We welcome today’s guest blogger, Emily Smart, CEO of Clubworx, to discuss the first of a five-part series on the major building blocks of a successful fitness business. For the first installment, Emily discusses the importance of a Marketing System in the health and fitness industry and how Marketing can directly impact the success of the business. Clubworx is a leading provider of online software designed to help gyms, clubs, studios and PTs gain and retain members – and is a Bluefin ISV partner.
The fitness industry is a competitive beast. Consumers have the pick of everything from big box gyms to niche PT Studios to martial arts and dance fitness type training. This level of competition means that today’s fitness business needs to be a dynamic and flexible operation.
Gyms and studios need to quickly match administrative staff and trainers to demand, to ensure the success of their businesses. Too slow to add trainers and you might miss out on the opportunity to increase your class offerings leading into the busy summer period and a chance to increase your revenue for another year is gone. Too slow to reconfigure your workforce in slow times and you mightn’t be able to open your doors next year.
For this reason, fitness establishments the world over are implementing new dynamic workforce strategies that rely on a mix of part-timers, contractors and temporary workers to complement and create redundancy for their full-time employees.
The keys to a flexible fitness workforce are smart processes and systems that allow a new (or temporary) recruit to quickly add value to the business. Both admin and floor staff need to be able to operate the following basic functions which are the building blocks of any successful fitness business:
- Marketing System
- Selling System
- Delivery System
- Payment System
- Retention System
Over the coming months we will be looking at each of these systems in more detail. To get things started let’s dive into the Marketing System.
What is a Marketing System & Why is it important?
“Marketing is an ongoing communications exchange with customers in a way that educates, informs and builds a relationship over time.The over-time part is important because only over time can trust be created. With trust, a community builds organically around products and services and those customers become as excited about the products as you are — they become advocates, loyal evangelists, repeat customers and often, friends. Marketing is a really great way to identify what grabs people and gets them excited about your brand and give it to them, involve them in the process, and yeah, the best part, build great friendships in the process.” Renee Blodgett CEO Magic Sauce Media
In short, effective marketing does not happen overnight and it is something everyone in the company contributes to. Really great businesses have a checklist for every role in the organization regardless of the employment status of the role. In this way, no matter who steps into a job or when a new person starts with your business you can be sure that your marketing function is continually working. An effective marketing system means you are always generating leads for your business. This is the outcome of building trust over time with communication and engagement.
Here is a sample organizational checklist with different roles covered to give you some inspiration for the marketing function within your own fitness business. Remember, this is just a sample, feel free to build and change as appropriate for you. The test of any great system is that it works regardless of who steps into a role.
Marketing Function Checklist for ABC Health & Fitness
- Cost per lead review (Monthly)
- Cost per lead by channel (offline, facebook, adwords, mailbox drop) review (Monthly)
- Lifetime value per customer review (Yearly)
Admin / Front Office Staff
- Post 1 testimonial / success story per week on website and social media
- Contact 5 members per week to see how they are tracking with their fitness goals
- Run one social event per month for members
- Run two team events (for example – Sparta Race or Marathon) per year
- Share 3 diet or fitness related articles to social media
- Share 1 centre related update via social media
- Offer 3 members per week a free PT session / fitness assessment
- Source one success story per month from a PT client
- Post a class photo one per week on social media
Don’t Wait – Fitness Clubs Need to Build their Marketing System
Marketing is one of the most important functions within your business. It affects everything from the services you offer, to how you charge and ultimately how many people contact your business. When you get it right, you are generating interest in your club through multiple channels. Some of these channels will have direct costs (like advertising) and some are will have more indirect costs (like building an engaged community online). Everyone needs to understand how they contribute to this function. If it is being left to your management or a single front office staff member, you are seriously limiting your marketing potential.
So write your checklist today for each function within your business. Make sure anyone who starts tomorrow can follow those instructions within a short period of time. Track the results and tweak your checklists when possible as your business changes and grows. Great businesses don’t just happen, they are built over time through process and adjustment.
Clubworx is a powerful online software designed to help gyms, clubs, studios and PTs get new members and retain the members they already have to achieve maximum growth potential. For more information visit www.clubworx.com.