Creating Effective Loyalty Programs: A Comprehensive Guide

Loyalty programs are an extremely important tool in client retention. Client retention is an extremely important tool in a successful business. A successful business is an extremely important tool in a happy, comfortable life. See where I’m going with this? Yes! Loyalty programs are an extremely important tool for you, a gym owner to live a happy, comfortable life.

Just kidding. That’s a bit of a stretch.

There are, without a doubt, many more factors that play into your life being happy and comfortable. However, creating a reward system for loyal customers can create a little sense of comfort in managing your business. Cultivating an effective loyalty program for your customers can grow your client base and can increase retention by 5%. An increase in retention by as little as 5% can increase your profits by 25% to 95%. That margin may be large, but with a 25% increase as the minimum, your fitness business will benefit from employing a reward system.

Importance of Loyalty Programs in Fitness Businesses

Fitness centers are the ideal businesses to employ loyalty programs because the business focuses on returning members and consistent relationships with clients. Getting fit and staying fit is a continuous process and definitely not an easy one. So why not make it a little easier on your customers’ wallets if they have been returning to your facility for a period of time?

Clients who have invested in being members of your gym have important information and reviews to share about their experience there. Therefore, rewarding them for their investment encourages them to become advocates for your fitness business. On top of the powerful retention loyalty programs provide, they also give your clients more to brag about on your behalf.

In the last year, the number of health and fitness facilities has increased by 4.5% this means more competition. That number is rising every year. Keep your clients engaged and keep your business competitive with an effective loyalty program.

The metrics that you will gather data on, and eventually be able to control, are customer behavior and engagement. This will help you to better personalize your services and rewards later on down the road. Thus, increasing your conversion rates in almost every aspect of your gym’s services.

Who are your customers?

employ loyalty programs to target this specific demographic

Before starting the process of building a loyalty program, first, understand who is visiting your gym. Right now, the demographic that is most influenced by loyalty programs are Gen-Zers and Millenials. That just so happens to be the majority of the people who are visiting gyms this year.

87% of Gen Z claims to train at least three times a week according to a consumer survey by LesMills. To go even further, 81% of the participants in group fitness classes are Millenials or Gen Z. People this age love to socialize, and participating in group classes is a great way for them to get fit and get social.

Whoah! There’s an idea coming together here. Use the social factor of group sessions or classes as a selling point. This also makes for a great reward to offer this group for being loyal participants. This also increases the number of people that this age group will bring to your gym.

As for the rest of your customers, look through the data that you already have collected, and make sure you have the right information lined up for the right audience. The data could possibly be very different than what is listed above depending on the audience your gym attracts in the first place. Different audiences will require different reward systems. For the most part, however, loyalty programs will have a greater effect on Gen Z and Millennials.

Who is successful with loyalty programs?

Many different types of loyalty programs exist and they are successful for different reasons. You could even be creative and come up with a completely new system that works well for your business.

Point systems are usually where loyalty programs begin and provide an easy means for keeping track of progress over time. Points can be beneficial for rewarding members for the amount of money they spend at your business or the time spent visiting.

Overall Success

Ultra successful cases of the point systems are in the business of coffee. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have rewards systems that allow their customers to receive free drinks, drink add ons, or food for every certain amount of points they earn. Starbucks even offers a Visa card to use for any purchases you would like to make inside and outside of Starbucks. Every purchase made on that card racks up points that you can use to redeem Starbucks goodies.

Providing a Visa card probably will not be beneficial or possible for you to employ at your gym, but it is a good model to understand. Starbucks is using a rewards system to drive sales to their company through outside purchases. Employ a program that will drive sales to your business through every means possible.

Starbucks absolutely had the purchasing power to design and employ their own unique loyalty program. This requires resources that I don’t imagine most of the readers of this article have. If you have resources on par with Starbucks, then I guess I am a bit honored that you decided to read this article anyway.

Success in the gym market

Let’s go over some more humble examples of loyalty program success specific to the fitness market.

Perkville is an app that has provided a notable increase in revenue for gyms, retailers, salons, and yoga studios. During my research, a case study that stuck out was their work with O2 Fitness, a chain of gyms in North Carolina.

Employing a rewards program through Perkville increased this business’s personal training session attendance by 33%, monthly referrals by 17%, reduced cancels in the fourth quarter by 3.5%, and the company had over 4,000 shares on social media. This was all data collected within the first four months after the users signed up for the rewards program. Talk about stellar success!

Participants of the program were rewarded for their attendance, referrals, and shares on social media with a point system. The highest reward is a free year of membership for 25,000 points and the lowest reward is $10 off any in-club purchase.

They also partnered with local businesses to offer other rewards like massages and tanning sessions. This is a strategy that I would encourage anybody to use when implementing a loyalty program.

Partnering with other businesses for rewards can reduce the cost out of your pocket for provisions.

Perkville does its own marketing very well with its detailed case studies, but take a look at other programs that offer the same services.

Loyalty Program Softwares

A loyalty program software should let your customers access their rewards account on all devices (especially mobile), encourage them to share about your business on social media, and integrate with any other software you use for client management.

Perkville

The majority of this company’s users are gyms and yoga studios. This company has extensive case studies to exemplify their success in creating loyalty programs for health and fitness clubs, so this is a great option for getting right to the point about what you want out of your loyalty program.

Perkville offers custom branding for all client-facing applications in order to streamline brand engagement with your business.

Pricing starts at $99 per month for each location you would like to use it. The $99 services up to 2,500 rewards members. If you are looking to service over 5,000 rewards members, then it will cost $199 for each location per month. Perkville does offer discounts for contracts spanning over two years.

Glue

Glue is an extremely responsive and automated software that consistently provides your members with coupons, incentives, and updates about their reward membership. The selling point is its automation in membership management. This software is easy to set up as you can fill out a questionnaire outlining the needs and goals of your business. Glue will custom brand all client-facing apps and interaction points and provide you with the reports you need to stay in the loop with how your customers are behaving.

Glue’s pricing starts out at 99 cents per member for up to 50 members on your rewards program. The price drops in two tiers to 69 cents for 121 to 500 members. Therefore, this software is a good option for smaller businesses.

