“How to Use Social Media to Build Gym Membership this Fall” By: Angela Walker, ASF Payment Solutions

Legs of an unrecognizable runner.Social media is a powerful marketing tool for all industries, but for the fitness industry it can gain audience engagement and gym memberships by inspiring and building community. The goal of any post on social media should be to connect, inform and engage with your gym members and future gym members. Here are some tips for incorporating social media into your fall gym membership marketing.

Which Social Channels Should You Use

The first step in using social media to build gym memberships starts with determining which social networks are right for your club. Typically, B2C or business to consumer industries like gyms or health clubs should put their time into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Snapchat.

Facebook is a great place to showcase any blogs or videos that you would like to share, or class updates and gym class changes. Twitter is a favorite channel for quick connections with your members and influencers. And like Instagram, it’s the perfect platform to tweet fun images of your gym classes, new equipment or a meme.

If you already have a Pinterest account, you can build on that by re-purposing those images to your boards. However, if you are not currently on Pinterest, it’s not a good way to spend your time. LinkedIn is a solid business presence to have, but again, your potential gym members and current members are not looking to find class schedules or announcements of a new star trainer on LinkedIN. Instead, leverage LinkedIN as a resource for running your business. Look for the latest technology in gym management software or trends in fitness.

What Type of Content to Share and How Often 

Treat Facebook like a cocktail party. About 80 percent of what you share should be something that benefits your members and 20% should be bragging about your services. For instance, share your blog once a week and the other content should be a mixture of images, tips on HIIT classes, recipes, healthy eating…you get the picture. And speaking of picture, Instagram and Snapchat should be where you share those videos and images you have been taking at your club.

Encourage your members to share their fitness challenges, wins and experiences. It can be a great way to build club community. Many people are apprehensive about joining a gym, and hearing from others with similar fitness challenges and solutions can be both inspiring and encouraging.

What Type of Promotions to Run

If you plan on running any specials or promoting a class, spend the money on Facebook to boost that type of content. Facebook and Instagram offer ways to target these ads to the demographic you are trying to reach such as city, age, sex and interests.  For instance, if your gym is mostly female and your gym is in Denver, you can target that audience and those demographics for as little as five bucks.

Social media is an integral tool to connecting with your members and boosting memberships. Get creative and don’t sweat trying new ways to reach new customers.

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“9 Tips for Supercharged Sales Presentations” By: InTouch Technology

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At InTouch, we understand that the sales presentation plays a major role in membership and PT lead conversion. We want to help clubs develop a disciplined, “leadership approved” approach to their sales presentations so club management can be sure that leads are receiving engaging, personalized presentations. To help with this, we’ve put together the below 9 tips to help you supercharge your sales presentations.

InTouch Presents: 9 Club Sales Presentation Tips

1. Personalize the presentation

You might care a great deal about your club, but when you’re presenting it to a prospective member, keep in mind that it’s all about them. Your club’s sales presentation should focus on how they are going to achieve their goals with your club. Make your presentation as customized as possible, addressing your prospect’s wants and needs specifically. You could also try to incorporate the club membership level benefits which are most suited to your lead.

2. Don’t discuss features. Discuss benefits

A good approach to discussing your club’s many features is to choose the features whose benefits relate to your lead’s lifestyle and fitness goals. This method creates a personalized, engaging experience for the lead. For example, if your salesperson is presenting to someone who has a busy schedule and works close to your club, they could describe the benefits of attending one of your club’s 30 minute express fitness classes. In doing this, the salesperson relates one of your club’s features (express classes) back to the needs of the individual lead (time limitations).

3. Have clear and transparent pricing levels

Few things will set off “warning bells” in a prospective member’s mind than if they feel like a club is trying to hide its rates, fees, or membership levels. Try to include clearly-labeled charts or graphics in your promotional materials that make the prices/features explicit. Also, organizing the membership levels clearly can aid in sales, since prospects will gravitate towards whatever level best matches their own desires and lifestyle.

4. Incorporate plenty of great visuals

High-quality visuals are generally more memorable and engaging for leads than walls of text. Afterall, humans process visuals 60,000 times quicker than text. Integrating visuals into your presentation is also an effective way to portray your club’s culture during the sales process.

