Contrary to popular belief, the best fitness marketing systems are not just about running Facebook ads or doing those “Deal of the Day” promotions.
Don’t get me wrong… just on my blog alone I give away and teach a bunch of marketing tactics and strategies for getting clients from Facebook and deal of the day sites, however if your goal is to build a fitness business that is bullet proof then you’ve got to use a diversified fitness marketing approach when marketing your fitness business.
The checklist comes in many parts. All of these parts are designed to help you craft a marketing plan for your fitness business. If you follow the steps in the big checklist you can create a compact fitness club marketing plan for your business. It will work because you will have invested the time and energy to make sure that it is rock solid.
Fitness Marketing Plan Checklist
Each of these will be explained in full detail later but first I want to get you thinking about the different elements that go into creating a fitness marketing plan.
Here is a rundown of the six step fitness marketing checklist.
· First you need to decide how you will market your business. Which online and offline techniques are going to work best for you and your business?
· Second you will learn why using a generic template to market your fitness business is not a good idea. Creating a plan that works for you and that works in your area will be far superior to using what might have worked for someone else.
· Third I will teach you the ABC’s of crafting your marketing plan. This fundamental view on marketing will change your daily operations to include marketing. This step will alter how you operate on a daily basis and get you to include marketing. Avoid” fly by the seat of your pants” marketing, by including this step into your checklist.
· Fourth you are going to learn the importance of rotating your leads, tracking your “no’s” and discovering when it is time to retire a promotion.
· Fifth you will learn about powerhouse promotions and standard promotions. When to use them and when to tell if you are overusing them.
· The sixth and last step in your fitness marketing plan checklist is to rinse and repeat.
Fitness Center Marketing Platforms
One of the best things I recommend that you do is to create a checklist that you can turn to when you want to get a surge of new leads into your business.
The most successful fitness professionals I know run their business off these marketing platforms. Now, since we’re talking about building your business, which to me means getting more paying clients, the checklist I’m going to give you is all about lead generation and prospecting.
Here are the two things you need to know about selecting the fitness marketing platform that is right for you:
1. Find what’s factory installed for you as it relates to fitness marketing, because typically you’re always going to be better at the things that are factory installed versus the things you force yourself do.
What do I mean by factory installed? Factory installed for you are things that you are naturally good at and things that you enjoy doing. These types of marketing activities are going to be much more successful than an activity that you hate. I, for example, love Human Billboards. This type or marketing is great because all it involves is teaching a class and having those billboards refer people to your class. It is automatic. Every personal trainer should use this method because it is something that you are doing already, training!
2. Diversify your checklist with online and offline marketing tactics so you never have a weak link in your business.
I cannot stress how important it is for you to diversify your marketing checklist. Marketing is not rocket science, but it does take some thought and foresight. Certain groups of clients are simply not going to respond to an e-mail marketing campaign. Other clients are not going to be excited about a fitness marketing campaign that they get through the regular mail. If you want to maximize your client demographics the first step is diversifying your checklist.
Here’s a general idea of some online and offline fitness marketing systems for you to consider.
Online Fitness Marketing Platforms
· Facebook ads
· Google and Bing pay per click ads
· Search Engine Optimization
· Online Banner ads
· YouTube Optimization
· Email Marketing to Other Business’s Lists
Offline Marketing Platforms
· Lead Boxes for Fitness Marketing around your locale
· Direct Mail Post Cards
· Direct Mail Letters
· Publication Print Ads
· Car Wrap
· Door Hangers
· $100 Plastic Gift Cards
· Human Billboards to Market Your Fitness Business
· Endorsed Mailings
· TV and Radio Spots
· Referral Generation Contests
The list of marketing methods above is just a partial one, but if you take it and add to it, you can then go through and decide which ones from each section are most “factory installed” for you. Then you’ll want to take the top three from each section (giving you six marketing systems you can run each month) and systematically run four of the six fitness marketing systems each month.
See for most business owners marketing and lead generation is often an afterthought and something that’s always done in haste and by the seat of your pants. But if you create a monthly marketing checklist and systematically deploy one of the systems each month then you’ll find yourself never having to run your fitness marketing by the seat of your pants.
