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