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Leads, Website Design

Written by Josh Unfried

Does your health club website have a blog? Chances are you’re busy trying to generate more qualified leads and planning ways to increase non-dues revenue from existing members to consider a blog a priority. 

But a blog might be just the thing your gym needs to accomplish all those things and more.

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 Here are six great reasons you could be missing big opportunities for membership acquisition if your health club website doesn’t have a blog:

#1 Bring Prospects to Your Website

Blogs make it easier to get more website traffic by providing fresh content. And content is the currency of the Internet. You can take that currency and offer it to your social and email audience and in exchange they will give you likes, tweets, forwards, and ultimately, you will earn brand recognition, top of mind awareness, and word of mouth.

And if you’ve been actively engaging with current members and your raving fans in the social space, which I know you have, then you’ll have a large existing audience to like, comment on, and share your amazing blog posts, and that will expand your reach to their friends, who may not be members yet.

All of this serves to bring people who are interested in your blog post content back to your website where you can woo them with everything that is wonderful and unique about you.

#2 Search Engine Optimization

When people shop today, it starts with online search. More specifically 89% of the purchase decisions made today start with a search on Google, Bing, Yahoo, or some other search engine.

To say that your website doesn’t need search engine optimization is like nailing the coffin on membership acquisition. You probably aren’t the only game in town, and if other health clubs and gyms are showing up in the top 3 spots on a search engine results page, you are missing out on membership sales.

Sure, you can pay for the top results by placing an ad, but 94% of searchers are going to pass right by that ad in favor of the organic results that have earned the right to be at the top.

The good news:

There’s a really easy way to increase your chances of showing up at the top of a search related to your fitness facility:

Blog.

Get found online by creating unique content that is optimized for SEO. And the good news is that on-page SEO doesn’t have to be a complicated formula. If you create engaging content on your blog, you will see non-branded keyword traffic increase.  Non-branded means they are not searching for the name of your gym in Google, but fitness services in Brooklyn. In this situation, blog about topics where you can use common keywords.

Examples include:

  • Great Places to Practice Outdoor Yoga in Brooklyn
  • Interview with our Favorite Zumba Instructor in Brooklyn

Learn how to craft interesting blog posts that your readers will care about, and you’ll drive traffic and increase your visibility in organic search.

#3 Increase Health Club Memberships

Blogging gives you a leg up on membership conversion. Research shows that businesses who put an emphasis on blogging are 13x more likely to see positive ROI.

Each blog post is an opportunity to nurture visitors one step closer to making a move toward membership. Include persuasive calls to action graphics on each post that suggest a next step readers might take, such as signing up for a free trial, download a piece of premium content that relates to the post topic, etc.

Blogs don’t usually convert readers to members after reading one blog post. The more they engage with your blog the closer they get to joining. SEO software and consulting company Moz.com research showed their consumers converted on average after reading 7.5 blog posts.

It is the long game approach. You are building a relationship by offering value . . . paying it forward if you will. They may not be ready for a gym membership now, but when they are, they will think of your health club.

 

#4 Build Your Brand Identity

You offer something special to your members that others don’t. Maybe it’s a culture and a feel that is unique and different, or the best personal trainers in town. Whatever the reason, you only get a few minutes of a potential member’s time to convey that message.

Unless you have a blog.

Your blog can say it over and over, and tell a story that supports your brand identity with every post. Fill it with keyword rich content that will interest and engage potential members and you’ll be found by exactly the type of people you want to attract.

People buy based on emotion. You blog is your opportunity to build that emotional connection. Give them a reason to identify with your health club by creating blog posts that they can identify and connect with.

It is creating that brand connection that brings them in the door.

It is not what they see in you that makes them want to join, it is what they see in themselves reflected in your brand that gets them in the door.

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Really great content presented in your blog gives them the information that they need to make that connection.

#5 Show Your Expertise

Become a resource in your community. The old school way of marketing is with billboards and other traditional advertising. While that does still deliver results, that return on investment has been decreasing for years. And it’s hard to prove.

Magazine, radio, and television sales representatives will tell you that by advertising with them you will be appear as a professional and expert in your industry.

Just one little problem.

Readership is down, circulation numbers are inflated, and technology has made it very easy to ignore advertisements. So the return on the ad buy from traditional outbound marketing is much lower because impressions are way down.

With regular blogging you can say much more than a graphic in a magazine. Have your best trainers and fitness class instructors contribute and start building that content bank so more and more people engage with your brand and see you as a local authority on fitness advice. Give readers valuable information they can use and appreciate, and they’ll pay you back with brand loyalty.

#6 Build Trust

Be the trusted advisor that you teach your sales team to be. Take that willingness to serve your audience and help them solve real problems that they face.

Quick ways to build trust with your blog:

  • Create relevant content that people really care about
  • Publish regularly, at least once month, ideally more
  • Encourage comments to show that other care about your content too
  • Show Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin shares and likes as social proof
  • Publish multiple authors in your organization
  • Encourage guest blogging from recognized authorities on a topic
  • Create your own case studies using real life success stories
  • Employ current design standards with an easy to use interface for an optimum user experience

Take stock of your current site and ask yourself it you’re making the best use of your most valuable piece of virtual real estate. If not, get your team together, make a plan, and fix it so you can get an edge on the competition.


Josh is the founder and CEO of WindFarm. Josh enjoys helping brands navigate the transition from traditional to new media and preparing their organization for digital-social marketing lead generation and success. A lively and entertaining speaker, Josh is often asked to speak to large groups looking for clarity in the realm of digital, social and inbound marketing. Associations, companies, franchises, trade groups and local chambers have all benefited from his passion for breaking complex things down into simple terms and helping people grow their business online.