The Ugly Truth About Fitness Marketing [Part 2]

When it comes right down to it, we want what our clients want…right?

We want to escape the problems and challenges we have today and arrive at a place where we are able to do what we want, have what we want and feel like we want.

And, at least for most people…when that journey gets difficult…the appeal of the easy road gets bigger.

Some of it’s just how we, as humans, are wired.

We’re attracted towards the promise of easy and fast over the hard and slow.

It’s nothing new…the story of the Tortoise and the Hare has been told for centuries.

And marketers know it.

But what *we* know…at least deep down inside, is that if it sounds too good to be true…it usually is.

I’m guessing that you teach an approach to fitness that involves consistency, smart (but sometimes hard) work, solid habits and an adherence to some fundamentals that you believe in.

Basically, the opposite of a quick fix.

And that’s good, because your prospects are more informed than ever before…and it’s only going to keep trending in that direction.

If you stay that course…you’re ‘skating to where the puck is headed.’

But it’s easy for our clients…or for us to get distracted.

Think back a few years. The lure of ‘running a Groupon’ was big for a while.

Get paid a little up front with no ad costs…before you deliver any benefits.

Maybe those Groupon customers will turn into clients.

And for a while…some of them did.

I saw businesses built off of weathering the flood of 500-1000 ‘Grouponers’ for a couple of months to keep 50-100 as ongoing clients.

And 50-100 people paying $150 per month or more is a lot of revenue.

But before long, the ‘Grouponers’ figured out that they could just buy another Groupon after they finished yours…and that 50-100 turned into 5-10.

And those loyal clients you had when you started the Deal of the Day hustle…they got tired of the revolving door of people in and out of your gym and left for somewhere that hadn’t put all their eggs in Groupon’s basket.

See, it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about a piece of equipment bought from a late night informercial, a magic pill that promises weight loss or a ‘secret system’ that promises to flood your gym with clients…

…there is almost zero chance that you’ll get long-term results for a short-term quick fix.

And with news traveling faster than ever before…when something is proven to not be ‘as advertised’…it dies off rapidly.

And let me tell you a little secret…the biggest proponents of the ‘Free Challenge’ are already moving on to the next trend.

See…they know that the ‘low hanging fruit’…those people who would eagerly reply to the promise of losing a bunch of weight for free…

…have either already bought, figured out it’s not really free or have turned the tables and are jumping from one free Challenge to the next and just re-using the same deposit over and over.

But you’ll still see those big promises in FB ads…

74 new clients at $500.

96 new clients in just 4 weeks.

Just launched a Challenge with 119 new participants.

But the $500 isn’t your money.

It’s a deposit.

Those 119 new Challenges…it’s basically Groupon all over again.

How many of those clients actually stay…and pay?

From the dozens of fitness businesses owners I’ve spoken to that tried one of these…

…not many.

Sure, if you caught the first wave of this trend, you reaped the rewards.

But it’s several years old…and no tricky tactic in our industry lasts that long the in the Facebook age.

And each of these variations of the quick fix comes at a cost.

Actually, a few.

Relationships are often built on first impressions…and a ‘bait & switch’ isn’t exactly a great first impression. It’s hard to recover to ever have more than a transactional relationship when you start with something sneaky to get someone in the door.

You’re attracting people who are primarily motivated by ‘free’ or ‘deeply discounted.’ There is nothing wrong with those people…but if that’s not your ideal client, then you can’t reasonably expect them to go through a metamorphosis and become your ‘right’ fit.

If you collect deposits…it’s not your money…but many of the gyms that run off of this model behave like it is.

If you’re only collecting paid-in-full deposits and then asking people to stay for several more months in order for you to justify keeping the deposit…you’re basically reverting back to personal training in 1990 when everything was sold in packages…no recurring revenue.

Your ‘ideal clients’ that are paying you a monthly recurring membership fee often feel alienated due to the surge of Challengers who often only stick around for 6 weeks.

Finally…you’re no longer in the training or coaching business…you’re in the Challenge business. That may be a good business for some…maybe even you…but it’s a completely different business.
Sure…getting 100+ Challengers to walk in the door is exciting and if you’ve been struggling, collecting 15K in deposits feels good.

I get it.

But if you’re like me…you want a steady, sustainably successful business that provides you with recurring revenue for serving the clients you enjoy most.

And to get that, it requires a bit of a different approach.

But ultimately, you have to decide…which would you rather have?

Here’s a suggestion:

Leave the Groupon-like approach or bait & switch model to those who are desperate or ok with treating their clients like transactions…

…and do the opposite.

Instead of, “pay me first and maybe I can help you”…

…”how about flipping that thinking on its head?

Choosing to be more authentic. To be more honest. To give first in order to build a coach-client relationship that lasts for the long-haul.

Put differently:

It’s about actually caring about your prospective clients so much that when they’re ready to buy…there is no thought given to anyone else but you…

BEFORE they come in the gym.

BEFORE they are tricked or strong armed into handing over a credit card for the promise of future results.

I’ve been taking this approach for over a decade.

I can’t recall exactly how I stumbled on to this approach that shaped my mindset and behavior…but I want to share the results with you because

it changed everything.

And perhaps it can help you, too.

I’ll share more tomorrow…

Dedicated to Your Success,

Pat

By | 2018-10-03T10:02:20+00:00 October 3rd, 2018|Marketing and Sales|0 Comments

About the Author:

Leave A Comment