How to increase Gym Memberships In 2022
Increasing new gym membership sales in 2022 is the highest priority for all of us.
What does that mean to you? How do you intend to drive new members to your gym? It can be easy to spread yourself too thin when you have too many marketing channels to attend to.
In this blog, I will talk about how you can focus your gym’s or health club’s marketing efforts on areas that give you the best output.
Member Referrals – Word Of Mouth Is King!
A solid personal recommendation can open the right door for anyone, anywhere.
This is also true for Health Clubs and Gyms looking to grow their memberships. Member referrals or word-of-mouth is the best way to get new members through the door.
Referral Programs –
- Offering memberships extensions, free membership upgrades, and other services as motivation to existing members is a great way to incentivize referrals.
- Social Events Or Open Classes – Another great way to introduce people to the club is to have free group exercise classes, free day passes, etc. for potential members to get a feel of your club’s vibe before they decide to commit. Make it super easy for your members to bring in guests to take advantage of your introductory offerings.
- Coaches | Pro’s | Trainers – Your team is your brand’s best voice and incentivizing them to act as affiliates for your club gives them financial incentive to get new people through the door and to keep members engaged. Which in turn leads to better word of mouth reach.
- Strategic Partnerships – You can also develop partnerships with local trainers, coaches, and other wellness/medical practitioners to expand your reach beyond your in-house team. This could mean special pricing, letting them use your facilities, or even having them conduct open workshops that benefit your members allowing them access to an audience as well. It’s a WIN-WIN when you have trusted members of the community who speak highly of your facilities!
- Online Reviews – Reviews on your Yelp Page, Google My Business Page, Facebook Page, etc. where members can leave you feedback can also be considered virtual “word-of-mouth”. Ensure that it is well populated, reviews are replied to and new reviews are encouraged regularly.
Local Search Rankings – The Key To Local Discovery!
If you’re targeting local search results, it’s a good idea to have keyword research done to rank in the local search results, especially with your Google My Business Page.
Bonus Tip – You can hire A trusted photographer to create a Google Virtual Tour much like Street view and show off your facility to anyone looking up Health Clubs In your Area. It will give you a massive advantage over other clubs by giving your future members a virtual tour of your facility. Learn More Here!
Local SEO terms are usually easy to narrow down since they are universal. For example – Gyms in [city name], Gyms in my area, etc. Using local keywords in your website copy, having your Name, Address, and Phone Number visible throughout the website as well as in local listings will increase your chances of appearing in Regional Search Results.
This is where having a well-populated Google My Business page for your gym with updated images, your address, timings, website, and contact information will help prospective members find your facility. If you’ve created a 360 tour from the bonus tip, you’ll have people exploring your gym virtually and getting a sense of your space.
Local Listings – Get Authentic Feedback!
I have already covered Local listings on top but I’m going to go into why it’s important not just from a “virtual word-of-mouth” perspective, but can also be great for your health club’s SEO. These listing sites usually let members rate you, write reviews and share images, etc. It’s a great way for potential members to discover your gym. Some key local listing sites are –
- Angie’s List
- Yellow Pages
Your ratings from these listings will also appear on your Google My Business under “Reviews From The Web”. Most listings are free but some cost money, it all depends on how much value it holds for you locally.
Great ratings/reviews on Facebook or Yelp can also be embedded to your website in real-time to show visitors what members are saying about your business and appear more trustworthy than conventional testimonials.
The side benefit is that having your businesses listed on these platforms is that it will also increase your chances of ranking higher with google significantly!
Social Media – Broadcast Your Brand!
Creating engaging content so that future members understand that the type of environment that they want to be a part of is a great way to attract people who match your club’s vibe.
The right positioning also gives prospective members something they can aspire to be a part of, give them a sense of belonging, and generate interest.
1) Authenticity of user-generated content – Being human and relatable ensures that you don’t come off too generic or out of touch. Real members posting real-time about a great workout they just killed or a trainer they love etc. gives people a micro perspective of what it’s like to be a part of your club.
Encourage members to tag your location online, use your gym’s name or hashtag. Resharing these posts on your stories or feeds with an encouraging comment is a terrific way to increase engagement.
You can also encourage user-generated content by running giveaway contests, fitness challenges, or boot camps to inject a bit of social media buzz into the mix.
Clubs have seen a huge shift in members generating their content. When The Claremont Club installed digital displays in the club, they used a system called Upshow and Upshow. I’s just a cloud-based platform for us to show club signage, but what it would also do is integrate with a unique hashtag that the club would create, and then within two minutes of a member, taking or posting something, and using that hashtag, their image would then be displayed upon the screens within the club.
Workout selfies are probably one of the top selfies that people take. And so people like to have that recognition or acknowledgment, they’re proud of it. And they’d be posting pictures of them and their friends usually. UpShow leaves a two-minute lag time because there’s 24-hour monitoring to make sure that there’s no vulgar content or inappropriate content before things get posted, and then your club does have the ability to take it down if you don’t like it.
