GROW YOUR MEMBERSHIP

Club Goal

5 TACTICS PROVEN TO DELIVER MEMBERSHIP GROWTH

Growing the membership of your club is a constant challenge. Wouldn't it be easier if you just had a list of the tried and tested tactics that work?

Over the years, working with our 20,000 global club partners has taught us a thing or two about which acquisition strategies are worth spending your money on. Here's a list of five of the best – a helping handful of marketing how-to’s for your club to reap success with.

1

RUN EXPERIENTIAL EVENTS

Are you desperate to avoid comparison to your competition on price, facilities and location? What is best way to start marketing your club as an experience or lifestyle? The answer: run regular events and invite acquisition prospects to attend for free. Obviously, any type of trial program (first 7 days free or one free visit) works well, but offering trials alongside events is a great way to show your club at its absolute best. You can ensure the prospect is feeling the buzz and excitement of your club ‘on show’.

What type of events? For acquisition purposes, events that are single days, forcing interaction with existing members and enabling them to experience various parts of your offer are the most worthwhile investment. New program launch or new workout release events are ideal. You can invite all prospects to attend for free and create urgency around joining with limited time membership offers exclusive to event attendance.

Other event options include: charity fundraisers, group fitness masterclasses, themed parties, club milestone celebrations, record attempts (even just club/chain records) and group fitness trial classes with competitions and giveaways.

To capitalize on the event and attract a high percentage of acquisition targets you should incentivize attendance and encourage existing members to refer a friend. It's a good idea to have an option for one trialist to win their membership for attending.

When clubs run experiential events and start advertising eight weeks out from the event we see the following benchmarks of success...

  • Attendance at the event is 5-10% of active membership
  • Classes are at 80-100% capacity
  • 20% of all event participants are prospects on trial or guest referrals
  • Greater than 50% conversion rate of guests to members!

Now that is an acquisition strategy worth investing in.

Read more

Are you desperate to avoid comparison to your competition on price, facilities and location? What is best way to start marketing your club as an experience or lifestyle? The answer: run regular events and invite acquisition prospects to attend for free. Obviously, any type of trial program (first 7 days free or one free visit) works well, but offering trials alongside events is a great way to show your club at its absolute best. You can ensure the prospect is feeling the buzz and excitement of your club ‘on show’.

What type of events? For acquisition purposes, events that are single days, forcing interaction with existing members and enabling them to experience various parts of your offer are the most worthwhile investment. New program launch or new workout release events are ideal. You can invite all prospects to attend for free and create urgency around joining with limited time membership offers exclusive to event attendance.

Other event options include: charity fundraisers, group fitness masterclasses, themed parties, club milestone celebrations, record attempts (even just club/chain records) and group fitness trial classes with competitions and giveaways.

To capitalize on the event and attract a high percentage of acquisition targets you should incentivize attendance and encourage existing members to refer a friend. It's a good idea to have an option for one trialist to win their membership for attending.

When clubs run experiential events and start advertising eight weeks out from the event we see the following benchmarks of success...

  • Attendance at the event is 5-10% of active membership
  • Classes are at 80-100% capacity
  • 20% of all event participants are prospects on trial or guest referrals
  • Greater than 50% conversion rate of guests to members!

Now that is an acquisition strategy worth investing in.

2

CONTENT IS STILL KING

Getting consumers to trust your club brand is half the battle and content marketing helps you win. From a lead acquisition perspective, content marketing is three times as effective and 62% less expensive than typical outbound marketing. Consumers are more informed these days and consume more content prior to conversion.

But content production can be time consuming and costly - so what are some effective ways to make sure you can execute this tactic easily?

The #1 way to get ahead is to leverage existing content. It is likely that many of your partners are already producing health, fitness and wellness content that you can republish and repurpose on your channels. For example, Les Mills encourages club partners to utilize our Fit Planet health and fitness content. This includes scientifically-backed news, expert advice and interviews designed to support consumers on their fitness journey.

So what are the immutable laws of content creation for your club?

