A great way to address fitness and health client retention is to offer “Online Memberships”. Offered either before or after the client has actually bought fitness/training services from you this is a great offering that will keep you connected to people over the long term.
Online membership programs will do the following for you:
- Keep you connected
- Promote engagement through content and subject matter
- Provide an additional platform for selling
- Cover online costs
- Build extended communities
Your prospects and clients have goals related to fitness, health, nutrition and sports and you know a lot that they will gladly pay for as long as you provide regular, quality and easy to consume information. You can bet that they are out there in the internet searching for it anyway, why not provide it for them as a paid service.
It really doesn’t take much actually! Like most things it is really a matter of setting a goal, allocating time and focus and then executing and being driven by achieving your goal. We have the services for you, but first…….
Charge something, anything
First you’ll be surprised how willing people are to pay for regular premium information that is just not that easy to obtain and second you’ll be even more surprised how much they’ll pay. Take for example a price point of $4.95 per month versus the next level of say $7.95 – if your product is good they’ll pay, remember it is a small transaction loaded monthly on the Visa and they forget about it.
In fact most folks will tell you that they’d rather pay for the good stuff than get spammed for some “free” membership. The point being pick your price point and deliver accordingly.
Also… offer real value for references or new members for e.g. “refer a friend and your next class is on us!”
Make them feel special online
It is well known that once a person feels like they are being let into the “premium space” they just feel better about it. A member login gives you the opportunity to personalize the experience “Welcome Janet” or “Hey Janet, have you seen this?” goes a long way in making people feel special. This will also give you the ability to ask for specific profile information which is worth $$$’s.
Making it mandatory to be a member before you are allowed to comment on content so that existing members feel protected from just anybody crowding out a service they enjoy using because they are paying members.
Provide regular “member benefits”
Ensure that as paying members folks enjoy the first chance at special pricing, premium events or surprise deals that only they can participate in. They might not always buy but, they will always want to be informed and have the choice. This works especially well when offers are personalized for specific members either by gender or specific interests etc..
Areas where this works very well in include nutrition, sports and technology because the consumption is short term and regular. If you don’t have the info or answers partner with somebody who will.
Ask for input for opinion
Opinion Polls and and surveys always work IF…. you follow up and deliver feedback and/or value. There is a level of learning and art to this element of memberships but, it will be well worth the time when you get it right.
In small groups this works really well when you want to recognize performance and achievement. “Vote for your choice of most improved XYZ” is a sure way to get for e.g. training groups or boot camp members to participate as members.
AND lastly…… as always…… always
Make it easy
The easier it is to become a member….. The easier it is to login and enjoy member benefits…… The easier it is to talk to you and get at information or answered questions…. and so on makes the choice to stay a member so much more a matter of value and choice than of cost.
Use every tool available to you make make things easy for members there are a lot of them out there.
What are some of the “Don’ts” you ask?
- Don’t charge anything up front
- Don’t ask for long term commitments, it is your job to secure ongoing value
- Don’t make it difficult to exit as a member, if you’ve provided value they will return
- Don’t “over do” anything i.e. spam, sell, ask etc.
- Don’t leave any member disconnected from their benefits (we’ve all lost our password once or twice)
What do you need to get this effort going and start signing up members?
Not much actually, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get going and how quickly you become comfortable with setting and achieving your membership goals.
We’ll be happy to chat to you about this so give us a call or email today and get going. This is what we are here for, we make technology work for you and your business. Our services are designed as just that “SERVICES” not products that you have to buy and worry about yourself. We’ll make this happen!
As you obviously know having a Facebook Page for your sports/fitness business is pretty much essential. It is a direct link to existing clients and a very real link to everyone in your local or community. The Facebook Page works like a dedicated web site with your details, news and activity on it. You can use it to advertise, to connect people to your web site and so much more.
1) it takes some additional work & time.
2) sometimes using a Page can be an overkill.
ENTER Facebook Groups!
“Facebook Groups make it easy to connect with specific sets of people, like family, teammates or coworkers. Groups are dedicated spaces where you can share updates, photos or documents and message other group members. You can also select one of three privacy options for each group you create.”
Where would you use Groups?
