Maybe you already have a small retail shop at your studio, or maybe you’re thinking about giving it a try. Either way, promoting retail at your fitness business is a different ballgame than promoting your studio in general. But, it’s not as hard as you might think! If you want to sell products and goodies at your studio, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help make retail at your fitness business successful and profitable:

#1: Stock the right stuff

You may have the most genius idea for branded knee-high socks, but ask yourself this: Are your members going to buy it? Before opening up the retail side of your business (or even if it’s already up and running!), take the time to do some small-scale market research. Ask your staff and members:

  • What gear would they want to wear?
  • What do they forget most often when they visit your studio that would be helpful to sell, like a yoga mat or earphones?
  • What types of supplements do your trainers recommend most often, and is there a certain brand you personally endorse?

Selling the right stuff is the first step to successful retailing.

#2: Create hype

If you’re planning to offer some products at your studio in the future or you just ordered some new stuff, get people excited before the products get there. Make an announcement on social media to let people know that their new favorite shirt is coming soon. Or plaster promotional posters around your studio letting members know they’ll be able to cool off after a tough workout at your new smoothie bar.

Letting people know about your products before they arrive can help bolster sales right from the get-go, rather than having your awesome new merchandise sitting around gathering dust.

#3: Update online tags and descriptions

Make sure it’s clear online that you also offer products for sale at your studio. Build out a page on your website that displays some of what you sell, a menu of the food or drink items you offer, or even an online store where people can order right from your site.

But, don’t stop there. Most social media sites, like Yelp or Facebook, allow businesses to tag their page by what services they offer. Be sure to add retail as a tag on these sites so new visitors know you offer products for sale, as well. On Facebook, for example, you can see and edit any business tags in your “About” section:

 

Be sure to update the tags on your business description.

#4: Put it in the right place

Let’s face it: People probably aren’t coming to your studio just to buy the products you sell on the side. They’re coming in for a workout, class or personal training session. If they happen to buy something while they’re in, great! But don’t expect anyone to go looking for your retail items if they’re tucked at the back of the building by your office.

Set up your retail shop in a location that’s high-traffic and convenient for your members. The lobby is usually a good bet, and make sure the merchandise is close to a cashier to make purchases even easier.

#5: Use it as an incentive

If you sell products at your studio, you want people to get excited about them. And what better way to get people excited about your retail items than offering them as a prize? If you run regular competitions at your gym or participate in any sort of in-studio or charity giveaways, use your merchandise or products as awards. 

Take Orangetheory, for example. Winners of their workout challenge were awarded with Orangetheory gear. So, the winners feel great about themselves, and OTF has new brand ambassadors to rep their name around town and get other people interested in the gear:

Check out how Orangetheory Fitness leveraged their gear for an in-studio contest.

Don’t want to just give your products away? Offer discount incentives, instead! Entice new members at your studio by offering 10% off your products for their first month. Or surprise your loyal members by giving them a BOGO card after they’ve attended 10 classes. Using your products as a prize automatically makes people excited about them, and you can easily get members introduced to what you offer so they’ll get in the habit of coming back to buy more.

#6: Rep it

If you’ve got great gear with your studio’s name or logo, show it off! Get your staff or trainers to wear the latest gear you’ve got in the store rather than a standard uniform. Your members probably look up to your amazing trainers and will be more likely to buy a shirt themselves if their favorite instructor is repping it.

You can also motivate your members to show off your studio’s gear. Check out how SoulCycle inspired their members. They encourage members to share pics in SoulCycle gear with the hashtag #SOULStyle for a chance to be featured in a monthly email newsletter:

SouCycle inspires members to rep their gear on social media.

 

Still unsure the best way to market the retail side of your business? Or want a more in-depth analysis on the best way to market products to your members? SWETI would love to help! Schedule your free marketing review, and we can offer in-the-moment feedback and consultation to get the retail side of your business off the ground.

