Most phase 2 and higher gym owners have an idea of the ideal member avatar that is the best fit for their community.
But what characteristics of that member are most important to pay attention to?
Common answers might involve demographics such as age, occupation, region or household income. These are all important, but taking it a step further might refine the quality of your community to new heights. In other words… what is the personality of your ideal member and how can you get more people with similar interests and traits?
From the remote island of Åland in Finland, a new gym is CRUSHING it in the face of a pandemic. We believe this is in large part to their approach to targeting the ideal psychographics for them. We asked for more detail in their thought process and how they execute on this concept.
Introducing Alexander and Hanna Rothberg of Islands of Granit Crossfit:
What made you decide to target extroverts? What initiated that thought process for you?
This is not a question easily answered because it was a full process getting to where we are now.
We decided to open our own gym in January, 2020. The first months we were formulating our mission, getting our facilities in order and thinking deeply about what we actually do, what we aim to actually sell. We realized that rather than a fitness class, we sell an experience, the best hour of your day. Fitness, CrossFit, Level Method are methods we use to create that hour.
We knew that we needed to focus on one group of people and tried to define them via demographics. That did not go well, we just couldn’t find common denominators in age, work-life, gender etc. As many gyms, our first reaction was “we cannot find commonality, thus this must be for EVERYONE” and we actually believed that for a couple of days.
During a discussion we were realized we were not searching for a person with commonalities in life. We were looking for people with commonalities in MINDSET.
We struggled a bit with actually defining that mindset and first ended up with “happy people”. People who are happy tend to spread their happiness around and make other people happy. After listening to a podcast with Ben Bergeron where he explained that they cater to people with a “Happy, Hungry, Humble”- mindset we looked at each other and said “that’s the definition we are looking for”.
The extrovert definition grew stronger when we used an interior architect (very extrovert person and member) to design the layout of our gym and one person didn’t like that we positioned our “hang out area” in a way where you could sit and watch the groups train. My first reaction was “this is not really the place for people wanting to hide and train by themselves in a corner” And after that we realized that extroverts are actually a common denominator of most of our members: they like to be seen, they like to laugh and thrive in the company of each other. some of our members are introverts, are absolutely welcome as long as they are “happy, hungry, humble.” But our marketing, our interior design and so on are designed with extroverts in mind.
Can you describe some of the strategies you have incorporated to do this? Do you have examples of messaging you have used for this?
As earlier described, our interior design is designed for community, connection and openness and it has lead to our members actually sticking around, hanging in our areas, eating their lunch and so on.
In our marketing, mostly “intentionally unintentional” on facebook, we use very inclusive language. Like “We, Us, Together” and never words like “you guys, you make us, we (in the meaning we and then you)” we actively try to stay away from terms dividing coaches and athletes in different groups.
Our “marketing” is mostly showing happy faces, fun, laughs, together. We never put out “come and buy our stuff” online, and we never try to explain what we do. Our intended audience does not care. They want the fun, they want the togetherness. The results, the great programming and CrossFit is the thing that makes them stay, not get in the door.
How would you describe the effect targeting extroverts has had on your gym?
It has exploded our memberships, we have constantly had 40-50 people waiting to do our kickstart, right now new members have to wait at least to 2021 to get a spot. Since most of our members are happy, humble, loud, extroverts, they talk A LOT, and all their friends want in and the only 2 people that have quit the last 6 months were introverts who loved the training, but hated the groups.
It has made our classes LOUD with lots of laughing, and joking. Members have told us how we are the best thing in their lives, how they not only come to train, but to meet their friends and have their social needs met with each other. They form relationships outside the gym, helping each other, supporting members in need and treating everybody with respect, like an extended family.
We do have to remember that we are a new gym and we do not now know how our tactics in marketing will develop over time, but we are in it for the long run and try to stay clear of “milking” new members for easy money. That has lead to a big support among our members buying our products, our t-shirts and paying memberships on their vacations although we allow them to pause their memberships if they know they are away for a month.
Obviously we could write a LOT more about nuances and thought processes since everything kinda entwined and is not really clear cut one from another 😊