Usually when the word HERD is used one thinks of a large group of animals. In this case, that large group of animals is your customer base. After building your list you want to produce a responsive and loyal herd of customers. You know, ones that stick with you like a herd of sheep or coyote. Ok, well not as slow as sheep or as mean as coyote, but you get what I mean. Keep on reading about how you can create your herd.
Personality is the first component in developing a responsive herd. Some business experts argue against creating a brand name based on personality, but in the fitness industry where you are providing a service personality is key. Your customers need to like you, your staff, and your service, period!
Next, let your herd know what your fitness philosophy is. I’m not talking about how you make money, but your core beliefs about fitness. Expressing your belief is a great way to make an emotional connection and will ultimately result in your customers feeling an attachment to what you are doing. Do not sugarcoat your belief. At my gym and boot camps, customers know my exact beliefs and what it takes for them to be successful in reaching their goals. Some may say I’m harsh but I always have the client’s best interest in mind. I don’t BS them. I say it as it is.
What about frequency? How often do you connect with your clients? Clients want to hear from you; they want to know you care. Even though clients are in your location working out, you still need to keep in touch at least once a week in order to obtain longevity. This frequency is really important for prospects that have supplied contact information but haven’t purchased yet. A great example is religious followers. There are many different religions and it really doesn’t matter which one a follower believes in, all churches try to get their herd together at least once a week. There’s a lot to be learned from churches; they make some serious cash! Consistency creates a level of expectation and anticipation.
Dependency can be a real asset in building your herd. I believe independence as an individual is awesome but we want our herd to be dependent on us. I don’t like using this as an example but there is truth to what I’m about to say. Drug users are very dependent on their supplier; they can’t live without them. After a week, or sometimes less, of not seeing their supplier an addict begins to have withdrawals. You want your service to have this effect on your herd but of course in a positive sense. You get the picture.
It is also your job to motivate your herd. Most people lack self-motivation and require someone or something to get them going. Look at sports for example. All sports have coaches who motivate players. Even professional athletes making millions of dollars receive pep talks before games. You have to be your clients coach. This is part of what they pay you for.
When it comes to practical implementation, think of the different media you can utilize. People appreciate frequent contact when it comes in a variety of media because it doesn’t become redundant. If you continuously send the same old stuff through the same avenue you stand a chance of your herd losing interest. In using a variety of media, expand the scope of your discussion and they will continue to follow.
The last important component in building your herd is measuring and evaluating your success. You cannot just focus on how many followers you have. You must focus on the value in your people. Are they seeking your recognition and wanting to give you testimonials, or do you have to chase people down?
Subjective measurements are a great way to know if your clients are happy. Subjective measurements pertain to an individual, not an object which is what our business is about. How can you measure this? Do your clients write personal e-mails, thanking you for what you do; for helping them? Do they bring you gifts, big or small? Do they include you in their personal life? Do you have a fan base and receive comments on your website or Facebook page? Do they respond when you discuss your own personal life? These are all ways to subjectively measure your success. And remember, when clients are satisfied, they provide referrals, which build your herd even more. The value of the relationship you build with your herd is where the equity, wealth, and longevity come from. It’s not in the numbers!
Fitness Marketing Post by Sam Bakhtiar
This is an awesome post! Love it:loyalty beats numbers!
Great post, I use Ning for an online community and it serves me very well