5 Essential Automated Emails For Fitness Centers Posted By Kevin Talley, Club OS

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A booming fitness industry has created stiff competition in the space. When you run a fitness center each and every prospect and member interaction is of utmost importance. A recent Hubspot survey found “82% of consumers rate an ‘immediate’ response as important or very important.” Working in tandem with club staff, email automation is a vital tool to reduce response times and keep your fitness center connected. Below are five essential automated emails covering crucial prospect and member touchpoints.

1.) New Prospect Response

Your fitness center’s online presence is a critical component of your business, especially for prospecting. However, when new leads are identified through online resources, like website interest forms, minimal response time is more important than ever as 78% of customers give their business to the company that responds first to an inquiry. A new prospect response email should automatically trigger when a new lead comes through an online form. This quick contact acts as a confirmation, ensuring the lead that a team member will reach out shortly.

2.) New Member Join Response

Each time a new member joins your fitness center they should receive a welcome email outlining important club details like operating hours, class schedules, and staff contact information. This email should set the tone for their member experience: a club that is organized and responsive to their needs.

3.) Birthday Email

Birthday emails are the simplest way to show member appreciation. It’s a small gesture but offers great retention benefits. For regular members, it’s another link in the goodwill you’ve built with them. For members who haven’t visited in weeks or months, it’s a friendly check-in that keeps your fitness center on their radar. And it never hurts to add a small reward to your birthday emails like a free product or class.

4.) Missed Guest 30-Day Follow-Up

Missed guests are prospects who completed a club tour but declined to purchase a membership or accept a guest pass. Don’t give up! Implementing an automated email campaign that sends to missed guests 30 days after their club tour gives you a second chance at landing the sale. Sweeten the deal with an exclusive offer like lower monthly dues to win over prospects who originally objected to the price.

5.) No Check-in

Attendance drives retention. A 2017 IHRSA report found, “every additional visit by a member in a given month, in turn, reduces the risk of that member cancelling in the subsequent month by 33%.” Triggered by members failing to check-in within a specified number of days, automated no check-in emails are the front line of lower attrition rates. These we-miss-you emails act as virtual accountability, motivating absentee members to refocus on their fitness goals.

Conclusion

As you implement these touchpoints remember email automation is only as effective as the team that utilizes it. The best automation works in conjunction with regular staff reach outs, reducing response time and building lasting connections.

Want more resources? Download our Email Marketing Guide to boost your inbox influence!

ClubOS_Logo_Black_flatBy Kevin Talley

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Outside the Box: Digital Marketing for Health Clubs, from IHRSA


**Note from the GGFA: Be sure to contact one of our SPN marketing partners

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New digital marketing tools and shifting consumer habits have changed the game. Learn how The Claremont Club is playing to win By: Jim Schmaltz

 

Marketing new initiatives to club members or corralling prospects to increase membership isn’t what it used to be. With email, messaging services, social media, and the enormous amount of online clutter, today’s marketing departments are hard-pressed to create reliable campaigns that result in deep penetration and a productive response rate.

Even well-established clubs can get lost in the noise. Shannon Malooly, sales and marketing director for The Claremont Club, said she believes you need “marketing with a twist.”

Moving from Reactive to Proactive Marketing

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“A lot of marketing is reactive, and communication is multidirectional,” Malooly said during her IHRSA 2019 session. “Customers have a larger voice now. They want results.”

In some ways, consumers run the show. Think about when you’re choosing a restaurant to dine at for the evening. You go to Yelp or a similar site and see what other consumers are saying. This is the space where a lot of buying decisions are made, and marketers have to be able to engage and react accordingly.

“Reactive marketing is the polar opposite of proactive marketing, because instead of working to anticipate changes in consumer markets, it usually takes place because of unforeseen or unplanned competition,” she said.

Marketing used to be more long range in its planning and execution. Now, with today’s trackable content management systems (CMS), it’s more spontaneous and responsive to events and messages that appear on multiple platforms. As a result, communications with consumers are instantaneous and public.

Another way marketing has changed, according to Malooly, is in the language you use when speaking to customers. Emails, social media, text messages—these communications have to sound genuine and direct.

“You have to think of it as a personal response. You have to use phrases, slogans, hashtags, and texts in the same way the audience speaks.”

