People choose to join (or not to join) affiliate gyms for many reasons. As an experienced box owner, you likely understand why people value your specific community. Unless that is backed by research, however, that understanding is mostly assumption. Between technology and an ever-growing industry, the affiliate gym market has never been more competitive. Beyond student acquisition, box owners must also understand why people stay (or leave) their communities.
In order to achieve this level of athlete understanding, consider creating an athlete journey map. An athlete journey is how your athletes interact with your brand and affiliate gym community. An athlete journey map, what we’re going to cover in this post, is how you analyze their journey.
Define Your Athlete Personas
One of the easiest ways to do athlete persona research is to survey upon acquisition. That is, when a prospect comes in for a consult, make sure your prospect questionnaire has strategic questions on it. To cover for your current athletes, you can put together a brief survey that matches your new prospect questionnaire.
Consider asking your prospects and athletes questions like these (not including typical PAR-Q and health questions):
- How did you hear about us?
- What are your fitness goals?
- What is your biggest barrier to achieving these goals?
- Do you have experience at other affiliate gyms?
- Do you currently belong to another affiliate gym?
- How far of a drive would this be for you on average?
Document Your Athlete Touchpoints
Touchpoints are the places where your athletes interact with your brand. These are important to be aware of so you can keep the messaging consistent and strategic.
Some common athlete touchpoints for an affiliate gym are:
- Social Media Accounts
- Local Events
- Front Desk (Your Affiliate Gym)
- Group Class/ WOD (Your Affiliate Gym)
Choose Your Map Type
According to HubSpot, there are four main types of “customer” journey maps.
- Current State: This type of map visualizes the actions, thoughts and emotions your athletes currently experience while interacting with your affiliate gym.
- Day in the Life: This type of map visualizes the actions, thoughts and emotions your athletes currently experience in everyday life, whether it involves your affiliate gym or not.
- Future State: This type of map visualizes what you think will be the actions, thoughts and emotions of your athletes in the future.
- Service Blueprint: This type of map begins as a simplified version of the previous maps. It then layers on the factors responsible for delivering that experience, like people, policies, tech and processes.
Experience the Journey Yourself
Although it may be difficult to experience your athlete journey in an authentic way, it is important to at least try. There are a few options for this step:
- Role Play: Act like you are a prospect interacting with the different touchpoints of your journey and communicate your experience with your team.
- Participate: When you’re not coaching, regularly take your other instructors’ classes to see what they are like from an athlete perspective.
- Hire: Ask a friend or family member who is likely unknown to your team to go through the different touchpoints of your athlete journey and communicate their experience with your team.
How well do you know your athletes? If you want to achieve sustainable growth and scale, creating an athlete journey map is a must!
Not sure where to start with your growth strategy? Check out our marketing guide today.