By Dan Kleckner, Special AFS Contributor

A couple of months ago, I shared an overview of my five steps to creating a financially successful gym. Today, I want to go more in-depth into the first of those five steps, marketing and acquiring leads.

Marking and acquiring leads are vital to building a successful gym or studio since that’s how you grow your client base. We’ve found that in order to get people to try you out, you need to make them an offer – entice them to come check out your facility. The best way to do that is to offer them a 15-day or 30-day trial membership. Most training gyms should have the goal to generate 30-40 leads a month and convert 20 of those leads into paid trials.  At my gym, we generate all our leads through client referrals and social media marketing.

Social media marketing is very popular these days. You probably have multiple ads showing up in your social media feeds daily.  The key to making sure your social media marketing is successful and generating the leads you need is to make sure the posts are not all about you and your workouts. The reality is PEOPLE DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR WORKOUTS. You need to showcase your clients in your social media posts. People want to see others they can relate to when looking to join a gym.

Here is a list of the 7 types of social media posts and ads that have worked best for us:

  • Video Testimonials – A video of a current client sharing their fitness story – where they were when they joined our gym and where they are now.
  • Recipe or Nutrition Blog – A recipe or nutrition post that’s relevant, like a recipe for pumpkin protein bars in the fall or an article on how to cut calories while on vacation during spring break.
  • People of KE (still testimonial) – A picture of a current client sharing their fitness story – where they were when they joined our gym and where they are now.
  • Fit Tip – A quick tip on how to stay healthy and fit. If possible, we try to make these relevant like here’s a quick workout you can do in your home if there’s been a snow storm.
  • Evergreen Ad – An ad that can run at any time promoting our trial offer.
  • Exercise Content Blog – A short blog post detailing an exercise including form, reps and equipment.
  • Frequent Sweaters List or KE on the Map Post – Frequent Sweaters is what we call our members who come to the gym the most, so we list our top attendees each month. KE on the Map is when clients take pictures of themselves traveling the world while wearing our KE gear.
 

Here is an example of our weekly posting schedule:

Monday: Video testimonial
Tuesday: First Tuesday of the month = Frequent Sweater list from the previous month. Every other Tuesday = People of KE (still testimonial).
Wednesday: 60-second Fit Tip video from one of our coaches
Thursday: Alternate between a recipe blog post and nutrition blog post
Friday: Exercise content blog
Saturday: We do Bootcamp for a Cause on Saturdays, so if one of the charities comes in and does the workout, we post a video of it.
Monthly: We run a monthly evergreen ad for our 15, 21 or 30-day trial.

Of note, all our posts are linked to some type of call to action which can include sending people to a Wufoo contact form or lead page (where people share their names and contact information) or sending them directly to our website.

When it comes to marketing or “boosting” your social media posts, you have several decisions to make including, budget, demographics and length of the boost.  We typically boost posts to specific genders and to people located within a 10-mile radius of the gym. For budget, we’ve found that we must spend about $3,000 a month on Facebook to generate our goal of 30-40 leads each month. This may seem like a lot, but the return on investment has been well worth it.

While we’ve experienced a lot of success with social media marketing, we also use Constant Contact and Skipio for email and text marketing. Email marketing can be a great way to deliver content and stay top of mind with your customers and current clients. For content, we basically recycle our social media posts that we posted the month before. This allows the posts to live longer and reach more people.

Here is a snapshot of our email campaigns:

  • Content emails: These are sent out every Monday through lists we created in Constant Contact. These content emails can include an exercise blog, nutrition or recipe blog or a still testimonial. Below you can find examples of the templates we use. We schedule these emails for the entire upcoming quarter to minimize the work (i.e.- in December we write and schedule all the emails for January, February and March).
  • Monthly newsletter: Sent on the first day of each month.
  • Events + Offers: Sent ahead of any event or if we’re running any special offers.

Templates for content articles:

Week 1 – Exercise content blog:

Week 2 – Recipe blog:

Week 3 – Testimonial (with link to video on your website):

Week 4 – Special Offer (this only goes out to unconverted leads, former trial members that did not sign up, and former clients):

In Summary

These are just the basics when it comes to lead acquisition and marketing, but this is a great place to start. If you have any questions about setting up your social media marketing campaigns or want to know more about how we boost our posts, let me know. I’m always happy to help!

 


Dan is the owner of Kutting Edge Fitness in Kirkland, Washington and Kinetic Fitness in Butte, Montana – two start-up training gyms. He has worked in the health and fitness field for 15 years and holds a B.S. in Applied Health Science from Montana Tech University, where he was also a collegiate athlete.

Dan is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine and a level 2 Titleist Performance Institute Golf Fitness Professional. He has been mentored by some of the top golf fitness and fitness business professionals in the country including Thomas Plummer, Rick Mayo, Frank Nash and Jason Glass. He now mentors several start-up gym owners himself.  Dan is a well-respected speaker in the greater Northwest and is considered an expert on the business of start-up gyms, improving strength/power for golf and other rotational sports, and small group training.

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