HaloLoyalty

The fitness industry is one of the main focuses of this company, therefore what HaloLoyalty offers to fitness businesses is extensive. You can track and get a responsive report of all customer behavior and have rewards offers automatically generated to tailor to your rewards members. Data that is collected is updated instantaneously so that you know what is going on with your customers in real-time.

Pricing for this company’s services is not listed, however, they guarantee a response within 24 hours of your inquiry.

Fivestars

Fivestars wants to bring the power of million-dollar loyalty programs to local businesses. They know that not all businesses have the resources to create ultra-effective loyalty programs like the aforementioned Starbucks. Fivestars also provides the technology you need to sign members up at the point of sale.

This company connects local businesses through generating points at every location serviced. Therefore your customers can generate points to spend at your location at any other location affiliated with Fivestars.

Pricing for their services comes in two different plans: the Essential and the Pro. The essential plan lets you employ up to 8 autopilot campaigns and one promotion per month. The Pro lets you employ unlimited promotions and unlimited messaging.

Kangaroo

This business has a couple of unique features that can be beneficial for franchised gym locations. If you have locations around a region, Kangaroo will use geo-location tags to send offers to rewards members when they are near the location of your gym. You can personalize it to match your brand identity on all client-facing apps. Employ email, SMS, and push notifications.

The pricing for this company starts at $79 per month and goes up to $149. It does not require a contract so you can cancel at any time. Pricing is based on the featured offered rather than the number of rewards members.

Kickback Rewards Systems

KickBack offers clients the tools to build and manage their own loyalty programs while integrating with others. Users enrolled with kickBack rewards can earn points by shopping or visiting a multitude of different places. The selling point for this company is the ability for clients to integrate multiple rewards systems. Thus, the network that KickBack provides for members can be beneficial to client attraction to your fitness business.

This company provides custom pricing based on the needs of your business, but the website notes that they try to maintain affordability as much as possible.

In Summary

Lots of businesses exist in the market of getting your business set up with a loyalty program. This is just a little more evidence of the importance and effectiveness of loyalty programs in customer retention. say goodbye to gym hopping clients and hello to increased revenue.

If you have any feedback, then please leave a comment below. If you know someone with a gym who just might benefit from this information, then feel free to share. Check out the rest of our blog for more information tips and tricks in the fitness business.

Build multi-day programs in 30 minutes or less with FitSW!

Building multi-day programs can be a challenging and very time-consuming process. I would hope that your method for planning out lengthy programs is not on paper. However, if it is, then let me introduce you to a whole new world. If you use Excel for creating multi-day programs online, then just say, “Sayonara!” Here’s how you declutter those hundreds of files piling up on your computer.

Building Blocks for your Multi-Day Programs

Instead of creating spreadsheets and calendars for specific programs, you can create and save all of your workouts, nutrition plans, and tasks right in the FitSW app. These are the building blocks for your programs and they will always be there for you to use. 

Not only can you apply nutrition and workout plans to the program, but you can also employ a bit of habit coaching. Habit coaching is an important part of these programs because maintaining good habits and mindfulness is half the battle of getting fit. 

Add reminders to take some time to wind down after a day at work with a book or some meditation. Whatever the habits may be, the feature is there for you to employ. Tasks are also a saveable building block for programs, so make them once and use them again countless times.

Say goodbye to that all those documents and spreadsheets that have pertinent information in different formats. Everything you create in FitSW is reusable and editable. This lets you spend significantly less time starting from scratch for every single thing you create. 

Let’s say you have a workout that you specifically built for a client to focus on chest and back training. Then, you onboard a new client that has specified that they want to focus on their back. This person had a previous injury that has weakened their back strength. The workout that you spent some time building for the first client just so happened to have an array of exercises that train for back strength.

In the FitSW app, you can copy and paste that workout to the new client and then tweak the exercises as necessary to adhere to what the new client needs. This takes out all of the steps from starting completely from scratch. You can do this for anything you build and however many times you need to. 

You can tweak workouts and nutrition plans as necessary before starting the program build or you can do it during. 

Personally, I like to have all my ducks in a row before starting. But, you never know what might need to change while building out the program.

Regardless, its completely up to you to choose the workflow that works best for you!

The importance of making the virtual shift to FitSW lies in the automation. Thus, cutting out the time it takes to search and gather information from different files or documents. The best part is that you can make these programs as detailed as an itinerary for a family cruise! After the first creation, you essentially have a completely formatted template for later use. All you have to do is pull out and plug in the little details that need changing later on.

Assigning these programs after they are built just might be the easiest part. New clients? No problem. Send your clients the information they need to set them on track for success as soon as possible.

Check out our help center article for more detailed information on how to build a multi-day program.

15 Powerful and Fun Gym Marketing Ideas to Boost Client Signups

Let’s face it. Gyms are available on every corner and everywhere you turn, so what will make you stand out? Gym marketing is the most important aspect of running a successful gym. Focus first on what your unique selling proposition is and then funnel that into the following marketing ideas.

What is a unique selling proposition?

A unique selling proposition is what makes your gym different from the dozens of other gyms around you. Your selling point to customers has to be unique to what your gym has to offer. This is where your fitness culture and your brand experience come into play.

This could be something like having an in-house masseuse or letting members bring two friends to the gym twice a week and one friend for the rest. Anything that makes you stand out, advertise it and use it in your gym marketing campaigns.

Google My Business

The first and foremost marketing move you need to make is making your business discoverable on Google. Not only will this drive customers to your business organically, but it will also give you helpful statistics on what is attracting people to your gym.

Creating a business page is easy, but it is important to note the little things that will improve your SEO. Google algorithms rank businesses based on the volume of engagements with the information listed on the page. When filling out the information on your company, make sure to include keywords that people would search to find your gym.

It is important to maintain this page weekly, especially if your customers frequent your physical address, like at a gym. Upload photos consistently, even post your promotional flyers there for the public to see. When people see promotions, they are more inclined to consider your gym and get more information just by looking at your free Google My Business page!

People can also leave reviews and ask questions about your gym, so this is an important marketing aspect to focus on. Engage with prospective clients on this page as well to let them know that you are listening. People very often make their decisions based on reviews, so gathering positive reviews on this page improves your ranking and people deciding to join your gym.