Also try to include anything distinctive about your brand, including club logo, font, colors and images with all your official materials. Integrate your brand’s color palette into the presentation’s design in the form of text, background and border colors. This helps to create the impression of brand strength.

5. Embed videos into your slides

Video is a hugely effective sales tool that’s easy to incorporate into your club’s sales presentations. It can help create an engaging experience for leads and can be a powerful communication aid for your sales teams. You could incorporate a clip for a popular class giving leads an insight into the energy and flow of the session. Staff interview videos are also extremely effective presentation add-ons allowing management to highlight club amenities, differentiators and culture.

6. Include member testimonials

Testimonials are still winners when it comes to making sales because they give tangible examples of members achieving their fitness goals in your club. We love video based member testimonials which can be easily embedded into sales slides and played during a sales presentation for maximum effect.

7. Use your conversation as a guide

We are big fans of the conversational style of presenting. Using this style, the salesperson asks questions and then tailors their responses and presentation to the needs and goals expressed by the lead. This creates a highly personalized and engaging experience for each lead. If you choose to adopt this style, try to use your slides to guide the conversation rather than using them as the focal point.

8. Go digital

Go digital. It’s the advice we give to all of our customers because vibrant, well designed slides create the impression of professionalism that you want your club to portray. Powerpoint, SlideShare and PDFs are all effective ways of displaying your slides and can be easily updated and maintained by your leadership team.

9. Practice, Practice, Practice

Hone your sales team’s delivery with interactive training sessions and lots of role-playing. You want them to be very comfortable with all your sales materials so they’re able to really connect with their prospects. Ideally, you want them listening and seamlessly modifying the presentation to create a highly customized experience that incorporates the prospect’s personal goals. The result? Much higher conversion rates.

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Need more advice on sales tactics, or more info on how InTouch empowers your sales staff?  Contact us today!

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“In Our Business, “F” is for Failure” By: Bill Jackson, VP of Sales and Business Development, First Credit Services

bbb fI must admit, I am a little taken aback when I see a business operating in today’s “all access” world with a sub-par Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. Reputation Management matters, and it all starts with the good old BBB.  I recently conducted an online review to see how we ranked in comparison to our “Collection Agency” competitors, and I was absolutely amazed at what I uncovered. I honestly thought I would find some B’s and C’s, but to see several collection agencies operating with an F-Rating really did surprise me, but also solidified my confidence in how we serve members here.

We operate in the Health & Fitness Market where the overall MEMBER EXPERIENCE is the single most important aspect of doing business, and for a collection agency to simply ignore what we feel is so important is unsettling.  Maintaining an acceptable BBB Rating is not a very difficult thing to do, so I am wondering why so many agencies would simply ignore all of the complaints and concerns filed by gym members.

As a Member of the GGFA Supplier Partnership Network, it is our responsibility to maintain a professional handling of all gym members, and the GGFA does an amazing job of vetting the suppliers lucky enough to be part of the Association’s SPN. So take advantage of the hard work the GGFA Team does in finding the best suppliers in the industry.

Think about it, if the agency is failing to deliver on their duties, then the members will get increasingly frustrated with the agency’s lack of communication, and the member will ultimately complain to the gym staff and voice their concerns to other members or go online to file complaints. These unaddressed issues will likely escalate, which will ultimately hurt your reputation and business. Honestly, this is the agency’s responsibility to handle, and these complaints should never be thrown back at the gym operator to handle. A reputable partner will handle these issues promptly, so they should not have any impact on your business.

A gym’s reputation depends on how their partners treat members, so if your partner is in contact with your members, do some extra due-diligence to get a better understanding of how this interaction may affect your reputation.

