3 Ways to Use Social Media Contests for Member Engagement

hand holding mobile device with social media icons

You may be sick of hearing how social media has a significant impact on your outreach, but having an online presence outside of your website is not negotiable for your business’s current member engagement and lead generation. Running social media platform-specific contests, in addition to sharing student highlights and news, gives prospects an easy way to get an insider’s glimpse.

Use these three social spaces for your contest campaigns.

1. Facebook: The Community Builder

The basics: Facebook should be the foundation of your social media strategy. As you know, the multi-faceted platform has capacities for public and private groups, invitations, messaging, and more. Because Facebook is a dynamic community space, it may take time to build an audience if you don’t already have one. On the other hand, this versatility makes Facebook the perfect environment for social media contests.

Keep that dynamic element in mind when designing a Facebook giveaway that meets your business’s goals. Avoid running a contest that is overly complex and deterring participants. Set a timeframe with rules for your contest and stick to it—no exceptions. Examples include:

  • photo caption contests,
  • page likes contests, and
  • post sharing contests.

Level up: Use paid posts and ads to reach a larger audience.

2. Twitter: Be the Buzz Through Mirco-Messaging

The basics: Twitter is a more competitive social space that needs timeliness, relevancy, and frequency for success. It can be difficult to reach an audience due to these factors, but if you have a strong base of followers, you’ll see results.

Giveaways are particularly easy due to retweets, or Twitter’s re-blogging feature. An easy example of a Twitter contest is:

  • The first five people to retweet will receive a prize of your choice (pick something that is relevant to your marketing goals).

Level up: Reach out to your friends, family, and professional connections for retweets and mentions. Paid Twitter ads also are an option.

3. Instagram: Interactive Photo Sharing

The basics: The fitness and martial arts industries have a strong presence on Instagram. The visual element and the more personable feel of the platform are great for persuasive messaging—which makes Instagram our favorite place for social media contests. Common contests on Instagram include:

  • photo captions and
  • having contestants tag friends in the comments section.

Level up: Use “non-designer” graphic design tools like Canva to create your own images. Make sure you brand everything you create with your gym’s or martial art school’s name in case someone shares what you post. Because paid posts on Facebook integrate with Instagram, you have the option to run any contest promotions concurrently on two platforms.

Already social savvy and want more strategy? Take it a step further into forum spaces like Reddit. Being a regular contributor to threads relating to your discipline will help you network with others for additional ideas.

[Webinar] 5 Ways to Boost Member Retention with a Mobile App

5 Ways to Boost Member Retention with a Mobile App

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 | 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT)

The more engaged your members are, the more likely they are to stick to their fitness routine and with your business. Unfortunately, many fitness clubs struggle to maximize member retention. So how do you build stronger relationships that drive loyalty, member retention, and results?

Our partner, MiGym, has worked with hundreds of fitness clubs to create personalized member app experiences. Clubs with mobile apps benefit from increased class attendance, strengthened relationships, lower attrition, and increased revenue. After reviewing results from clients, MiGym identified five ways that any fitness business—large or small—can use a mobile app to grow profits and improve member retention.

In this webinar, you’ll learn the five ways fitness clubs can engage their member base through a custom mobile app. You’ll see a live demonstration of how you can use these techniques to cultivate stronger bonds with your members.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Use push notifications and announcements during the holiday season and the New Year’s fitness rush
  • Increase member convenience through a simplified check-in and booking process
  • Gain a competitive advantage in 2018 by adding a mobile app to your business plan and marketing campaigns
  • And more!

Bonus: Attend the live webinar to get a sample holiday push notification and announcement to drive member retention, engagement, and revenue.

Meet Our PresenterHugh McEvoy, General Manager, MiGym

Hugh McEvoy has over nine years of experience providing software solutions to the fitness industry for member retention, marketing, and business management. As the General Manager at MiGym, Hugh partners with businesses of all sizes to conquer challenges and to achieve results.

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Guest Post: The Health of Your Gym

Guest Post: The Health of Your Gym

Warning: This is going to be a hard read if you’re eating.

It’s a bit ironic that facilities for our health can pose bacterial harm if not properly cleaned. Although places like gyms are not number one on the list of highly germ populated public locations, they can be one of the most common areas to contract bacteria.