Promotions for Leaving Positive Reviews

Reviews are liquid gold for a business, especially a gym. 90% of customers do not make a purchase without reading some reviews first. Gym goers take a decent amount of consideration in where they decide to purchase a membership. Nobody wants to sign a contract without feeling safe to do so.

Therefore, get your clients to leave reviews as much as possible! Providing an incentive for this can boost the number of reviews you collect on Google My Business. You can share this promotion through email marketing and posting it to social media.

Coschedule has an extensive blog on how to approach asking for customer reviews and great examples of companies that have employed these methods. Check it out and start thinking about what kind of incentives your gym can offer for leaving reviews.

Seasonal Gym Marketing

Let the weather help you do business! Seasonal marketing is always a great option for any business. Holidays and seasonal changes give you the perfect ground for getting creative with your promotions. Charitable events are great to host around any holiday as well as Black Friday sales on membership costs.

For example, a promotion for Valentine’s Day, revenue from the new membership signups in February will be donated to a local women’s shelter to share a little love.

Holiday sales around New Years are the most profitable for gyms.

It is important to keep an eye on competition during these times to see what they are offering and match it or top it, if possible. Successful seasonal marketing is based on creativity and using your unique selling proposition as much as possible. As expected every year, gyms will have New Years sales for people wanting to pursue their new year goals. these sales are effective, but they have to be creative to be competitive.

Partner with Local Businesses

Staying local is a really huge factor in people’s purchasing decisions. For every $100 spent at a local business, $68 of that stays in the local economy. Not only is it helpful for you in growing attraction to your gym, but it is helpful for your local economy to encourage your customers to spend more money locally.

Strategically designing partnerships can be a bit complicated depending on who you are partnering with and how each party will benefit. Here are five different basic business points to follow when forming a partnership agreement:

  1. Outline the details of the companies involved.
  2. Detail what each company will be contributing to the partnership and its duration.
  3. Make sure it is understood how each company will benefit in terms of splitting the profit and community engagement.
  4. Form a budget for the campaign and how the costs will be split between the partnership
  5. Make sure all parties have signed an agreement contract to ensure that all the details are understood and agreed upon.

Host Fitness Challenges for the Community

As a gym, your target audience is all about the locals. The specifics of your audience demographics depend on what your gym has to offer. A great way to get some local recognition is to host community-wide challenges that involve people of all types.

Facebook is an extremely powerful tool for marketing these challenges. Facebook events will get you in touch with absolutely anyone in your area. Listing an event on Facebook does not have to mean that there will be a physical meetup. You can create a page for the community-wide challenge and have the event signify the beginning of the challenge and draw people’s attention to the page.

When creating a community-wide challenge it is important to have a clear mission that is not just a thin veil over a marketing tactic. You want this to be meaningful and contribute something valuable to your community.

Host Giveaways for Social Media Followers

Hosting giveaways on social media is effective gym marketing for three reasons:

  1. They require that customers are actively engaged with your social media accounts, and you generate more followers.
  2. Contests can be as cost-effective as you would like. They can even be free if you partner with a business that will provide the prize!
  3. Conversion rates for giveaways are around 34% which is outstanding for your business.

Everybody loves a good giveaway. Coming up with giveaways can also be really exciting and easy. Thinking from the client’s perspective, what would they want from their gym. Giveaways are extremely versatile in how they generate revenue. Giveaways can be completely free. At the bare minimum, they just require engagement and sharing about your gym for a random winner or they can be monetized.

For example, you can host a giveaway where people have to purchase from your online store (because you should have some awesome branded merchandise for sale) and each dollar they spend is an entry for the grand prize.

Create a Loyalty System for Members

Rewards systems are tried and true and can be a powerhouse for client retention. Use this marketing strategy to give your clients a feeling of investment in going to your gym. If you think from a client’s perspective, wouldn’t you want to go to a gym that will reward you for coming in. Some days, going to the gym can be hard enough, but it could make a huge difference if I’m one visit away from getting a free cupping session.

If some extra reinforcement is needed for why you should employ this strategy, then digest these monster statistics (from Forbes):

  • 71% of consumers say loyalty programs are a meaningful part of their brand relationships. (Bond)

The Classic Referral Campaign

Without a doubt, your loyal customers have some friends that they have been hounding to get in the gym. I’m sure their pitch to their friends will be much more persuasive if there is a reward involved with the signup. The sense of impulse and a good deal is a driving factor for sales and what makes referrals so effective. That, and the fact that people trust the opinion of their friends and family so much more than the ad you have running.

Referrals are particularly effective in gym marketing with quick, shareable links that your clients can send to their friends and family to sign up. You can employ this via email, mobile apps, SMS messaging, social media posts, and more. Even include a designated modal on your webpage for this referral program.

Make sure that your clients are well aware and that the reward is something that will be valuable enough to encourage people to be advocates for your brand. It is also important to have an effective gym culture that will make people want to share about their experience at your gym.

SMS Marketing

Gym managers are, without a doubt, very busy people. Saving time with marketing and communicating consistently with clients is imperative, so SMS messaging is a simple, easy way to manage communicating promotions and updates about the gym. SMS marketing has a 98% open rate, which is…. awesome for marketing.

People are always on their phones and they appreciate a personalized touch to marketing. Personalized marketing is especially effective. 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a membership if the marketing they come in contact with is personalized (source).

This means it is imperative to use client feedback and tailor promotions to what they want from your gym experience. You can use tools like EZTexting to employ this form of marketing

Client Content Marketing

We all have seen the gym-goers who stand in front of the mirror vigilantly trying to take their best post-pump picture in the wall of mirrors. You have also probably seen those people who bring their buddies to the gym to have them take videos for social media of them powering through those reps. This is free content marketing that they are doing for you!

Take advantage of that and create some geotagged filters for them to add to their Snapchats or geotag stickers for them to add to their Instagram story. These are extremely cheap to develop, if not free. This is another method of branding the experience your members have at the gym. Let them know that they can tag their location in their posts by advertising your filters around the gym.

Use geofilters for gym marketing.
Create filters using tools like Canva!

Your clients have a special degree of power when it comes to advertising your business. Running campaigns that encourage your clients to post about your gym can show massive results in membership signups. 90% of people trust recommendations from their friends and family, so your current clients are the most credible marketing resource.

