Lead generating for a couple of bucks November 02 2016
Forget mailers, door hangers, and newspaper inserts. Just for a moment, forget those things. Not because they don’t work. They do work, but they also cost money. And if I have learned anything as a fitness business coach, it is this: Business owners, especially fitness business owners do not like to spend money on marketing. And when they do, they expect a huge number of people to contact them and say something like, “Hey I just got this thing in the mail. I want to come give you money right now.”
I used to own a gym, so I understand.
So, rather than try to convince you that by having a consistent, year round plan of attack, tracking responses from your efforts, and from there sales, let me instead, see if I am able to get you to jump on board with a less expensive form of marketing first.
Purchase 5000 3 inch by 5 inch passes. Get them by clicking here: http://hipgym.com/products/1-000-passes
This will be the best $300.00 you have ever spent.
Now, get out a pen and paper. Or open up word. Whatever you prefer.
Write down all of the businesses near you. Retail businesses. The same type of business you have, where anybody can walk on in anytime. Hair salon, nail salon, cell phone place, convenient store, clothing store, etc.
If you have to drive around, which you likely will, do it. Get all of these businesses on paper.
Add them up. How many do you have? 75? 150? 122? Whatever the number is, divide it by 8.
Example: 123 total businesses. Divided by 8 equals 15.375. Rounded equals 15.
Why 8? You are going to visit each one of these businesses ONCE every two months, or roughly 8 weeks.
So, in my example, we need to visit 15 businesses per week. Okay, now what?
Monday and Friday. Those are the two days that I want you to visit these businesses. Take the number of businesses per week (in my example, it is 15) by TWO.
7.5, I will round it to 8.
I need to visit 8 businesses on Monday and 8 businesses on Friday.
Record how many 3 inch by 5 inch passes you provide to each business.
Who are the passes for? The employees of the these businesses. Most of these businesses will have around 10 to 15 employees. Give enough for 75% to 100% of employees.
Some businesses will allow you to leave passes on counters. This is awesome. But don’t ask on your first pass. Get to know them a bit, but if they offer, take them up on it. Get some cardboard holders for this scenario.
Jason, I can’t get my employees to do this. Fire them. Seriously, fire them right now you pussy.
Okay, before you hand them walking papers, make sure you have tried the following:
“John, our awesome salesperson, I need you to grab 100 or so passes and get outside the gym on Monday from 2pm to 3pm and from Friday 10am to 11am. Here is the list of businesses you will visit with these passes. Simply walk in, “Hi, my name is John and I am with Awesome Blossom Fitness right down the street, and I have some awesome passes I wanted to give to you and all of the employees here at Mings Nail Salon. How many people work here?”
Find out how many people work there, and hand somebody who works there enough passes for almost everyone. Smile, say thanks, walk out. Record how many passes you provided. Do this for 8 businesses. Come back to gym.”
If you do this two days of week, 52 weeks per year, going back to each business every 8 weeks, you will meet new people, including customers, you will increase “impressions” a lot and you will sell more memberships. And then, when you do send out 5000 mailers, or 1000 newspaper inserts, or have the boyscouts distribut 1000 door hangers, those mediums will be more successful because the folks receiving them will have maybe seen some passes on counters or in their employee break room, or seen John the salesperson walking around town in his staff logo shirt and name tag.
If they still won’t do it, fire them and get employees who will.
Keep changing lives.
Content Marketing June 22 2016
Below is an article that our friend Jason Linse recently wrote. It's very insightful into how to get the attention of different personality types.
Content marketing. You have heard the phrase. You likely even know what it means and why it is important.
Free, free, free. Everybody wants something for free. Sort of. Information, nowadays, is expected to be free.
Wondering about something? Work the google on the internet machine and you will find the answer.
I have been writing content to benefit gym owners for many years. And I have filmed hundreds of videos.
I do enjoy it all, and if not for all of my content, I would not be doing what I am doing.
A friend of mine is a runner. Well, he was a runner as a kid, being one of the fastest cross country runners in his home state. Now he is 42 years old. Through the years, he has been forced to abandon running for as long as 10 years at a time, due to injuries. Now, he is healthy and back at it with a goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
He is a high GREEN. An analyzer. www.personalityandfitness.com is the place to find out what you are. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org with “personality” in the subject line and I will get you a promo code to take the 5 minute assessment.
My friend recently hired an online running coach. He gets his running plan emailed to him and after each run, my friend emails the coach and reports on how the run went.
I asked my friend, his name is Mark, why he hired a coach. And then I asked him why he hired THIS particular coach.
“I wanted an expert to help me with the right training approach so I could qualify for the Boston Marathon.”
“I chose this dude because he had so much free content out there. I read an article and felt he knew what he was talking about, so I kept reading.”