Bill Jackson

Bill Jackson
Vice President of Sales and Business Development,
First Credit Services

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First Credit Services, Inc. was recently selected as a “WINNER Best Call Centers to Work For 2017” marking it the 4th year in a row being recognized with this distinct honor from insideARM (2014-2017). The program celebrates excellence among call center work environments in Care, Collections, and
Outsourcing. The award program is designed to identify, recognize, and honor the best places of employment in the call center industry. This award makes a positive impact on First Credit‘s ability to recruit and hire a very strong work force as we continue to expand our product offerings to our valued clients and partners.
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“Scheduling For Dollars” By: Stephen Wilson, Marketing Manager, ASF Payment Solutions

 

iStock-491362614.jpgBeing efficient with your time and your member’s time should be synonymous. By creating better scheduling efficiency, you’re meeting member expectations when it comes to helping organize their busy lives. Let’s look at several ideas on how that can affect your bottom line when it comes to member scheduling.

Lost revenue through the Internet

People do most of their business online these days. 86% of the U.S. population uses the internet. 72% of those people make purchases using a mobile device, which generates 68% of all web traffic. This includes purchasing and scheduling classes or training sessions. Furthermore, clubs must realize that they are not just competing with other clubs for member revenue, but with all online purchases a member or prospective member can make. Having a strong online scheduling presence, including the ability for member purchases through a robust gym mobile app can make a difference with class size and training revenue.

Time is money

People generally know what they want and when they want it. When it comes to the Internet, people are developing a shorter attention span that translates into losing patience and moving on. These days, gym members expect immediate gratification when it comes to scheduling classes and training sessions. Having quick and efficient online scheduling software to use by instructors, trainers and members not only keeps your day on track, but also keeps everyone on the same page and at the same time. Having push notifications is also a major convenience for appointments and helps to keep members and staff up to date. By having fast online check-in, a simple click saves valuable time with instructors and trainers that can be better served working with their members. ASF offers Rapid Class Check-in as an additional feature to the scheduling software that helps to check-in class members more quickly. “Select all” check-in is available, or it also conveniently checks-in the unscheduled class drop-ins.

What are the possibilities for the future

Beacon technology is promising many future benefits for the fitness industry. What if clubs were able to track member usage patterns in the gym through their mobile devices and determine which equipment was being most utilized, or under-utilized? Clubs would be able to make necessary adjustments to their future purchases, maintenance and areas of approachment for trainers to sell sessions. Other future enhancements with Beacon technology for health clubs may include a member journey experience: welcome/goodbye notifications when members enter and leave the facility; automatic emails and notifications triggered by beacons and other devices within the facility; progress and statistics reporting; motivational emails automatically sent at the right moment; and the member having their own health team network to communicate with through a closed chat. Don’t be surprised to see these possible advancements.

Conclusion

Let’s face it, when you’re competing for your member’s purchasing ability, time is indeed money. It seems like the world is speeding up and technology is setting the pace. Being responsive to your members requires being available anywhere, anyplace and anytime when it comes to purchasing, scheduling, or for that matter any other area in your business. Staying in front of your members with the right technology requires that you keep current with the latest gym software trends and advancements. Be sure to check-in with a gym management software representative about more possibilities with an efficient scheduling software system that meets your member’s expectations.

 

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Stephen Wilson
Marketing Manager
ASF PAYMENT SOLUTIONS
steve.wilson@asfpaymentsolutions.com
Steve joined the ASF team as a veteran of marketing communications where he was Director of Creative Services at an advertising and public relations agency focusing on branding and strategic communications. He has worked in a wide variety of industries and concentrated on health and wellness for a number of years. His work on national marketing and advertising campaigns has earned him many accreditations and awards.

 

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“2017 Gold’s Gym Challenge – May Update” By: Dave Kenyon

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Jane Smith walks into Gold’s Gym on January 4th 2017. She is frustrated with how she looks and feels and wants to get “back” in shape right away; sound familiar? This scenario happens almost daily in all of our gyms, and Jane Smith is the reason most of us got into the fitness business in the first place; to help people just like her.

On a side note, everyone should have a very real and applicable process to get Jane where she wants to be. That is what we do, and the basis of how we can grow. Helping people change themselves, physically and mentally, is our bread and butter. It should be the easiest thing about our business, and we should be the best in the world at it. Not to preach at you but take a very honest look at your process, or better yet, have someone secret shop your club and give you real feedback on how good you are. This can be scary, but I promise you, from experience, it will make you better and you will grow.