Offer Two-week Trial Pass for New Members

Many gyms offer seven-day free trials, but people’s lives are completely unpredictable. Offering a two-week trial pass gives customers a little more time to get feel for your gym and actually have more opportunities for exercising there.

This method is more effective than offering discounted initial rates because people will still be dissatisfied with the full price later if their only motive to sign up was a lower rate for the first month or two.

It would be unfortunate and ineffective to have clients that only come into the gym once or twice within the 7-day trial and not actually get a chance to form a good idea of what your gym offers. Gym marketing relies on the effectiveness of the campaigns you employ, so give them time to take effect with your clients.

Create Membership Packages

Often, people are looking for more than just basic admission to the gym. There are features to gyms that make them more marketable like having saunas, pools, daycares, courts for different sports, a rental system for equipment, etc. These are all qualities of a gym that enlighten their unique selling point.

These are all also packageable items that you can use to tailor to your customer’s wants. Creating levels of access to these different features can make purchasing memberships more manageable and desirable for customers. This can even help customers to slowly move up in subscription tiers once they completely understand the value of the subscriptions.

Packaging classes and personal training sessions help to sell more sessions for your trainers as well. This is common already for personal training, but I want to elaborate on how important it is. When you can package goods and services to make them more affordable and valuable, you will make more sales. Selling points are all about impulse decisions in response to value.

Offer a free initial 1-on-1 session

People refuse to come to the gym out of fear of getting judged. We all know this. So how do you overcome that? Let them get a taste of your gym culture. Just like when you start a new job, it takes a little bit of understanding and getting used to in order to grow comfortable with the environment.

Gym marketing to make customers comfortable and welcome at your gym.
Use this form of gym marketing to get your customers familiar with the environment so they feel comfortable and welcome.

Offer 1-on-1 sessions for free for clients so that they can develop that sense of comfort with your gym right off the bat. This not only will improve your rate of signups, but it can also improve the rate at which people purchase personal training sessions.

These sessions can be actual training sessions or just tours of the gym so that customers can become more familiar with the equipment. This is an important moment where those sales conversations will come into play. Therefore, keep your staff up to date and well advised on how to lead these conversations to a positive conclusion for your gym.

Lazy Sunday Live Classes

Sundays aer the days that people will least want to go to the gym because of a few different factors. These days are usually recovery days from a fun night out, people run their errands, they do their cleaning, they go to church, and so on. Whatver the case may be, Sunday will probably be the day with the least amount of engagement.

Bring the gym to their living rooms. For paying members, you can offer free or decently priced Sunday classes that are live-streamed. You can do this through our app, FitSW where you can host up to a whopping 200 clients in your live class.

This is also an important selling point for people who are busy but want to have access to a fitness guide. For the days that your gym sees lulls in activity, let live classes be the answer. Reaching people anywhere at any time is extremely powerful in creating consistent customer engagement.

Blogging

These days, to get any recognition on the internet, you have to have content and a lot of it. Strategically planning your content around keywords and phrases that people use to search for gyms in your area is vital to getting recognition.

Blogging is helpful for many reasons, but the two most important are for SEO and giving your clients valuable information that makes your brand more valuable. Search Engine Optimization is a tricky fellow who changes all the time, but writing content that is relevant to the services your gym offers will help people find your gym much more organically.

Blogging is free.

Organic clicks to your site and social media are a lot cheaper than spending a ton on advertising and other means of gym marketing. All it takes is getting a little creative and listening to want your clients need more information on.

In Summary

Get creative! There is no way to express this enough. All of these ideas need to be built around what makes your gym unique. Take them and run with them… maybe not on a treadmill because they will go nowhere. *Buh Dun Tsss* Really though, use these forms of marketing to be consistent with your presence and never leave your customer’s guessing what your purpose or mission is.

If you use any of these ideas, please give us some feedback. We love to hear about your success and growth. You can leave a comment below or reach out to us at support@fitsww.com. Check out the rest of our blog for more tips and tricks. Consider these blogs our treats to you guys this Halloween!

Growing a Fitness Community in FitSW

Community is defined as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Where we come from and who we surround ourselves with affects our success in a tremendous way. Therefore, building a community around your fitness business is the best way to ensure your client’s success and your own success.

Automating and integrating every tool you might need when managing your clients is part of what we do to help your business grow. Blogging, live classes, creating custom packages and subscription plans are the tools that can help you cultivate a good connection with clients. Each one of these features contributes to the larger community that we are a part of at FitSW

We are proud of our team of gyms, studios, and trainers all working together to make a lasting difference in the lives of their clients. Now, more than ever, the world is turning its focus on health and fitness and we want our team to be on the frontlines. 

Blogging for Your Fitness Community

This growing community has a vast wealth of knowledge that can be shared with the world which is why we wanted to provide you with the blogging tool. You can share your knowledge with just your clients or anyone on the internet. 

As with everything in life, communication is the most important part of the relationships we create, and blogging is a great way to do that with clients. Discourse and seeds of thought are what push us forward as a community and can be a real source of inspiration for one another. Not only is it helpful to your clients, but it gives your clients a reason to discuss and connect with each other.

If your clients are having a hard time keeping up in the live classes, then turn to your blog and share some insight. Personal training is not complete without a little bit of life coaching. This is the importance of integrating all of these tools. You can essentially make an interconnected community of resources out of your business. In turn, this adds to the larger community that is FitSW. 

Live Classes for Your Fitness Community

There are so many ways that live classes can cultivate a sense of culture and community in your business. Right now, we have trainers completely running their business online and doing better than they ever have before. 

We are no longer bound by the physical. You have the chance to reach more lives than ever and make a deeper impact on the ones you have been working with already. More than that, this gives your clients the opportunity to motivate and inspire each other.

In these strange times, we want you all to take the lead in our live class fitness community. Keep your clients engaged from afar! Have fun with it and create good experiences out of these classes by hosting competitions or letting everyone get to know each other by hosting a group meeting in this feature. There are so many different ways that you can utilize features like this one to meet your needs.

Personal training made more personal

Customizing and selling subscriptions and packages to your services is a great way to stimulate engagement and investment in your business. Communities are developed around shared interests and values, so creating these custom packages and subscriptions allows you as the trainer to orchestrate the shared values of the community you create in FitSW.

