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.
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.
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
Several options, through social media this is good to get likes as these are the people who are interested in what you offer, get a good following is always good. How to convert, special offer get these people to want the offer, 1 month free and so on, they can click the offer these are free to set up on FB.
The other option is, we do SEO for many clients for local areas or regional, we would target the highest keywords to get you the maximum traffic to your site, we then use a call to action, so when they are on your site they get in contact, again it could be a special offer next to it a telephone number, link to contact form or page.
These people who found your site are targeted by the work we do, they will convert if you gym is good and the fitness you offer is good and the offer is good. You could also use a good landing page to bring them to your site.
sorry could go on for hours, but I would look at those 2 for now.
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.
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!
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.
Based on my personal experience, getting to know your clients will bring you new clients automatically. Make your current clients feel home, talk to them and get to know them. That will open up the door for their friends to join them.
One of my friend started working out at a gym, now he has taken about 30 of his friends as members. It has become their hang out place while working out.
Also, collect everyone's email and send out weekly facts, ideas and tips on losing weight and staying fit. See if you can do seminars for 30 minutes.
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.
Sponsor a one-day fitness bootcamp in your community! If you don't want to do it for free, definitely offer a Groupon on it to drive traffic. It is a great way to get a lot of eyes on your business by creating buzz and showing the quality of your training.
In terms of your social media/blogging efforts, what are you saying in your messaging? If your social media/blog posts look like all of your competitors, no one will have a reason to go to your gym.
Make sure you identify what is unique about your fitness business and capitalize on it in every post. If you have new/unique training methods, instagram videos of you doing a sample exercise circuit. If you have a gorgeous gym with brand new equipment, post pictures of it everywhere. If you have been working with clients who have had a tremendous fitness journey, take before & after pictures (like Chris mentioned). If you need any more advice, feel free to private message me. Best of luck!
I would consider running Facebook-only or Twitter-only specials/offers to entice conversion from those audiences. At the same time, let the offline/off-social crowd aware of those specials, and that they can only be redeemed if they are following on those social sites.
Just be sure the review and adhere to the promotional guidelines for each social network. Facebook, for example, is very particular in how business pages can promote offers. But it could be well worth the time/research if it results in conversions.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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.