym – but also great equipment outside the gym. That’s where software comes in.

Utilize up-to-date software tools like a QR code check-in. This means that gym-goers don’t need a card to check themselves in (which means no forgetting cards), making the experience simpler for both customers and staff.

This comes especially handy during these pandemic times, as you can allow the entrance only to the gym members who book their time slot online.

In this way you can always ensure you comply with the COVID-19 guidelines. This is just one great example of how you could improve your customer experience.

Set Up and Use a System of Credits

Another way is by implementing a system of credits to book classes. These credits can be bought on the app to have a clear system of payments, for both the client and for you.

The system of credits is compatible with an online schedule, which allows clients to book classes directly and have it marked on a calendar.

Small adjustments like this will make you stand out in your local market.

Creating an easy, enjoyable experience will drive customers to your gym or studio. Show them what unique features you can offer will encourage them to stick with you, rather than head for the other gym at the end of the street.

Implementing your customer experience vision in your business development plan is one of the most efficient ways to retain clients.

Create Customer Loyalty

Bringing in new customers is great – but studies have shown that retaining customers instead of acquiring new ones is actually 6 times cheaper.

That means that working on building customer loyalty and keeping the customers you already have is the most effective way to build a business.

This is because there is more probability that an existing customer will generate a sale and so they also have a better conversion rate.

Although that doesn’t mean giving up on attracting new customers altogether. It just means dedicating more of your resources to retaining the loyal gym-lovers that you already have.

 

Capture new leads in 2021
Jacob Lund || Shutterstock

To improve brand loyalty, you should also try to build a community within your gym and outside of it. This can be done by making sure that engagement doesn’t end when your client exits the building. Encourage your customers to talk and share things between them but also with you.

This can be done using software such as an online community feature, which helps build a stronger relationship with your clients, keeps them motivated and engaged with your club 24/7, and increases retention as a side-effect.

Ways to interact with customers include mass communication, targeted communication (e.g. only members interested in specific classes), or one-on-one messaging. This is all accessible via your web portal or mobile app, so you can engage with your clients anywhere.

We believe that you never leave a gym that is filled with people you care about.

Key Takeaways

So while gaining new clients might be at the top of your priority list this for the new year. Remember not to lose sight of what the whole picture.

Giving your current clients a winning service and building a real sense of community within your gym (and outside of it) are sure-fire ways to foster a business that will see exponential growth in 2021.

Making sure that the customer journey is seamless from the start will ensure that your customers stay with you much longer – so that money spent on a Facebook ad won’t be going to waste.

How do you restart the billing process?

We have all been waiting and hoping for such a long time and now the moment is finally here – gyms are reopening and we are up and running again! Of course you will have a lot to think about as you open your doors again but please don’t forget the importance of restarting your billing and invoicing!

Good preparation is half the battle

As mentioned above, it is essential to re-establish your invoicing process to prepare for accepting payments again. 

Within the Virtuagym portal, it is possible to set up offline and online payment methods such as credit card payments, direct debits, PayPal or even cash. The following payment providers are linked to these payment methods: Paypal, Paysafe, Mollie, SEPA and GoCardless.

How Virtuagym’s payment provider integrations can help you reopen

With integrations like our point of sale module, webshop, personalized credit system and online sign-up, receiving money from your members is easier than ever!

Are you curious about how you can restart the invoicing process? Then read on…

How do you set up invoicing?

Setting up invoicing in your Virtuagym portal is luckily not rocket science. But it is important to understand exactly how it works.

Firstly, carefully reconsider the payment methods you used before the COVID crisis.

After this, the setup can begin! Simply visit your online portal and select the system settings in the left sidebar. Then scroll down to the payment methods section. The location of your gym (Europe, North America or the Rest of the World) is displayed in the top right corner. Based on this location different methods and providers will become available. Then select the desired method(s) and provider(s). Please note – only one provider can be chosen per method, per club portal!

What are the benefits?

If you were using our invoicing feature before the COVID crisis, you will already be aware of its numerous advantages. But there’s no harm in emphasizing them again! Besides saving a lot of time, it also:

  • Creates a clear invoice overview
  • Simplifies the invoicing process
  • Supports the most popular payment methods
  • Guarantees security

How Virtuagym bills customers online

Many of our clients are already reaping the benefits of the automated invoicing feature. For example, Tom Fearson, founder of Be Fearsome, a London-based fitness company that offers fitness, lifestyle and adventure services to individuals, groups and businesses.

As Be Fearsome’s client list grew, Tom sought a service that could speed-up and facilitate his invoicing and go beyond just accepting card payments with a mobile card reader. That’s when he found GoCardless three years ago to expand into direct debit and credit card payments.

Since Be Fearsome could easily combine GoCardless with Virtuagym’s all-in-one package, he was able to start automating the entire invoicing process.

With all invoices, payments and tracking in one place, Be Fearsome and Tom now save time and money. This process used to take almost a full working day, but now it is done in a heartbeat. His invoicing is fully automated, which eliminates the need for Tom to keep track of payments and send regular reminders.

Get your gym ready for the reopening!

As COVID restrictions begin to lift and gyms start to open their doors again, having a clear reopening plan is of great importance! To avoid last minute stress, begin restarting your billing process now!

Questions or uncertainties? Please do not hesitate to contact us via the “contact us” button in your portal.

The Benefits of Automated Payments: Make Life Easier

Almost all entrepreneurs are familiar with this task: the utter ordeal that is invoice processing! And, as a gym or fitness club owner, you’d rather be busy with sports-related activities than spending hours processing invoices. Spending more time than necessary on admin causes stress and backlog, making the job even more time-consuming than it should be.