Marketing 2.0: Optimizing Your Outreach with Digital Tools

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Another aspect of marketing that’s changed is the availability of the club when communicating. Your members expect you to react quickly to their requests and feedback, particularly if it’s negative. These demands require that more people in your organization be involved in communications.

“Almost every employee has to be involved in social media,” Malooly explained. “Your entire marketing team really is the entire community at the club. Your voice has to be everywhere. You can’t just be in one place.”

The growing capabilities of your CMS provide a number of tools that eliminate redundancies and wasted effort. Technology innovations such as AI (artificial intelligence), TDA/RTDA (topical data analysis/regional topical data analysis), and geofencing provide a more targeted approach to consumer habits and spending patterns. This means your outreach should be optimized for maximum impact.

“You have to think of it as a personal response. You have to use phrases, slogans, hashtags, and texts in the same way the audience speaks.”

Shannon Malooly, Sales and Marketing Director

The Claremont Club – Claremont, CA

This has led to unique approaches to increasing market penetration, including:

  • campaign differentiation;
  • impression-based marketing;
  • forced engagement;
  • traceable analytics.

These tools take into account everything from device usage to political views. This is a long way from the days when marketers relied on ZIP code, gender, and age data to create saturation-based initiatives.

Acting on Digital Marketing Data

While these digital advances increase the learning curve for marketing professionals, it also leads to a more complete and successful tabulation of your results.

“In traditional marketing, it was really hard to track and quantify where somebody came from, how they heard about the ad. Maybe they saw a billboard, or perhaps a friend told him joining was a good idea,” said Malooly. “With digital marketing, everything’s trackable. You can develop your marketing campaign based on true behaviors.”

As an example, the ability to track usage from clicks to time spent on a webpage helped Malooly and her team learn that their videos were too long. And they could tabulate how many people were opening their emails, and adjust their messaging accordingly. All of this data helped create more effective campaigns for The Claremont Club.

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When using these tools, it’s important that you know where you’re starting from, said Malooly. You need to have a plan.

“Manage your resources to maximize impressions,” she said. “Track attrition with engagement rates, and determine your goals before you measure your outcomes.”

In the end, you should have relevant and measurable KPIs (key performance indicators) that help eliminate waste and create even more qualified sales leads.

Remaining Innovative and Bold

Technology is a fast-growing trend, and today’s Marketing 2.0 approach is sure to evolve as digital tools improve and consumer habits change. You have to remain innovative and bold in your approach.

“Content management systems are going to get bigger,” she said. “Automation is going to increase. You have to be ready for any change that’s coming your way.”

But while you need to stay head of the tech curve, Malooly stressed that consumers still need the human touch.

“You have to know when technology has its limits,” she said. “Nothing can replace an actual person or a handshake.”

“You have to know when technology has its limits. Nothing can replace an actual person or a handshake.”

Shannon Malooly, Sales and Marketing Director

The Claremont Club – Claremont, CA

 

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Engaged Employees and Strong Technology Solutions 5 Reasons Why Blending Them Together Creates an ‘Ideal’ Member Experience By: InTouch

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Everywhere you turn today, technology is the hot topic. Consumers, enabled by ever-evolving, sophisticated technology, now possess an increased ability to demand instant and personalized communication and buying experiences.  Health clubs are not immune to this change in expectations. Interestingly, the question health clubs are now asking in response to this new normal is changing from ‘Do I need technology?’ to ‘How do I combine technology and my staff to differentiate me from the competition?’

While it may seem odd coming from the Sales Manager of a technology company, it is my strong belief that, while technology is a disruptor that health clubs cannot afford to ignore, it works best when combined with a knowledgeable and committed staff to create the ‘ideal’ member experience. Let’s explore some ideas on why leading clubs are leveraging both technology and their employees to create the best possible experience for their prospects and members.

1.   TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T HAVE EMPATHY

Empathy — the ability to share someone’s feelings — is perhaps the most significant trait humans demonstrate that technology cannot fully replace today. Technology does not have the ability to understand your prospects and members as an individual, to empathize with each person’s purpose, unique passions, goals or motivations. Technology will never ask or understand Why? someone wants to live a better, healthier life. It cannot express their opinion or expertise to a person about why they should join your club.

It’s critical that you have your staff take time to build connections and trust with the prospects and members. The role of technology should be to gather and procure information to help grow these relationships. If you think about your staff, how many of them have access to information about their prospects at their fingertips? Putting critical information in their hands at the right time enables best in class engagement.

