The Gym Owners Forum Podcast: Target Your Prospects & Sell More Memberships Through Emails

Many gym and club owners are unaware, but emails are still the number one way to secure new members.That’s right, it’s not social media or even on-site sales, but emails which convert the most prospects into paying members.

In this podcast, we’re joined by The Fit Club Redditch owners Grant and Toby, as well as Ashbourne Membership Management marketer Harvey; to show you how you can make the most of your email database during lockdown.

We’ll walk through how you can continue to grow your database, clean it up so you are always targeting the right members for your club, and finally, we’ll help you come up with fresh ideas for what emails you should be sending in the first place.

This is the perfect podcast for any gyms or health clubs who are still using gmail and outlook as their primary email systems.

It’s time to get a proper CRM, customer relationship manager, and truly start to target the right members who are actually going to be sold a membership to your club.

In this episode, we’ll help you discover:

  • What emails you should be sending to keep your members engaged
  • Why you should cut out your gmail/outlook and earn more money with a pro CRM system
  • How you should split up your email database to accurately rarget the right customers for your club
  • Methods to keep your email database growing even during COVID
  • The importance of cleaning up your emails and why this is the perfect time

 

Remember to join The Gym Owner’s Forum facebook group for even more support from gym owners across the UK and Ireland.

If you’re interested in more direct help for your club, collecting your direct debits, to handling your marketing, then get in touch with Ashbourne today for a free demo and discussion. You can also find loads of helpful free resources on our site.

 

Listen To The Gym Owner’s Forum Podcast

You can listen to the podcast here, or find it on your favourite podcast host. We’re available on everything from Google Podcasts, to Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

 

 

The Podcast Transcript

 

Grant:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the next episode of The Gym Owners Forum podcast. I’m Grant Harrison from Ashbourne Membership Management and The Fit Club. Joining me again is Toby and Harvey.

How are you doing guys? Alright?

 

Toby:

Pleasure to be here, thanks Grant.

 

Harvey:

I’m very well. I’m very well. I’m very excited for this episode. This is the data management episode, I’ve wanted to from the start.

 

Toby:

Playing to your strengths. You have to say.

 

Harvey:

Indeed.

 

Grant:

So today we’re talking about managing your membership and taking, taking charge of your database. We’ve got obviously plans to do other podcasts involving getting new members, keeping them, but while we were in lockdown, people have renovated the club.

People have put in different things, new bought new equipment painted, but some clubs have neglected the fundamentals of getting their database cleaned up so they can target certain groups of members. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. How to make the most of your database, manage your membership better and move the club forward.

So we’re going to break down today’s episode into three main parts. Firstly, we’re going to talk about what kind of content you should be sending to your members. Secondly, how to keep your database growing.

Obviously, even though the clubs are closed, what you can be doing to generate leads, getting more people into that database, and then thirdly, tidying up your database and how to keep it clean, moving forward. Okay. So let’s get straight into it.

So what sort of content have we been sending out from the fit club, Toby?

 

Toby:

We’ve been automating a lot, throughout the first lockdown and in the one in November, we create a lot of content. We bang on all the time about scheduling and the importance of scheduling.

So, most stuff you can imagine is relevant to gym members. You know, you’ve got your workouts, your recipes, updates with the club, anything you’re doing, they’re interested in, it’s all good stuff, but it’s about setting it up. So it’s easy for you. So, spend a day, scheduling your content, spend a day filming and then send that out to your members in a staggered way.

 

Harvey:

Yeah, Toby is spot on with scheduling. So I primarily as we’ve talked about it in a previous podcast, but a lot of the Fit Clubs plan was to just basically continue doing as many live classes as possible and opening up to everyone, which was great for, for tax reasons, as you mentioned in a previous episode, but it’s also just a great way to market the club because we were going to keep some personal trainers on and it makes sense that if they’re going to do a workout class, we may as well basically just use it as a free advert for the club.

So, well, the good thing about that is though that we could schedule that, basically, as locked started and then I went through and just wrote like 50 emails, one reminding everybody each day that workout classes were going to happen and that’s just a great way to keep people in your database coming back and keeping the gym in mind, whether or not they’re a member, whether they’re a member or they’re just someone whose kind of signed up for your newsletter in the past and hasn’t really thought about you in a few months and now obviously during a lockdown, they’re getting blasted with you and they’re like, wow, that’s a great gym. Maybe I should join that when lock downs over.