Especially now that gym owners are forced to work more efficiently due to the corona crisis, having a clear billing record and processing invoices securely is essential.

Thankfully, Virtuagym’s automated payment method is here to help! Read on to find out more.

What Does Automated Payment Mean?

Say goodbye to manual billing! Set up your billing flow just once, and Virtuagym takes care of the rest. Virtuagym’s invoice processing feature supports all major payment methods and integrates with the following payment providers in Europe: Paysafe, Mollie, and GoCardless.

In North America, it is possible to use Paysafe.

The only action required from your side is to set a collection date in your user portal, and Virtuagym’s software does direct debits from your members’ linked accounts.

Automating your gym’s payments allows you to focus on more important tasks – like keeping your customers happy. Virtuagym knows that gym owners prefer to spend their time guiding clients and bettering their business by working towards the bigger picture. So, why let tedious tasks take up most of your time? Sometimes, even introducing a new tool, such as automated gym payments, can be an uphill struggle.

This is why we’ve made setting up automated payments as easy as possible. As an entrepreneur, you want to save as much money and time as possible – especially during the corona crisis.

To start, you need to enable a payment provider. You can do this by going to your Virtuagym portal and selecting ‘System settings’ in the sidebar. Then click on ‘Payment methods’ and activate your chosen payment provider. You can choose between Paysafe, Mollie, and GoCardless.

After you have made your choice and set the automated payments option, a pop-up will appear on your screen. This pop-up allows you to choose whether you want to collect invoices daily, weekly, or monthly. As promised, setting it up is very easy – so after saving the frequency, setting up your automated payments is complete. Piece of cake, right?

The invoices are then collected around 2 am in your time zone and sent directly to your chosen payment provider. This process ensures that you no longer have to set personal invoice-related deadlines and you can focus your energy on other activities that need your attention.

Get Clear Insight Into Your Billing History

Having a clear overview of your organization’s billing history gives you peace of mind. With Virtuagym’s automated payment process, it is possible to view your entire invoice overview.

Simply visit your Virtuagym portal and open your ‘Financial’ page in the sidebar. Then select ‘Pending’ and ‘Direct debit’ – and voilà; you now have a complete overview of all the invoices that have been sent to your chosen payment provider.

The Benefits of Automated Payments for Fitness Centers

As mentioned previously, Virtuagym’s automated payments function has many benefits. Your business can save a tremendous amount of money because you have to invest fewer labor hours, and in short, this increases your business’s overall efficiency.

During these challenging times, it is crucial to make the best use of the time you have as a business owner and delegate the rest to software. Your competition is certainly doing so, so what’s stopping you?

Because the payment process is fully automated, it brings about many more positives such as:

  • Clear invoice overview
  • Automatic invoice archive
  • Secure invoicing
  • No more lost invoices
  • Fewer human errors
  • More freedom for staff

How Do Virtuagym Customers Use Automated Payments?

Many of Virtuagym’s customers have already chosen to make their lives a little easier by using automated billing. Below you can see an example of how easy the payment process is with Mollie, one of Europe’s most popular payment providers.

How Virtuagym's automated payments help you

One of our clients, LIJFSTIJL Coaches, is a company that serves as a knowledge network for fitness professionals. They are a household name in the Western European fitness market, with 125 franchisees and more than 25,000 members in Belgium and the Netherlands.

A few years ago, the company chose to use Virtuagym’s automated payment system. This shift meant that LIJFSTIJL Coaches and their staff now save a lot of time and money as all of their invoices, payments, and overviews exist in one place.

Before moving to automated payments, the company spent half a working day every month exporting and checking invoices. These days, they can carry out this task in just a few clicks! The entire process is automated from day one, making tracking payments and sending reminders a thing of the past! The user-friendly interface ensures that they have a clear overview of paid and outstanding invoices.

Thanks to automated payments, LIJFSTIJL Coaches save themselves a lot of time, so they can focus on improving their customer experience (which is more important than ever), boosting retention, and focusing on many more profitable projects.

Enjoy an Easier Way of Running a Gym

Are you getting behind the benefits of automating your fitness center’s invoicing and billing?

These days, more than ever, it is crucial to be efficient with your time – and Virtuagym is here to help!

Start automating your gym’s payments today and say goodbye to this time-consuming chore for good!

How Much Do Personal Trainers Make in the USA?

If you’re trying to decide what to charge as a personal trainer, or you’re just about to launch your career as a personal trainer and want to know what you’re getting yourself into, well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll look at the salaries personal trainers can earn in the USA, UK, and Spain. This should give you a solid idea of what you can expect money-wise in your career.

We’ll break it down by country, experience, and gender so that you know what to expect and can work towards.

So do the salaries vary greatly between the three countries? Well, yes and no.

Personal trainers working in the UK and the USA often earn similar salaries with only slight differences.

Personal Trainer Salary in the USA

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NDSM), the average personal trainer salary in the US is $40,000 (in 2020), which is slightly above the median salary in the US. But these numbers differ depending on who you ask. ZipRecruiter, for example, says the average is $49,000, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average for fitness trainers and instructors is $42,000.

The average personal trainer salary is also dependant on what type of personal trainer you are. NASM identifies the following three types of personal trainers and their average salaries.

  • Private PT – $78,000
  • Independent PT – $62,000
  • Gym Employed PT – $34,000

According to a survey of 1,021 personal trainers from August 6th to 13th, 2019, the average respondent said they work with 23 clients a week, and charge about $60 per session for individual or group training.