 

 

Nicole Gartside, Content Marketing Strategist

 

For kids, summer is always the best time of year: no school, beautiful weather, and endless hours outside with friends. But for those in the fitness industry, the new season can feel a bit more daunting. At the average gym in America, new memberships hit an all-time low between June and August. With the warm weather driving people outside and more families scheduling their summer vacations, most studio owners out there have experienced the “Summer Slump.”

Here at SWETI Services, we’ve seen summer after summer in the fitness industry, and we’ve put together some surefire ways your studio can beat the Summer Slump:

 

Refresh Your Calendar

People may prefer to get active outside as the weather warms up, but that’s not always an option for people that are still working a 9 – 5 job. They may not have time to hit up their favorite hiking trail before work or won’t feel safe running through their town late at night after dinner. Update your class schedule to accommodate those people. Make sure you’ve got some early-morning options for members who want a quick sweat session before work, as well as some late classes for the night owls.

 

Motivate Your Current Members

Just because new memberships are traditionally low this time of year doesn’t mean you should focus all of your attention on driving those sales back up. Dedicate energy to motivating your current members to get more involved, as well. Try putting together a summer workout challenge, where members are challenged to hit the gym a certain number of times a week to win a prize. Or, they could compete with other members for the most weight lost or highest number of classes attended.

You could also get your current members more involved by offering great deals on some of your pricier services, like personal training or nutritional planning. It’s hard to pass up a good deal, so give members a little push to check out other things your studio has to offer.

 

Reward Regulars

If you’re successful in motivating your members, you’re sure to have some regulars you can always count on: The people who show up day in and day out. Summer is the perfect opportunity to show those people how much you appreciate them (while inspiring your less-active members to get more involved, as well, or new members to come on board). Highlight some of your regular members on social media with a “member spotlight” or offer some free swag to people who attend your weekend workouts. That little unexpected surprise can motivate members to keep at it during the summer months.

(Looking for other ways you can use social media to keep your members involved? SWETI breaks it down with 4 Ways You Can Leverage Social Media to Increase Retention.)

 

Focus on Customer Service

Customer service is important any time of year, but it’s especially crucial during the summer months. Think of it this way: If your members are coming in less frequently during the summer, that means you have less chances to impress them and show them why they love coming into your studio. Make sure your facility is cleaner than ever, always well-stocked, and remind staff to be gracious, helpful, and proactive. If a member has a great experience when they come into your studio and leave in a great mood, they’ll be more likely to come back.

 

Take Advantage of the Season

Don’t always fight the new season — embrace it when you can! If your members are eager to get outside, help them do that at your studio. Take one of your weekly boot camps outdoors or organize a fun run that starts at your gym where members can invite friends. Taking advantage of the weather can create a nice change of pace and still provide a great option for your outdoorsy members.

 

The ultimate way to beat the Summer Slump? Make sure your studio has a well-rounded marketing strategy to keep members involved all season long. SWETI Services would love to help you put that together. Schedule your free marketing review today to get in-the-moment feedback and advice to drive revenue for your business.

 

 

Nicole Gartside, Content Marketing Strategist

So, you want to run a Facebook ad for your studio? Good choice! With over a billion active users, Facebook offers unparalleled ad targeting, which means you can reach more of the right people for less cost. But, if you’ve never run a Facebook ad before, it can feel daunting. That’s why we’ve broken down what you need to know about Facebook ads.

What is a Facebook Ad?

Facebook ads are sponsored posts that can be delivered to any desired audience based on location, demographics, interest targeting and more. So, if you’re hoping to promote a strength and conditioning class for high school athletes, you can set up your ad to display only to Facebook users between the ages of 14 and 18 who are interested in sports. Unlike traditional forms of advertising like print or television, you don’t have to waste money displaying your ad to people who aren’t going to attend your class. Facebook will only serve that ad to your target demographic.

How does it work?

There are multiple different types of ads, and they all display a little differently and serve different purposes:

App Engagement: If you want to drive traffic to your new app, this type of add is meant to generate activity and get people using your technology.

