Why Corporate Gym & Fitness Websites SUCK!

Gym Owners & Fitness Trainers… Are You STUPID?… Don’t You Want More Newcastle Fitness Clients?

WARNING: If you’re easily offended or hate to hear the truth, then STOP reading now…

Here’s my rant for the week, and because this is a “RANT” it’s not my normal style of writing, it’s direct, blunt and could be seen as outright offensive to some, so BE WARNED…

Unfortunately it’s about large, corporate style, Newcastle gyms and fitness training facility websites in and around the Newcastle and Hunter Valley Area… HECK… It’s even a gripe about the many personal trainers in Newcastle who are just plain HURTING their business through “Old Fashioned” online marketing.

So what has caused me to have this urge to blow up about the fitness industry (when in fact, the majority of websites out there, not just fitness clubs in Newcastle or other local Newcastle businesses, have it ALL SO WRONG)!

Well recently, I had an inquiry to potentially work with a very well known, well established, Newcastle Gym facility. I’m sure that gym is doing extremely well in “Offline” sales, due to the amount of industry fitness sales people who are out there at the moment, all of whom are starting life as personal trainers in Newcastle and other areas (and this in and of itself, really curls the hairs in my nose also, because “WHAT ON EARTH do fitness trainers know about selling?)..

Yes, you see all these rookie personal trainers walking the shopping centers and pavements of Newcastle, trying to gather interest from folks walking past… Hence my opening question … “ARE YOU STUPID?” sending these poor, non-trained, green sales people out into the wilderness with wolves… And what’s even more quizmical is you expect them to sell their own subscriptions, get and close their own leads also?… Why not hire specialists in this area to market to the right people and attract them inbound, rather than going out after them, which we both know leaves a BAD taste in everyone’s mouth.

I certainly know about selling, and yes, this form of cold calling and highly interuptive style of selling works (if you play large LARGE numbers), you might get lucky and get some phone numbers and slight interest because the poor soul who’s been stopped either feels sorry for you and nod “yes, yes, yes” to all your questions… BINGO you hit the jackpot a “HOT Lead” (or… They just need to go to the toilet urgently and want to “GET RID OF YOU”)… The latter being the case in so many instances.

The poor old fitness trainer, fronting as a sales dude thinks “WOW this is easy, I just walk around like a headless duck all day, saying hello and being nice to people and giving out pamphlets so I build my gyms brand awareness and get known)…

NO, NO, NO… If You Want More Personal Training or Gym Memberships in Newcastle Then DON’T “Cold Call” People On The Streets!… And Don’t Even Try and Call Them Back On The Phone a Few Days Later… It’s Gym Marketing Inefficiency At It’s BEST!

So, I can hear you saying “OK SMARTASS, how should we do it differently??? And Who The F*$K are you to say this to us, the BIG, High and MIGHTY Newcastle Gyms?”…

Well, I have only been studying what actually works in sales and marketing for the past 20+ years, and creating online sales / marketing funnels for high end clients all over the world for the past 12+ years… But don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell you anything, well anything other than to “WAKE UP” and get better at attraction marketing and utilizing the internet more efficiently in conjunction with your offline marketing mix.

But this isn’t about me, it’s about YOU and why you’re HURTING your ever growing, competitive niche of health and fitness training in Newcastle… Yes, this is extremely personal, I’m a Novocastrian who works out in your gyms day in and day out, the gyms are great, the staff a LOVELY and the trainers are AWESOME… But your marketing SUX big time!

And here’s why…

I have setup one teeny, tiny, wee little personal trainer in Newcastle’s website in the last few years for a friend of mine to set him up, and it looks nothing like any of yours, I know his without even looking your sites (because his site isn’t an over-glorified, good looking, EXPENSIVE, well laid out BROCHURE site)… There I said it “Brochure Site” which is a website that tries to tell EVERYONE “How darn good they are, their business or service is and seemingly doesn’t give a crap about whats-in-it-for-the-client” you know, the one who’s money is going to be parted with and hopefully put in your gym services pockets… And this is what 97% of gym and fitness websites look like.

