In today’s growing fitness industry, where new
facilities are popping up constantly, how can you add value to your
memberships? One answer: merge technology with fitness. From your website to
software to interactive workouts, technology that helps facilities manage their
business, assess members and plan exercise programs increases retention and
revenue. Make the most out of current technology, but not at the expense of the
personal touch.

Whip Your Website Into Shape



Your website should target potential
clients as well as existing members. The ultimate goal is to attract as many
viewers as possible, reaching out to prospective clients and providing current
members with another connection to your facility.

Potential Members. Your site is an opportunity to make a
positive first impression on would-be members. By the same token, it is an
opportunity to lose them if the site is not done right. How can your site attract new members? Use it to generate leads. Capture contact information by
implementing an opt-in feature where visitors enter their names and e-mail
addresses for your mailing list. Of course, you must provide an incentive for
people. Offer valuable discounts on products and services when visitors opt in.
Then, when they redeem their discounts, you get trackable marketing results
(Eason 2007). Additionally, remind visitors that you don’t sell or give out
personal information.

Existing Members. What about your present members? Make
your site a place where they go to find current health information and to
register for activities. “Company websites have come a long way, but on 7 out
of every 10 that I visit, people can’t register for classes online or get
complimentary passes or buy a membership online,” notes industry leader Michael
Scott Scudder, whose eponymous company is based in Taos, New Mexico. Don’t let
your club fall into this trap—keep your members connected to your facility
through your site.

Improving Your Website. When creating or revamping your
website, you can design and host it yourself or hire an outside firm, such as
Health Club Sites or Ultravision Technologies Inc. On the most basic level,
your site must be easy to navigate and well organized, with attractive graphics
and intuitive formatting (Scanlin 2006).

7 Tips for Designing Your Website

  1. Keep your message short and to the
    point.
  2. Keep your content up-to-date.
  3. Ensure that your site is well
    placed on search engines by utilizing a search engine optimization firm.
  4. Consider the demographics of your
    target audience, and tailor your message accordingly. For example, when
    catering to a younger and more tech-savvy crowd, use more bells and whistles.
  5. Always include the following
    information: your contact information, the programs and services you offer,
    your hours of operation and your class schedules.
  6. Consider personalizing your site by
    including staff bios, photos of past activities and a calendar of upcoming
    events.
  7. Include disclaimers when making
    health claims, and have a lawyer review your content.

Technology will never take the place
of in-person interaction with members, but it can serve an important purpose in
streamlining aspects of facility and fitness management and can ultimately
increase membership and retention over time. Embracing technology can help your
clients meet their fitness goals while you meet your financial ones.

For more ideas of how technology (including
revenue-tracking and fitness assessment software) can expand and improve your
business, see the full article in the March issue of IDEA Fitness Manager
IDEA Article Archive.