App Installs: Instead of just encouraging people to try your app, this ad can actually allow them to download it with just a few clicks.

Brand Awareness: If you’re a new studio looking to get your name out there, this type of ad is a great way to make your target demographic aware of your brand. You can use any type of content for this ad, so try to get creative and think of content your ideal audience would want to engage with.

Local Awareness: Similar to brand awareness, this type of ad helps to get the word out about your studio. But in this case, you can target only people who live close to your studio.

Store Visits: This type of ad works best if you’ve got a business where customers can just pop in anytime, but may not be ideal if potential members need to make an appointment or buy a membership first. With one click, this ad gives people directions to your business.

Website Conversions: If you’re promoting a special offer or want to encourage people to sign up for a free trial, the website conversions ad is a great way to drive people directly to a landing page on your website. The goal of these ads is to have prospects take an action by clicking the link, so make sure your call-to-action is clear.

Clicks to Website: While website conversions are about having potential members take an action on your site, a clicks to website ad is about driving website traffic more generally. If you have a killer blog or in-depth guidelines for healthy eating, this type of ad will be a great way to get your content in front of more eyes. (If you want to get even more people on your site, see how to Increase Your Website Traffic in 4 Simple Steps.)

Event Ads: Have a special event coming up at your studio? Use an event ad to generate more interest and get more people excited about attending!

Offer Claim Ads: Rather than directing people to a landing page on your website, offer claim ads allow prospects to claim an offer directly on Facebook. So, if you’ve got a discounted class package or a special on gear from your online store, this is an easy way for people to make that purchase.

Lead Generation (Full Form) Ads: This ad is going to collect the most information from your potential members and generate tangible leads for your studio. It does take a little more effort and commitment from your prospects, so it can be one of the most expensive types of ads. But by directing people to enter their information right on Facebook, it’s a surefire way to generate more leads for your studio.

Page Likes: Want to bolster your presence on social media? This ad encourages people to like your Facebook page with just one click right on the ad.

Post Engagements: If you created a post on your Facebook page that did really well with your audience, consider running it as an ad, as well. Giving prospects content they can engage with can encourage them to check out your brand and give your name more visibility. (We’ve got your covered with some content inspiration, as well! Check out 5 Content Ideas for May.)

Where do I start?

If you read through all the options available to you for Facebook ads and thought to yourself, I have no idea where to start, that’s okay — you’re not alone. It’s important to create an ad that will capture your audience’s attention, but it’s even more important to give context and make your desired action clear. So before you start, make sure you’re 100% clear on what it is you’d like your audience to do. Do you want them to sign up for a class? Come in for a free intro session? Knowing what exactly you want to promote can help you decide which type of ad will be best.

And let your audience know what they will be receiving if they click your ad. The biggest mistake businesses make when running Facebook ads is making it complicated for a user to perform the call to action. Setting up complex landing pages with multiple steps is going to create drop off. Make your add attractive, easy to see what you’re offering, and simple for someone to complete the call to action.

Do they work?

Short answer: Yes. The average person spends just under two hours a day on social media, and users like, share, and comment on posts 4.1 million times every minute. There’s ample opportunity to reach people who could become members at your studio. Putting a little money behind your pages on social media will help get your content in front of the right eyes, and therefore drive more leads to your business.

Plus, Facebook offers extensive insight into how your ads are performing. Imagine knowing exactly how many eyes were on a billboard you purchased. With Facebook advertising, you can see how many people saw, clicked, or completed an action on your ad. This allows you to quickly and easily know if your ad killed it or flopped, so you won’t waste money on ads that aren’t going anywhere. With Facebook ads, you can spend smarter and drive revenue to multiple aspects of your business.

 
At SWETI Services, we’ve helped numerous clients set up high-performing Facebook ads that draw in more prospects and keep existing members coming back. Set up a marketing consultation with our team today to learn about how we can do that for your studio too.