In my world, as a fitness business coach, I have to put out a lot of good content to appeal to the GREEN folks.
I have to focus on the systems and processes, like my 7 steps to gigantic gym profits in order to appeal to the YELLOW people.
I need to show a good amount of my personality, a risk taking, sort of rebel, who has a disdain for boring and loves variety. This appeals to the primary ORANGES.
And finally, the most challenging thing for me to do, and one I admit that I don’t spend as much time on: Appealing to the primary BlUE people. My last color is BLUE, therefore hardest for me to get the attention of. BlUE people are the harmonizers. They value close personal relationships and are the true people/people. They don’t like to hurt other people’s feelings. Here’s my rationale behind not spending too much time worrying about what BLUE folks think: I am fun, fair, sensitive, intuitive, and a good listener, but I also care more about your sales and profits than I do about hurting your fucking feelings. And I curse. But that is also why many ORANGES (and many gym owners are primary ORANGE and primary GREEN) like me. GREENS appreciate my logic behind my systems, and love my hundreds of articles and videos full of information.
Okay, enough about me. You want to get the attention of all four quadrants?
Here is a link to an article I wrote and published at Linkedin. It went sort of viral, which is awesome.
Let me know what you think after reading it.
Keep changing lives.
Marketing with Facebook April 19 2016
You need to have a Facebook page for your fitness business. You know that already, don’t you?
Do you know the general rule for how many times you should update your status? And what type of stuff should you write, share, or post?
There are a few books out there with several hundred pages written about social media marketing. I recommend “Jab, jab, jab, right hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk. Or “No B.S. guide to direct response social media marketing” by Dan Kennedy and Kim Walsh-Phillips.
But since those two books go over more than Facebook, in this blog post, let me give you the basic playbook for Facebook marketing to make sure you are doing the best with what is arguably the most important social medium.
-Post twice per day. 7am and 4pm. (give or take, you don’t have to be super anal about those time)
-Post inspirational and motivational stuff. You are a gym, your goal is to keep folks coming back to your page, so give them positive things to read.
-Don’t update your class times. Don’t do it. Your Facebook page is for non-members. Your website can have times listed. I see this all of the time. A gym with 400 “likes” who only updates class times for the day. Boy that is exciting.
-Share memes, articles, blogs, etc.
-Once every 5 to 10 days, assuming you are consistently posting twice per day, sell something. Email email@example.com with “example” in the subject line and I will get you a great example for how to sell something on Facebook.
-You have to pay to play. Spend $150.00 per month to grow you followers. Spend another $50.00 or so per month to “boost” certain posts. You goal is to have 3000 to 5000 followers in most sized markets.
Keep changing lives.
How to get the most from direct mail November 10 2015
It is November of 2015. The new year is fast approaching. Are you ready? Listen, I get it. I understand. Spending money on marketing sucks, but it is necessary. I know that a lot of gyms take much of the year off, but I also know that the one time of the year they focus on some marketing efforts is around the new year.
Do this: Drop 5000 mailers the second week in January.
Drop 75000 mailers the 1st week in February.
Drop 10000 mailers the 3rd week in March.
Here is the offer: 10 days for $10.00
Have 2 or 3 pictures on the front. NOT of your equipment, but of folks using balls, bells, and ropes.
Have two testimonials on the back, one from a male, one from a female. These are two people who lost 20 to 30 pounds. Don’t go with the 100 pounder. That’s the exception. Go with the most common amount of weight folks want to lose.
Track results. This means that you don’t say things like, “I sent out 5000 mailers and only got one member.” That is not how it works.
“From the 5000 mailers, we received 27 telephone calls. From the 27 calls, we booked 18 appointments to tour. 12 showed up, and 8 joined. We also had 13 walk ins from the mail piece. 9 of them joined.”
When I say joined, I am talking about taking advantage of the 10 days for 10 dollars, OR taking a longer term membership.
Expect most folks to take the 10 days for 10 dollars.
There are 4 follow up steps during the 10 day membership. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “10 day follow up” in the subject line and I will get those two you in a word document.
If you use hip gym, there are no hidden fees and no creative costs. The price is what you see on the website. You don’t have to use hip gym, but whomever you go with, make sure you are getting an 8 by 11 inch piece full color on both sides and excellent quality.
Mail houses will advertise crazy low prices, and then you find out they are post card sized, which won’t cut it, and so thin you can see through the piece.
Keep changing lives.
How to design a marketing plan. April 23 2015
Let’s say you decide to paint your home. Do you do it? Do you hire a professional? Painting is not rocket science. Yes, there is some skill and carefulness, and knowledge involved, but it isn’t like overhauling an engine.
