How to Increase Sales at Your Studio or Gym 650%
(Complete Guide)

If you're running a studio that offers group classes in yoga, Pilates, fitness, martial arts, MMA, dance, or anything similar, one of the number one concerns on your mind is how to fill your classes with new students.

The method I'm going to teach you today is one of the most powerful methods we use to help our studio clients at Spooky Digital fill classes with new students and grow their business. The best thing about this method is that it works right away, by taking advantage of existing traffic to your website.

Rather than spending more money driving people to your website we'll set up some simple processes for converting more of your existing website visitors into paying customers. If you're already paying for traffic from sources like Facebook ads, SEO, or PR, this method will help you compound the effect of those efforts and make sure none of your money is going to waste.

NOTE: This method only works if your website already has traffic coming in. If you've got potential students on your website, this method is guaranteed to increase the number of new students it brings in.

WORKS IMMEDIATELY BY CONVERTING
MORE OF YOUR EXISTING TRAFFIC INTO PAYING CUSTOMERS

GUARANTEED TO BRING
IN MORE NEW STUDENTS TO YOUR STUDIO.

WORKS BEST FOR STUDIOS OR GYMS
WITH WEBSITES THAT ALREADY HAVE AT LEAST SOME WEB TRAFFIC.

"The process was so easy, I don't even remember doing the process...took less than 45 minutes"

Andrew J.
Program Coordinator at Dharma Yoga Center
in New York, New York

Trial sales increased by 300%

GREAT MARKETING IS DONE BY THE NUMBERS

To learn the method I'm about to teach you, you're going to need to first understand the importance of using data in your marketing efforts. People act in predictable ways, and by tracking their behavior online, you can test and improve your marketing strategy over time.

I've been working in marketing for health and wellness for over a decade. 

In that time, I've worked with just about every type of gym, studio or spa there is. My marketing agency's approach is very "data-centric," meaning that all of our marketing decisions are fueled by the numbers.

Shooting in the dark and guessing is fine if you plan to run your business as a hobby, but if you're serious about growing and creating a successful business, you need to know what exactly works and what doesn't.

To find out if you're headed in the right direction, consider the following questions...

  • check
    Do you track the traffic on your site and know how many visitors you're getting each month
  • check
    Do you know how much of your traffic is coming from Google search, Yelp or other sources?
  • check
    Do you know what percentage of your web traffic converts into actual paying customers?

If you don't have this basic information, you'll want to get some kind of tracking system set up before continuing. We use Google Analytics or Kissmetrics to track and analyze data on our client websites. 

If you already have tracking set up, GREAT! You're ahead of the game. You understand the value of tracking and analyzing visitor behavior on your website. You realize that making small changes to your site can have a profound impact on the percentage of visitors that turn into customers. 

HOWEVER, even if you're already doing everything else right, you might still be making the #1 mistake most studio owners make when it comes to their website.

The #1 Mistake most studio owners make

The #1 mistake most studio owners make is this: they don't have a sales funnel that captures the contact information of visitors to their website and converts those visitors into trial buyers (and ultimately, into repeat visitors and loyal customers).

A sales funnel is a process through which every lead that comes into contact with your business should go through before becoming a student. It's called a "funnel" because as you guide student leads through the process of becoming paid students, a certain percentage will drop off.

At each step of the funnel, the group that goes on to the next level is smaller. That's perfectly normal. Your offer is only going to resonate with a specific type of person. Your goal is to filter through those that aren't interested and lead those that are by the hand through the final steps.

By having a consistent experience for every new customer, you'll be able to systematically improve that experience at each stage to increase the percentage of student leads who move on to the next stage.

Your relationship with people changes as they go further down the funnel, becoming more acquainted with your business. From least acquainted and familiar, to most, you can find the stages a person goes through when getting to know your business below...

VISITORS: Let's say you get 1000 visitors to your website per month. This is the very top of your funnel: the awareness stage. These people know your business exists. These are called "visitors". 