This little website I’ve created for my friend in personal training in Newcastle, has had incredible growth from his little home studio, much more than many of the large, and new corporate fitness chains opening up all over Newcastle (and even well established ones, that were here from day one). The amazing thing is, that he’s received all of his clients, who have paid “Top Price” and stuck with him from day one, from referrals.

WHY has my trainer friend gone so well without ever having to call a single client or create a single marketing piece?

All I created for him was fitness video marketing, submitted articles and created some savvy and professional looking PDF ebook products and newsletter and given them away for free… AFTER they give their email address, with the more information they give and qualify themselves with, the more is given to them.

Here’s The Kicker Why Corporate Gym & Fitness Training Websites In Newcastle SUCK…

Almost all of them don’t tell, show or paint a picture to members about the experience they’re going to get, and most of all they aren’t “INFORMING” others of what makes them so deeply unique, they all just seem to “Compete On Price” or “Convenience” and that isn’t necessarily best thing for members (but often it’s most profitable). It’s a “let’s get new members in a LARGE numbers mentality wihtout any real connection to the members” and this is why members are so fickle when it comes to leaving one gym for another “CHEAPER” one.

Hardly even one of them could I find with a “Newsletter Subscription” with anything enticing a new prospect to even want to give their email address, let alone phone number, full name, address and all about their health and fitness condition, absolutely “NO ENGAGEMENT” in the prospects world at all.

And if you think that clients and prospective clients are going to subscribe to stupid newsletter message like “Subscribe to Our Newsletter And Stay In Touch” (when they’ve already got more spam than ever before) think again!

Then there’s the totally UN-Original offer of a free 1 hour fitness assessment. This isn’t going to cut it either, consumers are smarter than ever, they KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT that if they go to your gym, fitness session or open day they’re going to try and be hassled into signing something… If you want to seriously offer a free training program, offer a full 3 months FREE with the proviso they miss one class, the free sessions are over and they’ll be posted on a winners and LOSERS board, and see how many tyre kickers you get then (Get tough on them and they’ll line your pockets with gold)!

WHY SCREAM THE SAME MESSAGE THAT EVERY OTHER GYM IS SCREAMING?… PRICE, PRICE… LOWER PRICE, 24 HOURS, CONVENIENCE and on and on it goes, louder and louder as more competition comes into the marketplace.

But why should this be the case? If gyms would put some of their mighty dollars into a wee bit of smart online to offline marketing and vice versa, create a savvy sales / marketing funnel and a LOT of information around solving the issues that their prospective clients have, then the memberships would sell themselves.

Lets go back to the 3 month “Get Yourself ULTRA-FIT Free Trial” of your gym challenge!… I can hear you saying “GREAT idea, if we give 3 months away then we’re not going to make any income for 3 months”!!!!… But I URGE you to PLEASE “Think Outside Your Competitions Limited and BORING Thinking”…

You need to use “Scarcity” and “Time Limits” with this example, get them to your gym, get their foot in the door, no other gym is offering 3 months FREE as they can’t see how to convert them until the 3 months is up. BUT, if you’re anchoring clients to your trainers in this program, giving them a COMPELLING REASON why they should subscribe well before the 3 months is up, (i.e. subscribe within the first month, get X discount and a lifetime personal training session each month FREE, subscribe within 2 months and get something else, but less valuable an offer than if within 1 month, and you can always have the offer at signup, PAY NOW and get even more than you would if you do this 3 month fitness course)… Every which way however the gyms, the trainers and the clients WIN!

So give them what’s in it for THEM, not how darn good you, your gym, your staff and training is (YES, certainly tell them, but not straight up, offer your MWR, your “Most Wanted Response” and nothing else) this is what should stick out like dogs balls on your homepage, your other pages, your offline and online newsletters and anything else, if you get something that really STICKS it will truly help you.

Below is an example of what NOT to do…

I’m sitting at the moment looking at a website and it’s talking about it’s culture and vibe and worth checking out… Holy SHIT guys, WHO GIVES A FLYING APRON, what your stupid vibe is, or the qualifications of your staff, they only see the big fat slob of who they are, or the girl who needs to be in shape for her wedding, or the young guy who’s unnatractive to the opposite sex…

To top it off this one site (and when I say one site, I’m talking about the majority of all corporate fitness sites in Newcastle and the world for that matter) then goes on to tell you what set’s them apart with sales point, sales point, sales point…

So for heaven’s sakes, give them what THEY’RE after deep down inside themselves, that is SO POWERFUL!