Me, personally, I hire a professional painter. To me it is more about time. My time is worth more than the cost of hiring a professional painter. Plus, I get to help out a small business owner. Win/win.
Designing a marketing plan for your fitness business is similar, in my opinion. It isn’t the hardest thing to do. But there are professionals out there who will do it for you, and charge you a few bucks. We, at hip gym offer that service. We have a fitness business expert on our team who will design, for you, a 12 month marketing plan. The cost is only $149.00.
So, if you feel that your time is worth more than $149.00, shoot Mike an email. Mike@hipgym.com
But for the DIY folks, let me help you as it may be simply a matter of you needing to understand the basics and how to get started.
-Figure out your budget. Take your gross annual revenue. All the dollars you bring in in one year. Take that number and figure out what 7% is. Between 5% and 10% is recommended. Personally, I recommend 10%, but because I have never met a gym owner who feels comfortable spending that much, asking you to go with 7% is acceptable.
Example: Gross annual revenue: $310,000.00
7% of $310,000.00 equals $21,700.00
-Figure out how you want to divide it up over the 12 months. We have a formula. Email email@example.com with “formula” in the subject line and I will get shoot it back to you.
To give you an idea, you will spend more in January, February and March than you will in June, July and August.
-Break your budget up into 3 month chunks. This makes it easier to plan and to spend.
-Count everything. Door hangers, inserts and passes all have hard costs and few bucks shipping. But getting a group to distribute door hangers will also cost and so will getting a newspaper to place inserts. Social media also has costs. You have to pay someone to handle it.
-Make adjustments along the way. Your revenue may start going up a lot, thus allowing you to spend a few bucks more in the second half of the year.
-Track everything. You need to know how many phone calls come in from your marketing efforts, and how many tours.
-Do not conflate marketing with sales. Please don’t only look at the end result. A marketing piece, or electronic ad is designed to elicit a response. A phone call, an walk-in, or an email. That’s it. Track your numbers so you know if you have a marketing message problem, or a sale problem.
Keep changing lives.
How to use Facebook effectively March 25 2015As a fitness business, you must have a Facebook page. More importantly, you must update it regularly. But what do you say? How do you use Facebook to get more customers?
I have been studying the four quadrant theory of personality for over four years. Using this scientific approach, it’s actually simple to write sentences, ads and updates designed for these quadrants.
The world is made up of Energizers, Organizers, Harmonizers and Analyzers. We are parts of all four, but we have a primary, and we respond to certain words based on that primary quadrant.
Organizer buzz words: dependable, plan, organized, serve, manage, consistent, program, loyal, list and check.
Energizer buzz words: fun, exciting, challenge, adventure, compete, change, discount, action, variety, risk and freedom.
Harmonizer buzz words: friendly, welcome, create, amazing, good, love, supportive, family, engage and unique.
Analyzer buzz words: analyze, concept, think, logic, direct, learn, excel, self, professional, discuss, motivate, effective, experience and solve.
So, all you need to do is make sure you have at least one or two words from each quadrant in your Facebook status update, especially when you are using it to sell, which is something you should only do once in a while.
Here is a great example: “Do you need help with a workout plan? One that is fun and challenging, with friendly, supportive and experienced professionals? If so, come try us out for 30 days for only $19.00! Experience all the programs we have to offer here at Awesome Blossom Fitness for 30 days for only $19.00 with no obligation to continue. Simply call or stop in and mention this post!”
Organizer words: plan and programs. Energizer words: fun and challenging. Harmonizer words: friendly and supportive. Analyzer words: experienced and professionals.
Email me with “personality” in the subject line to get your free e-book with more info.
The magic number 27 February 26 2015
I started writing articles for Club Solutions Magazine in March of 2014. Almost one year ago.
I have written 23 blog posts for their website, www.clubsolutionsmagazine.com I have written 2 sales blasts, also for their website.
I have written two articles for their print magazine, Club Solutions.
That is a total of 27.
I have been saying for years that when it comes to marketing, people need to trust a formula related to number of impressions.
People need to see something 3 times before they remember it. And people need to remember something 9 times before it is firmly implanted in their brain. So, 27 impressions is needed for many people before they take action.
I don’t know where I heard this, but I do know that I have tested it. Sort of. When it comes to a gym marketing, hitting somebody in your neighborhood 27 times, such as in the form of a door hanger, or mailer, will take around 4 months.
14 to 16 weeks, hitting them with something twice per week, as an example.
And this is about the time many gyms give in. They try pounding their message for 3 to 4 months, and when results aren’t great, they give up. But, in theory, this is the time when they should be staying the course, as the results are about to come.
So, when I owned a gym, I did just that. Despite my business partner wondering what I was doing, and even my employees reporting no results from our efforts, I kept it going. For the entire 2.5 years of owning this gym, we pounded as best we could. Taking no time off.
