Here’s how to build a successful gym with five critical tips
- Create a detailed marketing plan
- Implement gym member retention strategies
- Manage Gym member feedback and reviews
- Integrate all gym management processes
- Use the golden rule – Show, don’t tell
Learn how these top tips can help you build a successful gym
There is a long-standing misconception surrounding gym ownership that suggests building a successful gym business is something that can be done overnight. Unfortunately, while there are exceptions, this tends not to be the case. The fitness industry is a highly competitive business marketplace that requires a significant amount of consideration in order to actually stay operating for years to come. So, how do you begin your journey toward building a successful gym? Well, the best way to succeed is to learn from mistakes.
Operating within the fitness industry for decades now, we have compiled a list of some essential steps that are largely responsible for developing successful gyms – being mindful of both gym size and budget. All recommendations can be scaled up or down depending on where your business stands, meaning that this list is highly transferable to both small gyms and large fitness franchises.
It should be noted that this is not intended to be a fundamental business plan and as such, will fail to include detailed information about other vital gym business factors including:
- Gym Location
- Capital Shortages
- Financial Considerations
So, without further introduction… Here’s how to build a successful gym with five critical tips.
Create a detailed marketing plan
Given the highly competitive nature of the fitness industry, simply owning a great gym with high-end equipment is no longer enough. Truth is, you need a dedicated marketing plan that focuses on increasing local awareness in a way that drives new member registrations at your gym. Worried about creating an overcrowded gym environment? Don’t be! In fact, most fitness businesses actually operate on a model that collects revenue from people who do not even visit… The latest statistics even show that inactive gym memberships account for upward of 65% of total membership numbers in some cases.
This all sounds great but, how do you go about creating a detailed marketing plan for your gym that has the ability to set your gym up for major success? What vital aspects of a gym marketing plan need to be covered? Though you should really be looking to cover all of them, there are some marketing factors that should be covered first.
Here’s a small marketing plan checklist to ensure that your marketing plan can start on a solid foundation:
Situational Analysis – This situational analysis is a vital step in creating your marketing plan as it outlines key business weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This section is usually best managed in a SWOT analysis and should include primary business research.
Marketing Objectives – Marketing Objectives essentially outline what it is that you wish to achieve through your marketing endeavours. These should be SMART objectives and include specific numbers and time restrictions.
Target Market – Target Market goes without saying, however, it still must be mentioned. Each gym is different and may be looking to attract a different type of fitness consumer. Do you specialise in power-lifting? Strongman? Cross-fit? Or are you looking to try and attract a particular age demographic? These are all core considerations that will make a difference to your marketing messages and actual marketing tactics.
Marketing Mix – The marketing mix should cover four core business aspects including; product, price, place, and promotion. You need to outline exactly what your gym intends to sell including add-on products such as supplements. In addition, you need to identify what pricing strategy your gym intends to use alongside a detailed list of promotional tactics. Place is less relevant if you’re already established however, may be a consideration for those looking to open new franchise locations.
Budget – Budget should really include an analysis of what you are willing to spend throughout the entirety of the campaign, although, detailed marketing plans can include the financial situation for the entire company including a break-even analysis or even an income statement.
One of the largest elements of your marketing plan will evidently fall under the ‘promotions’ category found within your marketing mix. Many will often only utilise a promotional strategy within a marketing plan as it is a cost-effective way to outline how to best attract members to the business. It is recommended that a full marketing plan is created, however, some promotional ideas may include things such as:
- Creating a user-friendly website
- Optimising local search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Developing a social media presence
- Starting a referral program
- Introducing gym sales promotions and discounts
- Free trials and resources
The list here is really endless and only limited by your imagination. You can find some other ideas across the other gym improvement guides we have written.
Implement gym member retention strategies
The term ‘retention’ has likely been thrown around at some point throughout your career and for a good reason. While fitness businesses rely on new gym member registrations to grow in size, it’s oftentimes membership retention efforts that drive revenue over the long-term. Keeping gym members happy for as long as possible is essential when looking to improve the stability of a business as well as increasing the lifetime value of your gym.
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, not really… Membership retention can be one of the hardest business elements to create and implement. Most clubs don’t even have a dedicated retention strategy which can prove to be quite problematic. Why? Because the less members you retain, the more you rely on member acquisition efforts which are not only costly but also time consuming. This not only reduces business profits but also damages the experience of current members further and… well, you see the cycle.
