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Introducing Automation to Every Part of the Fitness Buyer’s Journey

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Automation

From researching a club to join to actually signing a contract and even referring friends or leaving reviews, today’s fitness buyer is savvy. At the core of meeting this buyer’s needs is content. And not just having content, using that content to help prospects and members as they make decisions.

By leveraging automation, clubs can take the content they have and feed it to prospects and members at the right time. While automation won’t eliminate the need for your team to roll up their sleeves and apply the human touch, the strategies outlined here can help your club see a bump in leads, new members, retention and referrals while saving a whole lot of time.

Automation Strategies for Health Club Marketing:

Email Campaigns and Lead Nurturing

As you know, not every prospect will be ready to join the first time they hear about your club, regardless of how the first touch happens. This is why it’s important to work your lead database and keep the communication open until they say yes. There are many strategies for email campaigns and lead nurturing, but there is one constant: personalized campaigns perform better than generic campaigns. In fact, inbound marketing pioneer HubSpot reports that personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14 precent, and conversion rates by 10 percent.

What’s a “personalized email?” Certainly not a huge, generic blast of a monthly promotion. We know deals are a good thing, but personalized content goes one step further to connect with prospects. What does personalized content look like? Here are some examples:

  • Did you find the lead at a health fair? Send an email when your health or fitness blog is updated.
  • Did the prospect come in with a guest pass or to try a demo class, but didn’t join? Segment them into a group that gets sent videos from your trainers and show them what you have to offer if they come back in.

For fitness clubs, lead nurturing and sales process have an extra layer that can be automated. With the right solution, you can automate tasks for sales teams with strategically timed phone calls and text messages for follow up.

New Member Onboarding

During the sales process, you’ve taken the time to get to know your prospects before they converted and became new members. While getting new members is a great goal, keeping those members is key. To do this, clubs need to continue using their content to communicate with leads from day one, strengthening the new relationship.

What does automation look like for new members?

  • After a member signs up, send them a welcome email. Let them know their club’s class schedule, the availability of training sessions, club and juice bar hours, and all the essentials they need to get started.
  • After two weeks, send members who have come to the club at least five times another email, letting them them know about value-added services they can purchase such as additional classes, massage packages, or personal training.
  • For new members who haven’t checked in much in their first month, send a personalized text message to check in. This can open a dialogue with a staff member, who can provide additional materials for getting started at the club, like workout tips, helpful videos and orientation scheduling.

Member Retention Strategies

With new members costing about $119 to acquire, keeping them long-term makes good business sense. Just as automation strategies can help you gain new members and onboard them successfully, you can use automation to bolster your ongoing retention efforts. Don’t forget, one of the biggest benefits of marketing automation is the ability to segment contacts and deliver personalized messaging that resonates.

With properly set up processes and rock solid automation, you can:

  • Capture essential data during the sales process, such as members’ birthdays, join dates and fitness goals.
  • Use that data to trigger automated communications, such as free smoothie card for birthdays, a new club-branded t-shirt as a birthday gift, and a special offer on personal training for a member who is very close to meeting their goals.

With automation, you can alert staff about members who haven’t checked in for a set interval, maybe two or three weeks. The system flags them as high risk for churn, and your staff reaches out to make contact, alleviate any issues, and invite the member back in.

Referral Incentives

One way to add value is keeping members for longer. Another is getting them to bring more friends and family into the club. While many clubs think of referrals in terms of “campaigns,” there are ongoing opportunities for inviting members to invite their friends. Again, it comes back to content. Here’s one scenario:

  • When a new member joins, you invite them to follow you on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Your club has been blogging regularly and sharing those posts on social media. When you post, you encourage fans and followers to also share that article with their friends.
  • The article gets shared, and additional new faces read your content and fill out your lead capture forms.

Other times, you might want to use what you know about a prospect to target them for referrals. Some triggers to watch for include:

  • A member who comes to the gym faithfully, six days a week, every week.
  • A member who has recently responded to your survey request with a score of nine or 10.
  • A member who already has just referred a friend who has joined may be more likely to refer another.

Marketing automation can help owners make the most of their time and resources, improve sales numbers and keep members happy and engaged. With the right club management system, putting together robust automation that suits your members’ –and your team’s – needs is a breeze.

Christopher Gallo is the VP of business development for ClubReady. For more information email chris@clubready.com.

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