Ok, this one is the fastest & easiest to implement of the bunch...
Since health is a holistic thing, getting people preparing healthy meals or snacks recommended directly by your staff & instructors is a great way to establish your business as their trusted personal guide to a new healthier lifestyle.
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Your staff should naturally be asking your customers what their interests are. Some creative brainstorming could generate ideas around hosting an event based upon a commonality that some of your customers mutually share. As a result, more people will be coming specifically because they are passionate about that community, and "have been meaning to look into taking a _____ class, but haven't gotten around to it."
It's tough for some people to join a class or gym because they don't know anyone, or they don't identify as a "fitness buff"... however once they've connected through something else, they associate your brand as a third place to connect them with others, not just a gym.
Think about ways you could collaborate with other brands whose customer base could also be yours. If you develop a 'tide to raise all ships' mentality in your brand, you'll quickly see people coming to you through connections and referrals. There's no end to ways you could collaborate. The important thing is to get together with other small businesses to think of things to try!
Here's one idea: Make a branded "workout playlist" for another brand to share with their customers each week. It will improve their email open rate, and will make your brand's name synonymous with their audience.
People look for reasons to talk about the fact that they're going to the gym, as it quickly becomes part of their identity. You just need to create a reason for them to share an experience or interesting campaign you're running.
Take something you're passionate about, and make it a movement. For example: A spin studio might incentivise a "pedal for pups" program wherein members could solicit sponsorship for a month for every 10 miles they pedal. Just don't forget to build your branding into it!
Find another gym or studio and schedule an event to compete in something... Rope climbing? Dodge Ball? Scavenger Hunt? A silly olympics that you made up? This is a tactic that works really well for kids at camp to get them to feel united and a part of a team. Why not for adults? Show your fun-side and give yourself a reason to reach out to your customers who've trailed off and say "Hey Troy, we need your help!"
Find an organization that needs some help, and encourage your members to sign up. This creates opportunities for your members to show some love for a good cause (cementing brand loyalty), and while they're doing so they'll likely meet others who might otherwise not have a current gym they belong to or might be looking to try something new.
Tip: Have some 'generic volunteer T-shirts' made up which have your branding incorporated. The visibility of people representing your brand while helping out the cause will leave a positive impression in others' minds. When you get there, the cause you're helping might have their own uniform they want people to wear instead, in which case... oh well. Your members will still promote your brand naturally in conversation with the public. They'll also bond with other members.
People are used to the same old promotions... first month free, locker discount for their first year, blah blah. Throw 'em a curve ball! Give a houseplant, a pack of branded playing cards, a sickness kit (to get them back in health and back to the gym next time they are under the weather). Think about something that will make them say to a co-worker: "I joined this gym and they gave me _____ when I signed up. Weird right? but also, a meaningful point of differentiation from other gyms.
If you don't have branded water bottles, t-shirts, yoga pants, etc. Not only are you missing those extra revenue streams, but more importantly the opportunity for people to be seen in them — promoting your brand and making it more recognizable.
Also, consult with a designer. If your brand doesn't look good on clothing, people won't buy or wear it. If it does, they will!
We instinctually want status and access. When we don't have it, we covet it. If you limit access to events, classes, or membership you naturally create scarcity and subsequently demand.
Think "club". Pour some focus into giving a small group of people a ton of value. Strategically do what you can to get those people to build hype for your brand. Get others on a wait list. Brand it and think of it as a separate business from your core business. Run it for awhile and see what happens. Don't forget to keep people on the wait list updated and enticed. When they do get in they'll feel pretty baller.
Ok, you have sent out a ton of emails, and more often than not they don't get opened. However, stats still show us that email marketing is much more likely to help you reach and resonate than any other strategy.
Consider using a tool like Quuu.co to help you pull together the latest and most buzzy articles in your health and fitness categories. OR use Feedly to create yourself a taylored RSS feed aggregating all the best blogs & sites into a go-to source you can pull from. Then, use a tool like paper.li or publicate.it to add select articles to an email newsletter which will establish you as the guru with your finger on the pulse of what's going on. With either of these tools you can embed the newsletter in a blog post on your site, which makes it highly shareable.
By being personally invested in your members, and encouraging them in their progress (however small) you will see much return in word of mouth. Remember, people are bombarded by reminders of their shortcomings via negative messaging all day. Take the time and brainstorm at least 10 encouraging things you could say to a member for showing up and putting in the work. Use NOW statements, not IF statements.
Your gym/studio's entry space should be free from clutter and lift people's spirits. They should be met with eye contact and a smile. Maybe even something surprising and funny (if it's on brand). Disrupt the clutter in their mind and queue their brain that being here is sacred or different. Consider integrating plants or fish, a feature wall perhaps?
Tip: Consider chalk paint, a great opportunity for members to share something about their motivations or reason for being in your space. This is the ever so important 'social proof '.
People walking by don't usually feel like working out, but having other reasons for them to pop their head in is quite smart. Put it on a sandwich board and get them in the door!
Ideas: A.) Sample protein snacks/drinks. B.) Ask for advice on an aesthetic brand decision C.) The first 200 people to come in and tell us the last good clean joke they heard get to smash a plate greek restaurant style (ok, maybe have protective eyewear for that last one.)
You'll be surprised how many people will wander in who might have never come in had you not piqued their interest.
Truck pull, tug of war, building rappel, extreme corn shucking competition, cheese wheel toss, whatever might get people to stop and take notice that volunteer members of your gym/studio are outgoing, fun-loving, and relatable. The goal is to get them thinking "these people are approachable and look healthy. I too want to be able to look and feel that way."
Oh, and don't forget to display your branding prominently!
Hype your instructors if they're good! (if not, why are you letting them teach your customers?)
Showcase your testimonials. There are so many businesses who fail to show off the positive praise they've been given.
Do you have a machine, class, or program that has made a big difference in someone's life? Ask if they'd be willing to talk on video! It doesn't need to be professionally shot. Just make it well lit and real.
Think what barriers might exist for people. Do they have a hard time getting to you? Difficulty finding parking? Trouble finding childcare? Affording that class? Is your signage not very visible? Do the changing rooms pose a problem?
Most people are surprisingly quiet about problems they face, so they aren't writing those things in your customer feedback box. To get to these things you need to sit down with them, buy them a coffee, and actually walk them through the experience from considering finding a gym/studio, signing up, etc.
You might even be surprised why they come to your gym/studio. Ask lots of questions to at least 30 different people, and no... don't use a survey.