Nobody wants to think about all these microscopic germs and particles that coexist among us, but to have a healthy fitness center inside and out, you must be properly equipped with both the knowledge, products and —oh your facility is well cleaned? Excellent! Now, how much do you spread that information around? It’s very well worth turning a quick spotlight on the cleanliness of your facility. Especially when the USA ranks number 28 out of the 188 healthiest nations despite being one of the most health data indulgent countries in the world.

So it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to remind the public you care about the shape of your gym right? Right! Here’s how to take advantage of a hygienic presence.

Provide Easy Access For Sanitation

You sneeze and there’s no tissue in sight. Here’s a worse situation. You sneeze into a tissue and there’s no trash container nearby! Avoid these minor inconveniences by providing disposable soaps, hand wipes or nonalcoholic hand sanitizers and easily accessible waste bins throughout your facility so your clients don’t have to interrupt their workout for long. They don’t have to be every two feet but a good presence of complementary products will give members a good impression of cleanliness in association with your business identity.

Establish With Your Members That You Have a Cleaning Schedule

Whenever that time for the full scrub overhaul of your facility comes around—that’s the chance to show off your results. Take a picture of your pristine facility and post it online. You could even incorporate fitness into the mix because who say’s scrubbing an entire building isn’t a workout? Or that just the act of cleaning is the only sign of a healthy gym?

Share pictures of upgrades, new installations, or even a photo of yourself arriving early! Fresh products, an active mind, and up to date materials express not just a business but a business owner who knows when to make the right decision.

Signs & Reminders

One of the most common of contagions caught at facilities of mobility is skin infection. (Gross I know, but stay with me.) The reasons for these skin infections are due to the unfortunate contact with deposits of leftover sweat on shared exercise equipment and or materials. (How are you doing? Good! We’re going get through this!) The best way this can be avoided is reminders such as: “Always Wash Hands After A Workout”, “Shower after A Swim Please” and “Remember Scandals On While Showering”.

Have any of these signs in your gym? Personalize them a bit, maybe station yourself in front of it for a quick selfie on social media. The more human involvement the better. Just no sweat!

Show That You’re a Good Example

The image of the business owner and staff is everything. Clean clothes, clean hair, etc. We’re not suggesting to have your staff share their selfies all over your social media but rather to have them included within photos of otherwise stagnant objects. Set up a new flyer? Have one of your staff smiling on the side or even holding the sign. There are numerous ways to apply human engagement and interactions to health and safety measures.

One way to ensure you have someone on the floor making it happen is by setting a reminder in our fitness center software. Set up a task for the staff member of your choice so there’s no confusion on whose job it is to post selfies with the clients!

Author: Claire Scro, Marketing Specialist.

Guest Post: Improve Your Website Ranking with Video Marketing

Improve Your Website Ranking with Video Marketing - hand scrolling through martial arts website on tablet device

How to Utilize Videos to Your Advantage on Your Website

Did you know that implementing video marketing on your website will help improve your search rankings?

That’s right! Since Google owns YouTube, all you have to do is have a video hosted on YouTube and embedded on your website. This increases the likelihood of your website ranking higher and improved conversion rates. Here are some tips on how to add high-quality video content to your website to boost your rankings and conversion rates.

Focus on the Details!

Having your video perfectly filmed and edited is awesome, but the best way to get more views and to help your SEO optimization is to focus on those keywords when you upload the clip to YouTube. This means utilizing keywords in your video title and description.

Your video should have a brief title (making it easily searchable), letting your description provide more details (using those keywords to generate relevant searches).

Use Quality Keywords

When adding a title and tags to your video, are you using terms that are clear, defining and searchable?

Be sure to pay attention to the words you use in your titles – with back-linking and embedding, they will boost your website pages by having great titles and tags. You can always try out new keywords and even use https://trends.google.com/trends/ as a tool to help you word things in a better way.

Think About Your Audience

If you’re planning on creating a new video to promote your fitness or martial arts business, try to incorporate something that will both grab the attention of the viewer and encourage them to share it on social media. The more shareable your content, the more views you have and ultimately, you end up with more opportunities to send viewers back to your website/lead box.

For more information or help utilizing videos on your 97Display website, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your incredible support team!

