A couple of months ago I was looking for a new gym. I’d just moved house and one of the first things I did was go on the hunt for a good gym that was close by. So, I decided to do a little bit of an experiment. As someone who has run a successful marketing business for years and spends every day working with fitness professionals helping them generate more leads and clients – I thought it would be a great idea to go undercover. This time, I was the person who was genuinely looking to find a new gym and I wanted to see what it was like, being the client. To be honest, I was really disappointed with what I came across.
I wanted to put this article together to make sure you’re not making these same mistakes – they will seriously kill your business. They will prevent you from generating leads and clients on a consistent basis and will hinder your ability to grow a profitable business. Sometimes fitness professionals think that gym businesses have everything sorted and their marketing must be amazing – I can tell you. It’s not. Even the “big guys” get it wrong.
Let’s take a look at the top mistakes I came across.
Mistake #1 – Having an Outdated Website
It’s no surprise that people look online to find out information about fitness professionals. Whether you own a gym studio, you’re a personal trainer, yoga instructor or health coach – people will try and find out more about you by looking online. Making a decision about who should help you with your health and fitness journey is a personal one, so people want to make sure they’re in safe hands. Finding out more about you online is generally where they’ll start. So I think it goes without saying that it’s important that you put in the time, effort and resources to make sure that people not only find you online but you make sure you design your website the best you can and that you keep it updated.
When I went looking for gyms in my area I did a quick Google search and I opened all of the websites that came up on the front page. The first gym I came across had some terrible reviews, the second one I came across had third party ads on their website that led me to strawberry net (which is a perfume and makeup store – what the?) and the third one I looked at had timetables and pricing which was outdated. Plus, the personal trainer that was listed on the site no longer even worked at the venue. How did I know this? Because the trainer on the site was actually my S&C trainer who hadn’t worked there for almost a year. So, it was clear that they weren’t keeping their website updated, and as someone who is looking for a gym, this looks really bad and will deter people from signing up to your services.
So, lesson number 1. Keep your website updated. It represents you, it represents your business and if you want to grow your business and be successful in the health and fitness industry – then it’s a non negotiable. Put the time, energy and effort into making sure your website represents who you are and is structured in a way that helps you generate leads and clients into your business. If you need help with your website then feel free to get in touch and we can help you.
Mistake # 2 – Failing to follow up straight away
Truth is, when people actively start looking for a new gym or are looking to hire a fitness professional they generally want to jump straight in and get started right away. People often make a big decision that they want things to change and they’re highly motivated and ready to go. So it’s really important that you’re able to respond to people really quickly when they show interest in signing up to your products and services.
For me – I had just moved into the area and I wanted to make sure I kept up my fitness regime and I wanted to find somewhere pretty quickly. So, as I was looking through the websites that showed up on page one of Google, I came across a particular gym and I quickly realised it was really close to where I live. In fact, it was less than a hundred metres away. So I was really keen to check it out. Their website looked pretty good, it had a good welcome video on the site and they were offering a 3 day free gym pass. It seemed to tick all the right boxes. So I filled out my information and it told me to go and check my email – so that’s what I did.
That’s where it all went down hill.
This is what the email said. “Your request has been received. If you do not receive a response within 5 business days, please email this email address…”.
Were they fricken kidding me?? 5 business days. 5 BUSINESS DAYS!! I was seriously dumbfounded. Since when do you make hot leads wait 5 business days to try your service? Surely that’s business 101. What in the world could you be so busy doing that it takes someone up to 5 business days to get in contact with a new lead. Aren’t new clients the lifeblood of your business? To this day, it still annoys me to think about it and I certainly make sure my clients aren’t doing this. When someone hands over their details to you, showing they’re interested in your service, you never make them wait 5 business days, and you certainly don’t make them contact you, if no one has bothered to contact them.
The one thing you could be doing in your business to make this whole process so much better and to save you a lot of time, is to start automating the process. If someone fills out information on your site showing interest in your service, you can automatically send them an email with exactly what they wanted. How hard would it have been to send me the free pass via email and let me come in the next day? These days, you can automate the process really easily. Almost any email marketing provider will allow you to send out emails automatically when people give you their name and email address – this is known as an autoresponder. The best thing about autoresponders – you can setup more than one email to go out automatically. Which means you can provide your hot leads with really valuable information and send an email to them every couple of days to encourage them to come in and train with you. Imagine being able to send interested prospects 2 or 3 emails automatically while this other gym waits 5 business days to even get in contact. Who do you think will score the new client? That’s right – 9 times out of 10 it will be the person who got in contact first and provided them with immense value.
