Tips to Find More Customers For Your Gym

It can be hard to find new customers when you own a gym. Many people already have a gym that they love so it can be hard to compete, especially when you are first starting out. However, even as you grow, there is a big competition between gyms. More and more gym owners are trying to cut their costs in order to get more customers. Low membership fees are not the only way to increase your membership.

Here are some tips to get even more customers in your doors.

1. Hire the best personal trainers that you can get! 

Too many people come to the gym yet they really have no idea what they are doing. Good and great personal trainers can really offer a lot to your customers. They can help get them on the right path so that they can reach their goals, as well as make sure that they get the body that they want.

The most important thing that makes a personal trainer great is their customer service. They need to pay attention to their customers the entire time. They are both encouraging, as well as motivating. A good trainer will make the time go by faster, so that you might not realize how hard you are actually working. They will make sure that you are doing the exercises correctly so that you get the results that you are looking for.

2. Offer classes for your customers. 

There are many boring gyms that are just filled with equipment. Equipment is great (and necessary) for gyms, but to rise above some of the other gyms in your area, you may want to look into classes. You can offer classes in yoga, cardio, kickboxing, weight lifting, and much more. Weight loss classes and abdominal exercises are always popular. Try to keep up with the latest trends in gyms to ensure that you are going to be attracting more and more customers.

3. Be open when your customers want to use the gym. 

Many people like to go to the gym in the morning before work, while others prefer to go right after. There are also many who are night owls who will be there as late as you are open. For this reason, you need to be open as much as you can afford to, in order to reach as many customers as possible.

4. It is also important to be well-staffed during busy hours. 

It is important to have enough staff when you need it. Otherwise, you will make people wait and they won’t be happy. Some may even go to another gym if they can’t get the help that they need when they need it. For this reason, you should always have extra people on hand for your busy time and less during the slow times.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. 

Word of mouth advertising and referrals can be some of the best forms of advertising that a business can have. Not only are people more likely to spend money when they know satisfied customers, it doesn’t cost anything to get customers to spread the word about your business, making it the cheapest form of advertising that you can do.

All you have to do is remind your customers to spread the word and then reward them. Give them a free class or (if you are feeling really generous) month for every referral. This will make your customers even more likely to tell their friends, helping to grow your business.

In order to get more customers into your gym, you they need a reason. Not only should you have all of the equipment that they want, you should offer good personal trainers and classes to attract all types of customers. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Satisfied customers will bring even more customers through your doors.

Contact us to learn more about Fitli and how we can help you find more customers for your gym!

 

3 Steps Toward a Mobile-Friendly Fitness & Wellness Website

As a small business owner of a gym or studio, you may rely heavily on local, tech-savvy customers that find your site on their smartphones. However, your site may not be mobile-friendly, and like many small business owners, you may not know how to fix it. With this dilemma in mind, here are three steps to help you on your way:

1. Adopt a mobile-first frame of mind

The first step to take as you consider revamping your website is to reorient yourself to it. In the past, site owners had a desktop-first mentality. The main focus was to get your site to look good on a desktop/laptop. Then you might start thinking about mobile. However, in October 2016, mobile traffic in the U.S. surpassed desktop/laptop and tablet traffic for the first time, and the trend has only continued in 2017. As a small business owner, this means your customers have transitioned to a mobile-first mentality, or are well on their way. This is especially true as an owner of a fitness or wellness site, as your customers are often well ahead of the curve. Therefore, if you want to keep attracting tech-savvy customers, you’ll want to adopt the same mobile-first mentality that they have.

2. Fix the small things

Once you’ve gotten yourself into a mobile-first frame of mind, give your site an honest once-over from a mobile perspective. You can start with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Then take the time to visit every page of your site on your smartphone. Start with the text. As you browse your site on a three or four-inch screen, are you squinting to read the text on your About page or latest blog post? If so, you may want to change your site’s default font size. Of course, like everything else in design, it gets complicated. Since font size is relative to font, and some fonts run larger than others, there really is no ideal default font size. Nonetheless, you can easily see first-hand whether your site’s text is too small for smartphones. If it is, and you’re not sure how to fix it, ask a designer or CSS-savvy friend for help.