  • Be mobile first, content should be optimized for the smaller screen
  • Create shareable content that enables your audience to learn, it should promote discovery, trust and credibility.
  • Create content that isn’t overtly selling the product, sell the lifestyle!
  • Create content that promotes engagement, if your audience are engaged that means they’re consuming your content.
  • Consider the format of your content and ensure it's appropriate to the channel it will be delivered in. The central idea can remain the same, but the form or length might need to be adapted. Don’t just blindly duplicate content across channels – this will annoy prospective members.

It is important that you do a digital marketing audit of your content. Is it easy to find answers to the types of questions your acquisition prospects are likely to ask? Although you may prefer that they contact you and have a membership consultation in order to get specific information (such as membership price), by not providing information up front you could lose leads before they even enter your funnel.

Read more

Getting consumers to trust your club brand is half the battle and content marketing helps you win. From a lead acquisition perspective, content marketing is three times as effective and 62% less expensive than typical outbound marketing. Consumers are more informed these days and consume more content prior to conversion.

But content production can be time consuming and costly - so what are some effective ways to make sure you can execute this tactic easily?

The #1 way to get ahead is to leverage existing content. It is likely that many of your partners are already producing health, fitness and wellness content that you can republish and repurpose on your channels. For example, Les Mills encourages club partners to utilize our Fit Planet health and fitness content. This includes scientifically-backed news, expert advice and interviews designed to support consumers on their fitness journey.

So what are the immutable laws of content creation for your club?

  • Be mobile first, content should be optimized for the smaller screen
  • Create shareable content that enables your audience to learn, it should promote discovery, trust and credibility.
  • Create content that isn’t overtly selling the product, sell the lifestyle!
  • Create content that promotes engagement, if your audience are engaged that means they’re consuming your content.
  • Consider the format of your content and ensure it's appropriate to the channel it will be delivered in. The central idea can remain the same, but the form or length might need to be adapted. Don’t just blindly duplicate content across channels – this will annoy prospective members.

It is important that you do a digital marketing audit of your content. Is it easy to find answers to the types of questions your acquisition prospects are likely to ask? Although you may prefer that they contact you and have a membership consultation in order to get specific information (such as membership price), by not providing information up front you could lose leads before they even enter your funnel.

3

CHANNEL MONEY WHERE IT COUNTS

It takes a lot of testing to identify the right channels and what appeals to your audience. Research is key. A global study by the Center for Generational Kinetics found that Gen-Z trust YouTube ads more than any other type of advertising. In terms of following brands, Gen-Z uses Instagram 2.5 times more than Facebook to follow brands, whereas Millennials still tend to opt for Facebook.

Be aware of ‘vanity metrics’, such as likes or even engagements, you should instead be measuring conversion rate only to determine success and investment. Never underestimate ‘free’ channels. Improving your search engine optimization (SEO) and your direct communications (either text or email) from your existing database can all be effective cheap tactics, even if conversion is lower.

User generated content or UGC for short is any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands. Brands will often share UGC on their own social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels. According to Hootsuite, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view UGC as authentic when compared to brand created content. People trust people more than they trust brands. Your prospective members want to see what your club is like behind the glossy exterior, and hear how real people are using your club to achieve their fitness goals. In fact, nearly 80% of people say that UGC has a high impact on their purchasing decision. So how can you use it effectively?

  • Encourage your members to post regularly; e.g. after a class, during a workout, tagging a friend
  • Promote your social handles and hashtags in club and member communications
  • Design spaces that are optimal backgrounds for photographs
  • Design member challenges or competitions that create UGC posting opportunities

IMPORTANT

Repost and utilize members’ UGC on your channels regularly. Don’t just always select the most polished posts. Keep authenticity as your compass and remember, different members will appeal to different acquisition prospects.

HOT TIPS

  • Get into the habit of always asking permission from the original poster. It creates a positive interaction with them, promotes loyalty and will likely inspire them to create more content in the future.
  • Ensure you are also crediting the original poster when you re-use – if you don’t, it does lose value as it loses authenticity.
Read more

It takes a lot of testing to identify the right channels and what appeals to your audience. Research is key. A global study by the Center for Generational Kinetics found that Gen-Z trust YouTube ads more than any other type of advertising. In terms of following brands, Gen-Z uses Instagram 2.5 times more than Facebook to follow brands, whereas Millennials still tend to opt for Facebook.

