February 13, 2020 Beth Cadman
When it comes to fitness marketing, the opportunities are endless. But what makes some marketing strategies more effective than others? In data collection, analytics and personalisation lie the answer.
When it comes to both acquiring new gym members and retaining current ones, gym operators must seek to understand the specific and unique needs of their members. A one size fits all approach is no longer acceptable. If fitness facilities want to stay ahead of the competition, their marketing and retention strategies must reflect a desire to personalise, to solve problems, to create genuine relationships, and to listen to what members want.
To do this, gym operators must have the systems and plans in place to understand the consumer, their current position in their member journey, and their sentiment towards the outlet before reaching out to them.
By sending out the right communication at the right time, you can make sure that your messages are as effective as possible. Likewise, sending the wrong communication out at the wrong time can have the opposite effect and leave members feeling pressured, confused, irritated, or all of the above!
So how can teams work to try to improve member retention rates, to best understand their members, and devise intelligent fitness marketing strategies that work?
The truth is that without the data, you’ll get nowhere. That’s why it has become increasingly crucial for gym operators to invest in intelligent systems in which they can input member data for analysis. AI-powered systems such as Keepme help operators understand member behaviour. This is a tool that can assess which members are at risk of leaving the gym and can break down information into different demographics – from larger cohorts of members such as by age or location to smaller and much more specific groups, right down to individual members themselves. Doing so provides significant opportunities to develop finely tuned, uniquely tailored strategies that make an impressive impact.
There are many different ways that a member might find your gym. It could be through social media, email marketing, word of mouth, and so on. However, the majority of people will do a good old fashioned search to find facilities in their local area (around 54% in fact). Because of this, one of the most powerful marketing tools any gym has is its website. Your website is your platform from which you can showcase what your facility has to offer. It needs to be clearly laid out, simple to navigate, visually appealing, and, perhaps most importantly, visible in search engines. In addition to this, whenever you have a particular campaign, you need to create a landing page on your website where people can find information with a compelling and clear CTA to make it obvious for those that land there what to do next.
To ensure you have an online presence and, therefore, that members can find you, it is important that you understand not just the basics of SEO but all its nuances, variations, and intricacies. The better you can understand how to optimise your site and other online platforms, the more visible your gym will become. 75% of people don’t bother scrolling past page one on search engines, so to be competitive, you need to pay attention and ensure that you remain visible in search engine results pages at all times.
Remember, 47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content created by a company before talking to a salesperson from that company, so whenever you create a piece of content, make sure that it counts. Quality content provides value to the customer, so you must take the time to research your target audience for every piece of marketing that you create. The better you do, and the more personal your approach, the more likely a customer will feel as though they are being engaged with, listened to, heard. By empathising, providing solutions, and backing up claims with evidence, you will connect, add value and generate trust, all of which will ensure potential customers and members pay attention to what you have to say.
From the moment a member comes into contact with your facility, their member journey begins, and from the provision of a seamless onboarding experience to every time they communicate with the gym – every instance counts. By taking the time to understand the different routes this journey can take, and by pre-empting all possible reactions, it is possible to identify when members would most benefit from communication. Personalizing messages can improve click-through-rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% on average.
This kind of focused, detail-orientated approach also means that operators can understand when a member is becoming dissatisfied with the service and step in before they decide to churn. This detailed mapping of a member’s journey and the continual monitoring it requires is a mammoth task. Still, in doing so, it creates opportunities to curate finely tuned and highly personalised, targeted campaigns that make a member feel cared for and truly valued. Everything from a warm welcome by staff to special offers delivered when they need motivation to celebrating a member’s successes can ensure they remain engaged, on-track, and loyal to your club.
All the tried and tested techniques for re-engaging lacklustre members and attracting new ones can still be effective -if delivered in the right way. Competitions, exclusive deals, discounts, new classes, referral programmes, and so on can be very impactful. Still, again, it is both a combination of what you do as well as when you do it and who you do it to that creates the most meaningful results. Understanding when people are more likely to respond to promotions, which members would be motivated by new classes and offers, and why some members will love a loyalty programme and others just won’t be interested is key to delivering the right incentives to the right people at the right time.
There is an enormous number of opportunities for fitness businesses to develop impactful marketing campaigns. Budget and workforce will naturally play a part in how often and how many each facility decides to try out. However, the universal truth is that it is by collecting and analysing member data with AI, measuring customer behaviour, researching target audiences, and measuring the success of campaigns that gyms can hope to deliver fitness marketing that actually works!