For any company, business comes down to one thing: Revenue. And revenue comes down to one thing: Sales. And sales come down to one thing: Leads.
So the question independent health club owners have on their mind almost every minute of every day is, "Where can I find new leads?"
Sure, lead generation and nurturing isn't a new concept. However, the way to go about it has certainly changed and not just in the fitness industry.
Years ago, real estate professionals would literally knock on doors in a neighborhood to ask homeowners if they wanted to sell their house. Today, they sit back and wait for homeowners to Google search for a realtor, go to Zillow.com, or some other home valuation site, or hit up realtor.com.
Well, maybe "sit back" is a little passive. They (along with thousands of other businesses) are actually still out there knocking on doors, except today they are utilizing technology to save time, money and boost the bottom line.
Many companies from real estate to local bakeries to Fortune 100 behemoths today utilize content marketing (again, another new term for an old concept) to drive traffic to their websites, through their doors and into their cash registers. And believe it or not, the fitness industry is an industry that lends itself extremely well to content marketing.
In fact, a recent posting at Forbes commented that, "There is some genuinely great content out there, from info on more efficient workouts to the latest on metabolism-friendly eating." Your club could be taking advantage of content like that.
Unfortunately though, trainers, manufacturers (particularly infomercial products) and video distributors are far better at utilizing online content marketing to drive sales than health clubs. At least, so far.
But on a local level, there is a huge opportunity for independent clubs to utilize content marketing to convert sales at lower costs and higher ROI than traditional methods such as mailers, radio and print ads.
Here are four ways to utilize content you have easy access to, to help convert more members:
- Create a YouTube Channel: Perhaps the best asset a fitness club has is its trainers and the benefits they provide. Use them to show general exercise tips to not only create awareness for membership leads, but to generate training sales. With today's technology, a high quality video can be created at a very low cost. Even a simple Flip Cam or iPhone camera shoots high quality video.
- Don't Forget Email: Sure, everyone emails prospects the latest sales. But truly successful content marketers give their prospects more than the latest deal. Share fitness tips, news, trends, success stories, etc. Don't be afraid to "give away" too much. Information generates interest. This can help position your club in a thought-leadership position.
- Write a Blog: Setting up an informational search-engine-optimized blog on your club's website can drive traffic, allowing people to not only learn about how to get healthier, but learn how your club will help them achieve those results. Take that a bit further and have staff members guest blog for local businesses such as health food stores, sportswear companies and other fitness and health blogs. this not only builds credibility, but also will allow your club to expand its reach through back-links to your site.
- Utilize Social Media: Sure, everyone wants to be a social media expert. But in the beginning stages, the best use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., may be to share snippets of all the longer-form content you have elsewhere. Use it to help drive traffic to your site where your club can capture lead info, have people learn about your facilities, and sign up new members.
In the new age of fitness marketing, it is important for health clubs to keep in mind that customers are looking at more than price, cleanliness and equipment. They are looking for places that can help them reach their goals. Through good content, independent health club owners can stand out from the competition.