Larry Romero, owner of Orangetheory Fitness Lake Mary, made it to the 500 Club with his second studio, Orangetheory Fitness Nona. “Can’t say we went all out and did anything extraordinary,” Larry said. “Most of our effort, 90-95% of our marketing, was through Illuminati Studios.”
This simple yet successful strategy varied from the approach he took with his first studio. The first time around, Larry and his team put in time, money and manpower trying to get the word out there and building community involvement. They went to wine tastings and other gatherings—anywhere people were gathered in groups—offering giveaways, free 10-session packages and more. The trouble with this tactic was that many of the people who signed up through the pre-sales campaign weren’t true Orangetheory Fitness candidates. They came in for their free workouts but didn’t materialize into members. Excessive efforts and resources were being wasted on the wrong people.
Enter Larry’s second studio: Orangetheory Fitness Nona. This time around, Larry made use of Illuminati Studios’ LocalLight digital marketing program. Nona is a young market with weak demographics—a population of just 12,000 and a core customer base of 5,000 (a fraction of what other markets work with)—making it especially crucial to identify and attract true candidates for the brand at a hyper-local level.
With targeted digital ads designed to generate quality leads, Larry described LocalLight as a “very budget conscious effort,” but he also stressed the importance of involving studio staff in the process. “You can spend as much money as you want on a campaign,” he said, “but if your operations aren’t in line, you’re wasting that money. Make sure you’re following up with clients. Be personable.” Once you’re open, he advised, maintain success by “delivering a high quality fitness experience and a strong, cohesive culture in the studio.” Again, he stressed the importance of keeping front and back operations on the same page, including communication and collaboration between the studio staff and marketing team.
Even though Orangetheory Fitness Nona made it to the esteemed 500 Club, Larry recognizes missed opportunities. To other franchisees, he recommends tightening up the timeline and not beginning presales too early. Delays in construction or permits on top of an early presales date can negatively impact staff, and many members who sign up 4 to 5 months in advance cancel their memberships because they were kept waiting too long. “It’s expensive,” Larry explained. But studios can begin their marketing efforts before presales to raise brand recognition and awareness of the upcoming studio location to make the presales campaign even more effective once it does start.
Larry offered this final piece of advice for new Orangetheory Fitness franchisees: “Take time to really understand the business. Speak to other successful franchisees.”
The LocalLight team at Illuminati Studios has worked with more than 100 Orangetheory Fitness studios. For guidance and growth at any stage of a studio—from presales to grand opening to multi-studio regional expansion—LocalLight is the trusted and approved Orangetheory Fitness expert for localized digital marketing success.