In the fitness industry, we often see an over-prioritization of a gym’s marketing strategies without a clear roadmap for how to enhance the retention of those potential customers. Of course, you want to advertise to your target audience and maintain a healthy influx of new traffic through your door; your fitness marketing strategies are essential. However, to increase your bottom line and make the most of your marketing budget, you’ll want to incorporate a tailored new customer retention strategy and focus on nurturing the leads already in your sales funnel.
If you’re overwhelmed with your gym’s day-to-day operations, you likely haven’t had the opportunity to pause and proactively build a methodology for your inquiries. But if you’re leaving the conversion from new client to long-term member up to chance, you’re restricting your studio’s success from the very beginning.
Which would you prefer- more social media leads or a greater number of customers converting into long-term recurring memberships? In most cases, an influx of inquiries does not often result in more members if there isn’t a strategized client flow helping to drive new loyal customers through the sales funnel. If your new membership sales strategy relies on the customer to purchase on her own, it’s time to focus on your ideal client flow.
A client’s intro period isn’t only a chance for them to try out your studio and see if they like it. Optimized effectively, it should also solve these three objectives:
Envision what you hope your new client will experience when they walk in the door. How will they feel? Who will greet them? Perhaps more importantly, do your staff know your expectations, and how will you ensure each new client enjoys the same carefully curated experience? Your ideal client flow is your opportunity to design your client’s contact points, introductions, and eventual sales presentation.
As you create your strategy, visualize each interaction your clients should experience step-by-step. Then compare that to the current new client journey to identify areas of improvement for each phase of their member journey from inquiry to acquisition.
Beginning from when your potential client sends their first email to inquire about classes, membership prices, or schedule, customize each checklist item to build your boutique fitness studio or gym’s ideal client flow procedure:
For example, if someone asks for the price via email, how do you respond? How many times will you attempt to reach them if they don't purchase? If they’re interested, what is their next step? What do you do with their contact information if they decide it’s not a good time to buy?
Note: even if you send a purchase-triggered welcome email, try to think beyond the automation. Research shows that phone calls are significantly more effective than emails.
Clients are 80 percent more likely to buy if you reach out more than five times. That doesn’t mean you call and ask them to buy a membership every day for a week. You’ll want to build value-add contact points throughout their intro special in order to set the tone for their future purchase option. That may look like:
Most importantly, you’ll want to track these communication points in order to make sure they’re being sent as expected and train your staff, if applicable, so that every client receives each contact.
This exercise should push you to strategize the big picture of your customer experience and new client retention process. Now, it’s time to put theory into application.
First, start by typing up your perfect client flow and run through it mentally one more time to check for holes. Here is a template you can customize.
Next, schedule a staff meeting and practice. Role-playing is your most valuable tool for new procedures and is the difference between an idea and a cohesive staff strategy. Begin by demonstrating the client flow by leading your staff as if they were new customers. Then, break into groups and have them practice, taking turns and offering different new-client scenarios. You may consider typing up a checklist so that your staff has a guide to follow while they get used to the new flow.
As a coach, this proactive strategy is often the difference between a studio hoping that clients will stay and one that is actively working to retain customers. It may seem daunting, but the upfront work will pay off with a steadily increasing conversion rate.