Most (ok, all) small business owners don’t know everything. Maybe they come from the financial world, or the marketing world, or the business world, or whatever world in their “previous life”, and, as a result, their skills are more specialized. So, when they reach that glorious day of becoming their own boss, they find themselves having to wear every different hat… and it can be a bit overwhelming.

No more things being done for you. Now everything has to be done by you. Growth. Understanding the numbers. Managing social media. Sales. Creating content. Referrals. Partnerships. Maintenance. Hiring/Firing/Training staff. The list is long, and often times endless.

For every entrepreneur, two things are constant: 1) there never seems to be enough money, and 2) there never seems to be enough time. BUT… you have to grow your business. You have to get sales, and in order to get sales, you have to do marketing.

So, we thought we’d tackle the often illusive topic of marketing and give you a list of things that don’t require much of either time or money. Below are a handful of key activities that will create awareness and exposure of the business you’re working so hard to build.

  1. Create Partnerships in the Community. Your reputation among other businesses in your community is vital to your success. Any business close to you can be a good “target” to develop a relationship with (e.g., dog groomer, child care, wine store, restaurant). If you’re located among other businesses, spend a morning walking around and introduce yourself to the business owners. A few ideas: 1) Offer all staff members something special (like a free drop-in) and ask if you can place a flyer/business cards somewhere in their business; 2) Create a banner in your gym with a list of local partners in order to help them to promote their businesses; 3) Have a board dedicated to promoting ‘Community Partners’ and you could arrange for all your members to receive a percentage off their products and services; 4) Invite the business owners to your big events. Tell them they can set up a table/booth to promote their businesses in exchange for some freebies on the day; and 5) Have them put your logo (with link) on their website and you do the same. The ultimate goal is a win (for you) – win (for the business owner) – win (for your members).
  2. Get More Online Reviews. Social proof means so much these days. We all look at the reviews before making purchases. Focus on Google primarily (FB doesn’t measurably move the needle and Yelp is not as valued), but be sure this is slow and steady. Too many reviews at once will send a red flag. An idea is to give drop-ins a 2nd free class after leaving a review. Another idea is to email your members, asking for a review and giving them the link to click on – make it simple! Use this tool to help. 
  3. Put a Video in your Email Signature. This idea comes from our resident SEO & Social Media expert, Josh Sturgeon. Film a short (>60 second) video sharing a little bit about what gets you up in the morning. You can give it the title #MyWhy. The idea here is to place a video thumbnail in your email signature that leads anyone who clicks it to a landing page where they can watch your video. On the landing page there’s a Call to Action below the video where they can book a time to chat more about their fitness/health goals. The goal here is to make that personal connection to foster trust early on. At the end of the day, people do business with people…and people they trust.
  4. Reach Out Personally to your Clients. Set up a system where each client is hearing from you (or a member of your team) at least once a month. No agenda, just a “Hey Sarah, thanks for being a part of what we’re doing here. Let us know how we can help you better reach your goals!”
  5. Conduct an Exit Survey for Cancelled Members. This can be a short email that people get when they decide to cancel. It will give you lots of insight into why people cancel, so that you can address these things for the future.
  6. Organize Monthly Athlete Challenges. People love healthy competition – things like most meters rowed, most cals on the Assault Bike, etc… This doesn’t have to require a lot of thought or energy. You just need a big whiteboard, and a few inexpensive prizes at the end for the winner/s.
  7. Send Out a “One Pain Point” Email to all Your Members. The email would go something like this – “Hi! Could you do me a huge favor and hit reply and answer this one question to help us continue to build up our services and serve our community as best as possible? Question: What is one major Pain Point (problem/challenge) with your health and fitness that you are dealing with right now? Thanks for helping us make [company xyz] better!” Our suggestion – edit this with your gym info and send to your email list. What a great way to hear what people’s pain points are! Word to the wise though… if you do this – be sure to respond to each one, offering value.
  8. Play Bingo. This idea was shared in our private client FB group by Joe Minichino and got a great response. Your members will strategize on what boxes to fill out and classes to attend (see image at right). Run it for a week, and then give prizes for things like one bingo ($10 gift card – 3 winners), three bingos ($25 Merchandise Credit + $25 gift card – 2 winners), and a blacked out card ($50 Merchandise Credit + $50 gift card – 1 winner). Cards should be checked at end of the week and they get entered in for the prize determined by how many Bingos they get.
  9. Offer a 6-8 Week Program for Other Businesses. This idea is from Matt Scanlon, member of our 321Go leadership team. He says your approach to the business owner would be something like this… “We will run a 6-8 week course designed to Ramp Up [Company Name] Employees to a healthier lifestyle at a special [Company Name] discounted rate. This will be limited to [__] people per class and people must sign up for the entire program ahead of time. We encourage companies to provide incentives such as cost-matching and rewards for most classes attended to drive adoption.”

This list is not meant to be exhaustive, only to get you thinking about how you can see your business grow by putting in a little effort. Feel free to use these as is or tweak them to better suit your business and needs. 

Here’s the secret: while many people may read this article, few will do anything about it. Choose a few of these things that make most sense to you, actually make them happen, and you’ll be steps ahead of your competition.

We specialize in helping gym owners excel at all things marketing and growing your business. If we can help you, schedule a free call with us here.

2 Comments

  • Tom says:

    Several very thought provoking ideas for my type of business. Putting them in action is the challenge

    • 321go says:

      You’re definitely right, Tom! But, the ones who do are the ones who rise above the crowd and differentiate themselves from the competition. If you need help, we’d love to talk!

Leave a Reply