Are you struggling to retain your customers and increase your profits in the fitness industry? Have you ever wondered why some gyms and athletic clubs have a loyal customer base while others struggle to keep their existing customers coming back? The secret lies in building brand loyalty.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what brand loyalty is, its power, challenges, and the dark side one brand has. Don’t get me wrong; we’ll also explore how to build it effectively and through marketing efforts, using practical tips, case studies, and statistics. So, let’s dive in.
The Power of Brand Loyalty For Gyms and Athletic Clubs
Brand loyalty is the degree to which a customer consistently purchases a particular brand over time. In the fitness industry, brand-loyal customers are the ones who choose a specific gym or athletic club over others, regardless of the price or location. They have a positive perception of the brand, which creates a sense of trust and satisfaction, and increases brand loyalty further.
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, increasing customer retention by 5% can lead to an increase in profits between 25% and 95%. In addition, brand-loyal customers are more likely to recommend the gym or athletic club to others, become brand ambassadors, drive brand loyalty, and spread awareness through word-of-mouth marketing. Therefore, building exceptional brand loyalty is crucial for the success and growth of any fitness brand.
What’s Brand Loyalty?
Brand loyalty is not just about repeat purchases or customer satisfaction; it’s about creating a positive brand experience that encourages customers to keep coming back. To build brand loyalty, you need to focus on the following:
- Exceptional Customer Service: Provide stellar customer service that exceeds the customer’s expectations. Listen to their needs, resolve their complaints promptly, and go the extra mile to create a positive customer experience.
- Perceived Value: Offer high-quality products and services that are worth the customer’s investment. Focus on the benefits of your gym or athletic club, such as a variety of workout options, professional trainers, or state-of-the-art equipment.
- Rewards Program: Reward loyal customers for their repeat purchases or referrals. Offer discounts, free sessions, or exclusive access to events or promotions. This will create a sense of exclusivity and appreciation for their loyalty.
What’s the Dark Side of Brand Loyalty? WHAT NOBODY TELLS YOU
Brand loyalty has its dark side, which can be harmful to both the customer and the brand. When done incorrectly, potential dangers of brand loyalty are:
Blind Loyalty: When a customer is blindly loyal to a brand, they may overlook the brand’s faults or unethical practices. This can lead to the customer being taken advantage of or losing trust in the brand once their blind loyalty is broken.
Stagnation: Given a loyal customer base, some brands may become complacent and stop innovating and evolving their products or services. This can lead to the brand falling behind its competitors and losing its loyal customer base.
High Expectations: Brand-loyal customers have high expectations of the brand, which can be difficult to meet. If the brand fails to meet these expectations, the customer may become dissatisfied and switch to a competitor.
Therefore, it’s crucial to build brand loyalty through ethical and customer-centric practices that focus on building long-term relationships rather than blind loyalty or short-term profits.
What Are the Three Most Significant Challenges for Building Brand Loyalty in the Fitness Industry?
Building brand loyalty in the fitness industry can be challenging due to various factors such as high competition, low switching costs, and changing customer needs. Here are the three most difficult things to build brand loyalty in the fitness industry:
Trust is one of those things that takes time and effort to build but only a second to vanish. Brand-loyal customers must trust your fitness brand before joining your gym and getting a membership. Be proactive and provide a safe and comfortable environment to work out. This can be challenging for new gyms or athletic clubs that have yet to establish a reputation or for those that have experienced negative publicity. Building trust requires consistent communication, transparency, and a commitment to providing excellent customer service.
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The fitness industry is saturated with various gyms and athletic clubs offering similar products and services at lower prices. To build long-lasting customer relationships, a gym or athletic club must stand out from its competitors by offering unique features, such as a personalized workout program, nutritional advice, or exclusive access to events or promotions. Finding a unique selling proposition that resonates with the target market can be challenging, but standing out from a sea of competitors is necessary.
Consistency is a game-changer in retaining customers. Frequent customers expect consistent quality, service, and experience every time they visit the gym or athletic club. For example, clean bathrooms make your customers feel it is worth paying for that membership. Inconsistencies in the quality of equipment, trainers, or services can lead to dissatisfaction and lost loyalty. Therefore, it’s crucial to establish a consistent brand identity and culture that reflects the brand’s values and mission.
How to Overcome the Big Challenges to Building Brand Loyalty in the Fitness Industry?
It requires a customer-centric approach that focuses on building long-term relationships rather than short-term profits.
Strengthen Customer Experience
Provide exceptional customer service that goes beyond the customer’s expectations. Keep a positive, welcoming environment that encourages existing customers to stay and work out. Listen to customer feedback and address their concerns promptly.
