This new product is free to all clients through August 1, 2020!
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to rethink how they can survive during these unprecedented times.
Online training and classes have proven to be a significant resource for health clubs and martial arts studios.
However, you may be under the impression that it’s an expensive undertaking.
The reality is that you can stream classes and training with little or no money out of pocket using Facebook Groups, YouTube or Zoom.
Below is a link to an instructional video on how you can take advantage of these tools.
These are long term tools you can continue to use for your business in the future, once this pandemic subsides.
We're excited to announce a new program update to our Scheduler application that will allow you to book online training events is on the way.
Stay tuned for more tips by the end of the week.
We’ve received great feedback, suggestions, ideas and business tips from our clients. We will continue to share and hope you can implement them into your business plan.
Today, we’re going to dive into some more details and break down some of the suggestions we sent previously.
- Start by placing a message on the homepage of your website informing members about the status of your operations. Champion Boxing & Fitness has a good example of how to do this.
- Provide additional information. Ideally, have a link that takes the member to a page with more detailed information and updates. Champion Boxing & Fitness’ page is clean and easy to navigate.
- Create email campaigns with ASF’s software, My Club Business, to inform members of how you’re supporting them. FitWorks does a great job by offering members a free month added to their membership, in addition to the time they are mandated to close their doors.
- Offer members the opportunity to join virtual workouts during this pandemic. Again, Fitworks does an excellent job encouraging their members to stay healthy!
- Post workouts on your social media pages. Urge Fitness does a fantastic job with their Facebook page.
These are just a few suggestions our great ASF Community is contributing.
Want to share? Send us your ideas, suggestions and success stories to email@example.com
We will continue to provide more tips to help support your business and your members.
This is a stressful time for you and your customers. We hope that we can be helpful to you as you navigate the uncertain path of the COVID-19 virus and how it might impact your business in the coming weeks.
As we know, COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation and ASF has prepared a comprehensive business continuity plan to help you run and protect your business.
1) Our Customer Operations Member Services call center will remain available to you during our normal business hours. Member Services hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MST
2) Out Customer Operations Client Support call center will remain available to you during our normal business hours. Client Support hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MST
3) Our Customer Operations Tech Support call center will remain available to you during our normal business hours. Tech Support hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MST. Additional after-hours support will remain available through our After-Hours portal.
4) Payment processing & Remit schedules will continue as scheduled. Any external banking factors will be communicated with you as soon as they are received.
5) Our Training Department will continue with all scheduled training appointments. With possible business suspensions, this is an opportune time to upgrade to your software to the newest applications at no additional charge. Contact our Training Department @ 1-800-527-6898 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many clients have shared tips for protecting their business and we want to share some of those with you.
• Utilize social media and post several times a day, letting people know how you are taking steps to have your facility professionally cleaned.
• Publish a policy of how often your facility is cleaned and the increase since learning more about COVID-19.
• Gather testimonials from members that endorse the cleanliness of your facility.
• Post pictures of your staff, cleaning crew, and members, wiping down equipment.
• Post daily information regarding physical exercise and nutrition keeping the immune system intact.
We hope these items help you with the success of your business and are ready to assist with any adjustments during these changing times.
It’s easy to think that once a prospect shows interest in your club means they’re ready to get on board, but remember people test the waters for many different reasons, especially for something like a gym membership, that is considered a luxury expense.
With that being said, there are different stages of prospects, anywhere from the first initial interest to pen in hand, ready to sign. In between those stages, it’s your job to lock them in. Here are some methods to turn your prospects into members.
OFFER FREE TRIALS
This is probably the most obvious and common strategy for turning prospects into members, which means it is one of the most important ones for making a prospect actually feel like a member.
Offer two-week free trials to all prospects for all areas of your club, like classes, spa services and pool access. Create a profile for them in My Member Account Mobile App so they can easily sign up for events and quickly check into your facility.
Another effective strategy is to offer two-week money-back guarantees. This way you’re still generating income while keeping the member at ease financially. Both methods give prospects the full experience and up your chances to seal the deal.
HIRE THE RIGHT SALES TEAM
The key to successful sales is authenticity and technique, which means building true relationships with your customers and establishing trust. When hiring the right sales team, think about the perspectives of your prospects and what would win them over.