 

Kelly Engle, Digital Marketing Specialist

After owning and operating a group fitness studio for years, SWETI Services founder, Joe Berti, soon learned marketing was the most difficult part of owning a studio. He tried finding an agency to help but they were often too expensive or didn’t have the expertise he was looking for. Shortly after, he launched SWETI Services. Through running a studio of his own and working with hundreds of studios across the country, Joe has learned a thing or two about effective branding and marketing.

Here, he shares some tips and wisdom on how you can market yourself to increase new memberships:

 

What would you say is the #1 most important part of branding and messaging for a gym or studio to increase revenue?

The ideal branding or messaging appeals to someone’s emotions or something that matters to them personally. They have to be able to see themselves working out at your gym or studio. They don’t care as much about what your logo looks like as you do — they are selfish, thinking about themselves. Does the class schedule fit when they are available? Are the instructors someone they would want to work out with? Is the vibe of the studio what they like?

 

What are some ways a gym or studio can stand out with their messaging?

Being clear is important — something that’s easy to remember, descriptive of what you do, and is catchy unless you have a ton of money to establish your brand. Create a list of fitness businesses you know are successful and then ask yourself, what about their name or messaging helped them on that path to success? Need some examples? How about SoulCycle, OrangeTheory, Lifetime Fitness or Core Power Yoga?

 

What are some ways you can set your staff up for success when talking to prospective members about your studio? Learning what is important to an individual is key. From there you can communicate your message or offering in a way that relates to them. What time of day do they work out? What types of workouts do they like? What is important to them? Are there any barriers to them getting started? I have seen membership coordinators jump right into discussing a free week or a discounted first month, knowing that the person they were speaking with was a multi-millionaire who did not care about money.  

 

How do you best communicate your brand in various mediums? (In marketing or in person) There needs to be a mix that covers the multitude of ways people will interact with your brand. Mix in some success stories, pure branding messages, images of people in your target market, offers to attract people who are enticed by an offer, and messaging for people who are having a hard time getting started with a workout routine.

Build a profile of your target customer and determine what is important to them. And remember, some messages work better in Facebook ads, for example, than they do in email marketing so be sure to do some testing and don’t be afraid to mix it up! Just make sure everything matches your overall brand and tone.

 

What would you say is the best forum to turn a customer into a member after a potential customer has expressed interest?

In person is always best, followed by a phone call if they originally called or emailed you. Individuals are getting too many emails, reading less than 30% of the emails they receive. Email marketing is still a critical part of your marketing approach, but realize that not all emails will be actually read.

 

Let’s say a potential member turns you down. What next?

Ask them why and then listen to them, responding only after you have fully heard what they have to say. Empathize and connect with them personally to hopefully help get them over the hump of joining, or to at least keep you in mind for when they’re ready down the road.

Want even more help effectively marketing your studio? Schedule your free consultation with us today!

Joe Berti, SWETI Services Founder

Email marketing isn’t a tool only used for reaching new prospects — it’s also a powerful tool for retaining those members you work so hard to attract in the first place. It can be a costly mistake to neglect customer retention. Did you know it costs 7 times more to acquire a new customer on average than it does to keep an existing one? Don’t worry, we’ve compiled the top 5 types of customer retention emails you can start using today to keep members coming back.

 

1. Transaction-Based

If you’ve ever purchased something on Amazon, then you’ve received a transactional email. These emails are typically receipts, invoices, reports, etc. Based on a report done by Experian, these types of emails are opened 7 times more often compared with promotional emails. There’s a huge opportunity in these emails (since you have their attention) to reach customers and share your brand.

