Lead generation is the art of getting people to express interest in your product or service. A lead can be anything from a word-of-mouth reference to an email address, a phone number or full profile of a potential customer. Getting regular quality leads can be the difference between a business that succeeds and grows and one that fails. But many gym owners fail to create systems for finding new leads. The process can seem daunting and time-consuming. To some extent, lead generation does take a lot of time. But there are ways of automating the process and quickly narrowing down the strategies that work. Let’s take a look at some lead generation ideas for gyms and local fitness businesses.
Start with a lead generating website
I’m always amazed to see how many businesses do not have websites designed to convert visitors to customers. You have 100% control over your website (unlike social media) so you have the power to create a lead generation machine on your own property.
But don’t buy a Wix website and put some terrible-looking landing pages with bland content. This will not help.
I’ve heard people say they want a website to serve a business card. I’m here to tell you that business card websites are pretty much useless these days. Nobody will see it. Nobody will find it in Google unless it provides value. Every serious business has a website (or should have) so what makes yours stand out from the crowd? Throwing up a website for the sake of it is a waste of time and resources. Your website should be one of your main marketing channels. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are good channels if you know how to tap into the customer base. But you’re also at the mercy of the erratic algorithms of the social media networks.
Your website should drive people to a sales page or a signup page.
It's not enough to provide information – it goes without saying that you should make contact details and class timetables as clear and accessible as possible – build sales funnels into the website.
SEO: The gift that keeps on giving
Search Engine Optimization is the act of shaping your content to appear high in search engine results. The goal of SEO is improving a website's content to appeal to potential visitor search intent.
The fast track to good SEO is this: write thorough, engaging articles on topics that people are looking for. If you write the best content on the internet (in Google's eyes) you will get the top spot in the search results and more people will click through to your business website.
Then it’s your chance to turn these visitors into customers. The beauty of SEO is that once Google sends you traffic, you will get visitors as long as you update your content once in a while and no competitor pushes you out of your position in the search results.
And you don't pay for SEO traffic apart from the investment in content and keyword research. If Facebook decides they won’t show your content to people anymore, there’s not much you can do about it besides pay for ads. In fact, this is exactly what they did. Facebook as an organic channel is dead. If you’re lucky, 5% of your Facebook followers will see posts on your business page. Instagram may go the same way. YouTube is very difficult to crack.
Read these SEO hacks to boost your traffic today!
Here's how to get started with SEO-focused content.
Educate Your Customers – Create content around your results
People head to Google to ask questions like
- how long after you start working out do you see results?
- how long does it take to get fit?
- when will I see results from working out?
- what are your gym membership prices
Of course, undertaking any content marketing project like this should also include keyword research and SEO. Going after very difficult keywords will result in a low return on investment (unless you run Healthline or Mens Health)
Picking the right keywords is important. Use a keyword tool for this task. What you want is to answer questions that have a good number of searches per month (how much depends on your niche and other factors) and that are not too difficult to rank for. The difficulty score is mostly determined by the quality of content and websites that have already written about the topic.
For example, getting to the first page of Google for a blog post that targets the phrase “the keto diet” is really difficult. On the other hand, a post that answers the question, “where are the keto grocery stores near me?” Would help you create a local guide to keto products in your area. This not only builds your local SEO, but it answers questions for people and builds trust.
Be A Local Content Marketing Ninja
Gyms are local businesses and this is one advantage they have over web-only businesses or “national-level” businesses. Google favours local businesses on Google Maps and the search results for local search terms. For example, people searching for “Gyms that offer gymnastic training” are more likely to be shown results for this search from local businesses than blogs or fitness websites with no local presence. The reason is that Google knows you are looking for a gym in your area that specialises in gymnastics. The same goes for Crossfit marketing. Your content about “The best CrossFit training workouts for the Midlands Spartan Race” is more likely to hit the top spot for searches related to CrossFit training for spartan races, especially when people in the Midlands search for it.
Partner with local businesses
A great way to find leads for your gym is to create partnerships with businesses in your area that have some crossover in client bases. For example, stores that sell nutritional products in your area would generally have customers that are interested in health and fitness. Many of these people likely workout and attend a gym (or want to). This is your opportunity to get your business in front of these people.
Here are a few ideas:
- Offer a commission to the business owner for referrals.
- Create a link to your business on the nutrition store’s website. Check if they have a local resources page or a recommended products and services page. Offer something in return for the link. You could refer your own clients to the store when they ask you for advice on nutritional products.
- Leave flyers in the store or pin posters if they have a noticeboard
Create partnerships with businesses in your area that have some crossover in client bases
Create Quizzes That Add Value
There’s no doubt about it, people love quizzes. There’s a reason why viral content websites like Buzzfeed are fans of quizzes to get people interacting with their content. Answering quiz questions is simple and easy for people to do. The quiz title is often so intriguing that people can’t resist the temptation to find the answer.
Why create quizzes for lead generation?
Let’s imagine that you’ve written stellar content and your website attracts thousands of people every month. How many of these people convert to customers? For most websites, 90% of people visit, read your content (or skim it) and then disappear back to the internet. What if you could capture the email address or other contact details of these visitors?
Quizzes work as lead gen tools in two ways:
- They keep people on your website longer. This improves the bounce rate.
- Quizzes let you to offer visitors the answer to the quiz in exchange for their email address or social media profile details
Here are some example quizzes to create:
- What kind of fitness will get you the fastest results?
- Find out which is the perfect sport for your body type
- How does your nutrition rate against the fittest in the world?
