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Gym Marketing Plan For Your Fitness Center

« Blog | Written by Emily Duty | | (0) Comments |

Gym owners- creating agym marketing plan is essential to the success of your fitness center if you hope to add new customers and continue making revenue. In this post, you will find a quick introduction to answer these four questions: what, why, who and how.

WHAT

Let’s rewind for a second and start at the very beginning. So, what is it exactly?

Well, a gym marketing plan is basically your written marketing strategy, or game plan. It’s the overall record you outline for yourself and refer to often during the length of your business venture. Don’t be afraid to jump in right away and jot down business goals. Whatever you mark down initially isn’t written in stone, and that’s the beauty of this living and breathing document you are shaping. The point is to consistently tweak it with any new information you believe is pertinent to keeping your gym growth at a healthy rate.

In your document, you can plan for the next month, quarter or even the full year, and it doesn’t have to be super fancy or overly complex in order for it to work. You just need to know these four main things your target, objectives, strategies and tactics. Who are you marketing to? What are your goals? What are your best ideas on how to reach them? And what steps are you going to take to do so?

WHY

Why do you need to have a plan? It’s because very few people are ever able to ace a test without first studying for it. Especially in business. There is always going to be a certain trend you want to keep a close eye on or follow in order to grow yourself successfully. In the case of gyms, you want to track your customers. You want to know who they are and what they like and don’t like.

You can have the greatest facility with state-of-the-art machinery and top notch instructors. But, none of that means anything if you aren’t able to attract new customers to your fitness center and get the existing ones to stick around. Especially in an industry that is getting bigger by the day. No, make that bigger by the second! The fitness industry is growing at such a rapid rate. So, if you hope to stay in the game, you need to make sure you are constantly learning new things and applying them so your brand can continue to stand out.

WHO

If you aren’t comfortable taking on all of these responsibilities by yourself just yet, or there simply isn’t enough of yourself to go around, you should implement these two things:

1. You can research a good gym management software. Gym management software is a computer program that runs real-time tabulations to provide the right content, to the right person, at the right time. It can tell you which customers are attending class or alert you on who has missed out. It can tell you how much money you’ve made for the month and if your revenue is climbing or if it’s plateaued. Plus, it assists with everyday clerical tasks like checking in on your customers or sending out nurture emails.

2. The next thing you need is to find people who specialize in marketing and data to use those inputs from your gym management software. Hire an experienced digital marketing team to help you create your business goals and execute a tailored plan. Their job is to help you run your marketing efforts, and increase brand awareness on social media. They also drive traffic to your doorsteps through organic and paid searches, and keep you up to date on month over month business related growth. Of course, there are traditional agencies as well, who focus more on commercials, billboards and other efforts.

HOW

Once you’ve got a marketing strategy mapped out and your programs and people in place, it’s time to put all of those notes to use. Test out the theories you’ve learned about the fitness industry, and start gaining traction. Fortunately, living in the digital marketing age has made promoting any kind of product a lot easier than it used to be. For starters, get on social media and promote, promote, promote yourself. Then, create and host a variety of gym events, follow up on every single lead, use email marketing, and start a referral program.

Gym owners, good luck on creating your marketing plan and building up your loyal customers. We hope this post has new or valuable content for you! Check back often for more fitness related topics and industry savvy tips.

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Gym Event Ideas To Increase Your Fitness Business

« Blog | Written by Emily Duty | | (0) Comments |

Are you wondering if hosting gym events will be helpful in keeping your current members active while also attracting new ones? The short answer is yes. The long answer is- absolutely yes!

Not only are gym events great for business and raising your brand awareness, they’re also just plain fun to put on. It’s an excellent way for you to be involved with your fitness community and get to know your customers better. Plus, they’ll appreciate that you aren’t all work and zero play. Because, everyone loves a good social hour.

The question is where do you start? Or, which events do you put on first? In this post, you will find some gym event ideas to get your party going!

Grand Opening

Is your fitness center about to open its doors for the very first time? Congratulations! You’ve likely been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Have you been making sure the space is just right? Ordering equipment, lining up teachers and classes, and setting up your gym management software? We know how it goes, and all of that is fantastic stuff!

But, now you need to switch gears over to marketing yourself. Hop on your social media (it’s 2019, we know you’ve got one!) and let everyone know when and where your big day will take place.

Hire a DJ to play upbeat music, offer live demos of your classes, and put out a few trays of healthy finger foods, like proteins, fruits and vegetables. You could even consider catering from one of the local businesses in your area. It might be the start to a beautiful business relationship; One where you’d help to promote each other.

Besides the free class demos, put on several small contests also. The bigger prizes can be things like a free gym membership trial or free personal training sessions. And the smaller ones can be door prizes or swag bags filled with items that have your logo on them: t-shirts, water bottles, towels, etc.

Happy Anniversary

Brand new gyms aren’t the only ones who get to have all the fun. Older gyms can too! Host an annual anniversary bash for your establishment each year. You’d offer all the same things as you would at a grand opening, but now you focus on your milestones.

Change the prizes or swag bags to reflect your number of years in business. If it’s your first year, give every person one free class pass. Or if it’s your second, put each name into the door prize drawing two times. You can get creative with it.

Challenges and Contests

Once you have a steady client base built up, get some challenges going. A friendly competition could help grab your members attention and keep their attendance on track. Do weekly or monthly weigh-ins and measurements. Whoever has tackled the most miles or burned the most calories at each contest check-point will win a prize. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy- unless you’re a ninja warrior gym of course, and you want it to be.