Hit their pain points with Personalized assistance
New customers are a great example of this. A newbie to the iron world may panic and get shocked as soon as they see your gym equipment. At this level, remember your first day at the gym. Did you know how to use cables, dumbells, and elliptical machines? Probably not, so make sure they feel just as at home. Hit their pain points with personalized services catering to customers’ needs and preferences. Offer customized workout plans, one-on-one training sessions, and the nitty-gritty of fitness assistance. This will create a sense of exclusivity and value for existing and new customers.
Showcase Your E-A-T on digital content
Through blogging, fitness brands can build brand loyalty by showcasing their expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. By providing valuable information, answering questions, and offering tips, they establish themselves as authorities in the industry. This builds trust with their audience, which can lead to increased loyalty and a stronger brand reputation.
What is the role of gym staff in digital content?
From a branding perspective, gyms should include their trainers and nutritionists in creating blogs and digital content because they are experts in fitness and can provide valuable insights and advice to customers. It’s a no-brainer that trustworthy content has a huge potential to increase brand loyalty. In addition, involving trainers in content creation creates a sense of community and connection with the brand, as customers feel more connected to the people behind it.
Get the most out of Social Media
Use social media platforms to engage with customers, share valuable content with existing consumers, and build a community around the brand.
Let me bring up an example.
His name is Joey Swoll, and he’s a fitness influencer everybody just loves. Joey Swoll has built his personal fitness brand around gym positivity and educational and motivational-driven content. With that in mind, his mission is to teach people to get rid of old-fashioned, harmful habits in the fitness world. He’s well-known for banning hundreds of bullies and rude people in gyms and athletic clubs.
In April, a Crunch Fitness member reported a video somebody took off him. The same day, Joey Swoll made it viral and banned the bully —with what seems to be now his tagline: “Mind your business. You can do better.” Joey Swoll’s audience empathized with the victim who’d been mocked on social media. The next day, Crunch Fitness saw the video, found the person who mocked the victim, and revoked his membership.
In this case, the brand made a clear statement: No bullies allowed, We care about members, We’ll protect them, This is a safe place. Besides receiving tons of supporting messages on social media, the victim received an honest apology from Crunch Fitness’s brand management, and they offered him a free-year membership.
The victim recorded a video to tell his story. At the end of it, he says, “They [Crunch Fitness] offered me a free year, which is great. They’re really super nice people. There’s a reason I’ve been going there and continue to go there.”
Your customers go first in your brand strategy. No matter what’s the situation, they trust you. The example above is a great way to illustrate best-in-class customer care. I can assure you this will encourage existing customers to repeat purchases, stay connected with the brand, and share their positive experiences with others.
Offer Higher quality products and services
Offer high-quality products and services that are worth the customer’s investment. Focus on the benefits of the gym or athletic club, such as a variety of workout options, professional trainers, state-of-the-art equipment, aesthetic facilities, and best-in-class gym designs. This will create a perceived value for the customer and encourage repeat purchases.
How to Build Brand Loyalty in the Fitness Industry?
Many brands require a comprehensive approach to brand loyalty leads focusing on creating a positive brand experience and building long-term customer relationships. Here are some tips for building brand loyalty in the fitness industry:
Build a Strong Brand Identity
Establish a strong brand identity that reflects the brand’s values and mission. There’s room for a marketing strategy that focuses on forging long-lasting customer relationships. Evoke positive feelings in your enthusiastic audience and give them best-in-class motivational content so that they can identify with your own brand story. With this in mind, assign a dedicated team to communicate your brand essence through a unique logo, color scheme, and brand voice that resonates with the target market.
Deliver an Outstanding Customer Service
Provide outstanding customer service that absolutely blows your customers’ minds—in a positive way, of course. According to Forbes, 83% of customers would switch brands because of a bad customer service experience. So, before massive social media audiences know your weaknesses and your brand loses its good reputation, make sure you listen to customer feedback, resolve complaints promptly, and go the extra mile to create a positive customer experience.
Leverage Loyalty Programs
Offer loyalty programs that repeat customers for their steady purchases or referrals. This includes discounts, free sessions, or exclusive access to events or promotions.
Create a Strong Community of Enthusiastic Fitness Lovers
Build a community around the brand that encourages customers to stay connected and engaged. This includes offering social events, group workouts, or online forums where customers can share their experiences and tips.
