Automate Your Communication with Prospects and Members

August 25, 2011
One of the biggest gaps in our industry, and in any industry for that matter, is effectively following up with prospects and regularly communicating with current clients. Business owners have the best of intentions when it comes to follow up, but the fact is we don’t always get it done.

What happens to the visitor who visits your website, is interested, but something else comes up and they forget to stop by your gym? What happens to the prospect who stops by and tours the facility, decides no to buy that day, and is never to be heard from again? You plan to call them back, but a couple days turns into a couple weeks and by the time you call them they have either lost interest or have joined another facility. To overcome these challenges and to automate your follow up activities, you need what is called an autoresponder.

An autoresponder is simply a web-based tool that automates the follow up process when a prospect expresses interest in your service via your website. It sends email messages automatically, in whatever sequence you want, and also allows you to send newsletters and communicate with your prospects and members. An autoresponder is easily the most powerful part of any gym website.

To effectively utilize an autoresponder, you first must have something of value to offer someone in exchange for their contact information. For health clubs, this is typically a trial membership. On your website, in the top right corner, you need an opt-in form that collects your visitor’s name and email address. It is important that it is in a highly visible location on your site, and preferably on every page. You can also set your autoresponder to have a small pop up window containing a sign up form allowing you to capture contact information for any new visitors to your website. This pop up form might be annoying to some visitors, but it will make sure they see your free trial membership offer and will allow you to collect more leads.

Once your prospect signs up, they will receive a printable trial membership certificate that they can bring in to redeem at your club. More importantly, you now have their email address to remind them to come in! While it would be nice to ask them for their phone number as well, the truth is you will have too many visitors who choose not to provide their information. Many people do not want you calling them and they feel that providing their email address is a much safer option.

You can send your prospect automated follow up reminders to come in to pick up their trial membership. If they haven’t come in after a couple of weeks you can send an extra incentive to get them to come in. You can email them your regular newsletter full of fitness and nutrition information. If they receive your newsletter as a prospect, when the time comes to join a gym, they will certainly be heading your direction because you have established yourself as the fitness voice of the community.

Equally important is the fact that beyond the automated email sequences you send, you can send emails anytime you want. You can send announcements, your newsletter, promotions, class schedules, reminders, success stories, fitness and nutrition tips, etc. Autoresponder systems can easily distinguish who is a member and who is a non-member to make sure everyone receives the appropriate message.

The true beauty of the entire system is that it is automated. Once you set it up initially, you never have to do another thing with it. You can have your entire health club autoresponder system set up in less than an hour. The entire process will cost less than $20 per month, an absolute bargain for the time and money it will save you. An autoresponder system is one of the best ways to turn visitors of your website into members of your health club and to turn members of your health club into loyal raving fans.