Let’s face it, marketing is scary. When it comes to owning a gym, you have to manage employees, parents, class schedules, competitions… the list goes on and on. With everything else you have to worry about, marketing is just one more thing you have to focus on.
But with limitless options to how you can market your gym, it can get incredibly overwhelming for even the most experienced gym owners. That’s why we put together this quick guide of the most important things to focus on and help you stick the landing on your marketing efforts!
Gymnastics Marketing Strategy 1: SEO
I know what you’re thinking… What in the world is SEO? Well, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, all SEO is really just how high up on Google your business comes up when people search for things like “Gymnastics gyms near me” or “best gymnastics clubs”.
While this may not sound incredibly important at first thought, let’s take a look at the numbers to see why SEO is so important for gymnastics gyms.
- There are over 3.5 billion Google searches made every day
- 1.6 Billion of those searches are local (46%)
- The first and second results get 37.84% of total clicks
- The first 5 search results get 67.6% of total clicks
- Local listings after the 6th position get less than 2% of total clicks
- 75% of searchers never go past the first page of search results
If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will! SEO is incredibly powerful for directing traffic to your website. Here are 3 tactics you can implement today to help boost your SEO.
1) Get a Google My Business Listing
If you don’t already have a Google My Business listing, this is the place to start. This will help tremendously with increasing your SEO. Without a Google My Business listing, Google has no way to find your business and show it to potential customers! You can set up your Google My Business here. Make sure that you include contact information, a link to your website, and get some reviews from your customers (we’ll talk about how to get those later in the article)
2) Get listed in local directories
Getting listed in local directories is a great way to start boosting your SEO. These listings should contain some information about your gym, some reviews of your gym, contact information, and a link to your website. Here are four directories you can list your business on that will help you boost your listing on Google, Yelp, Bing, and more!
3) Start a Blog on your Website
While this might be the most time-consuming option of the three, it’s one of the best things you can do to boost your SEO. Blog content that helps educate parents on gymnastics and why their kids should be doing it is a great place to start. Make sure you include lots of keywords (things that people will search on Google) to help boost the rankings of your blog posts. Without getting too far into the nitty-gritty of SEO, high ranking blog posts that are linked to your site will help increase the ranking of your gym’s website through backlinks that provide domain authority.
If you want to learn more about local SEO, Hubspot provides an excellent guide that you can find here.
Gymnastics Marketing Strategy 2: Just Text, It’s Easier!
Well, folks, it’s 2020. And Email has never been less effective. With open rates topping out at around 20% on average, it’s harder than ever to make email work for your business. Now before I go any further, it’s worth mentioning that there are some occasions that email can be beneficial. Primarily, those occur when communicating with vendors, registering your team for a competition, and sharing a newsletter.
What email is not good for is things like communicating with class or team parents, getting the word out about events, engaging leads from your website, or reminding parents about session renewals.
That’s what texting is for!
Text messaging today has become a lot more than just a way to talk with friends. It’s become the easiest and most effective marketing channel available. But don’t take my word for it, take a look at the stats.
- 98% of Text Messages get opened.
- 90% of Text Messages get read within 3 minutes of sending.
- Text Messages have a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook.
- The average person takes 90 seconds to reply to a text message – and 90 minutes to respond to an email…if they ever see it.
These numbers don’t lie, and neither did I! Text message marketing can be utilized in so many different ways that will help you grow your business. Here are a few ways you can utilize text message marketing at your gym.
1) Follow up with leads on your website
When leads find your website, oftentimes they’d rather chat with a real person to get the answer to their question rather than digging through your site to find it. Instead of asking people for their email on your contact me form, ask them for their phone number instead!
When you get their phone number, make sure to test them as soon as possible, as you would optimally want to get in contact with them while they’re still on your website. If your gym is already top of mind, getting that text to them quickly will make it far more likely that you’ll receive a response.
But, that’s a lot easier said than done! Instead, you can use a tool like Respond Flow to automatically text leads right after they put their information into your website. Plus, the messages come from a local 10-Digit phone number that automatically forwards calls to your front desk! When leads respond to your texts, you can easily respond on your computer, or on the go with the mobile app.