What transactional emails are you sending your prospects and members? Here are a few common ones:

  • Monthly autopay or membership confirmation
  • Appointment confirmation or reminder
  • Class schedule confirmation or reminder
  • Receipts from in-studio purchases
  • Class or appointment cancellation
  • New customer welcome
  • Happy birthday (and other holidays)

And there are many more! Start with adding in a subtle marketing message or promotion. Here are some message ideas to consider:

  • Promote an upcoming event or workshop
  • Cross-promote a separate service offering. Maybe a group of customers have only been participating in yoga, but you have a separate studio for cycling classes. Or, possibly you’re offering a new class type and it hasn’t been filling up yet.
  • Promote a VIP membership. If you have lots of members, but have a higher tier membership think about adding a quick mention of all the perks of upgrading.
  • Promote memberships to new customers or drop-ins. This would be a great message to add to the new client email and/or your receipt emails.

Make sure to include a call-to-action! A simple link or promo code will do. If you want to get fancy you can add a graphic with a call-to-action button – this is how we set up email campaigns for studios and gyms.

 

2. Thank You Gift

At the time a new customer makes their first purchase is when they are most excited about joining. It’s also the perfect time to offer them a sincere thank you and upsell or promote something. Here are a couple of value-add options to promote:

  • If you are mainly a class-based studio: offer a free personal training or private session.
  • If you are mainly an appointment-based business: offer a free nutrition consultation, body composition analysis, meal planning session, etc. The goal is something that supplements their training.
  • Promote attending an upcoming workshop, seminar, or event at a discounted rate. Make sure to include a promo code and link to enroll.
  • Give a free gift for joining. We’ve seen a wide array of gifts from t-shirts to yoga mats to juice bar gift cards and more.

Keep in mind – it doesn’t have to be something free that in-turn costs your business. You can put together an ebook, meal plan document, etc. to share with new members instead. Another option is to work with a like-minded business that is nearby to cross-promote, i.e., free juice coupons in exchange for free class passes (or discounted) with a local juice bar.

 

3. Feedback or Reviews

As mentioned previously, members are the most pumped about your studio right when they join – use this to your advantage! Ask for feedback, reviews, referrals, etc. We suggest doing this as an automatically triggered campaign you set up on your email marketing or CRM software. We typically set up these emails to go out every couple of days with each email revolving around one topic and one call-to-action. For example, on day one you’d ask for feedback about the customer’s first class or private session, on day three you’d ask for a review on Yelp/Google/Other, and on day six you’d ask for referrals. The cadence depends on your business. If someone is coming in 3-5 times per week you can get away with this frequency of emails, but if they’re coming in 1-2 times per month (massage studio), you’d want to dial it back a bit. The more engaged and invested a member is early on, the more likely they are to stick with their new workout routine and thus pay their monthly membership.

 

4. Motivational/Reminder

Everybody falls off the wagon at some point. That’s what friendly reminder emails are for! Of course, everyone is gung-ho in January, but in March they may start to slip on their commitment. Stay on top of them early to prevent them from cancelling come spring. Depending on the software programs you use at your studio there are built-in retention emails to a varying degree.

First, make sure they are enabled. Second, make sure they sound and look like your brand. The majority of studios we work with hadn’t changed the email template at all, so it’s typically very generic with robot-like copy.

Set these reminder emails up for customers who:

  • Are in danger of cancellation
  • Haven’t been to your studio in awhile (especially if they used to come to class religiously)
  • Have memberships that are expiring soon
  • Have class pass cards that are running out of classes

5. Cancellation Follow Up

As disappointing as it is for a member to cancel, it doesn’t mean goodbye forever. Encourage cancelled members to stay connected to your studio in any way they can. This way when they are in a place where they’re ready to commit again, you will be top of mind. Here are a couple of ideas you can plug into your cancellation confirmation emails:

  • “Did you know we offer low commitment options? Drop in for as many classes as you’d like with ultimate flexibility!”
  • “Want a freebie? We post fitness tips regularly on our blog here <insert link>.”
  • “We’re sorry to see you go, but stay connected with us on Facebook where we post weekly fitness tips. Follow us here <insert link>.”

