<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1659853424261423&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Written by Tessa Bicard


Leads are leads, right? We just want more! So do the sources really matter? They do! Obsessing about lead sources in your fitness marketing pays off in multiple ways and leads to, well...more leads.

With over 36 thousand health and fitness clubs in the United States alone, understanding your lead sources can help set you apart from your competitors and give you an edge in your industry. That knowledge will help you avoid spending dollars where you’re not making an impact. Let’s dive into why these sources need to matter to you.

Why Lead Sources Matter to Fitness Execs

Obviously leads are the lifeblood of your health club. You need lots of leads constantly coming in so you can convert as many as possible into new members. These leads cost money to acquire, usually in the form of your fitness marketing budget dollars.

You want to spend your marketing dollars wisely and efficiently. Knowing your lead sources, your cost per lead source, and the close rate of each lead source will allow you to make calculated marketing decisions based on the highest ROI instead of ‘what’s always worked for us’ (but it’s not really working anymore, is it…?). When you focus more on sources that are bringing in higher quality leads, your overall membership conversion rates and retention rates will increase.

So what exactly are the lead sources we’re talking about?

Fitness Marketing Lead Sources Defined

There are a few different ways to define your lead sources:

  • First Touch - The first way a lead was made aware of your brand or gym.
  • Last Touch - The last interaction a lead had that prompted them to come in or make contact with your health club.
  • Combination or Weighted - A combined method using an algorithm or equation that takes into consideration all the important ‘touch-points’ or milestones along the way and assigns a weight to the most influential marketing effort. This is typically more common in digital marketing, and usually involves a robust analytics platform such as HubSpot.
  • Self-Identified - The lead lets you know where they came from through an online form, or communicating in person.

There are several different lead sources that you may see in your health club. Our experience with fitness clients suggests the following list of typical sources:

  • Referrals from members
  • Social Media
  • Email marketing
  • Billboards
  • Radio ads
  • Community events
  • Website visit
  • PPC ads
  • Yelp reviews
  • Groupon Promotions
  • Flyer or poster
  • Newspaper advertisement
  • Local event sponsorship

We recently surveyed small fitness business owners. We found that they had similar lead sources as the above list. Not surprisingly, the following 3 lead sources generated the largest ROI for the majority of respondents:

  • Social Media
  • Facebook ads
  • Referral programs

Want to see more marketing data from the fitness industry? Click below to download our full report:

New Call-to-action

So you’ve figured out your lead sources - now what?

Lead Source Prioritization

The first step is to track the lead sources so that you can analyze which ones bring in the most leads and which ones have the highest conversion rates. The next step is to prioritize the lead sources so you know where to focus your future fitness marketing dollars.

Calculate and consider the following stats for your lead sources:

  • What are the costs per lead for each source?
  • What are the costs per conversion for each source?
  • Which sources bring in the highest number of leads?
  • Which sources have the highest membership conversion rates?
  • Which sources cannot be directly tied to leads and conversions and are based on a hunch or what has always been done in the past?

Use the answers to the questions above to help you narrow down and prioritize not only which sources you continue to pursue but also which sources you will increase or decrease your time commitment and fitness marketing dollars spent.

For example, why continue to spend thousands of dollars on direct mail campaigns if they have far lower conversion rates than social media advertising? Or if you discover that the majority of leads come through your website, why not increase spending on improving the site’s lead generation and nurturing capabilities?

What are your current top lead sources? How are you tracking them? Are you spending money on sources that are not generating enough high quality leads?

Where Most Fitness Execs Fail

Many fitness execs fail to consider the true importance of the lead sources and how those sources can affect ROI.

Some health clubs concentrate all their efforts on the low hanging fruit all of the time (AKA spending all the marketing dollars on the last stage of the buyer’s journey, the Decision Phase) because the ROI appears to be the greatest there. This isn’t strictly true - if you look closer at your buyer’s journey and ALL the touchpoints it took to get them in the door, you’ll probably notice that it took weeks, sometimes months or years and a lot of marketing efforts and dollars in the meantime.

This is why fitness executives and business owners MUST be careful to continually bring in contacts from ALL stages of the buyer’s journey and not just the decision making phase.

You can see that lead sources should be a key part of your fitness marketing strategy. Taking the time to track and prioritize your sources can pay off with higher quality leads, better conversions, and increased ROI - and in the end, isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

If you’ve still got questions about the marketing funnel, buyer’s journey, etc., be sure to grab our free guide on inbound marketing!

Inbound Marketing

Tessa is an Inbound Marketing Consultant at WindFarm Marketing and specializes in the fitness and travel verticals, with an emphasis on B to C clients.
Connect with me