And I spend a lot of time designing marketing plans for my clients and coaching them to keep it pounding for 4 to 6 months regardless of results.
When I first started writing articles for Club Solutions, I had been a fitness business consultant for 3.5 years. Business was good, but not great. Like many gyms, it wasn’t about closing percentage, having a good product, or getting results for my clients. It was about getting enough leads.
The articles helped with exposure. I did see some more calls and emails. Then, a couple of weeks ago, it exploded. People who came across my articles were emailing and calling. More than I had ever seen before.
Do you think it is simply coincidence that this occurred at the same time as my 27th article was published?
Neither do I.
Keep changing lives.
Inexpensive and effective marketing January 14 2015
No business likes to spend money on marketing. But every business needs to spend money on marketing. The main reason that gyms don’t like to spend money on marketing is because it is hard to measure results sometimes. And most gyms don’t give it the proper college try, which is 120 days of pounding your message before you are allowed to say, “we tried that and it didn’t work.”
I could go on and on about the numerous discussions I have had with gym owners and how NOT ONE of them ever had a marketing plan before I designed one for them. But I would only come across more smarmy than I probably already sound. So I will move on and give you some solid suggestions for marketing that don’t involve a lot of money and don’t involve much of a plan.
Guerilla marketing: Shake the bushes, get your boots on the streets, pound the pavement. This style of marketing involves some time, some physical movement, and some 3 inch by 5 inch passes.
3 inch by 5 inch pass: On the front, have your offer. 30 days for $19.00 is a good one. On the back, a map to your location and a testimonial. You can purchase 5000 passes for $300.00 at www.hipgym.com
Seriously, that comes out to 6 cents apiece. These 5000 passes will last you for about 6 months in most markets. That comes down to about 50 dollars per month.
What do I do with these passes? Hump it. Get your ass out of the gym and walk into your local retail business neighbors and hand them out. Simple as that. If a business is kind enough to let you leave them on their counter, do it. Get some cardboard holders so they can be propped upright.
Your goal is to visit very single retail business in a 15 minute drive time once every 4 to 6 weeks.
Yes, you will be back. Over and over and over and over. I am going to repeat this: You are going to revisit every retail business once every 4 to 6 weeks. Why? Because these passes will get tossed, 99% of the time. You walk into jiffy lube and give 15 passes to the boss man who has 15 employees. Some part time and some full time. He hands them to his team and they all toss them aside. But next month, you come in one day after one of his employees has a doctor visit. Doctor tells him he is fat and out of shape, has high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Now that pass is important to him.
Get it? Good.
Keep changing lives.
How to design a marketing plan December 23 2014
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This is a quote from Ben Franklin. I agree with Mr. Franklin, and I like to think that anybody reading this would agree with me. But I also know, being an expert on personality, that about 50% of the population struggles with planning. And in my experience, less than 10% of gym owners actually have a 12 month marketing plan.
Whether you are a person who loves to plan, or somebody that despises it, you have two choices when it comes to marketing your fitness business. 1. Create a marketing plan, be proactive and have a good chance at success. 2. Don’t plan, be reactive, and almost guarantee failure.
Here’s the deal: We at hip gym can help. We can design a marketing plan for you, no problem. Yes, it will cost you a few bucks, but trust me, if you are not somebody who likes to design marketing plans and/or you don’t know where to start, the $149.00 you spend would be worth it if were $949.00.
If you want to design your own, here is how you go about it:
Step one: Calculate the budget. The formula we recommend is to spend between 5% and 10% of gross annual revenue on marketing. So, to make it easy, take 7%
Step two: Calculate the breakdown monthly. Some months require more money spent than others. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a document that breaks down the monthly percentages.
Step three: Decide where to spend it. Print marketing works, and is necessary. We recommend a combination of door hangers, direct mail, passes, and inserts. If you purchase in bulk, you will get the most bang for your buck.
Step four: Track it. Before you decide that direct mail pieces don’t work, be sure you track how many phone call, tours, and emails come from the campaign. Not sales. The marketing piece is designed to solicit a response. Salespeople turn these leads into sales.
Step five: Make adjustments along the way. Design a plan for 12 months, but be prepared to possibly make adjustments based on increased revenue or lack of results.
To get started on us building you a marketing plan, simply order through www.hipgym.com and a representative will contact you to set up a 30 minute call. Within one week of this call, you will have a plan in writing ready to be implemented.
Keep changing lives.
How to do a door hanger campaign December 09 2014
Door hangers can be an effective way to get more leads for your fitness business. They can sometimes be even more effective than Direct mail marketing. But being around this fitness industry for 19 years, I know that it takes a bit more thinking through to pull off a successful door hanger campaign than it does a mailer. Let me walk you through the key points so you get the most bang for you buck.
