Why 80% of Gym Websites Are Bleeding Leads From the Sales Funnel

Why 80% of Gym Websites Are Bleeding Leads From the Sales Funnel

Mike Warkentin: (00:00)
Gym owners. Is your website costing you new members? The answer is yes. For 50% of you.

John Franklin: (00:08)
50%? No, no, no, no, no. The answer is 80%. 

Mike Warkentin: (00:12)
80? Explain yourself.

John Franklin: (00:14)
So I was searching the internet like I normally do, and I looked at 20 random gym websites to test a call to action. 40% of them had no call to action whatsoever. So you just go to the website and there’s a picture, and doesn’t tell you what to do. Another 40% of them have an indirect call to action. So it’ll say like, become your best self or schedule or invigorate, and click a button and it takes you to some random destination. And then for the lucky 20%, there was a very clear call to action telling people what the next step is and how to buy.

Mike Warkentin: (00:48)
So if you do not have a clear call to action on your website, you are in the 80% and you are missing out on sales. My name is Mike Warkentin and this is Run a Profitable Gym. My guest here today is John Franklin. He is the CMO, Chief Marketing Officer at Two-Brain Business. He’s also the co-founder at Kilo. He knows marketing and he knows websites. So we’re gonna get into this and explain how you can move from the 80% of gym owners who are missing sales to the 20% who are making sales and recouping their website costs and more by converting clients on their website. So John, tell me again. What are we looking for, for people who don’t understand? What is a clear call to action on a website? What do we need?

John Franklin: (01:27)
It’s simple, man. It is literally telling people how to give you money. So if you are a gym owner above the fold, so that is the area you see right when you go to your website, or right when you go to the site on your mobile phone, there should be what you are. So it should say, like, I’m a gym. It should say what type of people you’re looking to get. You should probably have where you’re located and you should tell people what the next step is. So if you are somebody who sells access to your gym, you should have a way to directly buy a membership. And if you are someone who sells something a little more complicated, like coaching, it should tell people how to book an intro.

Mike Warkentin: (02:06)
Okay. So when I had my gym, when I set up my gym website in 2010, I believe it was, I had a cool picture of bloody shins and some other stuff. I had a big banner at the top, and then I had the workout of the day, and then I had the menu bar.

John Franklin: (02:20)
That’s sweet. That’s good. That’s cool.

Mike Warkentin: (02:21)
And it worked. It worked in 2010.

John Franklin: (02:22)
How many millions did you make for that website?

Mike Warkentin: (02:25)
No millions whatsoever. And in fact, if I would go back to that website, it’s been since upgraded obviously. But if I were to go back to that website and try to figure out how to train at this gym, it would’ve taken me six, seven clicks maybe, right? 

John Franklin: (02:41)
That’s cool though. That’s cool. Like when CrossFit was a hobby and most of the affiliate owners had a full-time job and the gym was something they did with their buddies on the side, and it was more like a motorcycle gang instead of a business. Yeah, that was sweet. And it would look really cool and it’d be hard to understand and that’s why only your friends worked out there and only some of them paid you.

Mike Warkentin: (03:02)
And we did tend to get some ex-military guys, hardcore athletes, people who knew the secret password. We did get those people. We did not get the average person. And that’s now where we’re at in gyms. We’re past the early adopter phase where all the Navy Seals have already found us. We’re now trying to connect with other people and they can’t figure out what we do and how to do it. So is there a quick test, a five second test that a gym owner can do or have a friend do on their website to help them figure out what’s missing?

John Franklin: (03:29)
Yeah, it’s literally called a five second test. And it’s something that we pay people to do, both for the Two-Brain site and then for any gym website we make at Kilo. And it’s as simple as taking somebody who’s unfamiliar with your website, having them sit down in front of the site and just showing them for five seconds and then ask them, what does the business do? Like, what does this business do? Who does the business serve? Where is it located? Does it look trustworthy? And does it look professional? And you should get all the information you need just based off of that five second test. And you just continue to make tweaks and rotate different copy and header images until people have an idea of what it is your business does, what it is you sell, and how they can buy from you in just that five second test.

Mike Warkentin: (04:12)
So you did this essentially for 20 gyms near you and you found that 80% of them didn’t have the things that would check all those boxes.

