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During the past 30 years Guerrilla Marketing has bred an arsenal of associated marketing trends that now include Internet and viral tactics, among others.
The key message about Guerrilla Marketing is that it levels the playing field between big business and the local entrepreneur because it is generally a lower-cost alternative to traditional marketing.
The Essence of Marketing, when dissected to its most basic element, is nothing more than storytelling.
When telling a story you are sharing information that you believe will be entertaining, important, interesting or relevant to those for whom the story is targeted.
One of the main reasons many studio operators don’t invest (much) in marketing is because they believe it’s a waste of time and money. But why is that? As a former health club operator and now as a Marketing Coach, I find that many of us, I’m including myself from back in my club days, don’t have the time to dedicate to or a genuine understanding of how, to plan and execute an effective marketing strategy.
Typical marketing scenarios at studio level are a combination of three things: inconsistent effort, unrealistic expectations at the start of a campaign, and concerns over an unfavorable outcome.
AFS Video Learning Lesson - Business Ownership Series
Top 5 Marketing Strategies for Your Fitness Business
What you'll learn...
- Difference between marketing and sales
- Average amount studios spend per year on marketing
- Internal marketing strategies (events, word of mouth, referrals)
- External marketing strategies (email, newsletters, community outreach)
- Leveraging internet middlemen and research behind conversion rates (ClassPass, Groupon, LivingSocial)
- Social media essentials (what to post, when to post, goals)
- Planning for success (how much to spend, creating systems)
Timely, targeted marketing campaigns are critical to the growth of your business, yet many studio owners don’t even want to think about it, let alone set aside time and money for it! The reality is that daily operations keep you running from open to close and beyond and let’s face it marketing is at best, challenging.
It can also be time-consuming, frustrating, and is often confusing. Without a doubt, however, Marketing is absolutely necessary to grow a successful business.
A beautiful weather summer can be a painful season to endure if you own a fitness studio. The nicer the day, the fewer clients you see. Prospect inquiries evaporate, program sales burn out and there is lackluster enthusiasm all the way around. It’s no secret that you would rather be outside enjoying the weather, too!
For your consideration (and motivation), I’ve put together an action plan that addresses nearly every aspect of your business. The way I see it, summer is ripe with opportunities to be busier than ever, highly productive and because of this, better positioned for the inevitable; Winter Is Coming.
“Your brand is possibly your most important attribute. It defines who you are, your values, your desires, your goals and your beliefs. It is the character of your company, from the inside out and how it is perceived from the outside looking in. It must work to develop credibility and foster trust in your business.”
This is taken directly from SKB’s website, it’s our philosophy on what a brand is and it is from this place that we work to develop a visual identity to uphold the brand and execute a strategy to reinforce and nurture it.
As a Marketing Coach, I want you to take charge of your marketing and I urge you to make this question an integral part of your sales process. It needs to be asked by you and once answered, it must be recorded by you. And that’s the real message in this article: Track the results of each and every marketing campaign you deploy.
You spend time and money on your marketing efforts and like everything else in life; you want to know both are being spent wisely. The only way to do that is to track the results and analyze them to predict future decisions.
Like any other tool in your business toolkit, a budget must be a working tool. Budgets should be reviewed and worked on at least on a monthly basis to have any value. Compare the budget prediction to the actual revenue or expense for the items on your budget worksheet at the end of each month.
Make adjustments based on your goals and actual performance. If you are spending more than you predicted in an area of your business like supplies, look for ways to reduce that expense.
Budget phobia, the fear of budgets, plagues many studio owners. Owners claim they are not numbers people, or don’t understand how to put spreadsheets together or feel that budgets are a useless exercise that is done once a year and thrown in a drawer.
Many studio owners view budgets as a mysterious set of complicated mathematical formulas that only accountants and statisticians can decipher. Budgets are nothing more than simple spreadsheets based on data and goals that use basic math. If you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide you can create and use a budget.
Hiring good employees can help your business grow, provide value to clients and free time to work on growing your business. Hiring the wrong employee can drain time, energy and valuable resources from a club or studio.
Employees with poor service skills, bad attitudes or a weak work ethic can cost a club clients, cash and create chaos. Bad employees infect the entire environment and can affect the business more than not hiring at all.
When operating a fitness business owners typically concentrate on obtaining and training clients. Surviving is the first priority. As the business becomes more successful, the owner can find that most of their time is devoted to training clients and little time or energy is left over to develop systems and market the business.
Even worse, the owner may feel trapped training as many clients as possible to survive. Studio owners may feel they are unable to move clients to new trainers because other trainers will not hold to their high standards of training.
This guide will help you establish a successful social media campaign for your fitness studio.
If you are already using social media to market your business, use this guide to fill in any knowledge gaps to improve your current campaign.
As a business owner you must be properly insured. The coverage you've carried as a fitness professional is very different than coverage for your business.
In these FAQ's we'll provide you the answers to the most common questions. Further, with your AFS membership you'll receive dedicated customer service and a $50 General Liability discount. Our partners at SFIC will work with you to create a custom insurance package to meet your needs within your budget.
Finding and keeping good employees can be a struggle for even the best studios and fitness centers.
One of the biggest complaints of independent club and studio owners is that they cannot find employees who provide the great customer service to clients and members. Owners are reluctant to turn clients over to trainers fearing that the level of service will drop and clients will stop training. If only they could clone themselves, they could cut back on the number of clients they personally train and work more on growing the business.
In the book, First, Break All the Rules, the authors indicate that selecting talent is the first key to success in business. Well before you can hire talent, you have to recruit it. For many studio operators recruiting talent is not a priority, for that matter, most operators would not even consider talent recruitment a part of their job.
Yet, in having talked with numerous club managers and studio operators, the second greatest challenge that arises on a day to day basis, is finding and keeping great talent.
No matter how much talent a candidate has, if you don’t bring them on board properly it can be a disaster. AFS has compiled researched this topic from members, Advisory Council members and more to ensure studio operators find the best candidates and motivate them to rise to the top.
If you decide to go the employee route, understand how to comply with federal regulations regarding exempt and non-exempt status as well as full-time and part-time or full-time. Additionally, you need to decide if they will be exempt or non-exempt. Your decision on both these questions requires a clear understanding of the law and how your decisions will impact the bottom line of your business.
In part two of business plan basics, we will continue to explore the parts of a business plan. In case you missed part 1, click here to read that article.
Marketing Plan and Analysis: “Build it and they will come” is not a good marketing strategy. You may be the best personal trainer in the world, but unless you have a solid marketing plan, chances are that your business will fail.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
You may have seen those reality shows where an expert in the restaurant or bar industry goes to a struggling business and in less than a week fixes all of its problems and puts the business on the path to success. These businesses often struggle because they does not know the cost of the goods they sell, how to price their products, how to market their services, have poor management and poorly defined roles within the business, or have any good systems in place to monitor their success or failure.