Direct Debits Can Save Your Health Club Time And Money


An Introduction to Direct Debits 

Direct Debit Payments are a crux of modern living for the majority of consumers and businesses. As a method of payment it is only going from strength to strength. It has even found itself firmly in the Cambridge Dictionary and the Collins Dictionary! According to a broad study from 2017, at the time it was revealed that 9 out of 10 people in the UK with a bank account had at least one Direct Debit. In addition, over a third of combined households were totalling over 6 Direct Debit payments.

What we are trying to say is that this isn’t something that will scare customers away. The Direct Debit is an ingrained and accepted part of everyday life for most consumers. Direct Debits are something that many younger (Or tech-savvy older!) consumers will be able to manage and manipulate on their phone with ease. 

As such, it is a system and methodology to be embraced and we are here to lay out the reasons why Direct Debits will help make life easier for your business and your customer. 

Here is a list of just some of the points we will be covering today.

  • How a direct debit can help reduce the running costs of your business
  • How a direct debit will increase membership retention and customer satisfaction 
  • How a direct debit will give you give you more control over your business 
  • How a direct debit gives you the freedom and flexibility to make price changes with ease
  • How a direct debit contributes to an easier administrative load with reduced admin costs
  • How a direct debit system will integrate and enhance the potential (or continued) automation process of your gym.

Quite a hefty list, can we back it up? Be assured that with over 25 years of handling payment management within the fitness industry, we hope to convince you swiftly that we know our stuff.


Treadmill in spacious gym

1. Direct Debit lets you increase fees when you need to


Flexibility has always been key to surviving in any business. But with the advent of digital technology, agile work methodology and ever more competitive business practices, it matters now more than ever.

How could this relate to direct debit payments? Well the clue is in the section title. 

The price of any given service will always be subject to flux, whether it is due to external factors such as Covid-19 or currency, or internal factors such as the renovations on a gym or increased membership. With other, more archaic payment systems, keeping track of who is paying what could be a significant challenge. Let alone attempting to instigate any sort of mass increase in member fees. 

If you take the relative of the direct debit, the standing order for instance. This would require the customer to cancel their existing standing orders and create a brand new one in it’s place. Often this cannot be done as simply as a direct debit on a mobile phone and even if it could, it is still an inconvenience. And a dangerous one at that. 

The last thing you want is for a customer to have to cancel a standing order and have to do tedious admin whilst suffering the indignity of an increase in fee.

Safe to say that all of this can create hassle for your customers, it could cause delays or even lead to your customers letting their membership lapse. 

With the direct debit this ceases to be an issue at all. You are able to monitor, review and most importantly, change the amount you are collecting without needing any input from your members.

This flexibility can bring a lot of new options into the picture. Given our recent experiences in the Covid-19 pandemic, the direct debit proved its strength as a format that could be quickly amended, paused or continued. In unprecedented times it is all the more necessary to have an adaptable, reliable system in place.


2. Direct Debit reduces administrative load and it gives your business more control

The administrative load associated with more traditional methods of membership payment collection are daunting to say the least. Cash, cheques, standing orders. If you are collecting a combination of these then it can quickly add up to long nights of tedious reconciliation activity.

But how could the direct debit ever compete as an alternative to cash or currency? That tried and tested method since Mesopotamian shekel? Well, it might’ve taken 5,000 years but we think we have an alternative. 

With direct debits, unlike standing orders, they can be easily and effortlessly set up on a computer terminal, phone or tablet. 

This means that it is as easy to whip out a portable electronic device and arrange the bank as it would be to say, hand over £10 (or Mesopotamian shekels if you are feeling nostalgic). 

In many cases this might be easier. A lot of modern sports equipment (running bands, gym shorts, etc) is being outfitted with a place to hold your debit card or credit card securely. But the same isn’t to be said for cash, which is obviously bulkier and impossible to recover if lost.

As such, the direct debit is a natural fit for the transforming habits of most gym-goers.

Sounds pretty good? Well, as an added bonus, you’ll receive an added layer of control and data feedback regarding what has been paid and what is due to be paid. This is something you don’t get with standing orders.

With direct debits, you will be aware as soon as one has been cancelled, even if it isn’t pay-day. This is due to the nature of the direct debit (as discussed in security and regulations). It isn’t like a standing order, which exists only as an instruction on a given day.

The benefits that this can afford you are numerous. It can allow you to react quickly to a cancellation, perhaps even contacting the member in question to understand what has occurred. It also has the very tangible benefit of allowing you to understand how much money can be expected from your members in real time. Invaluable.

It is no surprise that changing from Standing Orders and Cash to direct debit can be like switching on a flashlight for many gym and club owners. We have had it stated that it is like being fully in control for the first time. 

Which makes sense when you consider that a drabble of cash and standing orders that need to be painstakingly reconciled and catalogued at the end of each month would cause massive admin costs and consistency issues.

Which brings us effortlessly onto our next point.

man looking at computer drinking coffee

3. Direct Debits can reduce administration costs 

It may seem like a no brainer with the reduction of administration load but we think this deserves its own section.

The amount of wage saved in the potential reconciliation of cash, cheque and standing order could be massive, especially to a small business. It used to be taken as a given that any physical business would invariably have to deal with multiple streams of income in different formats. But as we move forward into the digital age, this is becoming less and less likely. 

Imagine replacing all of that costly counting with a single tablet. That counts as your sign-up, your monthly fee and also covers any potential increases in fee, decreases in fee, fee pausing or cancellation?

All of these actions would have required additional admin, in addition to the monthly admin just to make sure that your books are fully reconciled!

And with human reconciliation comes the inevitable human error, which will only lead to more admin. With the direct debit, the cash flow is automatic, regular, easily recorded and instant. 

In addition, full integration of a direct debit system into a club management system can reduce administration costs even further if you use it to tackle the actual membership and entry to your club. With digital technologies it has never been easier to seamlessly integrate membership and payment, rather than having to track them on two disparate systems.

And finally, it will also make your year to year easier. No longer will you have to go to 1 of 18 spreadsheets. No longer will you be forced to painstakingly recheck your hand-written notes from 10 months ago to make sure you didn’t misread something.

It is incredible what a powerful effect such a simple tool can have. All the more important to state the impact that a direct debit can have on a gym or fitness club.


4. How Direct Debits can greatly assist your Regulatory Compliance and Payment Security 


Regulations are never fun but that doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely necessary. Mercifully, with direct debits you can cross out tedious from that list of attributes.

As we tried to stress in the introductory paragraphs, the direct debit is an industry standard and as such it is not only fully compliant (vital) but incredibly secure. 

It is covered diligently and thoroughly  by the FCA (the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK government regulator for financial transaction). The FCA covered direct debits in a piece of regulatory mandating known as the Payment Services Regulations directive. We won’t bore you with anything further than that but it is safe to say that this affords the direct debit a large degree of security and compliance that is unmatched.

Once it is confirmed that the chosen billing provider is FCA accredited, you can have the utmost confidence that the transactions and membership fees that occur will be compliant, trusted and most importantly, safe for your customer and your business. 


5. Get more from your data and make the data work for you


The data outputs from a traditional gym membership payment system can be, lacking to say the least. Unless it was set up by someone of extraordinary vision it will most likely have fallen to place naturally as memberships are received by cash, cheque and standing order as and when applicable. 

This ad hoc process, while perfectly acceptable, isn’t winning any awards for innovation. At best the data will have to be collected and processed into a usable format. At worst? Well, it won’t be, and the business will be stumbling around in the dark like we discussed during Point 2. 

With a direct debit system, the data outputs and reporting capabilities are digital, immediate and powerful. With the right systems and support, the versatile data that it will generate naturally will allow you to see a business from angles previously inconceivable. 

