Seventy-four percent of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions [according to Ogilvy]. Seventy-four percent. Let that sink in for a moment. This statistic alone is changing the way consumers make purchases and how businesses market to consumers.
It makes sense. When was the last time you purchased anything without seeking a recommendation from a friend? Probably never. That’s the power of word-of-mouth. In fact, it’s so powerful of a decision-maker that consumers are paralyzed without it, and because of that, most marketing strategies fall flat in comparison.
Don’t despair. This is actually great news for gym owners. You, more than any other type of business, have the potential to generate hundreds of word-of-mouth referrals for your gym. Plus, word-of-mouth has been shown to improve marketing effectiveness by up to 54 percent [according to MarketShare]. All you need to do is get a solid strategy together.
But how do you do that? It’s actually a lot easier than you think. Here are three easy ways to start marketing your gym through word-of-mouth:
Step 1: Create an Amazing Member Experience. People will not talk about your gym (or maybe even come back) if you don’t provide an outstanding member experience. By this I mean, keeping your facilities clean, providing quality equipment, giving great customer service, etc. All of these things affect what people say about you. Remember, word-of-mouth can go from being positive to negative in a matter of seconds. Don’t give people a reason to talk smack about your gym.
Step 2: Get to Know Your Members Personally. Having a personal relationship with your members is key. This is especially true for those of you who coach classes. Going the extra mile with your members will enhance their experience, make them feel valued, build a solid community and keep people coming back. Loyal members are happy members and are the most likely to tell their friends about their unique experience.
Step 3: Offer Your Members a Friendly Incentive. “My members can sell my gym 10 times better than I can. All I need to do is give them more incentive to talk about it with their friends,” said Paul Taylor, a trainer for Camp Gladiator. Incentives work wonders for turning passive members into active advocates. You can provide free “workout” passes, start a rewards program, or pass out complimentary post-workout snacks. Whatever it is, just be sure to ask your members to spread the word about your gym in return. Since 43 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends on social media, we recommend tying your incentive to social media. The reality is that people are already posting about your gym. All you have to do is give them something for it and they will do it even more.
It might seem simple. And it is. Word-of-mouth works simply because consumers say that it does. So, for 2017, what will you focus on? Telling people to join your gym? Or asking your members to tell their friends about their amazing gym?
John Rougeux is the CMO and co-founder of Causely, a company that helps fitness businesses generate word-of-mouth by giving back. Connect with Rougeux at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit causely.com to learn more.