I work with 2 "local gyms" in the Long Island area doing SEO and inbound marketing. There are dozens of other gyms in the area and the population on Long Island is close to that of the entire state of Virginia yet we have achieved #1 rankings for "gym Long Island" and related searches.
We track all leads that are driven through our efforts (Google Analytics goal tracking) and we drive between 150-200 leads per month. We also track leads generated by social media, these tend to generate between 1-5 leads per month which sounds like the experience you have had.
Stats show that social media fans tend to be people who are already your clients meaning you aren't going to get a lot of new business from this avenue. You can, however, use social media sites like Facebook to upsell existing members given the likelihood that the people that follow you there already do business with you.
As far as saying there is a "best method" I believe it is search engine optimization (SEO) and inbound marketing. Of course I am biased but the results we have are quantifiable and the rankings are real. My advice is to look into doing "local SEO" and having your consultant do things like:
-build out the content on your site
-claim (or create) a Google Places for Business listing (https://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/)
-build citations (https://moz.com/local/search)
-Encourage clients to leave reviews on these citation sites (start with Google, Yelp, Yahoo and Bing)
This is not a one-size-fits-all strategy but is a highly agreed-upon approach to local SEO for most internet marketers.
Set up a simple box program placing boxes in the businesses in your local area and offer the owner of the business a free one month membership for every month that your box is in their place of business. The customers of each business can fill out an entry form to win either a one year free membership, a six month free membership or, a one week free membership. You calculate the odds so that the 1st. and 2nd. Prizes are affordable for you and everyone wins a one week membership (you call each person & tell them they have won and when would they like their free membership to start). This will get you customers quickly and, a great data base. Make the boxes out of cardboard and have a supply of entry forms with a pen or pencil attached to the box. Car washes & restaurants are great as they are places where people have to wait and have nothing to do. Your market is your local community so this program gets you people in your local community. The business owners can use the monthly memeberships you give them for themselves or give them to a family member or employee.
Have you considered video email marketing? Seeing a video proof of eg "a skinny or fit" body of someone who's been working out at your gym is sure to generate more than "likes" on FB.
TalkFusionDallas - Bringing the world together with the power of video.
reputation marketing is the key; build a five star reputation and market that repuation to make you more relevant and visible on google maps...so whn folks search frm their fone they can find you; reputation marketing is new so your competitors are prob not in the know right now...pls dont confuse reputation marketing with reputation management
Marketing, advertising, and positioning are three different things. Social Media has been proven to be good for positioning, marketing, and public relations...but advertising and conversion remains debatable.
Surprisingly, radio advertising has been proven to be the most effective, especially for local businesses. More effective than TV and online advertising.
Here are some links with more info:
1- Radio Advertising: Five Things You Know That Ain't So!:
2- New Study Touts Effectiveness Of Radio Advertising - ROI of 7.7x
3- NIH Case Study:
4- Nielsen links radio to buyer behavior:
I hope that this helps.
Depending on your focus, you may want to consider offering training to local athletes - conditioning, weight training, perhaps sport-specific regimens. Get to know local coaches (high school, college). Take space in school publications and sponsor "fitness days for athletes".
Get yourself a Google virtual tour. I don't know where you're located, but you can see how many people locally are searching for your keywords (ie fitness, gym, Crossfit etc). People search Google for everything, and having a Google virtual tour of your interior- we connect it right to Google Maps with a "LOOK INSIDE!" window- sets you apart from your competition & engages the public about YOUR gym at the exact moment they're actively looking for a place to work out. Here's a link to The Sate of Fitness in America that proves my point. http://www.builtlean.com/2010/06/24/the-state-of-fitness-in-america-just-analyze-google/ Good luck! =D PS. You can see a bunch of samples at www.seeinside.it
You have said the right thing. What matters are real clients. What matters is conversion.
Here are the problems with social media. First, it is seen as the answer not an element in the process. There is quirk in social media that is not OK to talk about business and yet that is what many want to have happen. If you took an ad and you ran it through as social media page they would probably kick you off. Now, take that same ad and buy advertising that shows up on the page and you can encourage to buy more ads. Exact same thing on same page one banned and the other encouraged. If I were a conspiracy theorist I would say that the no business on social media was setup by the companies so that the only way is to buy advertising. Big business wins the advertising war.
The next issue with social media is not knowing how to use it effectively. The Obama campaigns used social media very effectively. Social media chit chat is fun and may engage a lot people but won't get you clients. What the Obama campaigns did was have clear messages that people shared and passed on. You have to have a clear message. We decide emotionally so the business needs to have heart.
Finally, people listen to what we say based on how much perceived authority that feel we have. They don't care what you know until they know if you know. Authority is basic to interactions. It is nothing new but changes how it is given overtime. In the US we don't Knight people. Media acknowledgement and attention gives perceived authority and celebrity. Doesn't it irritate you when you see someone who is not a qualified as you getting attention and business? Whether we like it or not it is part of our reality. The more perceived authority/celebrity you have the more conversions you have.
