Building a Fitness Business That Endures - Part 4 of 4 - Marketing
An oft-quoted question ponders, “If a tree falls in a forest, and no one’s around to hear it, does it still make a sound?” While this concept is often applied as a philosophical puzzle, it is very relevant -- and much easier to answer, as it turns out -- when applied to your fitness business. Because the reality is that even the best fitness business in the world will fail if its marketing efforts aren’t reaching its target market.
In today’s conclusion to our four-part series on “Building a Fitness Business That Endures,” we’ll take a closer look at the vital role marketing plays in helping today’s fitness businesses achieve their goals.
Why Marketing Matters
The health club industry is booming, with more growth projected in the months and years ahead. However, this doesn’t mean a clear path to fitness business success. In fact, as more businesses endeavor to get in on the action, the competition for members becomes steeper -- meaning the need to differentiate yourself heightens.
In the previous three installments of this blog series, we’ve covered two key elements of business growth, including business fundamentals and equipping. However, there’s a third, critical piece of the puzzle: Marketing.
The good news? There are many exciting ways to promote your services and products. The harder part? Creating an efficient and cohesive marketing plan which covers all of your bases in the most compelling way.
Covering Your Bases
Speaking of covering your bases, marketing your fitness business should take several key factors into account.
For starters, your business is nothing without its members. Any fitness business marketing plan must incorporate strategies aimed at bringing new members through the door. One way to drive member sales? Building your brand.
Sales expert Ron Benamor offers the following fitness business advice in Club Industry, “People don't buy products; they buy stories. The same holds true for gym members. People don't want memberships; they want to be healthy, live longer and feel better. So when advertising, sell stories such as these. By doing so, you help rationalize the decision to purchase a membership. Great stories are remembered and revered, all while helping to form the essence of your brand.”
Unfortunately, many fitness businesses get so caught up in recruiting new members that they lose sight of the members they already have. This is a big mistake for one major reason: It costs much less to retain the members you already have than it does to recruit new ones. In fact, according to the Fitness Marketing Group, keeping your current members satisfied is seven times more important than investing in attracting new members. Why? Because they’ve already demonstrated their willingness to pay for your products and services. In other words, they’re yours to lose.
It’s also vital to acknowledge that the fitness industry isn’t static, and in today’s fast-moving, social world, keeping up with the hottest fitness fads and trends -- from the latest group classes to the wearables revolution -- is a necessity, not a nicety. Because if you don’t have what members and prospective members are looking for, they’ll take their business elsewhere.
If you’re operating a niche fitness operation, many of your members may share similar profiles. If you’re operating a more generalist business and/or looking to expand to other markets, your clientele may be incredibly diverse. In either case, knowing your target market and how best to reach them is key. The power of a multichannel approach cannot be overstated. In simplest terms, your fitness business can’t grow if you’re limiting opportunities for members and prospective members to interact with your brand.
In addition to embracing different channels, such as social media and email marketing, it’s also important to deploy a number of different types of content (from videos to polls to educational messages) to keep consumers engaged -- all while maintaining a consistent brand message and voice.
The overall takeaway? While it’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing marketing as ancillary to more immediate and obvious elements of running a health club, it’s very much part and parcel of contemporary fitness business growth and success. One marketing element offering increasing value to fitness businesses? Digital technology and wearables. Learn more about how Accuro can help you boost member satisfaction with its mobile health solutions.