  1. TEAM MEMBERS SET THE TONE FOR A GREAT EXPERIENCE

Technology is very efficient at matching various data points, analyzing trends, etc., but understanding exactly what individuals perceive as the ideal experience while factoring in key information such as questions, objections, pain points, engagement, and enthusiasm is where your team can shine. To create the best experience, it takes an engaged team member to know how to focus in on the individual’s desires, present a compelling story that matches and be persuasive if necessary. If the initial sales experience is not positive, your chances of getting critical referrals goes down, while the likelihood of attrition increases. Technology should be leveraged to provide important, timely information that allows your sales team to drive a more effective and personalized one to one experience.

  1. TECHNOLOGY IS AN IMPORTANT TOOL TO PROGRESS THE EXPERIENCE 

Technology is a tool that can enhance the prospect and member experience by organizing conversations, notes, information, and interactions.  Set up properly, technology is great at finding and sorting information and acting on instructions provided by a user. A tool like a CRM helps your staff to understand who to call, when and about what, further driving towards the ideal experience.

Have you ever had to work from paper or excel? It can be very tedious, disorganized and inefficient, often creating inconsistencies which lack structure.  A CRM, like InTouch’s Drive, can automate a variety of tasks, including emails, text messages, and calls. It makes follow up structured, faster and more consistent while maintaining that personal touch. By leveraging the information and structure that technology can provide, your staff will bring more value and engagement to your prospects.

4.   PASSION IS WHAT DIFFERENTIATES US FROM TECHNOLOGY 

As powerful as technology already is, and will continue to be, your best staff are in the industry because of their LOVE and PASSION for fitness and the dedication to your prospects and members. Technology won’t quit and walk out like employees might, but your staff’s dedication to doing their job properly is critical for your success at creating the ideal experience. When your employees are passionate about what they do, they consistently look for better ways to improve themselves, their role and your business. Though technology may not provide your staff with passion or love, it can further promote achieving greater job satisfaction. When properly harnessed, a committed employee leads to a differentiated experience.

5.   TECHNOLOGY CANNOT REPLACE A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AND BELONGING 

What is technology’s role in creating a sense of community? While more and more clubs are incorporating technology into their community to provide a richer experience, certain barriers exist. Creating a sense of community and belonging in your club is one of the most important differentiators for your business. If your current members feel like they are part of your community, they’ll keep coming back and be more likely to recommend you to co-workers, family, and friends. A strong sense of community makes your club more than just a place people go to work out; it creates a supportive and teamwork-oriented culture. Technology should enhance that feeling.

Technology is now mainstream in the health club, with apps, wearables, and equipment available to be accessed. They bring information to our fingertips and members look to their online networks to share their experiences; good or bad. Embracing these tools will allow you to use them to your advantage. Combining aspects of the human to human engagement with today’s technology will accelerate the future of your club’s community and culture and open new ways to attract more prospects and retain more members.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s no secret that technology is changing the consumer landscape as we know it.  In order to stay relevant during this time of change, clubs must embrace and leverage technology to improve engagement, community, and culture.  By itself, however, that’s not enough.  Our industry will continue to rely on people to create and deliver a great experience for prospects and members.  Treat your staff as key influencers, not just information hubs. While websites, apps, and social media portals help to collect information, technology should not displace your teams but together create a blended, balanced role in helping to mold and enhance the individual journey of your prospects and members.

QUESTIONS TO ASK Yourself

How is technology affecting your sales and retention today?

How are you leveraging technology to stay relevant online without sacrificing the personal touch of the member experience?

Are you making your team redundant or ineffective by overcompensating with technology?

Are you embracing technology to help sales staff create a more effective sales journey?

What should you rely on technology for and what should be reserved for your team members?

Say hello to InTouch Converse; a direct way to help your team grow relationships and create the ‘ideal’ member experience. Please contact sales@intouchtechnology.com for more information.

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Bart Budyn, Sales Manager
InTouch Technology Inc.
bbudyn@intouchtechnology.com
778-807-9897

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Differentiating Yourself from the Competition By: Gymsales

Gold's Article Image (1).jpgWe as club owners, operators, fitness professionals, and enthusiasts are constantly faced with one major challenge. How do we stay relevant in today’s ever-evolving fitness industry? We all have spent time, money and endless energy chasing what might be that next great thing or trying to stay ahead of the game by searching for the latest and greatest equipment, technology or upcoming fitness trend in order to stay on top in this competitive landscape.