– When you have a select audience that is already part of your Page community but you’d like to further profile information selectively for them.
– When you’d like to share photos, files and docs with just a select group of people, not your whole community.
– When you’d like to create special events just for a select group of people.
– When you’d like to have a free messaging capability with a select group of people.
For more Q & A on how groups work CLICK HERE.
So some examples of you could deploy groups very effectively in your sports and/or fitness business:
- Nutrition – Most trainers/coaches will know how important proper nutrition is for a training and fitness regime. They will provides tips, specific recipes and even full on nutrition plans for client and athletes. The Groups functionality is just perfect for this kind of specific interest group of folks in your community.
- Classes – You all provide training classes created for specific groups of people or for the likes of Yoga, Spinning etc. Being able to share information, news and updates just for these class groups of folks is and ideal way to deploy the features in Facebook Groups.
- Teams – A lot of trainers and coaches provide services for sports teams (soccer, volley ball etc.) and having the ability to create an environment that includes the team members, coaches and parents. Providing schedules, games and training related information as well as recognition and achievements is a great way to enhance that team spirit and camaraderie.
- Specialty Training – “Strength & Conditioning”, “Speed” and many more very specific training environments very often require a much deeper level of knowledge and information sharing. There’s the science behind it all, there’s research work and expert opinions that are just as much part of the work as the actual training and Facebook Groups will assist greatly here.
Now these are just examples of how you could put the Facebook Groups features to very good use in your fitness/training business but there’s more…..
There’s actual business benefit available that comes with the ability to selectively provide information:
- Premium Content – It is always a good strategy for growing your client base and paying customers to split the “Freemium” and the “Premium” content. For example, no problem giving away the odd low carb recipe but it is of value to your business to create paid nutrition plans.
- Course Material – If you have some services that can be done at home and you provide access to this material remotely be sure to retain control and charge for the important stuff.
- Memberships – Creating that monthly membership is something you already do for the actual training and fitness services and you know clients will pay because they trust you and value your product so… do the same with online memberships of any kind.
- “Elite Class” – then there’s times when it is always a good thing to reward your most loyal and regular clients with some form of “Elite” status that comes with goodies, bit n pieces that they don not have to pay for but, it comes “By Invitation Only”.
These are areas where a carefully constructed Group idea can become very valuable to your business and this Facebook feature is ready made just for you.
Having a social media plan that integrates all your social media tools, your web site and your content (pictures, videos and documents) and value for your clients is part of your business day and should be seen as an integral part of your planning and resource (people, time, cash) allocation. Using every inch of the “field” is important and knowing about this hidden gems in all the tools you use, not just Facebook, is going to make a difference in achieving your business objectives and goals.
Do you feel like you are trapped in a game of Monopoly i.e. going round and round collecting the same “paycheck” or monthly income passing “Begin” every time. Your fitness and/or training business is tied to the hours available in a day/week/month which is a finite number so how do you grow? It is challenging to continuously add new clients while training existing clients and then find time to do the extra stuff like networking, skills development and all the back office stuff required to run your fitness / training business – GROWTH IS TOUGH.
Well, it doesn’t have to be! Imagine having access to a booth at a fitness show 24X7 & 365 with new and existing customers visiting all day long? You would chat to them, give them stuff like “Guides” and “To Do’s”, do demo’s and build rapport with prospects quickly and effectively. Sounds good but obviously not possible, right? Wrong! Your Web Site and Social Media Tools are the just the tools to get you the same results. People buy from people especially people they have a relationship with and trust. These key elements are the way to reach people and get them interested in your services.
So…. here are the 6 Reasons why your Web Site and Social Media tools will help you reach, engage and ultimately sell to so that you can really GROW YOUR CLIENT BASE, and increase revenues.
#1 – Your Identity
At the booth one of the 1st things people will identify with is your personal identity. Your energy level, your smile and your enthusiasm to meet them and engage with them in conversation and Q&A. Your Web Site should reflect this unique aspect by showing you in a well organized and structured manner that is all you. Your personal profile page and those of your team is a huge asset, introduce your self via video/audio and great pictures.