NEW STUDENT LEADS: Of those 1000 visitors, 200 people (20%) will request for your paid trial offer using a form on your website. These people have expressed interest in your offer and are called "new student leads".

They're only leads at this point, because they haven't purchased anything from you. But you have their contact information and can start building the relationship.

TRIAL BUYERS: Of those 200 people, 50 people (25%) actually purchase your paid trial offer and visit your location to take classes. These people are now trial buyers at your location.

STUDENTS: of the 50 who buy your trial offer, 25 people (50%) become full-fledged students, and attend class at your location regularly.

BRAND ADVOCATES: of the 25 who become regular students, 1 person (4%) of will go on to become SUPER CUSTOMERS or "brand advocates" who rep your studio everywhere they go. They love you so much, they tell their friends and family to come to class; they wear you brand around town; they tell everyone they can about what you do.

If the experience you provide new student leads is exactly the same each time and you're collecting data on the actions these users take at each step of the process, you can test out different strategies to increase the percentage of users who move from one stage of the funnel to the next.

"What it really comes down to is cultivating a relationship with your customer"

Morgan S.
Owner of Prospect Heights Yoga
in Brooklyn, New York

Membership increased by 200%

You can test form layout, placement and copy to increase the percentage of visitors who opt-in to receive your paid trial offer via email. 

You can test email subject lines, sender names, and copy to increase the percentage of users who purchase your trial offer.

You can test follow-up emails and special offers to increase the percentage of trial purchasers who become full-fledged regular students.

Increasing your conversion rate at one step will increase the number of people who convert at the next step by the same amount.

If you double the number of people who request your trial offer each month, you'll also double the number of people who purchase the trial and visit your location; you'll double the number of people who become full fledged students and go on to become your best brand advocates.

By increasing the conversion rate from one step to the next at each and every step, the effect is multiplied. Hopefully you can see how having the ability to track these things, and increasing the conversion rate at every step is incredibly important to growing your business!

A SALES FUNNEL IS A COOKIE CUTTER PROCESS THROUGH WHICH EVERY NEW LEAD SHOULD GO THROUGH ON THEIR WAY TO BECOMING FULL FLEDGED STUDENT

INCREASING THE CONVERSION RATE AT
EACH STEP OF THE FUNNEL WILL DRASTICALLY INCREASE THE NUMBER OF NEW STUDENTS YOU GET AT THE END.

A CONSISTENT EXPERIENCE OR PROCESS IS KEY TO BEING ABLE TO OPTIMIZE YOUR FUNNEL AND INCREASE THE CONVERSION RATE AT EACH STEP.

The perfect sales funnel for studios and gyms

In working with hundreds of personal training and fitness studios over the years, we've developed a proven system for collecting new student leads on a website, and converting those leads into loyal customers who come back time and time again.

In this section, I'll teach you about this funnel, and how we can optimize it every step of the way to get most out of our marketing efforts. Here are the stages in the ideal sales funnel for your studio...

STAGE ONE: 
WEBSITE VISITOR

CONVERSION GOAL: Get the website visitor to provide their email address and become a new student lead.

STAGE TWO: 
NEW STUDENT LEAD

CONVERSION GOAL: Get the new student lead to purchase the trial offer and become a student / customer.

STAGE THREE: 
STUDENT / CUSTOMER

CONVERSION GOAL: Get the student / customer to use the trial and come back on a regular basis when the trial is complete.

STAGE FOUR:
BRAND ADVOCATE

CONVERSION GOAL: Get the student invested in your studio,  build a sense of community and mission.

Stage One:
CONVERT WEBSITE VISITORS TO NEW STUDENT LEADS

A good e-commerce conversion rate--the percentage of website visitors who are ready to buy right away--is typically somewhere between 3-5%. That means on a good day, you're losing out on 95% of your web traffic!

That means if you get 1000 visitors to your website, 950 of them are likely to leave and never come back. They may forget the name of your business entirely, or come across a competitor with a more attractive offer.

