Fitness marketing is a key part of success within any fitness business. Attracting new customers to your business and standing out in a sea of noise is hard. An effective marketing strategy focuses on building a strong brand and identifies new opportunities to bring in and engage potential customers.
In today’s world, digital marketing is a crucial part of your strategy in an increasingly digital way of living. There’s a huge emphasis on how you can get in front of your customers in a seamless and natural way. As gyms and fitness centers continue to shift, we’re seeing digital-only and hybrid businesses adapt to changing consumer behavior. As your business evolves, your marketing strategy needs to remain relevant and innovative.
In this article, we try to understand the fitness marketing landscape right now and some marketing strategies you can implement to grow your business.
Skip ahead to:
- What is fitness marketing?
- The digital marketing landscape is more competitive than ever
- 3 pillars of effective fitness marketing
- 11 fitness marketing strategies to grow your business
What is fitness marketing?
The basis of fitness marketing is getting the right message to the right people at the right time. When you can connect these three elements and provide value, instead of selling you can attract more members.
Gym marketing is any action that you do to promote and sell your services. Marketing is an overarching strategy that can include several elements. Through market research and analysis, you’re looking to find out how, when, and where does your customer want to communicate with your business? The fundamental purpose of marketing is to attract members to your business. There are several types of marketing including:
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing
- Paid advertising
- Direct marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Event marketing
The digital marketing landscape is more competitive than ever
No matter the size of your business, digital marketing is essential. As the digital marketing landscape is becoming even more crowded, it’s crucial that you don’t fall behind with your marketing strategy. It’s likely that digital marketing will continue to grow in demand. Fitness brands will need to position themselves strategically to gain a competitive edge. To give you an idea of how digital marketing has evolved, here are some standout statistics:
- Global digital advertising spend is forecast to hit $646 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.
- US LinkedIn ad spend exceeded $1 billion in 2019, which is a 40% growth in ad spend since 2016.
- 61% of marketing leaders don’t use return on investment (ROI) when making strategic decisions because they are not confident in their own data.
- 81% of marketers are worried about how using third-party data could raise privacy concerns.
With digital marketing more important than ever, more businesses are understanding how vital digital and mobile channels are for acquiring new customers. You can create an effective marketing strategy for your gym or fitness studio with the right plan. There is a practically endless amount of ways that you can market your gym. Fun and engaging fitness marketing campaigns can target your ideal customer and provide value.
For expert insight, listen to Chris Cooper, a gym owner, author, and founder of the Two Brain Business. He talks about where fitness operators need to spend time and money to be successful and how marketing is more than a business cost; it’s an investment.
3 pillars of effective fitness marketing
A strong and effective marketing strategy connects your brand to your customers. From establishing a powerful digital presence to crafting a high-converting landing page for your latest digital membership launch, fitness marketing is intertwined within your business. Although the best marketing plans may have slightly different techniques and methods, the core of an effective marketing strategy is similar.
Complete understanding of the target audience
To communicate your message and craft valuable content that engages the customer, you need to know who you are speaking to. It may sound like an obvious one, but having a complete understanding of your target audience is essential in marketing. Great messaging in marketing uses the exact words of your target audience. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to know your target customers. Analyzing your audience is a crucial step in your business and marketing strategy. You can define your audience using various metrics like demographics, psychographics, interests, education, occupation, and consumer behavior.
The right message at the right time
Timing is especially important in things like email marketing and posting on social media. Brands that send emails at improper times may come across as spammy. If you’re sending emails when your customers are asleep, you run the risk of being annoying instead of informative. The best timing for marketing activities comes down to when your customers will be paying the most attention. When you combine great timing with relevant messaging, your audience is more likely to be paying attention and respond to your marketing as the messaging is relevant to them.
A compelling offer and attention-grabbing content
Today, savvy marketers create compelling offers that are too irresistible to turn down. They create the fear of missing out (FOMO) and drive the feeling of scarcity and urgency. Alongside this, marketers use attention-grabbing, valuable, and relevant content to engage their audiences. By combining audience understanding, timing, messaging, and creative, it helps to create a compelling offer.
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11 fitness marketing strategies to grow your business
There are several fitness marketing ideas you can use within your marketing activities. Usually, gyms and fitness businesses use a combination of marketing strategies. Depending on your niche, some marketing strategies may clearly work better than others. By starting with your marketing objectives and goals, you can create your marketing plan. Whether you’re looking to raise brand awareness or attract new gym members, your marketing efforts should support your overall marketing and business goals.