And, as is expected, 51% earn more than $50,000 a year, compared to 17% of those with fewer than five years of training clients. So, the more the experience, the higher the personal trainer salary.

Read more: How Personal Trainer Management Software Avoids Bankruptcy

Personal Trainer Salary & the US Gender Wage Gap

The median income for women is about 80% of that of men. This gender wage gap becomes wider when you factor in the United States’ racial economic disparity, in which Black and African-American women earn $0.62 for every dollar their white male counterparts do.

However, these figures are even more different for female personal trainer salaries in the US. Across most other fields, the median income for women is about 80% that of men – but in the fitness industry, our research on Payscale.com shows that female personal trainers earn $37,300 a year, just 70% as much as their male counterparts.

Many believe this is due to women beginning their personal training career later than men and having less experience and therefore, a lesser salary than male personal trainers.

Among trainers who earn more than $50,000 a year, 27% have an NSCA certification, compared to the 13% of those who make less. That number rises to 30% for those who earn more than $75,000.

If there’s one certification that’s globally recognized within the fitness industry, it’s the NSCA’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists license (CSCS). Since the CSCS requires a Bachelor’s degree, and just 56% pass the test on their first try, those who earn a CSCS tend to be the most serious about training and coaching.

With the right education and experience, highly successful personal trainers can make over $60,000 a year

Personal Trainers Salary in the UK

Personal Trainer with Client and Tablet - Virtuagym
Personal trainers in the London area earn more than PTs elsewhere in the country

 

According to Glassdoor, the average personal trainer salary in the UK is £30,387 a year (in 2020). This is for full-time personal trainers in the London area with experience and certification.

PayScale notes the national average salary for personal trainers in the UK to be £19,346 per year, but this is far from a conclusive figure. Several factors affect your income and could see you earn significantly more. Typical starting salaries for personal trainers who are employed by a gym are around £16,000.

With a year or more’s experience, though, they can usually expect to earn between £20,000 and £35,000. If you really put in the legwork, highly successful personal trainers can earn over £60,000 a year. High-end personal trainers can charge over £1,000 for six weeks’ worth of work with just one client!

However, in the UK salaries depend on the geographical location as well. One-to-one sessions in the wealthier parts of London can easily cost £80 to £100 an hour. In other parts of the UK, £25-£35 an hour is the norm, whereas in more affluent areas you can earn £30-45 an hour. Depending on the area, hours worked, and the standard of service, personal trainers based in affluent areas have the potential to earn between £40,000 and £60,000 a year.

So, aspiring personal trainers in the UK should consider where they want to start their careers as it highly affects their yearly income.

An increasing number of personal trainers are digitizing in order to meet higher demand and increase their salary. Discover how you can jump on the tech bandwagon for PTs by reading our blog on 6 Reasons Why Personal Trainers Are Going Digital.

How Much Can a Personal Trainer Earn in Spain?

A personal trainer working in Spain would earn around 3,417 EUR per month. As seen in the USA – and also the UK – personal trainer salaries may differ drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location.

Personal trainer salaries in Spain range between 1,606 EUR per month (minimum salary) to 5,057 EUR per month (maximum salary). There’s a noticeably huge gap between these two numbers.

There are many reasons for this, experience levels being the most crucial determining factor in a personal trainer’s salary.

Naturally, the more years of experience, the higher your wage – as it is in the UK and USA. A personal trainer with less than two years of experience makes approximately 1,848 EUR per month. However, someone with an experience level between two and five years is expected to earn 2,538 EUR per month – 37% more than someone with less than two year’s experience.

Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 2,848 EUR per month, 12% more than a person with two to five years of experience and so on.

Unfortunately, like the US, gender affects the personal trainer salary in Spain as well; male personal trainers in Spain earn 16% higher than their female counterparts.

Education level factor into personal trainer salaries in Spain. When the education is at the certificate or diploma level, the average salary of a personal trainer is 2,331 EUR per month. Someone with a Bachelor’s degree gets a salary of 3,418 EUR per month, 47% more than someone with a certificate or diploma.

Thus, as we’ve seen across the board, the higher the education, the more appealing the salary.

A More Profitable Future

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a personal trainer, now is always the best time to start. The future for PTs is looking bright, as younger generations are increasingly focused on health, wellbeing, and mobility in old age as a factor of happiness. Complete the coursework and pass the exam, and you’ll be ready to help clients lose weight, build muscle, get healthy, and achieve their fitness goals.

Choose where you want to build your personal training career wisely as different locations yield different results.

With more success comes more clients. Find out how you can indulge your clients in the attention they deserve and keep their focus strong in this blog titled 7 Ways Personal Trainers Can Increase Client Motivation.

To make life easier, many personal trainers choose to opt for client management software such as Virtuagym, which offers less administration, more sessions, better coaching and aids your personal training experience massively overall.

You can try it out with the free version of the coaching app – no strings attached!

If you’re ready to take the next step in your personal training career, get advice from those that have made it and read Sweat Equity’s story here.

To ensure you’re competing for the best personal trainer salary out there, consider investing in coaching software for personal trainers and start giving your business its best shot at success!

Discover our personal trainer software

Get Closer to Your Sales Goals in 3 Steps

A while ago we gave you tips to improve your marketing. The next step is sales: how do you turn interested leads into paying customers? 

Sales is more important than ever. It‘s estimated that about 8% of members canceled their subscriptions during the lockdown. And since the beginning of July, the check-ins are picking up, but there is still a struggle in getting people back to the physical locations. 

Outflow is not uncommon – more about retention in a later article – as long as it’s compensated by inflow. And that’s what was missing during the lockdown. Therefore, in the upcoming period, entrepreneurs must do everything in their power to not only reach the level before the crisis but also to achieve business growth.  