John Franklin: (04:20)
So the five second test and the me screwing around with websites near me are two two separate things. So the 80% thing, this is not a peer reviewed wide paper. Like, this is me going on Google Maps and shopping for a gym in my area, and I looked at 20 different websites and then I just marked no call to action, good call to action, bad call to action.

John Franklin: (04:39)
So yeah, exactly. So that’s not gonna be published in any peer reviewed medical journal anytime soon, or a journal of scientific marketing. But the five second test is pretty standard. There are companies that just do this so you can go actually pay them to do the user experience testing for you. If you don’t have the skrill to pay a fancy UX testing firm, what you can do is just go to a mall food court and set up a laptop and be like, Hey, I got this stack of Starbucks gift cards. Can you sit here and literally do this? And so that’s kind of the ghetto way to get your five second test done. If you are somebody who likes DIY on your website.

Mike Warkentin: (05:15)
So look, give me a little bit of data or experience that you’ve had. When someone or a company does these five second tests, how many gyms fail or how many websites fail? Is it really a really high number or is it getting better?

John Franklin: (05:25)
It’s not like pass/fail, right? You don’t get like A, B, C, D, E. It’s just like, this percentage of people can answer this question. This percentage of people can answer this other question. We would recommend making this switch, like changing the word from fitness to gym or adding the location below the button instead of above the button. They’re little tweaks. This piece of font needs to be bigger versus this piece of font needs to be smaller. So there is no wrong answer. It’s just like, what is the thing that is most important and are you making that the most prominent thing? And is it clear how people can buy from it?

Mike Warkentin: (06:01)
How many, per what percentage of gyms? I’ll just ask you to guesstimate this one. How many of them do you think have a suboptimal site based on that five second test? Like, stuff could be improved measurably to actually improve their sales and marketing results?

John Franklin: (06:14)
Are we going to include sophisticated franchises?

Mike Warkentin: (06:19)
Nah, talk about the general microgym. Let’s leave out the planet fitnesses and probably those big businesses and franchises that have probably already done this research. Talk to me about the average microgym own owner who’s independent.

John Franklin: (06:30)
Right. Because most sophisticated facility owners, like multi-facility or franchisers, they’re gonna have a solid website and they’re gonna do this. They’re gonna pay somebody to do this research because testing has been done.

John Franklin: (06:41)
Pretty standard issue. But if I’m looking at your standard “I opened a warehouse” gym and I hacked together my own website, I would probably say one in four with a good clear call to action. And that is significantly improved over the past five years. We’re moving, we’re trending in the right direction, simply because you have to, right? The people who couldn’t figure out how to make a website, they went out of business already. And let me clarify. I live in one of the most competitive markets in the United States. I live in south Florida. There is so much gym density here. It’s so expensive to advertise. And you still see 80% of gyms just flushing down potential opportunities under the toilet. Where if they were to go and find a lead on Facebook, that’s probably gonna cost you between $40 and $60 when they just put a button on their website or had a clear way to like collect an email address. I would guarantee you it would probably make them a thousand dollars or more every single month.

Mike Warkentin: (07:44)
So with Kilo, have you seen gyms with poor websites convert to a tested, researched website with a clear call to action and then dramatically improved marketing numbers? Is that common?

John Franklin: (07:56)
Yeah, it’s so weird. If you have a good website, you sell more memberships. It’s crazy how that works.

Mike Warkentin: (08:03)
So let’s give gym owners something that they can do right now. Obviously if you want Kilo to take care of it for you, contact them. But what can gym owners do if they look at their site? What do they do when they think, okay, my five second test isn’t working very well, I clearly don’t have a call to action, I don’t have a clue what to do. What’s some steps they can take to make things better?

John Franklin: (08:20)
All right, so let’s use something I call the ABC framework. And the A stands for above the fold. And that’s what we talked about already. That’s just called your hero section. Again, say you’re a gym, tell people where you are and give them a button that gets ’em closer to buy, right? If you just do that, you made your money back on the podcast. All right? So that’s the one takeaway. Just do that. Now, let’s say you,

Mike Warkentin: (08:44)
Got that, I’m gonna jump in and I’m just gonna tell you this. If you have that button on your site, click it once in a while and see if it actually works because I’ve clicked on many, many buttons that are broken and lead to dead pages and all sorts of stuff. If someone actually clicks on your site, it better take them where they want to go.