So, back to Jane, she buys a membership and is told about the Gold’s Gym Challenge. She decides that is exactly what she needs and signs up for the next flight. We take over from there and guide her over the next 12 weeks and help her as much as we possibly can, within reason, on her journey. The community and friendships she creates over the course of her 12 weeks are part of the reason she is successful on her journey. On her final weigh-in and measurement date, she is thrilled with her results and can’t wait to tell everyone she knows about it. She leaves the club and immediately posts on social media all about how great she looks and feels and how Gold’s Gym has changed her life.

Of course this story has a happy ending, as you would expect. As Jane is a raving fan of Gold’s Gym because of her experience with the Gold’ Gym Challenge.

I trust this exact scene is playing out across all of the Gold’s Gyms that are participating in the Challenge and the reason that we are indeed the best gym in the world.

Dave Kenyon

 

Dave Kenyon
Gold’s Gym Challenge Chairman, Gold’s Gym Dutchess County

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“Joining a Gym is About More Than Just Going to the Gym” By: Christie McPherson, ASF Payment Solutions

MemberSocial.jpgWhy do people go to the gym? Club members may go hoping to lose a few pounds or get in better shape, but being with like-minded, goal oriented people helps to propel those members towards a bigger and healthier picture of themselves. With increased attendance, these infrequent members meet more people, make friends, learn to develop better workout habits and most importantly, educate themselves to drop bad habits. They not only learn more about improving their workouts, but also educate themselves about nutrition and how the appropriate activity and diet can improve their lives.

The gym is also a state of mind, a refuge, and a social club. The gym is what you and your members make it. Let’s delve into the philosophy of going to the gym as motivation and encouragement to keep your members wanting more, and to attract new members through the culture and brand you want to convey.

The gym is about commitment

When prospects join a gym, they’re not assigned a number and receive a t-shirt. They’re making a commitment towards changing their lives for the better. It’s natural for clubs to push members outside their comfort zone and give them the ability to try new challenges. Your club should create an environment where members feel safe. Having early club engagment by introducing them to other members, you help them interact and join the social atmosphere of your club. This also helps to eliminate preconceived insecurities that members may have about joining a gym in the first place. All of this will ultimately lead to a member’s better health and greater self-esteem.

The gym is a lifestyle with benefits

Gym members eventually learn that fitness is a lifestyle choice, and not a quick fix. If they start to feel better, see results, get stronger and “buy-into” a healthier lifestyle, it will benefit other areas of a member’s life as well. Improving your level of fitness makes everything easier including simple tasks like carrying groceries, climbing stairs, or enduring a long walk, or hike with friends and family. These people tend to have a more positive outlook; manage stress better; have more energy; and generally feel better.

Gaining muscle and losing fat are not the only reasons people join gyms. Many people join for the fun and social interaction it gives them. People join gyms to form friendships through classes, group training sessions playing racquetball together, or just general workouts. If members look to their gym as a fun experience, they no longer consider their workout routine an arduous chore. When the experience is fun, your members will participate more often and retention becomes less of an issue for your club.

Conclusion

In the end, the gym is what you make it, and you should encourage potential members to join your gym for whatever reason they choose, but encourage engagement and fun. The idea that potential members can use your gym to get in shape; get their favorite smoothie; take part in a variety of classes; build comradery and friendships should be communicated upfront, not only to increase your gym enrollment, but to make it a fun and rewarding place to work for you and your team.

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Christie McPherson
Client Training Manager
christie.mcPherson@asfpaymentsolutions.com

ASF logoChristie McPherson has been with ASF Payment Solutions for 15 years as a client training manager and focuses on providing the best systems training in the business. Product development and system quality assurance are also an integral part of her responsibilities at ASF. She enjoys working with a staff that genuinely cares about helping clients grow their businesses and is happy to promote teamwork, fitness and a healthy lifestyle, which fits her core values as a certified Schwinn cycle instructor.