Another thing we’ve tried is actually we’ve been doing like some pre-sales it’s, we found personally that we’ve been selling three month contracts and three month, sort of vouchers pretty well, which has been a good way to go because we found that people weren’t really interested in signing up for year long contracts right now, because things are a bit unstable. So once again we’ve been giving a lot of free things away, but we’ve also been using our database to actually make pre-sales by the time the gym opens and then of course we’ve had loads of Facebook groups going where we’ve been showing live classes and doing sort of a bit more, one-to-one sort of talking to people who are members.

So we’ve been trying to get people into that because at the moment we’ve got loads of people in our database who have never touched our social media and the other way round, we’ve got loads of people on our social media, who’ve never been in our email database. So we’re just kind of using this to try and get as many people into one place as possible and connect them into the fit club ecosystem. I guess you could call it. So I would say those are the three main things we’ve been doing and as you can tell, we’ve scheduled a lot of it ahead, so you can really get a lot of work done. If you just spend a day just writing emails, as long as you plan ahead,

 

Toby:

The prepaid stuff’s very good. I mean, you give someone a promise of something when they get back for a good price and you’re generally going to be able to create some revenue now, which is really good. One thing I’ve seen from not so many gyms, but I think it could be applied to a gym is like a sweepstakes on your social media channels, where you have 50 numbers say, and 10 pounds buys you a number.

And then you add to enter the sweepstakes and if your number selected, you win years free membership. You can do that, you know, you can scale it up however you want, but it’s a quick way of earning some revenue for your club. I don’t know how dire your situation is, but you know, you can reapply this stuff and play with it, tinker with it as much as you want.

 

Harvey:

I agree as well. It’s a great way of getting people from your emailing system back onto your social media. If you say, come and join the Facebook page because we’ve got loads of exciting stuff going on.

 

Grant:

If you, if, if you’re struggling for things to put on and what content, there’s so many videos already out there. So if you’re looking at workout videos rather than having to come up with your own stuff, just use one of the millions of videos that’s, on YouTube and look at how many views, look how successful their videos are and then I won’t say copy the video, but if you can make your own interpretation of it, then you, haven’t got to come up with another 50 exercises and another 20 things to do at home. You’ve already got that content there and you’re just essentially rebranding it.

 

Toby:

It’s true and a lot of the time you are the expert and stuff that you might not think is that interesting or that special, your warmup stretch, your finisher when you’re doing exercise and stuff like that. It’s actually very interesting to someone at home. That’s not been at the gym for a while. So it’s worth recording this stuff and you know, just almost a life for the gym user, kind of a take on it, where everything you do is filmed and updated to your social media, to your email channels. It’s all good stuff.

 

Harvey:

Well, I think the thing about, cause what we’ll, I think we’ll move on to the other database bits in a moment, but it’s really the like the kind of content and kind of emails that you should be sending people.

I find that I’m sure you do Toby that there’s just, there’s so many people who are worried about sending emails because they feel like if you send an email that somebody might unsubscribe and I think a lot of gyms kind of, I think a lot of the gyms and businesses in general have to get over that because the first thing is that if somebody hates your email so much that you send two and they go, Oh, I can’t bear standing. These people, they’re a bad email person anyway.

But on top of that, it’s more, it’s more about what you’re sending them. I think most people unsubscribed when they receive loads of sales emails. Like if you just sent loads of pre-sales email saying sign up for three months, sign up for three months. People are going to get rid of you. But if somebody is receiving a free workout class every day, I cannot imagine anyone except for someone who really despises receiving emails going-

 

Grant:

But they’re not going to, but they’re not going to become a member anyway. So what does it.

 

Harvey:

Precisely, but anybody’s not going to be like, oh, I hate all this free content or somebody who stop sending me all these free things.

 

Toby:

And after the lockdown as well. What we’ve been through, anyone on your live member list knows about that. That knows that they’re paying for the gym at the moment. Yeah, there is. There’s no hidden members. There’s no sleeping members anymore. Like if you think there are, then you’re just wrong. Unfortunately, absolutely. That is a thing of the past. Now-

 

Grant:

Sending an email, that was always a worry to a club to that database because they’re worried that they’re going to send out an email, 200 people aren’t using the club and they will then cancel because it reminds them that they’ve still got that gym membership. So it wakes up the sleepers. What we’ve noticed that Ashbourne is that clubs just don’t have any sleepers anymore.

Everyone’s been contacted about their membership and the payments and how it’s going to. So any sleepers that were there are now gone. So you know that your database, your database, you can send emails to and they’re not going to council because they already have. So it’s use it now.

 

Toby:

And that brings us, brings us nicely on to the point about the high quality members on your database. So those who are still paying or had frozen their membership are committed members. These are your superstar members. You know, they’re not going to leave you in a global pandemic. They’re never going to leave you really.