The difference between challenges and contests is that with challenges, everyone works toward a similar goal and each person receives acknowledgement or praise once they’ve reached it. A contest, on the other hand, is a bit more competitive, with only one or two winners in the end. You can choose whichever one feels the best to you- or mix and match them.

Target Audience

It’s important to learn who your target audience is. Who are you speaking to? Are your current members mostly body-builders? Crossfitters? Yogi’s? Runners? Dancers? Families? All of the above? Shape your events around the audiences you are trying to attract to your facility.

If it’s body-builders you’re after, then you will want to bring in the big guns. Meaning, you need to find famous or locally famous body-builders who can come in to talk tips and motivation tricks to your clients. Yogi’s will look for free yoga sessions, dancers will look for zumba and salsa nights, and moms will look for Target giftcards and mimosas. Kidding. (Mostly! But it can’t hurt.) They will likely look for “mommy and me” type opportunities where they can bring their kids with them to class.

The point is, a yogi probably couldn’t care less about a body-builder pep talk, and vice versa. Think about what will appeal to each target audience and either host a bunch of small events, or a big one to appeal to the majority.

Fundraising & Charity

There’s always going to be a fundraising event or charity event in your community looking for a space to do their thing. It would be pretty cool of you to rent out, or even offer up, your facility for a few hours. Not only would you get some good karma out of the deal, but you’d also be getting free marketing and new visitors checking out your place.

Pop-Up

So, pop up events are exactly like the name implies. You pop up someplace unexpected and offer free classes for people to try out. By taking your classes outside of your facility, you are expanding your reach, and you’re bringing your brand awareness to a group of potential customers who might not have been exposed to it otherwise.

Are you ready?

Was this list of gym event ideas helpful? If you test one out, we’d love to hear how it went in our comments.

how to sell gym memberships

How to Sell Gym Memberships

« Blog | Written by Emily Duty | | (2) Comments |

Gym owners: You’ve got a bangin’ fitness facility, located on the perfect piece of property, filled with only the best of the best equipment and most dedicated employees. But, that means absolutely nothing if you can’t find people who want to sign with your gym. Keep reading to learn 5 ways you can turn prospective members into loyal customers with this “how to sell gym memberships” guide.

Make a Lasting First Impression

You’ve heard it before; First impressions are everything. It’s quite possible the person who walks through the door has tried the gym scene before and it didn’t last. Any hint of pushiness or aggression could send them running in the other direction.

Always be kind, encouraging and patient. If you come off like you’re only interested in membership sales, you could quite possibly confirm the doubts or fears they had before they entered.

Be genuine. Get to know them. Let them ask their questions. When they’re done, ask them their “why” and their goals. Afterward, you will be able to take them on a personalized tour of your place. You can point out classes, instructors, and equipment you feel would be a good match for them. They will appreciate your genuine interest in their mission.

It’s important for your staff to do the same. Schedule a monthly training session. In the training session, you can go over best customer service practices and even do role-playing activities. Consider making your sales team different from your walk-in greeters. Let the sales department take the phone calls.

Get on Social Media

Invest in social media advertising, if you can. Or if you’re pretty online savvy, manage it yourself to save some money. Regardless, it’s a good tool to use. In recent years, it has become a great way to increase brand engagement and sales for all kinds of businesses.

Nowadays, everybody is selling something online and people hate being directly sold to. We get it. Especially if you plan on re-sharing things to your personal page for added reach. However, there is a way to show off your brand and entice your audience without being in anyone’s face about it.

All you have to do is keep it real. Post updates with offers, glimpses into classes, and pictures of your employees and members kicking butt and taking names. It won’t take long for others to notice all the fun going on and reach out with their inquiries.

Look for influencers- people who have a large following in the fitness industry. They have the ability to persuade their audience into checking out your space too. Not all influencers are looking for monetary payment. They might be willing to trade services with you; free shoutouts for a free membership. Though, if they are starting out, they may only want experience for their portfolio.

Run Promotions and Special Offers

Sometimes all you need in order to gain exposure is to run promotions and special offers. You know everybody likes those. Everybody likes free too; a little taste test before they agree to commit.

Now, free might not sound quite as exciting when it’s your money or fitness facility. But, when it’s done right, you stand to garner quite a bit of attention which in turn could lead to membership sales.

If you’re new to the neighborhood, and even if you’re not, throw a welcome party. And then? Throw another one. Why not? Host events where you can offer samples of your most liked classes. Do fun workouts and workshops, informational Q&A sessions and even rent out your space to a community cause or local businesses.

Offer a Referral Program

Why should newbies get all the perks? Give your existing customers an incentive to share in the celebration as well. Start a referral program and give every member a certain amount of free passes. That way, they can bring in friends and family to workout with them and crush their goals together. Once their guests sign-up, they get credits or points toward their account.

Take it one step further and extended the offer to your employees. You can make it a monthly giveaway. The employee to get X amount of signs up gets- whatever you decide.

Use Gym Management Software

Use your handy dandy gym management software to notate strong leads and prospective members to follow up with. You could also use it to track your sales. Find out which tactics are working the best.

Don’t have one or know what a scheduling software is? Not a problem. Read our blog called, “What is Gym Management Software?”. Afterward, ask for a free demo on our gym software page.

We hope you learned something new about how to sell gym memberships. Go snag some loyal customers. If you did, we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment. For more fitness industry related tips, keep an eye out on our page.

EZFacility Gym Management Software

What is Gym Management Software?

« Blog | Written by Emily Duty | | (1) Comments |

If you’re new to owning a gym, or thinking about it, you’ve probably heard about fitness software once or twice. What is gym management software, anyway? Besides, “time-saving” and “game-changing.” Read more to find out.

What is Gym Management Software?