Author: Kelsey Condon. Originally posted on 97display.com.

Webinar: Lead to Member: Thinking Long-Term with Your Website

Your website is a direct tie to your business’s bottom line. If it’s not converting your leads to long-term members, you’re losing out on important opportunities to grow. In this webinar, you’ll learn strategies from experts on how to:

  • Generate leads more effectively in your area
  • Use best practices for selling trial memberships
  • Overcome common sales objections
  • Convert leads into members

Presented by Tim Sarazen, Director of Operations at 97Display & Erik Charles Russell, Membership Sales Expert

Tim Sarazen is an expert in internet marketing at 97 Display, a fitness and martial arts website and marketing agency.

Erik Charles Russell has been in the fitness and martial arts industries for 25 years. Erik has coached, instructed, sold memberships, served as a program director, and owned multiple facilities. He has perfected a new method for membership sales and marketing that he has published in his book, The Art of Selling Memberships.

Webinar: Why Your Fitness Business Needs a Mobile App

Mobile apps can dramatically increase member retention and revenue for fitness businesses. By strengthening member loyalty, you reduce attrition and differentiate your facility from competitors. Apps provide additional marketing tools to help you promote events and special offers. Integration with your fitness center software enables cardless check-in and mobile schedules.

In this webinar, you’ll get a practical overview of the benefits of having your own mobile app. You’ll learn:

  • How mobile apps increase member retention
  • How to promote your facility and products using mobile technology
  • An affordable way to create and manage your own custom mobile app

Presented by Hugh McEvoy, General Manager at MiGym

Member Solutions partners with MiGym to provide a turnkey solution for gyms and fitness studios who want engage members through their own custom mobile app. Learn more about our MemberAssist mobile app and integrated fitness software.

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Branding, Websites, UX, & SEO: Use What We Learned to Benefit Your Business

Branding word cloud on chalkboard: design, value, strategy, logo, marketing, advertising, identify, trust.

Navigating the rebranding process and launching a completely new, optimized website wasn’t easy. But it gave the Member Solutions team valuable insight into the kind of planning, techniques, and development required. To help you out, we asked our marketing department, “What did you learn from our recent rebrand and the launch of our new site?”

Meetings: Use collaborative communication tools. Be open with your team.

CLAIRE, Marketing Specialist

Aside from a having a positive attitude, open communication and having various ways to communicate really helped. One strategy we used was creating a group chat on Skype where everyone could talk and submit their observations. Another was having smaller meetings in between our scheduled large group ones to discuss specific topics, like SEO.

UX: Create a website that offers a positive, intuitive experience for your customers.

CHRIS, PPC Manager

We only have a few seconds after a user arrives at our website to grab their attention. Wasting any of those seconds can turn a potential customer away for good.

People fall into the trap of trying to pack their website full of information, keywords, and resources. These actions are things you think should help, but they hurt the user experience instead. Knowing when, where, and how to provide information is as valuable as the information itself.

Branding: Bring in fresh perspectives. Grow through flexibility & willingness to learn.

CAITLIN, Brand Manager

It was interesting coming into this project as someone who doesn’t have long-standing familiarity with the product. Because of this, I could view the content with a fresh perspective and place myself in the shoes of a potential client. Tackling the project from this viewpoint allowed me to take a step back from the content developer mentality and remember the top priority of any website our team creates: our audience.

Be flexible. No matter how much you plan and plan again, processes and strategies evolve over time. You learn from mistakes, gain new insight, and even spark fresh ideas. It’s all part of the challenge and what drives continued growth—both professionally and personally.

SEO: Plan your website’s optimization from the start. Know your industry & involve key stakeholders.

MIRANDA, Brand Manager

Consider SEO up front. At the early stages of planning, consider how SEO will play into your website structure and content. As a vital part of your strategy, you need to make sure that any decisions you make will align with your SEO goals.

Collaborate during planning. Involve all key stakeholders and team members to gather information about what your customers want and look for. Each person has a different experience with your customers, so it’s important to get multiple perspectives on the structure and content you’ve proposed for the site.

Know your industry. Research key opinion leaders, your product category, competitors, and customers so you can appropriately reflect the current needs of your industry. Take the opportunity to address present challenges and preferences with your new website rather than simply updating the appearance of your old site.