So now it’s the time to recognize them, to reward them and what we did in the first lockdown, which has gone down a massively well was change or the status of all members that carried on paying to foundation members and they got a series of perks, like a discount in our store and a few other bits. And it’s just gone down massively well, I don’t think we’ve lost any of those members. There’s and there’s about 500 of them.

It’s not a small group of people. We’ve not lost any of those members and it’s just recognizing those on your database that are very loyal to the club.

 

Grant:

Yeah, and let them know this stuff and let them know more than once because they might miss the first email.

 

Harvey:

I missed the first email as well. Yeah,

 

Grant:

And let them know that. Yeah, absolutely. Let them know that they are the foundation members and we, we valued them in the first lock down. We value them moving forward. And these are the privileges that they get by, by, by supporting us through it.

So obviously that’s also bringing on to keeping the database growing. So although the club is closed, there’s still things that we can do to, to, to increase our database, to generate leads, essentially prospects into the come. Yes, we can’t do a tour round, but we can prime them ready. So prime them ready for when we do reopen to get them to join. So things like just lead magnets and things like that on a landing page, let’s get them get that data in so that when the club does open, you are the first club on their list.

They don’t go, we’ve got 20 gyms to choose from. Which one? No, no. I’ve been receiving stuff from the Fit Club all the way through. They’ve looked after me, even though I’m not even a member, I need to join a gym. The first one off the top of my head here, is the fit club. Make it obvious for them. So there are other things. What other things Harvey have we ever been doing to, to grow our database and our prospect list?

 

Toby:

It’s a good point about staying on people’s good sides. I mean, we’re still receiving Google reviews about how good the gym is. Even though the gym is closed because you know, people just made it a part of their lives and now that they have a bit of time off, they’re like, oh, this gym’s still giving me loads of stuff. Now I’ll actually review it. So you’ve, you know, that that goodwill stays and sometimes can actually be amplified by the fact that you’re giving more when you don’t have to.

 

Grant:

And show when you get a good or not a good Google review, but when you get in the good Google reviews, share it. Talk about Google, Google as a mouthful with it, share it, explain, tell your prospects what your members think of your club and they can feel part of that community too.

 

Toby:

Absolutely. So yeah, in terms of, in terms of ways to keep growing, it will. So there’s some, as a ways there’s free and paid and everybody prefers free, but there are still some paid ways to get leads. Once again, this is kind of based on your gym’s budget. It’s, you know, how, how much is a customer worth to you and this is dependent on how much you charge per year. Obviously if your gym costs a thousand pounds to be part of, then each lead is worth about a thousand pounds to you, if you can convert them.

So, but what we’ve been doing is we’ve been all of this free stuff. All of these live classes, we’ve actually been running some pretty low cost, social media ads on Facebook and Instagram, which is basically just aimed at the reddish area. Obviously we don’t want people finding us in sort of Edinburgh, because then when the gym reopens, they’re pretty useless to us.

 

Harvey:

In terms of the community.

 

Toby:

Exactly and unless we open a digital platform, they’re pretty much useless for now. So we’re aiming it at the Reddit area, people who probably would never have heard of us and we’re offering these free services and it’s not for a price that literally says these are some free at home workouts from your local area, because I feel like the local element kind of, I think it resonates with people a bit more than say Fitbit or something saying, hi, we’re a massive conglomerate, come and look at some free.

 

Harvey:

We’ll harvest your data.

 

Toby:

Exactly. So like play on that edge. And then you simply ask, even if it’s in a Facebook group to get access to these live classes, you can get them onto the website, get them signing up for something you’ve got their email and your database and then they can enjoy all the content from you.

And then of course, there’s, there’s pre-sales. Once again, you can same sort of Facebook ad, but focused on selling three months when the gym opens and then on top of that as well, I’m sure you guys have got some, some other things to say about this. It’s not just about coming up with ideas. It’s also going back and just sort of seeing how you get people’s emails in the first place.

Like, cause you know, we have sort of email captures all over our website. So if somebody goes on a certain page, it pops up saying, hey, do you want to be part of our newsletter? Here’s a promotion for you and I go on a lot of gym websites and we make a lot of gym websites for people and so many people don’t have these, so this is a good time to review your website and just be like, how am I actually getting emails? Because your website existing, doesn’t give you emails.

People need a place to actually put that email in and they need a reason to, not just, Oh, could you send me some spam, please? I love spam.

