There’s often a debate among fitness business owners about whether paid gym ads or organic strategy works best for maximizing leads. Generally, gym owners want to know whether they really need to pay for ads or if there’s another, equally-effective route.
Sherman Merricks and Blake Ruff, experts with the lead and sales system optimization company LASSO, say it’s not that black and white.
They explain to gym owners that yes, you should pay for marketing and ads. But not just to generate quick sales and new members immediately, because paid ads can also act to generate and maximize organic leads long-term.
Although it might seem contradictory, Ruff and Merricks don’t believe it is.
Here’s why: Paid gym ads will usually contain an offer directed at a target audience, aimed at getting them to act right now. LASSO helps gym owners to craft a gym offer specifically for their business. However, former members and prospective leads will also see the ads and plant the seed. They may not act immediately but the seed may grow over time.
“We really think of paid ads as planting the seed, because your best lead is not going to be the one who clicks on the ad and submits their information,” Ruff said.
Paid Gym Ads Are A Long-Term Game.
He further explained that the best lead will visit your website or look at your social media to gather more information after seeing the ad. Then one, maybe two or three months later, they see another ad. They do a little more research and then finally contact you.
So even though this lead appears to be organic, the paid gym ads are what got the ball rolling.
“They have taken three different steps and they have done the research, so really your organic traffic is going to increase (from ads),” Ruff explained.
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By the time this “organic” lead contacts you, they’ve done their research and they’re ready to get started. This makes conversion much easier than the person who blindly clicks an ad and enters their name into your lead-nurturing system.
“So really, paid ads are about putting yourself out there and getting in front of people,” Merricks said.
In this sense, paid gym ads work to generate and maximize high-quality, organic leads.
How To Maximize Organic Leads.
1. Highlight Your Members.
Merricks and Ruff highly recommend sharing your members’ successes on your gym social media. It’s important for prospects checking your social media to see real, everyday people in your gym. It’s comforting and welcoming to see people that look like them.
“By highlighting your current members, you’re probably going to gain more members,” Ruff said.
But more importantly, added Merricks and Ruff, shares matter most. Shares go a lot further than comments or likes for social media algorithms. So ask your clients to share your posts as often as they can.
The same is true of ads. Get your members to share your paid gym ads, Merricks said, which he says gyms “underutilize.”
“If you can get your members to share the ad and say, ‘Hey, this is my gym. Come and check us out,’ now it goes even further,” Merricks added.
2. Don’t Neglect Your Website.
It’s a misconception that your website isn’t as important as your social media. Don’t forget that your website is the representation of your business online. It should be professional, easy to navigate and able to capture as much info as possible. You should aim to turn every visitor into a lead you can nurture through to membership.
PushPress websites do exactly that, Merricks and Ruff explained, optimizing for search engines and improving lead conversion.
“You better have great website. You better have great SEO and tags, and use Google Business to get reviews. All that stuff you need to be doing,” Ruff stated. If you’re going to run paid gym ads, you’ll want to send people to a site that’s ready to capture their info.
3. Have A Consistent Online Presence.
Posting online consistently still goes a long way toward helping your visibility, Ruff said.
“You need to be posting consistently. I’m not saying three times a day, or five times a day, but having at least one post a day of content to reach people,” Ruff said.
The more compelling you can be when telling gym client stories, the better. And that doesn’t mean talking about PRs. It means being relatable.
“Tell the story about Susie and how she lost 30 pounds, and tell about Susie,” said Ruff. “She’s a thirty-year-old. She’s an attorney and has busy hours. So when someone reads that, they can be like, ‘Wow, this place really sounds like a place that can give me the results I want.’ People are really captivated by stories.”
In Summary: Use Paid Gym Ads To Grow
Merricks and Ruff believe everyone should be running paid marketing. But why?
“If you want constant growth to reach a revenue goal, you’re going to have to pay for paid marketing. And it’s going to take care of the biggest problem of every single gym: How am I going to grow this gym?” Ruff said.
Paid gym ads are so powerful because the benefits are two-fold: They can bring you the instant leads who act right away, and the long-term, organic leads who trickle in over time. Both will contribute to the success of your fitness business for the long run.