Websites: Design for clear, branded messaging in a mobile format.

LAURA, Senior Graphic Designer

It’s not enough to create a new logo and call it a day. You must update your website as well. As a designer, I cannot stress enough just how crucial it is to make your homepage clean, visually interesting, and to have a clear message. Ask yourself, “What type of company am I? What do I want to say?” You may think you’re getting your message across to the right target audience, but in the end, you may be missing the mark.

You literally have 5 to 10 seconds to make your first impression when a new visitor lands on your site. If a prospect cannot figure out who you are and what your company does in that short window of time, you’ll lose their interest or worse, future business. They are already moving to the next thing.

If your site isn’t visually appealing and built to adjust to all the different devices out in the world, your prospects will lose interest and instantly move to a competitor. People are not surfing the web on a desktop computer anymore. In fact, not being mobile friendly will even affect your rankings in Google’s search engine. It is now known that their preferred configuration is mobile responsive sites.

Another other important aspect to remember is your opinion isn’t the only one that matters. Invite friends, family, coworkers, or someone in the same industry to look at your newly refreshed website and logo. Get an outsider’s perspective. Their opinion may be completely different than how you view your company.

Content: Be authentic in your tone & brand voice. Show your audience that you’re human, too.

JENNIFER, Marketing Specialist

Your website may be the first introduction someone has to your business. Think of how you would greet someone in person: authenticity and friendliness usually open the opportunity to build rapport. Today’s savvy consumers are going to take their business to companies that speak to them personally, that make them feel valuable as individuals.

Appropriately using emotion builds that value with your audience, even when they’re not ready to purchase. Human-voiced content should not only translate through your website but through social media and advertising as well. Blogging is a great way to create and demonstrate your brand’s sense of community. Categories are a subtle way to create authority in your areas of expertise.

Bold Vision, Bold Behavior: A Success Formula for Selling Martial Arts Memberships

Words "Think Outside the Box" written on top of box drawn on chalkboard

You offer your students a bold vision of possibilities in both physical empowerment and inner strength. You teach students to boldly try new best practices. On the mat, you subscribe to the formula: bold vision through bold behavior.

Do you bring the same approach to your business development—identifying prospective students and enrolling them in your program? Or do you switch to “social selling,” which means observing social niceties versus building your business?

One way to know: Look at the results. Are you having any of these problems?

a) Not enough leads

b) Not enough leads converting to intros

c) Student attrition

Let’s discuss how you can solve these problems through bold vision and bold behavior.

Consider the student attrition problem. Could students be leaving because parent’s expectations are met or exceeded? For example, let’s discuss a case history in student retention:

The problem: A child is isolated at the bus stop and won’t interact with other kids. Your martial arts school builds confidence. In 3 to 4 months, the parent withdraws the child. Mission accomplished. But is it?

If parents see the mission is accomplished, there is no sense of urgency to continue.

What is urgency? For parents, it’s a compelling reason to act now, to keep the child in your classes. What bold vision do you offer parents?

Do you teach parents there are “levels of martial arts consciousness,” which can include:

a) The Martial Arts Mindset

b) Empowerment

c) Leadership

d) Personal Responsibility

e) Inner Strength

f) Technique vs. Power

Do you tell them (in advance) about the journey? If they leave, whose responsibility is this?

Perhaps this is an approach you can use to increase student retention; you might create a brochure to help parents visualize the journey.

Let’s consider lead generating next. Do you have enough leads? What bold vision are you using to generate leads for your Martial Arts school?

Here’s a thought: You may just use a brochure created for student retention (mentioned above) to generate leads. Mail them out and drop them off at places where parents can take one. More importantly: Your best lead source is happy parents. They are a prime selling asset. Are you maximizing this asset through getting:

1) Testimonial letters from satisfied parents?

2) Having them recommend you through social media, e.g. post a message on Facebook about your martial arts school?

Let’s say you have set an objective of 4 intros per month. It’s the second week of the month and you have one intro. Should you be concerned? After all, there are almost two-and-a-half weeks left to the month.

On a do-or-die basis, you want to stay on target of one intro a week. This calls for bold behavior―enrolling satisfied parents to be our advocates, to extend our good reputation. If the month is over, and we only have one intro, it’s too late to affect the results. We need to act now, on a “do-or-die” basis to hit our results.

