Whether you own a boutique studio or operate a large fitness facility, driving sales and growth is likely a key metric. And although business strategies for gyms look different from business to business, there are a few baseline strategies to facilitate improvement across the board.
And regardless of how well your business is doing, there are always ways to improve. Instead of treating improvement like an overwhelming task, try making small, significant improvements each month. Creating meaningful and achievable goals will help you chip away at your bigger, long-term goals as you enjoy greater success. The following are a few strategies you can use to slowly but surely improve the business at your fitness club.
If you operate a small or boutique fitness facility:
Energize Your Customer Service
Depending on the size of your gym, you may be a trainer, the receptionist and a new member coordinator in addition to being an owner. You clearly have plenty to do, but it’s important not to lose sight of the reason behind all that you do – your members.
Check in with your staff. It may be time to refresh your customer service. This can easily be done by changing the way you greet customers; compliment them, smile when you say their name, and make an extra effort to notice how well they are doing at your gym. Go ahead and tell them, “Great job!” or “Looking good!”
If you notice a frequent member who hasn’t shown up for a while, go the extra mile and give them a call to touch base and make sure they are all right. One of the main reasons people choose smaller gyms over a global one is the extra personal attention.
If you operate a medium or large fitness facility:
Evaluate Your Offerings
There’s no doubt that many of your gym members do the same routine day in and day out. They hit the elliptical or treadmill for 30 minutes and call it a day.
Help your clients stay committed by providing them a variety of diverse fitness offerings. Bring in guest coaches and instructors, provide workshops and informative courses, add or modify classes, and in general create new and exciting ways for your members to stay engaged and interested. In doing so, you may attract new customers. After all, fad studio gyms come and go, but you can change up the classes at your gym and add routines that are being offered as “fads” rather than committing the entire gym to the concept or idea.
Another way to evaluate your offerings is to sponsor 5K runs, connect with a charity, or add something special such as a “wedding season” boot camp. Members love these types of promotions and they keep things fresh and exciting.
If your gym has a retail shop, consider your offerings. Beyond tank tops and towels, consider what other fitness products your members are buying, like supplements. They will buy them somewhere, so why not sell high-quality products to them right at the gym? This will not only make you a leader in the industry, it will keep your members coming back to you for the product. A win-win for everyone.
For any size fitness facility:
Try a new marketing tactic
Do you consistently advertise in the same newspaper or billboard location? Maybe it’s time to mix up your marketing tactics to increase your gym’s brand recognition and attract new members. You may need to invest a little up front, but it will be well worth it when prospects start becoming members. At the very least, you should have a website for your gym, a Facebook page, and an Instagram account. Be sure you regularly post to social media to keep your members engaged, and add blogs to your gym’s website so you can be found through SEO.
Networking is another great marketing tactic that can help you make connections and get more customers. As mentioned, sponsoring an event like a 5K or donating to a non-profit makes you look good and is an amazing way to bring in new members.
Solicit member feedback
Word of mouth is a great tactic and is one of the best ways to attract new members. Plus, research shows that it costs approximately 10 times more to attract a new member than it does to keep an existing one. In other words, don’t take your current members for granted.
The fitness industry is extremely competitive and your greatest assets are the members you already have. They have plenty of options, so it’s important to give them what they want or they may leave you for another gym. But unless you ask, you can’t be 100 percent sure what it is that your members want.
From time to time, send out feedback surveys or questionnaires with questions like:
1. Do you take classes? Are there any classes you’d like to see here? How are the class times working/not working for you?
2. Do you find our child care sufficient?
3. How would you rate our staff?
4. What improvements would you like us to make?
5. What do you enjoy about this gym? What do you dislike? How can we make your experience better?
Make sure you take the feedback to heart instead of getting defensive or ignoring it. You don’t have to make every change your customers request, but overall, it’s a good idea to listen to your customers and make sure they feel as though they are being heard.
If after a few rounds of sending out surveys you notice that your members aren’t filling them out, increase participation by offering a small discount at your gym’s retail shop or smoothie bar, or do a raffle that asks members to complete the survey by a specific deadline in order to be eligible to win the prize. Members are more likely to do a survey when there is some kind of motivation.
Running a gym requires a ton of commitment, dedication, energy and continual change to keep things fresh and new. If you never improve your gym, you will find yourself failing. Making small, steady improvements, however, will help you grow and succeed in the industry.