There's a number of reasons most of your visitors aren't ready to purchase right away.

The visitor to your site might...

Just be in the research phase of their purchase decision, checking out your studio or gym, in addition to a few others.

Be interested in purchasing at a later date, but not have the funds needed to purchase your trial offer or membership on hand.

Need to check with friends, family or a significant other before making the purchase.

Be browsing from work, or somewhere else that isn't convenient for them to enter their credit card details.

Get distracted in the middle of browsing and have to do something else.

Have their internet connection disrupted by their cat chewing on an internet cable.

The point is, there's simply no way to know why people aren't converting! There's just too many reasons. But we can plan for all of them by collecting their contact information as quickly as possible during that first interaction with your business.

When you collect the visitor's contact information, they go from being a complete stranger to a new student lead. A step up in your relationship with them! Congrats, it looks like it's getting serious.

With this information, we'll be able to send perfectly timed follow-up emails using email automation. The automated emails will follow up with the new student lead, continue to nurture the relationship and highlight the unique benefits of your studio until the purchase decision is reached.

There's a few highly effective ways you can collect visitor contact information. In each case, it's helpful to look at collecting emails as an exchange of value. People value their privacy. If they gave their email address out to everyone on the web who asked for it, they'd be buried in spam and promotional emails before they could say "unsubscribe!" 

In order to get a visitor's email address, the perceived value of your offer must be greater than the value they assign to their email privacy. Here's a few of the most effective value offers studios and gyms can provide in exchange for someone's email address...

Yoga, Diet or Fitness Challenge

New student lead receives daily emails with challenge instructions. Each email comes with a link to purchase your trial offer. Challenge can be completed at home, or at your location. 

Each day usually includes video instruction and asks new student leads to check in with others taking the challenge on social media.

Benefits of this method are...

  • High opt-in rate, everyone loves a challenge! Make sure it's clear that the challenge can be completed at home, or in your studio.
  • High engagement if you include homework assignments requiring people to check-in on their progress with a group or post on social media.
  • Gives the student lead more familiarity with your instructors / staff through the daily video instructions. Giving them this challenge for free gives them positive associations with your business.

Drawbacks of this method are...

  • Difficulty is high, requires lots of content planning and production.

PAid trial offer

** RECOMMENDED TO START WITH! **

New student lead receives trial offer via email. They continue to receive follow up emails until purchase decision is reached.

Why a paid trial as opposed to free? Because we've found with years of testing at every type of studio imaginable that the quality of new student leads increases by offering a paid trial rather than a free trial.

Free trials bring in the wrong type of consumer, who aren't serious about buying. Paid trial buyers are more invested and therefore more likely to actually attend their trial class and become a returning student.

There's also a subtle mental shift when a person goes from being unitiated with your business into being a "customer" of your business, even if their first purchase is small. When they make that first purchase, they become more familiar with your studio than they are with any other, which gives you an edge up on the competition.

Benefits of this method are...

  • Very easy to set up. No video production or content creation necessary.
  • Works fast, can be installed quickly. Is a great first step while you work on a more complex content-based offer.

Drawbacks of this method are...

  • Doesn't warm up new student leads as well as other methods. They may need to be familiarized with your business before making the purchase decision.

free video course series

New student lead receives daily emails with video instructions. Each email comes with a link to purchase your trial offer. 

Course can be completed at home.

Benefits of this method are...

  • High opt-in rate. Anyone can take the course from the comfort of their own home.
  • Gives the student lead more familiarity with your instructors / staff through the daily video instructions. Giving them this challenge for free gives them positive associations with your business.

Drawbacks of this method are...

  • Difficulty is high, requires lots of content planning and production.

BEST PRACTICES FOR STAGE ONE OF YOUR SALES FUNNEL

SPLIT TEST EVERYTHING 

Split testing is when you set up software to automatically split your website traffic into two groups, each seeing a different variation of your offer.

You can compare the conversion rate of each, and find out which offer works best.

