For years, The Iron Bar gym in Puyallup, WA had been having a tough time attracting new members. But after joining Sweat Angels, the gym saw immediate, dramatic changes and discovered how to get more Facebook impressions.
We spoke with owner Diana Kelly to learn about the growth challenges she faced and to hear how she was able to turn things around.
An Uphill Battle
Prior to joining Sweat Angels, Diana “tried everything,” to grow her gym. “I’ve done fliers, direct mail, social media, Facebook, websites, and I’ve spent a lot of money consultants over the past six years. Newspaper fliers ran me about $1,500 per month for three months. Consultants were a lot, too! About $20,000 over six years including consulting fees, going to seminars, purchasing materials.”
Diana heard about Sweat Angels when one of her members moved to California and joined a gym called Brick CrossFit. “I kept seeing him check in at Brick on Facebook, and I asked ‘what is this Sweat Angels program?’.” She soon got in touch with the Sweat Angels team and discovered that she wanted to join as well. “I realized this fits in with my vision of my gym and I saw immediately the impact it could have, not just with my gym but in general, to give something back and bring the community together. It was something I knew immediately I wanted to do.”
An Immediate Turnaround
Sweat Angels was an instant hit. The exposure her members generated for Iron Bar on Facebook quickly brought in newcomers and helped grow the business. Within one month, The Iron Bar tripled the number of people seeing her gym on Facebook. Months later, she enjoyed a more than 13x increase in Facebook impressions.
Not only that, but within four full months of participating in Sweat Angels, The Iron Bar generated over one million Facebook impressions through check-ins!
“I just think [members] feel good that they are doing something good for somebody else and it’s simple, all they have to do is check in. They are part of something bigger than themselves,” Diana told us.
“The value of the donation that I make every month is way more than the financial amount it costs me. Every time you can give back and help someone else, you get back way more than what you are giving," she said.
Diana and her team also loved the simplicity of getting set up with Sweat Angels. “It was super easy and smooth. I got in touch with Matt [Sharp] and we talked a couple of times. Within 24 hours, I had signed up and had people checking in.”
“I had a new member come up to me who was super excited about making his first check in," Diana told us. "He asked me, ‘So who is making the donation?’ I told him that the gym makes the donation. He looked at me like, ‘Really? That is really cool.’ The concept really sunk in for him.”
Building a Strong Community
In the end, Sweat Angels did more than just help The Iron Bar grow. “I think it’s great that it helps bring the community together. Watching the members check in, reading the posts on Facebook, they really get into it. They really take it to heart and they are so passionate about it, it’s fun to read their check-ins,” explained Diana.
The community Diana has built also has a lot to do with the enthusiasm Diana herself exhibits every day. “I think when you are genuinely passionate about something, it comes through and is going to motivate people. We talk about Sweat Angels every single day and at every single class. We ask them, ‘Did you check in today?’ I dedicate a lot of time in supporting their efforts to support the program. My coaches are all on board, even the babysitters check in. I’ll overhear members tell other members that they can check in for both classes,” Diana said.
Sharing the Experience Outside of The Iron Bar
“I have two members who own a local coffee shop," Diana went on to say. "They are part of the Check-in Angels program and I’ve talked to them about Sweat Angels. Now they are part of the community. My members check in at their coffee shop all the time and it’s just cool that we can all support each other. I don’t know why someone wouldn’t want to be part of the program.”
When we asked Diana what she would say to a gym owner considering Sweat Angels, she pronounced, “You get to help somebody else, you bring your community together, you give your members more of a reason to want to work out. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?”