Another area to look at is your buttons, especially any that might lead to sign-ups at your gym or studio. Is the button big enough to easily tap on a smart phone? As a rule of thumb, Apple recommends buttons that are at least 45 pixels wide and tall. Still, even if your button is big enough to tap, is its text easily readable? If not, it’s time to make it bigger.

3. Get responsive

Just in case you haven’t heard, responsive web design (RWD) is a big deal. In fact, it’s such a big deal, and has been for so long, that it’s almost old news now. At this point, recommending RWD for web design is a bit like recommending Google for search. It’s stating the obvious. And speaking of Google, they recommend responsive design. At the same time, Google’s search algorithm has begun penalizing sites that aren’t mobile-friendly. All the same, many site owners, unsure or what to do, have hesitated to make the transition. As a result, their sites are not “responsive,” which means they don’t change in response to a changing browser-window or a different device. On the other hand, a truly responsive site will not only expand, shrink and rearrange its content to best fit your browser window or device, but will progressively hide or bring back menu items and other content, as needed.

For many small business owners, responsive design is the best way to make their site mobile-friendly without creating an entirely separate mobile version of their site. Of course, if you’re using a site builder like Wix, or a content management system like WordPress, there are many preexisting plugins and themes that will help make your site responsive. However, most site owners will need to reach out to a designer and make a financial investment. However, if having a responsive design leads to more mobile traffic, and more mobile traffic leads to more sign-ups at your gym or studio, then your investment in a responsive design may quickly pay for itself and then some.

4. Getting started

Like getting in shape, making the healthy transition to a mobile-friendly site takes time. Your first step is to adopt a mobile-first mindset, just as your customers are. Once you see the mobile-friendly changes you need to make, you can then start addressing the easy ones, such as larger fonts and bigger buttons. Finally, when you’re ready to make the long-term commitment, it’s time to reach out to a designer to help you transition to a fully-responsive, mobile-friendly site.

Schedule a demo to learn more about how to make your fitness or wellness business succeed.

 

Fitli Product Updates – June 2017

To wait or not to wait… that is the question… the question you will have to ask yourself after this release.

Wait no more.  Waitlist is here.

We are super excited to launch the next big booking enhancement in as many months.  Only 3 weeks ago, we launched the first iteration of Check In.  It’s a very simple approach to start with.  A class is full.  A customer gets added to waitlist.  If a spot opens due to either cancellation or change in capacity, everybody on the waitlist gets notified.  At that point it’s first come first serve to book the open spot.  We wish you many full classes. Learn more here

Edit to your hearts content

As always, we hear you and respond with changes. There are many places in the software that were once un-editable either after saving or, in the case of a session, after the session occurred.  Starting today, you will be able to edit pretty much anything about a session at any time.  That includes capacity, instructor, clients, check in, and facility.  With great power comes great responsibility.  In other words, be careful. We’ll help where we can, but it’s in your hands now. 🙂

Don’t forget. Save money with our new Annual Billing option

Many of you may still be on a Free Trial.  Others are on a Monthly Billing Plan.  We are introducing Annual pricing.  Of course, you save money by going Annual.  So, if you are pretty happy and expect to be with us a while, the Annual Plan may be a good option.  See the Annual Pricing options at the Pricing Section of the website. Then, if interested, just send a message to support@fitli.com to let us know you’d like to change.

More on chat and support

Last time we talked about the new chat feature.  We have decided to invest further in this capability and started moving our entire support process to the new system. Starting today, you will see links to the new FAQ.  We will also be able to point you to articles and videos right there in the chat box.  We do still need to sleep once in a while, so we can’t guarantee we’ll be there to answer 24/7, but we’ll always respond to you as soon as possible.  Visit the new Helpdesk!

Fitli Product Updates – May 2017

I’ve worked at a big Silicon Valley tech company and I know lots of people who do.  Those companies believe they know what everybody needs.  They think they are smarter and more visionary. They like to quote Steve Jobs when he said “…sometimes people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”  Even if that were true, which I don’t necessarily agree with,  people can certainly can tell you the problems they have that needs solving.  That is why we at Fitli believe in you.  We believe in listening to what you have to say.  When you have pain, we feel it.  When you feel frustrated, we feel it.  To that end, we do our best to ensure that each release includes a heavy focus on improving things with the current product and THEN work on new features.  Enjoy our new release and keep the feedback coming.