If you're on WordPress, using a plugin like Thrive Leads will allow you to create split tests easily. You can also use software like Optimizely to create more advanced split tests on any website.

Things you can test include: the offer itself (fitness challenge vs paid trial), the copy on your offer (changing the words around), colors, layout, and more.

ADD YOUR OFFER ON THE HOMEPAGE OR A DEDICATED LANDING PAGE

When our clients include their offer on the homepage of their website rather than a sub-page, they see a 600% increase in sign-ups!

You can split test which version works best with software like Optimizely, but we have found time and time again that the homepage works best. This is because the homepage of your website is typically where you receive the majority of your traffic.

Every step you add in between the first visit and the desired action is another point that visitors will drop off.

ALL PATHS SHOULD LEAD TO THE FUNNEL

The purpose of your website is to drive leads and generate more customers. Every page on your website should be designed intentionally with this purpose in mind.

When you give people too many options, they get confused, they get lost, and they DO NOT take the action you want them to take.

Cut down on unnecessary clutter on your homepage. You'll need to include links to vital elements like your schedule and pricing page, but otherwise, the majority of your site's real estate should be dedicated towards driving new customers into your sales funnel.

I can't stress this point enough! If your website is cluttered with information overload, you will lose out on new business.

Every potential entry point a potential new student can come in through on your website (like the blog, or other pages) should have the offer opt-in form.

CLEARLY COMMUNICATE YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the qualities of your studio or gym that make it better than the competition. 

What can you provide that no one else can? Why do students choose your over anyone else? This should be easily recognizable and communicated "above the fold" (without scrolling down at all).

If you're not sure what your USP is, it is vital that you get clear on this immediately! Without a clear USP, you have no competitive edge in the marketplace.

INCLUDE SOCIAL PROOF

You can increase the perceived value of your offer by showing that other people like it.

Reviews, testimonials and mentions in news outlets all show that your offer has value and is worth checking out.

INCLUDE SCARCITY

The human brain is hardwired to experience FOMO, or fear of missing out.

When people believe something to be in short supply, the value they assign to it is much higher.

Scarcity can apply to time, when you say something along the lines of "this intro offer ENDS SOON". 

Scarcity can also apply to quantity, when you say something along the lines of "limited number of intro offer per month available, grab yours today."

lANDING PAGE CASE STUDY: y7 STUDIO

Spooky Digital created the landing page below for a recent campaign with Y7 Studio. Y7 is opening new yoga studios in major cities nationwide, and wanted to build out a sales funnel for a Facebook ad campaign to drive new customers into the new locations.

Using a high-conversion landing page like this allowed them to make the most of their ad spend on Facebook. See if you can spot the best practices mentioned above in the landing page below!

Stage TWO:
Convert New Student Leads to TRIAL BUYERS

Now that your visitor has shared their email address with you, they've moved on to the next stage of your sales funnel, and they become a new student lead. It's a little like dating. You met, you made a good impression, you exchanged contact information, and now you just need to continue to build the relationship and show them that you're the one.

Follow-up is EVERYTHING when it comes to sales.

Of course, when you're courting hundreds of potential new student leads, building highly personal relationships with all of them can seem like an impossible task. You've got a business to run, you've got classes to teach, existing customers to please, staff to manage, and so much more!

You can't afford to drop the ball on even one potential lead. When you're spending money marketing your business and bringing new leads into your funnel, each and every one of them matters. So how do we make sure that no email goes unanswered, and that trust and love is built with every lead--WITHOUT using up all of your time and energy in the process?

Email marketing and automation is the answer!

When many people hear "email marketing" they instantly think the dirtiest four letter word of them all: SPAM. The thought of blasting their customer's email inbox with unwanted email makes them sick. They don't want to be annoying. That makes perfect sense.

Truth is, when done correctly, email marketing is as useful and personal as any other form of communication. When done right, the person receiving your automated email won't even know you didn't send it personally. 

