Sean Greeley is co-owner of NPE, a national award-winning fitness consulting company that helps personal trainers, studio owners and health club owners make more and work less. Greeley’s biggest asset is his ability to systemize and then maximize almost every business essential from sales to marketing to management and more. If there’s a faster, easier and more profitable way to do something, Greeley will find it. For more information on How to Never Run Out of Leads, download Sean’s free report and audio CD (a $19 value) at www.HowToNEVERRunOutofLeads.com

Most fitness business owners don’t really know how to market their business, and that’s because they’ve never been taught how. That’s a big problem because if you can’t bring in the number of new leads you need every month, meeting your financial obligations becomes nerve-wracking.

That’s why it’s essential to learn and install marketing systems. When you do that, you no longer have to worry “if” new prospects will call or come in. They do, like clockwork, when you follow this step-by-step plan for never running out of leads.

  • Assemble Your Lists. To effectively market, every business needs a list of targets. Everybody (even a brand new business) has a list, but you may or may not have taken the time to assemble your list into groups. Here are five lists you can assemble right away: active members and clients, inactive members and clients, prospects, referral sources and publicity contacts.
  • Build Your Database. After you’ve assembled your lists, it’s time to organize your contacts into a database. Many programs, such as Microsoft Excel, can help you do this, but I recommend that you move toward a good database management program as quickly as possible. The right program makes it easy for you to sift, sort and segment your list into various groups so you can target your marketing. It also tracks other important information, such as transactional data (who spends money with you, when they spend it and how frequently they buy) and demographic information, such as gender, age, birthday, etc. All of this data is important because it gives you marketing ‘intelligence’ about your best customers.
  • Install Contact Capture Tools. After you’ve assembled your lists and put them together in a database program, you need to install contact capture tools. These tools capture and collect data on new prospects to grow the size of your database. For instance, you should have an opt-in form on your Web site and an offline version of the same form at the front desk so you can capture contact information on everyone who walks in your door or calls requesting more information.
  • Create Your Marketing Funnel. A marketing funnel is a simple campaign that moves a warm lead to a hot lead. It can involve multiple media, such as e-mail, direct mail and phone calls, but it must include sequential follow-up. Studies have shown that it takes on average seven to nine ‘touches’ to get a prospect to respond. So, create a simple marketing campaign and then ensure it gets tagged to every new lead entered into your database. This way, the marketing campaign does the work of systemically following up with every lead.
  • Launch External Marketing. External marketing refers to all the marketing activities you do to generate new leads for your business. There are lots of media you can use to get your message to market, but to keep things simple, focus on low-cost, high-impact media and campaigns first. By doing that, you save money and can test message-to-market matches inexpensively. Once a campaign or lead-source proves profitable, then it makes sense to increase your financial investment. Four simple external marketing strategies to begin with are strategic alliances, public speaking, publicity and advertising.
  • Commit to Ongoing Follow-up and Internal Marketing. Internal marketing refers to the follow-up type of marketing activities you do to convert prospects in your database to new members and clients, but it also refers to everything you do to re-sell, up-sell and cross-sell your existing active members and clients. Consistent, weekly e-mails and monthly mailings of your offline print newsletter to your list go a long way towards building relationships with your customers, thereby insuring they stay, pay and refer.
  • Plan, Track and Review. Now it’s time to put everything together. It’s vital that you take time to plan, track and review your marketing results. Start by listing all your monthly and weekly marketing activities on paper. Then, build those activities into a marketing calendar and block time to complete them (hint: delegate where you can.). Once you’ve installed strong marketing systems, the secret to continued success is your commitment to track results, review your plan and make adjustments where appropriate to ensure consistent improvement.