In recent months, the fitness industry has seen a big change. With COVID-19 dictating a lot of business decisions, fitness brands have adapted to a new normal. As the world adjusts to home working and digital fitness, now is the time to take a look at your fitness club marketing plan and think about the future.
It’s essential that you continue to market your services, especially during a time of economic downturn. Take the opportunity to drive membership sales, reach out to members who have canceled, and market your services using entirely relevant messaging. In this article, we take a look at the changing face of fitness marketing, how a hybrid business model fits into your marketing strategy, and 10 marketing ideas to supercharge your business in 2021.
Skip ahead to:
- COVID-19 and the Changing Face of Fitness Marketing
- Marketing Strategies for a Hybrid Business Model
- 10 Marketing Tips to Supercharge Your Fitness Business in 2021
COVID-19 and the Changing Face of Fitness Marketing
It’s no secret that 2020 has changed our lives. It’s difficult to say which of those changes are set to stay and which are temporary reflexes to the current situation. The fitness industry is resilient and you can see this in the way it’s risen to the challenge of the pandemic and continued to keep people fit and in shape.
With community at the heart of the fitness sector, many businesses are getting creative with their marketing approach during the pandemic. It’s more important than ever to connect and engage with your community. Whether it’s developing your quarantine 15 weight-loss program or launching your COVID-secure campaign, you want to be in a strong position to see out 2020 and get ready for the new year.
By leveraging your unique value proposition you can switch up your marketing mix so that you’re ready to tackle a post-pandemic world. As consumer priorities change and evolve, your marketing messaging needs to remain relevant. For example, this year people are feeling more isolated with restrictions on seeing friends and family. Fitness can help support mental well-being and manage stress. By marketing your services in a way that helps consumers with the problem they are struggling with, you can support and engage members.
The Fitness Business Podcast explores this further in its episode on rebuilding your sales and marketing in 2021. Key points of the episode including talking about what your marketing message will look like and the changes to the fitness sales and marketing landscape in 2021.
Marketing Strategies for a Hybrid Business Model
For many gym and small business owners, your business model may look a lot different from how you started in 2020. If you’re now running both digital and physical elements to your business, your marketing plan needs to take this into account. With a shift towards home working and digital fitness, your fitness streaming and on-demand platform allows you to generate income even in the wake of studio and gym closures.
The New Year is a natural time to reflect on the previous year and polish your strategy as a relatively newly formed hybrid business. Planning, creating, and launching a digital fitness platform takes a lot of time and hard work. In what should take months, many businesses produced this in weeks. The fitness industry quickly pivoted to a digital way of working, constantly reacting to the ever-changing pandemic situation.
When you react and adapt on the go, it’s a good idea to look back and make sure that your strategy still underpins your marketing goals and ideals. When marketing for a hybrid business model, some factors change. For example, your target audience has the potential to grow massively for your digital platform, while your fitness facility is still restricted by location proximity. With a growing number of audience personas and branching out to the home wellness crowd, your marketing messaging needs to evolve with you.
To explore this topic further, listen to David Steel on The Fitness Founders Podcast who talks about how to cut through the noise with your marketing. David is a Chief Viral Officer of Sneeze.it, a social media marketing and consulting firm. In the episode, he discusses building and targeting different personas and how to create a better offer than your competition.
10 Marketing Tips to Supercharge Your Fitness Business in 2021
2020 has seen a massive rise in virtual fitness as gym owners turn to online content creation to minimize losses. From boutique fitness centers to large gym chains, business owners are noticing an undeniable interest in online fitness. As we look toward 2021, here are 10 marketing tips to supercharge your fitness business.
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Slowing Your Fitness
1. Welcome Members Back Campaign
The rules and restrictions vary from city to city throughout the world. Whether you’re in a lockdown or not, the fitness landscape is constantly changing. A campaign to welcome current customers back to your facility could be just what they need to get excited about exercise and visiting you in a COVID-secure way. With any marketing campaign encouraging members to visit you, it’s a good idea to emphasize the procedures you have in place to ensure safety and strict hygiene levels. Host a re-launch week with special workouts and offer new clients a personalized workout and nutrition plan. Creating a new fitness plan for members could help get them back on track, especially if they have struggled to exercise consistently at home.
