3 Tools to Amp Up Your Gym Business for the New Year and 1 Big No-No
As we come into the New Year, many of us who are trainers or own fitness businesses are bracing ourselves - not for the coming winter, but for the coming of the resolution clients. These clients sign up for memberships or classes, fill our studios for a month or so, and then disappear with the spring thaw or before, ne’er to be seen again. But there are other ways to try to get new, solid clients as we go into the new year. Many of us run facilities that can’t handle (nor do we want to handle) an onslaught of resolution makers, so we want solid, awesome, habit-forming customers.
These are my recommendations for technology tools you may have previously passed by that will help you gain and keep those most excellent clients.
Google Ad Words is how you get those little business suggestions to the right of, or on top of, your search results on Google. You set your spending budget yourself and set your own keywords, and thus you can find clients searching for exactly what you’re handing out, be that strongman training for moms or Zumba for the high-level executive man. And since Google offers to help you each step of the way (with real people, no less!), you can target the right strategies and spend your money wisely.
I know, I know, Facebook is the devil. They’re stealing your information and telling everyone that you “liked” that picture of Miley Cyrus. But Facebook can also help you reach the target audience you want. With ads and post boosting you can target geographic areas, genders, and age ranges, all at a budget you set yourself, much like Google Ad Words. As long as your business has a good Facebook presence with links to your website for registration and schedule (and you do have all this, right?), then this is a great option to get a little boost of exposure. If you haven’t yet started a Facebook page, go to Facebook to do so right now.
Conquerfit is an app that rewards your clients for tagging you on social media when they’ve had a great experience at your facility. I first encountered this company when I attended HACKFit and have watched their progress closely. This is a great way to gain exposure in a viral way, all by encouraging your clients to share their experiences. Expect a beta release early in the new year.
So there are some ideas you may not have tried out yet, or perhaps you find them old hat. If so, let me know what you use to get the clients you want by posting in the comments.
I also want to talk about the one thing I do not recommend in the new year when we’re already getting an influx of clientele.
New Year No-No: Group Deal Sites
I don’t care who they are or what the deal is. In a time of year when people are frantically joining gyms and signing up for cleanses, the last thing you need is to sell your services at lower than the going price. Save those group deals for your lower attendance months and rejoice when they get you bodies in the door. Use these programs when you need them - not when people would already be knocking down your door to get into class.
I never use group deals, not because I don’t think they are useful in some settings, but they’re not useful for my business. I do only small group training and in a small facility, so I want my classes small and not full to the brim. So pay attention to your business model and do what you need (with the technical resources available to you), not just what you think everyone else is doing.
Now go forth! Celebrate the coming new year, and if you get some downtime while people are eating cookies and traveling for the holidays, explore some of the online tools I’ve highlighted above to make your client base larger and your ownership and management experience easier. And above all, Happy New Year!
Groupon photo courtesy of Shutterstock.