While it can not be argued that it is a must to provide great equipment, classes, and other ancillary services in order to have a successful fitness club, there’s still one major thing that is missing…YOU. Giving members and guests that personal connection, relationship, service and experience with you and your team at your club will take you to new heights!

Experience Economy 
Let’s take a step back and look at the growth of the “experience economy”. Years ago it was normalcy to strive to purchase items such as a car, homes and other material or luxury things. Today, however, buying habits have changed, not only with millennials but every other generation as well. People young and old are now opting out of accumulating things and exploring experiences instead. These material markers of success are no longer as meaningful as they once were, in fact, studies show that 74 percent of the American population prioritize experiences over products. In these studies, along with the priority changes came happiness levels – according to the general public spending money on experiences brings more lasting joy than spending money on things.

Community Built on Experiences
Take a closer look at the fitness industry’s two biggest demographics; millennials and baby boomers. One big factor is that experiences are more shareable, which is very important to the younger generations. It is much easier and more intriguing to share photos or stories about a trip you took or great concert you attended than it is to share photos of a new gaming console or tv you just bought – be this in person, or on any one of today’s abundant social media platforms that are available. For millennials, the most important things in life are experiences and relationships instead of possessions. In fact, over 65% of millennials are focused on saving money to travel which is well above the average in every other generation.

In a recent study by the Physical Activity Council, it was found that not only are millennials more physically active than those before them, but they also have changed the way they view fitness. Instead of an afterthought, millennials are making fitness a priority, but not for just the benefit of burning calories and staying fit. Fitness for millennials has now become a means to seek out community, friendship, ongoing relationships, and experiences. This correlates directly with not only the ancillary services you offer like group fitness classes but also the service and relationships developed between your team and your members.

However, as I mentioned, this isn’t happening only with millennials, they may be leading the way in this experience -the first type of life but others are right behind them. As baby boomers are reaching the retirement stage of life, we are seeing them slow down to take the “less is more” type mentality and focusing on experiences themselves to get the most out of life in that way.

If you look at businesses everywhere, no matter the industry, even strictly product or material based industries; they are starting to change their business structure to provide more of an overall experience. We, in the fitness industry, need to be doing the same! We are no longer in a time or place where the “build it and they will come” mentality will be successful long term – even if you have all of the latest and greatest equipment. In our industry, what was once considered to be along the same line as the “Ritz Carlton” level of service is now oftentimes expected and anything less is viewed negatively on us, our team and our business. So how do we make the change?

Strides For Success
This change is going to have to start with you and your team, because keep in mind, your members are the reason you are in this industry. We need to provide not only a solution by way of equipment, classes, personal training, etc. but also a solution for members seeking that sense of community, camaraderie and unparalleled experience with not only each other but also our team.

The IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report found that members, specifical
millennials, are willing to pay substantially higher membership rates to be a
part of the boutique specialized, social environment – not just for the classes
and member community but for the all-around experience. Due to the ever-growing presence of boutique studios, “big box” clubs have been pushed to add this “club within a club” type experience to stay relevant. So why wouldn’t we take things one step further and translate this into the experience members have with our teams as well?

Now I realize this is going to be no easy feat. It all begins by using the same experience expectations that your members have, for your team internally.
This, in turn, produces a happier, healthier team to deliver service to your members. From there, the biggest thing you can do is maximize any tools that will help your team in this endeavor. Anything from CRM technology to improve consistent communication through the entire lifecycle of the membership, to heart rate technology for gamification and engagement to help boost retention and everything in between.

So my challenge to you – let’s do our best to remember why it was we got into the fitness industry on day one, strive to build an incredible team
community and deliver an unparalleled experience to our members that
will become known as the Gold’s Gym way!!

gymsales-logoSarah Harris
sarah@gymsales.net
231-590-5465

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How Should You Compensate Group Exercise Instructors? By: IHRSA

Clubs need to think carefully about how to structure the compensation for group exercise instructors.

How best to structure and manage staff compensation is a key issue for club operators. How you structure staff compensation ties directly into your management style and how you incentivize and reward performance.