The answer in most cases comes down to human connection. Make sure your sales team masters strong pitches and that they don’t rely on automated CRM campaigns. Automation may seem more efficient, but it strips the human connection, which decreases sales in the long haul. In a nutshell, the prospect needs to see you and your staff as actual human beings to not only close the deal, but to become loyal members and boost your retention.
Understanding your potential members and hiring the right sales team are like yin and yang, since they are the first interactions prospects have with your club aside from your front desk staff. Plus, the one who makes the membership sale is the one who gets to know the prospect the most, which is why it’s imperative to learn about their fitness goals and desire for a gym membership. Ask your prospects questions like what brought them in and what is motivating them to join a gym.
People get memberships for many reasons, whether that’s to lose weight, improve endurance, relax or alleviate back pain, and chances are, they will give you clear-cut answers that will cue your sales team to not only establish stronger relationships with them, but to also upsell services like personal training, spa perks, nutrition coaching and group classes–valuable club assets that your prospects maybe didn’t realize they needed or wanted in the first place.
GIVE FACILITY TOURS
At this point in the process, you’ve already gotten to know your prospects, now it’s time to put your club in the spotlight. With facility tours, your staff can get to know prospects even more while making them feel like members.
Remember that each area of your club serves a purpose and holds value, therefore it’s important to highlight its features and perks during tours, increasing your chances to upsell. Avoid simply pointing at equipment and areas. Learn your prospects’ initiatives and initial interests in wanting a gym membership, then sell the value in a way that is specific to them and their fitness goals.
At this point, you’ve gotten to know them, and they’ve seen your facility. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty: membership pricing and packaging. As easy as it is to assume members are turned off by pricing, it’s actually a prime opportunity to lock in their loyalty.
Not only do members appreciate transparency about what they’re paying for, but they deserve it. Rather than making the common mistake of tip-toeing around your pricing, present everything as-is, explain the value of each package deal and make sure they understand your terms and conditions. Think of it like this: the more honest you are with them, the more they trust you, and the longer they will last as your member. Always remember that your business is valuable, so in pricing pitches, build the value of your services that is equal to or greater than your price.
INTERACT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is one of the most commonly used tools among members. They are constantly taking gym selfies, sharing transformation photos and stories with their fitness communities. Social media, however, is also the most misused for gyms and fitness clubs when it comes to finalizing a membership sale.
At this point, you’ve gone through the entire prospect process, so you may have already signed them on, but if they are still on the fence, interact with them on platforms like Facebook and Instagram by liking and commenting on their posts. If they have already signed on with your club, ask their permission to send them emails about updates on your club’s social media to increase member engagement and retention.
Related Post: How to Generate More Club Revenue
We’ve already covered five other mistakes in part 1 of common mistakes gym owners make, so here are four more mistakes made by owners and how to avoid them.
YOU FOCUS SOLELY ON MEMBERSHIPS
Yes, memberships are the
lifeline of your club, however, if you remain completely focused on bringing
prospects in, you will eventually lose connection with current members and you
won’t give any attention to other opportunities that generate income, like your
point of sale items.
Retention is just as important
as signing new members, so keep current members satisfied by running special
promotions and discounts on club merchandise, personal training and fitness
class packages. This will help you maintain strong retention and generate more
revenue at the same time. Above all, remember to find a healthy balance between
prospects and current members.
YOU’RE AFRAID OF INNOVATION
The fitness industry changes all the time and if you aren’t open to change, then your club will stagger, and you’ll eventually be unable to keep up with member standards. To avoid making this mistake, keep up with fitness trends, ensure your club is active on social media, both organically and through paid advertising and above all, be open to member feedback and actually listen to what they need and want. Make sure your club is active in the community by being a part of organizations like IHRSA or Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) to gain more business insight and stay current with industry trends.
TOO CROWDED WITH TOO MUCH EQUIPMENT
On a positive note, your
fitness club is so popular that it’s overflowing with members. The harsh
reality is that not only is this a common gym owner mistake, but it’s also a
huge culprit for gym membership cancellations. Why would this be your fault
though? Your club and business structure lack balance, with equipment, physical
space and too many members to accommodate for.