This will allow you to understand what is happening in your business, whether it be in a given hour or over the span of years, with hitherto unknown speed. 

You will be able to make and generate reports to keep others in the loop, allowing you to develop specific areas and quickly inform others of the needs of the business.


6. Customer Service


And finally, and perhaps most importantly. The customer, your members, will also receive significant benefits from this system. We have covered some of these previously, but they will bear repeating together for a true picture of how this change could benefit every aspect of a business.

The effects will be tangible and instant and include:

The ease of signing up to a direct debit when they first enter your fitness club or gym will be immediately noticeable to them. No longer having to worry about bringing cash per session, or the lengthy process of setting up a standing order.

The efficiency of changing members fees will not go unappreciated. No member relishes paying their fee, let alone paying an increased fee. So adding on the unnecessary and tedious bureaucratic hassle of making them update their own increased payment won’t always go down well. Remove the issue and make the unfortunate news of a price increase all the more palatable with clear, professional communication and the reassurance that no action is required from them. 

Furthermore, if your gym introduces tiered systems, it will allow customers to easily upgrade to the next tier or section. If your gym or fitness club opens up additional classes, it will be no bother for them to quickly up their fee for the additional services you are offering.

The reassurance of security you will be able to give to your members will not go unappreciated. And the clear paper-trail, compliant regulated practices and easy trouble-shooting of any issues will be an extra feather in any businesses cap compared to the labyrinthine processes of yesteryear. 

And finally, your members just get to spend less time thinking about money and payment and more time thinking about the gym. Ideally you want your club members thinking as little as possible about their payments. A direct debit lets their membership payment become part of the background flow of the month for both of you. Allowing you both to focus on the service that is being provided. 



Ashbourne Membership Management has been growing over 25 years to handle every single aspect of club management. From direct debits to website maintenance and handling your energy bar sales – Ashbourne handles it all.

When it comes to Direct Debits, we can drastically reduce your admin and free up your staff in 5 simple steps:

  • We provide you our software to track all your members
  • We provide you with direct debit guarantees and set them up
  • We set up your direct debits
  • We handle all contact between your members and their payments
  • We handle all debt collection for any defaulted payments

If you want to take a look at what your club could be with a system in place for direct debit collection, then we can give you a completely free demo and consultation, simply to run through the process, our systems and answer any questions you might have.

Simply book a free demo with us and let us show you the future of your gym.


21 Proven Ways To Generate Members For Your Club

team celebration at sunset

Your health club lives or dies on you being able to generate members for your club.

With so much competition in the health and fitness industry, it’s tougher than ever to stand out from the crowd as a unique health club and reliably appeal to customers in your local area.

But let that worry you no more, as over our 25 years working in the fitness industry, we’ve compiled our 21 golden rules that have proven time and time again to reliably increase memberships for fitness businesses all over the UK.

And now those same rules can have the same success and increase gym sales at your club.


21 Proven Ways To Increase Gym Memberships For Your Club


1) Shout (Loudly) About What Makes You Different

This is marketing at its most basic – find out what makes you different from another club and shout about it.
Emphasise your unique selling points (USPS) – whether you have the largest free weight section, Power Plates,
ladies only zone. free personal training etc. What makes you different and why should someonejoin you and hot
the other gym in t0wn.

2) Build A Great Website

Website display on apple computerYour marketing activity can either prosper or fail miserably because of your website. Your website is at the heart
of your online presence and, in 2019, it’s a digital extension of your Club (whether you like it or not) that has a huge impact on people’s view of you as a business. Having a great website for your club is no longer a choice — it’s a necessity. It’s directly responsible for prospectsI impressions of you as a brand and it’s ultimately
responsible for the number of enquiries coming into your club and the number of new members which you sign up each month. A website which looks poor and which is difficult to use doesn’t build the type of relationships you want. It paints a negative image of you as a club and it’ll drive people away from your site. And, guess what? That’s only great for your competitors.


3) Facebook Advertising & Social Media Advertising

If you’re not currently using Facebook Advertising to promote your club, you’re missing out on a big opportunity.
An opportunity to stand out from your competition and consistently generate new enquiries and sign—ups.

We live in a world where social media platforms are becoming ever more powerful and prominent. In the UK, we
spend almost 25% of our mobile ihternet usage time using Facebook. The sheer volume of people using
Facebook each and every day means that it’s a complete nosbrainer to use the platform as part of your overall
marketing strategy. It‘s where your prospects are ‘hanging out’ and, therefore, it’s most definitely where you
should be advertising.

social media on mobile

And it’s not just the vast number of users that makes the social media platform an essential Channel to include as
part of your strategy to attract new members. What makes Facebook Advertising so effective is the vast range of
targeting options available to businesses. These targeting options mean that you can be extremely focused and
precise with what audiences you target with your ads and what messages you use to engage with them. It’s these
targeting options which put Facebook Advertising up there as one of the most advanced and powerful platforms
for advertising your gym or club.

You can find out more about the benefits of Facebook Advertising for your club on our website.


4) Remarketing

Remarketing is a technique which allows you to show adverts to people who have already visited your website
but who didn’t convert into an enquiry or become a new member (companies like Amazon and A505, for
example, use remarketing really effectively and you’ll have no doubt seen this happen many times before — you
look at a product on their site and you’ll see ads for that product and other similar products across other sites
online once you leave their site. This isn’t by chance, this is remarketing in action). Implemented in the right way,
remarketing is a very effective method of generating more enquiries and bringing new members into your club.
New members who may well have ended up joining a different club.

More than 95% of users who Visit your website leave without taking any form of action‘ They don’t get in touch
with you, sign up or leave their contact details. More often than not. once they leave your site, they don’t come
back — you won’t ever see them again. Remarketing – which can be done through Facebook or Google – is a great
way to continue to engage with potential members and drive them back to your website and into your club.


5) Encourage Member Testimonials

Member testimonials are a big deal and their testimonials should never be underestimated. A huge proportion of
your potential members will use member reviews and testimonials as part of their research process when looking
for a new club and they are a great way to stand out from your competition The more you can get, the better!


6) Invite Feedback

losing motivation runner tired

Most club owners feel that they have the greatest club in town but it’s your members who really have the final
say in that respect. If you don’t listen to your members you won’t know if there are areas in need of
improvement. Create a lockable feedback box that only the gym owner has access to and allow your members to
post their comments anonymously. This box should be positioned in an area away from reception so that
members can post comments without the glare from staff (who they might be commenting about). If the member
has left their contact details, follow up immediately by thanking them for their feedback and stating that you will give the matter your immediate attention. And then ensure that you do!


7) Allow For Online Gym Sign Ups

You‘ve created a great looking website and attracted plenty of visitors but now what? Make sure you attach an
onlinejoining facility so that prospects can turn into members at the touch of a button. Ensure you are able to
take an immediate payment and then set up a rolling payment option. Ensure this page is professionally produced
and is a seCure page for taking payments. Ashbourne’s Online Joining Module allows you to do exactly that – you
can find out more about it by visiting our website.


8) Build A Great Blog

cup-mug-desk-officeDaily exercise tips, diet and nutrition tips, wellness, weightlifting, sports – comment regularly online about ANYTHINGl A blog/newsfeed update keeps people up-to-date with what’s going on at your club. But more importantly, it builds a community link between your members and your staff and trainers. This develops further your customer loyalty. Spread the writing of material amongst your team. Get your personal trainers to write about their particular areas of knowledge and expertise plus their case study success stories in relation to results gained by particular members. All this is likely to lead to more training enrolments. Encourage PTs to send out this into by email, even on twitter and Facebook. This will lead to more referrals, which all leads to more


9) Produce A Great Club Newsletter

Produce a newsletter to communicate with your members about latest developments in and out of the club +
info about the members such as success stories, charity initiatives, notable birthdays etc. People always like to
see their name published and again this increases retention.



