Growth Hacks for Your Health Club
Growth hacking, as we all know by now, is the idea that a business owner can use clever, carefully-implemented marketing ideas to drastically increase business. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to drive new clients to your store, service, or website and it’s a smart play for long-haul customer building, too.
This month we’re talking about growth hacking your health club. Health clubs, gyms, and fitness centers are some of the fastest-growing businesses in the U.S.. In fact, over 41,000,000 Americans are already members of a health club! It’s an over $10 billion dollar industry but until very recently the fifty largest gym brands controlled over a third of the market. That’s changing slowly but surely as entrepreneurs test the waters and find their niches in cities across the country.
So, how do you build business if you’re a new health club owner? What if you’ve got an established gym but need a marketing push? Are you about to go through a total re-brand? Here are some growth hacks you can implement now to help your business thrive.
1. Start offering web classes.
Health clubs are in the unique position of creating unlimited content people might find useful. Creating a weekly (or daily, if you have the capacity) webinar-style class is a smart way to build your customer base and increase loyalty among current members. Post your classes (think: 8-minute exercise routines, recipe tips, or yoga poses) on YouTube while simultaneously building a subscription email list. You should also offer extra content solely to members of your club to encourage those on the fence to sign up.
2. Market a giveaway.
Another way gyms are uniquely-positioned is that they’ve got the ability to “giveaway” very low cost prizes. Consider launching regular giveaways (at least once a month) for things your target market would be interested in: a free year membership, a Lululemon gym bag, 3 free personal training sessions, etc. Market your giveaways using Facebook – don’t forget to boost with ads – and use a program like Gleam or Hubspot to bolster your results. Simultaneously build your email mailing list by requiring entrants to input a few pieces of info including their email.
3. Create an “invite-only” incentive.
It’s smart to use your current customers to build your new customer list. Create a membership platform that’s “invite-only” – maybe it’s cheaper, maybe it’s fee-free – and encourage members to offer the invite codes to their friends by giving them an incentive, too. A free month goes a long way towards building your referral list and studies show exclusivity is one of the most provoking marketing tenants.
4. Let your clients run your social.
Well, maybe not run your social, but be sure you’ve got a well-ingrained social culture at your health club your members are aware of. Your gym should have its own hashtag (a la #ABCFitnessGrind) social-savvy members can use to tag gym selfies and boast about their workouts. You should also be actively ‘rewarding’ active members with social praise – they’ll do the hard part and share their accomplishments for you! The more people you have creating social content for your gym, the better.
5. Automate something.
Automation is one of the core principles of growth hacking because it frees your time up to focus on more tangible forms of marketing. Talk to your developers or digital marketing firm about automation – whether it’s a drip campaign, a CRM process, or even paid search campaign, the more automated your constant marketing efforts the more time you’ll have to spend on guerrilla marketing and customer retention.
6. Build your benefits.
The most successful independent health clubs fill a very specific niche. Your gym needs to offer more than just a killer workout – it needs to give the customer a reason to linger, buy more, and hang out. Juice bars are a terrific way to add extra income and you can harness extra marketing dollars by installing digital bar caddies (some of which even feature cell phone chargers) at the counter to cycle video messages from your business and others. Other revenue generators include an on-site dry cleaner, a sports store where customers can buy products and have sports equipment repaired, and even a barber shop. Make your health club a destination, not just a place to work out.
7. Utilize online newswire services.
Paying for press release placement online can seem expensive but it’s a smart bet if you’ve got something important to say and you’re looking for a quick SEO boost. Let’s say you’ve expanded your gym to include a swimming facility. Blasting a well-timed press release through services like GeekWire and PR Web is worth the money in many cases for the jolt of online juice you’ll get. Don’t count on this as a long-term strategy but rather use it when you need it most.
8. Buy a new resident mailing list.
It may seem old school but sometimes direct mail really works! The trick isn’t getting in front of a lot of people, it’s getting in front of the right ones. Buying a new-to-the-area mailing list is a good way to reach a lot of high-value targets using little more than some postcards and a special offer. A campaign like this depends on prior planning and automation, though, to work successfully so make sure you’re sending out cards on a weekly basis for best results.
9. Make your website a destination.
Health club websites are woefully behind the curve because so many owners assume it’s their gym people care about, not their technology. But to attract and keep a new generation of fitness fanatics you need a fully-integrated, regularly-updating website that people can count on for up-to-date info. Class times (and cancellations!), lost and found, and even community deals and postings are a good way to draw people to your website again and again.
Does your health club need a little oomph in its marketing? Consider the ways in which a few simple tweaks can free up hours and dollars for other marketing strategies…don’t just keep doing what you’ve always been doing and expect explosive results! If you’ve seen some other gym advertising in a clever way you can assume they’re doing dozens of things you’re notdoing. Don’t just mirror the competition, set yourself apart by building your health club one loyal member at a time.
Have any great health club growth hacks for us? Tell us about what’s worked for you in the comments below!