So, lesson number 2. Make sure you follow up with hot leads straight away and begin to automate the process. I know that you might not be able to get back to someone right away when they contact you, but it’s so important that you never ask them to wait 5 business days for someone to get in touch.
Your next task is to go and sign up to an email marketing provider who can send out automated emails for you. All you have to do is set it up once and it will go out automatically without you having to do any more work. (By the way, that gym didn’t even get in contact with me within 5 business days, so as a further experiment I submitted my information again to see what would happen, and someone finally called me days later). If you need help setting up emails to be sent out automatically then get in touch – we can help you.
Mistake # 3 – Not answering the phone
This one follows on from Mistake #2. When people are looking to find a gym, a personal trainer or any fitness professional they generally want to get started right away. A common mistake people make, is that they simply don’t answer their phone. You can have the best website, the best Facebook page, the best marketing material in the world – but if you don’t answer the phone – you’ll find yourself in trouble.
Now, sometimes you’ll be caught up training a client or you might be on another call and that’s okay, but make sure you direct people to where they can go if you’re unable to pick up the phone. Perhaps in your voice mail, direct them to your website, your Facebook page or your email address where they can get in contact with you.
For some people, if someone doesn’t answer the phone then they’ll move straight on to the next person or the next gym, or they’ll give up altogether. We’d like to think they’d wait a lifetime to work with us, but it just doesn’t work that way. I tried calling two gyms, one didn’t answer the phone and the other said someone would call me back the next morning – and never did.
So, lesson # 3. Make sure you answer your phone as often as you can and as a backup, make sure you setup a voicemail message, let them know that you really value their call, you’ll get back to them as soon as you can and then let them know how else they can get in contact with you.
That pretty much sums up my undercover experience. Was it your gym that had an outdated website, didn’t follow up on a new lead or didn’t answer your phone? These are some really basic things that a lot of fitness businesses and fitness professionals overlook and it’s costing them a fortune. Failing to take advantage of a hot lead can cost you thousands of dollars.
What will it cost you if you’re making these same mistakes?
If I was looking for a gym, then it would have just cost you around $1300 over 12 months. If I was looking for a personal trainer, it would have cost you $2500 over 3 months. That’s just one person that you might have missed out on. What if you’re missing one person a day or even one person a week. That’s tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a year that you could be missing out on.Don’t make these simple mistakes in your business. They’re easy to change.
How much is it costing you not to do your marketing effectively? You might think marketing is expensive, but failing to do your marketing correctly will be costing you a heck of a lot more. Don’t forget, if you need help with your website, or setting up emails to go out automatically so you don’t miss out on clients, then I can help. Me and my team work with fitness professionals everyday and show them how to take advantage of online marketing and I can help you too. One of the biggest lessons I got from this experience is witnessing first hand what fitness businesses are doing and failing to do and seeing just how advanced the strategies are that we’re implementing with our clients. I hope you’ll join us too.
Takeaways from this post:
1. Making a decision about who should help you with your health and fitness journey is a personal one, so people want to make sure they’re in safe hands. Finding out more about you online is generally where they’ll start.
It’s time to take action: Keep your website updated (if you don’t have one yet – then get one asap). It represents you, it represents your business and if you want to grow your business and be successful in the health and fitness industry – then it’s a non negotiable.
2. When people actively start looking for a new gym or are looking to hire a fitness professional they generally want to jump straight in and get started right away. So it’s really important that you’re able to respond to people really quickly when they show interest in signing up to your products and services.
It’s time to take action: Make sure you follow up with hot leads straight away and begin to automate the process. If you haven’t done so yet – go and sign up to an email marketing provider who can send out automated emails for you. All you have to do is set it up once and it will go out automatically without you having to do any more work.
3. When people are looking to find a gym, a personal trainer or any fitness professional they generally want to get started right away. A common mistake people make, is that they simply don’t answer their phone. You can have the best website, the best Facebook page, the best marketing material in the world – but if you don’t answer the phone – you’ll find yourself in trouble.
It’s time to take action: Make sure you answer your phone as often as you can and as a backup, make sure you setup a voicemail message, let them know that you really value their call, you’ll get back to them as soon as you can and then let them know how else they can get in contact with you – like your website, email, or Facebook page.
4. If you need help with any of the above then we can help. We work with fitness professionals (just like you) to understand the world of online marketing and we can help you too – click here to get in touch. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or you’re a veteran – we can help!