3 Practical Tips to Build Brand Loyalty Effectively in Your Fitness Brand!
Building brand loyalty doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are three practical tips for building brand loyalty effectively in your fitness brand:
craft a strong and personable approach to Social Media
Social media platforms offer a free and effective way to connect with customers and build brand loyalty. Create engaging content, share valuable tips and advice, and showcase your brand’s unique features. Engage with customers by promptly responding to comments and messages and building a community around the brand.
Provide Value-Added Content
Provide value-added content such as workout videos, nutritional advice, or wellness tips on your website or social media platforms. This will position your brand as an expert in the fitness industry and create a sense of trust and loyalty with customers.
Encourage User-Generated Content
Encourage customers to share their experiences and tips with the brand through user-generated content. This includes sharing photos or videos of their workouts, sharing their progress or achievements, or leaving reviews on the brand’s website or social media platforms. This will create a sense of community among online users and encourage customers to stay connected with the brand.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Marketing Efforts to Build Brand Loyalty Effectively?
Marketing efforts can be a powerful tool in building brand loyalty effectively. Here are some tips to get the most out of your marketing efforts:
meet your audience where they are
Use multiple other marketing tools and channels such as email, social media, and targeted ads to reach your target audience. This will increase your brand’s visibility and encourage customers to engage with your brand through multiple touchpoints.
master the art of Storytelling
Use storytelling techniques to connect with customers on an emotional level. Share success stories of customers who have achieved their fitness goals through your gym or athletic club, or showcase the impact of your brand on the community. This will create a sense of empathy and connection with customers.
Measure Results with realistic goals
Use analytics tools to measure the results of your marketing efforts. This includes tracking customer engagement, conversion rates, and retention rates. Use this data to refine your own marketing tactics and strategies and focus on what works best for your brand.
Statistics on Brand Loyalty and Profitability
Here are some statistics that highlight the importance of brand loyalty in the fitness industry:
- Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits between 25% and 95%. (Harvard Business Review)
- It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. (Forbes)
- 70% of consumers say that they are more likely to recommend a brand to others if they have a positive experience. (HubSpot)
Three Case Studies of Brand Loyalty in the Fitness Industry
Let’s take a look at two or three brands as case studies of brand loyalty in the fitness industry:
Gold’s Gym has been in the fitness industry for over 50 years and has built a brand-loyal customer base through its exceptional customer service and community-building efforts. Gold’s Gym offers personalized training, nutrition advice, and a variety of workout options that fit customers’ needs and preferences. Gold’s Gym also offers social events, group workouts, and online forums that encourage customers to stay connected and engaged with the brand.
Crunch Fitness has built a brand-loyal customer base through its unique brand identity and first-rate services. Crunch Fitness offers a fun and quirky workout experience that sets it apart from other brands. It’s fair to say Crunch Fitness offers personalized training sessions, diet plans through their communication channels, and a variety of workout options that fit customers’ needs. Plus, Crunch Fitness offers social events, group workouts, and online forums that encourage customers to stay tuned and engage with the brand.
Iron Culture Gym
Iron Culture Gym offers one-on-one training sessions, nutrition plans, and creative and cutting-edge workout options that forge brand loyalty. With that said, you should check out their website to see a wide range of social events, group workouts, and online forums that encourage customers to stay connected and engaged with Iron Culture Gym. Last but not least, Iron Culture Gym offers a loyalty program that rewards loyal customers with discounts, free sessions, and exclusive access to events or promotions.
Reach Out to Start Building Long-Lasting Relationships with Your Customers
At Creatitive, we’re intimately familiar with the ins and outs of brand loyalty. We know it may be an overlooked KPI in the fitness industry, but we’re absolutely aware of the power of brand loyalty. Contact us to start a new project. We’ll craft a top-notch brand strategy to build brand loyalty for your gym or athletic club.
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Building brand loyalty in the fitness industry requires a customer-centric approach that focuses on building long-term relationships rather than short-term profits. These are must-to-dos when building brand loyalty: exceptional customer service, personalized services, and unique brand experiences. Gyms and athletic clubs can differentiate themselves from their competitors and create a sense of value for customers.
Through social media, loyalty programs, marketing communications, and community-building efforts, gyms and athletic clubs can manage to retain customers and create an ever-growing loyal customer base. By focusing on building trust, differentiation, and consistency, gyms and athletic clubs can overcome the challenges of building brand loyalty in the fitness industry and create a thriving business that benefits both the brand and the customers.
What Is the Difference Between Brand Loyalty and Customer Loyalty?
Brand loyalty is about how customers perceive a brand based on their image and experience. It’s like when you trust a certain brand and believe they provide better quality and service than its competitors. On the other hand, customer loyalty is more about saving money by offering low prices and discounts. People are loyal to those companies that give them the best deal.