Who said getting new members for your leisure centre was easy? With competition popping up all around in the form of budget gyms and fitness clubs, it has never been trickier to stand out from the crowd. These 10 new ideas, if implemented correctly, should give you the edge and move you towards being the people’s favourite!
The top 10...
Create video content
The potential for video content these days is infinite, as long as you have some of the basic resources and a capable camera operator. Drone footage, 360 video and 4k are all the rage these days but when it comes down to it, well put together well thought out standard HD video content can capture any type of audience. “Including a video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%” (Source: Unbounce).
Stories… this is what captures the mind of your potential and current customers, this is what will move them towards parting with their money as well as building your brand for the future. Here are just a few ideas for videos you can create for your leisure centre online marketing: centre tour/overview, day in the life of a member or staff, TV style advert, a new offer video or even a funny TV style advert.
Having a strong portfolio of video content to use online and repurpose for multiple channels can change success on your online strategy dramatically. “By 2019, global consumer Internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic” (Source: SmallBizTrends). Investing in your team and equipment for the long term will mean you have the capability to capture all types of video content when you need it to use it on social media and your website, bringing considerable results compared to before.
Develop the community
“Did you see what happened last week at XXX centre?” People are always talking, telling their friends about what they did or what they’re going to do. This means that building a community online and offline is a powerful option for leisure centres. Use social media to build conversations and encourage engagement between your fans by creating content that sparks emotion and leads to sharing and comments. You can even go as far as creating a Facebook group for members of your centre to discuss upcoming events, classes and general fitness ideas. See number 6 for another way to build your community and buzz!
This also links to number 3 as you should be encouraging people to take their centre experience online, whether that is sharing stories of their recent visit or simply joining the Facebook page for updates on events.
Link your traditional and online marketing
By traditional marketing we mean that which is not based on a screen, so things such as: physical banners, leaflets, print media and radio ads. All of these can still have an impact on your business and even more if you link them to your online efforts. One way to do this is to have call to action on your traditional marketing that sends prospects to your website or social media profiles for more information.
A specific tactic would be to create a new offer on flyers of which there are limited numbers, then send this traffic to a unique landing page where they can claim their membership or class offer with a code from the flyer. Doing something like this means you will be able to track your traditional efforts by combining them with digital techniques.
Get your staff involved
Bob is a funny guy, Susan on the desk is quite flexible and Darren the cleaner has a crazy party trick! The main thing here is to see that all of your team can tell your story and engage your audience in a unique way. One way to create great content and show behind the scenes is to have your staff be part of your adverts, photo and video content. For example, for the staff day in the life video, you could use your most enthusiastic staff member and get them to show the camera guy around all of your new equipment and what they get up to.
Involving the staff in marketing like this builds trust with your audience and really shows them that you care and want to know more about the business. Another way you can involve the staff is to get them to be ambassadors for the company, whereby they get a commission for each new member they sign up, they could even have a link they can send to their contacts and therefore both they and the company would win.
Manage your reputation
Managing your centres reputation can be tricky in this day and age, with people constantly posting and sharing on social media their latest experiences of each and every day. The trick here is to keep an eye on review sites and social media by searching regularly for new feedback and mentions of your business. If possible, you can try and filter your negative reviews through feedback forms on your site and encourage the publishing on positive reviews on social media; you could do this through post captions or email outreach.
Although it may be tedious, this can potentially save you from serious backlash from the sources friends or influence. Just remember, if you are replying to public feedback to always stay professional and reply in a positive and friendly manner. Always put the customer first as you don’t want to expose yourself by creating an argument on Facebook that no one will be impressed by, even if your facts were correct.
UGC aka User Generated Content is something that probably happens for your business fairly often: people tagging you in Instagram pictures or Facebook post location. The message we have here is to actively encourage your fans and members to create more content and through that, promoting your centre and business in a non-aggressive way. One way to do this is to have posters around the gym or changing rooms that give a call to action to ‘tag us’ in your next post, you can even add an incentive such as winning a small prize at the end of each month or a chance to be featured.
Encouraging UGC online is also an option, one of the most popular ways is by running a competition with a large value prize to get people entering, the cost of the prize is then the cost of the advertising but having the message come from your fans is better than coming from your own page as it acts as social proof. You could use a hashtag like #fitnessonfriday and track results like that with certain terms for entry. Having a brand hashtag also build your community and brand strength.
Track competition activity
You may hear someone saying: “yeah, but that gym over the road is doing a crazy deal for Christmas, £1 to join and a free cake!” and by then it’s too late and they’ve stole you members. The key here is to regularly check up on the promotion and marketing of your competitors to make sure you are keeping up with them and not missing out due to a contrast in promotion offers. You can even flip it the other way when they have no sign-up offer on, quickly run a flash sale to try and capture some new members. You can even use some of their content and marketing ideas for yourself but don’t get caught up in the trap of copying them as you want your brand to stay true to its own voice and message to keep your customers trust and differentiate yourself for new prospects.
A solid CRM system
Have you ever had a few contacts you were meant to follow up with, but then left it too late and now they’re sitting in a dusty old folder in the office? This is where a CRM system would help. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is constantly improving these days, making it easier for your business to keep track of your prospects and customers, whilst moving them towards a purchase decision.
Whilst CRM software is the obvious choice for B2B services, it can be a great help for tracking lower cost membership prospects like that of gyms or health services. This article by Salesforce gives 4 examples of different business using CRM to improve: https://www.salesforce.com/crm/examples . Adding new contacts to your email list is one of the best ways to grow your business, you can even your social media to landing pages to encourage potential customers to give you’re their email, then you can send them new offers further along the line. They key with using a system like this is sending the right emails to the right customers at the right time; so it may take a while to set up perfectly but when it is ready, it will be a machine working for your bottom line.
Try influencer marketing
The term ‘influencer marketing’ has only blown up in recent years due to the growth of platforms like Instagram and Twitter. This practice of getting people in your industry with large followings to promote your services and products has proven to be a hit with many types of low cost products but has yet to be exploited with services and things like gym memberships. Due to this unproven record it could be a risky technique, but the truth is you don’t have to go for the top of the pile at first.
As you will want to be targeting local people, you can use ‘micro’ local influencers so local people with a smaller following but still have the impact and reach over a large number of people in your target demographic. An example of this for your situation would be to pay a local Instagram ‘influencer’ (or many) to promote your new seasonal membership offer over the course of 2 weeks. You could pay them a fee upfront or treat them like an ambassador and pay them per person signed up, both of which would have the potential to bring new profits.
Yes, your whole team could dress up as fairies and do a crazy dance on camera but having fun doesn’t always have to go this far. Whilst you still want to keep everything aligned with the brand, you don’t want to be seen by your prospects as too serious or corporate and this could push them away. Just understand that the vibe you give off in your marketing is going to be the vibe that people expect when they are using your centres.
It’s a well-known belief those who loves their work is going to do a better job than the one who doesn’t. This goes all the way back to being transparent and building trust with your audience and having fun with your campaigns is sometimes the best way! One way to have fun with your marketing is to get ALL of your staff members to come up with a TV style ad involving staff and then you can pick the best one and then adjust it to meet your brand values. By doing this, everyone gets involved and engaged and you may just come up with a winning funny ad.
I hope this article gave you some insight into the world of marketing and some new ideas for your leisure centre to try, some of these may even work for other businesses so have a think which could apply to your business and work on implementing them. At the core of marketing, we believe you should keep testing new ideas, keeping up with trends and technology and then finish it off by challenging your team and having fun. There you have it, stay tuned for more blog content coming very soon. P.S. The show goes on...