Social media is but one tool in the toolbelt of great marketing. It should not be the only tool used. This would be like your contractor showing up to build your house with only a hammer. Extremely useful, but building a house aka your overall marketing strategy, needs many more tools.
Why do so many gym owners and fit-pros rely so heavily on social media? The answer…It’s easy.
Instant gratification right at your fingertips. You can do all of it from your phone. You post. You get likes and comments. Woohoo! My marketing is done for the day.
What happens if one of these social platforms dies (MySpace), or if the platform changes the rules (which Facebook has done consistently), you are left in a situation where your ability to connect and attract potential clients is severely hampered.
Case in Point: Three years ago, if you were advertising on Facebook your cost per acquisition was cheap. Spending $300-500 a month on ads almost guaranteed you a steady stream of clients. Now the market has become flooded with Facebook and Instagram being overloaded with ads from every industry. Combine that with changes in their algorithm on how ads show up on your feed, you must spend 10x as much to get the same ROI. This has made it almost impossible for small businesses with small budgets to see a notable ROI.
Many who dive into social advertising walk away frustrated feeling that they just wasted a lot of money.
Great social media is part of an overall marketing strategy that includes several forms of marketing. That way if one form is underperforming, you still have other sources working in your favor.
Here are some other forms of marketing you can do right now to attract clients to your business without ever opening your social media. The key as with all marketing is to find something you like, you are good at, and you can do consistently.
1. Pick up the phone
Nothing has a better ROI than building real relationships with real people, and that starts with a real conversation. Print a list of clients and/or leads who you have not heard from in a while and give them a call to see how you can help. Offer them a free week or product to get them back into training.
2. Google Reviews
A bunch of 5-star Google reviews can do more for driving local traffic than just about anything. It is usually the very first place people go to find a new gym, trainer, or nutritionist. Ask your great clients to help you out by honestly writing about their experience.
3. Built in Referrals
Every gym owner I speak to says their number one form of marketing is “word of mouth”. That’s great but unless it’s repeatable and measurable it’s not marketing. Build referrals into your process. Example: When a client joins your gym or program give them a referral card to bring a friend. Set an automated email to go off after a new client has completed their first month. Run a referral contest. Host a “bring a friend” workout. The ideas are endless. Just get several on your marketing calendar each year and track the results.
4. Improve Your Call to Action
Many times when we work with our consulting clients, we see a lack of a clear directive to the clients. What exactly do you do and how do they contact you for help? A flashy web page or social post does nothing if it does not tell potential clients what’s in it for them and how they can get it.
Example: Sign up for a FREE week of personal training. Start getting healthier today. Our expert coaches will build you a custom plan and you get results that last. CLICK HERE to start your journey today.
5. Email Your List
I could write ten more articles about email marketing. It is STILL the #1 form of marketing and has an ROI 10x that of social media. Also, you own the list! Start emailing content to your clients and build your list. This does not have to be complicated Pulitzer prize winning articles. Simple tips to help your target demo. Then occasionally, remind them of the services you offer and how they can work with you. As Gary V says “Jab, Jab, Hook!”
6. Send a Handwritten Letter
This one is old-school, but the ROI is nearly 100%! If you have clients send them a letter to let them know how much you appreciate them, ask how you can continue to help them, and let them know you really care. Talk about a good deed that will start a real buzz! Every holiday season we send EVERY client a nice personal holiday card with some gifts for them to give to friends to spread the fitness love.
Gratitude + Referral Opportunity = A stream of clients into the new year.
7. Community Events
If you own a gym or are trying to attract local clients to train with you, you MUST become a community leader. Get out and make a difference in your community. Speak at the local health fair, run the warmup for the town 5k, speak to the kids, run a charity event, join and be active in the local chamber of commerce, show up to local sporting events, and most of all speak to people. At our gym we have at least one community event on the calendar every month of the year.
8. Joint Venture with other Successful Businesses or People
Sometimes partnering with another business or person can be a great way to leverage another’s list and clientele. Make friends with your local orthopedic, massage therapist, chiropractor, health food store ect…Join forces and put on a 90min seminar. Add value to their clients and in return ask them to give them something so they can utilize your services.
9. Start a Podcast
You don’t need to be the next Joe Rogan to have a podcast. Think about it as another tool to connect with your ideal clients and help them solve the problems and issues that hold back their fitness. This builds credibility and authority.
10. Run a Sweepstake
Giveaway the goods! Run a contest for a free month of personal training or a year membership to your gym. Promote via your email and put signs all over town. Obviously, social media is a great help here, but we get the majority of our applications via email. The last sweeps we ran got over 1,700 applications. You read that right! That’s 1,700 people who got on our email list and raised their hand in interest of our gym and fitness program. That is a lot of phone calls to make, but well worth it.
There are so many ways to market. Do not be one dimensional. Be creative. Not everyone responds to the same form of communication. You must find the right fit for your ability and ideal client.
Just as it is a good idea for any business to have multiple revenue streams to bullet proof their finances it is also a great idea to have multiple marketing streams working to bulletproof your lead generation.
If I were opening another gym today (which we just did), I would start by building my email list, communicating with current and former clients, and getting out in the community. Then start adding great social media to showcase what we do and the people we serve.
Let the lead flow begin!