10) Set A Competitive Price (Keep an eye on your competitors)

Don’t ignore what your competitors are doing price-wise. Your pricing decisions should be based on real market
analysis, so keep an eye on what they’re charging for various membership types.


11) Implement A Referral Programme

beach-beautiful-enjoyment-1671217The best source of new leads for your club is your existing members. Getting your current members to sell your facility to their friends means that the hard work of selling is done for you and best of all, it’s cheap! Referral programmes get you new members AND your current members now have training partners and a sense of
ownership, therefore increasing retention.

Of course, members are more likely to make a referral if there is something in it for them. You can find out more
about implementing an effective referral campaign on the Ashbourne Membership Management blog.


12) Aim For Professionalism & Excellence In Customer Service

This will significantly increase your customer loyalty. Members are demanding more from their health clubs
today. They expect to be able to talk to qualified individuals that are willing to listen and help. Customers are
most satisfied when they interact with self—aware people who have the ability to show empathy and optimism.
Most members will appreciate a gym that offers staff that listens to complaints instead of a gym that offers 100


13) Google Display Advertising

Google Display Advertising works on the EGoogle Display Network’ which although sounds technical= is actually
something that most internet users see on a daily basis. The Google Display Network is made up of millions of
websites where advertisers can place adverts in many different formats. These ads can be targeted to very
specific audiences based on segments such as location, age and browsing interests.

According to Google the Display Network covers over 90% of all the internet’s users! so it’s a fantastic way to get in front of people on a large scale. Obviously, getting in front of someone is one thing, but for your marketing to make a good return on investment, you need to be talking to the right people, and that‘s where the Display
Network really comes into its own.

The list of targeting features that are available to be segmented and filtered are only riyalled by that of Facebook Ads. There are a variety of ways that you can target potential members who have expressed an interest in a new
club or gym and who have interests in what you have to offer.


14) Stay In Touch

Undoubtedly, there will be members who fall off the wagon a little bit. Do your best to try and capture these
members early on. If you track attendance, it’s easy to run a report of last visits and call the members you havent
seen in a while. Monthly newsletters, e-mail campaigns, postcards, and regular Facebook or blog posts are other
ways that you can keep your gym fresh in members” minds and even recapture those you may have lost.


15) Lead Magnets

A Lead Magnet is simply a piece of content or an item of value that’s used strategically on your website to get
peoplels contact information. Its an item that offers value to website visitors, something that they are going to be
willing to exchange their details for (their first name and email address, and possibly their phone number).

An effective Lead Magnet might be a brochure. a fitness or diet guide or it might be a download which
highlights the core reasons to choose your club over anyone else. As long as it has enough perceived value that
someone is willing to give their details, it really doesn’t matter. but it will help if the information really hits the
spot with your prospects’ problem/need. Once you have a prospect’s details. you can follow up via email or on
the phone to help nurture them into paying members.


16) Email

Email is crucial to the marketing efforts of your business (and always will be). Various studies have shown that
over 70% of people would rather receive marketing and promotional material via email than from any other
source of communication. In an industry where consumerjourneys can be long and properly thought out, and
where competition is growing all the time, email provides a platform to continuously engage with members and
potential members alike in order to ensure that they receive personalised content which strengthens
relationships; educates and which inspires.

We‘d recommend using email for three main purposes; nurturing prospects, building relationships and engaging
with your current members and, thirdly, as a way to communicate and encourage lost members to come back to
your club.


17) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

seoSearch Engine Optimisation (SEQ) is the strategy of increasing a website’s visibility within search engines (Le.
Google, Bing, Yahoo). An SEO Strategy is designed to increase the volume and quality of organic traffic (not to be
confused with paid activity) a website receives by achieving higher Search Engine Result Page (SERP) rankings.
The implementation of an SEO strategy is crucial to the visibility of the your club online and ensuring that
potential members are finding you through relevant searches.

When it comes to SEO, it’s important to ensure that you are carrying out ongoing technical, on—site and oftsite
SEC) tasks. Your business is unique and your SEO plan needs to reflect that. Your SEO strategy should ultimately
be built around keyword research and what it is that your prospects are actually searching for. There are lots of
great blogs online which will help you to better understand what you need to do to help increase your website’s
visibility in search engines which will all help to ensure more people are finding you.


18) Give Your Staff An Incentive

Most club owners just expect their trainers to sell memberships and carry out sales tours as
part of their job description. This is fine up to a point. If you want your staff to go the extra
mile, the simplest way to get them selling in a more professional manner is to give them a
commission on every membership they sell. You will notice that the number of conversions
from prospect to member increases dramatically. Structure your sales commission to reward
trainers for selling the highest grossing membership.


19) Create A Loyalty Programme / Premium Product

personal training weightsLooking after your current members is of course just as important as finding new ones. A loyalty programme is more important than any other marketing programme you have. If you treat the top 10% of your customer’s right. they will take care of most of your other marketing for you. Keep the people who love you in love with you. Come up with loyalty programmes to make them feel appreciated…

0 Free Gold Member t—shirts for members that have been with you for an extended period.

0 If you have extra services at your club like massage therapists, supplements or a juice bar, give them a coupon
for one of them.

0 Small touches can make them feel special , reward your members with free tea and coffee/ protein shakes etc.
“I’ll get this protein shake for you John as a thanks for being such a loyal member.”


20) Offer Free Passes / Varied Promotions

Otfering free passes to your current members is a great way to make them teel more valued and to generate new
enquiries in a very cost-eftective way. Your valued member gets the chance to bring a friend to use your club’s
facilities completely free of charge and you get a new prospect who gets to experience your facilities and who
you can nurture and build a relationship with over the coming weeks and months with the objective of
converting them into a paying member.


21) Maintain A High Google Review

Member testimonials are a big deal and their testimonials should never be underestimated. A huge proportion of
your potential members will use member reviews and testimonials as part of their research process when looking
for a new club and they are a great way to stand out from your competition The more you can get, the better!

How To Save A Failing Gym [2/2]: Rebuilding A Healthy Gym

A few days ago, you joined us for the first part of a story about a gym on the brink of collapse.

In the second part, we’re going to tell you how we solved those problems.

And not only that, we’re going to give you a completely FREE way to do the same at your own club.

Okay, it’s not completely free. The price is to read our story to the end.

And If you missed the first part, then you can quickly catch up by reading it here.

This Is How We Saved A Failing Gym…


At the end of the last part you might remember that we had identified dozens of problems with Prime Fitness upon discovering it had been abandoned.

But there were some key issues which were the most troubling:

  • The gym was insecure and was being used for free by a huge number of people
  • The gym was open 24/7 but was barely being used at night hours
  • The gym’s running costs were astronomical
  • The gym was far too large for purpose, which meant high business rates
  • The place was generally run down

That was a nice handful of issues to walk in on. At first it seemed like the whole project should be abandoned. It was clearly in disarray and we simply didn’t have the money in place to spend on improvements even if we’d wanted to.

However, the desire to try and bring it back was too great. Ashbourne is built on effectively managing gyms and clubs and this seemed like exactly the challenge which had sparked our love and got us into the business over 25 years ago.

So we broke it down into 3 areas that needed focusing on.

  1. We needed to lower the current outgoings
  2. We needed to raise further capital to fund the improvements
  3. Which meant we needed to grow our memberships


Focusing On The Positive

The good news was that the gym was incredible. It had some major selling points.

The gym was an amazing size and was clearly popular. Unfortunately, at present that translated to it being expensive and most of its users weren’t paying for it.