For one, you know the square
footage of your gym from the get-go, so unless you’re planning on expanding it,
you know how much equipment can fit in it. With more members coming through
your doors, more equipment seems like the best solution, but realistically,
members need space to breathe and move, so as an owner, it’s your job to find
the right balance between these. Keep tabs on the less popular equipment and
areas of your club, so you can decide what should be subtracted to create more
The same thing goes for group classes and training sessions. If you’re noticing a higher count of members attending a specific class, offer that class more frequently to avoid overflow, increase traffic and up member satisfaction. The best way to gather these numbers is to pull attendance and hourly traffic reports through gym management software. Be sure to talk with your equipment vendor supplier about equipment layouts and mapping out better use of your space.
LACK OF UPKEEP
Upkeep applies to the quality
of your equipment and the cleanliness of your club. If you’re not mindful about
these things, your retention will suffer. Machines like treadmills and
ellipticals break down all the time. Although the wear and tear are not your
fault, a common mistake among owners is allowing these issues to linger.
Not only does this prevent
members from using your machines, but the lack of proactivity devalues your
memberships and gym. This applies to the cleanliness of your club as well, and
dirty facilities are a huge culprit to membership cancellations.
You care about your club, so constantly taking care of it is vital to reducing attrition. To make yourself more aware of possible upkeep issues, refer to our Daily Service Notes–a report that allows ASF to transfer member feedback to owners and learn more about how to maintain a clean facility here.
Running a gym or fitness club is just as challenging as it is rewarding, since there are so many factors that play into the success of one. Here are common mistakes to be aware of so that you can keep yourself and your business in check.
MANUALLY TRACKING YOUR MEMBERSHIPS & CLUB DATA
Technology and gym management software exist for this exact reason. If you’re spending your time updating spreadsheets and have no way to accurately track the data of your club, you’re not only wasting time that could be spent elsewhere, but you’re most likely collecting inaccurate numbers.
Health club management software is meant to do these jobs for you, so you have more time to not only engage with your members, but you know your gym’s strengths and weaknesses from a calculated standpoint, resulting in a stronger business structure. Learn more about gym management software here.
NOT UNDERSTANDING YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC
Every gym or fitness club has one, and if you don’t understand the people using your facility, then you don’t understand your business to its full potential. This mistake falls closely with the lack of gym management software. The best way to understand your demographic is through accurate reporting. It’s important to know if your club attracts more females or males and what age range you’re dealing with.
YOUR MARKETING DOESN’T MATCH YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC
A common mistake many businesses make is marketing to the wrong crowds. This goes for genders and age ranges you’re choosing to target on platforms like Facebook and Instagram as well as the content you’re sharing. Effective marketing affects all angles of your club, and understanding your demographic starts with accurately targeting those prospects in the first place.
For example, if your fitness club is a small boutique or a specialty club like a barre studio, it’s important to recognize that you’ll probably attract more females, so your marketing budget will be better invested if your social media platforms target primarily women within a certain age range. Whatever your content may be, whether you’re posting funny memes, inspirational quotes or nutrition tips, make sure it aligns with your specific audience, both organically and through paid advertising.
YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC IS TOO NARROW
This might seem contradictory to the above points but remember that just because your club might have a specific demographic doesn’t mean to exclude the outliers. Although you might cater more to a specific gender or age group, consider how other types of members can benefit from your club. This will add more value to them and expand your money-making opportunities.
YOUR TRAINERS AREN’T DIVERSE
Different types of members have different needs, which is why it’s important to have a variety of personal trainers. Whether that’s a mix of males and females, older and younger or everything in between, always think about your members and how you can best help them achieve their fitness goals.
Remember that just like how member goals vary, personal trainers specialize in different areas of fitness as well. While many members might like to lose weight and tone their muscles, you also want to open your personal training up to individuals who want to focus on less intense exercises or specific workouts like functional training.
It’s also a possibility that both males and females feel better with their same gender in a personal trainer, so have both men and women staffed to ensure comfortability. The more you cater to different individuals, the stronger your retention will be.
Selling memberships and products is the lifeline of any fitness business and adding gym management software like Point of Sale and Inventory Management into the mix is imperative to handling those tasks. Here are a few reasons why owners need both.