As a new, or even seasoned, gym owner, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the business and want to take on many different roles. Big mistake. Don’t do it.

You want to focus your energy on what matters most, like creating lasting connections with your members, not time-consuming administrative tasks. That’s where a reputable software comes in. It’s a management solution with real-time reporting that does the heavy lifting for you.

It goes by many different names: fitness software, gym membership software, gym scheduling software, and scheduling software. Potato-Potato? (read: Potayto-Potahto). Not necessarily. Yes, each one is a powerful set of tools to help you better manage your clients, staff, and finances. But like anything, you will want to shop around to find one that fits your facility’s individual needs.

Who uses it?

These days, many health and wellness facilities use a management system; Small and big gyms, traditional and non-traditional gyms, yoga studios, spin studios and dance studios- you name it. Chances are, they are all using one or are thinking of using one. That’s because it is a great way to save time and grow your business. Any fitness establishment that aims to run things more efficiently and stay ahead of their competition will find it beneficial.

How is it used?

It is used several ways, from assigning classes to specific instructors to onboarding and tracking new members to sending out emails and processing payments.

*Member Management:

It’s no secret your members’ happiness is vital to the health of your establishment. Or that the amount of people who drop out like flies after the New Year is always going to be a threat, no matter how much the industry is booming. That’s what your management tools are for. Customer retention largely depends on the kind of overall experience a customer has with your company. This is why having available data on your members and their behaviors is more valuable than you might know.

Gym membership software tracks the attendance pattern of each person and alerts you when they are at risk of dropping out. Once you’re informed of the situation, you can use email marketing to send a series of carefully curated nurture texts and emails, letting them know they are missed. Or you can try a different approach and send them offers on other classes you think they might enjoy better. Bottom line is: members like to feel included and thought of.

Another thing they like is convenience. That’s because we’re living in the digital age, which means people have become accustomed to instant gratification. And what’s more gratifying as a customer than being able to manage their membership online through a self-service portal? One where they can sign up for classes, create goals, make payments, and check-in, all within seconds? Not very much. Except for maybe post-workout endorphins and protein ice cream.

Nothing kills pre-workout mojo like having to wait in a long check-in line, especially during peak season. Some services offer the option for a quick scan-in with an identification card or even a fingerprint.

*Employee Management:

The same way member management is important to your business so is the morale of your team. The happier your staff is, the likelier the chance of your members being happy too. Stressed out employees will be unable or unwilling to service your community the way you need them to.

A way to remedy this is by lightening up the workload and leaving some administrative tasks to the software. Scheduling, inventory, finances, and satisfaction surveys are all things that it can do. As a result, your employees will have one main program to focus their efforts on versus juggling several different small ones with endless reminders, spreadsheets, and calendars. You will greatly increase their productivity time, which in turn can be used to assist guests. 

*Financial Management:

In addition to managing your members and crew, keeping a close watch on your financial data helps you understand how your facility makes money. It’s a good practice to make yourself aware of all daily revenue, billing statements, month-to-date membership sales, and delinquencies. Also, tune in to conversion rates to learn about prospective members.

Any of the information available will be done with real-time reporting, allowing you to make better informed financial decisions.

What is the cost?

Much like gym shorts, pricing isn’t a one size fits all kind of thing. There are many different options available. In order to find the best suitable package for you and your gym, you will need to consider the size of your location as well as the number of your staff and members.

Did we answer your questions about management solutions? If you are interested in learning about our packages at EZFacility, please request more information on our gym software page or schedule your free demo today.

If you’re new to the idea of owning a gym or just want to grow your business, don’t miss our recent blogs, “How to Start a Gym.” and “How to Run a Successful Gym.” for more helpful industry-related tips.

How to Start my own Gym

How to Start my own Gym

« Blog | Written by Emily Duty | | (0) Comments |

So, you’re thinking of starting a gym.

Why wouldn’t you? You’ve been a personal trainer for a while now, you enjoy the industry and you have a pretty loyal client base. Opening your own business seems like the next logical step, right? You’d have your own space, make your own rules, control your own money, and be your own boss. What else is there to know?

But before you sign on the dotted line, read over this post to make sure you’ve thought of these five crucial steps.

1. Research, Research, Research

First, research. And then, research some more.

Jumping straight into gym ownership would be like taking a med exam without ever studying for it. Sure, there might be one lucky person out there who can wing it and get their degree. (Scary!) But for the general public, that isn’t recommended- or even plausible. Researching and studying is essential.

There is so much more to running a gym than merely asking your clients to follow you to some space you’re renting out. You stand to lose quite a bit, financially and emotionally, if you skip this important step.

Ask yourself these questions:

Are you going to open a gym on your own? Or will you have a business partner? Do you already have the money for it, or will you need a loan? Have you considered an investor? What are your thoughts on crowd-funding?

Is there a business name yet? Do you know if it’s available or already taken?

How big of a space will you need? What is the most money you can afford to spend monthly? Does that include utilities and fees? What about repairs or upgrades?

What kind of gym will it be, anyway? Is there a specific demographic, or client base, you hope to target? Bodybuilders? Athletes? Families? Yogis? All the above?

Will you buy or lease your equipment? Do you plan to offer classes? How many instructors and staff members will you need to hire? Are there any competitors in the area? Will your facility sell apparel and food?

If you don’t have all the answers, that’s okay. Now you know where to start.

If you do have all the answers, kudos to you. Advance to GO. Or, bullet number 2.

2. Create a Plan

You’ve done the research. Now it’s time to draft up your game plan. If you’re applying for a loan, you will need a written plan.

Make sure you give yourself a realistic timeline to work with. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And your gym won’t be either. It’s going to take a significant amount of planning.