We just needed to access that potential in a way that no one else had.


Step 1: Negotiating Lease & Business Rates


We immediately discussed terms with the landlord on the lease and the energy suppliers. Many clubs won’t be aware of this, but the days of negotiation are not over.

You as the customer, have a lot of power and more often than not a landlord and energy suppliers need you as much as you need them, sometimes even moreso.

We cut our prices by thousands in just under a week, with words alone.

The sheer area of the gym was also posing a problem with our business rates. The place was simply too big. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way and it turns out that the very layout of your gym could be costing you thousands extra a year.

With no changes to the gym itself and by simply isolating certain areas, we once again cut our rates by a significant margin. You just have to do the research and learn how rates are actually calculated. It will surprise you how much money you can save.

Once the money had been saved, next we needed to increase our earnings to fund the gym and that meant we needed members.


Step 2: Cutting Our Costs & Bringing Members In


We cut the 24 hour open times!

There were some grumbles, but it was for the good of the business. It simply wasn’t worth it in the long run and that’s how we had to look at it.

A new biometric system was instantly put in place to only allow entrance with fingerprint.

As well as that, turnstiles and a fully manned reception (helped by the gym not being 24/7) were installed to completely block entry to everyone but our actual members.

Members began signing up in the dozens. It could have been a coincidence, but it’s clear that suddenly a lot of people had lost access to their favourite local gym and were now signing up as members for the first time.

We also increased prices, which didn’t affect the membership at all and instead just brought in more income. If your gym is worth the price, then people will pay it. It’s natural to want to race to the bottom, but you need to make a profit as a business and it’s a habit that needs breaking out of.

Of course, we also gave members back something for that extra price, even though it cost us nothing extra.

We gave access to free internet for the members. It was an internet connection that was already there but simply not made available to members. It cost us nothing and surprisingly, people at the gym didn’t use the internet enough to affect our speeds at all.

But the value to the member was there and that was all that mattered!

And we turned one of those previously pointless rooms into a simple cafe. It was easy to set up and gave members even more reason to spend money and time at the gym.

And then came the third part of our plan. Getting new members.


Step 3: Discovering New Members & Building Our Reach


We built a new website in-house from scratch.

We created trackable codes.

We began advertising on Facebook to the local area.

We hosted a simple promotion to remove our joining fee.


It took us 5 days to do all of that and we got 100 new members for our trouble!


And you might remember all of that rundown equipment?

Well, using the new savings and increased income from our targeted membership growth, we pulled in enough to update all of the gym’s equipment and began a total rebrand and redesign of the club, which is ongoing today.

And it was all done with zero investment! 


All of it was simply from the gym’s own income.


This Is How You Can Do The Same For Your Gym…


And now that you’ve read our story and seen what’s possible with your club, this is where we fulfill our end of the deal.

We are offering you a completely free phone consultation.

Using the knowledge we have learned and put into action at Prime Fitness, we want to:


  1. Talk to you about your club

  2. Show you how you can improve nearly every aspect of it


From how to improve your business rates, to retaining more members or even how to discover a whole new stream of members – we are here to help with exactly that!

Please get in touch with us here and we’ll be in touch to help you take your gym further.

How To Save A Failing Gym [1/2]: This Gym Was Dead! Until…

We have a story for you today. It’s about a gym on the brink of death and how we brought it back to life.

But more importantly, how we did it with:


  • No additional investment – Just using the existing cash flow of the gym itself
  • Negotiating with the right people – To save thousands of pounds a year
  • Used the existing gym analytics – To drastically increase the membership 


Across this 2 part story, we’ll not only help you predict the dangers of poor club management, but how you can learn from those mistakes and pull a fitness business back from the brink.

And if you stick with us to the end, we’ll help you avoid all of these pitfalls and save your gym!

Let’s start at the beginning, where we uncover the problems of a poorly run club.


How To Save A Failing Gym: The Problem


Prime Fitness in Redditch was a gym that had all the odds stacked against it. 

It had already been abandoned when we arrived. The owners had walked out, leaving the gym on automated mode. The gym was 24/7 and the systems we’d put in place had automated the place to such a degree that its members weren’t even aware it was unmanned.

Members had arrived, checked in and exercised without even realising the gym was on the verge of closure.

So how does a gym that’s running so seemlessly get to this point?


The issue? 



A mixture of bad planning, lack of investment and a continued attitude to allow these problems to pile up had brought the club to breaking point. 

The motto for running it until that point may as well have been:

See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. 

Issues were ignored on a mass scale, and when the ongoing leaks finally got too bad, the ship was abandoned.


The Reason Why Gyms Fail

Sadly this isn’t a special case. Hundreds of gyms close every year, often in their very early years and it’s more often than not because naive managers quickly come to find out the truth: that running a gym is hard. It needs constant attention, not only in terms of the upkeep of the equipment and overall quality of the gym, but also when it comes to managing growth and the processes that allow for that growth.

What can seem like small problems that can be made up for with a quick extra job here and there, or simply putting in more hours to handle any inefficiencies, can quickly derail over time. 

Everything can be under control and then something surprising comes up or a disagreement arises and everything can fall apart. Because if you’re not resolving old problems, then you’ve always got more to deal with, no matter how good you get at putting things off.

And you only have so much time in the world. And there’s only so many problems you can potentially deal with in a day. There isn’t always more time. It can and will run out.


The Key Problems We Found At The Club

We closely monitor all of our gyms, so it became obvious once it went quiet that something was going on at Prime Fitness.

We quickly arrived on the scene and got to work on finding out what had gone wrong.

From the outset it all seemed like a lost cause, but we wanted to properly investigate.

We found a laundry list of problems:


  • The equipment was rundown, sometimes flat out broken
  • The gym wasn’t regularly manned
  • The gym was open 24/7 (we’ll go into this problem in a bit)
  • Security was lax and members were sharing pin codes to enter the gym
  • The gym was huge, yet many areas were completely unused


And the problems only got worse when we looked into the outgoings. The cost of the lease was too high and the energy bills each month were astronomical. This was partly based on a lack of accurate budgeting, partly due to a lack of negotiation with any suppliers but mostly it came down to a complete lack of planning.

The first place we turned to was the management system, which had been tracking all the analytics, from costs, intake and most importantly, member usage.

The membership attendance was very high, which was fantastic.

So what was the problem?

It seemed to be only a few members who were attending, several times a day, every single day of the year.

So what was causing this? Was it just a select few potential Olympic athletes in the making?


The Problem With A Badly Managed 24/7 Gym

Surprisingly not. It was instead multiple people using the same pin code to enter the gym. Dozens of members were using a single account. And this was all because the gym was not being manned or managed well enough to spot a problem that we discovered within a few hours of arriving.

Ashbourne are very aware of the problem that pin codes cause and that’s why we don’t use them.

We always provide fingerprint scanners as the most secure form of entrance, to successfully verify every single individual member, making it effectively impossible for multiple people to use the same membership (unless they are the 1 in 64 million people who share a fingerprint – but surprisingly that doesn’t happen too often).

But once again, there had been no update or thought put into the entry systems, allowing these issues to perpetuate until word got around and people simply weren’t signing up. People in the area were hungry to use the gym, because it was still a large and well stocked gym, but there had simply been no plan in place to combat these issues at their source.


Potential customers were using the facilities for free, when they could’ve been paying members.

That same data also showed us further issues, the largest being that even though the gym was open 24/7, only 5 people were using it during the night hours.

Tens of thousands of pounds a year were being spent to give 24/7 access to a just handful of members.

All the data was there to solve this issue. For months and years, no one had taken the time to check these in-depth analytics which at a glance would’ve immediately shown these glaring issues.

Thousands could’ve been saved. Members could’ve been engaged and brought in.

