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How Gold’s Gym SoCal Drives its Future Success with ABC Financial

ABC Financial

As the industry continues to evolve and embrace the digital age, club management software grows more critical to running a successful business. ABC Financial’s industry-leading software is a trusted solution that can benefit any club.

Brian Morris, the vice president of sales, marketing and service revenue for Gold’s Gym SoCal (representing 20 locations), is a long-time customer of ABC Financial and an expert on the member experience.

Here, he shares his club’s strategies for member engagement, marketing, and how club management software fits into the equation:

How do your members prefer to be contacted about updates and new services? Why do you know these channels are effective?

BM: Most of our members prefer text communication and email communication, and we know this because of their ability to opt in — they’re always asked if they want to be opted in to this type of notification. We have approximately 70% that opt into text communication, as well as email communication. That’s how we know we can communicate with them that way. We also do phone calls, but that’s more on a touchpoint basis for new members and some existing members, to see how things are going.

What retention messaging resonates best with your current members?

BM: We utilize our Gold’s Gym rewards program, and make them aware not only that there’s a rewards program, but there’s also detail behind it. We start with an email campaign, and in drip campaign, we speak about rewards to get them engaged, and then we send follow-up phone calls and text messages that also let them know to activate their program. From a retention standpoint, the more people who get involved with our rewards program, the longer they tend to stay.

What do you see as the biggest threat to member retention in 2019?

BM: The biggest threat to keeping members is non-use. At the end of the day, there’s a motivation of the individual to at least come to the club, come in and actually work out. Part of what we have to do is give them that motivation by talking through our accountability program — to understand how to actually stay in the game and stay motivated, whether it’s through supplementation, dieting or nutrition.

Our job is to have the big first impression to give them a place where they feel like they’re part of a community and a place they actually want to continue coming to. If we don’t do that well, the lack of motivation kicks in and that’s really the biggest threat.

Engaging with members and prospects on social media continues to require a high level of effort. Where does your team concentrate their time, and on which tactics are you seeing the most return?

BM: One, a big part is making sure we’re increasing our likes and followers. On social media, when people have liked our company or follow our company, they scroll through their Instagram or Facebook feed, and they’ll see the activities that are going on. The big thing has been Instagram Stories. The way we understand our engagement is when people are sending messages back to us, letting us know if they love that particular image, or using whatever emoji they’ve used on an image, we track those to see how they are engaged with our stories.

We also have a nice, big influencer base we leverage. Those influencers reach out to tens of thousands of people are now even more motivated to like us and be part of what those influencers are doing in our clubs. As far as messaging goes, you have your standard messaging — here’s who we are, here’s a video of what we’re doing, etc. — but really what it comes down to is influencers actually engaging more people on social media.

What tactics have you traditionally used to attract new members that aren’t as effective today, and what are you doing to change your approach?

BM: Traditionally, attracting new members was based on price — hopefully, they’ll come and they’ll want to know more. I think many companies fall into that strategy because it’s all they know, it’s what they’ve known has worked for years. What we’ve done to be a little bit different is look for people who are continuously thinking about it and are apprehensive about coming in, and giving them relevant content for what their needs are. We’ll send out sponsored ads that are not price-driven, but more about healthy eating or different types of workouts to accelerate certain areas of the body they’re interested in.

Once they see that content, we capture their email address so we continue to feed them content until they say they’re ready to join. When they say they’re ready to join, they always have the option of clicking a button that says, “I would like to receive an offer,” and, once that happens, our quality of lead increases by 30 to 40%.

How often do you evaluate your overall new and existing member marketing campaigns?

BM: I evaluate it monthly. We plan it out by the quarter, and each month, we evaluate the effectiveness of that campaign. In some cases, within the month, we actually have to evaluate if it’s working or not, and make an adjustment. We always have a plan B and plan C if the month is not gaining the necessary leads of the original campaign in the first place.

What insights about your current and future members do you regularly gain from your membership and gym usage data? What’s an example of what you’ve done with these insights?

BM: Evaluating the current usage tells us we do have effective referral campaigns going on. If we have high usage in a month, it tells us our referral campaigns are working — more people are engaging in the referral campaign offers we have. If I see the usage is low, I’ll have to adjust the referral campaign and actual internal membership offerings to help drive more people through our doors.

Let’s say I have a campaign that has “bring a friend for free on the weekends” messaging, and my usage is low, what I’ll do is make a switch, maybe even in that same month, to “bring friends for free all month.”

How do you use ABC Financial’s software to help focus club marketing?

BM: Recently, at the Gold’s Gym Convention back in August, we won the Best Marketing Campaign for North America. That was largely due to an e-book that was written — it was called “The 28-Day Butt Challenge” — and it was a 37-page e-book that has 28 different variations of exercises increasing the size and firmness of your butt, which seems to be a success, because we had a lot of downloads.

For me to actually leverage ABC Financial to do so, I had to actually know how many of my participants had either engaged in fitness programs or didn’t. We were able to not just document it through ABC Financial, but we were able to set them up with another consultation to sell them personal training. We’ve been doing that for the last year, by utilizing the tools ABC Financial gives us to actually track people in this particular situation. They’re part of our win at the convention.

For more information on ABC Financial, visit abcfinancial.com/

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine.

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