When it comes to group exercise instructor compensation in California, Janine Williams, former vice president of human resources for Leisure Sports Hospitality is the expert. California has some unique quirks, one of which is a narrower definition of who qualifies as an independent contractor in California.

Under this definition, workers are assumed to be employees unless all three of these factors can be proven:

  1. the worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of such work and in fact;
  2. the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
  3. the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.

Even if your club is not in California, there are some crucial points Williams wants all club operators to consider when evaluating how they should compensate group fitness instructors.

 

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Common Approaches to Handling Group Exercise Instructor Compensation

Clubs across the U.S. handle exercise instructor compensation differently, but the two ways that pop up the most are:

  • paying instructors hourly, and
  • paying instructors as piece-rate employees.

Williams says she has seen informal surveys conducted by California clubs over the past few years indicating that even though most operators say they pay hourly, in reality, they treat instructors as piece-rate employees. Meaning a club pays an instructor per class rather than hourly.

“Instructors are usually paid a premium wage with the assumption this includes compensation for the setup and cleanup time before and after teaching their class,” says Williams. “There are some operators, usually the larger chains, who are accurately paying per hour by requiring staff to clock-in for all time worked, including the time spent preparing and breaking down.”

A few operators may still treat group exercise instructors as independent contractors, but it could be hard for these instructors to meet the newly established criteria under California regulations when it comes to fitness facilities.

Using One Compensation Structure Over the Other

According to Williams, the ease of piece-rate has made it the preferred method of payment for both operators and instructors alike. “Unlike hourly employees who are clocking in for an extended shift, instructors are usually in and out of the club within a short period, and they view time clocks as a cumbersome hindrance in their busy schedules,” she says.

When competing for talent, some operators might be unable to attract new staff when their competition is paying what appears to be a more attractive piece-rate plan. No matter the compensation structure you choose, it is critical that you are complying with your state’s law. What has worked for you for decades may not be the best solution as your club grows and moves forward.

It’s All About Proper Documentation

When clubs do not manage and document accordingly, that’s when Williams says they run into problems with paying piece-rate. If you are paying your staff at piece-rate, but the personnel files say you pay your staff hourly, then you may find yourself liable for failure to pay for time worked outside of teaching the class itself, and will have to pay back wages and penalties at the stated premium rate.

Tips and Suggestions for Clubs

“The safest approach for operators is to pay per hour by requiring instructors to clock in and out for all hours worked,” says Williams.

Installation of time clocks in and near the studios helps to alleviate some of the complaints associated with this compensation approach. Operators can still adhere to their payroll budgets by determining the hourly equivalency of what they are paying per class.

For example, an instructor who was previously paid $45 for teaching a class would now receive $30 per hour. Assuming 15 minutes of additional time before and after class, the instructor would still receive $45 for teaching the class.

“The safest approach for operators is to pay per hour by requiring instructors to clock in and out for all hours worked.”

Janine Williams, Vice President of Human Resources

Leisure Sports Hospitality – Pleasanton, CA

Another approach is to pay a teaching rate and then minimum wage for time spent before and after class. Classes could be shortened in length to 45 minutes while still paying an hourly rate if the time before and after can be managed within the allotted 15 minutes. William advises no matter what you should have staff clock in and out under this approach.

For operators who are not ready to make this change, Williams says they can minimize their risk somewhat, but not altogether, by ensuring their personnel files and payroll records accurately represent that compensation is by piece-rate. Avoid compensation plans that state an hourly rate versus class rate, and have your staff sign and acknowledge the method of payment. This document should clearly state the premium wage paid covers the time before and after the class but should not be overly broad as to include time spent on additional work activities. Also, make sure your staff knows it is required to report any additional time and submit it each pay period.

No Time Wasted

Williams also says it is advisable to avoid unpaid downtime between classes of less than an hour, as this time may be compensable. Time spent updating music and choreography needs to be paid at a rate of at least minimum wage as well.

“It is a good idea to incorporate this time into the overall compensation plan document and establish an allotted amount of hours that is approved on a monthly or quarterly basis,” says Williams. “Anything above would require pre-approval and payroll submission.” You can also reduce liability by requiring staff to sign-off on each payroll, indicating they have received payment for all work hours and breaks to which they are entitled.

Finally, Williams wants to remind all club operators to consider that many group fitness instructors are also personal trainers who often receive a percentage of revenue collected (i.e., commission basis). Since they are providing a service versus a product, they are considered piece-rate versus commissioned employees under California Wage Order No. 2.