In theory this was a great gym and now it was too late to be pulled back from the brink.


It was a textbook case of a business that had been given up on and was likely just going to fade closure.


Or was it…?


You can click here to learn the solutions of how we saved a failing gym in part 2…

Here’s How A “Join Gym Online” Option Will Grow Your Fitness Business

Online card payment

Having a “join gym online” option for your members is one of the simplest ways that you can instantly grow your fitness business by earning more income and severely reducing your admin and staff costs.

Those sound like big promises, but in our 20 years managing gyms and health clubs, nothing shifts the performance of a health club more than the introduction of online gym sign up.

A “join gym online” option is simply the most efficient, convenient and fastest way to turn prospects into paying members. But you’re a business owner and you want better reasons than “it’s convenient” before you invest in an online sign up system.

So stick with us and we’ll give you 4 practical, honest, tried and tested reasons why providing a “join gym online” option for your customers will help grow your fitness business.


The Only 4 Things You’ll Ever Need To Know About Online Gym Sign Up


1. Online Gym Sign Up Is Perfect For New Gym Goers

Gym membership spend in the UK is up 44% in the last year and with so many gym rookies taking their first steps into the gym, there’s no better time to make your gym as accessible to them as possible.

As you can imagine, customers who are new to the gym life aren’t the most confident. One of the best ways to combat those initial nerves, is to make their sign up process as simple as possible.

Online gym sign up is one of the best ways to achieve this. By offering an “online gym join” option to your gym, it means that new customers can sign up in the comfort of their own home, without feeling awkward about going into a gym and having to ask someone to set up their account.

It’s a small thing, but the more comfortable you can make your members, the more likely they are to take that initial plunge into the mysterious world of the gym and sign up with you.


2. Online Gym Sign Up Allows For Immediate Purchases & Up-sells

There’s a reason why online shopping has grown exponentially and overtaken high street shopping since it’s inception.

money-card-business-credit-cardIt’s not only convenient, but it also allows customers to make instant decisions on signing up.

That magical moment that a prospective member has the inspiration that they want to change their life, get healthier and sign up for a gym, is your most powerful point of sale.

And being able to do an online gym sign up is the perfect method to convert customers at this point. A member can decide they want to get healthy, discover your gym and sign up there and then.

Now think of the alternative.

You member decides they want to get healthy. They excitedly go online and discover your gym. It’s perfect. But there’s no online sign up, so they’ll head in tomorrow after work to join. They have a tough day at work and end up heading straight home. They’re too tired tonight. Maybe they’ll go tomorrow. Rinse and repeat.

However, if your member had signed up there and then, they’d be more likely to actually turn up because now they’re a member. They’re paying for that gym membership and now they’re compelled to use it and actually start improving their health.

In short, online gym sign up is the quickest way to not only secure a member, but make sure that they actually use and enjoy the service that they’re paying for.


3. Online Gym Sign Up Saves Your Staff Time

paper with time written on it burningThis point should be relatively self explanatory, but if you remove your staff from the membership sign up process, then you immediately free up your staffs’ time.

And this means that your staff have more time in the day to get on with more important things. That means they have more time to focus on customer service, training and gym maintenance – which in turn means your customers will have a better service and are more likely to stay with your gym for longer.

If you’ve ever felt like there aren’t enough hours in the day, then automating your membership sign up process with a “join gym online” option is a cheap, quick and reliable way to achieve just that.


4. Joining A Gym Online Makes It Easier To Set Up Direct Debits

Every gym is different and there are many things that work for some health clubs which doesn’t translate to success for others.

But a universal fact across all businesses in the fitness industry is that direct debits increase your member retention, plain and simple.

thinking customer on laptopWe’ve got lots to say about direct debits, in fact it was the first service that Ashbourne Membership Management offered to gyms and health clubs over 20 years ago. But the simple reason is that direct debits simply just work!

If you implement a direct debit payment as your default method of payment when members sign up online, then it’s the perfect entry point to get members on the direct debit service.

It’s becoming something of an industry norm at this point, so members are happy to sign up for a direct debit online, which in turn means they’re likely to pay their membership, stay with you for longer and save you from a world of admin keeping track of any rogue payments.


Don’t Miss Out On The Potential of Online Gym Sign Up

While we’ve only given you 4 top reasons why an online gym sign up option is key to a successful modern health club, there are dozens more reasons why it’s a terrible idea to not have an “online gym join” option for your new members.

With over 20 years in the fitness industry, managing memberships and the day-to-day admin for gyms and health clubs, Ashbourne have seen online gym sign up totally revolutionise the fitness industry and the potential that it has to make a fitness business successful.

Don’t miss out on your chance to take your gym or leisure club to the next level. You can get in touch with us today and we’ll offer you a completely free demo of how you can set up online gym sign up at your own gym and start discovering the potential in your fitness business.

How To Future Proof Your Fitness Business And Keep Up With Your Members’ Demands

robot smiling

As the owner of a fitness business, it’s no secret that customers are demanding more and more from their services. Whatever your feelings on the matter, the cold hard truth is that this demand is not only here to stay, but it’s only going to increase as the technology and services that consumers use everyday continue to streamline their lives and increase their expectations further.

It’s a self perpetuating cycle where you must always stay one step ahead of the consumer’s expectations, which will then set their expectations even higher. That’s why it’s never been more important to future proof your fitness business and make sure you’re ahead of the current consumer demand trends.

So now that we have that fact out of the way, the real questions are:

What are the current demand trends that are emerging in the health and fitness industry from consumers?

And how can you future proof your fitness business to keep up with that consumer demand?


How The Fitness Industry Has Changed In 20 Years

As a gym owner, the decisions you make in your fitness business can no longer simply be to cover the bases. 

Crossfit Gym MobileAshbourne Membership Management is proof of that trend in the health and fitness industry. 20 years ago, Ashbourne started as a service which handled direct debits and debt collection. It was set up as a way to improve the method by which gyms could retain more members and collect their memberships more reliably, with less admin on the gym’s end.

A nice, simple and convenient proposition for everyone involved.

Today, Ashbourne Membership Management is a fully fledged, multi-module, integrated service offering everything from member’s apps, turnstile installation, club check-in software, prospect management, online joining, class booking systems, staff scheduling and of course, that same direct debit service as well.

And while this might feel like all of the above is now finally enough for your average gym, it’s that particular error of underestimating customer demands and market trends which has spelled doom for so many gyms and health clubs.

We’ve seen it time and time again when gym owners fail to understand what it means to future proof your fitness business.

That’s why more and more, our focus has turned to business and product development. It’s a fundamental aspect of our continued success in the fitness industry and we’ve learnt this lesson not only from the successful gyms that we continue to manage, but equally from the now non-existent gyms who simply didn’t take their members’ demands seriously.

20 years ago we ourselves and gym owners alike thrived in a fitness business where:


Online joining was just an additional convenience.

24 hour gym access was often too expensive to be viable.

Direct debits were not a necessity.

Extra resources were a pointless extra.

And the smartphone only existed as a concept, with no apps to speak of.


Times change, the customer changes, but one thing stays the same: You must adapt or die.

So what are the next frontiers that gym owners need to be aware of when it becomes time to future your fitness business?


Be Aware of The Trends Your Customers Will Demand

We spend a lot of time watching the market and trying to get ahead of the services that we believe customers will soon demand from their local fitness business.

Improving your services solely for a better and more modern customer service experience is possibly the most important aspect to future proofing your fitness business.

That’s why our current focus is always on improving the user experience, giving members and prospects instant solutions to their problems. But there are 3 key areas in particular that have our focus for the time being.

fitness app gymTo start with, 24/7 smart chat bot support is a major advancement in the customer service experience. Bots allow for round the clock support, adaptable prospect marketing, instant missed payment reminders and automated class management – all without the need of human oversight.