John Franklin: (08:59)
Sure. So we get the DIY warriors in the Two-Brain Facebook group, Gym Owners United, just go to GymOwnersUnited.com. There’s about 7,000 gym owners there. And we just share helpful stuff in there. Yeah, you get a lot of the DIY warriors like, Hey, I use GoDaddy for my website and every single time I’ve gone on one of those sites, it only takes me about a minute to find a typo, a broken form, an unclear call to action, something that’s broken and that’s fine. Like, I understand some people prefer to tinker with their site and that’s totally cool if that’s your thing. And then some people just do it ’cause they say they can’t afford a professionally done site. The reality is, you can’t afford to not have a professionally done site. It’s definitely not an expense. It’s an asset.

Mike Warkentin: (09:44)
Especially if you’re paying marketing costs to get those people to your site.

John Franklin: (09:47)
Yeah, well, even if you’re not, right? Your Google search is gonna be the biggest driver if you’re not doing ads to get people onto your actual website. So that’s a different game, right? You wanna make sure that you optimize for local SEO, but once you’re on your actual site, the percentage of those leads that you convert, if you can take that up by five to 10% over the five year course of a business? That is hundreds of thousands of dollars of swing in recurring revenue if you’ve got your packaging and pricing squared away. And if you listen to this podcast, you probably do

Mike Warkentin: (10:20)
Mm-hmm. . So that’s above the fold call. Gimme an example. What’s a clear call to action? Some people won’t even know what that is. So like, what is

John Franklin: (10:27)
Buy now, right? And then it takes you to a place where you can buy now. Book a call and it takes you to the calendar and you can select an appointment, right? Those are the two cleanest, clearest. Some people have an intro offer, so two weeks free or something like that, or get a free day pass. That is a clear call to action. It’s definitely not one I would necessarily recommend, but different models have seen success doing that. And outside of that, there’s not much else.

Mike Warkentin: (11:00)
So, join our exciting community. Would that be considered a strong call to action?

John Franklin: (11:05)
It would not. Again, don’t take my word for it, just go to a sophisticated player in the space. Go to somebody who’s selling tens of millions of fitness stuff a year, like a Beachbody or Zumba or go look at an Orange Theory. And look at the amount of times they have a “learn more” button on their page. It’s very rare. And if there is, I guarantee you click” learn more” and it’s like “buy now”. Yeah.

Mike Warkentin: (11:35)
And I’ll compare that again to my website circa 2010 where you would have to work to find a way in, right? That’s the exact opposite of what you’re recommending. You’re recommending a website, not as a presentation for your photography and your workouts, but as a part of your funnel. And if you think about it, all these “book now”, “buy now”, whatever buttons are trap doors that lead into your business as opposed to your cool workout video or stuff. It has to get people moving down the funnel to buy from you. Is that right?

John Franklin: (12:03)
Yeah. And you want it to be frictionless too. One mistake we see all the time with CrossFit gyms especially, is they try and create as much sales friction as humanly possible on that front end purchase. So rather than being like, here’s how to start, it’s really easy and then all of a sudden you’re doing CrossFit, it’s like “you have to join our on-ramp class and it happens every third Thursday” and then you have to do six personal training sessions, and then if you pass the personal training test, you can take classes on Tuesday and Wednesday with a level one coach that’s scaled. And you just create all these jargon and friction points that makes it very difficult and very intimidating for somebody to come and join your gym. So if that’s the case, just don’t mention that on your website. But you should probably fix that. If you have to jump through 35 hoops to join your actual gym and experience the thing, there’s probably a problem with that business in the first place. But yeah, make joining and starting and the explanation of that process as effortless, as humanly possible.

Mike Warkentin: (13:04)
Yeah, don’t make people get a decoder ring to figure out how to get into your gym. The simplest thing is: if you wanna join this gym to get these results, come see us and talk to us, we’ll ease it. The whole free consultation, No-Sweat Intro that Two-Brain teaches. And the root to that is book a free consultation or book now or anything like that. Talk to me, you talked about above the fold, I think we’re on B and C. What else we got here?