Consequently, they are subject to all rest, meal break and overtime laws. The itemization of wage statements further compounds the challenges associated with piece-rate pay, and most payroll processors cannot accommodate these requirements. Therefore, Williams advises all operators to consult with a labor attorney to ensure their compensation plans are fully compliant with labor laws in their state. While a lot of this article is specific to California, all health club operators should review their state’s wage orders.

For a detailed analysis of compensation and benefits practices across the health club industry, check out the 2019 IHRSA Health Club Employee Compensation and Benefits Report.

Special thanks to Janine Williams for sharing her time, expertise, and valuable tips with us.

Author avatar

Jeff Perkins @JeffD_Perkins

Jeff Perkins is the Assistant Vice President of Government Relations for IHRSA. He’s responsible for monitoring and influencing legislation at the state and federal level to protect club business models and operations, and help promote the health benefits of exercise. Jeff enjoys running, soccer, ice hockey, and ice cream, not in that order.

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First Steps To Social Media Marketing By: ClubOS

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We don’t have to convince you of the power of social media. It’s an ingrained part of modern life, garnering billions of monthly active users. Likewise, social media has become a key component of business strategy. According to Forbes, “A 2017 survey of 5,700 marketers revealed that 69% are developing loyal fans for their brands via social media marketing.”

Social media helps businesses make connections with customers that foster loyalty, invite engagement, and raise overall brand awareness. If your fitness center or studio isn’t leveraging social media marketing — or maybe you think you could be doing so more effectively — here are three critical beginning steps to get you started.

1.) Pick Your Channels

There are so many social platforms out there and more than a few with millions or billions of loyal users. So how do you decide which platforms your fitness center or studio should be on? The answer thankfully isn’t all of them. Instead, you should join whichever social media platforms your target prospects and current members are actively using.

Demographics of users can vary greatly between the big platforms, but for fitness businesses, start by evaluating these three major platforms to see if they’re right for your club.

  • Facebook
    • Despite recent scandals, Facebook is still king of social media with over 2.2 billion monthly active users. Key benefits include the site’s format flexibility. You can share images, videos, articles, and even record original video “stories” for your page. Not to mention, Facebook’s highly developed advertising services. You can integrate your Facebook lead ads directly with your CRM software to streamline prospecting.
  • Instagram
    • Instagram has become a staple of fitness culture. Drawn by the pleasing aesthetics of the platform, fitness influencers love Instagram thanks to its emphasis on images (those gym selfies have to go somewhere, right?). This platform is an excellent way to showcase your club’s culture, aesthetics, and world-class facilities.
  • YouTube
    • The premier video-sharing platform, YouTube is a must if you want to create video content. Workout guides, customer testimonials, and virtual club tours can easily be uploaded to your YouTube page then shared through your other social channels.

For a more in-depth look at starting a YouTube channel, click here.

Of course, there are other popular platforms like Twitter, which you should join if you discover your members or targeted prospects frequent them.

2.) Create Original Content

Creating content is an awesome strategy to build relationships with your members and prospects. Content adds value to your social sites for your followers. It keeps your relationship mutually beneficial, instead of a one-sided arrangement in which you consistently make “asks” of your followers, like requesting referrals or attempting to land sales via social media ads.

There are two main types of content you can create:

  • Educational
    • Content meant to teach viewers or readers fitness-related material. This could be exercise demonstration videos or nutritional diet blogs. This content can be especially effective if it’s short and easily consumable. Consider creating an ongoing series via YouTube or a podcast that can build a regular audience.
  • Inspirational
    • This content is more focused on culture building, i.e. helping to define what your fitness center or studio is all about. Engaging images overlaid by inspirational quotes can quickly be shared on most platforms. Additionally, inspirational content is a great opportunity to showcase your awesome staff and their achievements as well as the progress your members have made in their fitness journey. 

3.) Engage, Engage, Engage

Foster growth for your fitness center or studio’s social media by making connections with both your members and prospects as well as your peers in the industry.