Finally, let’s consider the conversion of phone call inquiries to intros.

Let’s spend a moment on examining the incoming phone call:

Social Seller

Customer: Hi, could I get some literature.

Martial Arts School: Sure, why don’t you come down for a demo.

Customer: First, let me see the literature, then maybe I’ll come down.

Martial Arts School: Sure, look forward to hearing from you.

Business Seller

Customer: Hi, could I get some literature?

Martial Arts School: Sure, glad to. Tell me, why are you calling us today?

Customer: I’m thinking of having my child take martial arts lessons.

Martial Arts School: Great! Any particular skill or character quality you want your child to develop?

Customer: He’s kinda shy at the bus stop.

In the second case, we used some boldness to learn the urgent need, and move from social selling to business selling. By focusing on the urgent need, we can increase our conversion to intros. Once they visit, we can give parents the brochure we designed with student retention in mind.

By bringing the bold vision and bold behavior that you employ on the mat to your business development, you can ensure a growing, profitable martial arts business.

About the author: membersolutions has taught selling skills for 17 years. He started three businesses and has made approximately 4,000 sales calls, selling both B2B and B2C. He invented a selling process, Urgency Based Selling®, with which he can typically help companies double their closing or conversion ratio.

Everybody’s Business: Understanding, Recognizing, & Responding to Bullying

Warning: Cyber Bullying. Sticker on keyboard.

Many of us have heard others say that bullying is “just a fact of life” or “no big deal” or “you are not alone!” Too often, people do not take bullying seriously until the sad and sometimes scary stories are revealed; like the mass retribution shootings we are seeing more frequently across North America. Or the increasing numbers of teen suicides that involve cyberbullying, like that of 15-year-old Coquitlum, BC Canada resident, Amanda Todd.

Many studies show that bullying can have negative effects on a child’s development and their future. But the problem is much deeper and more widespread than we have been led to believe.

In a child’s world bullying occurs once every seven minutes on the playground, and once every 25 minutes in the classroom. Reports show that 30 to 40% of children with aggression problems grow up to continue with violence as adults. As they grow older, bullies may transfer their abuse of power on the playground to other forms of harassment, violence or abuse. Bullying changes its form with age:

  • Children’s playground bullying often involves pushing, shoving, name calling, teasing and isolation.
  • Teenage bullying may begin to include cyberbullying, sexual harassment, gang attacks and dating violence.
  • Adult bullying may become assaults, marital violence, child abuse, workplace harassment and senior abuse.

In order to curtail bullying, one needs to also address what has instigated it.

A Learned Behavior

Childhood bullies are kids that have usually been exposed to some type of negativity that prevents them from functioning in a positive way. They have often been traumatized by someone else. In many cases, it is someone they look up to like an older sibling, a parent, a sport’s coach or a teacher. Bullying is their way of venting their own frustrations or fears.

Young people who bully are more likely to smoke, drink, skip school, get into fights, vandalize property and drop out of school. A recent study in the USA shows that 60% of boys who were bullies in middle school had at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24. Still many bullies continue to use their tactics into adulthood without legal ramification. Victims may include people under their authority or control like subordinate staff, spouses and children.

Scars for Life

Victims of childhood bullying are typically unhappy children who suffer from fear, anxiety and low self-esteem. They may try to avoid school or social interaction in an effort to escape it. Some victims of bullying are so distressed that they develop eating disorders, substance abuse and commit, or attempt to commit, suicide. Several instances of suicide by boys, who had been severely bullied in Norway in the early 1980s, moved that country to begin a nationwide anti-bullying program.

Bullying is not gender specific. Young women face an increasing number of challenges which can produce low self-esteem. At early ages it can start with bullying, and as they enter their teen years it transforms to verbal, physical, cyber and in some cases sexual abuse. In a 1993 study, it was reported that 60% of girls who were bullied were bullied only by boys, while another 15-20% were bullied by both boys and girls. Today many news headlines include reports of swarming by groups of girls. None so close to home as the Rena Virk tragedy.

In almost all cases of bullying and abuse, the bully or predator will single out a victim who is weaker and possesses a low level of self-esteem. More time and effort is needed to help children and adults become more aware of themselves, increase their level of confidence and to learn how to defend themselves on a number of levels. But this is only the beginning. In order to stop bullying, we need to also address the source.

