Fitness Club Marketing Secrets
March 9, 2010
Fitness Club Marketing Secrets
Here’s a scenario for you. First, imagine a box. A big box. Now fill it up. Fill it up with sweaty people trying to shed a few extra pounds, dumbbells heavy enough to crush a man’s ego, an arsenal of weight machines, two rows of treadmills, and the dreaded Bruno, the guy in spandex who likes to stand in front of a mirror and ogle himself flexing his muscles.
But here’s where our pretend fantasy gets interesting. Your mission, should you choose to accept it (having second thoughts now?), is to sell this box to the people in your area. Why, you could do what any sensible business does and plaster ads over every minute of TV airtime you can get your hands on, right? You could do that, sure…just like all the other boxes out there, boxes that might be bigger than yours, or cheaper, or come with less Bruno in the package.
Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?
Promoting your fitness center can be challenging. It’s not just a service you’re selling – the scope of what you offer goes way beyond that. You’re trying to sell the tools, the support and the environment needed to make a positive lifestyle change – the same thing every other health club out there is trying to do.
This is not going to be an easy job.
There’s no need to worry, though. The magic ingredient that separates the wheat from the chaff is marketing – it’s not how much you sell you club, it’s how you sell it, and if you can master the art of marketing your club, the competition won’t stand a chance. Now, pay attention:
Take the terror out of the equation.
The definition of “gym” for many people is “a hell I thought I escaped back when I graduated from high school”. The jocks, the drill sergeants masquerading as teachers, dodgeball…all these things come rushing back when you broach the subject to them. Your gym is no exception to these preconceptions: in their minds, “gym” is another word for “personal hell”, and they’ll go out of their way to avoid you.
The solution? Show them how much you care.
“Friendly atmosphere” – that’s a feature your fitness club needs to offer, and you should make sure your advertising lets everybody know about it. Use words like “welcoming”, “accepting” and “no pressure” to describe your services. Prevent bullying with a strict code of conduct – you may be reluctant to cancel anyone’s membership, but remember that bullies will cost you many times more business than they bring. Emphasize that your gym welcomes customers of all fitness levels – whether they have six-pack abs or a keg.
The more your prospects feel at ease, the more likely they are to join your fitness club. A welcoming atmosphere can be just the thing to turn trepidation into motivation.
Stay competitive with quality, not just cost.
Fact of life #1: you’ll always have to deal with a rival club in town trying to reel in members with rock-bottom prices.
Fact of life #2: it’s impossible to maintain those rock-bottom prices without eventually sacrificing service and quality.
Fact of life #3: having the cheapest gym in town isn’t a selling point if it happens to look like it was hit by a terrorist attack, then thrown up on by Godzilla.
The thing that your rival clubs are missing in their endless price wars is the simple fact that customers are concerned less about price and more about value – not just what they spend, but what they get for their money. You shouldn’t feel like you have to reduce your rates in order to “stay competitive” – if you provide high-quality services, satisfy your customers’ needs and keep your equipment in shape, then you’re already ahead of the game. A premium product should command a premium price.
Offering the lowest fees might get clients in the door, but it won’t keep them there. What you need to offer isn’t inexpensive services, but great services for the cost. Your customers need to know not just how much of their money you want, but how much they’re getting in return.
Offer your customers the best, and they’ll come rushing to your door.
Your clients are the best marketing team you could ask for.
The next step is obvious: get the word out. But before you start funneling cash into commercials and flyers and newspaper ads, take a look at the marketing task force you already have in your possession: your clients.
It couldn’t be simpler. Your members tell their friends, their family, their coworkers, everyone in their social circle about your fitness club. All you have to do is sit back and marvel at the power of the personal testimonial.
Rather than pumping your cash into advertising campaigns that may prove fruitless, pump cash into making your client base into your own personal marketing flotilla. Hand out free passes that they can give to friends and family members. Providing incentives for referrals can turn your customer base into a recruiting squad.
If your members are impressed with the quality of your club, they’ll eagerly mention you to anyone who’ll listen – especially when there’s something in it for them as well.
Casey Kaldal is a leading expert in helping Personal Trainers build their business, attract more customers, and earn more money in less time.
He has one of the leading fitness marketing blogs dedicated to the success of Personal Trainers looking to improve their skills and knowledge.
He strongly believes that Fitness Boot Camps are one of the best ways to leverage your time and increase your profits.