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 Presenter

Hugh 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.

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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

<![CDATA[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: Uncover the Hidden Profit Center Inside Gyms & Martial Arts Studios

Can you turn a profit on your billing expenses? Expert sales consultant and school owner Erik Charles Russell says yes.

Members love convenience. In this webcast, Erik Charles Russell shares how to create a new revenue stream by appealing to members’ desire for convenient billing options. Through this model, you can generate higher income from fewer members as you reduce administrative costs. What you’ll learn:

  • How to create a profit center from service and transaction fees
  • How to raise prices and retain current members
  • Why low prices do not lead to more members

Presented by Erik Charles Russell.

Erik Charles has been in the Martial Arts and Fitness industry for more than 25 years and is the owner of Premier Martial Arts and Fitness in Watertown, NY. In 2015, he published a book based on his successes called The Art of Selling Memberships. The book became an international best seller—hitting number one in three categories in the US, Australia, and Germany on Amazon.com.

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Creating Effective Follow-Up Emails for Fitness Business Leads

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 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.

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.

Killer Customer Service: 5 Quick Tips for Your Fitness Business

Two young women hand credit card for membership payment to representative at front desk

Upon entering a sushi or Japanese restaurant, you may be greeted by the chefs with the expression, Irasshaimase, which means Welcome, please come in. It is one of the reasons I love going out for sushi, and I eat a lot of it.

Whether you’re a personal trainer, a fitness club operator, or a yoga studio manager, you want to create that same special feeling when people enter your business’s door or even walk into a class that is being taught.

The policy at our personal training studio is very simple: Every trainer greets everyone. They do not pass a client without saying hello. If the client is leaving, they say goodbye. These greetings and salutations go a long way to making our clients feel at home in our gym, which is exactly the feeling we strive for.

The easiest way to provide killer customer service in your fitness business is to do more for your members.

Here are five quick and simple ways to amp up your customer service:

1. Offer Towel Service—Provide clients with workout towels and shower towels so they do not need to carry around a wet towel all day in their gym bag. If you do not have access to laundry services, you can brand the towels with your business logo and use the towels as promotions by giving them to new clients as a welcome gift. The towels will serve as additional advertising should your clients visit another gym.

2. Provide Online Appointment Scheduling—Your clients deserve quick access to your schedules so they can make changes and book the sessions that they want, when they want them. The great thing with using fitness software like Member Manager is that frees up your time from answering the phone or emailing people back and forth to book appointments. Online scheduling will end appointment errors (no more double-bookings), and keep your clients happy and in charge of their scheduling.

3. Run Internal Events and Contests—Contests and events can be easy to put together and fun for your clients and trainers. Track the number of steps and reward those that hit 10,000 steps a day, or use the elliptical and stair climbers to track against the elevation of mountains like Everest or Fuji. Internal competitions, contests, and events will keep your clients engaged and your trainers focused.

4. Host an Online Store—This is another double-purpose service offering, one that clients love and that you can use to generate more revenue for your fitness business. Sell your memberships, personal training sessions, your fitness gear, and even your events through an online store. Add your affiliate’s websites to this same store to generate even more revenue for your fitness business.

5. Spa-Up Your Bathrooms —Your clients are busy and need to get ready for a day of work or a night out. Provide soaps, shampoos, and accessories to transform your change room into a spa-like space. If you do this right, you can also sell these same products to your members by setting up distributor agreements with suppliers.

When you deliver superior customer service like this, you can use it as a competitive advantage to contend with other fitness gyms and studios, to justify your price points, and to promote additional revenue streams, all while making your existing clients raving fans of your fitness facility.

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Sales Scripts to Improve Your Martial Arts Membership Selling Skills

Woman talking on mobile phone

In my last post, I covered how you should respond when a prospective martial arts school member insists on getting a price from you over the phone.

The truth is that price is just one of the objections you’ll face during membership selling. In order to turn a hesitant prospect into a long-term member, you need to address each and every one of their concerns. Specifically, most prospects will push back on the same four areas—location, schedule/time, motivation/commitment, and their significant other.

The good news is that there’s an easy, fool-proof way to eliminate each of these four objections. To learn how, all you and your staff need to do is practice these simple sales scripts.

Membership Sales Script: Answering the Price QuestionQuestion: How much is it to join?

Never give your membership prices until they’re ready to buy. Giving a price before they’ve experienced what you have to offer is telling them is that there’s no benefit to choosing you over the competition, other than price. However, you must answer their question.

You: Thank you for your interest. The price of your membership is going to depend on the program that you choose. We have quite a few options. Have you ever trained before, or is this something new for you?

Prospect: Oh, I’m new at this. I’ve never joined a gym before in my life.

You: Ok, great. Well, we’re very beginner friendly. We’re good at helping new people with little or no experience get great results in a safe and healthy way. What’s the goal you’re looking to accomplish by becoming a member?

Prospect: I’m looking to lose weight.

You: Very good. That’s actually the number one reason why people become members here—so you’ve called the right place. May I ask your name?

Prospect: My name is Judy.