Creating a Bully-Free Community

Children are afraid to speak out about bullies and their acts. Some common reasons could be threats made by the bully or discounting the urgency by an adult. Because of this, adults need to take a proactive role in identifying and curtailing bullying activities wherever possible. If you suspect that your child may be a victim of bullying, or perhaps is the person doing the bullying, there are immediate steps that you can take to help them deal with this terrible childhood trauma.

Like any epidemic, one cannot keep applying Band-Aids to the wound. Eventually one has to venture to the source of the infection. In the case of bullying, the source is adults and parents who are usually too busy or stressed to deal with their own anxieties or fears. In order to create a bully-free community, government, police forces, educational bodies and the media need to work together to:

1) Accept the fact that bullying is a growing epidemic and major cause of illness and crime in our society
2) Educate the public on the existence and drastic effects of bullying
3) Provide educational opportunities for children and adults who would be typical targets of bullying
4) Identify weaknesses in our legal systems that allow bullying to exist
5) Pass laws that force adults in authoritative positions to develop approaches and behaviors that prevent bullying from taking place, and nurtures positive growth in our children and citizens
6) Be prepared to enforce anti-bullying laws. Only by taking these steps will we be able to curtail this unacceptable behavior.

About the author: Ken Marchtaler was born in Vancouver, Canada. He has studied and taught Martial Arts for more than 20 years. His group of companies, Marchtaler Group, includes two Martial Arts studios in Victoria, Canada, as well as a number of programs developed for the Martial Arts community including Little Warriors®, 30 Minute Warrior® and the concept of Martial Wellness®. Ken recently appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX networks: Health & Wellness Today TV Show Full Interview with Dr. John Spencer Ellis.

5 Sales Email Mistakes That Are Costing You Gym Members

Computer typing writing

A lead fills out a form on your website for more information on one of your fitness programs.

You need to follow up. That includes sending follow-up emails. But with literally hundreds of emails in a lead’s email inbox, how can you make it so that your email doesn’t get deleted as soon as it’s received? How can you improve the chance that the lead will take the next step to visit your facility or take a class?

Here’s a don’t-do list that can help when crafting your follow-up emails:

1. Don’t write subject lines like an advertisement.

Avoid spammy email subject lines like How to lose 30 lbs. and keep it off.

The email subject line is the first thing that a lead sees. It should be relevant to the lead’s interest. For example, if a lead requested information on your Fitness kickboxing program, send an email with the subject line: “Membership options for Fitness Kickboxing with |LS|YOUR BUSINESS NAME|RS|.”

Making the subject line relevant to the request will increase the likelihood that the email will be read and get you that much closer to converting the lead to a membership.

2. Don’t send only canned, mass emails.

Continue with relevancy by making the email content about what the lead requested. Sticking with the Fitness Kickboxing example, include information on the program, the schedule, directions to your facility and other related content.

This doesn’t mean you can’t use canned email templates to respond quickly to common questions or requests. Just make sure your response truly addresses your prospect’s needs before sending.

Member Solutions Member Manger Software- Email Marketing Template

3. Don’t leave your lead hanging without a next step to take.

Every email that you send out should include a call-to-action— words that urge the lead to take immediate action. Common calls to action include Call Now and Sign Up Today. If you are including a link to your class schedule, you could include the call-to-action Sign up for a class today.

4. Don’t leave out your email and phone number.

All emails to your leads should have some sort of personalization to it including a way for leads to reach you. Some people prefer to pick up the phone. Others like email. Everyone is different. Include multiple contact methods within your emails. It will greatly improve the interaction between your fitness business and potential members.

5. Don’t shy away from lending your expertise.

You want to be known as the leader in your neighborhood, so tell everyone who will listen what you know. If you have an instructional fitness video, an article you’ve written on diet and exercise, any how-to materials at all, include them in your emails. Doing so will showcase your expertise and get the people that inquired about your programs inspired to take action.

Bottom line: Keep your follow-up emails relevant to the lead’s interest and provide ways for them to easily take the next step and get a hold of you. Doing so will get your leads in the door much quicker.

What kind of follow-up emails work for you? Tell us about it below.