This also gives clients the opportunity to connect and share with each other. Working out is often easier if you have a little support from your friends and family. Customize packages and subscriptions that clients would want their peers to join them on. You can do this by getting a little feedback from your clients and maybe offering a promotion for bringing their friends in. This helps them stay motivated and you grow your community.

In Summary

There are many different features that contribute to growing a fitness community around your business. All of these features can be used in unique ways so that you can find the workflow that is most effective for you. Just get creative and get a little personal with the people you work with and you will see your business flourish using FitSW.

The Android app is now available in Portuguese and Italian!

We are very excited to announce that our Android app is now available in Italian and Portuguese! Our Android developer has been working tirelessly to make this app available for you all in these languages!

Wherever you are and whomever you reach, FitSW will be right there with you.

Nothing in the app will be different. If your phone is set to either one of these languages, then the app will automatically detect it and display the language as so.

Download the app from the Google Play Store here!

If you would like us to make the app available in another language, please feel free to reach out! Also if you have any trouble with the app displaying Italian or Portuguese, then please reach out to us at support@fitsw.com! Your feedback is important, so please don’t hesitate to contact us!

How To Cultivate an Effective Fitness Culture at Your Gym

Fitness culture is the most important aspect of client attraction and retention, especially for boutique gyms. Going to the gym initially just might be the most difficult part for people when it comes to getting started on your fitness journey. This is why big box gyms make so much money. They make coming to the gym affordable with the promise of lots of options for equipment to use. Then they get people signed up for contracts they rarely follow through with.

But… why aren’t these people following through with their contracts? Why do they stop showing up? The fitness culture at these big box gyms makes the average joe a bit intimidated and feel unwelcome. However, smaller gyms, regardless of the specification, have the ability to market their fitness culture.

What is an effective fitness culture?

Keeping people engaged in your gym requires that you have an effective fitness culture. People avoid gyms out of fear of feeling judged for everything they do. An effective culture is one where people come to the gym and feel like they can be free of any judgment. Reducing this stigma in your gym allows you to gain more clients.

For clients that you already have, an effective fitness culture means they get good support in reaching their fitness goals. This means your staff exudes the values of your business. They do this by working alongside clients to motivate them, provide them with helpful resources, and guide them. Your culture will revolve around your business values and your mission as a gym owner.

Cultivating your culture revolves around this question: Why did you open your gym in the first place?

What kind of gym do you have?

Effective gym culture is also different for every type of gym! As with anything in business, you have to know your audience. Know who your gym attracts and what types of people your current clients are. Catering to your clients really is the essence of a good fitness culture at your gym.

How you brand your business should coordinate with what your gym culture is like. If you have a CrossFit gym with most of your clients in law enforcement, then your gym culture will be more intense. These clients will probably have a stronger sense of toughness and determination. You might hear some expletives or grunts and groans from the intensity of their workouts. You also just might be a little tougher on your clients.

Go a little deeper than that and understand what your clients value. In the case of having clients in law enforcement, they probably value a sense of camaraderie and pride. These are values you should reflect in your fitness culture if you run a gym of this nature.

What elements play into fitness culture?

There are so many elements that play into having an effective gym culture from the paint on your gym walls to the interactions you have with clients. The process of evaluating and implementing these aspects into your gym culture is pretty much the same as branding your gym. Your gym’s fitness culture should be synonymous with the brand experience you offer as a gym.

Your staff plays a huge role in cultivating an effective fitness culture at your gym. Have you ever watched Broad City? Well, it’s hilarious and it gives us a great facetious example of the type of trainers not to hire.

Don’t hire Abbi if you want your clients to come back for another kettlebell class! Make sure you train your staff well so they can adapt well to different situations. You want your staff to be motivational and supportive of the clients. They play an important role in customer service and making people feel like they can comfortably exercise at your gym. Also, fewer accidents are bound to happen if your staff is aware and responsive to clients while they workout.

The way your gym is designed also contributes to cultivating an effective culture. Depending on the type of gym you have, you want to have equipment that clients will appreciate. The actual paint and design on your walls can affect the culture of your gym in a huge way. If your gym looks like a notable place to be, then it will be much more memorable. Compare this to the difference in working in an office like the one on the left to the one on the right.

Work seems a lot less dreaful if you’re in an exciting office instead of filing into a cubicle to pump out paperwork all day.. The same applies to a gym! People will be more willing to pump out those reps in a place that feels welcoming and exciting.

Let’s go back to the CrossFit gym example. This gym could host a bi-annual fundraiser event for local Veterans or team up with Wounded Warrior. Hosting regular events for your members can be a great way to cultivate an effective fitness culture. Get your community involved in these types events and share the motivation for getting fit!

The people who populate your gym will also have an effect on the culture. If you’re a smaller gym and you can directly control membership, then keep an eye on how your gym members are treating each other.

Marketing your fitness culture

These days, experiences are easy to share because of the multitude of platforms that you can post content on. Marketing your fitness culture is essentially just marketing your brand experience. Offer an experience that is completely unique to your gym.

Marketing this is experience can be a lot of fun and pretty easy! You can use content marketing to share about daily experiences in the gym. Writing blogs about best practices that work for you in your gym is a great way to advertise your fitness culture. Share videos on social media of clients, staff, or yourself exercising in your gym.

Create shareable material that exemplifies what sets your gym apart from others. For members of your gym, give them exclusive gear to let them know that you value their membership and commitment to your gym. It’s the little things that build respect from your clients. Once your clients have an investment in your gym, then they can be the next line of marketing. Referrals are invaluable!

I cannot stress enough how important responsiveness is to clients. Responsiveness on your site or social media platforms is attractive to customers. Taking feedback and answering questions adds to the culture of your gym. Customer service is just as important online as it is in person.

In Summary

Uniqe gym experiences are what segment the competition for gyms. An effective culture is one that is tailored to the clients you want to cater to and the ones you already have. Get feedback from your clients and staff to get a better idea of how you can evolve the current culture at your gym into a more effective one!

If you liked this article, then check out the rest of our blog! Feel free to leave comments below!

Opening a Studio Gym: The Basics to Build On

Opening a studio gym is absolutely not an easy task. To help you get your facts straight, here is a guide on the basics of opening a gym. This article will give you a good starting point on what licenses and certifications your gym and employees will need. Government websites can be pretty unfriendly for navigating. Therefore, you will also find resources to help you locate more information on the regionally specific rules and jargon.

