Our recent member acquisition campaign for Snap Fitness Burwood in Melbourne was remarkable for a few reasons. Firstly it performed extremely well; no less than 55 new members were signed up at a cost of under $7.20 each. Not bad when each has a lifetime value of over $640!

The second reason it was exceptional was the conversion rate of those leads. No less than 50% were converted into happily contracted new members.

Talking to Snap Fitness Burwood owner Ryan Burgers, you quickly understand that this didn’t happen by accident. He’s gone to great lengths to build the right culture with his staff and ingrain the right processes to capitalise on the sales opportunity.

Which makes him a great candidate for a Q&A!

You and the team at Burwood do a great job closing leads, what sort of systems and processes do you have in place to enable that?

To be honest it’s all hands on deck here, it’s not just one thing, it’s an array of things. Club culture plays a huge part, our staff play a huge part and we need to have the right offers too.

In terms of incentives and targets we have weekly targets and monthly targets, also targets on which tier membership you sign up on.

So there’s upsell targets as well as weekly and monthly membership targets?

Well there’s no point to my staff just selling month to month memberships and giving away the world, you know? We have monthly meetings with everyone, trainers, staff, and then performance reviews on top of that as well, which are official three month reviews.

So that’s the sales side of things, largely.

Ryan and Sonia
"Culture is everything" - Ryan with assistant manager Sonia.

So quite structured then?

Yeah, and then I have systems for leads and whatnot. Trials are only done during staff hours so we can catch them on the way out, once we have a lead we’ll try to contact them five times, a couple of times in the first few days and then we sort of sporadically do it.

Got it, and what channels do you use for the follow ups?

We try and touch base through email, SMS, social media is a huge one for us.

Digital marketing is something I probably needed to get educated on and Andy (LT Network) has been great, but 5 years ago social media wasn’t something you had to be all over but nowadays it’s a must.

I spend a lot of my marketing budget on digital marketing, and the facilities that I have is probably twice the fit-out that a normal Snap Fitness would cost you, but the longevity of that is then better too.

When you say longevity, do you mean members stay longer because there is more varied equipment so it stays interesting longer?

Yes, but just facility-wise I’ve gone a long way with things I just didn’t need to get, I’ve got proper electronic lockers for instance, or I’ve got proper Dyson hairdryers, a proper sauna. It’s something I’ve done deliberately to create a nicer environment and community.

Is that something you felt like you had to do because of more upscale competition locally, or..

It’s just something I’m passionate about, it’s the third gym I’ve done, I know what people what, I know what I would want. I haven’t cut corners to save a buck that’s for sure. It’s something I’m proud of, and I know people will bring their mates in and do the hustle for me.

Everyone cares about every single one of the members here, we don’t just sign em up and let them go.

The classes do pretty well for retention too.

And I see you’ve been using video to show off your fit-out?

Every two months I get a videographer in and he makes some nice content for me and I’ll put that up on social media and google, people almost walk in the door and they’ve spoken to someone who trains here, they’ve seen what it looks like, they’re ready to sign up.

How did you come up with that video content approach, was there a bit of trial and error there?

I’ve had businesses in the past, I started a business called Muscleworks, a supplement company, I started that from nothing and turned it into 17 stores nationally and 2 websites, I know how important that brand presence is, its something people need to have faith in.

(The other reason I do it) is the Snap Fitness of today isn’t the Snap Fitness of 10 years ago. We need to come across as being modern and upmarket but still accessible and not…

Snobby?

Yeah, snobby. You still want to have mums, and females, we sign up more females than males. The more females you sign up, the better your club culture tends to be, to be honest.

I used to work in hospitality and you always wanted 50:50 ratio and it’s the same in fitness. 80% dudes in your gym and it’s not going to be a nice gym, you know? If I have women coming in to have a look and they see half a dozen women training here they instantly want to sign up here because they feel comfortable here.

Can you tell us a bit about your local catchment there in Burwood?

Yeah we’re right next to a university, and Burwood itself isn’t a huge suburb, but its a huge artery for people coming and going to work. We’ve got a big carpark so we cater well to that through traffic.

We do a lot of classes, they’re popular, essentially you are getting two gyms under one roof here.

Your latest campaign went really well, but 5 months after opening are you where you wanted to be?

It’s going really well, we’ve been open for 5 months and have 830 members, and hopefully we should have 1000 by Christmas.

Any advice then for someone opening a new gym or fitness franchise?

Just focus on your club culture and everything else will fall into place. Just give a shit about your members. Every single person here I know by name and they know I care about them. If someone wants to freeze their membership for a few weeks, just do it, if someone’s in a shitty situation just give them a bit of breathing space, you know. Happy members bring in new members.

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