 

Grant:

But the easiest way is, as you say, here’s, here’s some lockdown workouts or tips for fit nutritional tips to lock down or recipes to try during locked down, get them, have a landing page, get their email address and then ping them the goods, ping them the goods.

 

Harvey:

Yeah, I mean obviously growing your database, one thing, but the social media following is also now part of that database, or there’ll be Facebook and Instagram, whatever own the data, which is annoying me, is what it is. But a couple of ways to grow that, I think I do bang on a lot about giving away stuff free, but it does tend to work.

 

Grant:

It’s modern marketing.

 

Harvey:

Yeah, absolutely. So your Instagram competition, you just giving away a year’s membership again or something that you have in stock that you really need to get rid of. It’s all good stuff. Tag, every, each friend you tag in the comments, counts as an entry, powerful again, and they have to, they can enter, but they have to follow the page.

Instant new followers, instant new likes, instant engagement and then one that Harvey showed me yesterday is a website called viral, which is worth checking out. It’s you like set up competitions where members earn points, which are configured by you towards prizes. Again, picks by you by sharing content on social media. So like if you share something on Facebook, then you get one point and it automatically tallies it up and I can earn towards rewards. So it’s all automated and it’s very good. It takes, it takes it.

 

Toby:

Yeah. I mean, until we took him out, it like that, it’s an extension of your database, your social media is, but E but also that kind of things like up viral, you can say to people on social media, put in your email, into our website in order to get access to the rules of the competition, because it’s, you know, it’s just a great way to sort of make everything, just basically get as much data from any names, you know, as possible.

 

Grant:

When, when you’ve got that email address from the members, well, you’ve got to cultivate that relationship. You can’t just send them one thing and then wait till you reopen. And then you’ve got to keep sending them stuff all the way, and it can take a lot of work to send them an email a couple of days later, send them another email. So what we do is we use our prospect management and lead generation module. So the landing page is built within the software. The lead goes straight in and then a series of automations just trigger automatically. So we’ve set up about 10, 15 emails in this prospect management. So once the lead goes in, they receive the, the first email with the diet advice or the new, the workouts.

Couple of days later, they automatically then send, receive the, the next email, a bit more new information a couple of days later, again, more information and so on and so on, but I don’t have to sit at the computer and send that information out. It’s all done automatically. And that saves us so much time, especially when we’ve got leads coming in one, coming in at three o’clock in the morning and another one coming in at seven o’clock in the morning, another one coming in at two in the afternoon to sit there and be on the ball with it just takes too much time. So it’s all automated. As a matter of what time somebody enters the lead generation module, the automation just kicks in and kicks in and kicks in.

 

Harvey:

Absolutely. And the good thing about our prospect management system as well is, is yeah, we, we, we have a system where we just have automatic emails going out and we set it so that different automatic emails go out based on sort of how far through people are in the chain. So if somebody signs up a week ago, they would get an automatic email saying, here’s all the classes we’ve done up until now. If they sign up, now they get even more of a less. So it’s just an instant way of, you know, you don’t have to wait until you send that next email blast. You can instantly give someone like a reason start visiting your website and seeing how you add value. And also just, just

 

Grant:

The dividing it up. If somebody comes in, because they’ve completed the landing page that says they’re interested in nutritional tips, you can target the email, the follow-up emails after that, based on nutritional advice, if somebody has said workouts from home, their emails, their subsequent emails will be about different exercises. They can do, you know, you, haven’t got to just send the same bulk emails to each group.

 

Toby:

It goes, yeah, it goes into how much do you know how well do you know your members? So, you know, if you use a profit management system like that, you can create a, a fact finding campaign where you ask them a series of questions. And then depending on their answers, they get certain tags as grant says. So, you know, you’re not sending kids swimming class information to a 60 year old bloke. You only attend six spinning classes, you know? Yeah.

 

Grant:

So, so essentially segmenting your database and sending targeted messages to targeted groups,

 

Harvey:

Which I think brings us very nicely onto the part three, clean up your database and segment your database.

 

Grant:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Cause it’s like, if you don’t know these people who come from this landing page and these people are come from this landing page, how do you know what information you’re going to send them? So that’s all part of the, the, the cleaning up the database

 

Harvey:

Completely. And as Toby says, if you’re concerned about sending too many emails to someone, then segmenting the database is even better because it means you can actually send more emails without annoying everyone. Like, as you say, 60 year old, Bob Hawkins, doesn’t want to hear about, sort of kids swimming classes that happen every Friday and that might be a reason why he ends subscribes. So it’s yeah, it’s cause cleaning up the database. We’re going to talk about more about who you should, moving people around and deleting people.