2) Get them in the Door
One of the best ways to increase class registrations is to offer a free trial class or open gym pass in exchange for phone numbers. This helps you get people in the door for the first time and will allow them to see the value that you can bring for their child. Once they’ve tested out a class, it’s incredibly likely that they’ll want to enroll full time. But first, you have to give parents a way to redeem their free class or open gym pass. Here are a few key strategies you can use to collect phone numbers from brand new leads.
Pop-up form on your website
With a pop-up form on your site, you can promote your offering for a free trial class or open gym pass and collect phone numbers through that form. Convertflow offers a free tool that you can use to create pop-ups and forms on your website without knowing how to code.
Make a landing page
A landing page is a great tool to collect phone numbers. Basically, all you need to do is present the offer (free class/open gym) give a call to action, and a form for them to put their information in! Once again, Convertflow offers a free landing page builder that you can use to collect those phone numbers.
Events and Competitions
Another great spot to collect phone numbers and give away these trial classes is at local events and competitions. Just make sure you bring a tablet and a form to collect the numbers!
3) Real them Back In
Once you’ve collected your numbers, it’s time to put them to good use! Using Respond Flow’s mass texting feature, you can send out mass text messages to remind people about their trial class, and follow up with them afterward to see if they want to register! You can even automate those follow-ups to only send if they don’t respond to the first message. Plus, even if they decide not to register now, you can always reach out to them at a later date with promotional deals or special events you’re hosting. Not now doesn’t mean not never!
While text messaging is a phenomenal marketing tool, it’s also an incredible customer service tool. You can use two-way chat to answer questions, mass messaging to let parents know about class cancelations, and of course, to let them know when it’s time to renew for the next session!
Gymnastics Marketing Strategy 3: Social Media
In this day and age, everyone is on social media! It’s become an incredibly large part of our society, and there’s no way to avoid it! Especially if you’re a gym owner. Being active on social media helps build your following, engage potential leads, and gives parents a way to see your happy gymnasts.
However, it’s important to determine which social media platforms to focus on before diving in deep. While it would seem like the best idea to be posting on every single social network consistently, it’s hard to keep all of that content coming. Instead, it’s better to focus on a few key social networks and dive deep into them. Focus on the social media platforms that your parents are on, as you’ll see the best results from being active on the platforms your customers are on. Here are the social media channels we recommend focusing on.
- Facebook: Undoubtedly the largest social media platform, Facebook is an important part of running a business today. Treat this page like your second website! Make sure all of your pictures, events, and important updates are posted here. You can even create Facebook groups for your team parents to give them an easy way to communicate.
- Instagram: Instagram is great for sharing pictures and videos of your gymnasts showing off their best skills! But you still have to make sure that you’re focusing on the right types of posts. You should consistently be posting pictures and videos to your profile, at least 3-4 times a week is best practice. But don’t forget about stories! If you can, try and post at least one story every day. It may seem like a lot, but if you hand it off to a few of your coaches, they’ll make it a part of their day! Don’t forget to use the story highlights feature, you should make sure to save all your best stories so people can see all the happy gymnasts when they check out your Instagram.
If you want to make social media marketing easy on yourself, look no further than Tailwind! They’re one of the best social media schedulers around, and they share tons of helpful content to help you win on social media! You can try their plus plan free for a month here.
Those are the primary social media platforms we recommend focusing on, however, Pinterest, Youtube, and TikTok are also great channels to share your content on. If your team likes to film a lot of videos, make sure to utilize those and share them on Youtube or TikTok… you never know what could go viral!
Gymnastics Marketing Strategy 4: Start a Referral Program
Referral programs are an incredible way to spread word of mouth about your gym. Tons of gyms have been using them for years! However, the digital marketing age has brought about a new way to run your referral campaigns. In the digital marketing world, they like to call these campaigns “Viral Loops”.
