The Ugly Truth About Fitness Marketing [Part 1]

I’ll start by warning you…this is probably going to offend a few people.

I’m ok with that as I feel it needs to be said.

We’ve bought the product on the late-night infomercial.

We’ve become exactly what we caution our clients to avoid being…

…the desperate, quick-fix seeker.

Maybe not all of us, and hopefully not you…but far too many.

And, for them…it’s like crack cocaine.

But let me back up for a second and tell you why I’m writing this.

I was chatting with a fitness business owner who had enjoyed some success in the industry, but a bout 10 months ago, he’d hit a wall.

Things had plateaued, so he responded to a FB ad promising to flood his gym with new clients, all paying more than he’d ever charged for a 6 Week Challenge.

He was in.

He didn’t feel great about the thought of promoting a Challenge as ‘free’, then asking people to pay a deposit once they’d come in to learn more, but it had worked for so many others he figured he’d give it a shot.

He ran the ads and followed up exactly as he was taught…and interested prospects started flooding in.

Some felt it was a ‘bait and switch’ once they learned that they needed to pay a hefty deposit and stormed out the door angry…

…but others paid.

But he quickly noticed that these prospects were a little different.

They were asking to break the payment up over 2 or even 3 credit cards or paying part of the ‘deposit’ in cash and putting the rest on the card.

He had mixed feelings.

He loved being able to help a broader audience and certainly didn’t mind coaching people who were so excited that they’d basically pay their last available dollar to enroll…

…but he worried that if they could barely afford the 6 Week Challenge, then would they be able to add the ongoing expense of his program to their budget?

That’s the reason he joined the program in the first place…to grow his monthly recurring revenue and ongoing clientele…not just to sell Challenges.

Only time would tell…and he reassured himself that if he did a great job during their first six weeks, most of them would be so happy with their results that they’d stay.

The weeks went by and he followed the plan as scripted.

Most of the Challengers got good results and he was able to get a number of them to stay on and apply the ‘deposit’ to an ongoing monthly membership.

But a number of them asked for their deposit to be returned at the end of the six weeks.

They got solid results, but they felt like they could join the local $10 per month gym and maintain their results.

All told, he kept about half on…and in four months (once the deposit ran out) he’d hopefully be able to get them on monthly billing.

He’d lost a few of his regular clients during those past few weeks…they didn’t say it, but it was obvious that they didn’t love the flood of so many people in sessions.

So, to offset that bit of attrition, he ran another Challenge…just like the previous one…

…and, while there were a few less participants, overall, the results were pretty similar.

By the time we talked, he followed this same approach 3 more times…and he was ready to get off the hamster wheel.

But his recurring revenue had dipped about 30% from the time he’d started this plan and he was reliant on the deposits to stay in the black.

And, honestly, he didn’t love the feeling that he was ‘baiting people in’ with an offer that wasn’t entirely true…

…he felt like he’d built his business on relationships before he’d started this approach and now it felt more transactional.

And this feeling wasn’t new…but every time the thought of going back to the approach that built his business, fear set in.

It was easier to just run one more Challenge and get a bunch of deposits.

That fear was unfounded…and I’ll explain why soon enough.

But such is the pull towards the easy and quick and shortcuts…especially when we feel desperate or frustrated.

Just ask those clients of yours who have fallen for the diet or exercise equivalent…

I’ll be back tomorrow with more…

Dedicated to Your Success,

Pat

By | 2018-10-03T10:01:51+00:00 October 3rd, 2018|Marketing and Sales|0 Comments

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