2) Influencer Marketing – Leveraging influencers to grow your presence is not new, but what is cool is that you have access to a very diverse group of influencers that can help you tap into a wide range of demographics. So you don’t necessarily need an influencer with millions of followers, a nano influencer (Someone with 1000 to 10000 followers) can also have a massive impact in terms of results since they cater to niche or geographically focused audiences.
Carla is a classic example of a niche influencer who can deliver impactful results for fitness related businesses in the Chicago area!
Your influencer also needs to understand social media posts, good quality content with good quality images, and understands the properties of tagging and mentioning and things like that. A well-rounded content producer with a sense of how to deliver the most impact from a campaign. You should be able to see a measurable increase in meaningful engagement for your health club.
3) Go Live! – Live streaming is one of the most engaging and audience-centric social media practices you can invest in. You can have your fitness experts go live and answer questions or share valuable home workouts etc. It can help build trust with your audience, engage them and make them feel like they’re a part of your clubs’ community.
4)Video Content For Higher Engagement – Video content is very valuable and trending upward, especially with short-form Channels like Instagram Reels, Youtube Shorts, and Tik-Tok. We’ve seen much higher engagement with a video post as opposed to a Photo or text post.
A viewer doesn’t have to opt into it. Video usually automatically begins playing or streaming. So it’s very valuable content, but the issue is usually having somebody to create the content internally and putting up video content regularly.
Try to change out your club’s fly-through videos quite often to create new and fresh content.
5) Paid Social Media Ads – Again, Video ads are more likely to garner higher engagement as opposed to text or image ads. If you are going for image-based ads, it’s better to stick to carousels rather than a single image post for better engagement. You can personalize ads based on your locality, your specializations (kids’ daycare services included, etc.) and create highly targeted ads for separate demographics.
Blogging – Write To Your Audience
“You can buy attention (advertising). You can beg attention from the media (PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free. “
– David Meerman Scott
I’m not implying that your blogs will become the go-to resource for your would-be members but it’s always nice to add something meaningful to the conversation your members and potential members are having.
A well-written piece on how to shop healthy in your local area, hidden running trails, and other useful info targeted toward your local community is a great way to engage. You can also add the usual educational articles on nutrition, exercise, and other fitness-related topics to create a well-rounded reading experience. The idea is to be helpful, engaging, and addressing your audience on their level.
You can also recycle your blog topics that can later become themes for videos, images, webinars, and other forms of content that can be syndicated to different platforms. If you can write about it, you can probably say it with images, videos, and infographics. It’s a great way to keep your brain trained on what your prospects are looking for.
Besides the obvious SEO benefits, I believe that the primary function of your blogs is to help your reader solve their most urgent problems, discover new ideas and see you as a resource worth their attention. You gain trust, show your expertise and build a relationship with your members.
Make Upgrades Hassle-Free
The most important thing is always having an upgrade option because we’re noticing trends and still have people joining as individuals with the intention of once somebody gets vaccinated or once the caregiver in the home is healthy or the kids are back in school then they’ll add on later.
So constantly having add-on incentives for upgrading your membership to add on their spouse or add on their children to their membership plan. I think those are important campaigns to have.
Tying It All Together
Integration between the CRM, the club, management software, and then all of the third-party agencies as well. Hubspot is the best CRM that I’ve seen, It just ties all the things together as far as who you’re targeting, owning all of your leads.
So I would say that integration of the systems and attribution of results for your marketing is critical. Because every agency, every sub-department is going to claim the attribution, and you’re not going to get an accurate idea of the value every channel of sale is bringing you in terms of tangible numbers.
Your marketing budget typically should be between 5 % to 10% of your total revenue. That being said, we’ve seen that marketing is very commonly underspent and under-sourced. So although there are many, many, many organic channels and free channels for marketing, there has to be a budget to optimize different things, running A & B tests and different things, especially if you have multiple clubs in different demographics. That one solution will not fit all.
A CRM makes tracking campaigns easier, makes sense of your data, and gives a clear view of which marketing channels are working best for you. You can realistically measure the impact of 95% percent of your marketing dollars and ensure you’re not being unnecessarily frivolous with your budget.
Focus On What Works – Don’t Spread Your Focus Too Thin!
I understand that there’s a lot to take into consideration when it comes to marketing your Health Club. From Branding, the look and feel of your Website, Maintaining a consistent cadence of your copy, and all other paid advertising.
It can be overwhelming to try and cover all your bases so besides having agencies managing the difficult aspects of your marketing, it’s important to make sure you are constantly looking at the trends, seeing what’s working for you, and experimenting with your marketing efforts.
What are some of the new strategies you are going to explore to get more new members back at your clubs?
Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.