To follow that, adaptable prospect marketing is a huge area of growth. Using pre-selected promotions, it’s becoming easier than ever to deliver the deals that potential customers want to see across your email and social marketing. Instead of guessing what your customer wants, you can use automation, A/B testing and social algorithms to deliver the customer’s perfect sales pitch right to them and have them sign up there and then.

And finally, an all in one fitness app is now one of the best marketing/user tools you can have at your disposal. Members are using their mobiles more and more to govern and implement their healthy lifestyles. Our app needs to reflect that, giving them more ways to store their own health data and plan their gym time while on the go, all from one reliable, powerful and simple to use application.


But Is Future Proofing Your Fitness Business Worth it?

money and calculatorOn the face of it, these advancements can be brushed off as cosmetic or indulgent ways for your customers to get in touch, these improvements to the user experience often goes hand in hand with profitability as well. 

Many experience improvements like a bot and adaptable marketing instantly allow you to automate the entire gym process, saving you time and money throughout every stage of a member’s journey through your health club, from point of sale to general enquiries.

The more you invest in streamlining and improving the ways your member can communicate and interact with you, the more opportunities there are to save money and grow your business. The industry has seen the potential in automation through the sudden surge of 24 hour gyms. It was only a dream for smaller gyms 20 years ago when staff costs were taken into account. But now, it’s almost an expectation and it’s developments in things like automation which have made it possible.


Future Proof Your Fitness Business & Be Part of The Next 20 Years

And who knows where we’ll be in another 20 years. Virtual reality classes? Full biometric integration with your fitness app? Your daily workout in pill form?

Whatever it is, the important thing is that you’re ready for it. But we’re confident that with imagination and a continued finger on the pulse of the industry, that we can stay ahead of the curve and be on the cutting edge of what the consumer needs, before even they know they need it.

And it’s a future that we’d love to see you be a part of.

If you want to know more about our chat bot, or the range of new features that we continue to develop across all of our club membership management services, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today and one of our team will be on hand to help you realise the potential of your fitness business.

This Is How You Retain Gym Members In 18 Simple Steps

tug of war body building

Having a strategy in place to retain gym members is the only true way to keep your fitness business healthy and growing.

On average it can cost 7x more to convert a new member than to retain existing gym members. Focusing on accumulating new members instead of aiming to retain your current gym members is the business equivalent of having a leaky bucket.

Would you rather plug the holes in the bucket, or constantly just keep filling it with water in the hope you can keep it topped up?

Topping up instead of fixing the underlying problem simply causes excess stress and pressure on your marketing and staff. A long term customer who spends a year at your gym is worth 12 members who only spend a month. It’s for this reason why a focus on membership retention is so important.


This Is How You Retain Gym Members in 18 Simple Steps

So instead of chasing after the next new customer, let’s take the stress away by giving you tried, tested and practical ways for how to retain gym members and grow your fitness business.


1) Survey your existing members and find out what they want from your gym

feedback boxLet’s start at the root source of the problem. People don’t just leave their gym membership for no reason.

There’s always a reason and most of the time, it’s the gym’s fault. So let’s find out what those problems are without any guess work or assumption. It’s completely acceptable to ask your members what they want from their gym.

It’s a win-win, as they get better service and you improve your membership retention. So whether you send out an email with an attached form, or catch your members at the door, create a survey asking your members what you can do better. You might be surprised by the results and discover problems you never even knew existed that are easy to solve.


2) Give your members a “road map” to keep them focused

While gym memberships are a great way to get healthy, the one big downfall is that they don’t get you healthy and fit without some work on the member’s end.

If your member lacks motivation, then you can have the best gym in the world, but they won’t want to use it. The best way to keep a member out of this head space is to give them direction.

Create road maps and training programs that your members can access as part of their membership. The more clear and realistic goals you give your members, the higher your membership retention will be.


3) Have a great introduction and on-boarding process

Part of giving your members a great road map is getting things off to a good start.

Make sure you have an effective system in place that lets new members learn the basics and know what they need to do to get the most from your gym. A great on-boarding process is vital for retaining gym members.


4) Let your members pause their membership

If you stop members from being able to pause their membership, then they’re going to cancel it.

A paused membership is temporary.

A cancelled membership is forever.

Simple as that!


5) Allow your members to downgrade or change their membership

It’s always better to keep someone at your gym because they want to be there and not because they’re being held there through an agreement.

People’s gym requirements change all the time, so try to offer flexibility in their membership. If members want to upgrade, then fantastic. But even members that want to downgrade and stay with you are still more valuable than a cancelled member, or a member who can’t wait to leave.


6) Keep an eye on members who are losing motivation

losing motivation runner tiredThis requires a bit of extra attention on your part, but it can be worth it.

One of the key reasons for losing membership retention is that a member loses focus and motivation.

Even if you give them a great road map, that doesn’t mean that they will use it.

So be on the lookout for members who are starting to flag. You can even install a turnstile system that will keep track of when members come to the gym, so you can track how much your members are using their gym membership and send them a helpful email or approach them to help keep them on track.


7) Let your members know the exciting things going on at your club

You want your members to always feel like there’s something going on at your gym. Always another event, class or resource to help them improve their fitness and give them the best gym experience.

So keep your members updated about what’s happening at your gym. If you can keep your members interested in what you have to offer for the next month, that’s another month for you to retain gym members.


8) Give your members tools, templates, tips… Be a part of their healthy lifestyle

Giving your members a way to manage their healthy lifestyle is just as important as their training.

So try to offer as many extras as you can with their gym membership. From diets, to scheduling their fitness and workout plans – give them access to resources that go beyond their time at the gym and give the gym membership even more value to your members.


9) Give your members a fitness app

This is the next step up from templates and tools, but the modern gym goer loves using fitness and health apps to keep track of their healthy lifestyle on the go.

By providing an app as part of your gym membership, you give your members not just extra value, but also the convenience to use all your amazing health tips, techniques and tools on their mobile device, all in one place.

One of Ashbourne’s services gives your members access to your own personalised app, which we’ve already built for you. You can find out more about it here!


10) Celebrate your members achievements in an open forum

You know what’s better than just giving your members fitness goals?

Giving them recognition for those goals!

If you have social media for your fitness business, or even just a cork board on the wall of your gym, then make your members feel special by recognising their greatness. Create a member of the month award, or even keep track of your members’ personal bests. It’s amazing what this kind of recognition does to help build a community, give your members a bit of extra competition to keep them motivated and help you retain gym members for longer.


11) Premium products will help your retain gym members

Your members are always aiming to improve their health and fitness, so you need to keep up with what they need.

Look at your current membership tiers and try to design a premium product that your most dedicated members can upgrade to.

It won’t ever be your best selling product, but it allows for you to make extra money and also give your members a greater incentive to stay at your gym and not go looking for a gym that can offer them more of what they need.


12) Keep everything nice and simple for your members

Providing your members with professional tools, road maps and extras is great, but an equally important lesson to learn is to not overwhelm them.

If you give your members too much to focus on or take in, it’ll quickly kill their motivation.

So while coming up with amazing ideas for extra help to give to your members, also think about how you can break that down, to deliver your members extras in the best way possible.


13) Schedule classes and training so everyone has the chance to join

People’s lives run on very different clocks and you can never be sure when a member will be available to use their gym membership.

There’s nothing worse for a member than feeling like they’re not able to get the most from their membership and are being shortchanged by classes that are taking place during hours that they’re working.

So make sure to vary when you host classes to be sure all of your members can get the most from their gym membership.