In a nutshell, the idea behind a viral loop is that you can digitally share an incentive to your customers, they can digitally share it with their friends, and their friends can even share it with their friends! Plus, there are even tools out there that allow you to track these referrals and make sure the right people get their credit. We recommend a tool like Viral-Loops, as they practically invented the term! All you’ll have to do is get the campaign set up, and they’ll take care of the tracking for you.
These campaigns work best with an incentive for both parties (the referrer and the referred), so make sure you offer your customers a deal for referring friends, and a deal for the friends they refer!
Once you’re ready to launch your campaign, you’ve got to get the word out to your current customers. If you already have Respond Flow, all you have to do is send out a mass text to all of your current customers and leads. When you send out the text (or email… I guess) you want to include a link to sign up for the campaign, making it easy to track and assign credit for successful referrals. Viral-Loops will provide you with this link, which will also allow people to share the campaign on their social media.
For a more in-depth overview of referral marketing campaigns, check out Viral-Loops guide to referral marketing here.
Gymnastics Marketing Strategy 5: Revamp Your Website
In the digital age we live in, your website is one of the most important parts of your business. It is your gym’s digital identity, and if it doesn’t reflect the message you want to be sending, then it’s probably time for a revamp!
Websites do a lot more than just provide information, it’s where you build your trust online. While taking your website from great to even better is important, the biggest key here is to make sure you don’t have a bad website. In the startup world, a bad website is known as a “leaky bucket”, meaning that your website is leaking leads that should be converting for some reason or another. To help patch up your leaky bucket, here are a few tips to keep in mind when revamping your website.
Keep it Simple
Too often we come across websites that just want to tell us EVERYTHING under the sun as soon as you get to the website. This is NOT what you want. You want to focus on keeping it simple and straightforward, not clogging it with incredibly long paragraphs. The reasoning for this is that very few people actually read everything your website says. Most people just like to skim, read headers, and look at images. That is why you should keep your messaging short and sweet.
Consistent and Clear Call to Action
This is one of the simplest yet most overlooked aspects of creating your website. While you need to focus on having a clear and concise message, it’s even more important to have a clear and consistent call to action.
Your goal here should be to give people the easiest way to make a purchase. The best way to do that? Tell them to do it! As soon as someone lands on your website, they should know exactly what you want them to do. These CTA’s should say something like “Sign Up Now”, telling people that you want them to sign up… now! Try not to use more than one CTA per page, the maximum should be two. You don’t want to give people too many options, as they want to be told what they should do on your website. If a website’s homepage tells you to “Start a free trial”, “Sign Up Now”, “Learn More”, and “Choose Your Class”, what does that website want you to do? Well, who could know! People should NOT have to figure out what you want them to do. We recommend using “Sign Up Now” buttons throughout your page, and having a “Contact Us” form at the bottom of your page on the footer.
The last piece of the puzzle to having a clear and consistent CTA is to use a very noticeable color and a slightly rounded button. These are universal design principles, as buttons with slightly rounded edges are clicked more often than oval buttons. It’s also worth noting that yellow buttons are clicked more often than any other color button. We’re not quite sure why, but for some reason, people just like to click on yellow buttons! The color of this CTA should optimally remain the same throughout your page, but if necessary you can alternate two different colors as you scroll down the page. If you decide to use two different CTA’s (“Sign Up Now” and “Learn More”) on the same page, make sure they are each their own color, as you need the same color to represent the same action. Make sure the colors you choose stick out on your page, they should be the easiest thing on your site to see. Here’s a quick comparison of a good and bad CTA.
See the difference here? The button on the left makes for a much more engaging and noticeable call to action than the button on the right. Which one would you be more likely to click?
Include Lots of Pictures
As previously mentioned, people tend to skim through websites to find what they’re looking for, rather than actually reading all the text. That’s why you want to make sure to have lots of pictures on your site. You need to show off what you offer, and what you offer is happy and healthy fun for kids! If your website doesn’t show this off, it’s missing one of your biggest assets. When parents see how much kids love doing gymnastics, and how much they love doing it at your gym, they’re going to want that same experience for their kids. Make sure to include pictures of both the kids and the kids working with coaches. This shows that you are proud of your staff and provides a visual example of how well they work with kids.
