How to Audit Your Fitness Business Marketing

This is a long post on how to audit your fitness business and
build a competition proof business with longevity.

So sit back, relax and enjoy….

One of my very first mentors in business, Jim Franco
(a client I used to train) would always say “evolve or perish”
pretty much anytime I asked him for business advice.

Jim owned a company called Autologue and they made
those computer systems inside auto part stores that would
search out parts for your year, make and model car – only
thing is he did this for small privately owned mom and pop
auto part stores.

And in that industry competition is steep!

First of all he can’t sell his “system” to the corporate owned
stores like Auto Zone, Pep Boys, and NAPA Auto Parts – they
have their own proprietary version (which according to Jim was
crap).

Secondly the big auto parts stores would compete against
him by re-selling their parts management system to small
mom and pop stores. A brilliant idea since they have the system
anyway, so why not leverage it by offering it to other stores for a
monthly fee?

And that’s how the “big guys” competed with guys like Jim…

But Jim’s business was always rock’in no matter the competition
or how aggressively they advertised to the mom and pop stores.

In fact Jim’s little company did just over nine million a year, and
help really nice profit margins.

For Jim his formula was simple… make a better product, give a
better user experience, demonstrate value and always evolve.

He had the thing he did a couple times a year where he’s sit at his
desk and look at his product, his competitor’s product and the
value proposition each offered.

Jim called it his “business model audit” and that’s what kept him
ahead of his competitors.

I later used Jim’s business model audit in my personal training business to
give my clients greater value and a better experience.

– We used to offer one-on-one 60 minute training sessions, we
evolved to 30 minute sessions by cutting rest time in between sets
by half and incorporating more compound and total body exercises
giving our clients 60 minute results in 30 minutes time.

This in turn gave our clients an additional 30 minutes per day more time
and because we also lowered our price by ten dollars a session, they
got better value and we were able to market to a larger part of the
community.

– To give our clients better results and user experience (convenience)
we incorporated DietMaster into our program for only ten dollars more
per month.

Now our clients had personalized daily meal plans to follow (something
they probably would have gotten from else where anyway) and therefore
got better/faster results.

And we got an additional $10/month from each client.

Right around that time big box gyms were starting to realize that there’s
money to be made from personal training (DUH!)

That’s when they started making personal training an ‘in house’ service.

Up until then big box gyms would simply charge rent to independent
trainers and allow them to train their members as a value add.

For some old school trainers these days were known as the good ol days.

If you’ve been around in the industry long enough, then you probably
remember this stuff.

One of the big benefits of us going down to 30 minute sessions and
offering personalized meals plans was to demonstrate a point of
differentiation between my personal training facilities and the trainers
at the big box gyms.

=== BIG LESSON ===

ANY business will thrive above, and in fact crush it’s competition if
you can do these three things…

1. Demonstrate the product’s or service’s value over it’s competitor.

2. Create clear and obvious points of differentiation between product
A and product B.

3. Out market the competition.

Think about how personal training has evolved over the year.

Back in the 80’s personal training was something only the social
elite could afford.

Soon after, it went more main stream and the wealthy folk were
hiring personal trainers to come to their homes for private sessions.

In the early to mid 90’s personal training was available at most gyms
through independent trainers.

By the late 90’s and early 2000’s the big box gyms brought personal
training in house and kicked out or converted independent trainers into
employees.

I was one of those trainers that got kicked out becuase I refused to
work for $12 an hour as a trainer.

In stead I went out on my own and opened up my own facility with
nine trainers, a manager and an assistant.

For me it was a simple decision…

I audited my fitness business marketing model
Decided that if I couldn’t be an independent trainer any more, I sure
as hell didn’t want to be an employee.

So I went out on my own to compete with the training offered at the
bog box gyms.

Other entrepreneurial minded trainers did the same.

Yet, others left the industry calling it the “end of personal training”.

Boy were they wrong!

Thinning of the herd I suppose.

The best thing that could have happened to real success minded
personal trainers like us was when big box gyms made personal
training an in house service.

We all knew that they’d screw it up by hiring inexperienced trainers,
under paying them, and under delivering on the service.

Which meant that all we had to do was show the community how
we’re different, how we produce results, how we care about the client
experience, and of course marketed better (smarter) than the big
box gyms.

The Big Three One Again…

1. Demonstrate the product’s or service’s value over it’s competitor.

2. Create clear and obvious points of differentiation between product
A and product B.

3. Out market the competition.

It’s no different then Walmart vs Nordstroms.