-Cost per piece. Print marketing always comes down to cost per piece, and it is always based on purchase volume. If you want to order only 500 door hangers, you are going to pay much more per piece than if you order 10000. I get annoyed when gym owners purchase a small amount. Do you have a closet? Then order 10000 or more and store them. They aren’t going to rot. They don’t have a shelf life. You can get the cost down to 6 cents per piece if you order enough door hangers. The Hip 10000 package is a good example. The Hip 10000 package includes 10000 hangers, 10000 inserts/flyers and 10000 passes. 30000 total pieces for $1800.00. 6 cents per piece. Customized, no design fees, no hidden fees. In upcoming blog posts, I will cover inserts/flyers, and passes, but for this one, I am only tackling door hangers. Take the 10000 door hangers and put them in the closet. Grab 1000 hangers, leaving 9000 in the closet.
-Find a youth group to distribute. Here is where you are going to add to the cost per piece. Your goal is to distribute 1000 door hangers for between $50.00 and $100.00. Call the boy scouts. Tell them you are looking for 10 boys, aged 10 to 15 to each take 100 hangers and place them in neighborhoods that you designate. Then ask them if $50.00 is an acceptable donation. I used to pay $100.00 at a gym I owned a few years ago. $100.00 brings the total cost per piece up to 16 cents, which is still about half of what a good size direct mail piece would cost you. If the boy scouts say no, call the girl scouts. Then the high school athletic director. Maybe a church group.
-Don’t do this alone. To get the most bang, you need to get 500 to 1000 out in one shot. A 3 to 4 hour campaign on a Saturday morning, and you are golden. Work out a deal to have the scout group do it once per month for the year and you will get your 10000 out before you know it.
Email email@example.com for a free marketing guide.
Keep changing lives.
About you! April 01 2014
Gyms, fitness centers, trainers, and nutritionists all have websites. Well, at least they all should have one. Now, some people who pay more attention to the internet than I do, predict that in a few years, websites will not be very popular, perhaps even obsolete.
But as of today, they are still necessary, and can be a very effective marketing platform.
Go to a gym website. Seriously, do it now. It can be your own a competitor, or www.planetfitness.com if you just want to click on a link.
On the home page of a gym’s website, can you see a tab that reads, “About us”? Or maybe is just reads, “About”.
Don’t click on it. Instead, take a minute and predict what you think you will find when you click on that tab.
Okay, now for those of you reading this who track your analytics, therefore you know how many people click on your website daily, weekly, monthly etc: For every 100 website hits, how many click on your “About us” tab?
I predict that you will find it to be a very low percentage. And why do you suppose that is?
Nobody cares about what you think about yourself. They care about how they think and feel about themselves.
So, here’s what I want you to do: Get rid of the “About us” tab, and replace it with: “About you!”
Yes, I think you should add an exclamation point, but you don’t have to.
Under this section, I want a video to pop up. I want someone who is good in front of a camera (I am happy to do this for you. I have a $7000.00 movie quality camera and a fitness studio) to say something like this:
“Thanks for checking out Awesome Blossom Fitness, the gym that wants to help you reach your health and fitness goals whether you become a member, or not. Start by telling us a little about you and what you are looking for regarding your health and fitness needs. Simply click on one of the boxes below, whichever one most closely matches your interests and goals. Whether it be weight loss, weight maintenance, strength training, nutrition advice, social activities, or two or more of the categories, we’ve got you covered. We have e-books and videos that will provide you with free information, including tips and support to help you reach your goals. All we need is your name and email and you will be on your way to getting support from Awesome Blossom Fitness at no cost, and without ever being a member. Of course, we would love to have you come and take a tour, and get started on a 30 day trial membership with no obligation to join. But the first step is to tell us about you, and we can go from there!”
Shoot some videos on weight loss, strength training, etc. and /or author some e-books or have a professional write them for you.
I know that this concept will work if done correctly.
It is never about you and your gym. It is always about them. It always has been and it always will be.
This idea came to me recently and it will work for any business. www.jasonlinse.com will have a “About you!” tab in the near future. Nobody clicks on About Jason. Okay, people do, but not as much as they click around on other parts.
When people click on the “About you!” tab, a video will play and they will watch me say something like:
“Thanks for checking out jasonlinse.com, the website that exists to help gym owners maximize profits. Please tell me more about yourself so I can best understand how to help you sell more memberships, more personal training, get more leads, retain more members, etc. Simply click on one or more of the boxes below and I will get you some awesome FREE information on that topic.”
I will have categories like: Telephone Inquiries. Tours. Referrals. Marketing. Number Tracking. Training Centric systems. And more.
With a name and an email, I will get them free content on their preferred topic. Videos, e-books, articles, etc.
