The top sources to find leads

Lead generation is the lifeblood of your fitness business, so let’s take a look at the multiple areas where potential leads could be waiting for you, writes fitness marketer Michelle Le Grand.

One of the most pressing issues all fitness businesses face today is how to find more leads.

People’s budgets have become tighter as living costs have increased, competition has dramatically escalated and people are expecting more bang for their buck.

Lead generation, therefore, has become increasingly important and can be the difference between a business making a profit or shutting its doors.

So let’s explore all the different areas where potential leads could be waiting for you.

Your current clients

One of the most effective and cost efficient ways to find future leads is to simply ask your current members if they know someone who would be interested in your services. Often when people are looking to join a gym or use a PT, they first turn to their friends and family for recommendations.

Referrals carry a lot more weight than a paid ad, so make sure you have a strong member referral program that’s mutually beneficial and that all your members know about.

Your own database

Your database is the most valuable marketing tool you own. It should contain details of not only all your current clients or members, but also prospects, lapsed clients and any leads you have acquired.

Regularly follow up on your leads and include them in your newsletters, blogs and social media. They may not be interested right now, but in due course you may contact them at just the right time when they’re ready to take action and sign up.

Don’t forget about contacting lapsed members to see if you can entice them back. If they haven’t moved out of the area, chances are they may just need some motivation to get them back into your facility or training with you again.

Get online

The internet is generally the first place people turn to when they are gathering information, so make sure you have a strong presence online.

Your own website

Your website can be a great source of leads, so ensure it has a modern design, is up to date, mobile friendly, easy to navigate and has all your contact details. You should also have a variety of ways to capture leads’ details, such as a pop up form for people to add their email address to receive your blog or newsletter, or a super simple contact form so people can request more information.

Get social

Ensure you are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or whatever channels your target audience are on (and not just personally if you are a personal trainer, but professionally). Your profile should look professional and you should regularly post content, Tweets, videos and pictures that are relevant and interesting to your target market.

Have exclusive promotions and competitions for your fans and followers: fans that are not members may just need a special incentive at the right time to convert them to a paying client or member.

Google Adwords

If people are actively looking for you, make sure they can find you as easily as possible. When someone is using Google to search for information on getting fit, losing weight or finding a trainer in their local vicinity, then your details should pop up.

Social media ads

Advertising through various social media channels can be a very cost effective way to create interest and gain leads.

The beauty of social media advertising is two-fold: first you can make your ads very targeted so they only appear in front of your target audience (for example, mums, between 30 and 45 years of age, who live within 1km of your business and are interested in yoga).

Secondly, you don’t need a big budget: you are in complete control of how much you spend.

If you are looking to run any social media ads, make sure that you:

  • know what you want to achieve
  • you are clear with your target audience
  • use high quality and striking images or videos
  • have an eye catching headline
  • communicate the benefits and what you do better than anyone else
  • have an offer too good to refuse
  • give a timeframe for people to act sooner rather than later.

throw in something for free, if you can!

Local online directories

Make sure you are listed in all the local directories such as the Yellow Pages, True Local, Yelp and Hotfrog (basic listings are usually free). This is often where people will start their search.

Working with other businesses

Don’t just focus on the individual; targeting small businesses can mean big business for you. Talk to the HR manager and sell them the benefits of exercise: a healthier employee takes fewer sick days, has lower stress levels, has more energy and is more productive.

Special corporate deals

Offer special corporate rates to businesses in the area: the more people that join, the bigger the discount.

Play a crucial role in any corporate wellness program. Hold a series of ‘lunch and learns’ where you provide a healthy lunch and present to groups of workers about the benefits of exercise and eating well, and offer free introductory sessions on site or at their workplace gym if they have one. A weekly group training session could be exactly the sort of team bonding experience that HR will get excited about!

Become a preferred supplier

Consider all the businesses that have a natural affiliation to health and fitness: physios, doctors, masseuses, health food stores, nutritionists, chiropractors, sporting clubs… Approach them with a proposal to promote each other’s businesses. This gives you exposure to a wider and highly relevant audience who may be more inclined to use your services.

Cross promotion opportunities

Identify a range of local businesses such as cafes, travel agents, cinemas, hairdressers, beauty salons, real estate agents, bridal shops and restaurants that you think would be a good fit with your target market, and ask if you can place a poster in their shop window or leave some flyers for their customers.

Work with other fitness companies

If you provide yoga classes, how about teaming up with a CrossFit Box? Or if you do outdoor training classes, look at partnering with a local gym.

Are there any fitness businesses that offer services you don’t, that would complement your business – and vice versa? This adds value to your members or clients’ memberships and exposes your services to a completely new audience.

Class Pass and Fitness Passport

Similar to a gym membership, Class Pass and other similar businesses give members access to all sorts of different classes (such as yoga, barre, cycling or martial arts) at a variety of studios and gyms that have signed on. By signing your business up, you could get some people trying out your facility who may not have otherwise, and who may then become members. This option isn’t necessarily suitable for every business, so you’ll need to consider it carefully.

Fitness Passport is a corporate health and fitness program that allows those people who work for a variety of government organisations access to fitness businesses that have signed up to the program.

The old fashioned methods

Sometimes the tried and traditional ways work best, so consider these options too.

Letterbox drops

The success of letterbox drops can be a bit hit and miss. If people receive a heap of junk mail, chances are your flyer will go straight into the recycling bin.

Consider adding a calendar or listing local service contacts or emergency numbers that may extend the life of your flyer. Add a magnet so people can put the postcard on their fridge so when they decide to join a fitness business, they have your details at top of mind.

Open days

Throw open your doors for a weekend and invite the local community along. Make it a fun-filled event with special competitions, free food and giveaways.

Lead boxes

Set up a lead box in a high traffic area where people drop their business cards to win free memberships or merchandise.

Time to get personal

We are in a personal business, so nothing beats putting yourself out there in person and meeting potential members face to face.

Set up a stand at your local shopping centre, community event or markets, and give out free fitness assessments. Hit the streets and give out free passes around train stations, schools, child care centres, bus stops – anywhere your target audience may be.

There are lots of opportunities to get leads and most of them don’t cost a lot of money, just some time and perseverance. The important thing is to continually have a few different lead generation strategies in place, even when your calendar is fairly solidly booked, so that you can keep adding them to your leads funnel.

Michelle Le Grand is the owner of Le Grand Marketing, and is also a group fitness instructor and personal trainer. She specialises in developing marketing strategies and social media plans for fitness businesses to help them generate leads, increase memberships and build brand awareness.