#2 – Your Skills and Specialties
People trust folks who clearly communicate and demonstrate their sills and expertise. You have the knowledge and experience to help them with their goals and challenges. Web pages and posts that effectively communicate what you can do and what you are good at will convince prospects that you and your gym are worthy of further time.
#3 – Your News, Events and Communication
Clients and prospective clients always want to know what happened, what’s happening and what’s going to happen. Evidence of an active community or “a great community buzz” is evidence of a great place to be. Sharing information and regular communication demonstrates an environment of value and benefit, where people learn and enjoy success.
#4 – Your Product
What exactly is your product? Memberships, pricing, special offers, terms are all parts of a full product picture that prospective and new clients need when making buying decisions. This information is not simple and needs to be presented in just the right fashion to motivate folks to buy from you. Non-Core or additional products are also important so that members/clients don’t have to go elsewhere to buy.
#5 – Client evidence or Testimonials
When clients, especially prospective clients, can see evidence of your existing clients achieving their goals, having fun and remaining committed to your business they are 60% more likely to buy from you. Clear cut and well presented evidence presented directly by actual clients using your products and services will be the strongest communication tool for adding clients – no doubts.
#6 – Easy action
Finally, once you have presented prospective, returning or existing clients with all this great information and communication make any action easy i.e. make it easy for them to contact you, make it easy for them to buy from you and most importantly make the “action process” a welcoming one. Follow up an interaction or purchase with a “Thank You” or “Welcome” or “We’re excited to have you onboard”.
Take a look at your current Web Site and Social Media tool and evaluate if they deliver on these 6 aspects because if they don’t……. these are the 6 reasons you will find growth difficult to achieve. Simply put go and make sure that you deliver on these 6 reasons for client to choose you and your gym/facility.
Clients are the worst at telling you what they want mostly because they are all about goals and objectives and less clear on how to get there. “I want to loose 10 lbs!” or “I want to get fit!” or “I want to feel strong again!”. That’s the “Why” they are there, they are relying on an expert to provide the “How”.
The challenge is that the goal discussion is a short one. Ok, now what? How do you find out all you need to know to be able to help them, lead them to this objective? The “How” is going to involve a training program, a nutritional plan and a bunch more aspects that your clients simply have not considered, not understood as part of the exercise. ENGAGE! or ENGAGEMENT! is that answer.
This is the primary way to start the process of selling new clients or re-selling existing ones. Conversations need to happen. The problem is you are not in the same room or for that matter do you even know the prospect?
Here are 3, yes just 3 critical engagement rules to be successful:
1 – Be sure you have a plan that will ensure they will reach their goals.
The more you assure a prospective client that you have done this before and know exactly how to make/help them achieve their ultimate goal the shorter the initial engagement will be. Write it down. Use client evidence. Be dead sure you can deliver. Communicate this information in no uncertain terms, literally… don’t use soft language or terminology.
2 – Make it easy for them to “talk” to you.
The “Google it” method is no longer the only way to get at information. People now understand that social media will provide so much more information that the traditional web search engines will. They have access to conversations, opinions and freely shared information that is specific to their goals. They will spend the time “talking” to those who will share and educate, make sure you’re in that group.
3 – Make it easy for them to buy from you.
Without knowing when they have enough information to make a buying decision you must ensure that the “buy now” option is clear, available and easy to execute. Ensure you provide the correct channel, method and tools for a prospective client to pull the purchasing trigger the minute they are ready to do so.
Once they trust you, can get good / valuable information from you and can easily buy from you…. You’ll add new customers all day long.
Now comes the hard part – getting it done! You are going to need:
A – Expert help/ people
B – Tools
C – Process
Measure your capability by the best combination of A, B and C. Make sure one doesn’t over power the other and remember in today’s economy things change quickly so make sure that your approach is flexible and always be on the lookout for ways to do things better, quicker and cheaper.
Remember, as stated earlier on… existing customers are really important. Make sure you have everything lined up for the people that you have already sold to, that you already have established trust with and that are ready to buy again.
Go ahead ENGAGE TODAY!
All you fitness and sports training professionals out there already have regular blogs on your web sites right? And.. on your web site is where your blog posts should be, it’s the best place for you clients to find the information you are sharing with them, no doubts.