You don’t have to go at this step alone. Find a mentor or somebody you trust to look over it all with you. Having a fresh pair of eyes and an extra set of ideas is always helpful.

If you know other gym owners or business owners, that’s great! They can tell you how they got their start, how to prioritize your list of to-do’s, which pitfalls to be aware of, and ways to outshine the competition.

If you don’t know any yet, don’t worry. Consider ways to network in the industry and meet some; This is easier to do now than ever, thanks to social media. Hop online and search for gym related business forums on Facebook and Linkedin. Once you feel comfortable with them, ask if you can pick their brains about all things related to starting a gym and gym ownership.

3. Cover Your Bases

You did the initial research and mapped up a draft plan. Now it’s time to get your players suited up to cover your bases. Your legal bases, that is.

Accidents happen. And unfortunately, gyms are one of those places accidents happen in. You want to make sure you have the right legal protection for yourself and your business.
Also, if you have a co-owner or investor, you will need each person’s role and percentages in writing. That way, there is no confusion or power struggles later on.

What are some things to start looking into? A legal entity, a business bank account, liability insurance, permits and licenses, and tax registration.

4. Get and Stay Organized

Once you have 1-3 done, it’s time to think about ways to get and stay organized. Organization will be key to a smooth kick-off. And it will ensure you stay on top of things as your establishment grows larger.

It’s easy to get lost or drown in the technical aspect of the business. Especially if you are low on staff to start with and taking on many roles.

Do yourself a solid and find a reputable software to use- straight off the bat; Like EZFacility’s gym management software. It will make announcements, planning and sharing class schedules, and setting up gym memberships much easier. You even have the option to send your clients text messages. Talk about convenience!

Your software can track and manage memberships, keep cancellation rates low, set you up for financial success, and make you very, very happy.

5. Get the Word out

Now for the fun part. You have to get the word out. Shout it from the mountain tops! “I am running a gym!” Or, just get on social media and tell everyone you know. Same thing.

Most of your friends, family and existing client base will be happy to share your news on their platforms without you even having to ask. But, don’t feel shy about making a request. Most will oblige; This is terrific news.

Also, use some old-school marketing and networking. Print attractive flyers and business cards to post up at local establishments or to hand out to any new people you meet.

Finally, open your space to your community. Offer trial classes, workshops, and anything else that might entice people to check out the place. Free coffee and kittens! Hey, whatever works.

Another good idea is to consider renting out your facility to other groups in the area. Anything that gains your facility positive exposure and gets people out there could drum up potential clients.

Looking for more great gym information? Once you have your gym up and running check out our other resources like how to run a successful gym.

how to run a successful gym

How to Run a Successful Gym

« Blog | Written by Emily Duty | | (0) Comments |

Anybody can open a gym, if they have the financial backing for it. But, whether or not it will be a successful business is a whole other story. In this post, you will learn how to run a successful gym. Here are four tips from building relationships with gym members to implementing gym management software.

Build Relationships

First things first. Why do you want to open a gym? Is it because you love looking and feeling healthy and want to help others look and feel healthy too? Or, because you believe if you can make money doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life?

While those things may be true, you are leaving out a fundamental answer; The community.

Think about why you have been a gym goer in the past. The feeling you got being around other positive, goal-oriented individuals is likely what prompted you to open your own space.

Learn names, build relationships, create a community, and stay involved. Create frequent in-house events and join them. Gym members who feel seen and valued as part of the family will be more likely to become lifelong customers.

A small gym is at an advantage here. They are appealing because it means each trainer has more time to spend getting to know their clients one-on-one. As a result, they are really able to foster that sense of community. But, with a little determination and some added attention to detail, a larger gym can recreate the same intimate atmosphere as a small gym.

Get on Social Media

Nowadays, everyone is on social media, and you (and your instructors) should be too. It’s easier than ever to reach existing and potential customers online. Make sure your business has two things: a welcoming, user-friendly website, and a strong online presence.

Another benefit to having a social media account is you can manage your online reviews. You should encourage your members to give you a shout out. People love to know which places their friends and family recommend and why. If they are on the fence about which fitness establishment to check out, a positive review with your name on it could tip them over your way.

Being online is an excellent way to minimize negative comments too, as well as get honest feedback to incorporate in your business. It shows other people how well you handle those situations.

Consider Marketing

If there is room in your budget, consider getting help with your marketing strategy. A good marketing plan can inform your target audience about your gym and services. Plus, it will help set you apart from your competitors, and attract new members. With a smart marketing strategy, you can even build out loyalty programs to focus on retention.

Start with email marketing. Carefully craft emails offering trial periods to prospective members. Or, those who are looking to test out the waters before making any commitments. Later on, send newly tailored emails with specific messages to encourage those same people in becoming paying members. At the same time, a separate email blast can keep your current members engaged.

Use Technology

Memberships, schedules, and money, oh my! How will you keep track of it all?

With gym scheduling software, that’s how. A reputable software can assist with online class scheduling, management, and membership. It can reduce your workload, keep you organized, increase revenue, and free up quality time you can use to service your members instead.

This one goes back to your community. Your members should always be your main priority because when members feel involved, they are more compelled to return. And most of your financial success will come from keeping cancellation rates low.

Track your membership data with software, like EZFacility’s gym management software. It will alert you of clients who are at risk of canceling their membership, so you and your instructors know when to send them a little extra love.

It will also make planning and sharing class schedules a breeze. Especially if you get set up with a branded app for your customers. With tons of features, the software allows for nurture emails and texts that will keep fitness – and your business – on their mind.

Were these tips on how to run a successful gym helpful? Check out our other blog posts for gym retention strategies and more.

