For years, Imagine Sports + Fitness in Greenville, South Carolina spent $500-$600 per month on marketing and advertising with little results. Then, Alyssa Johnson joined as Sales Director and had an epiphany.
“We would search online for gyms in our area, and ours would rank way below others,” she says. “We’re not in a very visible location, so we can’t rely on drive-by traffic for people to find us. We have to ensure that people can find us when they’re searching online.”
Alyssa’s observation led to a complete revamp of the marketing approach at Imagine Sports + Fitness. They stopped spending money on advertising and started investing in improving the business’s “online business presence” — or, what people see when they search for your products or services online.
One of the most prominent areas for improvement was the business’s profiles on online review sites like Google My Business and Yelp. Imagine Sports + Fitness had positive ratings (4-5 stars) but not many reviews. Competing gyms had lower ratings but hundreds of reviews, so they were showing up higher in online search results.
“People find businesses like ours online now, and reviews help you get found. That’s just how the internet works,” Alyssa says.
Around that time, Alyssa started using Womply Boost, a Web-based software system designed to help small businesses take control of their online presence. With Boost, Alyssa and her team were able to read and respond to all their reviews in one place, track the business’s star rating over time, and create a feedback program that led to more online reviews.
“In the first few months, we got 310 more reviews by creating a simple customer feedback program with Womply Boost,” Alyssa says. “Our members already wanted to give us feedback. We just had to show them how to share it with us and surface it with potential members.”
As Imagine Sports + Fitness improved its online presence, the business also rose in organic search engine results on Google. That means more people will find the business when they’re researching gyms and fitness clubs in the Greenville area.
In addition, the ratings and comments about Imagine Sports + Fitness started to more closely match the actual customer experience as the online review count grew. The business worked hard to provide more amenities at the most affordable price in the market. With more reviews, the company’s story began reflecting that important message and setting it apart from other gyms.
“If feedback doesn’t make its way to the internet, it doesn’t count,” Alyssa says. “Womply has helped us dramatically improve our online presence in a short time, and it’s so simple and easy to use.”
Alyssa’s approach mirrors a growing trend in small business marketing. Today, starting with advertising is a bad idea because people still check your business’s listings on Google, Yelp, and your company website before deciding to spend money with you. The right order of operations is to take control of your online presence before spending a dime on advertising.
Now, Imagine Sports + Fitness is in a better position to expand its offerings and target new customer groups. They just opened a cafe serving healthy foods and smoothies and plan to offer corporate memberships to big businesses in the area soon.
Free tour of Imagine Sports + Fitness
If you live near Greenville, schedule a free tour of Imagine Sports + Fitness’ 60,000-square-foot facility, complete with free weights, fitness machines, basketball courts, an indoor track, saunas, locker rooms, and more.
Free demo of Womply Boost