Now that summer is right around the corner, our determination to achieve our fitness goals will inevitably increase. For gym owners, this provides the perfect opportunity for targeting those potential clients who are looking to break their hibernation to increase the business’ growth potential, stay competitive and, most importantly, achieve profit maximisation.
However, considering there are already 9.2 million gym memberships in the UK alone, preparing for this health and fitness influx can appear daunting. Also, how can you convince these new-found fitness connoisseurs to choose your gym above the rest? With this in mind, check out this guide on how your gym can prepare for the summer health and fitness drive.
Introduce Outdoor Workouts
Sadly, one of the most common reasons for low membership-retention rates for gyms originates from limited class options and workouts. In order to improve client motivation, keeping their workout routine fresh is essential.
To keep your workouts interesting offer outdoor-specific workouts and take full advantage of the summer sun. According to research, exercising whilst outdoors can have a positive impact on vitality, a sense of enthusiasm, aliveness and overall energy (https://greatist.com/fitness/working-out-indoors-versus-outdoors).
Activities such as aerobics, dance, yoga, Zumba, circuit training and even high intensity boot camps, are perfect for incorporating the outdoors: if you don’t have enough space on-site, then nearby fields and parks are also ideal. Remember – not everyone will enjoy the enhanced sociability of working outside, so ensure workouts are also available indoors. Depending on the popularity of classes, you could also move existing equipment outdoors or invest in new equipment: budget limitations could be resolved by taking out short term business finance – click here to find out more about small business loan alternatives.
Identify your Unique Selling Point
Last year, approximately 6,435 fitness facilities were operating in the UK – that’s a lot of competition. To stand a chance at gaining an advantage over your competitors, identifying your unique selling point (USP) is crucial. In other words, you must have something different to offer otherwise your gym is going to appear identical to the others.
For example – the majority of consumers want to try before they buy and there is no exception when it comes to gyms. Being tied down to a monthly membership can be off-putting especially if a potential customer merely wishes to spend some time testing the equipment, meeting the staff and existing gym members and getting a good feel for the centre before they commit to signing up long-term. Unfortunately, the majority of gyms charge expensive fees for first time or casual visits instead of offering free trials, resulting in the loss of substantial new business.
Fitness First provide a complementary workout of their services and resources which allows a potential customer to test the gym’s facilities without having to purchase a membership straight away. Although Fitness First aren’t profiting from this short-term, potential customers are far more likely to make a long-term membership purchase when offered this incentive.
Offer a Variety of Membership Packages
Research has discovered that the UK wastes an average of £480 per person each year on an unused gym memberships meaning a lot of fitness enthusiasts are failing to fully utilise what they pay for: this can be disastrous for achieving customer retention and satisfaction. Furthermore, if a potential customer discovers your service has extremely limited and costly prices that fail to suit their needs, they are more likely to search elsewhere.
Provide your potential customers with a variety of price packages to ensure you’re catering for all pockets. Offering family and couple packages will bring in more customers under one membership; while providing discounts for those less likely to afford the full price (e.g. students and seniors) means you’re not advertising an expensive top-end service that’s unusable by some. BH Live Active (see above) have taken this a step further by determining membership prices based on the time-of-day – the off-peak membership is considerably cheaper than a peak time membership.
Connect Online and Offline Journey
The continuous shift within industry trends is resulting in a fluctuation of consumer demand; businesses need to cater for online and offline shopping to achieve the highest market share, regardless of whether they’re providing a product or service. With statistics indicating that 81% of consumers will research a product or service online before making a purchase in store, it’s clear customers expect to obtain enough information from online sources to complete both online and offline purchases. Whether we’re browsing on a mobile device or entering a high street shop, connecting the online and offline customer journey has never been more important – focusing on just one channel is no longer enough.
Before a consumer decides to purchase a membership, they will probably conduct online research on gyms. When someone searches for a store name or category online, they expect to see a map with directions, a phone number they can easily click-to-call, or special offers that match their location and time of day. This is where Google My Business comes in.
Google My Business is an absolute necessity for local SEO targeting. Ensuring that your business has high visibility for local SEO searches on a search engine results page (SERP) will increase the number of conversions and enquiries that you attract to your website. When creating a Google My Business page, include your business name, current address, phone number, opening times, high-resolution images and any other information you believe would benefit potential consumers.
For example, in the graphic above, Flitwick Leisure Centre have used Google My Business to help their business stand out for local online searchers. This makes it very likely that anyone who is trying to locate a gym within the area will see the positive reviews the gym has attracted, as well making them far more likely to visit the website and look at membership prices before visiting the gym for a trial session or an introduction programme, allowing a complete connection between the online and offline journey.
Provide Other Services
Although we attend the gym to exercise, people will naturally have different levels of experience with maintaining their fitness – it can be difficult to uphold a healthy diet alongside a strict exercise regime. According to research published by the Daily Mail, 75% of people avoid signing up to the gym through fear of being judged by others – it’s important to remember not everyone is a fitness expert and those new to using gyms will require additional assistance, especially if weight loss is their main goal.
Try to encourage reluctant customers by offering nutritional programmes alongside exercise plans, as this will provide customers with a more personalised level of customer service and allow them to track their progress and therefore feel as if they’re getting value for money. You could remove the element of fear by organising weekly meet-ups in smaller groups and even provide personal trainers. Aiden’s Gym has expanded their weight loss service by providing downloadable healthy meal plans and food diaries for keeping track of nutrition.