Email is also the most cost effective form of marketing available. It could cost $5 to get someone to click on your ad from Facebook or Google. It costs a small fraction of a cent to send an email and the return you get on your investment can be massive.

EMAIL MARKETING TIPS TO GET MORE SALES

EMAIL TIP #1: MAKE YOUR EMAILS HIGHLY PERSONAL

All of your automated emails should be written as if they were written by someone from your business personally, and written for an audience of one. Here's some tips for sending highly personal emails your new student leads will love...

EMAIL TIP #1: Use a human name as the sender, rather than your business name.

In recent tests we ran for a client, we found that emails sent "from" the owner or manager's name, rather than the business name received 200% as many email opens.

More email opens leads to more offer claims and more customers down the line!

EMAIL TIP #2: Address your student by name.

You can use mail merge tags to dynamically insert the customers name. Make sure you do it naturally, in a way you would use it in a hand-written personal email.

The example below from Y7 Studio's sales funnel is quick and to the point. Their brand guidelines required specific copy to be used in the email, so not all of the "best practices" were used.

However, the email performed well because it appeared hand-written and personal from the manager of the studio.

EMAIL TIP #2: CLEARLY COMMUNICATE YOUR VALUE

Your emails should clearly and concisely communicate the value of your offer. Here's a few ways you can do that...

Emphasize your unique selling proposition.

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what you can offer your customers that no one else can.

What makes you stand out in the crowd? Why do students choose your studio over any other?

Having a clear idea of the value you can provide, and communicating that clearly to student leads makes the sales process easy.

Offer an unexpected bonus.

The perceived value of your offer has to be equal to or (preferably) greater than the monetary value you're asking for in exchange.

Adding a bonus (like a free promotional item or equipment rental) is a great way to add extra value on top of your offer.

Make sure to include a the item's retail value, and show how much they're saving to drive the point home.

Create a sense of urgency and scarcity.

Encourage student leads to take action by creating a sense of urgency and scarcity.

Examples of this include: 

"This offer is only available for a limited time! Claim yours today." (Time Scarcity)

"Only 100 of these trial offers are given away each month. They're going quickly, so grab yours today." (Number Scarcity)

EMAIL TIP #3: INCLUDE A STRONG CALL TO ACTION

Every email you send should have one goal for what you want your reader to do. This goal is called a call to action (CTA).

Your goal could be to get the user to click on a link to finish purchasing your trial offer, or it could be to get the reader to click a link to share a check-in about their fitness / diet challenge on social media. 

Having just one call to action in each email reduces the amount of thought required to make a choice, which will result in more people completing the desired action.

Your CTA link or button text should imply a benefit to the user. Rather than having a button that says "Click Here", you'd want to use something like "Claim Your Trial!".

"Claim Your Trial" implies a benefit claiming a trial that is in low supply or limited, while "Click Here" is neutral and implies no benefit.

EMAIL TIP #4: NEVER FORGET TO FOLLOW UP WITH NEW LEADS

Following up with new student leads is vital to the operation of any studio business.

When questions from new student leads go unanswered; when links to purchase your trial offer aren't sent in a timely manner; and when you don't stay engaged with new student leads via email every day until they make a decision... YOU LOSE OUT ON NEW BUSINESS.

With automated email marketing, you can spend more time doing what you're passionate about and less time worrying if your new student leads are getting the information they need, and are being followed up with at the right time.

Email automation technology like ActiveCampaign will help you set up emails that are based on a user's behavior on your website or email, so the right message gets delivered at the right time.

Someone who opens your first email and doesn't purchase your offer is going to need a different follow-up email than someone who doesn't open your first email at all.

For the former, you'll want to find out why they didn't purchase or offer more value to convince them. 

For the latter, you'd want to try sending the email at a different time or using a different subject line. Maybe they missed it or weren't intrigued enough to open. 

The email automation campaign below starts when a contact subscribes to the email list called "Trial Offer" and takes the student lead down a different path of reminder emails based on their interaction with the first email.

