“There is no such thing as a magic bullet. The key to success isn’t VOLUME of leads – it’s QUALITY of leads, NURTURING of leads, and CONVERSION of leads into recurring members.“
We get asked this question a lot – busy affiliate owners who are concerned that they’re not getting as many leads as they could be and/or that they’re not converting enough of those leads into paying members. We’ve got a few tactics that we implemented in our own affiliate – and they work REALLY well for us. Some of them are a departure from what “feels” right. At the end of the day, the beauty of the affiliate model is that everyone is free to run their fitness business the way that they want to. In this article, we’re going to share the tactics that help us thrive.
Step 1: The Website
We’ve been through a lot of different iterations on this point, and there’s no shortage of discussion on “best practices”. We had like 47 different tabs at one point, all of our prices, coach bios, links to membership management software purchasing portals, lists of equipment, WODs…a whole ton of crap.
Want to know what we did?
WE TOOK AWAY EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING. Seriously – click here to look at our website. That’s what we use. That’s it.
Our website consists of a single call to action that is “above the fold”. That means that we only try to get our website visitors to do ONE THING, they can do it without scrolling (above the fold), and they can do it in under two clicks (best practice). Box Builder’s “First Visit Campaign” was born in this gym, and it’s exactly what we use today.
But will people really be interested in a gym if they don’t know a ton about it? If they can’t read all of the different pricing models, know what CrossFit certifications our coaches, have, and the fact that we have 12 Assault Bikes and a 40′ rig?
Regular people who are trying to get in shape don’t give a shit about any of that stuff. In fact, if the only people you’re attracting are people who love words like “Assault” and “Rig” – don’t get me wrong, you’re probably hanging with some awesome people – but for every one person who loves it, I bet there are three who would be scared off.
Back to the website. We wanted people to have a single path to take – fill out the form which leads to them coming into the gym. The first impression you make with your website is crucial, but having effective communication and a warm, welcoming facility and staff is what will actually turn leads into customers. Yes, we offer group CF classes, personal training, CF Kids, Middle & High School Athletic Development, and Corporate Wellness…but everyone starts at the same point: COME VISIT US.
Step 2: The Blog
Yes, this is like the only thing we DIDN’T take away. And we post on it, every week, religiously. Rather than harping on fitness goals and “convincing” people why they need to come to the gym, we do something really simple: we give away a “Foodie Friday” healthy recipe. It not only helps our existing members, but allows our potential clients to see that we care about more than just what happens inside the gym. We also take pictures and make sure the blog looks pretty – it’s a big deal.
Step 3: Social Media
We post Motivational Monday and Foodie Friday posts every week, without fail. Again, it has nothing to do with our gym and has everything to do with giving value and helping people. The traffic drives to our website, which…you guessed it…has pretty much nothing except a single above the fold call to action that is designed to get people inside the gym.
Step 4: Facebook Advertising
Yeah, this one can be confusing. We routinely refer to it as “Pandora’s Box”. Here’s some real talk: We’ve spent thousands of dollars on Facebook Advertising. Cumulatively, our ROI is still growing, but it’s well above 10x. You’ve got to get in the game and stay relentlessly dedicated to trying new things if you want to figure out what works for you and your gym. There are a TON of variables, and unfortunately, some of them are unique to your locale (market saturation, average income, demographics, population density), and some of them are literally impossible to figure out without TESTING (which image will work best, long text or short text, etc). More on testing in a bit.
First things first, here are some realistic expectations. The industry average conversion rate for a landing page that offers a free opt-in is about 2.3%. I’m no math whiz, but my calculator tells me that in order to get TEN opt-ins, we’ll need about 434 visits to the landing page. That’s not ten people who will actually come into the gym, but ten people who will fill out the form.
Now, let’s talk money. On average, we pay about $0.15 – $0.30 per click on the ad itself. In your ad manager, this is the CPC (Cost Per Click). On the high end, an expensive lead ends up costing as much as $15.
Would you pay someone $15 for an interested and qualified lead who is getting nurtured automatically? Yeah, so would we. All good.
We’re not just spending money to spend money here. Taking a single ad and running it at $20/day instead of $5/day is NOT the approach you want to take. We’re going to have a more detailed blog coming out on split testing FB ads coming soon, but here are some basics to get you started.
- Forget all placements except Desktop News Feed and Mobile News Feed. The others (including Instagram) typically don’t convert as well.
- Launch two or three nearly identical ads to start with, and place them all at $5/day.
- On those ads, change ONE element at a time and give it a minimum of 5-7 days to react. The better performing ads will have a higher relevance score and a lower cost per click. These metrics are available in your Facebook Ad Manager console.
- If you find that one variation is awesome and another one sucks, reallocate your money. Turn off the crappy one and move that $5/day to the one that’s doing great.
- If you can afford it, launch a new variation at this point and keep tweaking.
- Run the ads until you are happy with the response, until your offer is over, until you’re overwhelmed with leads, etc.
Here’s the crazy thing. We’ve had advertisements that are LIGHTS OUT – totally killing it – and then we run the same ad a month later and it’s a total strikeout. There truly is no magic bullet here, simply due to the amount of variables involved in the ads game. Think about it – how many Black Friday ads did you get last week? Consumers who are overwhelmed are less likely to take action.
Step 5: I Do Everything Box Builder Tells Me To
Seriously. This isn’t some bullshit plug for our software. It’s only as good as you let it be. Emails by themselves won’t convert everyone – especially people who are on the fence. To make the system shine, you HAVE to use it. Log into it every day (or get a staff member to do it). When the task pops up to call someone, DO IT. If someone no-shows for an appointment, go in there and mark it! Our No Show Campaign (built into First Visit) doesn’t do any good if it’s not getting sent.
Just like Facebook Advertising, Box Builder is not a magic bullet. It’s a set of systems that KICK ASS if you implement them and stay on top of your tasks. It’s super easy to use and it works – not because we made it, but because it’s built from the systems that we use every single day, and because we use it in our gym – the exact same strategies, systems, and software that you guys have.
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