Fitness business marketing ideas can be hard to generate. Every small business now needs to consistently produce marketing content to stay visible in a highly competitive online space. According to Oberlo, the average person spends just under 7 hours per day online – and in that 7 hours there’s a tonne of competition vying for the attention of that one person.
So how do you break through the noise?
More specifically, how do you break through the noise without a background in marketing or an extensive team of creative wizards that fuel the best brands in the business?
The reality is that you don’t need a marketing or social media degree to be good at marketing – so stop worrying that you don’t know what you’re doing.
A lot of it comes down to taking inspiration from successful brands in the industry, really knowing who your ideal member is, and testing things out over and over again until you get the right result.
On top of that, it’s never been easier to create and broadcast marketing content and campaigns. However, sometimes it can be hard to come up with solid and effective marketing ideas.
That’s why we’ve put together an extensive list of proven and practical fitness marketing ideas to get the creative juices flowing and help you create fitness marketing campaigns that will engage and ultimately convert your audience into members.
Skip ahead to:
- Pricing and packaging your offer
- Social media
- Paid advertising
- Google PPC
- Web presence
- Partnerships and networking
Pricing and packaging your offer
So, how do you attract customers to the gym? We’ll first talk about how special offers play into your marketing, because your pricing and your offers will be visible from any marketing channel you choose.
Generally people suffer from a fear of missing out (it’s called FOMO) and when it comes to fitness it’s no different. If you position your offer as only available for a limited period of time (“offer expires at the end of the week”). or with limited capacity (“only 10 spots left”), people will likely want it.
2. Rewards program
Introducing a points system, for example, is an inexpensive way to encourage your members. Members who visit the gym more frequently will earn bonus points that may be used for rewards, discounts, or extra classes. Adding a game element to the program will make it more entertaining and engaging for your members while also rewarding them for their efforts.
3. Anchor pricing with multiple options
Offering multiple pricing options allows your most loyal and excited customers to pay for a higher ticket service while also having an affordable option for the more hesitant customers. Most prospects, however, tend to opt for the middle option.
4. Online options
Online offerings have gotten much more popular due to convenience. This allows for remote training sessions (which skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic), technique videos to review after a class (offered by some combat sports/martial arts gyms), or online communities where gym customers can chat and meet other members.
5. Seasonal promotions
Seasonal promotions always give prospects a bit of an extra push because there’s an understanding that the promotional offer only runs for a limited time. Holidays, gym anniversaries, and summer deals are a few examples of opportunities for seasonal promotions.
As a gym owner, you need to have a good idea of how social media works. It’s a great way to connect with current members and reach out to potential new ones. You can use social media to post special offers, pricing, and packaging deals. You can also use it to share photos and videos of your facility, classes, and events.
Since there are tons of social media marketing platforms out there, we’ll categorize them based on the dominant content types of the platform: text, video, audio, or graphic. Keep in mind that some social media platforms will have multiple content types (Instagram and Facebook in particular).
Check out our in-depth post on social media marketing strategies here.
6. Written: Twitter, Medium, Reddit, LinkedIn
In truth, written content isn’t the most popular content of choice for fitness gyms. This is partly because it can be challenging to get in front of the right audience (they would have to be located within a reasonable distance of your gym to be a good prospect). However, if you can find a channel where you’d know for sure that you can reach your target market, your written content could absolutely work.
7. Video: Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook
Because of the way algorithms from these sites potentially put you in front of the right target audience, marketing with video content works really well. Out of the other content types, video content gets the most engagement too.
Check out our post on video marketing strategy here.
8. Audio: Podcasting
Audio content is less saturated compared to the other content platforms, and people often consume audio content in the background while doing other tasks (on their daily commute to work, cooking at home, etc.), so there’s certainly an opportunity for audio content.
Similar to the written medium, it’s important to make sure that you’re reaching ideal customers for your gym. This could mean that getting featured on local or regional podcasts would be better for marketing your gym despite having less reach than a large podcast with a global audience.
9. Engage with the community with local hashtags or location tagging
You can reach people local to your area by engaging with posts that use hashtags that are local to your city or your area. On Instagram, you can also look at content that recently got posted in specific places or locations. Engaging with these posts gives you a chance to get in front of people in your area.
10. Competitions/Collaborations/Online giveaways for promotion/additional engagement
Collaborating with other relevant brands to do online competitions or giveaways gives you a chance to get exposure and piggyback off of your fellow collaborators’ followers and audience.
Facebook and Instagram ads are text, video, and image-friendly which make them useful for many businesses (but it also makes marketing on them a bit competitive due to how saturated the platform is and how competitive fitness and health marketing is on both platforms.
11. Boost posts
Boosting posts on Facebook is a good way to market your gym. When you boost a post, it will be seen by more people. This is because Facebook will show it to more people who might be interested in what you have to say.
12. Retargeting ads
When you use retargeting ads on Facebook, it targets people who have already expressed some form of initial interest in your gym (watching a video, clicking on a blog post, visiting your website, etc.). Your retargeting audience is far more likely to convert than a reader with zero initial awareness of your gym.
13. Targeting custom audiences (local area)
Since there’s a limit to your retargeting audience, you can target custom audiences with Facebook ads to find the people who are most likely to be interested in your gym.
14. Lookalike audience targeting
Facebook also has an option to target people who are most like your current audience. This usually involves importing your email list into Facebook and letting Facebook find people who are most similar to these accounts (Facebook is able to do this because they track a massive number of data points).
15. Experiment with different conversion goals
The most popular conversion goal is a booking or email sign-up, but gyms have also found other methods of success such as contacting the gym’s WhatsApp account as the call to action.