1. INCREASES REVENUE & BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT
The whole purpose of running a gym or fitness club is to sell memberships, fitness gear and generate more income, especially for services that can’t be physically displayed in gyms. Point of Sale is a must-have tool that brings more attention to extra club add-ons like child care, spray tanning, towel service and massages.
Through accurate inventory tracking and reporting, gym owners can detect which services and items they sell most of, so they know what to order more of and perhaps where they should consider decreasing retail prices or running promotions. With a higher understanding of these strengths and weaknesses, owners and their staff have better chances of upping business engagement and generating more club revenue.
2. TRACKS & ORGANIZES CLUB INVENTORY
Organization is key to running a successful gym or fitness club. With the use of Point of Sale and Inventory Management, owners can track and organize club merchandise all in one. The convenient layout of both include custom categories, sub-categories and product images to make it easy for staff to find items while completing transactions and for owners to better track their merchandise. By simply clicking on an image, Inventory Management will show product quantity, purchase history, the cost of the item and the vendor, while Point of Sale will instantly add an item to checkout.
Owners can also adjust retail prices for special club promotions and events while also renaming products and updating how many more of a selected item they wish to order, simplifying the tracking process and ensuring all staff is on the same page. Larger gyms and fitness clubs with higher sales traffic, more employees and multiple locations can especially benefit from Point of Sale and Inventory Management, along with Martial Arts schools to provide and track uniforms for their students.
3. EASY-TO-USE TIME-SAVERS
Point of Sale and Inventory Management can be accessed anywhere and on any device. While a staff member is ringing up an item for a member through the Point of Sale interface on a front desk computer, a club owner can be updating inventory counts with the touch of a finger through Inventory Management on an iPad, tablet or smart phone, eliminating unnecessary spreadsheets and steps. Owners can conveniently scan item descriptions and easily search categories and sub-categories to access product information faster. Both applications save time and stress, increase efficiency and ultimately simplify daily club operations for everyone.
Point of Sale and Inventory Management applications work simultaneously, like yin and yang. Without both, owners lack organization and proper club functionality, ultimately losing overall business engagement. The combination of both is as simple as making quick transactions, then giving owners the ability to instantly update their inventory after finalizing those transactions. Being able to both sell and track various products seamlessly makes for an all-in-one stronger business model for gyms and fitness clubs, big or small.
Learn more about ASF’s Point of Sale and Inventory Management applications and request a demo here.
Technology can arguably retract us from authentic relationships as our eyes stayed glued to our smart phones, however when it comes to fitness, it’s the saving grace for both owners and members and the key to building stronger bonds between them. Member goals can vary anywhere from weight loss, to muscle toning, to improving their diets. The goal of owners is to increase their revenue, which makes technology the bridge between the owner and the member.
SOFTWARE THAT CONNECTS MEMBERS & OWNERS
Giving members the ability to quickly sign up and check in for events increases efficiency on both ends. With gym management software, members have more time to enjoy their workouts and focus on their wellness goals, while owners have one less job to worry about and their time can be spent helping their members instead.
In addition, advancements in gym management software are allowing members to make extra purchases directly on their phones, like personal training sessions, supplements and club merchandise, instantly increasing revenue for owners and adding value toward member goals. Enhancements in club management software include reporting, for owners to more effectively track member behavior. Accurate reporting is vital in understanding a club’s demographic, saving important member information like birthdays, learning how a club can improve and most importantly, exceeding members needs and expectations.
SOCIAL MEDIA TO INTERACT WITH MEMBERS & BUILD COMMUNITY
Social media has changed communication, especially in the fitness industry. Although there’s speculation and controversy surrounding social media, it serves as a positive outlet to effectively market to members and allows them to share transformations, frustrations, success stories and common struggles.
Popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram give owners simple and meaningful opportunities to celebrate their member’s triumphs and also keep up with fitness trends like online personal training, quick fit tips and nutritional counseling. Owners can connect with their members along with hundreds of prospects through organic social media and paid advertising by offering value that will help them with their fitness journeys.
Factors could include discounts on memberships, point of sale items and personal training packages. Both parties benefit this way, establishing stronger business to consumer relationships. Ultimately, social media helps owners better understand their members, even beyond the gym. Majority of members are on social media hashtagging their gym selfies and snapping photos of their healthy food. By interacting with them through this outlet, owners can more effectively market to members and offer fitness-related things that match their interests and needs, establishing loyal customers and increasing profit. Learn more how social media benefits health clubs here.
