Between running new member specials to hiring trainers to fixing broken equipment, health club professionals have more than enough to do without adding marketing to the list.
And yet, it’s often the tasks we put off that are the most essential to get right. A new Harris Poll survey of small businesses highlighted a few ways your outreach to customers could improve.
Common mistakes include:
No surprise to anyone who’s ever dealt with the public but collectively, consumers are an impatient bunch. One-third of consumers would move on to someone else if they didn’t hear back from a business within an hour. An additional 51% said they wouldn’t wait longer than six hours.
The lesson: Make sure you’re adequately staffed so you have enough people to handle call volume. Emphasize to your team how quickly calls, texts and emails need to be returned so you don’t lose lucrative new memberships or fail to address member issues.
89 percent of American small businesses said a phone call was their preferred channel for communicating with customers. But customers often find calls intrusive or time-consuming. If you’re not using mobile the right way (hint: not for calls, but for texts, emails and apps), adjust and expand your thinking.
The lesson: Mobile opens the door to light, consistent contact that can build or reinforce a reputation for great service. Being able to sign up for classes, hire a trainer, check hours, ask questions and get answers via text, are all great conveniences that just make a gym-goer’s day better.
Only 19 percent of small business leaders said their online reputation — reviews, social media, etc. — were their most valuable asset. In fact, reviews on Yelp, Google, Nextdoor and other sites are the new digital word of mouth. 86 percent of people read online reviews and 91 percent trust them as much as personal recommendations, according to other research.
The lesson: Do a quick scan of your online review profile. Where do you show up? What’s your rating? Do you respond regularly? You must have a baseline understanding of where you are right now in order to make some progress. Once you’ve done this basic audit, you can start to gather more feedback from all your members to help ensure your online reputation is as accurate as possible and supports your marketing efforts. Don’t forget people are looking to see if you respond and what you say. 89 percent of people read businesses’ responses to their online reviews.
Trainers tell their clients simple changes add up to big wins over time. The same is true for health club marketing. Make simple adjustments to your responsiveness, channels and reviews, and you too will see the results you’re after.
Laura Nelson is the director of marketing at Broadly.com, a mobile-first communications platform that enables local businesses to engage with customers at every stage of their journey through chat, text, email, and phone from one convenient app.