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“5 Financial Musts for Any Fitness Business” By: Melissa Knowles, Vice President of Gym HQ- A ClubReady Company

One of the most common back office missteps occurring in the fitness industry is a lack of clear and consistent financials.  It’s amazing how many businesses don’t keep them at all!  Tax season presents the perfect opportunity to take a look at a business, determine where any gaps exist, and then devise a plan for improvement.  Solid financials provide an owner with a strong understanding of the state of a business.  From this foundation of understanding, strategies for improvement or growth may be built. Below we outline five musts to serve as a starting point for this planning.

5 Financial Musts for Any Fitness Business

  1. A Proper Business Plan.

You have a great idea; now it’s time to put pen to paper. Take the time to write a proper business plan.  Think through all aspects of your business paying very close attention to a well thought out proforma.  Put together some financial projections and compare them with your proposed capital expenditures.  Know when you should reach break-even and when you’ll turn a profit.  Have a plan to responsibly make distributions.  It’s a lot easier to make these decisions when the money is conceptual.

  1. A Working Budget.

What will your revenue be?  Are you making revenue projections or using sales goals?  These are two very different things.  Goals are pie-in-the-sky.  Revenue estimates should be realistic and conservative.   What can you afford to spend?  Is your spending in line with your timeline for break-even that you outlined in your business plan?  Are you over-spending?  Throw in a line item for contingency.  This will catch those unforeseen monthly costs.  If you don’t need it, great; but if you do, you don’t blow out your budget.  A budget provides a business with the structure/foundation upon which it can grow.

  1. Accrual over Cash.

Accrual accounting is a method that measures the performance and position of a company by recognizing economic events regardless of when cash transactions occur. The general idea is that economic events are recognized by matching revenues to expenses (the matching principle) at the time in which the transaction occurs rather than when payment is made (or received). This method allows the current cash inflows/outflows to be combined with future expected cash inflows/outflows to give a more accurate picture of a company’s current financial condition.  Accrual accounting does a much better job presenting a clear picture of performance.  It also may offer better tax benefits.

  1. Capital, retain some.

This is much easier if you head into a business having already thought through a retention and distribution process.  Navigating rough business waters is much easier with a bit of a cash buffer.  This prevents the dreaded capital call.

It’s easier to always think about capital retention in terms of preparation for a business down-turn, but it can be argued that it’s even more important to maintain a solid book balance for opportunity.  This allows a business to be nimble and capitalize (get it?) on any exciting ventures that pop up on the horizon.

  1. Reconcile, reconcile, reconcile.

“Watch your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.”    This old proverb still rings very true today.  Businesses work so hard for their money:  driving sales, watching retention numbers, and pushing for non-dues based revenue; yet, many times fail to ensure that all of those dollars are making it to their bank accounts.  John mentioned that he’s witnessed occasions where merchant holders miss a remit and the reason is never found.  When there are thousands of transactions happening on a given week, it’s easy to imagine a few slipping through the cracks.  You can’t track down what you don’t know you’re missing.  All invoices should be checked and signed off on each month.  It’s amazing how many times over-charges occur.

Banking and check fraud are at an all time high.  Only a full bank reconcile will uncover a fraudulent charge or check clearing your bank.  It may also be prudent to consider a feature like Positive Pay or ACH filters.  Positive Pay essentially serves to protect your account by allowing you to be the gate keeper for all outbound checks.  Nothing clears without your approval.    Though much more work on the front end, it affords the business owner the peace of mind that his account isn’t in jeopardy 24 hours a day.

Finally, if something can’t be reconciled, it’s a symptom of something wrong.  Books should balance.  A missing dollar today could be a missing thousand tomorrow.

 

Melissa Knowles
Melissa Knowles
Vice President
Gym HQ / A Clubready Compnay
GGFA Think Tank Panel
Melissa Knowles has over a decade of industry experience, her knowledge spans many areas: strategic operations, development of staff training materials and programs, cost savings analysis, reporting development and implementation, gym hqfitness department overhaul, client retention systems, and corporate management. She’s especially well versed in all operational and HR focused areas; and she holds an HR certification through SHRM. What makes her uniquely qualified as an industry leader is her time spent “in the trenches”. Melissa is a graduate of the University of West Florida and holds an MS in Exercise Science and a BS in Sports Medicine.
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