1. Well Begun Is Half Done

Good sales results start (boringly) with thorough financial planning. Without planning you have no insight into how your company is doing and what you need to do to grow your business. 

As a fitness entrepreneur, you have many fixed costs. On average, about 80% of all expenses go towards fixed costs such as employee expenses, rent and accommodation, licenses, and so on. Therefore, your planning starts with this basic data. This way you’ll at least know what income you need to bring in to keep your business running. 

You could leave it at that and set up sales targets based on this basic planning. But you don’t simply want to “exist”. You want to be profitable. In order to achieve growth, you have to deepen your planning. What is your desired revenue growth? What is your inflow versus outflow? What are my competitors doing and how can I distinguish myself from them? What services do I provide and how profitable are they? The more data you include in your planning, the more you are able to grow as efficiently as possible. 

In short: with solid financial planning, you know which buttons you can turn to achieve positive financial results

2. Make Your Margin a Mission

Your planning is done. Beautiful. What are we going to sell? Easy: memberships! But what is your margin on your memberships? And can you continue to grow when your income consists of 95% memberships?

If you sell 100 more memberships, your return will not automatically increase. Your fixed costs will also go up, so it may just be that you are less profitable with more members.

That’s why as an entrepreneur you must have a sharp eye on your margins. Your biggest margins are usually not in memberships but are more in additional activities such as PT sessions, weight loss programs, or whatever else your club offers. Whether it’s a coffee subscription or a digital coaching solution, you have to think about where your strengths lie and how you can convert them into revenue as effectively as possible.

Just look at other business examples. The butcher asks if it can be an extra ounce. You quickly buy a snack or a drink at the gas station. And how many people can walk out of an IKEA without eating their meatballs? Upselling and cross-selling are your best friends in the fitness industry too. By selling related or more expensive products and services, you are better able to make your square meters profitable. 

3. Discover Your Sales Go-Getters

Not everyone is good at commerce. Not everyone likes it. After all, sales also mean dealing with rejection. Accept that. Not everyone has to be good at it. But it’s nice if you at least have a few sales tigers in your team. 

So, identify the people who enjoy commerce and make them responsible for sales. They need guidelines: 

  • Share your passion. Your service is good, sexy, valuable. If you can’t convey that passion to your staff, they won’t be able to sell with conviction. The bigger your company, the more difficult this will be. As a smaller entrepreneur, you are closer to your services and your team! 
  • Ensure they are focused. Whatever channel you use to sell, online or in-gym, your sales team must be consistent. Follow up on contact requests at lightning speed, keep the frequency of your communication high, and make sure your team doesn’t get lost in the issues of the day. Your sales targets, that dot on the horizon, are leading at all times.

One more thing about bonuses: be careful with them. Don’t set up a standard bonus structure for all sales, but give a bonus on less well-sold services, for example. That’s what sellers should focus on. And always maintain the balance between executors and salespeople, so that you don’t get grumbling on the work floor because your salespeople sell golden promises that your other employees can’t keep. 

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How to successfully start your first yoga retreat center

Yoga is soaring with popularity right now – which means it’s a great time to invest in developing the yoga retreat center you’ve always dreamt of opening. That’s not to say it will be as easy as a post-Vinyasa child’s pose. There are a lot of retreat organisers and specialist travel companies competing to attract your target clientele.

This means if you want to build a yoga retreat that is successful and results in a return of interest that is high enough to make all of your hard work worth it, there are a few things you should be sure to consider:

  • Develop a business mindset
  • Offer value and more than what clients expect
  • Use social media to your advantage
  • Prepare to work hard
  • Maintain excellent communication skills
  • Estimate funds
  • Invest in the ambience and decor of the center

Develop a business mindset

Even though this seems like an obvious concern for anybody wishing to start a business, it’s important to consider the business side of your yoga retreat endeavour. Any Yoga instructor planning to open their yoga retreat center must have business and accounting skills or even just know the basic rules. Do some research or bring on board partners that have a sound business mind. Hiring people with the same values and dedication as you is also necessary if you want to successfully start your own yoga retreat center.

Do your homework and research while building a business-minded team

Many well-seasoned Yogis advise aspiring yoga instructors to take their time in choosing the right support team. Many people don’t get what they expect and this could lead you to lose out in the long-run. It’s important to do your homework and research while building a business-minded team and make decisions over time – much like a yin yoga class, it’s best when taken slowly.

Offer value, dedication and more than what clients expect

When you open a yoga retreat center, it is useful to know the language of the people you need to interact with, and this will help with more fluent instruction delivery. Especially in the Yoga industry, students often have a deeper connection with their instructors. That means that value and dedication are required from the Yoga instructor. Your future retreat center should have a friendly, warm and welcoming vibe to it – and this begins with the staff.

Fostering a positive atmosphere will help the Yogis or yoga students to feel at home and well-cared for. Yoga instructors should make sure they have everything on the menu that their clients enjoy eating. Encouraging Yogis to eat healthier and organic foods should also be done, but they shouldn’t feel like they’re being pushed into it. Overall, a very relaxed, calm, and soothing vibe should be sought after. Staff and organisers should embrace this to make sure the student’s experiences are memorable.

yoga eagle pose woman forest retreat center

Use social media to your advantage

A yoga retreat center has the potential to be economically rewarding if you use certain tactics to gain maximum business benefits. Social media plays a huge part in any successful yoga retreat. It all comes down to this question: why do people go on yoga retreats?