I already do this on my home page, and I think you should do it there as well. But even if you do it there, doing it under the “About you!” tab is still recommended.
With a name and email, I have them on my newsletter, and perhaps one day they will want onsite training, or telephone coaching. Or to purchase one of my for sale products.
And speaking of that, check out my store page over the next few days. It will be chock full of cool stuff to help your gym run on all cylinders. Videos, PDFs, e-books, scripts, etc.
All awesome content, and all inexpensive.
Okay, back to the “About you!” concept, to finish up: I think it will be effective and it won’t take much work. You could start with two topics: Weight loss, and strength training. They can choose one or the other, or both. You could easily get your hands on two e-books on these respective topics.
And please contact me to set up a complimentary business review call if you have not before. Jason@jasonlinse.com
Oh, and www.personalityandfitness.com is still happening and my web person said by April 7th. He has made promised before, but claims this time it is for real. We shall see. I am super pumped and you should be too because using this personality tool to help make more sales and retain more members is real, really easy, and inexpensive.
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be on a list of the first 100 gyms to get special pricing. You don’t even have to do it. The first step is you will be part of a pilot program to try it out, and then go from there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV8e4QUvTd4&feature=youtu.be
Keep changing lives.
So, the little got less and less January 13 2014
Do you have a marketing plan?
Do you know how to design a marketing plan?
If you answered no to both of those questions, no worries. I have you covered.
This blog post will complement an article I wrote for Club Industry. Go to www.clubindustry.com
Click on the “expert advice” tab. Look for the article titled, “Combine Print and Digital marketing to reach your targets demographic.”
This blog post is not going to discuss digital marketing. I CAN help you with using Facebook and your website to gain an audience/tribe. If you read the Club Industry article, you should learn enough to get started. This blog post is about creating a plan and understanding why it is important to have one.
Rule number one of gym industry marketing: Spend 10% of gross annual revenue on marketing.
Rule number two of gym industry marketing: Spend 10% of gross annual revenue on marketing.
Rule number three of gym industry marketing: Spend less than 10% of gross annual revenue on marketing, and you will not maximize profits.
It works like this: 2013 Gross annual revenue: $236,000.00 (example)
10% of that amount is: $23,600.00
If you divide that up equally among the 12 months you would get a few dollars south of $2000.00 per month.
BUT, I don’t want you to distribute it evenly. I want you to spend more in certain months, and less in other months.
That was pretty simple, and did not take long. Okay, now what do we spend it on?
Mailers, hangers, inserts, passes, billboards, signage, radio, television.
Those are pretty much your options. In most markets, TV and radio are out, as most gym budgets won’t allow for it.
Billboards maybe in certain markets, if you can negotiate a good rate.
But I recommend pounding your marketing message through mailers, hangers, inserts, and passes.
Rule number four of gym industry marketing: You need to pound your marketing message at least weekly.
You cannot have 3000 mailer drop on January 4th, and then do nothing until February 15th. You can’t. Why not?
Rule number five of gym industry marketing: People need to see something 27 times before they take action. This takes about 4 to 5 months if you are pounding your message one time to two times per week.
I know at least a few gym owners are reading this and thinking to themselves: “We pounded hard for 3 to 4 months and it just didn’t seem to work.”
You gave up just when it was about to start working.
Okay, I have written a lot about marketing recently, so it is time I move on to another topic soon. But I wanted to get one more out there to hopefully help some people better understand how to spend. Let me end it with some FAQs.
1) “Jason, do you we have to spend 10%? Where does that number come from? I have heard other people say 5%.
You don’t have to spend 10%, but the reason I recommend it, is that in this industry, that amount will prevent you from under spending. It is my opinion that 5% is too low, BUT I would be ok with a gym compromising at 7.5%. This is part of the reason that gyms, and other businesses, struggle. They don’t want to overspend. And sometimes it simply takes an expert’s advice on what to do. So, let me be that expert: Spend 10%.
2) “Jason, it seems that when we market and advertise, we get the same amount of traffic as when we don’t”
I am going to predict that if you are experiencing no change, or very little change when you market, and when you don’t, then you are not being consistent. You are being reactive and sporadic.
Spend 10%, pound your message weekly, track it for at least 6 months, and then get back to me about the increase, decrease, or neither, of the phone ringing, door swinging, and inbox dinging.
3) “Jason, what should we offer?”
I want you to have a trial membership as an offer. And you don’t like them. You want to conflate sales and marketing. You want the marketing piece to do the selling. But it won’t. Or, I should say, it will, but only for a very small percent of people.
If you do free enrollment every time, you are screaming to people in your area: “Come and join! And don’t pay an upfront fee that you probably didn’t really think existed. Act now and save!”