Group of people exercising on exercise machine in a gym.

Top 10 Fitness Trends of 2019

« Blog | Written by Caitlin Fenster | | (0) Comments |

June is here, which means the year is almost halfway over (we’re sorry to be the ones to bring to light this unfortunate truth). Is your business where you thought it would be at this point? Have you brought in the number of new members you were expecting? Have you been able to retain more members this year than prior years?

If you’re looking to boost your facility’s earning power this year by attracting members and getting them to stick around, summer is the perfect time to reevaluate your business strategy and begin to implement new programs. The slower months open up the time to prep and implement new programs while also giving your current members another reason to visit your facility during the warmer months.

Where do you start with figuring out what programs or offerings to implement? We’ve compiled the top 10 fitness trends of 2019 from ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) as a starting point, plus takeaways for how you can incorporate these 2019 fitness trends into your current business plan.

These trends have staying power – they aren’t just passing fads – and most on the list for 2019 have earned a spot in previous years. So, dive into what these trends have to offer and you may find yourself with a highly successful summer.

1. Wearable Technology

First appearing as a fitness trend in 2016, wearable technology has made the top 3 fitness trends spots for the past 3 years – and with new tech developments happening seemingly every day, it doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon.

How can you incorporate wearable tech into your facility? One way is to make member’s ID cards available digitally so they can use their wearable devices to scan in. Another is to provide free and secure wi-fi for your members to use so they don’t eat into their data at your facility – a terrifying thought for anyone.

2. Group Training

You may already offer group training classes, but if not you should consider starting! Coming in at #2 this year, group training has been in the top 20 fitness trends since 2017.

The great thing about incorporating group training into your facility is that it doesn’t need to be based around a lot of expensive equipment. There are many types of classes that you can easily (and inexpensively) incorporate into your fitness facility’s offerings. Then, if successful and your members are interested, you can add more equipment based classes.

Group training classes can range from cardio-based classes and indoor cycling to dance-based classes and step classes to anything else you can think of! Start with the resources you have and then work your way to more classes from there.

Also, for an added incentive in the summer, build classes that cater to members spending time outside – outdoor boot camps, endurance classes, yoga classes at the local park, etc.

3. High-Intensity Interval Training

High-Intensity Interval Training, better known as HIIT, has been a popular form of exercise all over the world for quite some time and has been in the top 5 on this list since 2014 (coming in at #1 in 2014 and 2018).

Typically involving short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by short periods of rest, fitness consumers tout HIIT for the low time commitment needed to achieve quick and noticeable results. Adding a HIIT program into your fitness facility during the summer months is a great way to attract members – offering them a quick way to get in their workout without taking too much time away from the precious summer sun and activities – you can even run the entire class outside or add outdoor intervals, like running, into the workout for an extra motivation to attend!

4. Fitness Programs For Older Adults

Catering to Baby Boomers and older generations, this trend has made the top 20 list since 2007 (only dropping below the top 10 rankings in 2017 at #11). With people living longer, working longer, and remaining active longer, there is a need to develop programs for older individuals to address the new health obstacles they face. Older generations needs are also much different than those of their younger counterparts and by providing programs specifically with the older generations in mind, you’ll create a space where these individuals feel welcome and less intimidated.

5. Bodyweight Training

An inexpensive and effective way to add a new program into your facility, bodyweight training is a great way to attract members who may be intimidated by the weight room or weight-oriented classes. First appearing on the survey in 2013 at #3, bodyweight training has been in one of the top 10 slots ever since.

6. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals

New to the survey in 2019, employing certified fitness professionals has become increasingly important. With more certification programs becoming available over the years, it is easier than ever for employers to access certification validation and require staff to be certified in their field. Plus hiring certified fitness professionals will elevate the professionalism of your business and give members the peace of mind that they are getting expert and accurate guidance from your staff. Additionally, by supplying members with certified professionals to work with, you may be able to charge more for your services since members will be getting a higher level of instruction from your staff.

Ready to get started hiring certified professionals? Use our guide for 7 interview questions to ask when hiring professional trainers.

7. Yoga

With various forms offered – Power Yoga, Yogilates, and hot yoga just to name a few, yoga classes provide a low start-up cost to include in your class schedule – all you need is a room to hold the class and a few yoga mats for members to use. By hiring certified yoga teachers, you will be killing two birds with one stone to cover two trends from the 2019 survey!

8. Personal Training

In the top 10 fitness trends since ACSM first published their trends report in 2006, personal training remains a popular choice for fitness consumers. Now more accessible than ever before, personal training can take place at a client’s home, in a health club, at a corporate fitness facility, and even online through an app or online program. Offering personal training services at your gym is an easy way to bring in additional revenue and increase retention among current clients. By also hiring certified personal trainers, you will cover multiple trends on this list.

There are also plenty of apps and online platforms you can add to your personal training services to provide members with an experience that goes beyond your doors. Be sure to look for a program that integrates with your gym management software to keep your business streamlined and member data consistent.

9. Functional Fitness Training

Devised to get members moving in ways that help them perform activities of daily life – like lifting, bending, climbing stairs, etc. – functional fitness training uses strength training and bodyweight movements to improve balance, coordination, strength, and endurance.

You can create functional fitness programs for members of all fitness levels, from your beginner to the advanced workout warrior, but we have often seen functional fitness paired with programs for older adults (see #4) to help encourage a better quality of life. The beneficial aspect of functional fitness is that is can be adapted to cover the varying needs of your member-base so no one is left out.

10. Exercise Is Medicine

According to ACSM, “Exercise is Medicine (EIM) is a global health initiative that is focused on encouraging primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity assessment and associated treatment recommendations as part of every patient visit and referring their patients to exercise professionals.”

