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Beyond the Membership
Originally Posted 03/14/11

It is no longer about fitness when there are so many competitors in the market. At some point, the client moves beyond what he thinks he can get from your club and starts to think about what he can get from you.

The clients want to believe in us. They want to believe that you are different, that you care and they most importantly want to believe in you personally and what you do. It is not enough anymore for someone to love what you offer in your business. Today it is about them falling in love with how you do it and what makes you different in the market.

Any club can sell fitness and when the market is crowded that message is lost and no longer important. Most club marketing is sterile and never conveys the strength or belief of the people who own the club. A lot of good people who try to do the right thing are lost because their marketing is so generic. The clients are seekers and they look for the businesses that will give back to them and value them as people and clients and all marketing has to convey this everyday.

What is also important is how you run your business. Any club can offer the same equipment you do, rent space like you do and hire the same people that you do. The consumer doesnít care about those things. He cares about what you believe in, he cares about your ability to help people, and he cares about what makes you different than every other fitness business in town. He cares that you care and if you donít he goes somewhere else with his business.

Planet Fitness is not a fitness chain. It is a creation by a very talented marketing guy that creates the perception that the company cares about you (judgment free zone) and that it is all about regular people working out together. It is not, and never was, about the price; it was always about the customerís belief that PF was different than the other clubs. Look at their current marketing and you can get this in just one ad.

What does sell is belief. In many ways, what we belief, and if the client believes in us, is all that is left to market in this business. What you believe in if you are in this business, which should be that we can help every client succeed, is what you should market. Good marketing is personalized marketing, which is the hardest form to do but is the most effective over time

People want to be part of something these days. They want to follow someone, and give their money to someone; who cares about them as a client and as a person. We have lost this basic marketing knowledge in the drive to prove we are bigger, have more classes, have more equipment or have a lower price. We have also lost the client in most cases because if you canít demonstrate you care and believe in them then they will not believe in you and they will leave.

All of your marketing should be personal and based upon making a difference in someoneís life. If you own a club, you should be selling your personal belief system in your ads. Long letters, testimonials, a personalized web site with hundreds of members telling the world you are different and give a damn and building your tribe through your social networks all will lead to a differentiation and more business over time.

Let people know you care about them and that your business is different because of this believe. Prove it to them with an extended trial. Then prove it again during their first 30 days in the club.

We have run our workshops this way for over 20 years. We care that you survive, make money, take care of your family, donít get hurt in business and that you always strive to do the right thing with your members. I hate it when youíre stupid and do things that will hurt your business. I take it personally when you fail because good people should win, especially ones trying to change the world through fitness.

Caring is the right thing to do in your business and it is the right thing to do to be successful. Prove you give a damn and most everything else will work out over time.

Original Comments:


Help others to help yourself = successful life



I love what I do hea in my fitness club but the members just arenít looking for the same things anymoreÖ I take great pride in helping my member achive there goals, but I feel like thatís not what there looking for anymore



Every ad I see locally focuses on price only,,,Not the way to stay in business,,if people like what you are doing price is not a selling point,,they will come. And if you continue to deliver they will star



Iíve heard testimony to this argument so often over the past year and a half. We are certainly not even close to the lease expensive gym in the area, and this is the exact feedback we get. People will pat to be cared about and to be part of something bigger than a gym.



Great Blog Thom. I appreciate all you have done for me and Hendrick Health Club. Ron



Great read and very true!



You are so right.

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