What business structure suits you?

There are 5 business structures that people will use when opening up a business, but there are only three that are beneficial to small business owners.

Used from blog by MBO Partners on choosing the right legal structure for your business.

Sole proprietorship

This business structure is the most common for small businesses or individuals with a business. There are no necessary regulations, licenses, or titles that come with this structure. For example, individual personal trainers are the sole proprietors of their business. Their business is not separate from their personal assets. To achieve a level of status as the sole proprietor of your business, it simply comes from the business’s activities. This is the easiest to establish and has some perks.

  1. Filing taxes for this business is as simple as doing your own personal taxes. Therefore, there are no separate forms you need to worry about
  2. You have sole control over your business and all the decision making is up to you. However, on the flip side, you are completely responsible for all of the liabilities that come with owning a business.

Partnership

Partnerships come in two types for owning and running a business with counterparts. You can choose between Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships. Each of these types is not subject to being taxed, similar to that of a sole proprietorship. Each person in the partnership will be taxed on their income as usual.

Limited Partnerships – General partners have the most authority in limited partnerships and take on all of the liability of the business. The limited partners, however, have less control over the company, but their investment in the company is protected and usually outlined in a partner agreement.

Limited Liability Partnerships – This is a good option if you want to open a business with fellow fitness fanatics and want to have equal ownership of the business and limited liability for all owners. In this case, there is not a general owner but a team of owners.

Limited Liability Corporation

LLCs are a mix of the corporate business structure and the Limited Partnership structure. States regulate LLCs more than Limited Partnerships. LLC members have limited liability and protection of their personal assets like homes and vehicles. Members have to pay taxes as if they are self-employed, not taxes on the revenue of the company. This is the most commonly chosen business structure for studio gyms and other fitness centers.

Once you have an idea of what kind of structure will be best for your business, then start looking into the legalities of owning and running a gym in your state. There are not any federal guidelines for studio gyms or anything of the like, but state regulations vary tremendously and some states may require specific licensing.

IHRSA is a powerful resource when opening a studio gym.
Use this resource to stay on top of the leading trends when opening a studio gym.

IHRSA is a great resource for staying up to date on legislation that affects gyms and health clubs in your area. I recommend becoming a member of this organization before opening a studio gym in order to get the best information on what you will need to be competitive in the industry.

Check your state regulations

First, you must identify what your state recognizes studio gyms as. For example, here in Colorado, all gyms, studios, or health centers are considered “health clubs” and are defined like so: “an establishment which provides health club services or facilities which purport to improve or maintain the user’s physical condition or appearance through exercise . . . the term may include but is not limited to a spa, exercise club, exercise gym, health studio, or playing courts”

Defining your business according to the state helps you to understand what laws and regulations may apply. As an example, there might be more specific safety and emergency regulations required for gyms in California than there are for gyms in Virginia. Also, be sure to check on the local requirements for occupying a business space. You may need to attain a Certificate of Occupancy. There could be other zoning regulations that apply to health clubs.

FindLaw is a website built for legal professionals, but it is quite helpful in finding laws applicable to your needs. Use this tool when noting the regulations your state employs.

A very common regulation among almost all states is that of deceptive trade practices. Everybody knows the common practice of people signing up for a gym membership, they go once or twice then never return. Yet, they signed a contract and must continue paying on it. If still able to use the membership, the person doesn’t have much control over nulling the contract. However, the regulations in place protect people who lose their ability to use their gym membership.

See this example of Colorado’s statute on deceptive trade practices.

Licenses and where to find more info

First, you’re going to need a state business license. Having a business license is important for establishing credibility for your business. It shows that you are well running and trustworthy for the services you provide. You also receive other benefits on taxes and liability protection.

You are probably not going to use your name as the name of your gym, so you will need to register with a DBA (Doing Business As..). On your state government website, there should be a page where you can register your business name with the Secretary of State. It is also important to register your business name with your municipal government too.

The only filing you need to do with the federal government for your new gym is for an Employer Identification Number. You will need this if you hire employees. If you run the whole gym by yourself or with your spouse, then you can skip that! Unless you hire your spouse…?

As for the state level, you will need to check in with your state to find out if you need a state tax ID.

There is no need for a specific license for an LLC, but studio gyms will need an occupational license. Once again, look for the term “health club” to locate laws and licenses specific to studio gyms. Fundera is a great resource for finding out where you need to go for licensing by state.

Certifications for your employees

When first opening a studio gym, paying employees to become certified personal trainers can be costly. Hire trainers that already have their certifications and are well established. This will make life a lot easier on you.

Tip: Hire employees long before the gym is ready to open. This seems like common sense, but amid all the stress of opening a business, time flies. You want your gym to start operating as soon as possible so you can start generating some revenue.

Your employees should have one or many certifications from the following organizations:

  • American Council on Exercise Certification (ACE) – This certification has the most recognition nationwide and is a popular requirement for trainers looking to work in a gym.
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) – This is the oldest organization providing fitness certifications. The organization requires trainers to have an ongoing education in sports medicine through their certification.
  • International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA) – This organization offers a variety of certifications that are helpful to have when working in a studio gym.
  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) – Offers a wide range of certifications that equip trainers for working as an individual and in the gym.
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) – Widely recognized and offers trainers a 90-day guarantee for landing a job after becoming certified.
  • National Exercise and Sports Training Association (NESTA) – Offers more specialized certifications like in mixed martial arts and nutrition for adults and children.
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) – Those who have this certification outshine the competition. Getting certified through this organization is significantly more difficult than most.

Make managing the trainers you hire an easy task using FitSW with a studio gym membership. Think of it as creating a family tree with all your trainers and all their clients!

Stay tuned for more articles about opening a studio gym on our blog!

How to Use Referral Marketing to Get Ahead of Your Competition

By Arlen Robinson

Do you want to know why referral marketing is effective in driving traffic and sales even to a brand new website?

Referral marketing is useful because it leverages personal networks. These networks include an individual’s family members and friends. It works in driving traffic and sales because of the existing trust that exists between them. They already know and like each other. So they naturally act upon the recommendations of the people that they know.