 

The goal here is to take advantage of every interaction someone has with your brand. Remember, marketing isn’t over once someone becomes a customer – it’s only the beginning! What do you think? Are you currently implementing any of the email marketing strategy tactics above? How are you leveraging email to retain those hard-earned members?

 

Need help with getting all this set up? Book a free marketing consultation with our team to get started.

 

 

Tia Stone, Director of Marketing

Next week starts the busiest shopping season of the year. Surveys estimate 74.2 million people shopped on Black Friday last year, and a whopping 95 million came out for Small Business Saturday. Now don’t you want a piece of that pie?

Here are some ideas we’ve seen work well:

 

Market While You’re Closed

Put a sign or flyer in the door or window of your business stating your holiday hours AND promote a package. Use something like:

“Thanks for visiting! We are closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 24th, but our online store is open. Visit the website below to purchase our intro offer – 30 days for $69!”

You can substitute the promotion to be for gift cards, a different special package, or a promotion you’ll be running for Black Friday and/or the other sales days. Step it up a notch and leave offer cards or postcards for visitors to take with them.

 

Run a Few Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads

Run three separate Facebook Ads on each of the corresponding days. Schedule them to start and end, lasting for just that one day. We’d suggest spending the maximum $20/day on each of these, as your reach will be thousands up to tens of thousands (depending on your market and location). Make sure each promotion is for a different package or service and the marketing message is tailored to the specific sales day, i.e., “Cyber Monday Special…”

 

Network for Free Advertising

Cross-promote your deals and promotions with nearby businesses. If you are in a high-traffic area, you can leverage that proximity on both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Walk over and talk to those neighbors about what promotions they’ll be running. Ask them if they have any sales sheets, coupons or flyers you can post at your business. Make sure to take postcards or offer cards with you that detail your specials and ask them to keep them at their front desk or post in their window.

 

Leverage Partnerships

Create a bundle package with your local partners. Brainstorm businesses that complement your services or class offerings. Some examples include; nearby juice bars, chiropractic offices, massage studios, cryotherapy studios, fitness retail stores, health food stores, and many more. Meet with these companies and put together a package (or multiple) to cross-promote one another’s services. Here’s an example:

Holiday Pound Prevention Plan $239 (normally $425)

Includes:

  • 30 days of group fitness classes at Honest Pilates Studio
  • 25% off supplements at Benefits Health Food
  • A one-hour massage at Harmony Massage Clinic
  • A weekly cryotherapy session at Cryo Health Center (4 total)
  • 20% off athletic apparel at Athletic Wear

 

Promote Within Your Network

Promote the specials you’ll be offering ahead of time. It’s not too late to start now! Send an email out to your contacts and members with the special promotions you’ll be running. Make sure to explain that promotional pricing is only valid on said holiday (even if you’ll allow flexibility). This causes a sense of urgency for customers – a marketing tactic that works well. Make sure to do multiple social posts to promote these offers, but don’t overdo it. We suggest about 2-3 posts per week to promote this holiday sale weekend. Don’t forget to use the proper hashtags which include:

  • For Black Friday: #BlackFriday, #BlackFri
  • For Small Business Saturday: #ShopSmall, #SmallBiz, #BuyLocal, #SmallBizSat, #SmallBusinessSaturday
  • For Cyber Monday: #CyberMonday, #CyberMon
  • For all holiday shopping: #HolidaySavings, #Presents, #StockingStuffers, #deals

 

Spread the Word

Have your instructors and front desk staff start talking about the big sales days now. It doesn’t have to be super sales-y. It can simply be that the front desk staff mentions the upcoming sales to customers as they check out or sign into class. It helps to have a business card sized promotional piece to hand out.

Whatever your plans, just make sure to do something for your business on the biggest shopping weekend of the year!

Need help with your marketing? SWETI Services is a fitness marketing agency that provides a full suite of marketing services designed to help fitness businesses stand out, grow, and get more customers in the door! Contact us to learn more.

 

Tia Stone, Director of Marketing