Software for creating quizzes:
Create a workout plan
The more value you can offer to a visitor the more they will trust your business. Creating free workout plans, nutrition plans, or goal setting worksheets is a great way of offering free resources to potential clients.
You might create a spreadsheet for people to figure out how much to train and eat when training for the marathon.
Nutrition plans are great for helping people get on top of their eating, especially if they want to see results at the gym.
Offer the freebie in return for an email address. Let people know that you will send them more information that might be valuable to them once they’ve given their email address.
Time-based challenges are very popular in the health and fitness world. Sometimes all we need is someone to tell us how to exercise and when. Create an email based fixed time period challenge. You might create a plan that sets goals for each week or day. Build an email sequence that guides and nurtures leads. Make it bullet-proof and full of value. Once the month is over, people will trust your word, especially if they saw results from your advice.
You can build sequences in most email marketing tools these days. Mailerlite is a powerful and inexpensive (or free depending on your requirements) email marketing platform. MailChimp is a similar product and is probably the most widely known and used software. However, I stopped recommending MC a few years ago once other email marketing tools caught up and overtook the service in price and usability.
These lead magnets are super powerful. Who doesn’t want free stuff? The easier you make it for people to enter your giveaway and the better the prize, the more leads you’ll get. Some businesses use contents, Instagram giveaways for example, as a primary channel for lead generation.
Well, it’s a cheap way to get email addresses.
The only thing you have to worry about is that there is a very good chance that most of the people signing up for your giveaway have no interested in your services. They are there for the freebies. This is human nature. You need to make sure that you filter out these people from your email lists as soon as possible. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a huge list of people that don’t buy from you and your costs for maintaining the list increase while you see no return.
Most email marketing tools allow you to see who has opened your emails recently. Some allow you to purge people that never open your emails. I recommend you use this feature to keep costs down.
You can run giveaway competitions in partnership with other local businesses or websites that might be of interest to your clients.
An example be a giveaway for a years supply for yoga pants from a local yoga outfit store. They give you a discount for the products in return for you promoting their products as part of the giveaway. They get free advertising in return for the cost of their products. You get a discount and can offer a better prize as you’re spending less. The customer is tempted by the value of the product.
Referrals & Referral Marketing
Referrals are probably the best form of advertising you can have. We value the opinions of people we trust.
When a respected friend’s opinion of a service or product is positive, we are already programmed to value this product or service above its competitors. Validation is important to people. We are also tribal in nature and want to be part of a group of like-minded people. If our friends like something, there’s a good chance we will also like it.
If you provide a great service to your customers, they will refer their friends. That extra effort (and expense) you place on providing the absolute best experience for your customers will pay for itself several times over, something a lot of businesses don’t fully grasp.
Offer an incentive to your customers for referring their friends
Referral Marketing adds a strategy to the mix. Almost every business does some form of referral marketing and it can be a very powerful tactic.
Let’s illustrate this type of marketing with an example:
Let’s say you own a gym and you want to leverage your existing clients for finding new clients. One way to do this is to offer an incentive to your customers for referring their friends to your services. You might give both the existing client and their friend a free month at the gym as an incentive. The existing client will already promote your gym but is even more motivated to recruit their friends because of the incentive. The potential client gets a free month so they already feel like they’re enjoying special treatment.
At Fat Frog Media, we love Google Ads. For the right products, Ads on Google’s Search and Display networks can be incredibly effective. Why? Because with Google Ads you target customers that are already looking for your services but they probably don’t know about you. Yet.
It’s getting harder to distinguish ads from real results in the search engine results pages (SERPs) but the first three or four places are usually occupied by ads. Search for “best CrossFit gym near me” and check out the top results. If you live in a city or town of any significant size, the top spots on Google will be ads for local CrossFit gyms. Even if your website doesn’t rank high in Google, you can have the top spot in the results with a good ad strategy. But you can’t just buy your way to the top. Ads that are relevant, well-written, and answer the customer's query rank higher than badly written ads with a high budget. This is where hiring a Google Ads expert pays for itself.
Facebook Ads retargeting
Facebook Ads are all the rage these days and they can be excellent lead generators for gyms, fitness centres, and fitness products. Facebook ads might be even more effective for online-only fitness businesses that sell courses and physical products.
Why? Because people are on Facebook to read about their friends, not to find the prices of the local gym club membership. Interrupting their day with an ad for your local business might not be effective. Ineffective ads are expensive ads.
However, there’s a better way to use Facebook as an advertising platform for your local fitness service. It’s called retargeting.
Retargeting (sometimes called Remarketing – because it sounds less ominous) is the act of showing ads to people that have already expressed interest in your business or have come into contact with your business online somehow. Here are some examples of retargeting:
- You show ads to people on Facebook that have visited your website in the last 30 days
- You send ads to visitors of a sales page on your website in the last week
- You create a list of people that interacted (liked, watched for more than 15 seconds, etc) of a video you created on some health-related topic and then advertise your services to these people. You also advertise to a “lookalike” audience. This is a set of people that Facebook determines to be similar to the people you already tagged as showing interest in your product or service.
You can also retarget people using Google Ads.
So there you go. A list that touches on some of the most important lead generation strategies for health & fitness businesses. These strategies also work for any small or medium sized business.
If you’re interested in learning more about lead generation or you’d like to have your lead generation strategy implemented and executed by marketing professionals, get in touch! We would be happy to discuss your requirements at no cost.
Keith is the founder of Fat Frog Media. He has worked in the tech, fitness, food, and hospitality industries. Keith helps businesses improve their marketing and conversion rates.