So you want to grow your fitness business in 2020?
Or… should I ask, you want to grow your fitness business revenue in 2020? I know plenty of “full” trainers who hate life. They know they can’t do this forever. They feel popular and Monday is great but by Thursday they hate the early to late grind and exhaustion of trying to keep up with client’s workouts, phone calls, their own food prep, laundry, and workouts.
Add a family into that? And you are already thinking this is a hobby not a career.Not so fast. That’s only if you keep thinking you’re going to do it the way you’ve always done it. If you’ do the math and the commute + the down time between sessions + the sessions + the programming for sessions = you’re making less than you’d make in another job and you don’t have a life? Why would you do this? We start businesses and do things we love to have a life we love.
You’re lying to yourself if you think you “can’t make a living doing this.” You just don’t want to do the things you need to do. Here they are in this email. Take them or leave them and they will give you three of the parts you’ve got to have now or grow into soon to thrive. Brick and mortar on main street or online business. We’re all online in 2020 and beyond.
Grow your fitness business by getting online
If you’re not online you need to get online. Social media is not your real estate. So you must have a website. A customer who lives across the street from you or who lives across the country or world from you, is going to visit your website before they take another step. So if you don’t have one, or worse, you have a URL but no website? There’s not a lot of trust that you’re a real, legit business person.
There’s already enough perceptions of trainers as flaky, odd, drill sergeants out there. For many people not exercising a trainer is at least two of the following: tattoo-covered, LuLulemon-donning, mirror-strutting, surgery-enhanced, bleach-blonde, muscle head or Barbie bimbo who eats chicken breasts and broccoli. It’s safe to say that 95% of the population doesn’t aspire to that and doesn’t want a trainer who is that. If you’re not showing them otherwise their perception prevails.
Don’t mistake that list for disrespect to you for your choices. You may have had surgery without knowing risks, you may have tattoos and love them, you may love your blonde hair, and you may be a best selling book author and the expert in your topic at the same time! The point is that your audience needs to know it, see you, hear from you on your website to feel that rapport and break an incorrect perception they may have.
The ABC’s to Grow Your Fitness Business in 2020
A.) You need a website.
Everyone is online. And they’ll visit you online first. If you don’t have a site or don’t have a site that is friendly to the potential customer who visits, she’ll be gone and on to the next. Consider making it simple. If you don’t yet know for sure how you’ll expand start with a presence. Do less not more. Make it possible for those who land there to get a glimpse of who you are, what you do, and how you solve a problem for them.
Prospective clients are confused and overwhelmed with choices. Resist the urge to add to it. A confused mind won’t make a decision. You may be able to train a high school volleyball player and a 70-year-old Parkinson’s patient. Good for you. Don’t try to appeal to them both on the same website. You’ll attract neither. Your website should convey one clear conversation for one clear customer avatar.
Big fitness business or small?
Are you a big fitness center who caters to many ages and fitness levels and desires? You too have to be able to point that one customer who wants support with weight loss at 58 during menopause to the content and page dedicated to her, as well as send the college scholarship hopeful to the page about sports enhancement.
Gone, long gone, are the days when you can talk about “personal training” being customized to your customer’s needs and leave it at that. Every personal trainer, in every gym everywhere can say the same thing. Do it better. Segment.
You can do that from the very beginning from your website if you have an email marketing platform.
B.) You need an email platform
This email platform is the way you “own” contact and gain “permission” to send them offers. You start with nurturing the relationship you have with them. If you never offer value except to say, hey, we have this for sale, you’re leaving money on the table. You’re also fading into the growing competition who will do it better.
If you are a trainer who works in a gym and you think there’s not much opportunity to set yourself apart from the entire staff, you are oh, so wrong. If you think, you’re already full and why would I ever need to learn more?
If you’re not hungry to learn more about marketing, communication, creating a clear message and a unique way to distinguish yourself? You’re not going to stay full forever. Others who are hungry, learning constantly, and love to improve themselves will win. It’s just a matter of time. You don’t stand still, you move backwards if you’re not growing.
Get outside that comfort zone
As a side note, we all seem to love the things we’re already good at. So if you’re full and you naturally communicate well and customers like the way you teach, like many trainers you’ll be more inclined to learn more about training techniques. You get excited about learning more about functional movement and assessments, and using training tools. Because you’re good at that. You geek out about that.
We tend to like doing things we’re good at. We often avoid those we think we’re not good at.
At this point in time you may really need to learn how to write better copy in emails, text, and speeches. It may be very uncomfortable because you’re not good at it. That though is such a good analogy to what you’re asking clients or potential clients to do every day, right? You’re asking them to do things they don’t love, aren’t good at… yet.
What if you allowed yourself to expect you won’t be good at it yet? Because anything you do for the first time you’re not usually good at. You might get lucky, but you have to practice to get consistently good results.
Writing one email every two weeks is not going to help you get good. You’re not testing enough, checking opens enough, you’re just keeping all the non-buyers on your list enough to help your ego think that if they don’t unsubscribe you’re doing a good job. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works and you’re not in high school any more trying to get the vote for homecoming queen.
What’s in the news?
There is always a need to communicate if you want to grow your fitness business in 2020. Right now you can either be relaying messages about the Corona virus and supporting your local health officials or miss out. I guaranteed you if it says Corona virus in the subject line you’ll increase your open rate.
This will pass, though, what then? Then there will be an election, and the start of school. There will be heat and humidity. There will be information about infrared sauna and massage for recovery. There will be a new study about bone density and Fosamax and Boniva eating jaw bones away that you can use to open an article about exercise for osteoporosis.
There is always a way to be of value to your customers and here’s the dirty rotten secret. Humans are almost compelled to know the terrible, awful, tragic news. So if something is making headlines and you’re not using current events to open up conversation and be timely and relevant, what are you doing?
Eventually, though, you’ll outgrow email alone and you need more than a spreadsheet to manage your customers. When did they join you? What did they buy? Did they buy? Are they even opening emails or should you move them to a new list of “inactive” subscribers? (who are hurting your email delivery if they’ve not opened email in the past 90 days).
C.) Get a customer relationship management system
It’s a CRM. That means it tracks your leads, your customer journey. It allows you to communicate (email) with them based on their interests. It tracks their purchases, it allows you to automate email campaigns that educate and indoctrinate them into your business and create expectations.
You can poll and survey them, create reminders to call or mail them if you want a hands-on touch for some customers.
You can look up any client or group of clients and know where they are and what they need from you now. You can watch where attendance or participation falls off so you can prevent it from happening.
You can download your buyers and upload that list to Facebook and create a look-alike audience. After all, you want to target more people who buy, right? Many businesses make the mistake of targeting all people on their list and social media, including those who’ve never bought anything and been there for 2 or more years.
Of all of these? A and B are the most important immediately.
Yes, AND… you want to do your homework before you start creating this website. A confused mind does nothing. The worst thing that will happen is you meet someone, they later visit you online and then tell you, your site is pretty. Or they’re so confused by so many choices they leave. The next worst thing is you have tons of traffic but they’re not staying and they’re not taking a next step. There is homework you need to do so that you start immediately with a website that gets the attention of the people you want to help. Click for support with that.
Debra has been a full-time fitness pro for 38 years. Growing her own business, a team of trainers, and presenting internationally on fitness marketing & sales. Starting over… From 0 to freedom after 50, if she can you can.