So how can you incorporate EIM into your gym? For one, fitness professionals are recognized by EIM as part of the health care team in their communities, so by hiring certified professionals, you are already taking a step in the right direction.

Another way you can incorporate EIM into your gym is to partner with local health care providers. By partnering with local providers, you’ll open your business up to new members while supplying your members with local provider recommendations further their own health.

Planning on adding any of these trends to your facility or have you already integrated one (or a few) of these trends into your business? We’d love to hear more about your endeavors and success in the comments below!

For the full list of all 20 worldwide fitness trends for 2019 visit ACSMs Health & Fitness Journal.

Why Switching Your Gym Management Software Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful

Why Switching Your Gym Management Software Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful

« Blog | Written by Caitlin Fenster | | (0) Comments |

There are plenty of reasons you are looking to change your gym management software provider – it’s too complicated, there are too many hidden fees, they don’t have the features you need, their support team has you on hold for hours, etc.

Many EZFacility clients who have switched from other gym software providers were running into the same issues yet, though they were fed up with the runaround, were still hesitant to make the switch because they thought it would disrupt their day-to-day business too much.

It’s completely understandable that they, and you, are tentative about switching providers. Switching software can be a daunting undertaking – but it doesn’t have to be.

Let’s address some common concerns we have heard from clients when considering making the switch to EZFacility.

The transition process is too difficult

That’s what we’re here for! During the transition process, you’ll have a dedicated Customer Success Specialist performing one-on-one training to guide you through utilizing our software to its fullest. They will be there every step of the way to help set up your EZFacility account to your gym facility’s specific needs. Our training team has facilitated transitions from almost every other gym management software company out there, so they are experts when it comes to ensuring a painless transition.

Once finished with training, our devoted customer success and support teams are readily available to help at any point. With accessible support, you’re not left high and dry trying to figure out functionality on your own (which we’re sure is one of the reasons you want to leave your current software provider).

Learning a new gym management software will take too long

There is always a learning curve when starting anything new – hey, we’re just being honest – but the EZFacility team is here to get you up and running quickly. Getting started quickly though doesn’t mean we sprint through set up. During implementation, our team works with you and your team to ensure everyone is comfortable and confident running your business with our software. Because we work together to get you up to speed, you won’t break stride with current gym operations.

How do we do this you may ask? Completed in 4 recommended, 1-hour training sessions (some clients feel comfortable with less training sessions, and some with more) our training process is one that has been designed with a “Train-the-Trainer” approach in mind. The “Trainer-the-trainer” methodology will grant your gym the opportunity to have a “go-to” in house EZExpert to help current and future employees become comfortable using EZFacility.

Don’t worry though, we are always available to field questions and walk you through any requests that may arise during and after the training process. Our Support Center is also available 24/7 for you to access user guides, helpful product articles, and videos, along with the ability to submit a request for support.

Members will be double billed and/or not billed at all

We know that maintaining consistent billing is vital to your gym’s livelihood. To safeguard against members being double billed during the transition, we recommend you choose a cut-off date for billing where all transactions will be switched over to EZFacility from your current (and soon-to-be former) software provider. On the very rare occasion payments are missed when the transfer occurs, we have plans in place to bill members once you activate billing through EZFacility.

Additionally, our customer support team is available Monday – Friday during normal business hours and on call during the weekends to guarantee your billing (and gym) runs efficiently.

Data will be lost in the migration

Our Customer support team consists of import specialists, there to navigate you step-by-step through the data migration process to guarantee an effortless transition. With EZFacility data migration templates ready for use, all you have to do is plug in member information from your current software provider.

From there, our knowledgeable team will review the import file with you and will work together to make sure that the data migration into our software is a successful one.

It really is as simple as that.

My members will have a hard time adjusting to a new interface

Just like you may have a slight learning curve, so might they. But to make it easier for members (and cut down questions to you) we have member directed FAQs and support articles available, with more always being created.

Plus, our easy-to-use interface minimizes service interruption for members and makes it easy for them to pick up.

There will be additional fees to switch

A good gym management software shouldn’t charge you to import or export your data – so we don’t! At EZFacility we believe that your data is your data, period. You can access it at any point, no questions asked.

We are also rooting for your success which is why we don’t charge additional fees for extra training or support (we like to shake up the norm). Think of us as your own personal cheering section.

We Understand Change is Difficult.

Let us put your worries to rest. Ditch the software that’s slowing down your growth and get started with one that was built with you in mind.

Whether you go with EZFacility or not, we’re here make you comfortable with whoever you choose.

Book a demo to learn more about EZFacility and see why switching your gym management software provider doesn’t have to be stressful.

Woman on phone at gym

7 Benefits of Using Text Messaging for Gyms

« Blog | Written by Caitlin Fenster | | (0) Comments |

Look around your gym. Most if not all members have their phone strapped to their arm, are streaming music into their wireless headphones, recording their health stats through devices, filming their workout to post to social media – I bet a few members are texting right now (hello, multitasking in an ever-connected world). If you want to reach and engage members, and attract new members at the same time, you need to be where they are – their phones.

With texting being such an essential part of everyday life today, gym facility owners need to make sure they are utilizing text messaging as a part of their day-to-day operations in order to maximize their growth and success rate.

Long gone are the days of cumbersome T9 texting (where are my millennials?!). Generation Z missed out on the fun of having to memorize how many clicks it took to type an ‘s’ – it’s 4 in case you forgot – nor go through the agony of going one click too many.

With qwerty keyboards accessible to consumers since the mid-90s and only becoming more affordable over time, it’s no wonder why texting has blown up in popularity to become the main source of communication today. A fast and seamless way to get in touch with someone? It’s a no-brainer.