DIGITAL RESOURCES THAT OFFER MORE VALUE
Members need guidance and credible resources while working toward their goals, which is why it’s important for owners to keep a library of online blogs and articles that are geared toward fitness and wellness. The more value owners provide their members with, the more likely members are to achieve their goals, while owners maintain healthy retention and continuous cash flow.
TEXTING FOR INSTANT REACH
Texting is as personal as it gets in this day and age, since that’s how majority of members and prospects communicate on a daily basis. Sending out text alerts not only informs members with important information and updates, but it’s also an effective way for owners to maintain relationships with their members, even if the text messages are automatic. Owners can text various things like when payment information is updated, when full classes have more openings, when a class is cancelled or a member reschedules a session, when the club itself is closed, along with birthday texts for a personal touch.
What do all of these components have in common? Efficiency. More efficiency equals more member engagement, resulting in stronger bonds between owners and their members and higher chances of landing prospects. It’s difficult for members to focus on their fitness goals and owners to focus on generating revenue when neither have the necessary tools to take care of them. In a nutshell, owners can choose to hide behind their computer screens, shedding negative light on technology, or they can choose to walk across the bridge with everything them and their members need to succeed.
We live in a world surrounded by screens while we spend our mornings hashtagging our breakfasts on social media and taking selfies of our gains at the gym. We’re adapting to behaviors that have become social norms, where receiving more “likes” on platforms like Facebook and Instagram are now personal achievements that we feel instant gratification from.
Some might argue that our online lives could be destructive to real life, introducing possible negative effects on body image and self-esteem, however, digital wellness is opening doors for both owners and members, bringing people together with common goals through a simple hashtag, offering members more fitness knowledge and generating opportunities for more club revenue.
HEALTHY FOR MEMBERS, HEALTHY FOR BUSINESS
Fitness is just as mental as it is physical and taking advantage of digital wellness is a quick and effective way to keep members motivated and maintain healthy retention. While members stay busy running on treadmills and posting their yoga photos to Instagram, owners can keep a library of digital blogs and articles that focus on different workouts, healthy recipes and wellness tips for members to reference. Owners can offer yoga classes and other events that are geared toward stress relief and wellness, providing members with more value and generating more revenue at the same time.
MORE THAN JUST APPEARANCE
We have the preconceived notion to exercise strictly for weight loss, so we look thinner, but then we forget about the positive impact fitness has on overall health and wellness. Even though weight loss is a common goal among millions of people and physical appearance is directly linked to confidence, it’s important for owners to assure their members that it’s not the only reason to purchase a gym membership. Wellness is about much more than what we see on the outside.
Specific body types and looks are constantly being broadcasted online, on television and social media, convincing both men and women that they have to look a certain way to achieve happiness. Technology isn’t the culprit here–we are. Health club owners and fitness professionals are direct influencers of this epidemic, which is why it’s imperative for them to use technology as a tool to spread positivity by encompassing every aspect of fitness and wellness, not just appearance.
Anything posted online has potential to spread like wildfire. It’s up to the professionals in the industry to make sure what’s being showcased isn’t toxic to their consumers.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR OWNERS
Luckily, social media has given owners opportunities to boost member confidence and increase revenue in the process. Through simple posts and accurate hashtagging, owners are able to share progress and transformation photos on their social media platforms, celebrating member accomplishments and more importantly, praising their none-scale victories.
Club owners can instantly motivate their members through positive sayings, quotes of encouragement and get members excited about exercise and how healthy it makes them feel. Personal trainers and class instructors can go beyond teaching by empathizing with members, offering compassion and listening to them during moments of frustration or discouragement.
They can give encouraging advice in person and online, comment on their social media posts and share them to applaud their triumphs. Building and maintaining these business-to-consumer relationships on and offline will only continue to help gyms and health clubs flourish.
In this digital age, how members feel and perceive themselves is a direct result of what they consume online. Keeping up with digital and wellness trends as an owner can only help members in the long run. To answer the question, “is digital wellness well for us?” Yes. It’s an open door to fade out negativity surrounding “ideal” body images and shift focus to all areas of fitness and what being healthy truly means, putting more revenue in an owner’s pocket.