Think about it. Would you instead look for someone you can hire, or will you hire someone who has worked with someone you know? I am sure that you will prefer the latter.  

So whether you like to know how to promote a Shopify store or you like to get more buyers for a product that you have just released, referral marketing is your best bet. 

Look at the following statistics.

  • Consumers are 4x more likely to purchase something that is recommended by a friend.
  • Over 70% of consumers will purchase something if their family or friend recommends it.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing is the reason behind 20 to 50% of purchasing decisions.
  • Referrals have an average lifetime value that is 16% higher than those who are not referred.
  • They also have a higher retention rate of more than 30%

So what does this mean for you and your business?

Well, it means more customers for a lower ad spend. It also means getting more responsive customers who will not only try your products but buy from you again and again. 

Trust is powerful. Business owners try to win it by creating content that proves their expertise. But instead of starting from scratch. You can always leverage the existing relationships of other people. This is the fastest way to promote a brand new business. A brand called Drum Set Lab did this, and they succeeded in getting more sales because the customers they got are already interested in their products. Referral marketing is excellent because it helps you find the best customers for your business. Customers would often advertise your products and services to the people who need it the most. 

How to Use Referral Marketing in Your Business

Now that you have seen the value of referral marketing, you may want to know how to implement it in your business. Here are some steps that you can follow to do that. 

Understand What Motivates People to Share Products and Services

Word-of-mouth marketing doesn’t just happen. It happens because you have motivated your customers that it is worth the share. You have to make them think that your products or services are so great that they must share it with other people.

One of the main reasons why people share a brand is a product. You need to ensure that you have a fantastic product, and other people will commend you when they use it. If you have this, the testimonials will naturally come in, and social proof can encourage others to start sharing your products and services.

Another way to encourage shares is to offer a reward. You can do this if you have an affiliate or referral program. This is a great way to get your business off to a good start. This is a strategy that Hunting Bow Lab used, and it helped get their business off the ground. 

Start an Affiliate or Referral Program

Now that you know how effective referral marketing can be for your business, you’ll now want to start an affiliate program or referral program. Fortunately, you can do this easily with software. There is referral software that you can use to create referral programs with a click of a button. You need to decide on the reward and the mechanics, and you are ready to go. 

Make it Easy

If you want more people to share your referral program, you have to make it easy. More than having a contact form where users can input the email addresses or contact information of their family and friends, you should also have an option for easy social media sharing. By doing this, you make it easy for referrers to join your program and recommend your brand to their family and friends. 

Make Your Referrers a Part of Your Team

Your referrers help you promote your business. With your referrers, you can get more traffic and sales to your business without doing anything. They will be doing the advertising for you. But that doesn’t mean that you should sit back and relax. You also need to do your part to nurture your referrers. Be sure to reward your most loyal referrers and give them access to premium referral incentives. Even better, invite them to an offline event to get to know them better.

Leverage Influencers

You can have a better performing referral system if you include influencer marketing into your strategy. Influencers are great for product recommendations because their followers listen to them. You can leverage this by creating an exclusive referral program for an influencer. To do this, you need to set up a page with their brand and contact them about your proposal. Since it is exclusive, they are far more likely to say yes. 

Turn it Into a Contest

If you want more people to start sharing your referral program with others, you have to give more than rewards. You also have to provide them with some extra prizes. You can do this by implementing a referral or affiliate contest. In this system, you commend your best affiliates and referrers. 
As you can see, you don’t need complicated affiliate marketing tools or an intricate referral marketing strategy to make this method work for you. Referral marketing can help you stand out from the competition because it leverages personal in-person networks. The circle of trust facilitates all promotions and transactions, and this system makes it very useful in driving traffic and sales. So if you ever want to promote your e-commerce site or another business website, this may be the best way to do it.

Arlen Robinson is the co-founder and VP of Business Development at OSI Affiliate Software
He is also the host of The Ecommerce Marketing Podcast where he discusses marketing strategies with experts from all over the world.

Virtual Personal Trainer of the Month: Chris McKenzie

There is nothing more gratifying for us at FitSW than hearing from our awesome team of trainers. As we grow, we want to continue hearing from you guys about your fitness journeys and why you choose to guide others on their own. We are in this business to provide trainers with the tools to help grow their businesses and touch countless lives. Our trainer of the month is someone who made the most out of life challenges and out of COVID-19 challenges by switching completely to virtual training. So, without further ado, here is Chris McKenzie, owner of Make A Step Fitness.

Virtual training has kept Chris ahead of the game and helped him to grow his reach.
Chris has a unique empathy for all clients because of his own fitness journey losing 130 pounds.

Chris wanted to go to the park with his kids. He wanted to swing with his daughter. He wanted to run for longer than a few minutes without feeling detrimental pain and shortness of breath. He wanted to be able to sit on an airplane. He wanted to sit comfortably in his desk chair at work. He wanted to find happiness and comfort with himself.

He wanted to watch his kids grow up and never fear of leaving them too soon.

The turning point for him was the loss of his mother to cancer and other health reasons. As an ode to her, he then aimed his sights on his own health for himself and his family. He figured that what he needed to do is make the first step and never look back. Little by little, Chris stuck with his commitment to a happier, healthier life and bit through the struggles of getting into shape. 130 pounds lost later, he is helping others attain their goals by leading them through their first step and beyond.

As we all know, it’s extremely difficult to be motivated when the hump to get started is so tall and daunting. Yet, that’s what fuels Chris’ whole mantra. Make the first step. A gratifying moment for him was swinging with his daughter for the first time after not being able to fit in a swing since his youth.

Chris’ goal is to help others have these gratifying moments by keeping them motivated to accomplish their fitness goals. His clients’ testimonials give a resounding five stars for the enthusiasm and motivational energy they need to reach their goals. Since 2013, Chris has been offering his personal training services. And best of all, he now reaches clients all over the united states!

Chris has used FitSW for the last three years to help manage his in-person clients and now manage his virtual clients!

Because of COVID-19, Chris has taken all the steps necessary to innovate his business by switching completely to online personal training. Chris hosts a number of virtual training sessions every day. He has kept his business as strong as his clients by providing virtual training through FitSW live classes and other video conferencing tools. He says that business has been better than ever and significantly more rewarding.

