Community is an important part of any gym atmosphere. Don’t believe me? Take a look at CrossFit! Or Mark Fisher Fitness, if that’s your thing. =) In different ways they both have created a culture and community that makes it easy for their clients to rave about what they do (which means more referrals) and enjoy fitness. The big problem…a lot of gyms and business owners are claiming they have a ‘great community’ without really understanding what that means. There are 6 elements that must exist for you to truly have a community in your facility:
Once you have those 6 elements in place you can start to establish your community. But before we talk about how to create a community, we need to address one important question…
Why is community important?
Well, for starters a strong community allows your clients to be more connected to your program which will help with retention and business growth. Strong communities tend to grow due to ‘word of mouth’ or referral based marketing because their members want to spread the word, a strong community is much like a viral video online – people will talk about it and share it with their friends. A strong community also will support itself. It takes the pressure off of you to be the only solution to problems and places it on the community itself. As a business owner, that’s the holy grail of success! There are hundreds of ways a community benefits your business. So, let’s talk about building it…
How to build a fitness community:
To start building a fitness community you need to look at your team first. It’s the core of your community. Do you have established Core Values and Culture? If not, then you’ll never build a strong community in your business. If you remember Culture is one of our 5 Alignment Principles™ in the Fitness Business Alignment System™
It’s composed of two subcategories of Core Values and People. Why?
Because the people in your business (even your clients) and your Core Values will create your Culture. There’s no way around it. You have a culture in your business, you even have core values (documented or not) that are present. It’s what makes your business what it is. It’s up to you to ensure that those values are true to your business, that you keep them at the forefront of everything you do and that the people in your business connect with them. Your culture is the foundation for a great fitness community.
Your culture is the foundation for a great fitness community.
Where a lot of business owners go wrong is trying to mimic another business’ culture or core values because it’s ‘what the cool kids do’. You don’t simply write down some values…You live them!
What about the 6 elements?
Clarity is all about your purpose…it’s your ‘why’. A great business, with a great community has a clearly stated AND communicated purpose behind their activity. Everything from their marketing to the way they deliver their service is aligned. Go back to my CrossFit reference at the start of this post… They’ve a clearly stated purpose and they clearly communicate that purpose. Don’t believe me? Google them…
Their tagline is “Forging Elite Athletes”. Hmm… They may attract a lot of people that aren’t ‘elite athletes’ but their workouts are designed for exactly that purpose.
What’s your purpose? For our coaching program members we make sure they have a clearly defined set of Core Values and they define their purpose in the Strategic Alignment Plan™ for their business.
We’ve briefly discussed culture as one of of our 5 Alignment Principles.
Your culture is your purpose being brought to life. When you clearly state your purpose the people in your business (the community) will share the same values and join your cause. A true community is strong because the members are aligned, they’re all committed to the same purpose.
Your people are going to be the foundation of your culture and community. Make sure that you are attracting the right ones! The team you build should be composed of people that are all passionate about and connect with your Core Values and your purpose. It’s one (of the many) reasons being able to clearly communicate what you do, who you serve and why you’re different is so critical to you building a great team and community. You should be able to explain to and filter out any new team members by clearly stating those three items and seeing how they connect with them.
How do you get the job done? If you have a unique (even if it’s only unique to your local market) way of delivering your service make sure you communicate that in your marketing and to your clients. People will rally around a method that get’s them what they want, solves a problem and that makes things better for them. Are you clearly communicating how you deliver results or take care of your clients?
Unless your easily offended (seriously, it might not be safe for work!) head over the the Mark Fisher Fitness Clubhouse Instagram page…
It’s pretty easy to see that they have a culture of having fun and letting you be exactly who you are in their process of getting results. And Mark doesn’t just run a party gym, they have a clearly defined and communicated process for getting results.
See it for yourself…http://markfisherfitness.com/ninja-academy/
Content is all about how you communicate your message to the rest of the world, or your local market. One of the first steps in developing your content is knowing your Ideal Client. When you truly know your Ideal Client you will be able to create content that connects with them. Your content is the channel in which you are able to attract more of the right type of people to your business. Get this wrong and you’ll struggle to build a community because the people in that community won’t be connected. They won’t share the same values.
Starting putting together your message to the world by ensuring that the content you put out is aligned with your Culture and your community.
Where is your message (the content) being distributed? To create a great community you need to have a presence. That means exposing your content and spreading your message online and offline in the places that your Ideal Client is most likely to see them. When you’ve truly identified your Ideal Client you’ll know enough about them that you know where to establish your presence. You’ll know the social media channels they use, the places they spend their time, the other businesses they frequent and the activities they do in their free time.
Put yourself in more places that your Ideal Client can see you and learn about you and you’ll start to attract more of the right people to build a great community.
You should be creating several touchpoints that move prospects and even clients through various stages to help to determine where they fit in your community. Map out your sales and customer service processes so that you identify all the ways and places that you can have an impact on your prospects and clients. How can you get them to know, like, trust, try and buy from you?
When you have these touchpoints in your business you’ll create opportunities to educate your prospects on why you are (or aren’t) a good fit for them and to help them clearly understand your purpose. The same goes for your clients! If you can educate your clients on who your Ideal Client is and why your business is the best solution for them it’s easier for them to refer. When your clients get educated and learn more about your purpose it allows them to connect more closely with it and it will increase their engagement in the community.
The power of a strong community
Is it easy to create? No…
Is it simple? Yes!
Clearly communicate your purpose, attract more of the people that share your values, understand how to communicate to your Ideal Client, and give those Ideal Clients something to rally around! It’s a powerful marketing strategy as well! When you create a strong community you’ll be able to grow your business as fast and as big as you want. Your clients will refer more, stay longer, buy more and your business will be much easier to run.