How to Bootstrap Your Sales and Marketing for your Gym during the Pandemic

The pandemic is affecting every gym operation differently — some gyms are going to go out of business, some will manage through it and be okay, some will benefit hugely from it simply due to the kind of gym or service they offer.

However, we simply can’t stop marketing and communicating with our members and prospects, and now is the time to think about what we can do, with what we have, where we are (play the hand we’re dealt).

So, with that in mind, here are some ideas for effective marketing activities you can do that cost little or no money, and that every gym should probably be doing more of anyway.

Some may work for you; some may not, but take a look and see what you think:

1. Reach out to past telephone and web inquiries that never bought

Try reaching out to potential members that have made inquiries previously but never joined or never went through the full sales cycle.

Your email database is going to be a great asset for you right now, so leverage your database to communicate with all of your prospects.

2. Leverage your gyms vendor network

We can’t go to networking events right now. Therefore, we have to do what we probably should have been doing a lot more of anyway: proactively reaching out to our top vendors and our top contacts and communicating with them more.

If you’re a gym owner or manager, if you’re in a sales role, now is a great time to be reaching out to your main contacts anyway — and finding ways to add value and help them solve some problems can make your relationship even stronger.

3. Write more blogs and articles, publish more

If you have a website, which you all do, this is going to be your single, main asset, so you want to double down on it.

You should focus especially on anything related to how you are safe place to work out and how you can get results for your members.

4. Repurpose your articles onto LinkedIn, Medium or AmericanTowns

Obviously social media platforms are free to use, but they’re really noisy. We have to find ways to cut through that noise.

The one way to do that is to republish your top-performing articles on your website currently (and the ones that you’re writing) onto your personal LinkedIn profiles, Medium or AmericanTowns as articles. This gets them in front of your network, your vendors, and your audience.

5. Embrace video production across your entire team

We want to create video. We want to get out there and we want people to see our faces, to hear our voices. Want people to see our body language.

You don’t have to have all the gear. A Smart Phone, a low cost microphone, a tripod, etc. It doesn’t matter, really. Balancing your Smart Phone on top of a pile of books and being able to do a video right now is good enough.

Keep it specific. Address main questions, fears, and anxieties. Do some walkthroughs or demos. Keep it short and just get it out there. Perfection is not what we’re aiming for. We want to get it done.

6. Create a proactive plan for saving member cancellations

We need to get ahead of concerns before they become problems. Proactively reach out to your members at risk.

Put yourself in a position to understand how the pandemic is affecting them. This gives you the opportunity to think about how you could provide more value at this time.

It may mean that you have to think of a new service or a new product or a new way to provide value. This just gives you that chance to get ahead.

7. Proactively reach out to prospects

The first thing to remember here is that people will still buy, so you want to be communicating with your database. Member referrals, former members, missed sales, internet leads; telephone and web inquiries, corporate accounts, etc are some quick opportunities.

Instead of waiting for them to move through the buying process, call them, text them email them and create a personalized connection with them. Reach out proactively instead of letting them go through the process organically.

8. Follow up quickly and personally with all gym inquiries

Give all your inquiries super service as much as you possibly can. In other words, not only are you going to act quickly and get back to people in good time, but use video when you do it to make a personalized connection. Do everything you can to make your buyers feel special (because they are).

9. Publish content where your prospects are

You need to be leveraging social media platforms, wherever your prospects are hanging out at the moment: current members, potential clients, and potential members. Let go of the need to have all the content on your website.

Put the content on the platform where your prospects are. It might mean publishing whole articles on LinkedIn, Medium and AmericanTowns and link back to your website

10. Ask for referrals. Who do your members know that could join?

You should communicate with people who are either current members or current clients of yours, or people who have been previous members and really liked what you did for them.

It’s always good to reach back out to them, with a personalized touch, to see if you can help them in any way.

Also, you can ask them for a testimonial or a case study, and then ask them, if they did enjoy what you did for them, is there anybody else that they know right now that would benefit from working with you?

11. Embrace live chat for your website

Finally, live chat. Get Facebook Messenger onto your website, so your members and prospects can communicate with you directly. I have seen member and prospect interaction go up as much as 4x by using Facebook Messenger as the live chat feature.

This is going to be especially important for gyms that used to rely on prospects coming to see you in your studio or in your gym.

Let’s get back to the basics — to what gym sales and marketing’s all about. That personalized communication with members and prospects in a way that’s going to help them to feel like they want to be part of what you do at the 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

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