Show Your Commitment to SafeSport
With all that’s happened in the gymnastics world over the past few years, it’s more important than ever to share how you keep kids safe at your gym. You should show clear information on the steps you’ve taken to ensure that your athletes are happy, healthy, and safe. You should also provide transparent, clear instructions on how to report an issue, the steps that are taken when an issue is reported, and optimally, include a parent’s testimonial on your safety and transparency.
Optimize Your Site for SEO
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, SEO is one of the best things you can do to increase traffic to your website. Make sure you include keywords in your headers and that all of the links work on your site. There’s tons of things that you can do to increase SEO on your website, so if you really want to go all-in on this strategy, it may be best to outsource your website development to a marketing firm or reputable website developer.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use website builder that will help you create a gorgeous website that brings in new class registrations, we recommend checking out Wix. However, your website is the face of your business and should be treated as such. If you don’t feel that you can make a great website on your own, it’s something you shouldn’t be afraid to spend some money on.
HOWEVER, you should NOT be paying crazy amounts of money every month to a marketing agency or freelance web developer. Far too often we hear about gyms that are shelling out $300+ every month for their website. There should optimally be a one time fee that shouldn’t be more than $1000 (even that is a lot) with just small maintenance and hosting fees after that. No one should EVER pay hundreds of dollars a month for hosting. If you’re looking for someone to build your website for you, find a reputable website developer or marketing agency that has built websites for similar clients in the past. Don’t just go to your cousin’s friend who makes websites as a side business, find someone reputable that won’t overcharge you for silly costs. If you’d like advice on finding someone to help you build your website, shoot me a text at (405) 433-7628.
Gymnastics Marketing Strategy 6: Host a Parent’s Night
Hosting a parent’s night isn’t just a fun night for your customers, it’s also a great way to attract leads! Instead of keeping parents night strictly for current customers, ask them to invite their friends. This will give new parents a way to check out the gym, have some fun, and see what you can offer for their kids. Plus, it’ll give you a way to collect their phone numbers so you can easily follow up with them after the event and see if they’re interested in a class for their kids! Make sure to keep the event fun and engaging, but don’t forget to promote yourself! You can offer special giveaways like a free session, private lessons, or something non-gymnastics related. These giveaways will help attract parents and their friends, and will help keep your event exciting!
In this article, we went over the six key marketing strategies that you can implement at your gym to help you increase class registrations and renewals utilizing the power of digital marketing. Here’s a quick recap of what we went over.
- SEO: This is one of the best things you can do to drive more traffic to your website. This helps parents find you easier and can do absolute wonders for your business.
- Text Message Marketing: This is by far the easiest and most effective way to up your marketing game. With 98% open rates, there’s no form of communication that gets read and engaged with more than text messages.
- Social Media: Social Media is an inevitable part of marketing. Make sure you only focus on the channels that are important for your business and actually drive results.
- Viral Loops Referral Program: Starting a viral looping referral program is a great way to leverage word of mouth in a whole new way.
- Revamp Your Website: Your website is the face of your business, make sure it reflects the message you want to send! Keep your site simple, clear, and easy to navigate.
- Host a Parents Night: Hosting an exciting event for parents and asking them to bring friends is a great way to get new leads in the door for the first time. You get to show off what you can offer, and provide a fun time for your current customers!
While these strategies will be super effective for your gym, there’s an important element you must always remember when implementing any sort of marketing.
Build -> Measure -> Learn -> Repeat
This is the “Lean Startup” process coined by Eric Reis in his book of the same name. The process involves deciding what to implement, measuring the success of that initiative, and taking away actionable learnings that allow you to improve. This same process can be applied to any part of your business, not just your marketing. Make sure to set clear and measurable goals for all of your initiatives. Without a clear goal, there’s no way to determine whether the initiative is working or not. When you know what success looks like, all you have to figure out is why it’s working, then it’s easy to determine how you can improve!
Thanks for reading this all-inclusive marketing guide for gymnastics gyms. We hope this helps you grow your business and stick the landing on your marketing!