So, how do you implement gym member retention strategies to ensure that you’re building a successful gym business? Here is what some of the most successful fitness clubs are doing right now
Creating a fitness community – When looking at member satisfaction, you would be surprised just how much of an impact community can make. Those who workout alongside similar faces each week or participate in group classes are much more likely to remain loyal to your gym. So, offering the resources necessary to develop a fitness community can prove to be a very valuable investment over the long-term. A great start is to create a private social media group where questions can be asked and workouts can be shared freely.
Offering regular member assessments – One of the most evident factors within the fitness industry is that everybody’s journey is significantly different. Treating members as individuals by offering regular member assessments can build brand loyalty by increasing the customer experience. This can be as simple as a five minute conversation that gives you a better perspective on how your members are tracking. By doing this you not only show that you value them but new opportunities for add-on services such as PT lessons will arise.
Monitoring club attendance records – The most successful gym businesses make a habit of checking club attendance records to identify any struggling or unmotivated members. This may not seem important but nothing is more powerful than helping someone get back on track. So, monitor attendance records and if you notice any regulars who have been falling behind, be sure to personally check up on them. Utilising member communication features within your gym management software can be a great way to do this.
Looking to access more powerful gym member retention tips? Read the full article here!
When it comes to membership retention efforts, there is a common theme which links every strategy or tactic together. It all comes down to the customer experience. Find ways to show that your gym members are an incredibly valued part of your business by getting them engaged and communicating with them. Do this and you’ll be on your way to building a successful gym business in no time.
Manage gym member feedback and reviews
One thing all fitness club owners need to realise is that the industry is an ever-changing and highly competitive marketplace. This means that one of the only ways to stay afloat is to proactively seek change. What do you need to change though? Ask your members!
Managing feedback and reviews is heavily tied to gym member retention, however, it’s so critically important when building a successful fitness business that it deserves a separate explanation.
Nobody knows what a gym needs more than the members. While sometimes their recommendations may not make sense, the feedback they provide will often be one of the most valuable assets your business can acquire. So, how do you go about new recommendations? Here’s a list of what some of the most successful gyms are doing
- Member feedback forms
- Online gym reviews
- Club suggestion boxes
- Email polls and campaigns
- Client calls or conversations
These are all highly effective ways to collect feedback from gym members and can be used in tandem with each other as part of a gym improvement campaign. Though this is a huge start toward building a better business, remember that asking the right questions can be equally as important. After all, what’s the point of feedback if the information you receive isn’t at all relevant to your club? Don’t stress! Here are some questions you can begin asking today, on us!
- What was most important to you while working out with our club?
- If you could see our club invest in one thing, what would it be?
- How happy are you with our gym facilities?
The list goes on! If this sounds too time consuming, don’t worry!
Integrate all gym management processes
So far all the tips to help you build a successful gym business have been based around member involvement. This is because they are the heart of your club! Or are they…?
While there is no denying that members are the most vital aspect of your fitness business, there is a very close second. What are we talking about? Well, the need to integrate all your gym management processes, of course! Let us explain.
The ability to run a gym is not based purely on how many customers you can acquire and retain but also how well you can manage them. Back-end processes have a surprising impact on business success and if all processes are not efficiently integrated – operations can become an absolute nightmare. The best way to integrate all core business processes is to invest in a high-end gym management system.
While there is an extensive range of fitness software to choose from, many fall short on providing premium features within a simple interface. If you aren’t sure what to look for in a gym management system, here’s a list of the top gym software features you should look for!
Direct Debit Integrated Billing – Fully integrated billing features have the capability to not only reduce paper trails but to also significantly reduce direct debit rates. Most high-end systems with direct debit billing integration will include features such as payment scheduling, forecast reporting, and automatic suspension binding to payments.
Full 24/7 security integration – High-end security integration is a must-have feature as it can not only prevent the double handling of data inputs but can also manage membership suspensions. Gym management software such as VIGYR can even link both security and direct debit billing to provide real-time no pay – no entry.
Online member sign-on – Online member sign-on is a powerful feature that eliminates the need for paper trails. Great software systems will facilitate multi-device sign-on that can be customised for both in-house and at-home usage via a website link. These forms can then be directly imported into your fitness software with forms then emailed to your members.
Member communication platforms – Member communication capabilities are essential in any leading gym management software with the option to create both manual and automatic messaging campaigns. This allows you to develop a message that is integrated with member data in a way that can create personalised newsletters, emails, and direct messages.
