Whether a gym, studio, group instructor or personal training business, tried and trusted marketing campaigns can be transformed with digital support. Here we examine 5 well-established campaigns and look at how digital can enhance your marketing returns.
1. Publish your schedule
Ok, so we’ve started with a bit of an obvious one. It’s one thing getting your name out there, but if you don’t tell people what’s on when and make it easy to book, you’re not helping yourself (or your customers).
Knowing that schedules change, we know that this process can be difficult.
Gymcatch helps here by providing one digital source of truth for what’s on when. You can refer people to one web page, or one in-app ‘What’s On’ tab to give them a clear picture of what’s on when. With our unique ‘Appointment Windows’, you can also add one-to-one availability in a flexible way, enabling bookings within a wider time slot rather than having to give a rigid structure that may not work for existing clients or potential customers.
2. Run a referral program
This is a well known strategy, but it is indeed very likely that your best source for new customers are your existing. They’re already buying into your services, so it’s highly likely they know other people with similar backgrounds who would also be interested in what you have to offer.
Nonetheless, referral programs are often poorly advertised and aren’t exactly easy to act upon. If you ask some of your customers, I’m sure they’ll say they’d be willing to recommend your business, but actually getting them to sit down and write that email, send that text or make that phone call is difficult, and you don’t want to be ‘that person’ who keeps asking for something…
The solution here is two-fold. Firstly, keep the referral program front and centre. This can be done easily with posters, emails and verbal reminders. None of this is ‘in your face’ marketing, and it doesn’t put your customers under undue pressure. The second key is to make sure referrals are easy. The best way to do this is to make the referral personally and contextually relevant.
We achieve this within Gymcatch with our prominent session ‘Share’ function, which customers see whilst browsing sessions but also at the completion of a booking. This makes it easy for a potential referee to share specific session details via email, SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc. with a personalized message suggesting their friend gets in on the action.
3. Offer a free trial
So you’ve secured your referral, but then how do you make it easy for that person to come for their first session? You don’t want to create any barriers or additional admin for them – any extra effort creates an opportunity for them to give up. Making the booking possible without the customer having to put much effort in is key.
Every business will have their own experience and point of view regarding free trials. Some think one visit is enough, but we’ve seen as high as a five-session free pass to encourage an initial habit formation. It may also be that you want to limit which sessions the free pass can be used for. Whatever your strategy, you need to make it as easy as possible to book.
With Gymcatch, you can create a free pass, assign specific sessions to the pass, and set a time limit on the pass itself. You’ll always have complete visibility of who’s redeemed the pass, so you can give them specific focus and give yourself the best possible chance of converting them into a customer.
4. Group wellness programs
We’ve all read the well trodden marketing campaign targeting local business owners to set up a bespoke wellness programs, whether it’s a discounted membership or a value group/bundle discount for class or one-to-one training.
Whilst certainly worth exploring, once established you’ve still got to find a nudge within the business to get them to take advantage of the scheme. One option is to target businesses where your current customers are working – this way you have an internal advocate ready to go. The downside here is there’s no guarantee the client in question is going to be comfortable with pushing your services internally.
Another option is to try and link a group activity or cause to starting your sessions. Matching up a program to tie in with half marathons, ToughMudder (or similar) or a custom challenge you design with your wellness program is a great idea as it can create an initial buzz and motivation to sign up in the workplace, as well as a communal commitment to training sessions.
Gymcatch can help to enable the program and create the training community. With Gymcatch’s custom packages, you can put the discounted program directly on sale to let employees find, book and pay for the package right away. Alternatively, if you don’t want it shown to your existing customers, you can take payments offline and gift the package to enable bookings into your specific corporate sessions.
5. Host an event
A well established marketing idea that applies just as well to gyms, studios, group and personal training marketing is hosting your own event. Whether this is an anniversary or seasonal party, a BBQ, or anything else – an event is a great opportunity for customers to enjoy a little downtime with their fitness community and invite their friends to tag along, which means potential referrals and customers for you.
This marketing idea neatly applies to all of 1-4 above. Making sure the event is published early and promoted regularly on your booking system is a no-brainer, as is seamlessly enabling any referrals that come out of it.
The Gymcatch event share functionality lets business admins post to the Gymcatch Newsfeed (and to other social networks, as well as email and SMS) to continually promote events to the community. All posts include a push and email notification, so you’ll be able to grab your customer’s attention.
We’re all for the traditional fitness marketing campaigns and ideas – they’re well known about for good reason. We just think that they can be optimized with the right online booking software, and we built Gymcatch to do just that.
Ollie founded Gymcatch in 2015 with the aim of making participation in fitness easier for all. As founder, Ollie served as CEO since Gymcatch’s inception. He’s currently focused on growing the platform through strategic partnerships, corporate development and growing the team. Prior to founding Gymcatch, Ollie spent 10 years at Barclays, latterly as a Director covering the TMT sector. He gained an MBA with Honours from the University of Chicago in 2013 and higher class honours in Philosophy and International Relations from the University of Bristol. Outside of the office, Ollie enjoys travelling, playing and watching cricket and spending time with his young family. He supports a number of charities focused on increasing physical participation.