In our post ‘How Do I Make More Money with My Fitness Studio?’, we took a quick look at three of the biggest challenges fitness studio owners face when trying to grow revenue. In this post, we’re going to discuss the second of those challenges: Not converting first-time visitors into regular members.
Hopefully your marketing campaigns have been successful and you are starting to see a steady increase in traffic to your studio. But getting those visitors through the door is only part of the puzzle; now you need to convert them into paying members.
What is a Conversion Rate?
Before we get too far, let’s start by defining conversion rate and figure out how to calculate it.
Your conversion rate is a measure of how successful your fitness studio is at turning new visitors into members. The calculation is pretty easy: take the total number of first-time visitors and divide that by the number that sign up as members. For example, if you have 100 visitors in June and 10 of them become members, your conversion rate is 10%
But just because someone buys a one-day pass or redeems a Groupon package, that doesn’t mean they have become a member. Different studios will have different definitions – for some it will be an unlimited monthly membership, for others it will be a 10 class pass. Every studio should have a small number of pricing packages that they consider their “membership” options – and it isn’t until a visitor buys one of these packages that they can be called a member.
It’s vitally important that you know your studio’s conversion rate at any given time. Marketing dollars are wasted if new visitors never turn into paying members. And a sudden change in your conversion rate could signal deeper issues that need to be explored.
How to Influence Your Conversion Rate
When you know how to calculate your conversion rate, you now have the opportunity to try and move the needle. Even a small boost to your conversion rate could make all the difference.
So, what can you do to influence that all-important number? The key is to have a defined sales process. When a new visitor walks in the door, you should have a step-by-step approach to try to turn them into a member. The sales process should include:
- Front-Desk Sales Scripts – Don’t expect your front-desk staff to be expert salespeople – so give them the tools to help them make a sale. Your scripts should include all the benefits of your studio as well as all the pricing options. The front-desk staff shouldn’t be reading off the script – show them how to listen to a new visitor and use the script as a way to structure that initial conversation and answer questions or objections that might come up.
- Introductory Offer – Most visitors will want to get a taste of your studio before they are willing to make a long-term commitment. But one visit is never enough for anybody to see the real benefits of your studio. So offer a one-time only package that allows them to come multiple times (maybe an introductory month or a 5 class pass) at a discounted rate so they can get the full experience. Be sure to explain this option is only available during their first visit so you can quickly get them on the path to membership.
- Scheduled Follow-up Communications – It is unlikely that a new visitor will immediately jump into a full membership package, so your sales process should include multiple touchpoints. A first-time visitor should get a phone call, email or text message to ask about their visit. If an introductory offer is about to expire, a notification should be sent with instructions on how to transition into a full membership. Most studio management software programs can help you schedule these follow-ups – don’t lose a potential member because they couldn’t figure out the next step.
Once you have a basic sales process – start trying new things. Change your introductory offer. Add something to your sales script. Tweak your follow-up communications. At each step, see how the change affects your conversion rate – keep the winners and ditch the losers.
By monitoring and influencing your conversion rate, you’re well on your way to overcoming yet another challenge in your quest for more revenue. We’ve already addressed step one: Get prospective customers through the door; and step two: Convert them from visitors to paying members.
Step three? Time to hold onto them! And in our next – and final – post in this series, we’ll talk you through how to retain your fitness studio members year after year.