Performance metrics are a core component to measure in the operations of any business, KPIs help keep businesses moving forward and achieving their goals, and gyms are no exception. In this article, we will cover the key perspectives which you should aim to measure the performance of your gym’s marketing.
Whether you are marketing to increase your gym membership, or simply maintain the level of members you currently have, setting performance standards are the best way to keep a finger on the pulse of your business. This allows you to get the best returns on your marketing expenditure, while also providing useful foresight on potential opportunities or issues so you can position yourself to best address them accordingly.
Performance standards can take various forms, and finding the right approach to take depends heavily on the business, your gym marketing strategy, and your goals.
Setting performance standards for your fitness club.
Performance standards related to profitability tend to be the first thing business owners focus upon when it comes to running and marketing business, and it’s no surprise given that these are some of the most clear-cut ways to measure the performance of your business–if your club is running in the green, things are ok.
Profitability analysis tends to focus on the incoming and outgoing flow of cash of the business. In terms of marketing, the income would be the revenue generated from the additional gym memberships attributed to your marketing efforts, the outgoing would be the costs associated of getting each lead or new member. In this context, a profitability indicator would be the return on ad spend metric, which is commonplace in most digital advertising platforms–such as Google or Facebook ads.
There are other indicators of profitability to consider, however, such as the customer lifetime value (CLV), this denotes the total income generated per member over their time with your club. It is worked out by calculating the average time a member is with your club, the total revenue that ‘average’ member will bring in to your club (in terms of membership, point of sale and other club purchases such as personal training), less the expense you paid acquiring them as a lead, signing them up, and paying staff to set them up, onboard them and train them in that time. If you use GymMaster you should be able to use a combination of metrics on the KPIs report to calculate this figure.
Metrics such as these are good if your focus is to improve the profitability of your business, whether it be through better optimizing the returns you are receiving from your advertisements or getting more income from your existing gym members by upselling them on other offerings of your club. This is important because it is generally cheaper and easier to make income through upselling than it is to acquire a new customer for the first time. However, profits are a short term indicator which are affected by external factors outside the control of gym management, and many objectives are best measured in non-financial terms, so be sure to incorporate other metrics when setting your performance standards and not only focus upon profitability.
It’s important to understand the brand awareness of your business amongst your audience, as people need to be aware of your club and it’s offerings before they can even consider becoming a member.
Important metrics to use for measuring brand awareness are reach and frequency. The reach of your ad is the total number of people who have viewed your ad, the frequency is the average number of times each person has seen your ad (i.e. total ad impressions/number of people reached). To build awareness you need an appropriate value for each of these two metrics for the audience you are targeting, for example, if you live in a small town there are going to be fewer people to target with your ad, and therefore your potential reach will be lower. It’s also important not to over-expose your audience to an ad, after seeing an ad a few times you will see diminishing returns after a certain point people will get sick of it and it will have a detrimental effect on your brand image.
These metrics can also be used as an indicator for highlighting whether you need to change tactics, if you see you have a good amount of impressions, reach and high frequency on your ads but aren’t seeing the results you are looking for these may be an indication that you may need to rethink your marketing materials or strategy.
Reach and frequency statistics tend to be more readily available and accurate when provided from digital marketing channels, such as google ads, Facebook, or YouTube ads as they can more accurately see the number of people who have viewed an ad than traditional channels like print, radio or television. These older channels provide more rough estimates based on expected audience numbers but tend to be less accurate.
One such indicator is customer satisfaction. This is a powerful lever upon the rate of churn of your gym, through directly affecting both sides of the equation–level of satisfaction is an antecedent to the retention of current customers, but also the acquisition of future customers through word of mouth behaviors. Satisfaction improves retention and acquisition rates, resulting in lower churn, whereas dissatisfaction has an opposite, detrimental effect.
Keeping a close eye on the level of customer satisfaction can help you better understand your members and also provide an early indication of potential issues or opportunities for your business as they arise, allowing you to put yourself in a better position to address them.
Depending on how granular you are aiming to go with your research, some businesses are ok with a broad overview of their satisfaction which could be gathered with a simple and effective 0-10 scale sent to members asking their likelihood of recommending the club to their friends (the net promoter score), while others would prefer to gain detailed insight as to what exactly they can improve through setting comprehensive measures assessing their business against the member’s gym choice criteria.
Other useful metrics available which also can indicate levels of satisfaction are engagement metrics, such as the average weekly visits to your club (higher = better), or the number of sleeping members your club has (higher = worse).
Benchmarking is the comparison of performance and your competitors, who you can use as an indicator of how your business is faring against others who are operating within the same space. For example, profitability and customer satisfaction can be influenced through external environmental factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which will make it difficult to get a clear picture of how you might be performing as a business. However, other gyms operating in the same space will also be exposed to these same environmental factors, and therefore give the best indicator of how you are performing within the current circumstances.
This is important to understand as your competitive position is directly related to the number of members at your club, a poor position will cost you members as they will leave for the alternative clubs, and a favorable position will have the opposite effect–leading to more members joining your gym as they compare it to the other options.
You could measure your business against competing clubs on a small scale, through researching direct competitors in the local area, or on a more broad level, such as the gym industry in your town, state, or country. By going broader you can increase your sample size and gain a more rounded view of the industry and how you compare, However, at the same time, this information gained will be less specific to your situation and give you less to work with in terms of making improvements. Therefore it is useful to take a combined approach to this.
Taking a localized view is less cut and dry due to lower availability and accuracy of this information - competitors' information won’t be readily available, and they clearly won’t typically want to share this information with you. This requires scoping out the competition, either asking people you know who are members or going into the club and trying it out for yourself. Make note of things like how busy the club is, its set up and how it compares to yours, or check out their online presence like their social media and see how many engagements their posts get or use tools like SEMRush to get an idea of their website traffic. From a larger scale, you might like to use online resources such as statista to understand the broader industry in your region and look at macro trends of competition and growth.