Stage THREE:
Convert TRIAL BUYERS inTO STUDENTS

You're making the most of your website traffic and turning visitors into new student leads. You're using perfectly timed automated emails to build personal relationships with each lead and turning them into trial buyers.

Now, all you have to do is close the deal and solidify your relationship with trial buyers, turning them into students who come back on a regular basis. There's a few easy ways you can do that...

Make sure their trial experience is perfect.

Your trial experience should reflect the absolute best that your studio or gym has to offer. 

Find ways to make it easy, flawless and exciting. This is where you can get creative.

You might instruct your staff to be particularly attentive to the new student's needs. You could also give them a surprise gift or promotional item.

Anything to make the new student feel at home and cared for.


Follow up via email when the trial is over.

Send an automated personal follow-up email at the end of the student's trial offer asking them about their experience.

Encourage them to come back to purchase a monthly membership or class package by offering a discount on their first month or package purchase.

Set up automated emails to continue following up. Did the student open your first email? If not, send again at a different time. 

Did they open, but not respond? Follow up and let them know you're there to answer any questions they may have.

Again, automated email saves the day and makes this process incredibly easy.

Build a sense of community.

People are more likely to keep coming back to your studio if their friends are there. 

For this reason, it's vital to get people connected with eachother as quickly as possible!

You can do this by...

Creating a private Facebook group where members can chat and hang out.

Inviting members out to events that you go to as a group. For yoga studios, it could be volunteering in the community. For dance studios it could be performances. For fitness studios, it could be a beach day. For martial arts studios, it could be fights and competitions.

Again, let your creativity loose! How can you bring people together in a fun, group setting?

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Stage FOUR:
Convert STUDENTS INTO BRAND ADVOCATES

Identifying group leaders, high spenders and brand advocates is the next vital step in the studio sales funnel most owners miss. These people are your most valuable resource, and they are already chomping at the bit, ready to carry your message to everyone they know.

All it takes is a small nudge in the right direction and they'll be off to the races.

Here's a few ways you can empower and mobilize your word of mouth marketing army of brand advocates to bring new leads into the top of your funnel--at no additional cost to you.

Create high quality branded clothing.

Your best customers will LOVE to represent your brand everywhere they go. Quality is key.

Give them something they'll actually wear, and it will be one of your best sales pieces.

People will see your brand on their clothing, ask about it, and they will be more than happy to share your info.

Show appreciation for those that spend the most at your business.

Find out who your top 10 customers are in terms of the amount of money spent, or number of years with your business and make sure they know you appreciate them.

Organize a special outing, give them a unique gift. These people are the heart and soul of your business.

Make sure they know you appreciate them and they'll be even more motivated to help!

Study and understand your top customers.

Find out who your best customers are so you can reach more people like them.

What personality traits do they have? What are their values? What other interests do they have? What's their age, ethnicity or gender? What type of information or media do they consume? 

Ask them, and they will be happy to share so you can find more people like them to bring to the studio.

CONGRATS! THAT's all there is to it.

"The results are immediate because you already have the traffic on your website."

Ken N.
Owner of Class One MMA 
in Brooklyn, New York

Trial Sales increased by 650%

With this sales funnel in place, you will be systematically growing your business and getting new students in classes faster than ever. You'll be less stressed and have more time to do what you actually love to do. That's an absolute promise!

We love working with studios of all kinds and would love to hear from you. 

If you want to chat and learn more about this method, please feel free to reach out. We'll even do a 15-minute strategy planning session for free--we can go over any questions you have about this process and help you find a way to apply it to your business.

Our schedule fills up quickly, so book yours today! Contact: [email protected] for more information.

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Dan Sevigny

Dan Sevigny is an entrepreneur, digital marketing expert, and the CEO of Spooky Digital. Dan's work has been featured in: Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, FOX 5, PIX 11, News 12, among others! Dan is most interested in using entrepreneurship as a way to promote health, happiness and positivity in the world.

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