14) Consider longer opening hours to help your membership retention

In the same vein, people will be far more likely to retain gym memberships if they have flexibility for when they can visit their gym. 24/7 gyms have become much more popular in recent years, so one of the best ways to improve membership retention is by giving your members that competitive choice for when they visit.

One of the cheapest ways to make your gym open longer or even for 24 hours is by installing a turnstile which restricts non-members from entering the gym, so you can stay open longer while keeping your running costs lower. Installing turnstiles and the software to automate your gym is cheaper than you think and Ashbourne can help you get up and running.


15) Try online classes as part of their membership

If you can’t host classes at hours to suit all your members, then you could try hosting online classes.

Not only is this great for your marketing, as you can give prospective members sneak peaks at your fitness and coaching services, but it also gives your members even more ways to enjoy your health & fitness services when the gym is unavailable to them, once again, increasing the value of their membership.


16) Have automated follow-ups for failed payments or expiring credit cards

One of the best way to retain gym members is by actually having them pay for their gym membership.

Failed payments and expired cards are responsible for a huge number of cancellations.

It’s not only inconvenient for you to miss payments from your members, but it’s also a hassle for them as they have to once again give you all of their card details, usually when they’ve arrived at the gym and are ready to go.

To give your members the easiest time possible, set up a CRM that tracks your members payments and then email them automatically to let them know that their card is about to expire and needs to be topped up, to avoid any nasty surprises for your members. Ashbourne Membership Management can even handle all of this for you!


17) Get your members paying by direct debit

Direct debit is the easiest and cheapest way to make sure that your members pay on time, with a method that is convenient to both them and your business.

At Ashbourne we love direct debits and we’ve been focusing on helping gyms set up direct debit payments for over 20 years. Ashbourne’s service includes handling all direct debit admin and debt collection, so gyms can focus on other important things. It’s one of the most sure ways to increase membership retention than any suggestion on this list.


18) Always follow up with an “exit survey” for members you do lose

Much like how you should survey your members while they’re at the gym, try to implement an exit survey for your members when they cancel.

If a member is leaving, they’re far more likely to be open about why they’ve cancelled their membership, giving you better information and data on how to retain gym members in the future.

Does SMS Marketing Actually Work?

text message sms

It can always be tempting to assume that your customers are on the cutting edge of technology. Everyone seems to be using Snapchat, Instagram and Whatsapp, so it must stand that these are the channels that most customers want to be contacted by when it comes to your marketing.

But as the saying goes “the old ways are still the best” and you might be surprised to find out that more traditional marketing methods that have been in use for decades are still the most effective way to get in touch with prospects and convert them into paying customers.

In this short blog, we’re going to take a look at SMS marketing, AKA short service message marketing, AKA text message marketing. And not only will we taking a look at what it is and how it works, we’ll also uncover the amazing data that shows why you need to be using SMS marketing as one of your primary marketing channels.


What Is SMS Marketing & How Does It Work?

SMS marketing promotionSMS marketing in its simplest form, is just a way to send promotional messages to someone in a text.

Unlike emails, direct mail or other forms of marketing, SMS marketing is focused on short and snappy instant promotions. Whilst emails allow for you to send lengthier messages that may include additional information like blogs or downloadable resources, SMS marketing is focused on making the sell.

Of course, SMS marketing like any marketing is there to be experimented with and many businesses do extend beyond simple promotions, but traditionally that’s what works best for SMS marketing.


How Popular Is SMS Marketing?


Plenty of studies have shown that SMS marketing has higher open rates and higher click rates than any other form of marketing communication. On top of that, customers also report that they feel SMS marketing is “safer” and respects their “privacy” more than other marketing forms such as email.

SMS marketing has a good reputation and that’s very important when it comes to getting customers on your side.


SMS Marketing: The Facts, Figures & Numbers

A recent survey by software and programming giant SAP  discovered that 64% of consumers would prefer if businesses marketing to them used SMS more often.

But their findings don’t stop there:

  • 76% reported that they are more likely to quickly read SMS marketing / text message than an email.
  • 70% felt that SMS marketing / text messages were a good way for a business to get their attention.
  • 62% claimed that they would also like to use SMS / text messages in order to communicate back to businesses.


SMS Marketing Will Help You Stand Out From The Crowd

Inbox Email FullDo you remember earlier how we listed all the other messaging methods people use today? After all, it seems like Whatsapp, Facebook messenger and other app based messengers are quickly taking over from more traditional SMS messaging.

Well the upside of this is that your customers’ SMS log is relatively clear. Not many companies truly utilise SMS marketing compared to other methods like email, and people are receiving less SMS as part of their communications with friends, since they’re using alternative platforms.

So compared to the regular consumer who can receive hundreds of emails a day, they might only receive 2 or 3 SMS messages a day. This means that every SMS marketing message you send stands out and counts for a lot more.


Get On Top of Your Fitness Business’ Marketing

Whatever part of your marketing you’re looking to upgrade, Ashbourne Membership Management is here to help you supercharge every aspect of your approach, to lock down more prospects and convert more members, to continue to grow your fitness business.

From SMS, to email marketing and on to payment solutions, Ashbourne has spent the last 2 decades helping thousands of fitness businesses, studios, gyms and health clubs realise their potential.

If you want to get the most from your fitness business, then contact one of our amazing Ashbourne team to learn more about our SMS marketing solutions and membership management services as a whole.

How To Use Prospect Management To Grow Your Fitness Business

List of numbers and names

Why Is Prospect Management So Important?

Back in the 1950’s, the average customer needed to come into contact with your brand or product 5 times before they were likely to buy. These kind of interactions with your customer are known as “hits”.

These days, it’s as high as 12 hits before a customer will consider purchasing what you have to offer.

thinking customer on laptop

With so many options available to the modern consumer, customers are becoming harder and harder to sell to, and when you’re in the fitness business, with so many options for how members can improve their health and lifestyle, customers need even more convincing.

You can see now why it’s more important than ever to stay in a prospect’s field of view. You need to be in their attention more than ever.

Prospect management allows you to keep a record of anyone who’s ever showed an interest in your business and have the ability to get in touch with them when you need, to keep offering them the small hits, which will eventually cause them to convert to a paying member.

If you don’t keep an open channel of communication with your prospects, then you simply leave it up to random chance that they will stumble upon you again and eventually form an interest in your health club or gym.

Prospect management is all about removing that randomness from the equation.

It’s about making sure that you can continue to get in touch with potentially interested prospects and turn them into paying members.


How Does Prospect Management Work?

Prospect management is the method that you can go about sorting and storing individuals who have showed an interest in your business. There are 3 key things that any prospect management system needs to achieve if it’s going to help you grow your fitness business:


1. You need to have a way to reliably contact your prospect

2. You need to be able to categorise prospects based on levels of interest

3. You need to be able to discover the perfect proposition for your prospect


In order to achieve this, you’re going to need a database that allows you to store, sort and contact prospects using their contact information. To start, you’ll some basic details about your prospect, which would include their name, email address and a mobile number if possible.

email on mobileAs long as you have this information, you’ll then be able to regularly send marketing emails or SMS messages to update prospects with news, tips, hints and promotions for your gym.

And then finally, your prospect management system should allow you to keep track of how prospects are reacting to your communications, so you can the categorise them based on their interests and therefore, better sell to them.


How A Prospect Management System WILL Grow Your Fitness Business

Any good prospect management system will give you information and details for things such as open rates and click rates from your communications. That way you can keep track on not only what communications you’re sending to your prospects, but how interested they are in what you’re sending.

For example, imagine you send out an email for a free trial and only 10% of your prospects open it and 1% click on links within the email to sign up.

Instead of taking random guesses on what promotions are working, you have actual data on how many of your prospects are interested in this kind of promotion. And although that particular promotion wasn’t especially popular, you don’t have to scrap it completely. You can take those 10% who were interested and categorise them as “customers interested in free trials”.