Now, he is able to reach people of all types anywhere. Chris even has a client in Alaska! Just for reference, Chris is located out of Atlanta, GA. More recently, he was able to take on a client who is hearing impaired. The accessibility features in virtual sessions allow him to reach a much wider scope of people and he is setting his sights on reaching many more.

Find him on his social media and check out the rest of his webpage for more info on him and his client testimonials. If you liked this article, then please leave a comment below and feel free to submit your nominations for the next trainer of the month. Read more about FitSW and personal training tips in our blog here.

Verbal Cues to Use and Spot When Selling Sessions

We spoke a little bit about verbal cues in objections in the last blog about how to sell more personal training sessions, but its important to better understand the more nuanced, indirect verbal cues that you might receive from clients. Reading nonverbal cues is a good segway into figuring out how to read vocal cues in context with the client’s actions. Both verbal and nonverbal cues work together to affirm the message that the other is sending. It’s also important to know the cues you can and should embellish in your pitch to sell more personal training sessions.

Once again, lets lay out our ground rules for giving your pitch:

  1. Exude confidence, not ego
  2. Ask the right questions
  3. Pick your battles wisely and do not waste your own time

Cues Trainers Should Use

Personal training can put clients in intense situations where they need to have some level of comfort with you. Connecting with potential clients on a personal level right off the bat will help to alleviate the possible awkward situations that can arise in training sessions, especially if the client needs help in boosting their confidence. It is your job to remain completely professional to avoid awkward circumstances. Starting out the initial conversation with the client by being very personable and relaxed can cue a sense of trust in you.

Asking open-ended questions is an important method for cuing the client to provide you with more information to adapt your pitch to them. When you take the nonverbal cues into consideration, it allows you to adapt and respond with verbal cues that can move your conversation with the potential client in a positive direction.

Speed and Tone

The speed and tone in which you deliver your pitch are important to how the client will take the information that you are giving them. This goes back to rule #1 – exude confidence. Confidence is very much expressed in the way we speak to people, so make sure you’re speaking with a calm and collected voice. Clients will sense nerves like a shark in bloody water, so don’t give them any reason to run because you have a little shake in your voice. I’m sure you’re awesome at what you do and you know that too! Client testimonials can and should be your own source of confidence, so when you’re feeling those nerves before meeting with a new prospective client, just look at what you have accomplished thus far.

Inflection

We are 10x more sensitive to the things we hear than we are to the things we visualize. According to a study done by the University of Chicago, the average human ear can distinguish 1,378 noticeable differences in tone. This gives you an awesome amount of power to guide the client’s feelings based on the way you inflect your words.

An example of inflection as a vocal cue
This is the power of inflection in a simple sentence.

For example, if you highlight the fact that your gym just acquired a new piece of really versatile equipment, then you want to reflect that in your voice by using upward inflection to sound excited about it. The client will unknowingly spend the whole time feeding off of the energy you put into the words you say. Therefore, the inflection you use in your voice when you build value should be exciting and build their confidence in you.

However, use downward inflection when you are ready to solidify your confidence in the information and start moving toward closing the sale. Downward inflection is typically used at the end of a sentence. Start out with an upwards inflection to grab attention and then come back down to a lower tone to send home the information you have just given. This better allows you to move from one topic to another, like explaining a client’s training journey with you and then asking the client what results they would like to see out of personal training.

Practice using these inflections by reading this article out loud!

Smiling when speaking

Smiling has a very interesting effect on the way we speak. According to a study done by the University of Portsmouth, there are around 50 different types of smiles that people express during the conversation. Now, this falls under a nonverbal cue, but it also pertains to the way we inflect words through our physical vocalizing of emotion.

A study was conducted to test the acoustic effect on the voices of people who are smiling, not smiling, or frowning. The results proved that the way we express our emotions physically in our facial expressions directly affects the way we vocalize our emotions.

“This suggests that people wishing to convey a positive, approachable, auditory impression, should smile while speaking.”

Happy talk: Perceptual and acoustic effects of smiling on speech by V. C. Tartter from Rutgers University

So, to hammer it in, smiling is extremely important!

Cues Clients Will Use

Now let’s talk about the client’s side of vocal cues. It is very simple to pick up on the signs to close when you better understand the cues you need to use yourself, as the person giving the sales pitch. As with everything, these cues fall on a spectrum of conveying emotions.

The question to ask when measuring this is this: Is the client mirroring my cues? If not, why?

Inflection

Clients will use level inflection to indicate boredom or disinterest, so be aware of the way the person is responding to your questions and the information you give. A reaction like this might be a result of your lack of inflection in the pitch, but most often, it is a sign of dissonance and should be a signal to start closing. When this happens, you either did not build up the value enough or the person just was not interested in the first place.

Speed and Tone

Their tone and rate of speech can be indicative of their interest in what you have to say. Obviously, if they are quick to respond and don’t ask too many questions, then they probably were not quite interested to begin with. (Rule #3 – pick your battles)

If they are mirroring your speed and tone, then you are on the right track and have good reason to continue informing them. It is important to give the person a chance to speak when you ask them questions. The ball is still in your field when you are leading the conversation, but you can get a sense of interest from the way they vocalize their answers.

If you shoot the pitch, then ask the questions you need to and they give short, quick responses, then its time to close, because they are not completely there to listen. Often, people will just hear your pitch out to be nice but have no intention of signing up. Sometimes, they think that signing up will be an easy way of getting you off their back, so it is always good to try closing with an action like scheduling the person to attend your next class.

Asking Questions

YAY! The clients are interested in you or have an interest in actually getting involved. When a prospective client has some questions to ask after the pitch that means you can close these sales with the answers to their questions.

***Take note of the questions they are asking. If they pertain to basic information about your business, then that’s a cue that you are not conveying the right information in your pitch.

Let this be one thing you take from this article: Closing sales is so ridiculously important to improving your success rate because, on average, almost half of all sales conversations end without a close. Cue the Wayne Gretzky quote, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Take these notes on how to give cues and how to read them as methods for leading to those closes.

If you liked the content in this article, then check out the rest of our blog here. If you have any feedback or points to make to add on to this information, then leave a comment! Also, if you find yourself successful using these cues and better reading them from people, then please share your success with us. We love hearing from you guys!