I don't know your local business environment, but here's my experience.
My wife and I have a branding and digital marketing agency in Southwest Florida. We moved here in 2012 not knowing a soul, Prior to that, we had run an agency together in Switzerland, so when we came to Florida we were starting a brand new agency in a brand new environment.
The single most effective marketing tool for us has been networking, and our local chamber of commerce has played a big role in that. We joined the chamber not long after setting up our business and it was gold mine for us. We have since become very involved in the chamber and other networking groups and events. It's brought us tons of business.
Word of warning, many people join chambers and similar groups and they expect it to bring them business. It doesn't work that way. You have to get involved, go to events, get to know the staff, and you have to be visible and engaged.
Now, being a digital marketing agency, we also use digital marketing to attract business. One of the things most local businesses overlook is local search business listings. Services like Google, Facebook, Yelp, YellowPages and others publish information about local businesses. Some of these service are know and syndicators, meaning they supply info about local businesses to other services, including mobile apps, and other search related directories. If you are not listed on these syndicators or if your information is inconsistent or unverified, guess what, you are not going to be found on these services. I know everybody talks about Google search, but it is not the only place people search for businesses. To find out if your business is properly listed, we have a free, no obligation tool on our website to test your search listings. I encourage you to visit http://www.brilliantlens.com/local-search-listing-visibility-test and find out how your business comes out.
If you contact through local communities. And offer some special package to nearby clients, your gym business will expand like anything.
Also, I suggest you to modernize your way to interact with clients, client-gym, client-trainer interaction. You can use mobile app for this type of personalized interaction. An app is not and expensive affair now.
If you contact me, I can offer you gym business related app with chat feature, it will be very helpful for gym to interact with clients, a happy clients is best advertisement than expensive ad campaigns.
The first thing you should do is to reseach the market and learn your potential clients needs. I personally believe that none business can be profitable without a powerful marketing strategy. It's great you're using Facebook, blogs, Twitter. Unfortunately, that's not enough. Try to contact these guys - http://thecmoclub.com/ . They're true marketing experts!
Social Media is mainly for marketing but the Sale is done thru direct marketing, i.e. visiting local gyms. Organizing events for the Fitness freak and trainers. Display of products, etc.
In my opinion a reputation marketing plan is the best way to market locally. Having positive reviews and a good irresistible offer can bring in qualified prospects into your marketing funnel.
I have designed/marketed for a few fitness locations around myself. The best I found is foot traffic, some drop mail options locally in the 1-5 mile of your studio & free sessions. You have a very tough business to reach. Deal with a marketing agency in your area. That KNOWS your area. They can also come up with some slick ads that draw attention. Good luck!
Social Media , PPC , SEO , Email Marketing , Offline marketing . Sponsorship in events etc etc ,
get more on online marketing and branding on destinsol.com
I would incorporate using video and participating or sponsoring a few health fairs in your local area. Create a sign up sheet at the events and add them to your email list. Utilize that list to grow your business. Best of luck to you!!!
Grassroots marketing for fitness has worked very good for me in the past. I've partnered with charity events, LifeWalk, Susan Komen, etc. with a small investment or none, you can have a team sponsor and support to raise money and also a table or booth to introduce yourself and service. Being face to face with potential clients is a 10000000x more effective that Facebook ads. Let that happen organically anyway with actual clients. If you have the money get a nice car/truck and have it wrapped with your ad. Either hire a team or have your employees drive it around to areas where fitness is important. Targeting LGBT is great for this, having driving around when sports games get out, pass out a unique piece of POS other than a flyer that the consumer will take home and use. Be sure that everyone who is representing you know everything about what you do, all the services you offer and is an active member there as well. A great angle for fitness bus is to take the fear out of the gym process, if it's memberships, intimidation for not being fit when joining, offering a unique service like a 30 day 30lbs fast start program. You could partner with local farm to table restaurants or juice bars that would receive benefit by being part of your 30 in 30 fast start. People like consistency in your marketing and messaging. Be sure your social media and web is consistent and frequently updated. Allow reviews to be posted on your site with results. Have a mobile site that is just as functional as your traditional, make as much info, pricing, billing, signing up, accepting payments, etc available online where a new client doesn't have to call or come in person. The clients that have used group coupon sites have never profited or benefited in ANY way by advertising with them. They bring a different type of consumer that has no interest in trying a new fitness facility or what you have to offer that is unique from other similar businesses. They are in it just for the deal and you will be taking a loss on each deal, pissing off existing customers, guaranteed bad reviews no matter what and with a published 1% customer retention rate by using these sites, you might as well just buy a sign at the dollar store that says CLEARANCE SALE - EVERYTHING MUST GO - GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. Having a YouTube channel is great, posting videos to social media outlets with a fitness tip, intro to yourself, business, upcoming events, etc. work very well. I've partnered with many weight loss clinics and Doctors and that has worked very well too. You can offer a free or discounted intro 20 min class at the clinic/hospital to the patients of your partnered Doc's. This has worked very very well for my fitness clients because these people have just taken a drastic step to save their lives, so needless to say, they are a very captive audience.
Instead of membership drives to turn and burn with high pressure sales and contracts like all the big chains do, follow the lead of the cell phone companies now. No contracts, no pressure, ability to do it all online. I think the Sprint Framily campaign is genius and could translate easily into your business.
Do search engine optimization with social media marketing. This combination is good for your business.
From my experience as a former marketing manager of fitness business, I would recommend you network with local businesses who have synergy with your brand; this would entail membership leads and giving talks at local community events.
With social media, I would suggest utilising these channels as a newsletter of members success stories and consider a PPC campaign on Facebook and on Google. Plus I would gather any testimonials from existing members to share on your website and even on YouTube.
