4 Ways to Market Your Gym’s Virtual Services

For the past few weeks, the majority of CrossFit gyms (and other gyms) around the world have been forced to close their physical locations due to COVID-19. This has created a unique challenge for gym owners trying to keep their businesses afloat and for their members, who need to adapt to a new way of working out. 

At Wodify, we’ve been inspired by the thousands of CrossFit gyms around the world that we’ve seen step up and quickly develop remote/online services for their members, including:

  • Virtual classes run through Zoom or another video-streaming service
  • Individualized programming and 1-on-1 coaching sessions
  • Nutrition coaching and diet plans 
  • Lifestyle & nutrition challenges 
  • Community events like happy hours, trivia nights, and more… 
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Now that many gyms have settled into this new method for helping people achieve their fitness goals, we wanted to provide a few tips on how to market your online services to acquire new members! After all, health & wellness is still a top priority for millions of people - they just need a new way to engage with fitness professionals. In fact, Google search interest for CrossFit at home has exploded in the past few weeks. 

Here are our top tips on how to market your gym’s virtual services:

1. Develop your new value proposition

If you’ve been running your physical gym for a few years now, it’s probably second nature to you by now what your gym’s value proposition is.

Now that your method of delivery has changed, take a step back and consider what new value you’re offering to people. It won’t be completely different, but you’ll likely need to tweak your messaging.

At its core, your value proposition should include:

- Who (your ideal member)
- The Problem (hard to stay fit & healthy while at-home)
- How (a virtual community and daily workouts with minimal equipment)
- The Benefit (feel good, look good, stay connected)

You’ll notice in some of the examples above, there are elements of your new value proposition that are the same as when you’re physical location was open and some that are new.

A great place to start with this is to survey all of your current virtual members and ask them one question “how would you describe the benefit of your membership to a friend?”

Once you develop your new value proposition, you’ll be ready to use it for headlines on your website, ad copy, and as talking points in your sales process.

2. Create a seamless sign-up & onboarding process

When you have a physical location, it can be easy to skip a few steps in the online sales process. Maybe you rely on front-desk staff to finish the sign-up process or coaches doing in-person ‘no sweat intros’. Now, you need to make sure that it’s just as easy for people to complete the entire sign-up process with just a few clicks and that they have a smooth onboarding experience.

Before anything else, go to your website (right now) and try to sign up for a membership to your gym. Even better - ask a friend to do it and watch them click through the sign-up process.

Take note of any confusing steps or missing links - were you able to get through the entire sign-up process? Don’t stop there... Make sure the automated emails and triggers on your end are set up, so you (or a coach) are notified immediately when a new member signs up. The first impression is everything, especially when someone might be testing out a few online options. I can tell you this - Peloton isn’t calling every member when they first sign up, but you should be. 

After that exercise, you should have some ideas for how you can streamline the process of online sign-ups. For Wodify users, take advantage of our Online Sales Portal and check out Wodify Sites if you need a website upgrade. 

3. Use organic social media to attract new members without spending money on ads

Before rolling up your sleeves and diving into Facebook Ads Manager, make sure you’re taking advantage of the power of organic social media. Between your existing gym’s social media accounts and all of your current members’, there are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of people you can reach.

Social media is an amazing way to show off all the awesome stuff your gym is doing online. Whether it’s your zoom classes, member testimonials, or free fitness & nutrition tips, there’s no shortage of content you can create!

If you don’t know where to start, I recommend a simple 3 step approach:

- Highlighted member of the week: share their photo & story on your gym’s social accounts and encourage others to re-share! For Wodify users, you can choose your member of the week by who has logged the most performances in Wodify.

- Nutrition tips: share quick, free tips on your gym’s social media accounts to help anyone lead a healthier life. This could be a simple as a recipe or shopping list!

- Virtual bring-a-buddy: make sure to have the ‘buddies’ introduce themselves at the beginning of class and follow-up with all of them afterwards - they might be your next new member!

Don’t forget to tag us (@wodify) and we’ll help you spread the word!

4. Engage with past members and leads

One of your best sources for potential new online members is your list of past members and old leads! Maybe someone moved away or just wasn’t ready to commit to coming to the gym a few times a week… Well now you have something new to offer them!

When reaching back out, be sensitive to the fact that this is a challenging time for everyone. Avoid starting with a promotion (i.e. join now and get 20% off) and instead reach out individually and ask them how they’re doing. If you show that you still care about their overall health and fitness goals, you’ll have a better chance of earning their trust and then explaining to them how your new virtual services could help them.

Tactically, you can turn this into a manageable recurring task by setting aside an hour or two a day for past member & lead follow-up. 


We hope these tips help you bring your virtual services to more people and to grow your business! 

BONUS: check out our COVID-19 Resource Hub for more tools and resources for gym owners.

Ready to put what you’ve learned into practice?
Download a free PDF handbook with many of NCFIT’s gym management procedures and philosophies that you can implement in your gym today.
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