Some reasons may include:

  • For a change of scenery
  • To embrace a healthy lifestyle
  • To be surrounded by nature
  • To escape their busy lives
  • Simply because they LOVE yoga

So how does social media come into this? First, make sure you don’t miss out on any of the best practices to build a website. Since our world is dominated by the internet, Yoga instructors should take advantage of conducting free marketing on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Facebook also allows people to review and rate their experience which builds a good reputation for any business, so make sure your yoga retreat center has a Facebook and Instagram link as well. It’s also a great way to connect with potential Yoga students and inspire them to begin practising Yoga. Having maximum social media coverage will definitely provide a successful kick-start to your yoga retreat center.

Although breaks, weekends and holidays exist, you must be prepared to accept the fact that most of the “off days” will be spent preparing, bettering and improving your Yoga retreat center

Prepare to work hard

Owning and starting your own Yoga Retreat Center is certainly different than just working for one. When working for an organization, Yoga instructors have the luxury of taking a few days off and some time to themselves. However, you may not have this luxury when it comes to running your own retreat business. You could be on your feet for more than 18 hours a day, and dealing with people with varied mindsets. Although breaks, weekends and holidays exist, you must be prepared to accept the fact that most of the “off days” will be spent preparing, bettering and improving your Yoga retreat center.

As a Yoga instructor aspiring to open a yoga retreat center, you should expect busy schedules, long-drawn out and hectic days and long periods where you’ve felt like you haven’t taken a break in forever.

Three women doing yoga gymnastics

Maintain excellent communication skills

If you’re planning to open your very own retreat center, you must know already that your communication skills should be at their best. Be prepared to construct brochures, cold-call emails, ads, and even personal meetings with interested clients. It’s also important maintain a positive attitude, no matter the personality of your client – so where possible, always remain calm, pleasant and upbeat.

Emotional bonding with clients will make them come for more, attend retreats and look up to you as a teacher and a guide.

While the retreat is taking place, people may face difficulties in their personal lives. As yoga acts as a release for many suffering with mental health problems, you should ensure that you are sensitive to these issues. Try to take an empathetic approach to relate to their issues. Emotional bonding with clients will make them come for more, attend retreats and look up to you as a teacher and a guide. But always refer clients to a professional if you think the need arises.

Women yoga classes meditate

Estimate funds and your budget for the center

While it may seem like an obvious piece of advice, any Yoga instructor wanting to begin their own retreat center must consider the monetary aspects of the trip. Laying the foundation of your dream venture costs you money and not having adequate financial flow is a major reason for small businesses failing at a premature stage. Some things to analyse are permits, rent or hire costs for the location, general facilities like electricity and water, insurance, legal support, financial/human resources, permits and security.

Once the adequate investment is done, all Yoga instructors can do is wait for their sales to boost up and reward them.

Invest in the ambiance and decor of your center

Any yoga instructor knows this is very important and essential to a successful yoga studio or a retreat center. Although it is natural to be excited for the very first Yoga retreat venture of your life, you should remember not to get carried away with the decor. That covers things like the the wall paintings, the decorations and the furniture. That’s not to say you shouldn’t put a little effort in. These elements all lay the foundation for the ambiance which should be subtle but comforting. Your attendees are searching for a sense of tranquillity and time-out from their regular lives. This means you should try to make sure that every part of the retreat center hints at calm and serenity. Aromas can be useful in achieving this.

Another way to achieve the perfect ambience could be to host classes outside in nature. You could run a class in a field, forest or even on a beach.

Beach yoga woman sunset

Last, but not least, is investing time to work on yourself. After all, you will have a determining influence on the ambience of your retreat. Adopt a ‘you-centred’ approach and do not behave in a way that people would expect you to or superficially. Try to be open and don’t try to put on too much of a show for your audience. Authenticity is always best, so be true to your style of teaching and provide honesty and clear communication and no doubt you’ll have a waiting list of attendees.

How to deal with the January madness in your fitness studio in 2020

New Year celebrations have come to an end and like clockwork, the January fitness rush begins. Luckily for you and your studio, that means more leads, revenue, and potential for growth. It also means a busier studio and a need to level up your organizational skills. After all, you don’t want to give the wrong first impression to your new members.

While the January spike in gym or fitness studio attendance is very much real, it doesn’t take long before the New Year’s resolutioners give up on their plans to get in shape. If you’re like most fitness studios getting ready for the influx of studio attendees, this means you probably need help with:

  • 1. Generating leads
  • 2. Keeping new members motivated and engaged
  • 3. Retaining current members

When the dust of optimism has settled, it’s important to ensure that your fitness studio has effectively held the interest of new prospective studio members AND not scared off or neglected your current loyal customers.

This article will address these main points so that you and your studio see exponential growth in 2020.

Generate more leads

There are plenty of New Year’s fitness newbies out there in your local area. But how do you convince them to come to your studio, rather than the one five minutes down the road?

#1 Set up a referral program

This is a great way to generate new leads for your fitness studio as it will see your current members doing most of the work for you. According to statistics, word of mouth is the main driving force between 20 – 50% of purchasing decisions.

men in gym working out together weight lifting blue shirts

Set up incentives for current members and for newbies – especially when they join in January.

Setting up a referral program is your cheapest marketing channel so be sure to utilize it.

#2 Upgrade your social media strategy using video

Ensuring that you have a strong and active social media presence over the winter period is a great way to attract new members that may have started researching potential studios online.

Good social media practice that you should already be following include:

  • Posting frequently
  • Engaging with others in your local area and your fitness niche
  • Creating minimum-effort, high-impact copy – this should be either funny, informational or emotive

If you have no time to produce your own content (it is January after all), simply resharing content posted by others is sufficient.