The Top 10 Barriers Discover more
Slowing Your Fitness
Google ads can help you find people who might be interested in your gym. You can choose to show your ads to people in certain areas, so you can reach the right people.
16. Search ads
You can target specific keywords such as “gyms in Brooklyn NY” to put your gym in front of the people with the right search intent. This helps you target someone who is likely to live close to your gym.
17. Display ads
Google display ads are another option that Google offers to appear in places beyond just the Google Search area.
18. Youtube ads
Youtube ads are great for putting video ads in front of your viewers. You can get ideas for video ads from this unofficial ad library for Youtube.
As far as marketing ideas for your fitness business go, web presence is a long-term play. It’s there, but you’ll need other tactics to bring people to your website.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is important for a gym because it helps potential customers find your gym online. When your gym’s website is optimized for search engines, it will rank higher in the search results, which means more people will see your website and be likely to visit your gym.
Check out our blog post on fitness SEO keywords here.
One of the most important things you can do for your gym’s website is regularly posting fresh content. This will help your website rank higher in the search results and keep your visitors coming back to your site. By posting regular blog articles, you can keep your audience engaged and informed about what’s going on.
Consider boosting this content via Facebook ads and sharing it with your email list.
21. Create a user-friendly website
A user-friendly website is important for your gym because it makes it easy for your visitors to find the information they need. If your website is cluttered or difficult to navigate, people will be less likely to stay on your site and more likely to leave. A user-friendly website makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for and encourages them to stay on your site.
22. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
Mobile-friendliness is important for your gym because more and more people are using their smartphones to access the internet. If your website is not mobile-friendly, it will be difficult for people to view your site on their phones and they may be less likely to visit your gym.
23. Get your business listed in popular niche directories
There are a number of reasons why it’s important for your gym to be listed in popular directories. First, directories are a great way to get exposure for your business. When people search for a gym in your area, they may find your business listed in one of the directories.
24. Google My Business
Google My Business allows you to control how your business appears on Google. You can add photos, hours, and contact information, and people can leave reviews. This can help people find your gym when they’re searching for it online.
25. Encourage people to leave reviews on Google, Yelp, or other sites
Positive reviews can help attract new customers and make your gym appear more credible. If you have a few negative reviews, it’s important to address them and try to fix the problem. This can help improve your gym’s reputation and make people more likely to visit your gym.
26. Banner ads on other sites
Banner ads can be a great way to target a specific audience. For example, if you want to target people who live in your city, you can run ads on local websites. This can help you reach your target market and get more people interested in your gym.
28. Grow your email list
When you communicate with your audience on a social media platform, that platform ultimately controls your ability to reach your audience. Changes to the algorithm and high content saturation affect the visibility of your posts, so having an email list will save you from this volatility.
Besides- email marketing has an ROI of 4200% (or $42 for every $1 spent), so it’s worth putting some money into email marketing.
Incentivize people to sign up for your email list with the following “freebies” or lead magnets:
- Create challenges (like a weight loss challenge)
- Run giveaways for brand awareness
- Video courses
- Fitness Challenges
- Meal plans and shopping lists
- Workout guides or programs
- Free trial
Hosting events is a great way to market your gym because it allows you to interact with potential and current members in a personal setting. Events also give you the opportunity to show off your facility and what it has to offer. They can be a great way to attract new members, and they can also help you retain existing members by providing them with a fun and social environment.
- In-house workshops
- Online events like webinars, Twitter chats or going live on Instagram
- Client appreciation days
- Host a community event at the gym
- Free training day
30. Partnerships and networking
Setting up partnerships and growing your own network creates mutually beneficial relationships for both parties. Both sides gain some level of exposure or value from the exchange.
- Bring local influencers into your gym
- Contribute to local publications (also known as guest posting)
- Feature a gym member every week or month
- Attend local meetups or events
- PR appearances
- Cross-promote and partner with local businesses and communities (health food, juice bar, sporting goods/apparel stores, local farmers’ market etc.)
Referral marketing is a great way to attract new customers and grow your gym. By offering incentives for referrals, you can encourage your current customers to spread the word about your business. This can help you reach a larger audience and attract new customers.
31. Word of mouth
One of the best ways to market a gym is through word of mouth. When your customers are happy with their experience, they’re likely to tell their friends and family about it. This can help you reach more potential customers and grow your business. Done right, your customers are basically doing some of the marketing for you.
32. Start a referral program
You can incentivize your customers to bring in their friends or family with referral awards like discounted classes or memberships. That way, customers have a reason to market your gym business for you.
33. Affiliate program
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing where you reward affiliates for bringing in new customers. This can be a great way to attract new customers and grow your gym. When an affiliate sends a customer to your gym, they earn a commission on that customer’s membership or purchase.
Keep in mind that affiliates aren’t necessarily customers of your gym.
34. Feature and promote customer testimonials
If prospects can see themselves working out at your gym, they’re far more likely to convert into paying customers. Finding a testimonial or raving customer that’s most similar to the prospect in terms of fitness goals makes a very convincing case.
Consider trying only a few tactics at first, especially if your resources are limited in terms of hired help. Marketing can be a full-time job (and department) in itself, so it’s best to make the most effective use of your time instead of trying everything at once. After all, marketing ideas for your fitness business only work if you execute on them well.
To the fullest extent possible, make sure you can track where your leads are coming from. Past the initial experimental stage, you’ll want to know what works best so that you can put more resources into those particular areas.
Knowing your Customer Lifetime Value will also help you figure out how much you can afford to spend on marketing in order to acquire one customer. That way, you can ensure a positive return on investment for your marketing.
Finally, the work doesn’t stop after closing the sale and converting the prospect into a paying customer. Keeping a positive customer experience keeps customer retention rates high, and it’s much cheaper to retain a preexisting customer than it is to acquire a new one.