If you’re looking for more leads, there are three ways:
- Add more lead-generating activities
- Add more lead-nurturing activities
- Improve the execution of your current activities
Our focus today is the first two pieces. Below is a relatively comprehensive tour of your options.
But first… a warning.
Time is a constraint for all gym owners. You can’t do everything. You have to make choices.
Furthermore, different strategies work better or worse in different markets. For instance, it’s hard to run a guerilla marketing campaign in a busy downtown area when you’re in a rural market. Conversely, it’s hard to get a gig writing a monthly fitness column if your “local” paper happens to be The New York Times.
Nonetheless, the principles will remain the same. Marketing is always a three step process: KNOW > LIKE/ TRUST > HIRE
Below is a list of tools and strategies you can use for each of these three steps.
NOTE: Although I’ve placed each tool and strategy into one of the three buckets, in practice, the same tool/ strategy can serve more than one purpose.
Lead generation begins when people discover your gym exists in the first place. After all, no one can HIRE you if they’ve never heard of you. 😉
You’ll need some strategies for leads to discover your gym, and when possible, with clear calls to action to find out more. In a perfect world, you get their contact info and/or they follow you on social media so you can move to the next step.
Examples of strategies and tools to make sure leads KNOW you exist include:
- Paid Digital Marketing – Outbound (ex. Facebook and Instagram ads)
- Paid Digital Marketing – Inbound (ex. Google ads for keywords related to personal training)
- GEOgraphic Partnerships / Joint Ventures (nearby small businesses like coffee shops, restaurants, hair salons, nearby apartment buildings, etc.)
- DEMOgraphic Partnerships / Referral Networks (health and wellness: physical therapists, health food store, massage therapists, etc.)
- Community Gym Events
- Local Neighborhood Facebook Group
- Direct Mail
- Guerilla Marketing
- Local Advertising (billboards, flyers, radio commercials, leadboxes, etc.)
- Table at a local health fair and/or farmer’s markets
- Signage in front of the gym
- Local Newspaper Ads
- Chamber of Commerce networking
Once they KNOW you exist, your next step is to build a relationship. Over time, leads come to perceive your brand as credible and somewhere they could fit in. In other words, they LIKE and TRUST you.
This is best done by sharing educational, entertaining, and/or inspiring content via email marketing, social media, or other channels of contact. You can also share testimonials, case studies, and reviews that show relatable happy clients to build social proof. Rewards and press mentions can also be shared to showcase you as an expert and authority.
Also of note: people tend to LIKE and TRUST the familiar. Psychologists call this “the mere exposure” effect. Content aside, this is part of the magic of regular email communication and social media posts. This is also why layering in multiple KNOW strategies can also build LIKE/TRUST by creating a sense of “omnipresence” for your training gym.
Examples of strategies and tools that effectively build LIKE/ TRUST include:
- Email Marketing
- Organic Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.)
- Public Gym-Specific Facebook Group
- Testimonials/ Case Studies
- Blog Posts
- Gym-Specific Podcast
- Review Sites (Google My Business, Yelp, Neighborhood.com etc.)
- “As Seen On” Banners (logos of press mentions/ awards)
- Lunch and Learns/ Workshops
- Local Newspaper Column
- Lead Magnets
After a requisite amount of trust is built, some portion of these leads will choose to hire you. This is usually in response to a specific offer to take the next step: to come in for a free class, sign up for a low barrier offer, or if you’ve built enough credibility, sign up for a premium-priced front-end offer like a six-week challenge.
Although I’m using the term “HIRE,” in practice this can include free offers that represent a meaningful next step towards working with you on an ongoing basis. As a rule, the lower the barrier of cost and time, the less trust needs to be built. In fact, when the barrier — and risk — is low enough, many prospects can all but skip from KNOW to HIRE and sign up for a free class shortly after discovering your gym.
On the other hand, the higher the barrier of cost and time (e.g. $5k for a 12-week transformation program), the more trust needs to be built. In some cases, these higher barrier offers will require a dedicated sales conversation to further build LIKE/ TRUST before prospects will make a commitment.
Examples of strategies and tools that make and deliver offers to HIRE you include:
- Website Homepage with Clear CTA (WHO you help, HOW you help them, and EXACTLY what to do next)
- Landing Pages (specific to a given offer)
- Free Consultation/ Phone Call/ Assessment
- Free Workout
- Free Week
- 14-day to 30-day Low Barrier Offer/ Trial
- Premium Priced Front End Offer (6-week challenge, 12-week high ticket kickstart, etc.)
- Limited time promotions on a given offer to create urgency and/or scarcity
There you have it. I hope this got your wheels turning as to some new “fishing lines” to increase lead flow and move them to take the next step.
Just remember: you can’t do everything.
You’re going to have to make some choices. Furthermore, success isn’t merely about the number of lead- generating and lead-nurturing activities. You also have to execute well.
So while it’s useful to periodically consider new strategies and tools, don’t let yourself run around like a chicken with your head cut-off. Give each strategy enough time, energy, and focus to properly judge results before layering in more strategies willy nilly.