Fitness community for Facebook - Virtuagym

But you should remember when it comes to content, video is 50 times more likely to drive organic search results than plain text.

That means that using video to generate more leads will double your digital efforts.

This can be tricky to get right. To see a brand that is effectively doing this, check out gym chain Jetts. They upload videos taken within their fitness studio to Instagram, demonstrating exactly how to do an exercise and detailing the move in the caption too. This encourages followers to comment and ask questions. They position themselves as an authority in their niche and provide additional value to their members and prospective members.

#3 Make sure your website and app are running smoothly

To make sure that your studio stands out, you should have a visible, easy-to-find branded website.

Your website should have:

  • Strong visuals of (or relating to) your studio
  • A branded domain
  • Great SEO making it easy for members to find

Ring hands typing laptop woman website phone marble case pencils

In addition to a website, you should also have a branded app to ensure that the onboarding process is as easy as possible.

An app like Virtuagym can be used to manage, coach and track your member’s activities.

Keep your new members engaged

So you’ve bagged yourself a whole host of new members, now you just have to make sure they don’t give up too easily.

By creating a positive environment in your studio and fostering a sense of community amongst your members you can make sure that new members stick around.

#1 Develop a community spirit

There are a number of ways that you can develop the community of your fitness studio and ensure that it encourages members to stick around. But the most important is creating strong relationships between members and staff as well as amongst members.

Train staff to be inclusive and look out for newbies. Make sure that they feel encouraged and are not left behind.

Utilize activities such as a competition or training program that will bring members together and form friendships. Studio members that make friends with fellow members are much more likely to keep coming back – and in turn, keep buying into you and your business.

women laughing in a gym

You should also make sure that your members remain engaged when they leave the studio. An ideal way to do this is to develop an online community via social media or on an app. Doing this will encourage members to post fitness updates and developments and create a buzz and conversation around your studio.

Tip: City Fitness uses the Virtuagym Touch in their facilities to inspire, coach and engage their members. The Virtuagym Touch is a new software solution that allows operators to turn any screen into an in-gym service kiosk or digital training station.

#2 Host an event in your fitness studio

Hold an event, encouraging all new members to come along – and old ones too. This will create a more sociable atmosphere in your club and lead to more loyalty amongst members. You could host a day of free classes, drinks or invite guest speakers.

Think outside the box when it comes to creating an event that is unique to you and your studio.

One great example is the immersive events ran by the Ministry of Fitness. They pair up with coaches that are popular with the Instagram crowds and put on events alongside brand partners in the health and wellness industry. The events offer so much more than a simple workout. Participants can get hair braiding, goody bags and enjoy influencer talks and interactions.

ministry of fitness screenshot website

#3 Don’t ghost your members

Nobody likes being ghosted. Communicating with members isn’t only crucial while you are inside the studio itself, but also after members go home.

Communicating with them via an online app will make sure that they stay in touch with the studio and remain committed to their workout goals.

You can answer any of their questions and they can share progress and discover more about the community at your studio.

Use emails, phone calls as well as push notifications to contact your members. All of this can be done using a software management system. Set up email flows that get in touch with your members after a certain amount of missed sessions.

Retain your current gym members

Finally, you should ensure current members feel appreciated, despite the January influx. If you focus all your efforts on new members, your most loyal and high-value customers may end up feeling left behind.

Personal trainer coach client in the gym with Virtuagym

#1 Provide additional resources off-site

January is a busy time for any fitness studio. This can be annoying for long-term fitness lovers that feel they are left competing for space in classes or a busy studio. To make sure that these members can still gain value from their membership with you, make sure that they have resources available to them when they are working out off-site too.

Develop home-workout plans, nutrition plans or use an app like Virtuagym to do it for you.

The more advantages your studio provides them with outside of their designated studio-time, the more likely they are to stay with you for the long-run.

#2 Consider adding new classes

New studio classes in the first month of the year are another effective way of keeping older members happy.

Talk to your members and find out exactly what they think would benefit them. Question them on their needs in your digital community space or approach members in the studio and find out first-hand.

yoga class woman working out fitness exercise

If you deliver the classes your members have been hoping for, this makes them feel heard and valued. Ultimately, this will result in them feeling part of the studio community and reluctant to move elsewhere for their fitness needs.

#3 Hold a fitness challenge

Every fitness fan loves a fitness-themed challenge. Make the most out of this and implement a winter training challenge in your studio.

Choose a time frame, such as ten to twelve weeks. Create a specific goal and develop a training and/or nutrition plan to set out for your members.

The challenge could be anything from learning to do the splits or losing weight, to gaining a set amount of muscle.

Three women doing yoga gymnastics

Track the results of this and encourage participants to share their progress in your digital community. You could also offer a prize incentive for the winner of the challenge – or gifts (such as a protein shaker or tote bag) for all of those that stayed on track throughout the full course of the challenge.

Follow the steps above and we are confident that you will generate new leads, engage members AND keep all of your current members happy. With these tips, 2020 could be a year of huge growth for your fitness studio.

 

5 ways to target new fitness studio members outside of your local area

Here in the Virtuagym sales team, we speak to hundreds of studio owners every day. Whether they are existing customers or prospective customers, we do our best to not only understand the biggest challenges in the industry but also try to help them overcome these challenges.

Interestingly, 60% of all studio owners cite marketing as their biggest challenge. And when it’s not topping the list of setbacks, it’s still coming in close behind as the other 40% cite marketing as their second or third biggest challenge. Basically, everyone is encountering challenges when attempting to market to prospective members.