You: Ok, Judy. What I normally do is have you come in and try out our club/program for free. I’ll talk to you a little bit more about your goals and some ways that we can achieve them when you come in. This free session gives me the opportunity to see where you are and helps me make the best program recommendation that I can for you. This also allows you to try us out—without any obligation and to see if you like it. When are you available to come in for your free session? Do you work days or nights?

Appointment Tip for Prospective Members

When setting an appointment with your prospective member, confirm that she knows where you’re located and how to get to you. Be sure to get a phone number and to add them to your member management software, which will allow you to track your interactions with them through the sales process.

Erik Charles Russell has been in the Martial Arts and Fitness industry more than 25 years. He owns Premier Martial Arts and Fitness in Watertown, NY. In 2015, he published a book based on his successes called “The Art of Selling Memberships”. The book became an international best seller—hitting number one in three categories in the U.S., Australia, and Germany on Amazon.com.

Membership Contracts: How to Properly Respond to Formal Complaints

A written billing agreement ― otherwise known as a membership contact — is a standard business document used by many membership-based businesses. Every day, Martial Arts schools, fitness clubs, yoga and Pilates studios, and MMA gyms establish agreements with their members. The membership business offers classes, lessons, equipment, and/or training in exchange for payment from the member. Through the membership contract, the member agrees to use services provided by the business and pay for them at an agreed price under certain terms and conditions.

Sounds clear-cut, right? Unfortunately issues surrounding membership contracts arise, and those issues can be anything but clear-cut. Members often times end up opposing the terms of the signed billing agreement, stating “that is not what I was told when I joined“. These complaints turn into a ‘contract dispute’ and can then escalate to a formal consumer complaint filed through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and/or the State Attorney General.

Formal complaints issued through the BBB and/or State Attorney General aren’t to be taken lightly. Here are some tips you should consider before responding to these complaints:

  1. Make sure you fully understand the complaint before you respond. Angry customers tend to throw everything they can into a formal complaint in order to prove their case. Before you formulate your response, find the customer’s proposed resolution. Once you know of the requested resolution, you can better address the complaint.
  2. Keep your personal feelings out of it. Your anger or disappointment has no place in a formal response letter. Many local BBBs post responses online for others to review. State the facts only.
  3. Back up your responses with any documentation you may have, i.e. a written billing agreement, cancellation form, etc. Be sure to black out any bank account or credit card numbers if they are included on your documentation.
  4. Keep copies of the complaint and your responses. If the issue is not resolved with the first correspondence, you may receive a rebuttal complaint. Having a copy of the first letter helps in responding to the second letter.
  5. If you do not agree with the customer’s suggested resolution, offer an alternative. This displays your willingness to compromise and end the dispute on amicable terms.
  6. Whether the consumer complaint is filed with the BBB or the State Attorney General, it is very important to respond by the suggested deadline date. This is especially true of Attorney General complaints. The Attorney General has the power to investigate further and can prosecute if it finds wrong-doing. Your best bet with Attorney General disputes is to find a way to resolve them as quickly as possible.

As I’ve mentioned before, your ability to resolve the conflict and complaint is an extremely important part of keeping your membership business successful and your business reputation protected. Often times it is best to find a resolution that works for both parties.

For additional guidance, read my post on how to properly handle member cancellations.

Margo Stauffer is the Director of Customer Service for Member Solutions. She manages the Customer Service and Client Services Teams. Over the years, she has managed customer service teams in several industries including eight years in the health and fitness area serving franchisees throughout the world. She has been with Member Solutions for nearly five years.

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Cage Fitness™ vs. Other Fitness Programs

Cage Fitness™ was developed in conjunction with The Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA) and nine-time welterweight MMA Champion Matt Hughes. Matt is a huge advocate of health and fitness in general and is very excited about Cage Fitness™ and the success of the program thus far.

The most obvious benefit of Cage Fitness™ is its ability to bring in new members. You will attract new members by having the right to use Matt Hughes’s name and image. It is a huge draw to have a celebrity fighter promoting your school.

Cage Fitness™ also offers a great workout in just 30 minutes. The program achieves this by what is known as interval training. Interval training is basically performing exercises at maximum effort, then slowing down or stopping to rest, then jumping right back into max performance mode, and then rest. With Cage Fitness™, participants repeat these intervals five times through five sets of 5-minute rounds with one minute breaks in between. That’s the interval.

Participants start with a warm-up to increase their heart rate and to get blood flowing to the muscles. They then transition into an upper body round, where they push their upper body muscles and end the round with a ground and pound. This is repeated through a lower body round, cage combo round, and core/cool down round. This interval system gives the participants the maximum calorie-burning potential and helps increase their metabolisms.

All of the interval training is based around a 40-pound patent-pending Cage Fitness™ dummy that adds the element of resistance to the workout. The resistance training is beneficial because not only are participants burning calories, but they also are building lean muscle that will aid in burning calories while at rest and will give them the lean, toned look that is so sought after.

Check out the recorded webinar, How Cage Fitness Can Boost Revenue In Your School. You’ll find out how to implement the program with ease, reach untapped markets, generate revenue, and more.

For more information on Cage Fitness™, please visit our website at www.CageFitness.com

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