No doubt that we live in a digital world with many opportunities for branding and to create awareness of our gym or studio. But with that said there are many opportunities to brand and promote your gym outside of digital. In the end, your goal should be to be known by everyone in your trade area, so you want to utilize every option you can. Here are a few ideas that tend to be forgotten:
- Business Cards
Think of this as your own personal billboard and rather than hope that someone you just met will remember your email address and phone number, business cards are your tangible reinforcements. A high-quality business card could be what earns you that callback, which is normally the goal of giving them out. It’s important that your cards properly represent you and your gym brand and add that extra bit of credibility. Use both sides of the card.
2. Snail Mail
Snail mail still works. As a matter of fact, because it is less popular, your personal hand-written thank you card could be the way you effectively get in contact with someone that might normally be hard to reach. For example, are you sending hand written thank you cards to your new members? To clubs guest that’s don’t join? To Members who bring in a guest? If you are looking for differentiation, this is a good place to start.
3. Public speaking opportunities
Public speaking is like giving your blog post a vitamin B shot…it’s a great way to network and gain credibility with an entirely new audience. The idea here is to put effort into the content you present and make sure you leave a lasting impression while educating and sharing “how tos.” Take that “how to” blog you wrote and use that as your guide for a speaking engagement. Even if you don’t immediately walk away from the speaking event with a lead, your gym will be attached to the memorable seminar on how to lose weight (for example). By doing this, the next time expertise is needed for that, your name and gym will ideally pop into their mind.
4. Testimonials and Social Proof
Testimonials and social proof will most always stand the test of time. Every gym in existence is going to give their members and prospects reasons that they are the best. They will brag about their results, their customer service, why they are the best facility in the area, etc. Hearing from their actual members is a whole different story. Testimonials are a candid, inside look at how a gym really operates and handles their membership base. In fact, many people won’t make buying decision to join a gym before reading testimonials.
5. Promoting a community event or local charity
Another great way to gain credibility and get your name out in the open for others to see is to sponsor a community or charity event. Not only is it great PR for your company, it shows that you care about your community and giving back. We have a gym recently partner up with a local charity to sponsor an attempt to teach the world’s largest group exercise class.
6. Making outbound calls
Of course, not everyone likes making outbound calls, so the key here is to hires staffers who can find motivation in the follow up. The next step is to set them up for success. They’ll need a list of potential leads such as missed sales, former members, corporate leads, etc., a proven script or method of calling, and a strategy. They’re going to get a lot of no’s, what is their rebuttal attempt? Their follow up and follow through? This can be a very successful method if properly executed. For many gym owners this is either a gigantic problem or a gigantic opportunity.
7. Attending local trade shows
Participating in a local trade show is definitely worth the time and effort, especially if you are open to penetrating your immediate area. Even though we live in a largely digital world, people are still attending these events knowing the importance of face to face networking and brand recognition. Similarly to public speaking, this strategy should be thoroughly planned. The goal is to be remembered at this event, not to simply be a participant promoting your gym.
Some other forgotten ways to brand your gym are street signs, joint marketing ventures with local businesses, flyers, press releases, and networking groups.
Now, go brand your gym!
An Outsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at:www.fmconsulting.netorwww.jimthomasondemand.com.