Be aware of ‘vanity metrics’, such as likes or even engagements, you should instead be measuring conversion rate only to determine success and investment. Never underestimate ‘free’ channels. Improving your search engine optimization (SEO) and your direct communications (either text or email) from your existing database can all be effective cheap tactics, even if conversion is lower.

User generated content or UGC for short is any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands. Brands will often share UGC on their own social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels. According to Hootsuite, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view UGC as authentic when compared to brand created content. People trust people more than they trust brands. Your prospective members want to see what your club is like behind the glossy exterior, and hear how real people are using your club to achieve their fitness goals. In fact, nearly 80% of people say that UGC has a high impact on their purchasing decision. So how can you use it effectively?

  • Encourage your members to post regularly; e.g. after a class, during a workout, tagging a friend
  • Promote your social handles and hashtags in club and member communications
  • Design spaces that are optimal backgrounds for photographs
  • Design member challenges or competitions that create UGC posting opportunities

IMPORTANT

Repost and utilize members’ UGC on your channels regularly. Don’t just always select the most polished posts. Keep authenticity as your compass and remember, different members will appeal to different acquisition prospects.

HOT TIPS

  • Get into the habit of always asking permission from the original poster. It creates a positive interaction with them, promotes loyalty and will likely inspire them to create more content in the future.
  • Ensure you are also crediting the original poster when you re-use – if you don’t, it does lose value as it loses authenticity.
4

USE VIDEO EFFECTIVELY

Rather than traditional ‘commercial’ style video, regular and authentic video content has become important in customer acquisition as consumers skew younger. For example, did you know that 300 million people are using Instagram stories and half a billion people are watching videos on Facebook every day. But what about the world’s second biggest search engine, YouTube: how should you be using that?

THE ANSWER

Regularly and with longer and more detailed authentic content.

8 out of 10

18-49 year olds watch YouTube

With over 1.9 billion logged in users, YouTube is a channel you can’t ignore, yet only 9% of small businesses in the USA are using it.

Surprisingly, the average viewing time for a YouTube session is 40mins – which means you need a different format of video content than what you use for Facebook and Instagram.

Quick, polished and catchy CTAs don’t resonate well on YouTube. Instead focus on behind the scenes style content. YouTube is ideal for insights such as ‘how do you use this piece of equipment’, ‘what should you bring for a typical workout’ and ‘what goes on in 30 minutes at our club’.

HOW MANY YOUTUBE CHANNELS
DO YOU HAVE?

Top brands are uploading a video to YouTube every 18.5 minutes and have an average of 2.4 YouTube channels per brand. Obviously, it is hard for your club to match that type of video generation, but there are ways to increase your video content and ensure you are building interest that appeals to acquisition targets.

Focus on creating story ‘series’. Pick a few personalities on your team and link to areas of your members’ experience or value proposition. Have these personalities create an ongoing series of content such as explanatory videos that teach people what they don't know. For example, have one of your group fitness instructors take people through a series of four episodes explaining the techniques and equipment used in BODYPUMP™. Because of the patterns of usage on YouTube, anything from three to 10 minutes in length is acceptable, and production quality does not need to be high.

Read more

Rather than traditional ‘commercial’ style video, regular and authentic video content has become important in customer acquisition as consumers skew younger. For example, did you know that 300 million people are using Instagram stories and half a billion people are watching videos on Facebook every day. But what about the world’s second biggest search engine, YouTube: how should you be using that?

THE ANSWER

Regularly and with longer and more detailed authentic content.

8 out of 10

18-49 year olds watch YouTube

With over 1.9 billion logged in users, YouTube is a channel you can’t ignore, yet only 9% of small businesses in the USA are using it.

Surprisingly, the average viewing time for a YouTube session is 40mins – which means you need a different format of video content than what you use for Facebook and Instagram.

Quick, polished and catchy CTAs don’t resonate well on YouTube. Instead focus on behind the scenes style content. YouTube is ideal for insights such as ‘how do you use this piece of equipment’, ‘what should you bring for a typical workout’ and ‘what goes on in 30 minutes at our club’.

HOW MANY YOUTUBE CHANNELS
DO YOU HAVE?