In future, you now know to send this group free trial promotions, whilst keeping the rest of the prospects away from emails that don’t interest them and they will simply ignore.

That’s the power of a prospect management system and how it works. From one database, you can build a list of prospects and try out different communications on them, and change your approach based on how your customers react in real time.

This is the heart of why a prospect management system is so powerful for growing your fitness business.


Can I Use Social Media For Prospect Management?

social media on mobile

This is a very interesting grey area and we should probably cover it quickly here. In short, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good form of prospect management.

While social media is a great way for contacting your members and even storing a list of contacts if they follow your page, it has some big downfalls, especially when you view it through our 3 rules of what a prospect management system needs to be able to do.


Rule 1: You need to have a way to reliably contact your prospect.

The Problem: Social media is a great way to tell the world what’s on your mind, but that’s exactly the problem, you can tell the world, not individuals. It’s a scatter gun approach and because of that, you can never be sure if prospects are reliably seeing what you’re posting, because you’re always at the mercy of the social media platform’s algorithm not showing you up on their feed.


Rule 2: You need to be able to categorise prospects based on level of interest.

The Problem: No social media platform has this functionality. Your prospects are either followers or not, there’s no way to categorise them in any way beyond this.


Rule 3: You need to discover the perfect proposition for your prospect.

The Problem: You can always try different promos and propositions, but they will always be en masse to everyone, since you have no way of categorising and contacting your prospects in isolated groups. And of course, you are also unable to see who has actually seen your posts, so you can never be sure if a promo simply isn’t landing with your prospects, or if they haven’t seen it at all


While social media is often talked about as the future of marketing, emails still lead the race in terms of customer engagement, so they’re your best bet to securing prospects and potential members.

But of course, you should never turn away the chance to get in touch with a prospect, so having a strong social media is a good thing for your business and prospect management as a whole, since you can always move potential customers off your social media feeds to your true prospect management system. We’ve even got 11 great ways to drastically improve and grow your fitness business social media, which you can download here.


How Can I Get A Prospect Management Service For My Fitness Business?

Cheerful males are talking to each other in modern gym-1At Ashbourne, we’ve custom built and designed our own Lead Prospect Management modules that have been created with one purpose in mind: To help clubs sign-up more new members.

As we’ve seen throughout this article, the power of an effective prospect management system cannot be underestimated. We understand the core power of what your prospect management system could offer your fitness business and our own system is designed to harness that potential.

Our Lead Management module gives you the platform you need to ensure that you’re continually able to generate new leads. We also build customised landing pages that allow you to engage and capture your potential customers’ information, so we can help grow your prospect list quickly and give you prospects to convert right away.

If you’re interested in growing your fitness business and reaching more customers with powerful prospect management tools, then contact one of our team and they’ll be happy to walk you through all of our prospect management services, to help you grow your health club membership today!

Why Your Gym Needs To Offer Members A Fitness App

runner checking phone

Do you know how much it costs to develop a fitness app from scratch?

The cost of a fitness app ranges from between £3,500 – £8,000, which is highly dependant on the features you want in the app, and that’s just a low range estimate.

Now of course, that’s a high price and as an independant gym, you might not only think it’s too high of an investment, but you also might question if it’s needed at all. After all, your members have never pushed for a fitness app before, so why should they need one now.

They’re all valid concerns, but if you stick with us, we can explain why a gym member fitness app is not only good for your members, but it’s also great for member retention… and it’s much cheaper than you think to get one!


Why A Member Fitness App Is Good For Your Gym

There are 3 key reasons why getting a member app is beneficial for your gym and it’s almost worth having a member fitness app for these reasons alone:

  1. A member app will free up your admin
  2. A member app makes sending instant gym facility updates easy
  3. It’s a fantastic way to up sell your extra products & services

In short, a members app helps you save time and make money.

Woman Slicing FruitHow it saves you time is simple. A members app is more than just a way for your members to track their own fitness. If you allow for classes to be booked, then what better way to improve that, than to allow your members to book classes online, through your own app.

By doing this all online and via the app, it centralises all of your bookings and allows you to greatly decrease any admin. Now your app can handle everything from accepting the booking, to even informing members if there’s no spaces left in a class.

A members app is also an amazing way for sending any updates and news to your members. If you have new classes coming to your gym or you’re closed for some emergency maintenance, then a members app allows you to broadcast that information directly to your members’ mobiles, complete with a notification to grab their attention.

And finally, your members app can also be an extra source of income. If you’re selling classes or even merchandise as an added extra, then now your members app can be used as a digital storefront, giving you a new way to alert your members to extra services and take payments simply and quickly, all from one place.

With a members app, there’s less mess, less admin and the chance for extra revenue to be made.

And the benefits aren’t limited to just your club running smoother…


A Member Fitness App Improves Gym Member Retention

Okay, so we’ve looked at how your member app is great for your gym, but now let’s focus on a far more important element: How can it keep your members coming back to your gym for longer.

And the answer is simple!


Your Members Will Feel More Engaged And Loyal

Weight Lifting ManThe power of customer loyalty cannot be understated in any business and gyms are no different.

When you get a customer personally invested in the future of your company, not only can you be certain you’re delivering a great service, but it does wonders for your member retention. If a customer feels negative about even the thought of cancelling their membership, then that is a great place to be as a fitness business.

An app for your members works to foster that kind of loyal environment.

As a gym with a member app, you stop simply being just a place that your members visit when they have time.

You become a constant part of their life. They will use your app to track their fitness, their improvements, check for news from you and plan their week by booking online classes ahead of time.

If you have a functional member app, you can take your members from being individuals to being a community, with your health club at the heart and centre of it all.


A Members App Makes Your Health Club Unique

unique red gummy bear

Apps have been around for well over a decade by this point. However, like all new technology it takes a while for many businesses to catch up on popular trends.

Even though fitness apps are extremely popular and used by tens of millions of people every single day, hardly any gyms or clubs utilise them as part of their service.

That’s why having a member fitness app can be so impressive, by the sheer fact that everyone is struggling to keep up. If you get a member app, you are ahead of 99% of other gyms instantly, which helps you stand out from the crowd, which is never a bad thing.


A Member Fitness App Is A Better Value Proposition

This one may sound obvious. After all, the more you give your members, the more valuable your gym is.

But you have to remember how important that extra value is. There are a lot of gyms out there, possibly a half dozen within the same area unless you’re in a very remote location. So it’s important that you offer your members the most you can for their money. Gyms are still a luxury purchase and many members look for the best deal.

So if you’re unable to fight on price in the local area, then increase the value of your gym in anyway you can to keep members getting the most they can for their money.

A member fitness app is a cheap and easy way to achieve this goal.


Offering Your Members An App Is Now Easy & Most Importantly, Cost Effective!

Phone app WebsiteAt the start of this post, we mentioned the cost of offering a fitness app. Hopefully throughout this, we’ve convinced you, that a fitness app for your members is such a good investment, that you’re ready to google a developer to work on it, whatever the cost.

Well, here’s the next bit of good news.

Your members fitness app has already been developed, so you don’t need to pay any of that money to develop it.

At Ashbourne, we’ve already put in the time and money to develop an incredible members app that is able to be rebranded for your particular gym and give you all the benefits of a custom membership app, without any of the expensive development or design.

Our fully integrated gym app offers a number of features that allows each member to get the most from their workout, and most importantly, retain their membership to your gym.

So if you’re looking to future proof your business and get ahead of the competition, while retaining more members and improving your services, then please get in contact with Ashbourne today and let us introduce you to our amazing member app+ service, as well as our entire platform of membership management tools.