Point of Sale (POS) – Point of Sale features when correctly integrated into gym software can save your club a significant amount of both time and money. The ability to process memberships and add-on products such as supplements in a quick and easy manner can speed up operations – reducing rush-hour queues and increasing the customer experience.
Powerful Reporting Tools – Finding a club management system that offers powerful reporting tools is extremely important when trying to understand both the performance and financial health of your gym. Looking for fitness software that offers multi-report selection will allow you to classify virtually any field relating to your memberships or POS system. When used right, these tools can help aid in member retention efforts and provide valuable sales and profit metrics for your business.
Already using gym software? Well, read this article outlining the top signs that it’s time to switch to a better alternative!
Use the golden rule – Show, don’t tell
The term ‘show, don’t tell’ may have flicked across your screen once or twice before. That’s because it’s a very powerful tool that became popular within the context of writing. Journalists, Novelists and storytellers alike all swear by this one simple rule when creating content. So, what gives? How is this at all relevant to the gym and fitness industry?
When it comes to selling gym memberships what you are actually providing customers with is a story. You afford them the opportunity to write their own fitness journey. The problem here is that every fitness club will also offer a similar opportunity… So what do you do? Show, don’t tell!
To start building a successful gym business you need to be mindful that all potential members come from different walks of life. Many may not have experience within a gym before and many more may believe themselves to be well-seasoned gym junkies. The important thing to note here is that where they come from isn’t important. Where they are going is. People join gyms because they believe they have something to gain. So, show them how your fitness business is the solution to their goals. Don’t just tell them.
If you are still unsure what this means then think about all the ways you can physically show them the value that your gym can add to their lives. Here is what some of the most successful gym business are doing:
- Offering free membership trials
- Providing free ‘starting’ PT lessons
- Giving away free ‘3 Day’ meal plans
- Making custom workout plans for members
Hopefully at this point, the puzzle pieces are starting to come together. Again, the key here is to show them how much value your gym can provide and how effective your services are. Allowing them to experience things first hand in a risk-free environment is a far superior method to selling memberships than simply ‘telling’ them how good you are.
Heard that offering free incentives can devalue your services and affect your gyms success? Read our free article here!
Build a more successful gym business with the help of VIGYR Gym Management Software
If you’ve read this article in its entirety, congratulations! You are well on your way to building a more successful gym business.
If not, that’s ok because the most important information is about to come up right now. High-end gym management software was mentioned constantly throughout this article and for good reason. It’s simply the most cost-effective method of significantly increasing the potential of your fitness business.
There are many alternatives to choose from when trying to get gym software sorted, however, many systems fall short of delivering exactly what you need to build a better business. That’s actually how VIGYR was created…
VIGYR was originally developed from within a gym, meaning that it’s core design has been made for owners, by owners. Now, with decades worth of experience across thousands of gyms worldwide, VIGYR acts as your leading gym software solution – combining real-world functionality with a range of exclusive insights that truly help deliver a special experience for both your staff and the gym members.
What does this mean for you? Well, this fully-integrated system simply allows partners to optimise their gym business with some of the most innovative technology – offering unmatched business outcomes at an absolute cost-advantage.
VIGYR remains a family-owned business and continues to push the boundaries of performance with constant innovation and in-depth industry research. This means that you can bet on getting the fastest and most flexible piece of gym management software available.
So, what are you waiting for? Say hello to a premium suite of powerful features and tools that are redefining what the fitness industry is capable of. Help build your gym on the best foundations for success.
Still not convinced? Find out what’s driving the future of gym business growth around the world through an obligation-free enquiry.
Contact us on 1300 352 561
Looking for the best gym management software? See how VIGYR can help grow your business
VIGYR is a gym management system that was developed from decades worth of feedback across thousands of gyms world-wide. This software was designed to enable partners to better optimise their fitness business to offer an unmatched customer experience at an absolute cost-advantage. The goal here was to not only create the industry’s best system for gyms, but also gym members – allowing everyone to reap the benefits of such an innovative piece of technology.
VIGYR continues to act as a market leader, delivering the fastest and most flexible gym management system that integrates seamlessly to allow you to focus on what matters – growing your business! So, say hello to complete process optimisation granted by a deluxe suite of powerful tools that redefine how far software can take your business. Featuring free automatic upgrades, state of the art functionality, and support networks that have raised industry standards around the globe – look no further than VIGYR!
Still not convinced? Let us show you how VIGYR can transform your business today!
Contact us on 1300 352 561