New Look

You may have noticed the new www.fitli.com site we launched a few weeks ago. It’s been upgraded to https for additional security and clients creating a new account will have no problem figuring out where to go.  The clean and simple design is where we will be taking the rest of the site. Enjoy.

Sorting things out

With this release, the customer list will be sorted alphabetically from A to Z based on first name. Of course, search is still the best way to find a customer if you have a long list. Now, after you search for a customer, you can clear the name with a click and get back to the full list.  Lastly, when you add a new customer, we automatically filter the list to that customer so you can make their first purchase without delay.

Location. Location. Location.

To be more accurate, we actually call it Facilities (even though Location is more appropriate).  Some of you noticed that the “Facility” doesn’t show up on the various notification messages.  Starting tomorrow, that will change.  We will be posting an FAQ soon on this, to clarify what will show up where.

Avoiding Pitfalls

We feel terrible when we find out that one of you hit a snag… and doubly so when we realize it’s something we should have fixed.  We have added clearer error messages in a few key spots.  Hopefully, you won’t even notice. 🙂

Collecting the Digits

It’s always nice to have your customers phone number for more reasons than we care to list.  But, when you don’t have it, you don’t have it.  So, phone number is now optional when adding an new customer.  And we aren’t going to force clients to add it up front when creating an account either. Always trying to balance between making things easy and providing more information.  Simple won this battle.

Annual Billing Option

Many of you may still be on a Free Trial.  Others are on a Monthly Billing Plan.  We are introducing Annual pricing.  Of course, you save money by going Annual.  So, if you are pretty happy and expect to be with us a while, the Annual Plan may be a good option.  See the Annual Pricing options at the Pricing Section of the website. Then, if interested, just send a message to support@fitli.com to let us know you’d like to change.

Friendly Reminders / Chat Support

Lastly, you probably noticed that we have been testing out different ways to provide support.  We have settled on a system and you will continue to see the little blue chat button at the bottom right of your screen.  Go ahead and give it a try next time you have a question.  You will also see nice little pointers and reminders on occasion.  Let us know how it’s working out.

The Itch — What Drove Us to Create Fitli?

All good startups originate from the itch… also known as unsolved problems. Maybe I heard that somewhere before. I don’t know, but it seems appropriate. If you have an entrepreneurial bone in your body, those little itches drive you nuts. You make lists of the itches you can’t seem to scratch. Yeah, sounds kind of ADD. I know. Eventually, one rises above all others and you decide come hell or high water, you will find a way. So, what was the itch that spawned Fitli?

Wanting more

Go back to around 2008 in the heart of the Silicon Valley; Sunnyvale, California. By now, everybody (and by everybody, I mean everybody in the Valley; because when you live there, you’re in a bubble (you don’t realize it though) and nothing else and nobody else matters (but that’s another story). Yelp and Amazon had already gotten us addicted to reviews. The approach to buying anything was becoming very simple. Check reviews. Buy Now. Unfortunately, this was NOT the case for most services (other than food related) and particularly so for Fitness and Wellness services.

There it is. I wanted to find a Personal Trainer; not a kid in a big gym, but an experienced, well respected, personal trainer in a private studio. That desire turned into the itch of all itches. Surprised? Well, sure. Today it’s not like that anymore. Ten years is a long time. Things change. Other people have the same itch. It starts to get scratched. But, back in the day, it went like this. Search Yelp for Personal Trainer. No results or minimal reviews. Ok, search Google for Personal Trainer. Minimal results, no filtering, and no reviews. So, then what? I called the ones I could find, but in the end, saw a studio driving down the street and popped in. I got lucky and found a great studio.

SMS Hell

So, I found a trainer. Home free, right? POP! (That’s me popping your bubble). I thought I was good. The itch didn’t get solved, but it wasn’t bothering me anymore. Before I knew it, a brand-new itch starts… right on top of the old one. (Ugh. I have a mosquito bite and it’s actually starting to itch). Anyway, the next challenge was related to the hectic lifestyle we all lived there in the Valley; specifically, unpredictable work hours. Trying to get to an appointment with my personal trainer at a reasonable time (like before 8pm) could be a challenge. Result was lots of rescheduling. Sometimes it was me; sometimes it was him trying to accommodate the other workaholics. Jump online and change it you say? NO. This was 2008 and most personal trainers then (and now) used clipboards to track things. And so started SMS hell.

