Starting a Gym: Marketing

Starting a Gym: Marketing

Yesterday, I wrote about scaling up from a personal-training studio to small-group training.

But where do your first 20 clients come from?

Heck, where does your first client come from?

 

Relying on Relationships

 

When you’re opening a gym, there’s nothing more reassuring than the first client purchase. It’s more than the money: It’s proof that you have something that people want. That you weren’t totally wrong about the viability of your idea. And that all your front-end systems work: You can bring people in, sign them up and take their money!

Marketing is about relationships, and that’s never more true than when you’re in the Founder Phase.

You need to think about each new client individually, instead of an undefined group.

First, before you do any marketing, build your systems to maximize your retention.

Make sure you have your pricing and program offerings dialed.

Your first clients will come from your personal relationships. As I wrote in “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief,” it’s normal for your first client to be your mom. Or your sister or brother-in-law. Who would want to support you more than your family?

And, of course, support means paying you because they believe in your ideas, not enjoying your service for free because you need more practice. Good will should run toward the founder when he or she is starting a business. The new entrepreneur will need it!

 

Reaching Out

 

Here’s the process:

1. We call your best clients your “Apple” clients. Take them for coffee one on one.

Ask them these questions:

“What brought you to my gym in the first place?”
“Why haven’t you joined any other gyms?”
“What’s your biggest problem in life outside of your fitness?”

2. Ask about the people closest to them.

“Who has been most supportive to you on your journey, besides me?”
“What do the people in your workplace need? How can I help them?”
“What’s your biggest challenge in trying to help your family get fit?”

3. Map your client journey.

Where do new clients generally come from?
What do most new clients say is their goal?
What do your best clients list as their favorite part of your service?
Write all that down, and make sure every new client gets the same treatment.

4. Make your clients famous.

Every week, interview one client on camera. Just ask, “What’s your fitness story? What are you most proud of achieving? What’s something you never thought possible before? What would you say to yourself one year ago?”

5. Answer your future clients’ questions.

Publish one article every week. Start with the most basic questions possible, and answer them. Build an email list of everyone you know. Every third email should include a clear call to action: a clickable link to book an appointment with you.

6. Use your email list to start Facebook ad campaigns.

The key question to ask before you start any marketing is, “Who is my client?”

In my PT studio, that was easy: middle-aged professionals paid for themselves or their athletic kids.

But when I tried to start a CrossFit box, that was hard. I didn’t define my ideal client, so I made wild guesses about my service and pricing. And because I didn’t get my prices right from the start, I attracted a lot of discount-seekers who couldn’t really afford coaching. So I tried to degrade my service to their budget instead of asking, “Who can afford what I want to sell?”

You sell coaching. Who wants to be coached? Tell them how you’ll solve their problems.

That, in a nutshell, is marketing.

Want to start your gym the right way? Click here to download our FREE guide: “The Ultimate Business Plan for Gym Owners.”

 

Other Articles in This Series

How to Start a Gym
Starting a Gym: Location, Space and Equipment
Starting a Gym: Scaling Up
Starting a Gym: Adding Staff
Starting a Gym: Do You Need a Partner?

The Panic Vaccine

The Panic Vaccine

It’s the 28th of the month.

You don’t have enough for the rent.

You just remembered your insurance is due. And this is a three-pay month … .

Anxiety is your cardio now.

You live in constant fear of “what’s going to happen next?” because you’re stuck in a meteor shower, and you know that any little hit could be your last. You’re overwhelmed, overworked, and just kinda over it.

That’s panic.

And data is the vaccine.

 

What Data Does

 

Data tells you, “Here’s how other gym owners got through this same situation.”

Data tells you, “Next month will be better.”

Data tells you, “Here’s how to stop this from ever happening again.”

Data is the laser beam that blasts the falling rocks out of the sky before they get close to you.

Data is clarity. Data is a look into the future. Data is absolutely critical to the success of your business.

So why isn’t there any data in the fitness business?

Because, until now, no one would collect it, analyze it and report on it.

 

Data and Duty

 

Big chain gyms collect tons of data about their customers’ spending habits. They know when they’re busy. They create budgets around peak seasons. They know when to boost their ad spend, when to hire and when a client is about to leave.

But they don’t share.

Franchisors collect data on their franchisees but don’t give that data back for analysis because it’s their intellectual property. Gathering data is very hard and very expensive, and they want to keep it in the mothership.

And licensors, like CrossFit, don’t collect data at all because they charge too little to pay for that level of business support.

When I visited CrossFit HQ last year, I asked the question over breakfast:

“What if you tracked data for all of your gyms and just released it for anyone to analyze?”

The response: “Good idea. But we’re not going to do it.”

I quickly realized that our company, Two-Brain Business, was in a unique position: We were already the largest mentorship practice in the world, and gym owners trusted us. We had the resources and the ability.

That made it our duty to collect data, analyze it professionally and report back to the community who shared it with us.

 

The Two-Brain Dashboard

 

We unveiled the new Two-Brain Dashboard to those in our Incubator and Growth Stages last week. It’s simple and clean but very powerful—all of the individual gym’s information stays private, but we can analyze metadata trends that will benefit the whole industry.

Most importantly, the dashboard makes it really easy for a gym owner to enter data, track it long term and see trends in his or her own gym.

But this is just the start!

The Dashboard will also clearly show gym owners their next step in the path to wealth. Using data and experience collected from over 10,000 one-on-one mentorship calls, our mentor team has mapped several paths to Tinker Phase. Those will show up on the Dashboard soon.

No one else has done it. No one else will. But when you care this much, it’s your duty to give as much help as you can.

Take your hand off the panic button.

Write down your numbers.

Write down your feelings (they’re important, too).

Next time you’re panicked, look back.

Then look ahead. Build your path with stones instead of shifting sand.

And call if you need help.

Need more advice on common problems? Click here to book a free call with a certified Two-Brain Business mentor.