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The Business Plan: Part 17 - Operational Strategies: Marketing & Promotion

This blog continues our series on operational strategies for your new affiliate gym. There is conflicting advice about how to market your affiliate gym. Some coaching systems suggest that you can grow your membership base solely from member referrals, while others suggest you need to think outside of the box. Coming from a marketing background, we believe thinking outside of the box is naturally the best course of action. Member referrals are great, but I will show you additional ways to get new prospects into your new gym.

In all three of our gyms we used the marketing strategies below and achieved 120+ new visitors consistently month-over-month. More visitors = More Memberships Sold. 

Member Referrals: Member referrals equate to 20% of our new monthly visits and 25% of our monthly memberships sales. We incentivize member referrals by doing events like DJ Night where we have a live DJ spin during class, encouraging members to bring in friends. We also offer $50 for every new membership sign-up, with no limit to the number of referrals members can receive. In addition, we offer promotions where the member and the visitor (new member) both receive free t-shirts in addition to the $50 referral bonus. Member referrals constantly need to be on top of mind, so don't be afraid to ask or promote. 

Street Marketing:  This marketing strategy has been extremely beneficial for us and has proven to have the greatest ROI (return on investment). Street Marketing is flyering. We create professional, well designed postcard flyers, with a positive message to promote our clubs. We hire a team of people to flyer at least 2 to 3 days a week, on a consistent basis. Los Angeles is extremely dense, so we go to apartment buildings, office building, lunch locations, supermarkets, colleges, malls, businesses, dog parks, etc. If you carefully strategize on locations within your area that meet the demographics, you will also see that this strategy works. If you cannot afford to pay someone to do it, do it yourself or have your front desk staff do it during quiet times. When we first opened West Hollywood, I would stand in front of the local supermarket for hours at a time, passing out flyers.

Email Blasts: There are companies like where you can lease email lists which meet specific demographics. This is an inexpensive way to target people within your city for very little money. The open rate of emails is approximately 10% to 15%, and since you lease the list for a specified time period, you can send emails on a weekly or monthly basis. In addition, you can also purchase mailing lists and send postcards.

Internet Advertising : We do two online marketing campaigns for our gyms. SEM is which Google Adwords, where you pay “per click.” With SEM, there are specific words that will trigger your ad and place it either at the top or the side of the page. Depending on your market and the competition, rates per click can range from $0.20 to $4.00. This is a great way to get people to your website and sell them on your box.  Yelp! is big in most major cities and has proven to be a great source of referrals for our gyms. The cost is roughly $500 per month with a 6-month commitment, but depending on your geographical location, it is worth considering. Last month we had 40 leads, solely from Yelp!

Signage/Location:  Our business strategy was to open gyms in high traffic locations vs. off the beat in path. There is nothing wrong with off the beat in path locations, however it does require additional marketing efforts to bring in new visitors. Approximately 33% of our new monthly visitors are from walk-ins or drive-by traffic. These are people who came by and inquired about our services. This is a result of A-Frame Signs, wrapping windows with graphics and excellent building signage.

Next week I will continue this blog with additional strategies on how to market your gym.


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Maxwod is a commercial-grade fitness equipment store. Shop affordable commercial grade fitness equipment designed for commercial gyms, affiliate gyms, garage gyms, and more. Maxwod carries a full range of rigs and racks, strength and conditioning equipment, and cardio fitness gear. Maxwod is not associated or affiliated with CrossFit® and/or CrossFit Inc. We make no claims to provide items directly from or endorsed by or approved by CrossFit® and/or their licensing companies. Maxwod is a collection of fitness equipment stores and an authorized re-seller of fitness equipment.



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