John Franklin: (13:24)
Yeah, so below the fold. And again, just to be clear, if we’re talking like Plato’s principle 80/20, 80% of the results happen above the fold, so just focus on that before we do these other ones. And C is a subset of A. C stands for clear directions on how to start. So we’ve technically done A and C already because we’ve been a dead horse. We know you should tell people to buy your stuff on your website and you should make sure the buying mechanism or the sales mechanism actually works. All right, so we got,

Mike Warkentin: (13:49)
I land now, but I haven’t seen enough to make me click right away above the fold. I’m scrolling, what do you need?

John Franklin: (13:55)
Yeah, so we got below the fold, right? And so there you’re looking at a brief description of your core service, social proof, and a secondary call to action. All right? So brief description of a core service. Let’s say you are driving down the road, you see a restaurant and it says world’s best burgers, right? You’re gonna look at that restaurant and you’re gonna be like, I’m probably gonna get a burger. And so this is cool, this is a good looking burger restaurant. Now let’s say you’re driving down the road, you see the exact same restaurant, the sign out front says “this is the world’s best cheeseburgers, tacos and sushi”. You’re probably gonna think that is a little suss. And your general impression if you are from Earth is that this is probably not a great restaurant and I’m very dubious if they are the best in the world at all these things. 

Mike Warkentin: (14:39)
My dad told me one time, John, my dad, one of the greatest pieces of advice he ever gave me, do not get a burger from a seafood place and do not get seafood from a burger place. And you just hit it.

John Franklin: (14:47)
And do not be a seafood/burger place. Yeah. And so the same is true in fitness, right? You see a lot of gyms that are like, we offer the best yoga and weightlifting and we have our powerlifting class and we have group training and semi-private training and nutrition programs, and that’s all highlighted on the centerpiece of their site. And this is gonna confuse somebody who’s on your site, all these different offerings. If you are the best in the world at personal training or your core services group class and that is the thing that you want people to buy, that is the thing I would highlight. So think of the world’s best burger or the world’s best pie. You want to be the world’s best at the thing. And it could be locally, world’s best, locally world famous and personal training.

Mike Warkentin: (15:32)
World’s best.

John Franklin: (15:33)
Yeah. All right, so that’s a core service description. The next piece is social proof. And social proof is so crucial for gyms. We can do an hour conversation just on social proof, but the dirty is, you want before and after photos. If you look at any of these gyms that charge $3,000 a month packages. The reason they do that is ’cause they have proven beyond the shadow of doubt that they are good at getting results. And a lot of these people will take professional before and after photos. So if they’re selling some type of high ticket transformation program, they’re gonna get the sad “I’m fat” before picture and then they’re gonna have the touched up, well lit after picture and there’s gonna be a million of them on their website. The same is true for a guru-type coaching business. It’s all like, I was poor before and now I’m rich, right? There’s very clear drivers in psychology that make people wanna buy. And if you are the results place, you need to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you get results and pictures of actual humans getting shredded is the best way to do it. So yea.

Mike Warkentin: (16:39)
And you should not ChatGPT your way to this stuff, right? This should be real stuff unless you’re a sheister.

John Franklin: (16:45)
No, no, no, it’s fine. This is a marketing podcast. AI generate your before and after, it’s totally fine. No, at an absolute minimum, you should have three client results. And if you can’t get professional, well-lit before and afters, and to be clear, this is something you can get for a couple hundred bucks, right? You have to plan ahead. But it is not a prohibitively expensive thing for most gyms to do. And the ROI will be insane, but if you can’t do that, just get regular photo pics of a member that did a before and after. If you can’t do that, go to your Google reviews, written testimonials and Facebook posts, just take screenshots of that and put it on your website. But if you’re doing any of the latter things that aren’t visually appealing, plan to do that first. And if you don’t have good transformations, you gotta fix your service. And good marketing is gonna fix that.

Mike Warkentin: (17:38)
And I believe you mentioned secondary call to action in this section. What is that?