You can buy a pair of jeans from both places…

BUT, at Nordstroms you’ll get a better quality of product, you’ll get
better service, better customer experience, and better after purchase
service.

And LOTS of people are willing to pay more for that.

In fact it’s that way with boot camps now, too.

Back in the day boot camps were predominately military style.

They were done in parks, playgrounds and on beaches until you
got kicked out by the city and had to move along to another
location.

They were done four weeks on, two weeks off.

(I never understood that part of the model)

Boot camps have evolved BIG TIME since those days.

These days boot camps are serious businesses.

They’re done in doors. No one can kick you out.

The trainers who run them don’t look at them as “classes”…

BIG MISTAKE

The most successful trainers who run indoor boot camps
look at them as “sessions”. No different than a personal
training session.

And now that boot camp have reached their tipping point
and have become main stream – big box gyms are starting
to jump on board by offering “boot camp classes”

There’s that word again… classes.

Boot camps have gone main stream.

They’re no longer military style (there are a few exceptions,
but they are run buy ex military and that is the big “hook”
that they use to draw clients in
).

People are searching out fitness boot camps left and right.

In fact the search volume on Google for boot camp and
fitness boot camp related searches has in creased over the
last 12 months.

And now that big box gyms are starting to offer boot camp
classes… Ugh, “c-l-a-s-s-e-s”, real boot camps run by real
personal trainers are blowing up!

It’s actually easier to show the point of differentiation between
boot camps and boot camp classes in big box gyms, then it
was to show the difference between the quality of personal training
offered in a big box gym vs an independent trainer or training studio.

Big box gyms offer boot camp classes run by…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Group X instructors (that’s code for: aerobic instructor)

You offer boot camp sessions…

– Taught by an actual certified personal trainers

– You hold people accountable (I don’t think the big box gym is
going to call, text, Facebook, or email you when you miss a
boot camp class).

– You guarantee results

– You help out with nutrition

– You can modify your programs to fit different fitness levels,
body types and to work around injuries.

– You provide fitness evaluations and goal setting (and more
importantly, goal achieving)

– You give an experience that they can’t get anywhere else, not
at another boot camp or at the big box gym becuase you’ve made
your boot camp their “second home”.

– You pump out social proof with before and after pictures
and videos. You demonstrate value that can’t be gotten at a
big box gym.

– And you market better. At least I hope you do.

That is why you’re on my email list and why you visit my blog, right?

These are all the things that make Fit Body Boot Camp so different
than any other boot camp that takes place in a park, in a big box gym,
or where ever.

Demonstration of value and CLEAR differentiation of service
and product.

Here’s How To Do An Evolution Audit On YOUR Business…

Get away from your business – go to a book store or something.

Make sure you in a place where you have zero distraction.

Lets start with your website…

Are you satisfied with the headline, the offer, the ethical bribe, the
testimonials, the before and after pics, and color, the flow, the copy,
the user experience, the auto-responder sequence that they get when
they opt in or apply for a consultation?

* Is your website and all it’s moving parts congruent with what your
avatar wants or is looking for?

* Does your site deliver the message that you want?

* Are your current services, offerings, promotions, and guarantee
adequately represented?

Now study your marketing, operations, systems and services
that you offer…

* Is your marketing old and out of date?

* Could you improve your marketing message?

* Does your message resonate with your avatar?

* Are you delivering what your marketing promised?

* Do your clients feel unique, special, and cared for?

* Could you offer your clients other services and products that might add
more value to their program?

* Are there clear points of differentiation in your marketing message?

Now go to your facility and look at it through your client’s eyes…

* What is the first impression?

* Can the place be cleaned up, painted, organized, or lit up better?

* Are your walls covered with testimonials and social proof?

* Does the place smell…good?

* Do your equipment need to be updated or repaired?

* Are the restrooms clean, well stocked, and not overflowing with trash?

The market place has evolved. You’ve got to evolve with it or face losing
market share.

Welcome competition – but be better than them at marketing, delivering
the service, and demonstrating value.

Stepping back a couple times a year and auditing your business
model is probably the #1 thing that will uncover hidden profits and
help you evolve your business faster then anyone of your competitors.

Committed to your success,

Bedros Keuilian

P.S. If you think that you might want to open up a successful fitness
boot camp, then you really owe it to yourself to check out Fit Body Boot
Camp the fastest growing fitness boot camp franchise.