I get why gyms do that one. First, they don’t care about charging and enrollment fee, because they don’t know how to sell it. They don’t see the value in it themselves, and their salespeople see even less value in it. Second, that offer seems to work the best. What else do you really have? 50% off of enrollment? Who are you fooling there? Jack it up, and cut it in half.
30 days for $19.00 (or whatever half of a single simple access membership is)
4) “Jason, we let people try it, and very few join. Why is that?”
Probably because you do very little to give the trial member a reason to stay.
First, charging an amount, like $19.00 is proven more effective than 14 days free, or 21 days free. They have to part with some money, so they are more likely to use the product at least once. Second, you need to get them some coaching to go along with that. Many gym owners do not know how to properly lead and nuance that process properly. Third, you need to follow 8 steps during the 30 day trial to help hit the maximum number of conversions. (I have those steps for you. email@example.com) Fourth, you need to be realistic about the conversions. If you get 50% of all 30 day trial members to convert to a longer term membership, you are doing awesome.
When you first open a gym, and even for the first couple of years, you can send out a mailer once or twice per year with a free enrollment offer, and it will have some effectiveness. After a while, however, you will see a point of diminishing return.
A paid trial offer, if done right, and pounded weekly, will yield solid results.
I can design a 12 month marketing plan for you for only $99.00. Per location. If you have several locations, we will figure something out, as you can take the plan from one of your clubs, and use it for other clubs with a little tweaking.
One hour on the phone together. 30 minutes of me asking you questions. 30 minutes of you asking me questions. 3 to 5 pages of a 12 month plan, 3 to 5 days later.
Keep changing lives.
Pound and track November 11 2013
Fitness marketing is actually fairly straightforward in our opinion. Yes, you need to embrace technology and social media. If you don’t have a Facebook page yet, shut the doors, refund money and find a new job. And your website needs to be dynamic. You need to blog post, use videos, and constantly update it and link things to your Facebook page. You should use constant contact, or a similar company to communicate to members and prospects via email once every couple of weeks.
But you also need to continue to use print marketing. This is used mainly to attract the attention of people over the age of 35. We call it H.I.P. marketing, hence our name HIP Gym.
Hangers: Door hangers are cheap, and they can be effective. The reason gyms don’t use them enough, this is due to figuring out who is going to distribute them, and at what cost. Check with local youth groups, and worst case scenario, YOU get out there once per week and deliver 200.
Inserts: Two sided 8.5 by 11 inch stuck in your local/neighborhood newspaper. Again, the cost of the product is cheap, but there are costs to the newspaper for inserting and distributing. But, it’s worth a few phone calls, and don’t be afraid to barter the cost down, including a trade out if possible.
Passes: These can be 3 by 5 in size. Door to door, business to business, fairs, festivals, races, etc. Make it a goal to spend one hour 3 days per week going b to b with these passes.
You need to spend at least 5% of annual gross revenue on marketing.
But you also need to track the efforts. This is not an exact science and can be downright challenging. Let us try to help you get an idea of what to expect:
Hangers: 2% response rate is probably realistic. So, every week you place 200, you may get 4 people who inquire. This makes 8 to 10 per month and about 100 per year.
Inserts: Probably around 1%, but you can distribute a lot more at once. 2000 per time, twice per month equals 4000 inserts per month. That should get you 30 to 40 inquires.
Passes: This one is the hardest to get a gauge on. Going door to door b to b, means a lot of them are going in the wastebasket, or going to collect dust on the break room table, BUT it is worth your time and effort as it gets a body out of the gym, and in the faces of people in your area. And these things are super cheap, so for about $150.00 per month, you will have more than you can probably hand out.
Pound your message on your site, and have a strong Facebook presence. Use videos on your site, blog post, and give tons of free fitness advice.
Pound your message using H.I.P. (and direct mail, we will discuss at another time) track it as best you can, but one of the best way to know how effective it is, is to pound it consistently for 6 months, and then pull back for two weeks, and see how much less the phone is ringing, door is swinging, and inbox is dinging.
And regarding your message: 30 days for $19.00 (50% of whatever your single, simple access fee is, so training clubs, it may be 30 days for $69.00)
Keep changing lives!
Gorillas in the mist September 21 2013
Here at Hip Gym we wonder how many gyms implement guerilla marketing on a regular basis. We hate to be perceived as cynics, and make a prediction that it is less than 5%, but we will do so, and stand by the statement as realists.
We make this prediction based on numerous conversations with numerous gym owners over the past several years.
Get out of your gym, and get into the community.
The “community” is defined as both the local business community and the residential community.
Listen, we get it: You own a gym where people have to come to, in order to be a member and use the facility. You have a building, signage, a website, a Facebook page, and you sent all the homes in your area a mailer when you first opened, and then again in January. You are thinking, “what more do I have to do?”