John Franklin: (17:43)
Good memory. Everyone who comes to your site, not everybody’s gonna be ready to buy now or book a consultation. So what we recommend is that you have a little something extra to collect that email address if they’re on your site. Most people overthink this and try and make it something really complicated. You can look at anybody who sells a workout program online very successfully. That’s a good place to look ’cause they’re probably testing their magnets. But at-home workouts work really good, like body weight stuff that they can do right away. You can type those up and use ChatGPT to make that. And then healthy desserts do really well and like, healthy recipes. And then a grocery shopping guide or checklist is something that we’ve seen perform well. If doing something like that is too sophisticated, setting up the landing page, making sure it gets delivered and making the asset look good, some people just use their pricing as a secondary call to action. So it’s just like, hey, see our prices, you put your email in and then you email the person the prices.

Mike Warkentin: (18:48)
So this is not a dinner date, this is a cup of coffee, right? You’re just trying to get people to take a step in a direction and you want their email address, right?

John Franklin: (18:55)
Yeah. I mean we get people to come back and buy Two-Brain after being on the email list for five, six years.

Mike Warkentin: (19:02)
And that’s where your content marketing comes in, right? You’re hitting them with stuff all the time. Content, sending them things, gifts, singing, communication, nurturing as we call it.

John Franklin: (19:09)
You’re the content marketing ninja so you’re gonna have to educate me on that. But yes, ideally you have both. But you know, getting the email, you can add the content later on down the road, but if you’re creating content and you don’t have the emails, it’s gonna be hard to get people to read it. ‘Cause you’re probably gonna be pretty bad at it when you start.

Mike Warkentin: (19:29)
So we won’t beat this thing to death. We’ll go back and just summarize here. In a straw pull, 80% of gyms in John’s local market did not have the things on it that would make it easy for him to become a member. So if you extrapolate that to larger gym world, there is about an 80% chance that your website isn’t doing what it’s supposed to be doing unless you’re part of a big franchise chain and you know someone who’s supplied a website that’s already been tested. So if you are that 80%, and you might wanna check just by doing that five second test with some friends of yours or even in a mall with some randos, you can do that. If you are in the 80% you need to fix this now. You can do it a couple of different ways. You can get to Gym Owners United, there’s a ton of resources in that site, John and some of the Kilo staff members are constantly posting about this stuff. You can also contact Kilo though. Just go to kilo right? Kilo.com John, is that what we’re sending people?

John Franklin: (20:21)
I wish it was kilo.com. It’s UseKilo.com.

Mike Warkentin: (20:24)
UseKilo.com. There you go. Yeah. So I’m guessing that you looked for the other one and someone tried to extort you.

John Franklin: (20:31)
Oh no, Kilo.com is probably like a million dollar domain. 

Mike Warkentin: (20:36)
Yeah, that’s what I thought. But check that out. If you’re doing it yourself, figure it out. But the idea is you must have clear calls to action and if you make some changes to your site, test it again. And if the changes don’t produce the result with the people that you want, change it again. Test again. Okay, John, final advice for anyone. What is one thing they should do right now after this podcast to unscrew their website?

John Franklin: (21:03)
Oh, I would just test every form you got. We find stuff broken on Kilo all the time. We have a person who is, literally their full-time job is going into forms and making sure they aren’t broken ’cause they break for all kinds of reasons. And this is especially true of your DIY. If you’re duct taping six, seven pieces of software together in order to deliver me lead magnets or do something pretty complicated, or you haven’t looked in more than a year, chances are more likely than not that some critical thing is broken on your site.

Mike Warkentin: (21:37)
Your website is not the pyramids. It does not last forever. It is like your vehicle, it needs maintenance and things break all the time. And if you don’t test these forms, you won’t know it. Test your phone. Go to your website as an outsider or even have an outsider do it. Enter your info in these different forums. See what happens. I can tell you from experience, I did that and a lot of the info just went somewhere that I couldn’t figure out and then I got a better website. I lost sales. John, thanks so much for doing this today. We’ll have you back and we’ll talk about some more stuff, but you’ve given gym owners a ton to think about. Thank you so much.

John Franklin: (22:08)
Awesome. Thanks for having me.

Chris Cooper: (22:11)
Hey, it’s Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper with a quick note. We created the Gym Owners United Facebook group to help you run a profitable gym. Thousands of gym owners just like you have already joined in the group. We share sound advice about the business of fitness every day. I answer questions, I run free webinars and I give away all kinds of great resources to help you grow your gym. I’d love to have you in that group. It’s Gym Owners United on Facebook, or go to GymOwnersUnited.com to join. Do it today.

Thanks for listening!

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