1. Gym referral program
A gym referral program is a system that encourages members to refer their friends and family to your gym. Typically, you have an incentive or reward for both the referrer and referee. The idea is that you turn your members into brand cheerleaders who then recommend your services to friends who they think would like your gym. A good referral program is easy to use, stays true to its promise, and has a relevant reward. You can market your gym referral program through email, blogs, social media, and your website.
2. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has been around for a while now. Influencers are more accessible, especially for local businesses and brands. Moving into 2022, brands will likely focus on creating long-term partnerships with influencers in their niche, acting as brand ambassadors. Influencer videos on Reels, TikTok, and IGTV will continue to be popular. Influencer marketing doesn’t necessarily mean having millions of followers. More and more brands are looking for micro-influencers with fewer but very engaged followers within their niche.
3. Video marketing
The demand for video content is high. Shooting quick videos to potential clients is a great way to grab attention and drive sales and website traffic. These days, being able to capture and hold attention within a few seconds is hard. That’s where video comes in. Videos are ideal for attracting new members and telling your brand’s story. Video content also helps to build trust with viewers and explain a topic in more detail. For instance, a video explaining your updated cleaning and COVID-19 protocols is an effective yet simple way to offer reassurance to new and existing members.
4. Communicate brand values
Consumers are more aware than ever of sustainability, equality, rights, and other key events in the world. Your core brand values, ethics, and views, have a significant impact on how your customers view your business. By being authentic, consistent, and transparent in your messaging, you can showcase your values. Statistics show that 69% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that support socially conscious causes. There is a renewed awareness that brands need to connect with potential customers through their personal values. Whether that’s more diversity and inclusion in your marketing efforts or a commitment to your brand values, it has an impact.
5. Social media marketing
Within the world of social media marketing, you have various avenues you can take. First, a strong digital presence with up-to-date social media business pages is key. You can then consider social media advertising, Facebook ads, your organic social media strategy, and the type of content you share. With social media, you have the power to reach a large target audience. But, in general, social media is expected by the consumer. It’s where potential members will check to see if your culture and gym are a good fit for them. Reviews, posts, and engagement can all impact your social media marketing plan. Although there are a lot of options when it comes to social media channels, it’s a good idea to focus on the networks that your target audience uses the most. This could be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
6. Share success stories
Sharing success stories is a great way to boost your fitness marketing. Through success stories, you can show where someone started and where they are now. It’s important that your success stories are very relatable. A potential customer can then see themselves in that position. The marketing message is showing the customer that this is where you are now and this is where you can be by using these services. Reviews and success stories are crucial parts of increasing social proof and attracting new clients.
7. Nurture your virtual community
Building and nurturing online communities add value to your business. Connecting with customers has never been more important and online communities can be a great space for supporting customers, upselling services, and creating happy members. Online communities can help you to better understand your target audience so that you can further refine your marketing strategy. You can also find out where your members need more support and create content that drives even more value.
8. User-generated content
User-generated content establishes trust between customers and brands. This kind of content can come in different forms like videos, images, text, and audio. When a customer creates unique content for your brand, it gives you the opportunity to get some exclusive content as well as some insight into your customers. This type of content is authentic and adds credibility as it’s based on a real person who has used your services. The end result is more traffic, higher conversion rates, and great organic content.
9. Email marketing
Whether you run a yoga studio, fitness club, or you’re launching a new digital personal training offering, email marketing can help you to promote your services. With billions of email users around the world, email marketing can be a cost-effective way to promote and grow your business. When used properly, email automation can do more than attract new customers, it can help build brand loyalty and maintain long-term customer relationships.
10. Blog strategically
Your blog is an important element of your marketing strategy. A content-first marketing strategy can drive traffic, and ultimately, boost conversions. But, to create a successful blog, it’s a good idea to lead with purpose and craft a strategy. You want to provide your target audience with valuable and useful information while building your brand’s reputation and authority as a leader in your niche. Your blog marketing strategy will play a big role in your blog’s success.
11. Conversational marketing
Conversational marketing is centered around real-time interactions across multiple channels. It helps to improve the online customer experience by communicating online in a more personalized way. Marketing tools like chatbots, live chat, and messaging apps are used for conversational marketing. Even dialogue with chatbots tends to be quite informal so that it replicates a real conversation. Conversational marketing can help to improve the customer experience and move potential customers through the sales funnel faster.
Whether you’re looking to entice new prospects with a limited time offer or increase brand awareness with a comprehensive blog strategy and social media presence, your marketing strategy helps you reach your business goals. Leverage marketing opportunities to tap into a wider market and implement fitness marketing activities that deliver.