  • “Can we move out by an hour?”
  • “No, I’m already booked at that time. How about tomorrow at that time?”
  • “Can’t. I’ve got a VC meeting (JK. I wish.). How about Friday or Saturday? Not too early though.”
  • “Maybe. I don’t remember and I don’t have my schedule here with me. I’ll check and get back to you.”

And so it went… not just once, but all the time. I would have killed for something like Fitli back then… oh yeah, that is one of the reasons we built this thing.

Negative Sessions

And to make this itch a triple threat… there’s one more thing that drove me nuts. It probably drove my trainer nuts too. I never know how many sessions I had used or how many I had left. I basically trusted him to tell me. Yeah. I know. Here’s the deal. He would come up with these random ‘sales’ and offer heavily discounted pricing for large packages. He had another business on the side and I think he did this every time he needed to fund something else. That’s beside the point. I would buy a package of 20 or 30 sessions at a time. Yet, I had no way of really knowing how many I had used or how many were left because it’s not like he even gave me a punch card or something. That would have helped, but he’d probably forget to punch it… totally different issue.

So, the result of this was I’d ask him occasionally, how many sessions I had left. So, what happens next? Counting. He didn’t really keep track either. OMG! He’d go back through his notes on the… yep you guessed it… the clipboard. He’d count. Maybe he’d get distracted and start over. Eventually I’d get my answer. You know what I heard more than once? Oh, you’re NEGATIVE. You need to buy a new package. Seriously? And do you think I had my credit card or checkbook (thank goodness, he didn’t want checks) handy? Of course not. So, I’d have to go home and PayPal him or remember to bring my credit card with me next time. This was just mildly irritating, but mostly it was just so inefficient.

Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back

At some point, I stopped going. Or maybe it was because I moved out of Sunnyvale. Yeah, that was it. Guess what? It started all over again in my new neighborhood. That was it. Once is bad enough. But experiencing the horrid inefficiency again? That was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”. I decided I was going to do something to solve this. Of course, the first step with any good startup is to… buy a domain name! Yeah, not really, but that’s what I did. I wanted something short, fun, and related to fitness. Low and behold, “fitli.com” was available for the low low price of $1,000. And that is how Fitli was conceived. This story goes on, but I have way too much work to do, so you will have to wait for a future update.

You signed up for a Fitli Pro account, now what?

Here are several quick tips to help you take advantage of fitli’s functionality:

How your clients and potential clients see you

We live in a high tech world.  It’s also a visual world.  People use their phones and the internet to research options before making buying decisions.  Your potential clients want to know about you before they choose you as their service provider… and your current clients want to express what they think about you via ratings and reviews.

Fitli helps you to build and strengthen your professional profile… to improve your appeal to potential new clients… and provides a platform for your current clients to praise you and the business you work at.

So, what can you do?

  • First thing you should do is add a photo to your profile.  We shouldn’t judge books by their cover, but people want to see what you look like.  Especially if they are going to hire you to help them get fit.
  • Next, you should make be sure to write up a short bio and talk about your certifications.  This all adds credibility and may be the important difference for some customers.
  • Finally, encourage your current clients to leave a review.  There is nothing better than a portfolio of good reviews.  And don’t worry if there is a couple who don’t give you five stars.  A few lower reviews add credibility to the review process.

To learn more about how to configure your professional profile, click here.

Good to know:  fitli automatically asks your clients for a rating/review after they attend one of your classes or a session. The will be prompted to do so the next time they log in to the web or mobile app (if they previously provided a rating/review for you, they won’t be bothered a second time).

How to get your Fitli classes and appointments onto your own calendar

Everybody has a smart phone and every smartphone has a calendar app.  Most people want to make sure all of their appointments are in one place.  It is very easy to add your fitli appointments / sessions onto your mobile phone calendar app or another calendar app like Google or iCal.

To learn how to do that, you can read here.

One more thing…

Did you know that if you have an iPad or other tablet devices, you can access the fitli web app?  It works just like it does on your computer or laptop?  While using the browser on your tablet, go to www.fitli.com and ‘Log In’.

We frequently post about new topics on our fitli blog.  To stay up to date and learn more tips, check us out at ‘The Studio’ CLICK HERE.