The fitness marketplace is crowded with competitors – and today, of course, it’s also packed with uncertainty and profound changes. So, differentiating your gym is crucial and a fundamental part of your marketing strategy.
Meaningful differentiation showcases your gym’s unique strengths and it shows your value in a way that separates you from competitors. It makes it possible to win business by competing on your own terms without competing on price.
You give up your market share when you don’t have differentiators, don’t use them, don’t test or revisit them – or simply have weak differentiators, like “We deliver results” (because everyone can say that). Those are among the most common mistakes to avoid. Without strategic differentiators, you’re not telling prospects why they should choose you to solve their problem. You’re just hoping they figure it out on their own.
5 Factors in the Solution
1. Discover. Try to establish three proposed differentiators. Start by asking five ideal clients why they chose you initially. Then consider what problem that solves for your prospects. What are your competitors saying? Will this play a role in the prospects’ buying decision?
2. Dissect. Score your potential differentiators on a scale of 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest) based on three factors: the benefit to the prospect; the rarity in your marketplace; how hard would it be for someone else to say and prove the same thing?
3. Develop. Rank your potential differentiators from strongest to weakest. Add up the total across all three categories for all three differentiators, and list them highest to lowest. The one with the score closest to 15 is probably your strongest. Then write a first draft answering: what is the differentiator (its title); why it matters to prospects; how you accomplish this (its description).
4. Document. Polish your differentiators so they’re ready to go. Write a headline – three to five words describing each. Then write a description – a short, credible statement that describes the why and how you listed at the end of Step 3.
Here’s a well-known example from Planet Fitness.
Headline: Judgment Free Zone
Description: We seek to provide a comfortable, safe and energetic environment where everyone feels safe and accepted.
5. Differentiate. Use, test and refine your differentiators – always, for as long as you’re in business. Don’t ever assume you’re “done” with this. Start by considering where you will use the differentiator? On your website, social media, etc. Then keep testing and refining so your differentiators remain effective no matter what happens (like, oh, maybe a global pandemic).
How does all this change in the “new normal” and how much do you keep of what you had before? What still applies? What new opportunities are presenting themselves?
For example, the idea of safety is at the top of everyone’s minds. You can go a step further by developing it into a differentiator. What safety procedures have you developed? Have you branded your cleaning process? Are you using CDC and WHO guidelines to your advantage?
There’s more to talk about – like how to make your online offerings stand out, and why you should never rely on price as a differentiator.
So, schedule a time to talk, for free, with one of our Success Coaches. We can discuss specifics to build your differentiators and we’ll help you leverage them across your marketing efforts and positioning.