Fitness Center Marketing Plan Templates
People ask me all the time if there is a template that they can follow that will give them instant success. The short answer is no. Just like the list above, there are things that some people are good at, and other people aren’t.
With marketing it is important to be excited about your ideas. If you are marketing your personal training business with a YouTube channel and you hate being on camera, you are going to drive customers to your competition.
Think about it: when was the last time that you watched someone who was uncomfortable on camera then went out and bought their product?
Well that is exactly how your future clients will feel when they see you stumble through a two minute video on YouTube.
At the same time if you have gone through the marketing platform checklist and decided that a YouTube component is something that is “factory installed” for you, you are probably going to be successful with it. People who have confidence and who like what they are doing are just naturally more convincing. When creating your plan you have to design what works for you. It cannot be a cookie cutter solution to fitness marketing. Cookie cutter solutions rarely work.
The key to creating a successful marketing plan for your fitness business is to make sure that you have what works for you. The lock that the key fits into is making sure that you have what works for your area. This is something that many marketers simply don’t explain when selling strategy. Some strategies are plainly not going to work in your area.
It won’t matter what plan you have implemented if the strategy isn’t connecting with the customers. If it isn’t generating leads it is worthless. When you have tried to do a YouTube Channel and have done the YouTube optimization as your factory installed marketing and it doesn’t work, It may not be the marketing, it may be the market. Every area is different. Finding what works with your area is just as important as finding out what is factory installed for you.
Testing your marketing plans, and being willing to adapt to the needs of your potential clients is one of the biggest success factors with fitness marketing. Adapt or die. If you are unwilling to find a strategy that connects with the people in your area, your personal training business will not flourish.
ABC’s of your Fitness Marketing blueprint
So now you know some of the basic elements of fitness marketing. You have read all about the online and offline marketing tactics. You have a pretty good idea which items from the checklist are factory installed for you and that will work for your area. So now what do you do?
Create your fitness marketing plan
Marketing fitness should never be an afterthought. You should follow the ABC’s of fitness marketing. Always Be Creating. There are two things that you are always creating:
The goal with the ABC’s of marketing is to have a go to catalog of people who need contacting and promotions that you can start at the drop of a hat. You need two binders. One binder is used exclusively for leads and one binder is for promotion ideas.
These binders are always out.
Why? When you see something on a consistent basis you are going to be thinking about it. It works like brand recognition. When you see a Starbucks coffee cup in the hand of a stranger you want a cup of coffee. When you see the binders with the labels LEADS and PROMOTIONS you will be thinking about these two vital elements of building a successful fitness business.
When you have free time you need to be working on your marketing strategies. Once your plan binders are full you can work less and less. Each time you take an idea from the promotions binder then you should put a new one in. The same goes with leads.
Eventually this will become such a habit that you will automatically focus on marketing your business. Until you start to automatically market your personal training business you need to have an ever present reminder to work on these two strategies.
Rotating Fitness Leads
Now that you have tons of leads and a good base of promotions to get new leads let’s talk about how you should be rotating your leads. This is an element of your checklist that you may not like.
Rotating leads can be tricky to those who may not have a lot of experience marketing their fitness business. Learning how often to contact potential clients and how often you can hear the word “no” before you take it seriously is really important.
It is a really good idea to use leads that have said “no” more than once. What you will find, more often than not, is “no” really means the “what you offered isn’t right for me, right now”. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be right for them in the future. Or that a different promotion may not work for them right now.
Let’s face it no one likes to be told no. No one likes to be told no by the same person on several occasions. And really, who wants to keep track of how many times someone told them no?
You do, here’s why it is in the fitness center marketing checklist.
Keep different sections for people who have said “no” in your leads binder and even for those who may have quit your service. Knowing when someone said “no” last and what they said “no” to will help you track two things:
1. Which promotions may not be working
2. Which promotions to offer the lead in the future
If you notice that every person in your “no” list was someone who didn’t respond to an offer made in person for a buy one get one free; then maybe that promotion is not working and it is time to retire it. If you have one particular promotion that has never worked it may just not work for you, or it may not work in your area. The two important aspects when creating your plan are what works for you and what works for your area. Do not waste your time by keeping promotions that don’t work.
