It’s 2019: Before you agree to go on blind date, you’re probably going to google search the person first. And before you check out a new restaurant, you’re likely going to read some online reviews.
And of course, the same is true of the gym business. Before a prospect is going to bother making an appointment to come into your gym, they’re most likely all going to vet you online.
Hence, your website matters. If it’s an effective one, it can drive you a lot of business. If it’s not, you’ll inevitably lose potential business to your competitors.
But other than a cleanly designed layout, high-res pictures, and avoiding spelling and grammar mistakes, what are the most important features on your gym’s website?
We asked experience gym owners to compile their best tips for what your website needs to do. Here they are:
1. Designed for the Prospect
Though your website will also likely be a place your current community members visit, it should be built with the prospect in mind: A place that provides easy, accessible, and relevant information the prospect needs in order to pull the trigger.
Current clients are more likely to link to various pages on your website from social media—for example, if a new blog is released, they’ll see it on Facebook first and will link to it from there if it sounds useful—as opposed to doing a Google search or typing in your URL. However, a prospect is often not yet following you on social media, so if your website is his first point of contact—his first impression—of your business, your site needs to be designed in a way that speaks to his wants and needs (aka his pain points).
2. Speak to the Prospect’s Pain Points
What does it mean to speak to a prospect’s pain points?
Though everyone has different problems—or pain—most people seek out a gym because they’re looking for a solution to their problem. They want to hire someone to help them get healthy and normalize their blood sugar level so they can come off their insulin, for example. Or they want to lose weight because they’re miserable and day-to-day tasks are becoming harder for them to do.
Thus, your website has to be a place that captures your target market’s interest—whoever that might be—so that it convinces them you might have the solution to their problem/pain.
This means, for example, if you’re trying to attract the average Joe who is finally looking to take control of his health, then your website—from the language you use, to the pictures and videos you post—needs to reflect the idea that your coaching service can and does provide a solution for ordinary people.
The main point here is to find ways to connect with your target market emotionally. Two tips to do this:
- Show how you’re different
Explain what you do differently than anyone else (Often times the people you’re trying to bring in have had a failed experience at another gym, so be bold about how you’ll be different than their last experience—about how you’ll help them solve their pain).
- Show empathy
Best case scenario: Combine empathy with humor.
Finally, emotional client testimonials are a great addition to any website. The more vulnerable and relatable your current clients are to your prospects, the more valuable these will be for inspiring someone who is scared but wants to find the courage to reach out to book an appointment.
3. Call to Action Button
Once you capture the prospect’s interest and convince him to check out your gym, it’s important to have a clear and simple call to action button—meaning an easy way for them to reach out right now and sign up right when they’re feeling inspired. Strike while the iron is hot, sort of thing.
If it’s not obvious or easy to book an appointment, the person might exit your website, lose inspiration, and never return to your site or your gym.
When it comes to getting someone to act, language matters. Words like “submit” or “enter” are less enticing than “book” or “reserve.”
Reserve Your Spot
Also, some experts say a call to action written in the first person is more successful than in the second person. For example, “Book my appointment now” might be better than “Book your appointment now.”
Finally, according to some marketing experts, the colors you choose matter as well. Your call to action button should be a color that fits in with your gym’s style guide but make sure it’s contrasting so that it actually stands out.
4. Less Clicks
Getting to any of your pages—be it the workout of the day page, your blog, your class schedule or the book an appointment page—shouldn’t take more than 1 or 2 clicks. People are fickle: If it’s not easy or they grow annoyed, they’ll often steer away from the site.
Current members will also appreciate not having to click five times in order to see your weekly class schedule…
5. Concise Text
The same is true of your words: Less is more. Tell a story, yes, but don’t tell a long-winded story. Like you learned in elementary school, KISS: Keep it simple, silly.
Second, go with conversational and relatable writing, as opposed to formal and serious. Speak on your website the way you would if you were sitting across from the prospect at dinner.
Third, use an active voice as opposed to a passive one. For example, go with “You can order your fish oil here,” as opposed to, “Fish oil can be ordered here.”
Finally, show, show, show -- as opposed to tell. This goes back to the concept of connecting with your clients emotionally. Show them people you have helped. Show them specific results, instead of explaining generically what you intend to do for them if they sign up.
If writing isn’t your forte, hire a writer to help you create your pages. It’s a small amount to pay for a big return on investment in the form of future clients.
Like anything else in the gym business, there’s a certain amount of trial and error involved—and what works in your market might not work as well somewhere else—so it’s important to be adaptable. But generally speaking, a successful website will be simple and concise, will tell a story that speaks emotionally to the prospect’s problem, and will inspire him to sign up now.