– Open 24 hours is NOT a benefit it’s a statement

– Staff showing you how to use gym equipment isn’t a benefit (it’s their job for crying out loud)

– Here to offer bootcamps, group training, weekly challenges and group events (what the F*%k is that about) where is the benefit (What you OFFER is SALES, the results you get are BENEFITS)

Where’s the benefits and information to show each new set of eye-balls on this site to show them “HOW” to get what they want, their PAIN POINTS?

Where on earth is your key marketing funnel lead generator and WHY on earth should they part with their details before they part with their cash?… I want you to think for a minute, what if there was a gym out there offering 6 months FREE trial, and making money from it left and right… do you think it would cut through the bullshit marketing of “ME TOO” that every other gym is offering and… Would YOU be threatened by it?… I can tell you this, there is at least one I can think of offering 12 months FREE here in Newcastle, NSW and it’s KILLING IT!… You should feel threatened, but only if you stay where you are now and don’t heed this warning!

This also goes for you local trainers who talk to people locally offline?… Offer something right there and then for free, to get them “Chasing You, Your Gym, Your Trainers, Your Programs” rather than you chasing them.

I’m just blown away by the amount of old-school style websites still out there today in Newcastle around fitness training, websites and sales / marketing funnels that could be “INFINITELY” better if they just changed these few little things.

1. Make before and after videos of real clients (WITH THEIR PHONE NUMBERS so they can be called and spoken to, let THEM do the selling for you)
2. Make your email subscription box “VISIBLE” and something more enticing than “Subscribe to Our Newsletter” (FREE membership for 12 months and a personal course of training for a whole year health tracking program worth $10,000’s)
3. Start with “What We Can Do For You?” not who we are, why we’re so great and prices of memberships

There’s so much more to this, but you need to have every element on your website and offline marketing and run it past this statement “WHO CARES” if you offer a “First Visit FREE” then ask the question “WHO CARES?” a lot of the time (if you don’t have a great back end sales and marketing funnel in place) the answer will be “Only the trye kicking freebie seekers!”

You Get The Idea, Health and Fitness Trainers & Newcastle Gyms Locally Don’t Suck, But Their Websites Do, Practice What You Preach, Make Some Changes and Start Getting Some Serious Sales Results.

Those of you who do this, will kick the asses of the other naive, or plain lazy “Old School” marketers who just plain seem to not care about hurting their own businesses and the lives of their staff from poor sales and marketing practices.

Finally, if you want training and the cutting edge resources to see you as the leader in fitness online and locally, then take a look at the fitness marketing resources here, they are ultimate, cutting edge material, this IS for your own good, as there are students in Newcastle NOW who are following these guys resources and KILLING IT!

Here’s some examples of fitness trainers, gyms and really smart business people online who are CRUSHING it with their businesses, notice how enticing and inviting their content is, compared to the straight laced, boring corporate sites many large gym chains are using and while ever the larger gyms are using those el crappo sites, the handful of trainers, gyms and boot camp operators who do their marketing “RIGHT” will simply blitz them (and good luck to them for doing it correctly)!

Example Fitness – Gym Sites Doing It RIGHT…

1. www.foxfitness.com

2. www.tylerenglishfitness.com

3. www.fitconcepts.com

Take what you can from the above sites, namely the video at the top of the page (PROMINENCE of results is a MASSIVE conversion strategy), the before and after photo’s at the top of the page, the subscription forms in the top right (the Top Right of a website is the No.1 position for best conversion, this is “Tried & Tested” don’t re-invent the wheel), Phone number at the top of the page, call to actions at top of the page “Get Started Now” or “Get Started Here”…

If you implement these and their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategies they have behind them (hint: they optimising for local searches so they get found, and using more than one landing homepage so they get more exposure ;-)… you will begin to see results.

My message to corporate gym boards and managers, you have NO MORE excuses now to be “Corporate Looking” with your websites, get with the program, these little one man gyms are “KICKING YOUR ASSES” and if you just put some effort and specialised knowledge into your online sales / marketing funnels you WILL “Blitz It” online… Your call!