Don’t try to recruit a new client with the same promotion over and over again. It won’t work. If you have already offered your buy one get one free promotion to a potential client then it is time to offer a different promotion.
Now you know why step 4 is in your marketing plan checklist. It may not be the most exciting element in successful marketing, but it certainly is important. The best part is that with programs like Microsoft Excel it is really easy to track this information.
Powerhouse and Standard Promotions
The fitness marketing checklist would not be complete without a discussion about the two types of promotion that you should be running.
Your standard promotions are things that generate a few leads on a steady basis. These may include contests held on your social networking site for a free training session or referral bonus sessions. These are promotions that will get a certain percentage of the population every time.
Powerhouse promotions are promotions that attract huge volumes of leads and clients. A powerhouse promotion may be a competition to win free training for a year. The investments are larger and they will generate more interest from a broader audience.
Now that you know about the two types of promotions you need to know how to use them. You should always have a standard promotion in place. The client attrition rate in the fitness industry is high, as you have discovered. Having a promotion that will steadily replace the clients that you lose is essential to a successful checklist.
The problem with standard promotions is that eventually they will wear out and they won’t keep up with the attrition rate. There are also certain seasons that cause more people to quit their personal training than normal. You know by now which months are harder on your business than others. Swapping out one standard promotion on your fitness checklist for another standard promotion on your fitness checklist is a good way to avoid the lull in clients but eventually you will have to break out the big guns.
This is when you bring out your powerhouse promotions. These promotions are so big that they usually warrant a larger advertising budget and larger platform. You may consider running an advertising blitz when using these.
No matter the platform remember that when you prepare to launch a powerhouse promotion you need to be able to handle the response it generates. There is nothing worse for your business than to have a ton of leads generated. Leads where people are genuinely interested in participating, and not being able to handle the response. This will frustrate potential clients and turn them away. Remember the first interaction that a lead has with your business is the one that will stick with them.
Rinse and Repeat
Yes, every shampoo bottle on the planet has been giving you marketing wisdom. Rinse and repeat. Once you have gone through first five steps in creating your marketing plan checklist you should take your experience and go through the checklist again.
Going through the checklist again will provide you with valuable insight that would be hard to get any other way. Think about it; when selecting your marketing platform for your fitness business the first time, you had not really done it before. You guessed what was “factory installed” for you and went with it.
Now you have experience with all of the different fitness marketing options.
Which ones really worked?
Which ones got you excited?
Which one did you end up hating?
Answering those questions will let you revamp the checklist for marketing your fitness business. This will improve your success rate.
Discovering that a YouTube optimization campaign (or whatever campaign you chose) was or wasn’t effective in your area and applying that to your template will further increase your marketing efficiency. Remember it is important not only that you work with your factory installed settings, but also that you cater to your area’s needs. Now that you have more information about what works on both fronts you are better able to decide what will work in the future.
The ABC’s of fitness marketing should still apply. If for some reason the binders (your reminders of marketing your business) got buried in your workspace it is time to dig them out again. You must continually create marketing material for your business. It should already be a habit, but if for some reason it didn’t stick the first time, make it stick this time.
Keep rotating your fitness leads.
Have you learned how many “no’s” it takes before the word really means no? If you have then make it a cap in your business, 4 no’s and I move on, or whatever the number is.
Have you discovered how often you should contact a lead who has said no? Once a month? Twice? When you answer these questions you can now make them policy and an official part of your fitness plan.
Did you successfully run your powerhouse promotions?
What did you learn about your standard promotions?
Take this experience and make it policy. This is really important, especially if you plan on letting some of the marketing duties go to an employee at any point. Learn from your mistakes and from your successes. Let’s face it most of us learn more from mistakes then we do success. The reason you kept track of all that information was so that you would learn it faster than your competition.
Finally you should be revamping your entire plan at least once a year once all of it is set as policy. Markets change. Expectations change. Your marketing should reflect those changes as well. Stale marketing will make your business stagnant. Rinse and repeat should be done as often as desired but at least as often as once a year.
Now you are fully prepared and should have a good idea how to create your marketing strategy for your fitness business. Print out the checklist and get to work building a successful stream of clients.