Have you started taking advantage of texting for your gym? If not, read on to learn 7 benefits of incorporating text messaging into your gym’s business operations:

1. Stay Relevant

In our day-to-day lives, speed is king. Consumers expect products to be delivered in two-days and information within seconds – and will often get frustrated when they don’t receive these services. With text messaging platforms able to send 100-500 messages a second, texting will give members and prospects the immediacy they have grown accustomed to and keep your gym relevant in an ever-connected world. Your gym will also become more attractive to members and prospects by showing them you can keep up with the everchanging technology landscape and needs of consumers. If you’re looking to provide members with the most up-to-date services, texting can help get you there.

2. Convenience is Key – Automate Messaging

Texting is an effective tool for contacting members conveniently since most, if not all, members usually have their phones within arm’s reach at any given time. It also lowers the pressure for members to answer right away, like with a phone call, giving them the choice to respond when the time is suitable for them but is still a personable method of communication.

One way a good texting platform delivers convenience to both your gym and members is through automated messaging capabilities (bonus tip: a great gym management software should offer a comprehensive text messaging solution for even more convenience). Setting up auto text messages will connect you with members on a regular basis, ensuring your gym stays at the top of their mind.

Here are a few simple campaigns to set and forget:

  • Billing decline alerts and late payment alerts
  • New prospect marketing
  • New client welcome
  • Membership renewal reminders
  • Class reminders
  • Birthday messages
  • Yearly member anniversary reminders
  • Member appreciation messages
  • Prospect sale promotions
  • FAQ responses

With automated messaging enabled, your gym can be accessible to members 24/7, giving you the confidence that members receive an answer outside of business hours and will provide members the high-quality customer service they expect.

3. Forge Personal, Non-Intrusive Connections

Building a relationship with members is difficult when they are constantly on the go. Text messaging allows you to reach them wherever they are with the method of communication they are most comfortable with. A text messaging platform can segment members into targeted groups in order to send personalized messages based on their interests or goals. These messages can be as simple as motivational quotes, nutrition tips, class schedules, and more.

Be wary of character limits and novelesque messages though. Texts should be short, sweet, and not so frequent they become annoying. Messages should also encourage members to follow a link to your website for more information – further boosting your website’s SEO and traffic.

4. Cost-effective Tool

Most texting solutions will offer various price points ranging from pay-as-you-go to monthly packages with a set amount of texting credits – typically starting between 1,000 and 2,000 text messages. With individual texts ranging from $0.01 – $0.05 and monthly services being as low as $49 a month, 1,000 messages can cost anywhere between $10 and $49 a month – possibly even cheaper depending on the number of credits available in the solution you choose.

5. Higher Engagement Rate

Texting has by far the highest engagement rate of any communication medium. Where phone calls can go unanswered, brochures can be thrown out or placed in a drawer “for later”, and emails can sit unread – texting has a 97% read rate. Texting will not only almost always get messages read by recipients, but it will also get messages read quickly.

6. Boost Marketing for a Well-rounded Strategy

Between print advertising, social media, local events, and more there is no doubt your gym is being marketed across multiple platforms. Text messaging is another simple and universal way to attract new members – and holds an engagement rate that far surpasses other mediums. With shortcode and keyword campaigns, prospects can easily reach out to your gym on their time to gain further information or take advantage of the latest promotion you’re running.

7. Complete Mobile-Friendly Experience

With 95% of the US population owning a cellphone and 77% owning a smartphone, if you want to reach members and target prospects you need to reach them on their phones. From optimizing your website, building your voice on social media, and developing a streamlined branded mobile app, texting is the final piece of the puzzle to complete a mobile-friendly experience for your members. Texting will also help drive traffic to all those resources you’ve spent so much time crafting.

With a wide range of benefits, it’s no wonder why gym facility businesses, and businesses in every industry for that matter, are adopting text messaging to drive sales and promote member engagement.

Do you have questions or want to learn more about how text messaging can impact your gym facility business? Reach out today!

Group of young happy people in a health club.

7 Ways to Retain New Year’s Resolution Members for Fitness Centers

« Blog | Written by Caitlin Fenster | | (0) Comments |

2019 is upon us and we all know what that means – the “resolution” season is in full swing. For fitness business owners, this time of the year presents an exciting (yet stressful) uptick in members looking to start healthier habits. The downside to this rise in “New Year, New You” clientele, is that they inevitably begin dropping like flies a few weeks into the year – and that means member retention rates will suffer.
While the initial spike in memberships is wonderful to see, this fluctuation in new members (and revenue) makes it difficult to plan for the rest of the year. So, how do you motivate new members to keep walking through your door? Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to inspire member loyalty and increase gym member retention from resolution-goers. Read on for seven new member retention ideas to get you started.

  1. Make New Members Feel Welcome

Now, this may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s often the simple answer that gets overlooked. Starting a new activity, especially when you don’t know anyone, can be intimidating and nerve-racking. One way you can make new members feel at ease in your fitness center is to create a “Welcome Bag”. This can include anything you’d like to give new members to get them off on the right foot. A water bottle or sticker with your logo, branded t-shirt, protein bar, supplement samples (especially if you sell them), an invite to your members only Facebook page so they can interact with other members, a staff guide with pictures, titles and bios to help break the ice, etc. Providing members information about your staff and opening conversation between other members will help new members feel comfortable attending your fitness facility. People also always love freebies so anything you decide to include, especially geared around your business, will show your appreciation for new members and anything with a logo will further promote your facility.