The answer: A lot.
Most of you have heard how people need to have 7 or 8 impressions before taking action. If this is true, and it most likely is, then you have to repeatedly let people know that you exist and you can help them.
And there are many different mediums available to reach your target audience.
Direct mail, inserts, and door hangers are all staples in fitness marketing. If you focus on at least 2 of these 3 mediums and pound it at least once per week forever, spending the limit of your budget, you stand an excellent chance of being successful.
Too many gyms try one or two or three of these mediums once or twice, don’t measure it properly, and therefore, don’t how successful or unsuccessful the campaigns were.
The smart gym owners plan months in advance, track the numbers and make adjustments accordingly.
Common mistakes that gym owners make:
1) Inconsistency. “Yeah, we’re thinking about doing a newspaper insert sometime soon.”
2) Improper tracking. The marketing piece is designed to illicit a response. Not make a sale. Did the phone ring, door swing, or inbox ding from the marketing piece? That’s what you need to know first.
3) Employees in the dark. For the love of Pete, let everybody know when you are having a mail drop, insert, or hanger campaign. Train the staff on how to handle questions.
4) Multiple offers. Moving forward, stick with the paid trial. It works. It works. It works. BUT there is going to be training, tracking, and following up involved. If that is too much work, fine. Make less money. All we can do is lead you to water.
5) No community presence.
For guerilla marketing, all we want you to do is this:
1) Purchase several thousand passes. These are 3 inch by 5 inch. There is one photo of small group training, and one testimonial. There is a map. And there is the offer. 30 days for $19.00.
2) On Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday between the hours of 10am and 11am, OR 2pm and 3pm, go around to all of the business neighbors and hand them out.
3) Walk in, say hi, “I’m Mike, and I just wanted to stop by and drop off some passes for you and your co-workers.” “Here is a stack of 20, how many people work here?” “Oh, just 6 of us.” “Okay, I will take 14 back, and leave you with 6. Have a great day, and I will stop back sometime soon.”
4) Don’t ever expect to see one single 3 by 5 pass make it into your gym. Okay, some will, but don’t get depressed when they don’t come flying through the door in droves. You are doing this as a way to get a face or faces out in the community, and keep increasing the impressions on people. These passes, especially if you buy in bulk and you should, will cost you five cents per. In other words, if you budget $150.00 to $200.00 per month for these passes, you will have more than you can hand out.
Keep changing lives.
- Hip Gym
Door hanger, door shmanger September 06 2013
Print marketing is still necessary for many businesses, and especially the fitness industry. That being said, if you have not embraced, and are not working toward mastering digital marketing, including social networking, you are in trouble.
Most gyms are seeking members between the ages of 35 and 55. That 20 year “window” represents the largest group of people who are seeking fitness advice, fitness coaching, and/or some major changes in their life, related to fitness. And they have the most money.
Through digital marketing, while you don’t spend much money, you are not able to target this group of people like you can with print marketing. The surest way to get a print marketing piece to 35 to 55 year olds, with household incomes above 60K per year, is to send a direct mail piece to their home. And this should be a part of your marketing plan every year.
But since you cannot likely afford to send mail pieces every week, or even every month. The next best way is a door hanger.
Now, with door hangers, you won’t go ONLY to homes that you have pre-screened for age and income. BUT you will go to neighborhoods where there is a high percentage of the group you are seeking. A door hanger will cost you typically less than 10 cents per. Now, as most you reading this know, the cost is all determined on how many you order. It is my recommendation to order enough for an entire year, with the plan of distributing 1000 to 2000 hangers on 4 to 6 different occasions. This is a good time for us to make mention of the fact that we have been in the gym industry for more than 15 years. We have owned gyms in the recent past, and we have relationships with the best gym consultants in the industry. Do you need a marketing plan developed? We can help. Okay, back to door hangers: The cost is less than a mail piece, BUT you have to get manpower to distribute. This is where the costs can get high, and end up being more expensive than a direct mail campaign.
Find a youth group.
We used the boy scouts of America several times at our gym. We gave them $100.00 so they could buy tents, ropes, equipment, handkerchiefs, gas, food, supplies, etc.
They provided 10 or so scouts, so they each got about 100 hangers.
100 hangers per kid will take 3 to 4 hours.
Saturday mornings worked well.
1000 hangers cost about $100.00 (if you purchase at least 5000 for the year)
Total investment: $200.00, which breaks down to 20 cents per hanger. This will be less expensive than direct mail, allow you to build a relationship with a youth group, and enable you to mix up your print marketing mediums.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at H.I.P. gym. We are happy to answer any questions, and send you a FREE sample pack so you can see the quality of our product.
Until then, keep changing lives.