2. Revamp Your Social Media Gym Marketing Strategy
The world of social media marketing is an ever-changing space. With new social media platforms and tools, some are the future of marketing while others are a temporary fad. It’s important to keep on top of your social media plan to make sure your efforts and finances are directed in the right place. Make sure you post regularly, engage with your audience, and are completely authentic. Things like Facebook Ads, Instagram Reels, online shopping on Instagram, and Twitter’s own version of Stories ‘Fleets’ could become even bigger. It often pays to be an early adaptor of trending social media tools.
3. Switch Up Your Fitness Marketing Strategies
Relevancy is key to your marketing strategy. Spotlight home fitness success stories and exercises you can do in your backyard. With more people working from home, consumers are looking to do more in the home. Switch up your messaging to adapt to the situation your target market is experiencing. Now is a great time to market your digital fitness platform, host virtual community events, and spotlight influential fitness instructors and trainers. If your fitness club is temporarily closed, boost your virtual personal training with one-on-one digital personal trainers and instructors.
4. Provide Useful Content
Content marketing is still hugely relevant to the customer journey. It’s important to think with a mobile-first approach to your content. Things like mobile-friendly websites and apps can help better service your new clients. Create useful and relevant content that drives value and positions your brand as an authority. Video streaming continues to be increasingly popular as an effective way to engage with your audience and generate leads. The age-old marketing term ‘Content is King’ is still hugely relevant.
5. New Year Fitness Campaign
The holidays and changing seasons are an excellent time to launch a new campaign. Often, one of the biggest sign-up periods for gyms and fitness studios is in the New Year. It’s hardly surprising to hear that a lot of new customers tend to sign up in January. You can utilize both digital and physical parts of your business by offering virtual fitness challenges alongside your gym challenge. Although some current clients might be first in the door on January 1, others are more hesitant about certain activities. By hosting digital and physical New Year challenges, you cater to multiple audiences while boosting member retention.
6. Market Your Digital Memberships
With a digital fitness membership, location is not important. If you have a strong internet connection, you can stream to potentially multiple countries. This means that you will be marketing your digital content to a much wider target audience. Of course, it’s still important to market your services in a targeted way. However, you will be dealing with more member personas and expanding demographics, and the messaging needs to reflect this. For example, you may want to market your digital platform by hosting a virtual webinar on fitness and nutrition to promote your services.
7. Make Full Use of Video Marketing
Video marketing has been growing over the past few years and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Almost every marketing prediction of 2021 includes the same advice which is that your marketing strategy needs to include video. This is relevant across so many industries but especially in the fitness world. If your competition is using video, you need to up your game. From super-short clips to live streaming and interactive video, it’s important to take advantage of video marketing.
8. Engage With Customers Remotely
The word ‘remote’ is popping up in most areas now. With remote working, remote fitness, and remote doctor’s appointments, many people are adapting to a remote way of life. Being able to engage with customers without physically seeing them is a key part of the success of your business. The way you communicate and engage with your members has a big impact on your brand image. Tools like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories are a good way to engage with your customers remotely while still being authentic and adding value.
9. Optimize Content for Voice Search
Digital marketing is comprised of a mixture of tools and strategies to promote your services and drive membership. If you’ve ever asked Siri where the nearest tennis courts are or what should you eat after a workout, you’re using voice search. Alexa, Cortana, and Google are all examples of voice search technology. The number of households in the US who have a smart speaker is expected to rise to 55% by 2022. As the number of people who use voice search over typing grows, it will come an essential part of enhancing the customer experience, boosting traffic, and beating out the competition.
10. Target Cancelled Memberships
In uncertain economic times, it’s perfectly understandable that some members may have canceled their gym memberships. Between job losses and financial worry, cutting down costs seems like the only option. Perhaps a member canceled because your facility was closed or maybe they wanted to try out your competition. Whatever the reason for leaving, target your ex-members with an offer they can refuse. A great offer is to the point, adds value, and is almost impossible for someone to say no to. We delve into this topic more in our guide on how to create a compelling offer to not only attract but retain members.
Marketing is an investment in your success. Although it can be tempting to tighten the marketing budget, you an opportunity to thrive. Even though 2021 brings a lot of unknowns to the table, by consistently marketing your business as a safe, fun, and healthy place to get fit, you can continue to thrive. You have the chance to attract new members and expand your reach way beyond your physical location. The end of the year is the ideal time to look back at your business and figure out where to put your marketing efforts for the biggest impact.