BUT… here’s another option.
Just last week Facebook announced some very cool – “Updates for Facebook Notes”. Now, “Notes” has been around for a while but honestly never really cut it for any serious or useful writing. These updates however are a notable step in the right direction for Facebook because as we know they are taking YouTube head on with video management and publishing and now it seems they’ve put a “toe in the water” with CMS (Content Management System) as well.
With this update, you can add a cover photo that represents what your note is all about. You can caption and resize photos, and format your text into headers, quotes or bullets. You’ll will also be able to create these new notes on the web, and they’re fully viewable on mobile.
How does it work you ask?
Pretty simple actually, which is good…. Facebook assume every note/blog post is written by a human being by name so they have added the “Notes” feature only to personal pages. You can then choose where and how you would like the note/blog post to be published including those company pages you are an admin user of. So, if you have created your gym’s Facebook page and maybe one or two more product pages you will be able to choose what to write and for which of the pages you manage. Gone are the days of trying to decide how many words to put into a normal Facebook “update” with pictures and web links added in. This feature allows you to add nicely formatted and content rich “blog posts” on Facebook.
WARNING – this is not a replacement for web site blog posts. Your web site is the key location for clients both existing and new. Your web site is your dynamic digital store front and signature and therefore should represent you, your services (classes, programs, camps and sports), your team and your facility in a unique. Remember Facebook looks exactly the same for everyone i.e. blue & white and their logo, not yours and that’s Ok because that is what your clients expect.
So, be sure to use this option to attract your clients back to your web site with the appropriate links and features. Hint – write a “Part I” on Facebook and “Part II” on your web site blog OR write 1/2 on Facebook and add a “For more read here.” link back to a complete blog on your site. The intent here is to provide Facebook users with a more useful and feature rich way of writing “notes”. You have all those hard earned “Likes” on your Facebook page and you can now share info with them in a more complete and professional manner.
Here’s the Facebook news post announcing this feature. READ HERE
Wearable devices in general is one of the most exciting pieces of technology today. They are a lot cheaper, a lot easier to use and track a lot more data than in the past. BUT…… are they useful in the greater scheme of the sports and personal training arena? In this first piece we will look at the aspects significant enough from a training point of view and then in a “Part II” post we’ll look at it from the business point of view.
Let’s “lay down the rules” – for any technology to be useful and significant it has to:
1) be affordable
2) be practical
3) be easy to use in a training and sport specific scenario
4) deliver data in a meaningful way
these 4 components are critical for success and adoption.
Nailing our colors to the mast we’ll lead with the statement that these devices and the data they deliver will change training significantly. Will it revolutionize training? It may be too early to properly assess but they certainly are here to stay.
Using our partners at Push as an example (see HERE for more details) and the application of a device in the Velocity Based Training scenarios we see some really good evidence for the statement that they will change training significantly.
- In the team setting it is extremely useful to have exercises sent to players for the day and have the results back for evaluation, comparison and goal or parameter monitoring.
- Being able to look at data without the pain of dead weight paper and the ability to share the data is really useful.
- Setting targets for measurable aspects such as weight, intensity, speed etc. is just not attainable without having a device strapped to the athlete.
- Testing – for 1RM, weight vs. speed and many other scenarios has not been possible in definitive terms until now.
- Preventing injuries in the weight room. Understanding fatigue, setting parameters accordingly and having appropriate training programs is HUGE.
- Athletes come of the field often “beat up” and tired which requires meaningful/measurable adjustments to the training program and having a data based platform to assist can be significant.
- Patterns highlighted in the data provides actual evidence of the training parameters that are moving.
- Coaching/Training follow up is an essential part of personal training and being able to sit down with the athlete looking at real results, measured by week/day/session or even routine is “revolutionary”.
Now as time goes by those adopting, applying and developing training programs with this technology will also ultimately also benefit from the vendor’s research, knowledge and product development. Which in turn will enhance training knowledge and skills in applying real data to real training results. It seems almost common sense to have access to definitive feedback/data that shows the reality. Coaching 101 – real feedback is critical.
Common feedback from trainers using this technology today is “The more we talk about it (real data), the more it becomes integral in our training”.