Marketing is a tricky business and is essential in order to bring in more members, retain those you already have – and ultimately grow your business.

If you are an established business, you’ve been around for a few years and have invested a few thousand dollars in marketing then the second of the above is probably your bigger issue. The chances are you’re either losing these prospective customers because:

  • You’re too expensive and they can’t justify the price point
  • Your fitness studio sits outside of 4-mile radius and other competitors are more appealing
  • You’re losing to competition

Pins on a map aerial view 4 mile radius

So how can you be more appealing to these customers?

Expand your product offerings

If your facility is offering small group training, PT, classes and/or open training days, congratulations you’re offering the same services as your competition.

One trend we’ve helped our customers capitalize on and get ahead of the competition on is to implement online or hybrid training. This allows you to counter two of the setbacks detailed above and helps our customers to break the 4-mile radius and offer a more flexible service, at a lower price point.

Here is how some of our customers have done it:

features virtuagym

With the help of some of our most successful studios, we created an overview of some in-depth and proven online business models that have allowed studios to break through the 4-mile radius and also appeal to customers who are more price-sensitive while increasing their profitability.

Build your brand

Building up a distinctive brand image and voice is essential in marketing yourself in a way that encourages clients to travel the distance to your fitness studio.

Users typically travel around 5 and a half miles for high-end fitness centers such as Equinox and Soul Cycle. Marketing your club in a way that makes it unique, memorable and stands out from the other studios out there is an effective way to encourage members to travel.

When growing brand awareness you should consider exactly who your audience is and the best ways to target them

Some important things to think about are:

  • Developing a branded tone of voice
  • Creating a website and strong social media presence
  • Supporting this with additional technology such as an app
  • Consider content marketing

Create a community

People travel past the four-mile radius to visit friends, go to work or clubs that they care about. If you effectively create and engage a community of people that care about one another, you’ll have far more success in encouraging them to sign up for your studio.

resistance bands woman gym class working out

The best ways to develop a sense of community are to:

  • Put on events such as competitions and encourage participation
  • Post about members and their achievements on your website and social media
  • Use a community-based software system such as Virtuagym
  • Put on interactive classes and actively engage with all members – encourage them to partner up
  • Feature a studio member every month/week – create a member-of-the-month and make your clients feel special, highlight their achievements and goal realization

Check out the competition

If you’re losing customers both current and prospective to the competition in your local area or even just outside of it, it’s time to figure out why.

Conduct your own market research and approach the studio as though you were planning on joining. Get to know their onboarding process, equipment, style and class schedules. Figure out what it is about their company that draws in new clients.

Try and think from the perspective of clients and prospective clients.

You should also assess their shortcomings. What do you want from a studio that the competitors cannot offer?

Perhaps the heavy machinery and dark furnishings are intimidating to newcomers and older people that may prefer resistance training. Or perhaps the class schedule doesn’t cater to a particular group. Figure out what your competitors are missing and you will be able to develop a unique position for your fitness studio in the local market.

man on rowing machine gym

Reevaluate your price point

After conducting your market research you will have a good idea of what other studios in your area are charging for membership. If you feel that your prices are scaring people away, then it may be time to reconsider.

On the other hand, a higher price point paired with great facilities could position you as an elite training space and pull in more revenue in the long run. Take some time to research the best approach for you and your brand. Remember that a business is always evolving.

payment system someone buying with card debit

Conclusion

Ultimately, your brand is more than capable of breaking through the 4-mile radius and appealing to customers who are more price-sensitive while increasing their profitability.

Don’t just compete in your 4-mile radius, go out and break through it! For an example of a studio that has smashed their business growth, check out The Motion Room’s story.

Checklist to Get your Gym Ready for the New Year

The end of the year is drawing to a close and it’s time to prepare for the busiest season of the gym calendar. There are a bunch of theories on the best ways to prep your gym for the new year, with the biggest cliche being that gaining and attracting new clients is the most important thing you can do this season.

Yes, getting more people through the door will lead to more sales. But don’t overlook the importance of engaging with your current customers and making sure they stay with you even as the new-year-new-me January crew pour in. And of course, you also want to make sure that your brand new customers like your gym enough to stick around. 

Things to consider this year are:

  • Attracting new customers
  • Engaging with them AND customers you already have
  • Creating a smooth client experience
  • Building customer loyalty

This checklist will help you find new ways to engage with your customers and give them an experience that will make them glow as though they’ve just exited a 7 am spin class. For more tools to ready yourself for the new year, you can also check out our latest gym software.

Attracting new customers

Okay, so let’s deal with this biggie first. Attracting new customers is the best way to scale up your business. Luckily for you (and thanks to new year’s resolutions), every Instagram influencer and his uncle will be hitting the gym extra hard this January. This is the perfect opportunity to bring in new leads and score yourself some year-long memberships. Now is your prime time to get those customers in!

When advertising online, remember that a call-to-action is key

Step one in attracting new clients is to implement an effective social media strategy. This could be as simple as regular posting in the lead up to the new year and could be as advanced as paid advertisements. Around 45% of the world’s population uses social media, with an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes spent per day on networking platforms. If you use Facebook and Instagram ads, you can target the people that have started planning their New Year’s get-fit regime. Use incentives such as discounts, giveaways or a referral system to make your advertisements stand out. For more information on how to improve your social media marketing strategy, click here

An example of a business that is getting it right: 

Ashley Galvin has built her brand as a yoga instructor that runs online fitness classes. She perfectly exemplifies how social media can be used to target an audience and drive them to subscribe to classes. 