Top brands are uploading a video to YouTube every 18.5 minutes and have an average of 2.4 YouTube channels per brand. Obviously, it is hard for your club to match that type of video generation, but there are ways to increase your video content and ensure you are building interest that appeals to acquisition targets.

Focus on creating story ‘series’. Pick a few personalities on your team and link to areas of your members’ experience or value proposition. Have these personalities create an ongoing series of content such as explanatory videos that teach people what they don't know. For example, have one of your group fitness instructors take people through a series of four episodes explaining the techniques and equipment used in BODYPUMP™. Because of the patterns of usage on YouTube, anything from three to 10 minutes in length is acceptable, and production quality does not need to be high.

5

TURN ADVOCACY INTO ACQUISITION

The bad news, according to Forbes, is that 75% of people do not believe your advertising. To counteract this, utilization of paid influencers over the past few years has become the go-to strategy for business. However, Hubspot suggest that this is also increasingly a poor investment, with 71% of people not having any faith in sponsored posts. So – is your influencer strategy dead in the water? Not yet…

Advocacy, from real people, is still proving incredibly worthwhile, driving up to 50% of purchases according to McKinsey. Like all clubs, you probably already encourage and reward referrals from existing members. This is great, but you can take it a step further and turn your employees into your biggest advocates. Your personal trainers and group fitness instructors can be your most successful advocates.

By giving them formal training, guidelines and some assets to post (as well as incentivizing them) you can unlock their power as influencers and as advocates for your club. Your existing members are far more likely to interact with them over your club brand on social media, which opens pathways to your existing members’ networks for possible acquisition prospects, without them formally having to refer. The perfect pull strategy.

Your instructors and personal trainers don’t have to have large social media followings to be successful for you. However, you do need to offer them training and guidance around what is acceptable to post. Some content ideas that resonate well with prospective members are:

  • Celebrating the achievements of individual members – doing an after class shout out
  • Featuring their class on a story
  • Filming them practicing moves
  • Setting a challenge for their class participants (e.g. five consecutive days)
  • Sharing why they became an instructor
  • Educating and motivating with research and fitness insights
  • Sharing training and technique tips
  • Doing short videos or photos showing the equipment set up for each of their classes in order to help beginners

Remember, to be effective it needs to be authentic and credible – so it needs to be in their voice. To enable this, you need to provide solid training and posting guidelines before encouraging them to post.

Read more

The bad news, according to Forbes, is that 75% of people do not believe your advertising. To counteract this, utilization of paid influencers over the past few years has become the go-to strategy for business. However, Hubspot suggest that this is also increasingly a poor investment, with 71% of people not having any faith in sponsored posts. So – is your influencer strategy dead in the water? Not yet…

Advocacy, from real people, is still proving incredibly worthwhile, driving up to 50% of purchases according to McKinsey. Like all clubs, you probably already encourage and reward referrals from existing members. This is great, but you can take it a step further and turn your employees into your biggest advocates. Your personal trainers and group fitness instructors can be your most successful advocates.

By giving them formal training, guidelines and some assets to post (as well as incentivizing them) you can unlock their power as influencers and as advocates for your club. Your existing members are far more likely to interact with them over your club brand on social media, which opens pathways to your existing members’ networks for possible acquisition prospects, without them formally having to refer. The perfect pull strategy.

Your instructors and personal trainers don’t have to have large social media followings to be successful for you. However, you do need to offer them training and guidance around what is acceptable to post. Some content ideas that resonate well with prospective members are:

  • Celebrating the achievements of individual members – doing an after class shout out
  • Featuring their class on a story
  • Filming them practicing moves
  • Setting a challenge for their class participants (e.g. five consecutive days)
  • Sharing why they became an instructor
  • Educating and motivating with research and fitness insights
  • Sharing training and technique tips
  • Doing short videos or photos showing the equipment set up for each of their classes in order to help beginners

Remember, to be effective it needs to be authentic and credible – so it needs to be in their voice. To enable this, you need to provide solid training and posting guidelines before encouraging them to post.

Grow membership using this guide to social media for instructors

  • Download the 23-page guide that walks your Instructors through the basics of social media
  • Receive guidance on best channels and audience profiling
  • Get ready-to-use content ideas and additional tips for creating content
  • Gain key information on scheduling and planning activity

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