There has to be a multi-channel approach. Social media is the fastest way to get the word out, but as you mentioned, converting these leads are tough.
Suggested Multi-channel approach:
1)Digital Marketing - SEO, PPC, Retargeting, Social Media
2)Direct Marketing - mailing in your PMA (primary market area). This may be your strongest opportunity to reach those consumers and convert by putting an enticing offer.
3)Local Networking/B2B Relationships
Finally - having the right branding and message!
You said the magic phrase: "convert to new business."
Social Media and Web Content are great for building brand, retention and cross selling of products/services to existing customers. They are the wrong approach for filling up your funnel quickly with new member prospects. If you are looking for an Internet-based solution to this problem with the highest possible ROI, I'd suggest Local Search Marketing and a targeted Paid Search campaign.
A word of warning.. beware of contracts. They aren't necessary in our business. I'm here to help if you have any questions.
When you say fitness to you mean gyms?
For me, fitness companies succeed through experiential, trial offers and being seen in the right places. Fitness companies whilst they provide services to help people keep/get fit, a lot of the reason you choose one company over another is down to the atmosphere and the people that work there.
Offer trial offers, 1 week free or 4 weeks for price of 2. Try to make some experiential events happen in large footfall areas. Can you get an exercise class in the local mall? Get some of the instructors (not just eye candy but people who know what they are talking about) out in the area. Network with local physios, doctors, hospitals, weight watchers etc, strike a deal with them if possible.
Obviously options such as Local Business Listings are essential. Make sure you show on Google with as much complete data on your outlet as possible.
Take advantage of the various free opportunities that exist in Google AdWords and Bing. Really tightly target people and test before deciding whether it is worth opening the chequebook
I assume you have a site. Offer general fitness advice, intersperse it with your own content. Get a third party to provide content. Is there a local celeb or opinion former you can influence to talk about your company? Often a freebie for them is the best form of advertising you can have.
If you can do videos, perfect. Really bring what you do to life. Use real people if possible, rather than instructors or actors.
My main view apart from the physical world elements outlined at the start of my response, would be to try and create a point of difference. Some kind of talking point. Could you do a publicity stunt whereby you attempt to break a world record or something similar? If that isn't possible, try a different tact on what you already do. Company Team Away Days (fitness, games and motivational speakers), Boot Camps, combat classes etc.
I really love this subject, so happy to discuss more if you would like to.
I have been handling online marketing campaigns with fitness centers for about 6 years. I work with some local chains in Baltimore and one of the national franchise chains were I run online programs all over the country.
but keep in mind online marketing should be a part of your marketing not all of it.
The first place to start with online or offline marketing is to have an effective website. All you online and offline marketing should be directed to your website. 85% of visitors abandon a website due to poor design and over 60% cannot find the information they are looking for and leave.
Your website should be easy to navigate and have contact information easy to see on every page. After doing some research on your site. I would recommend adding the phone number in you header and adding a schedule appt. with a fitness counselor button on every page. your website should also a mobile feature. Large % of visit to website are from mobile devices.
Here are some good performing website as examples: http://www.brickbodies.com/ and https://membership.planetfitness.com/SelectMembership.aspx?FranchiseID=394. Planet fitness is very simple and sells off of price point, But makes it easy to contact the fitness center. Brick Bodies is more in line with what you have to offer. Their website look very professional and is easy to contact the fitness center.
The next step that is very effective is to run a Pay-Per-Click campaign. the most effective ones I run are using a 15 mile radius. Total budget recommended for your area should be from $800 to $1200 a month. 65% of the budget should be ran on Google Adwords and the rest of the budget i would spread on yahoo and Bing. This should generate a estimated 400-700 visits.
Social media is also a great tool and the others have address that very well. But keep in mind that social media ROI is hard to measure. But is very important to helping converting people to sales.
Offline marketing is not my specialty, but the fitness centers I work with are very active in the community with sponsorship, fitness event days, seminars and so on.
What I've come to learn even with marketing my own studio is that digital is half the battle. Yes, social media is a powerhouse, but it would be folly to just depend on digital marketing alone. I say keep doing that, but also get a bit creative with your advertising. What are you trying to say? Figure out who your target audience is and create messaging that reaches out to them. Get some promotional materials printed, such as EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) marketing materials, and send some out. Hosting or sponsoring special events will also drive some foot traffic. What these will do is fulfill your brand's identity and create that brand awareness amongst your target audience, and eventually your competitors. And in the meantime, your digital strategy will work behind the scenes as more people begin to post and interact with your brand.
I hope this helps! Feel free to message me if you have any further questions!
It depends on who you're trying to reach:
Businesses in the area: go door-to-door and talk to people in HR or the owners about setting up a program for their employees.
Families/Community: There are a couple of ways to communicate 1) become part of the local community and get your name out — get involved, support kids soccer, baseball etc., find out what else is going on and you can provide your location for a community event. Invite the community to an open house to show off your facilities. Offer special pricing for anyone that signs up that day/night. Direct marketing: Send a postcard with a special "can't refuse" offer to draw people to try the club. Have a video on your Website that shows off the facility and what makes you different. Social is nice but it isn't immediate. Just a few ideas... Good luck. SDM
I'm not sure where you're located out of, Keith, but a big, big thing you can do for a fitness business is invite local fitness bloggers to come check out out. I know several people who actively check out fitness bloggers in the area to find out what they have to say about classes or facilities in the area. They're MAJOR sources that you want to try and tap into.
People love people! That is true in real life, business branding and your social media presence. If your biggest "selling point" is your team, your trainers, and your clients referrals, use that as your platform to build!