Common feedback from the athletes using this technology is “The fact that it (my training) is being measured counts mentally towards my effort and approach.”
Sport and training is all about competition, split seconds and inches wouldn’t you want your athletes to know and hit their numbers?
You’ve heard the expression “I can run my business on the back of a napkin”? Well, not quite that bad these days but, it is still pretty common to hear people tell of how they “can get along just fine” with Excel and/or Word to keep everything in their small business running smoothly. Now.. as with many things just because you can doesn’t mean you should. This is especially the case with a modern 21st century fitness and training facility / business. It will cost you in the long run, a long run which is substantially shorter today.
There are 6 KEY REASONS why you should commit to formal systems that are specially written for the health and fitness industry:
1) Cost – Software is not only much cheaper today than it has been in the past but mostly it is also available as an ongoing service type arrangement or “Software as a Service” as us technical folks like to call it. Pay for it as you use it and ensure your vendor is actively engaged in your success as you do so.
2) The Cloud – You no longer need any material hardware and physical technology to use or consume your software services. Most leading systems today are available from the cloud. All you need is the laptop and/or tablet you probably already have. This aspect also obviously makes point #1 more compelling.
3) Ubiquitous Connectivity – It is rare these days for anyone to be without a connection to the internet and therefor your cloud based systems. Whether it is an incidental connection at your favorite coffee shop or in your gym or home you always have access to your systems. Historically this was not possible unless you had connections into your facility exposing your systems to the outside world.
4) Security – The vendors of all cloud based system are really focused on providing secure private systems and data for hundreds and in most cases thousands of clients and their users. This means that they invest heavily and constantly in high level security platforms way above and beyond what you would have as a small business with limited technical and financial resources.
5) Ongoing upgrades – The competitive landscape demands that leading software vendors ensure that they are always abreast if not ahead of their competitors and retain a high percentage of their existing customers. Keeping existing customers happy is cheaper than finding new ones. So, for the same monthly price you are assured that you are never left behind on an old version of the software and become outdated or worse unsupported.
6) Clients expect it! – The big one, most clients deal with many of these aspects in their daily lives in some way, shape or form and know what’s possible AND expect the best from you. It’s a competitive aspect because if you don’t have it “the guy down the street” will.
In short… software is now not expensive, available on vendor hardware not yours, always available to you no matter where you are, very secure and certainly more secure than you could have provided for and your software is always up-to-date. Win win win win win and #6 WIN!
Examples of the types of systems available include Gym Management software (training schedules, billing, classes, training resources etc.) and ii) Emailing and “Customer Relationship Management” software. Also available are services companies like Xperformm Inc. who specialize in Web Site and Social Media services specifically for the health and Fitness industry.
All that is left for you to do? What you do best – providing 21st century fitness and wellness services with passion and energy that clients will love.
Our technology and services are aimed at you the very fitness coach referred to above
“Dot it myself, its cheaper and I’ll learn vs. get an expert to do it for me?” It’s a reasonable question no doubt BUT not a clever question. Sounds harsh well…. Imagine if your fitness clients went down the same road – “I can learn to train myself. I’ll get on the web and I’ll do the research. I’ll start as a beginner and grow into advanced”
Would you suggest anyone trains themselves or does their own nutrition? You know the pitfalls, the problems and dangers involved because you are an expert right? Same goes for almost everything in your health & fitness business.
BUT… it goes much deeper. Experts live, eat and sleep their passion and specialty. We become experts because we live the job everyday and constantly look for ways to learn/improve, to become better and bring the best to our clients. In fact you’ll often here the saying “I spend 100% of my day dedicated to training and my clients fitness goals”. The result is constant learning, constant change and most importantly constant improvement and clients know this. When you’ve trained with a specialist you’ll never go back to the “weekend warrior” way of fitness. Clients regularly pay 15%-20% even 25% more to train with a trainer that is highly skilled and good at what they do. They live it!
So, the question is why would you spend anytime in your fitness business doing something you’re not GREAT at, you’re not a EXPERT at? The 5% rule states – “DO NOT do anything for more than 5% of your day that is not CRITICAL for YOU to do.” It just takes away from the time you have for your clients and expertise. Sure you’ll get it done but, how good will the result be? Sure you’ll save a little money but, how much revenue or investment are you actually giving up on? Would you rather not be on the client side of getting it done?