Ashley yoga advertisements on Instagram collageThese images feature a video advertisement created by Ashley and shared on Instagram. The short video shows a combination of yoga poses and then cuts to bold white lettering that tells viewers they can achieve goals such as to ‘tone and define’ their whole body. It also invites the viewer to watch a longer video to get more information. 

This ad is shown to a target audience as they scroll down their Instagram newsfeed. While a video may require more budget to produce, this method can also be used by creating attractive graphics for your target customer profiles to view instead. 

With social media advertising be sure to remember:

  • Creating a call-to-action is key
  • Make it easy to sign up for classes/membership after seeing the ad
  • Keep the text short and sweet – it should pull your prospective clients in
  • Make it visual! Social media is all about entertaining

When viewers click on Ashley’s page, they see that her bio also includes a call-to-action. She provides a link to her website, details her latest class launch and the paid ad also means that a link to watch more on the website is also provided at the bottom of the page. 

Understanding leads and effectively managing them is the best way to increase profits and drive more sales

It’s easy to focus on lead generation. But remember that the flow of potential customers quickly increases management and conversion costs. This is where Lead Management comes in. 

This will help you figure out how to communicate and who to communicate with. It will determine your messages and when you send them. Understanding leads and effectively managing them is the best way to increase profits and drive more sales. 

weight lifting man in a gym
weight lifting man in a gym

The moment a person subscribes to a membership they should receive an email of confirmation with information on your gym and how it works there. Leave a week before sending a secondary email so that you don’t inundate them with marketing. 

In this second email, you should redirect them to another point of sale. You could:

  • Invite them for a premium membership
  • Encourage them to sign-up for extra classes
  • Direct them to a point of sale online such as a webshop

Remember to include a call-to-action button and links within your email so that everything is as easy as possible.

Use a lead management tool to keep track of your actual and future members so you can focus on marketing and sales. You’ll have the data of all of your leads in one place. You can also easily interact with them via automated emails and messages – saving you a ton of time in the process. And we know your time is worth GOLD in January.

Engage with your customers

Once your new customers have arrived, you have to offer the best service possible so they stay in your gym and don’t go running off to your competitors.

You can have the best marketing strategy possible but if the service you offer doesn’t live up to the hype, you’re going to lose your clients faster than you can say ‘power snatch’. For starters, having the right and most qualified teachers for the job is essential. You could also try offering advanced personal training. If you pair this with tracking to encourage motivation, it could place your gym above the rest. 

Engaging customers is all about motivating them to keep going to the gym and the best way to do this is to allow them to keep track of their evolution and see the results for themselves. For this, you need a complete app that can offer full tracking of what you are doing at the gym but also exercise plans that you can customize. This means your teachers can focus on motivating clients, while they are equipped with the best tools to drive results (and keep people coming back for more). 

Create a smooth client experience

Creating a seamless client experience is paramount to keeping clients motivation up. This will keep them coming back to your gym and they will act as social proof, telling their friends and family about their positive experiences. 

Implement great equipment inside AND outside your gym (that means having great software too)

You need to give the best tools to work out so your gym becomes a second home to them. You have to make it as easy as possible for them, which will end up making it all easier for you too. That means implementing great equipment inside the gym – but also great equipment outside the gym. That’s where software comes in. 

Utilize up-to-date software tools like a QR code check-in. This means that gym-goers don’t need a card to check themselves in (which means no forgetting cards), making the experience simpler for both customers and staff. 

Small software adjustments will make you stand out in your local market

CrossFit management

This is just one great example of how you could improve your customer experience. Another way is by implementing a system of credits to book classes. These credits can be bought on the app to have a clear system of payments, for both the client and for you. The system of credits is compatible with an online schedule, which allows clients to book classes directly and have it marked on a calendar. 

Small adjustments like this will make you stand out in your local market. Creating an easy, enjoyable experience will drive customers to your gym or studio. Show them what unique features you can offer will encourage them to stick with you, rather than head for the other gym at the end of the street. Implementing your customer experience vision in your business development plans is one of the most efficient ways to retain clients. 

Create customer loyalty

Bringing in new customers is great – but studies have shown that retaining customers instead of acquiring new ones is actually 6 times cheaper. That means that working on building customer loyalty and keeping the customers you already have is the most effective way to build a business. 

Make sure that engagement doesn’t end when your client leaves the building

This is because there is more probability that an existing customer will generate a sale and so they also have a better conversion rate. Although that doesn’t mean giving up on attracting new customers altogether. It just means dedicating more of your resources to retaining the loyal gym-lovers that you already have. 

To improve brand loyalty, you should also try to build a community within your gym and outside of it. This can be done by making sure that engagement doesn’t end when your client exits the building. Encourage your customers to talk and share things between them but also with you. 

This can be done using software such as an online community feature, which helps build a stronger relationship with your clients, keeps them motivated and engaged with your club 24/7, and increases retention as a side-effect. 

Ways to interact with customers include mass communication, targeted communication (e.g. only members interested in specific classes), or one-on-one messaging. This is all accessible via your web portal or mobile app, so you can engage with your clients anywhere. We believe that you never leave a gym that is filled with people you care about. 

Conclusion

So while gaining new clients might be at the top of your Christmas list this year. Remember not to lose sight of what the whole picture. 

Giving your current clients a winning service and building a real sense of community within your gym (and outside of it) are sure-fire ways to foster a business that will see exponential growth in 2020. Making sure that the customer journey is seamless from the start will ensure that your customers stay with you much longer – so that money spent on a Facebook ad won’t be going to waste. Check our all-in-one software that could help you to tick all the boxes.