Deleting people’s a pretty good way of cleaning up your database. Especially if you have like user limits. If you have like a limit to how many emails you can have in your database, it’s pointless you sending thousands of emails out to people that are costing you money, who aren’t responding at all. But on top of that, like cleaning up the database also involves segmenting people, knowing what people are actually using your gym for and what they’re finding interesting about it.

 

Toby:

For sure. I agree.

 

Harvey:

And another great one as well as to another great way to clean up the database is to actually stop the members receiving emails for people who aren’t members. So you can have people, you have your sales emails and then you have emails for your members. So great time to just stop members, receiving sales emails.

 

Toby:

The way we do it is we have a clear line between our prospects. We have the prospect management system, and then as soon as they are a member, they’re live members. So they move into that system, which is our live database. And then we obviously hit them with the relevant stuff, more salesy nurture type stuff for the prospects and then club information, secondary spend, and just nurturing in a kind of different way to help maintain them as members once they are signed up. So there’s a clear split, which is crucial.

 

Harvey:

Yeah, completely. I mean, we’ve got this kind of set up automatically because we use the Ashbourne system, but on your end you can, I mean, you can do a manual reviews. You can cobble something together, which is the problem with not having a unified system, but, but yeah, like this is the perfect time to do it because, I’m plus as well as, you know, always good to not send the members, the really great deal that the gym memberships were actually 50% off the next week. Cause that’s a good way to upset people that lose money.

 

Grant:

I think, I think in the next couple of episodes, we’re going to talk about the member’s journey, but we’ll also talk about the prospect’s journey as well. So today is more about cleaning up that database and being ready to send stuff to the right people. But we’ll also talk about in future episodes, the prospect journey, how a member comes in and then how you can nurture them and other things that you can do as well.

 

Harvey:

Make the whole thing watertight from start to finish.

 

Grant:

I think obviously all these things you can do manually yourself. So you can get the email address and go into your outlook and send that person an email, but it’s, it’s time consuming and hard work. So obviously using the Ashbourne system will make your life a lot easier. So we’re not here to bang on about use Ashbourne, use Ashbourne, use Ashbourne, but use Ashbourne.

 

Harvey:

Well, think, just think about yourself and put a value on your time as what I’d say, make life as easy as possible and to fill out you do need as a unified system.

 

Grant:

Absolutely. If you want to scale your, if you’ve got a club, we have a hundred members and you get in one prospect a month, then of course you could probably just automate, you could manually send out that email, but if you want to scale your club up to become a successful club where you’ve got seven, eight, nine, a thousand plus members, you cannot possibly manually send out emails all the time to your prospects. You have to have a system in place which draws the prospect in automatically then sends the emails out because you can then go on holiday. You can go away for a couple of, obviously you can’t go on holiday at the minute, but you can go. You can spend take a week off you’re off of the business and the emails will still go through and the process is automated. You lose a member of staff. A next one comes in. The process is exactly the same.

 

Harvey:

Absolutely. I mean, I think even more extreme, like if you don’t, there are a lot of gyms who are still using G-mail and Outlook and just kind of have an Excel spreadsheet of all their members. Like if you, if you still at that point and you haven’t got like an automated system, then even more seriously learn how this stuff works because if you’re not using a system like this, it is the equivalent of still using a horse and plow now when we have tractors, like just, there really is no excuse for it. And yeah it might take a couple of weeks to learn and sort out, but over time you just save yourself dozens of hours and at the end of the day, like this is, this stuff makes more money. If you can contact more people with more deals and more promotions, you, you will see an increase in your memberships.

 

Toby:

Is this a bad time to say that I use, G-mail still, alongside the prospect management system?

 

Harvey:

Yes

 

Toby:

Of course, of course.

 

Grant:

Great. Well, thanks for that guys. Appreciate your time on that and hopefully you’ve gained a bit of an insight of what you can do with your databases and cleaning it up. But let’s say for more information about how Ashbourne can help your club and help you to scale it up and improve your time management and everything like that. Just visit us at the website, which is Ashbourne High For Memberships.com or get in touch through the comments page on the forum and we’ll get in touch to show you how our systems can help your gym and we’ll, we’ll see what we can do to improve it.

 

Toby:

And if you want more consistent gym owners, forum, content, then look for gym owners, forum, on Facebook and you’ll find our Facebook group where we only let you in if you’re an actual gym owner, which makes the conversation a lot more focused, qualified.

 

Grant:

Absolutely good. Okay. Cheers guys. See you soon.

 

Harvey:

Cheers guys.

 

Toby:

See you later.

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