What Do You Tell Gym Owners To Do When Their Typically Reliable Lead Channels Stop Producing?

by | May 19, 2023 | Coaches Corner, Fitness Business Owner | 1 comment

(Last Updated On: March 14, 2024)


Sometimes, your consistently reliable lead channels stop producing new leads. When it happens, it’s not fun. But it does happen. And it’s one of those situations where, as a business owner, you remember really quickly how much you love having a business coach. 

Time is of the essence, and you can’t just sit and wait for the problem to fix itself (it won’t). And it’s not a great idea to just start guessing at what might be going on. You need to get into diagnosis mode – stat.  


Let’s hear what our team of certified Fitness Business Coaches would advise in this type of situation.


Asa:  First off make sure you are tracking your lead flow through whatever channels you are implementing.  This way you are not making “fly by the seat of your pants” decisions when it comes to shifting your marketing plan IF it needs to be shifted.  

I would start by taking a look at your lead generation history, what has been your most consistent marketing efforts that have brought in the most leads, and through which channels?  Start by zoning in on those and amping them up, for example the good ol’ referral system.  If you have been allowing those to trickle in organically with no additional effort, you’ll want to ramp up the effort there with a referral rewards system, a referral challenge, Bring a Friend Days, etc.  

Make sure whatever you are implementing you have something in the 3 key areas of marketing 

1) internal marketing
2) external marketing, and
3) online marketing  

Take a look at FR’s Triple A Marketing Plan to refine your own.  

I get it, Marketing can be a finicky beast but don’t be afraid to think outside the box and look for opportunities in your local market where you can expand your brand recognition.  

Remember it’s up to you to let leads know you exist – not up to them to search you out.


It can be really easy (and comfortable) to get into a good groove with certain lead channels and put them on auto-pilot. The problem with that is that if you’re not reviewing and analyzing your leads and lead channels regularly, you can be caught off guard when a channel that has consistently produced has slowed down or dried up. 

We’ve seen this exact thing happen time and time again, but most recently, we’ve been seeing it a lot with paid ads. Whether it’s Google, Facebook, Instagram or other types of paid traffic, those paid traffic channels just haven’t been as consistent or reliable as they have in the past. This has caused a big dip in leads for a lot of the gym owners that we work with. 

And since leads drive growth, that’s a huge deal. Those channels sometimes take a while to course correct, so having other poles in the water is critical.

What is working for many CPs right now, and what you should have ready to go at any time is:

  • Referral Marketing
  • Reactivation Campaigns
  • Networking Marketing

What you can also consider are special promotions or short-term programs like:

  • Workshops
  • Challenges
  • Joint Ventures

And don’t forget about former leads that didn’t convert! You should always be going back to old leads and prospects to re-engage them! 

The bottom line is that leads are the lifeblood of your business, and you should treat an interruption in that flow as something very important that needs your time and attention to get back on track!

Pamela: I’m seeing referrals and website opt-ins as quality lead sources with better conversion rates from most of the CPs I work with. This isn’t the case for everyone so it’s also valuable to know what channels your current leads are coming from and adjust your marketing strategies to do more of the things that are working. 

Asking for referrals feels like a challenge but when it’s done at the right time and it sounds different it can feel more genuine rather than asking out of desperation. This can come in the form of bring-a-friend workouts, reaching out one-on-one to clients, reminding them who would make a good client, and the biggest is letting clients know you are accepting new clients! 

Website opt-ins also seem to be converting well, at least for sites that are ranking higher in google in their respective area. Understanding the keywords that leads are using to look for an exercise or fitness solution is really important, along with consistent content using those keywords added to your website. This takes some time if you aren’t already doing it, but it’s worth dedicating some time to it. 

And one of the more underrated lead sources is having really strong strategic partners. Being present in your community outside of your actual space is hugely important. Start by connecting with small business owners / managers of businesses you already frequent. Find time to collaborate with them and see how you can both help each other. 

Strategic partners get overlooked because they do take effort but they’re a referral source and when done with authenticity can be a big driver for your business. 

Grant: It’s important to remember that customer acquisition channels aren’t set in stone. They evolve with changes in consumer behavior, technology, and market dynamics. Therefore, being flexible and open to new strategies is crucial.

First, understand the value of content marketing. Creating valuable, relevant, and consistent content can attract a clearly defined audience and drive profitable customer action. This could be through a blog, a podcast, webinars, or e-books.

Second, consider hosting events or workshops. This not only increases visibility but also helps establish you as an expert in your field.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of a strong social media presence. It’s about more than just having a profile on every platform. It’s about engaging with your audience, posting regularly, and providing valuable information.

Remember, the key is to be where your potential clients are and offer them value.  

Chris:  The first thing I would suggest is a thorough evaluation of your existing channels. Have the demographics of your audience changed? Has the channel itself changed? Are you fully utilizing the features and options these channels offer?

A shift in strategy might be all that’s needed. For example, if you’ve been focusing on Facebook, but your target demographic is younger and more active on Instagram or TikTok, you might need to reconsider your platform preference.

Don’t forget the power of community engagement. Sponsoring local events or hosting free community workouts can increase your visibility and reputation in your local area.

Another effective strategy is to leverage user-generated content. Encourage your clients to share their success stories and experiences. This not only builds trust but also works as free advertising.

Finally, consider partnerships or collaborations with other local businesses. This could be cross-promotions, shared events, or even a referral network. These partnerships can widen your reach and bring in new leads.

Remember, the goal isn’t just to find new leads but to find the right leads. Quality often trumps quantity when it comes to sustainable growth.


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Have something specific you’d like to hear from our Fitness Business Coaches about?  

You can submit your Needs Assessment here, and we’ll send you an individualized report, or you can talk directly to a coach by scheduling a Strategy Session.

Our Ask a certified Fitness Business Coach Guide has more articles that address common questions and roadblocks like these, for fitness business owners just like you. 

Author: Nick Berry

Nick Berry is an accomplished entrepreneur, CEO, mentor, and author, with a track record which includes founding and leading numerous companies to success since his first venture in 2002. Nick Berry is the Founder and CEO of Fitness Revolution.

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