  • Quality Over Quantity
    • Your starting goal doesn’t have to be gaining the largest follower count as quickly as possible. One hundred highly engaged followers who like, comment, and share your content are far more valuable than a thousand disengaged followers.
  • Be Responsive 
    • Foster engagement with your followers by being responsive to any and all comments and messages received through your platforms. Especially if the comment is negative. It’s important that prospects and members understand your accounts are actively managed and that their questions or concerns will be addressed. Additionally, produce content that sparks a conversation or asks interesting questions so your followers feel inclined to jump in and give their opinion.
  • Engage Your Peers
    • Don’t limit your engagement to customers! Follow industry leaders and fellow fitness-related businesses to increase your club’s visibility in the market. Share content produced by fitness accounts, but only if it’s valuable and factual. By sharing vetted material that will benefit and inform your members and prospects — in addition to your original content — your social sites can draw a regular audience looking for quality material. As you deepen business relationships, you may even see your original content shared by other fitness accounts, giving your club valuable exposure.

Conclusion

A healthy social media presence can give your club the edge it needs to engage and retain loyal members. This is far from an exhaustive list of social media marketing best practices, but it can put you on track to build a successful online presence for your business.

ClubOS_Logo_Black_flatLearn more about increasing your club’s online visibility with our free Search Engine Optimization Best Practices e-book! 

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A Beginners Guide to Texting Compliance for your Business By: Gleantap

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In recent years text messaging for businesses has emerged to be one of the most powerful channels to communicate with customers. Promising open rates of over 95%, this “800 pound gorrilla” is multiple folds better than email or any channel for that matter including you going and personally knocking on your customers’ doors. However, with great power comes great responsibility. To avoid misuse of this channel United States Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”) has laid down ground rules that govern commercial or marketing messages, whether SMS, MMS or chat.

Consent

TCPA requires that messages be sent only with the consent of the message recipient and those messages comply with the local laws and measures of fairness & decency. Before you send your first message you must obtain an agreement from your members to communicate with them. You must make it clear that they are agreeing to receiving the type of messages you planning to send.

The most effective way is to include this agreement as part of your membership contract, however you need to ensure it clearly states that agreeing to receiving text messages is not a precondition to signing up with your business.

Existing members who have not consented yet, may be reached via email with clear details of your texting program and an option to opt-in should they choose to.

While consent is always required and the method above is generally the safest route, there are however Two Exceptions wherein consent can be received differently.

  • Contact Initiated by the Member – If a member or prospect first messages you, you are free to respond in exchange. Remember the consent here is limited to that conversation only and you cannot send additional messages outside the realm of that conversation unless you obtain explicit consent.
  • Transactional Messages as part of the Member Account – You can send transactional messages that provides info requested by the member or that can be reasonably expected by the member based on your relationship. Examples of such transactional messages may include – appointment reminders, receipts, one-time passwords, order confirmations, payment dues etc. You cannot use this to promote anything to your member.

Double Opt-In

Double optin is required in certain limited cases however its always a good practice to implement this as part of your optin process. This is a two-step process –

  1. First obtain consent from your member through the consent agreement as described above.
  2. Second send them a confirmation message identifying your business and requesting them to respond back to confirm their consent.

Hours & Days 

Text messages can be seen intrusive when sent at the wrong time. Therefore it’s best practice to send messages only during business hours 8am – 8pm in the timezone of the member. You should stick to messaging your members Mon – Sat only.

Supporting HELP & STOP Keywords 

It’s important to give your members an easy and clear way to opt-out of receiving text messages. This means adding a simple “Text STOP to opt-out” line at the end of every message you sent out. Any member that replies STOP  should be opted out & never be sent a message again unless he chooses to optin back again. You should keep a record of all opt-ins and opt-out requests. HELP keyword should provide details of the texting program with a link to terms & conditions.

Cancelled Members

If a member cancels his membership with your club, its best practice to avoid sending any text messages to him going forward.

Identifying Yourself as the Sender

As a best practice you should always include your brand name within the text messages to identify yourself as the sender. This excludes any follow-up messages in an ongoing conversation.

Age & Geographic Gating

In addition to obtaining consent from your members you should also ensure that no message recipient is younger than the legal age of consent based on where the recipient is located. You should refrain from sending any content that is offensive, inappropriate, pornographic, obscene, illegal or otherwise objectionable, even if the content is permissible by law and appropriate age restrictions are in place.

You must be able to provide proof that you have in place measures to ensure compliance with these restrictions.

The above rules are just best practices as seen in the industry and should not be considered as a legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel as needed when implementing a compliant texting program.

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