  1. Build a Community

It’s harder for new members to walk away from your fitness center when they feel a part of your community. Here are a few easy ways you can create a personal connection with new members to foster your growing community and continue to make them feel welcome:

  • Remember their name and make it a point to say hello whenever you see them.
  • Reach out after their first time at your fitness center.
    • This could be both in person or through email, a phone call, or text.
    • Pro tip: Using your fitness center management software, set up automated email and text check-ins based on your members activity. Humblebrag – EZFacility makes it easy to set and forget these types of (and more) automated messages so you can focus on getting away from your desk and in front of members.
    • Ask how they are liking your facility, do they have any questions, or make note of how well they are doing.
      • Brownie points if you reference a specific activity you saw them performing.
    • Make sure your staff is continually engaging with members to make them feel recognized and valued.
      • Set up tasks for you and your staff to follow up with new members within your software. By setting up tasks, you’ll know exactly when staff are reaching out to members and how frequently – assuring no new members will slip through the cracks.
    • Introduce new members to existing ones and encourage existing members to say hi and reach out to new members.
      • Bonus – getting your existing members involved will, in turn, help them feel like they are contributing to the community environment.
      • You can also run a “Peer Advocate” group where members involved receive benefits, such as free or discounted classes, for engaging with new members.

These small gestures will go a long way in making new members feel like a contributing and significant part of your fitness center’s community.
Another way to create a community is by hosting various events. Events can be both in your fitness center or offsite at a local park, restaurant, or bar. The events you host can range from charity events to holiday parties to competitive programs. Hosting an event for members will take a bit more planning and energy, but in the end is worth the effort since it will give current and new members time to get to know each other outside of their workouts – and forge deeper bonds between them.

  1. Get Involved in the Community

Another way to build a community within your fitness facility is to get involved in the community your fitness center is located. Make sure you have a finger on the pulse on community activities, like races or fundraisers, and encourage members to not only participate but arrange a meet-up at the event – you can even encourage your members to wear your fitness center’s t-shirt to the meet-up to boost the community feeling. More likely than not your new members live in the general area of your fitness center, so it will be easy for them to participate as well as get involved in their own community. This social buy-in outside of the walls of your facility will help to strengthen the community and retention within the walls of your fitness business as well.

  1. Celebrate Success

When a new member signs up, part of the onboarding process should be asking what their goals are – and if they aren’t sure, help them develop some! Once they have a specific and actionable goal(s) set, make sure you and your staff are tracking their progress through your fitness center management software. Fitness Assessment tracking will make it easy for anyone on your staff to see how a member is progressing without having to check in with the last staff member who interacted with them.
After a while, reach out and give some encouragement so they feel someone is holding them accountable for showing up to put in the work. Also, make it a point to acknowledge when they achieve their goals. Completing a goal is exciting enough, but when someone congratulates you on that goal it can feel like you’re walking on cloud nine. Have a ‘Way to Go’ board where you post the accomplishments of members so others can congratulate them as well.

  1. Save Members Money

Everyone likes saving money – and new members are no different. Work with local businesses to offer discounts and/or deals to members and offer promos to their clients. Not only will this make members feel like they are making up the cost of their membership at your fitness center elsewhere (and in places they may already shop), but you will also be further establishing yourself as a part of the local community which can help attract new members and retain existing ones. Provide a “Local Partners Booklet” containing all deals in the “Welcome Bag” for members to easily reference. Keep the savings momentum going by promoting new deals throughout the year.
Another way to endorse local businesses and their deals is by holding a meet and greet with local vendors at your facility to create stronger community bonds as well as offer members new resources they can take advantage of.

  1. Gamify Loyalty Rewards

People inherently are drawn to gamification reward systems because of the additional benefits they receive for their efforts.
Here are a few tips and ideas when developing loyalty reward programs:

  • Make it easy for members to join and participate.
  • Offer an exclusive/premium level.
  • Include referral benefits.
  • Consider friendly competition programs.
  • Know your audience. Have rewards that make sense for your members, so they don’t lose interest.
  • It needs to be fun and challenging, not frustrating for members to achieve the goals you set.
  1. Provide External Resources

Offering resources for members to access outside of your health club expresses your investment in their success and keeps you at the top of their mind. In turn, members will view your business as a place to go for industry expertise and advice and will come to you with any questions they have. A couple resources you can make available to members include:

  • A video library of common workouts and proper use of machines.
    • This can also help new members just starting their fitness journey feel less lost and reduce their risk of injury.
    • A comprehensive fitness center management software will be able to provide you with a pre-made library of exercise videos so you can hit the ground running and don’t have to spend hours shooting, editing, uploading, and organizing video content.
  • Easy travel workouts.
    • Maintaining a collection of pre-made workouts for members will show you’re committed to them reaching their goals even outside of your fitness center.
  • Nutrition guidance or suggestions.
    • This could include easy recipes, healthy eating tips, or a meal plan template.
    • If you don’t feel comfortable providing recommendations, partner with a local nutritionist to establish a mutually beneficial deal which you can include in the “Local Partners Booklet”.
    • You can also point new members in the directions of various apps or useful articles and books to help them reach their goals.

For these ideas to help build loyal members and increase retention they need to be consistently kept up. There, unfortunately, is no magic potion you can add to your water fountains to keep members coming back to your fitness center without any effort on your part.
But the good news is that improving in any of these facets will go far in building a better environment within your fitness center that drives new members to stick around for the long haul and achieve their goals. And, the great news is all these tips will work for any new (or current) member throughout the year!
These are just a few ideas to get you started increasing member retention in 2019! Let us know in the comments below what you have found successful to keep members engaged after the New Year glow has faded.
Interested in learning more about how EZFacility can help increase retention rates? Request a free trial and schedule a live demo today!