In the third and final blog in our Keeping Your Finances Fit series, we’ll be showing you new startup gym owners practical, modern and distinctive ways of making your place stand out amongst the rest. Our last blog looked at some trendy new ways gyms are designed as well as some of the reasons behind that and the other blog was about why you should be leasing your gym equipment in order to benefit your cash flow and customers. If you haven’t read them yet be sure to check them out before carrying with this blog.
We’re going to start with some scary stats… sorry!
There. Are. So. Many. Gyms. No, seriously there are thousands. At last count, there was near as damn it 6,435 gyms in the UK serving 14% of the population. The market value of all this is a weighty £4.4 billion pounds so it's easy to see why so many folks want a slice of this pie.
As a start-up gym, then, it may seem pretty daunting looking at those figures and wondering how on earth you’re ever going to make any sort of leeway in this congested market. This has resulted in newer gyms not only offering freebies and goodies but offering other more dynamic ways of attracting customers.
“But what are these dynamic ways you speak of?”
Because we’re all about giving out advice to all you small to medium gym starts-up we’re going to explain 6 of the best ways to make people notice your gym. We haven’t just plucked these out of thin air, these are results led choices that you can start planning today.
You’re not stupid, you already know it's vital to have an online presence, regardless of whether you’re a gym or a cake store. It's all good saying that you need one but going about it in an effective way is a different story. I see so many companies that have a social media presence of sorts but it's so ineffective and used so infrequently that they might as well stand in the street and shout about their business.
An effective use of social media involves...
- Knowing your audience, most gyms are catered to young people so be sure to market yourself on the appropriate channels. For example don’t expect to get the young, hip millennials walking into your gym if you advertise on Linkedin. Posting engaging content on Snapchat has a greater chance of getting a target audience more suited to your gym’s aesthetic and brand.
- Positioning yourself as a knowledgeable business, ‘going to the gym’ means more than just pumping iron, it should be part of a wider, all-encompassing lifestyle change and your gym should show it's potential customers how to go about that change. Have a blog, a Youtube channel, post videos on Instagram, Facebook - show off how much you know, for free and let the trust between your gym and the people grow and you’ll soon see them walking through the door.
- Becoming a place of discussion - one of the great things about social media marketing is that it can be completely free and still help you make a profit for your business, by using your socials to create conversations about gyms - whether that be about equipment, fitness or nutrition. Hosting good conversations across socials does a few things, firstly it increases your gym's brand awareness in a soft, non-salesy sorta way, it helps drive traffic to your socials and widens the net of potential people that see your profile.
Reach an audience outside your gym’s circle
Now we did just say knowing your target audience is important and it is, but there is a balance to be had between specific online targeting and more general brand awareness to other circles. Go out into your community and reach out to groups - charities, community centres, religious places. Don’t rely entirely upon one target audience, especially if you’re a small gym in a suburban area, your community is what keeps your business going, become a leader both in knowledge and as role models.
Position yourself as the rebels of the market
We Brits love an underdog, a rebel - so why not position your business as one, don’t be afraid to go against the grain, people, more and more, want different. Gyms don’t have to be sterile centres filled with bland walls and grey equipment, gyms don’t have to be places that only cater for weightlifters they can be whatever you want them to be. Rebel, and make people feel part of that rebellion it fosters community within your gym and makes people want to come to you for fear of being left out.
Go above and beyond when it comes to rewarding loyalty
Loyalty schemes are everywhere, in fact, there are so many that it's kind of worn down the effect of having them in the first place (I don't like this place but it's fine I can go be loyal somewhere else for a bit because they offer the same).
For your particular loyalty scheme to be successful you need to go above and beyond, granted it may (though not always) turn out a little more expensive. Rewarding loyalty in a genuine and substantial way is huge, the cost of this is still going to be far less than trying to convince someone to join your gym who has no interest, research shows that it can cost a business up to 25x more to attract a new customer than it is to keep one. Customer loyalty programmes pay for themselves, so it makes sense to push the boat out just a wee bit in order to reward loyalty and keep customers.
Make sure your gym has an authentic identity
You’re unique, we all are, it shouldn't be any different with your gym, if you’re serious about creating a community-led, edgy, exciting gym that doesn’t tick the boxes of these huge gymcorps then you have to allow your identity to come through. Whether that's how you design the gym, what equipment you have, what added extras you put in place - make your gym in your imagination and be authentic. Authenticity and honesty resonate with customers in a way not spoken about very often, it could also be the difference between them paying a bit more to join your gym because they understand and feel apart of something.
Make sure that first, free month is the best it can be
A lot of gyms, both big and small, offer a period in which you can use their facilities for free and it's usually for a month, give or take a few days. It's something that’s worthwhile and offers the customer the chance to try before they pay, giving them the power to make that decision. See this free period as an opportunity for you to show off your business, like a month-long meeting with a potential client. So go all out, meet them in person, get to know them, show off the facilities, make that month the best it can be, this way you know they’re seeing all aspects of your gym, from the people that work there to the equipment they can use.
So, be you, be a voice and go against the grain
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this trio of blogs on all things gym as much as we’ve enjoyed writing them. Starting a gym can seem like a scary thing, we hope these blogs have in some way lessened that and given you a few pointers that you can use to start the ball rolling.
Here at Love Finance, we’re committed to helping gym start-ups get the leg up they need to be a success and to help transform individuals and the wider community. We’re always on hand to offer advice to small to medium sized gyms looking to keep their balance sheets healthy in the form of finance and leasing.
If you’re a Birmingham based gym or are in the Midlands area, we’re always available for a flat white if you fancied chatting to one of our account managers, and if you’re further afield, don’t fret, as we’re always near a phone to answer your questions or to just shoot the breeze!