There is naturally a combination of marketing styles for a local fitness business, the old fashioned Flyers drop is extremely effective matched with a free first month for people who sign up for a year( 0r 2/3 months depends) Now there is also online marketing to expand the catchment area, a combination of the local Google+ registrations, and Facebook ads, i actually use local community newspapers for a strictly local clients. But yeah a real combination approach.
At first blush, social media sounds like a no-brainer, since so many of your prospective clients are likely to be influenced by word of mouth or what friends of friends have to be saying about your business. If your social marketing efforts have not been producing the results you have been expecting, it may have less to do with using social media than HOW you are using social media. Social media works best when it is interactive, and when you are offering something of value to your readers and prospects. If you are the ones doing all the talking, however, that is not an effective use of social media. I have many clients who use nothing but social media. It's because they are implementing strategies that engage readers -- rather than just talking at them.
Hello Keith - you don't mention your current customer base, segments and profitability. Until you know the math on what each member is worth in profit there is no point in "converting" any new business since you have to focus on "lifetime value". Example: if one triathlete that comes every year to train at your gym for an Ironman and has a 100% higher profit margin than a new member after the Holiday season who will most likely abandon you in April the focus is to simply start a Triathlon club! Why do you think American Express is no longer what it used to be? They made the entry to their exclusive club too easy for everybody to join!
I am a Business Broker and have sold a few fitness centers over the years. One of these operators spent a goodly amount of time marketing to local corporations. They had special deals for that and did very well. Hope this helps.
door to door office to office meet people personally and make them an offer they cannot refuse and see a fixed 3 to 5 people evry single day. ask exisitng members to tag a friend offer a gym partner a reduced rate, odffer a class or a seminar be practive and ask people what they want then sign them up - social media is not business it is social
The best and cheapest approach is to optimize your Google Plus Business page and then develop an effective online review strategy to build your online word of mouth credibility.
The traditional SEO approach will get you to the top of Google eventually, but an optimized Google Plus page is quicker and much cheaper.
Then you want to stand out among the local seven pack once you are on it. the Star rating will do that, assuming you can get at least five stars quickly and your reviews are good.
I help people gt more good reviews and fewer bad and almost as bad, so-so reviews using a system called Rep Pilot.
See this YouTube video for more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZo1utlPAa4
or private message me for help on all of the above.
All those things are great for awareness but not necessarily driving action. Perhaps promotions and trials that you can then use your media to promote and encourage sharing. For instance, 10 days for $10 and if they convert to a membership they get $10 off the price so their trial is free. Its just an example since I don't know your business structure but it demonstrates value and reward for conversion to membership and true engagement. There are plenty of event and promotions that can move people to act and participate and offer real value to your social media and advertising.
Good question and lots of good responses. My suggestion:
Running 21 day challenges. This has been extremely successful for a lot of the fitness companies I have been working with over the last year. Maybe check into GroSocial and get the 30 day free trial? Run a 21 day challenge and let me know your results!
Start a Referral Program for your current members. Give them discounted rates for referring new members.
Social media, attend local events, radio, create in house events = open house, customer appreciation gimmick.....members bring a friend, get a deal, etc.
Social media takes time to develop trust and it is 80% social and 20% marketing... and social media simply isn't for everyone.
There are a number of things you can do to market your business but it may be limited based on your goals, your budget and who you are trying to reach. There are too many possibilities to go into details here and without knowing enough about the details of your business, it's hard to make recommendations which will best fit you.
A few basic for your type of business are:
Local Business listings - By claiming your Google, Yahoo and Bing local listings and properly optimizing them, you can be on the first page of local business searches where you can be found.
Video Marketing - You have a great business for some simple "how to" videos, which are popular, but the key is to optimize them for online searches and linking them to your website to bring in targeted traffic.
Mobile marketing - Every business should be mobile friendly, but in addition, a text marketing campaign is an easy way to create membership drives which can be done in a number of creative ways.
Having bought $1000 of dollars of advertising in my days as a CEO of several Neuro/Ortho clinics and fitness centers, I have to say the best advertising today hands down is Local Targeted Video Advertising!
Here is why!
Why Local Targeted Video Advertising Works!
If you still haven’t decided whether to try local video advertising to reach your customers here are some reasons you should consider.
Local Video Ads are better than TV Commercials.
The problem with advertising on TV is less people are watching and a growing number of viewers use DVRs to skip local ads. That’s why more companies are using video ads to ensure that their local customers are actually watching their ads.
You Can Target Local Customers.
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Customers pay more attention to local video ads.
When a viewer clicks a video they want to see, they are already focused on watching what is in front of them. That’s why local video ads are more watched than other types- because customers are already planning to spend time paying attention to a video.
Local video advertising has a much higher click through.
Customers enjoy interacting with video ads that catch their eye, and video ads are more successful than other types of ads at doing this
Local video ads help reach a younger generation.
Teens and young adults are used to turning to online sources for information about products and services and to find out more about things they will be buying. Using content relative local video ads to their interests shows them that you are a consumer conscious company that understands who they are and what products and services they are interested in.
Place a video ad on local video advertising networks.
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Just a few reason why I feel Local Targeted Video Ads are so powerful.
Please let me know if you would like more information.