Then there is your virtual team. Having more people vested in your business success is a sure way to ensure you distinguish your fitness business from your competition. Every time you engage an expert to deliver an aspect for you business you are in fact growing your team, a team that is ultimately dedicated to you and your clients. More people means more time, more skills and better results. Spend the 5% of your day making sure this team is focused and delivering on their promises. Also, the nice thing about being the client is that you benefit from a professional relationship where your agent or vendor wants to keep you as a client and will ensure they act accordingly. Let them work hard for you just as you do for your clients.
It’s simple “Experts outsource” that’s how they stay experts.
Our technology services are designed to make sure you spend no more than 5% of your day doing what you do best!
Ask many trainers or gym owners today “what do you look for in gym management SOFTWARE?” and you may find the typical or traditional response – “what’s it going to cost me?” Unfortunate because today the capabilities and benefits far outweigh the flat dollar value in fact, critically analyzed you are more likely to find that it is not an “if” rather a “which one” type question. Not having a management system is flat-out poor business sense.
So then, how does one approach the selection of a system that will take care of and manage your gym/spa/studio?
Well…. let’s start off by putting the client first, just as you do when engaging a new client. What are their fitness goals? How important is reaching these goals to them? The “client” being your business! How important is success? What are the business goals? How important are these goals ranked in priority? This type of discussion you’ll find places the cost element or question near the bottom of the page.
Our suggestion is view the process in order of your gym business process:
- Engage clients – present your business, it’s strengths and differentiators.
- Sale/Sell – make it easy and painless to deal with the actual sales transaction.
- Onboarding – get your new client feeling welcome and “part of the family” providing all the important info they need.
- Deliver/Train – This is the part your so good at but, your system should make this a premier experience with progress reporting, scheduling, communication and motivation.
- Retain – This is usually the tricky part, keep them coming back, provide ongoing value.
When we unpack this process you will begin to focus on system features and capabilities that enhance your gym’s profile in the eyes and experience of your valued client.
Our system partners are world-class and have software that delivers on all fronts so please check out:
Like many industries the difference between an net new customer and an existing one is… well, HUGE. The cost,effort and time required to gain a new customer can range anywhere between $500 and $2,500. In the the gym and fitness world it is easily the old saying “you have to spend a $1 to make $1”, these days maybe even more like $1 to $2. So… it is well worth planning and working at both i)acquiring net new customers and ii) keeping the existing group happy and coming back for more.
Now, most health and fitness professionals will tell you “that is all well, fine and dandy but…..” prices are tough with anyone able to setup up shop down the road for at least a while, just long enough to do damage. Price is a motivator. Training and fitness is usually harder than it seems for customers who continually start and stop repeatedly. AND a trainer and client also have to form a bond, a personal relationship for it to work repeatedly which is not always easy to do. So, yes the gym and fitness world has some particular challenges and that is why many try but few survive.
It is to these survivors that these words are important. Believe in your products and services and treat existing customers as though they are family and….. don’t give your stuff away.
This is where your website and social media capabilities come in. It is a fast moving and very interactive/reactive arena with short time spans for engaging with people. BUT, it is well worth the effort and also quite simply not an option any longer, it is a must.
- Have a plan, a written down plan.
- Share and educate freely.
- Be patient and provide info in “Part I, Part II and Part III” fashion.
- Share customer success stories.
- Always ask for email and phone number for opt in lists.
- Have a referral plan.
Organic business growth lies somewhere between 12%- 20% but, revenue growth through existing customers can push your annual growth ate north of 35%. All you have to do is keep them interested, keep them engaged and keep them coming back for more. Fitness results are easy to sell.
Make sure your website and social media contacts point are responsive to questions and live chats. Surveys have shown that people will buy immediately if they feel they have been treated well, responded to quickly and given the right information. It is less and less the case that folks will pick up the phone and call from the “Contact Us” page. They prefer the “send me info” option or “live chat’ right now or will even “Register” to get at the information (cost, contract, time/schedules, facilities and services available etc.)