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Guerrilla marketing ideas for gyms in 2022

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Competition between large gym chains and small fitness businesses is growing. That’s reflected in the way they approach advertisements and marketing methods amongst other things. 

Traditional marketing is not the only option you have now as a gym business owner. In the age of the eccentric and the unusual, the more viral a campaign gets, the better. 

Guerrilla marketing is one such method that isn’t only inexpensive but delivers a punchier tagline than most orthodox methods can.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly and interactive marketing campaign, then we’ve got some ideas to help you get started with setting up a guerrilla marketing campaign for your gym.

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What is guerrilla marketing?

The term Guerrilla marketing was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in the 1980s. 

It refers to marketing tactics that use the element of surprise and shock in unconventional ways. It’s a fairly novel marketing idea that works by emotionally targeting its audience.

Guerrilla marketing is a creative marketing approach that uses new or quirky tactics to increase sales or create brand awareness. 

These methods are often relatively economical and involve the use of personal communication and social media. Often, the aim of such a marketing campaign would be to go viral through social media.

Your target audience is likely to resonate with your brand more deeply when they are exposed to an advertisement in a manner they were not expecting. That could include placing advertisements on real-life objects with vague references to your brand.

It’s a form of experiential or engagement marketing – which is a marketing plan that engrosses customers in the offered service or product with eye-catching ads. It can enable potential customers to not just purchase your product or service, but to actually live out the experience as well.

Guerrilla marketing is not to be confused with ambush marketing. This can include promoting your brand at public gatherings such as concerts or any large-scale sporting event.

Ambush marketing works by associating the brand with a significant event – given that you don’t have an affiliation with the organizers of the event.

Pros of using guerrilla marketing for your fitness business

Here are some benefits of supplementing your marketing efforts with guerrilla marketing:

Creative brand awareness

You can complement your good SEO with effective guerrilla marketing to bring more eyeballs to your fitness business. This compounding effect can deliver better results than either of these techniques can alone.

Cost-effective

It doesn’t take much in monetary terms to be viral and successful in your marketing campaign. It just requires creativity, a solid guerrilla marketing plan and awareness of the latest trends. 

That’s a great low-cost solution for small businesses that serves high rewards.

Grows with word of mouth

Guerrilla marketing tactics work on the principle of the snowball effect. Strategize well and give your target audience something to talk about. Your campaign becomes more successful by employing the power of word-of-mouth advertisement in your favor.

More reach

Guerrilla marketing might help you reach people that your other content doesn’t due to the creative nature of this form of marketing. That could mean more interest in your gym which enhances your brand awareness.

Potential for a lasting impression on people

Research shows that consumers no longer respond to the more traditional advertising methods. Guerrilla marketing doesn’t come off as an advertisement initially. Thus adding the advantage of surprise and leaving a longer-lasting impression on your intended audience.

Guerrilla marketing ideas for gyms and fitness studios

Here are some creative guerrilla marketing ideas that you can use for your fitness business: 

Billboards

You can still use the more traditional methods of advertisement if you couple them with fresh ideas. To reach a larger audience, billboards are still indispensable.

Burger king launched a very successful guerrilla marketing campaign in 2020 displaying a moldy burger on billboards. 

While this seems counterproductive, it was actually a very clever way to show that they use only preservative-free produce. They played into the changing trends towards healthier food choices to attract customers.

Pop-ups

Pop-ups are a very trendy new marketing technique that uses experiential marketing to improve brand awareness. Not only is it very cost-effective but also more lucrative for the younger generation.

Holding an impromptu fitness class in an unusual public place is a great way to advertise your gym. It could encourage passers to join in and experience your fitness class.

Social media

In the age of social media, guerrilla marketing has multiple benefits. 

You can harvest the marketing potential of user-generated content on social media by encouraging members to post about their experiences online. 

Dedicate a place in the gym where members can snap pictures or make videos about their work-outs. Provide props or unusual backgrounds with your logo. Not only will it encourage them to come in more often, but it’s also free online advertisement of your fitness brand!

Content marketing

Viral marketing starts with a good, solid idea that plays into the audience’s emotions. Use the power of social media by creating a challenge, video, or advertisement that prompts action.

The ice bucket challenge was extremely successful because it used three different calls of action. Invert an ice bucket on your head. Donate. Challenge your friends to take the challenge as well. 

This proved to be much more successful than simply asking for donations to support people with ALS. You can promote your fitness content as well as that of your users to supplement your marketing efforts. 

Stickers

Stickers are a very cost-effective way for fitness businesses to advertise their brands. A sticker on someone’s car, phone or belonging is like a personal recommendation from them. It’s a great strategy to utilize word-of-mouth to speed-up brand awareness.

You can print out out-of-the-box stickers and pass them out among members and gym visitors as part of your advertising campaign.

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Street art

Street art can be highly effective if done correctly. It’s more successful than passing out flyers or cards. In the age of Snapchat and Instagram, pictures speak louder than any advertising content.

Recruit artists to create engaging street art for your brand. This could be window displays or sidewalk chalk art. The highly visual nature of such street art will encourage your members and passers to snap pictures and post online. 

Thus allowing you to increase your marketing reach many folds without any extra effort or expenditure.

Unique T-shirts or merchandise

Merchandise can be an alternative source of revenue for your brand and double as advertisement as well. 

Invest in creating t-shirts, gym gear, and other merchandise that is practical as well as unconventional.

T-shirts with catchy workout lines or key-chains that double as bike locks are a great idea to generate income while advertising your gym. This way your gym members will double up as part of your marketing team.

Offering guest passes to certain customers

Offering guest passes are a great way to make your members feel like they are getting an exclusive perk while attracting potential customers. 

Allow acquaintances of loyal members to also share in the experience that your fitness center offers by offering occasional passes. That can be done by achieving certain milestones or special events such as birthdays.

Examples of guerrilla marketing to inspire you

Here are some successful guerilla marketing examples to inspire your next marketing campaign:

Fitness First

Fitness First is the largest chain of gyms in Berlin. 

They employed a rather peculiar idea to bring in more gym members and create health awareness. Instead of more conventional marketing techniques, they decided to target restaurant-goers.

They partnered up with surrounding restaurants and introduced the concept of a ‘calorie receipt’. This was the number of calories their meal contained. 

This ‘calorie receipt’ was issued at the end of the meal and doubled up as a voucher for Fitness First. It delivered a high-impact message by showing the number of calories consumed. 

That made people more inclined to check out the gym at a discounted price. This strategy proved to be very successful for the gym in recruiting new members.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola Company is the torchbearer in quirky marketing strategies. 

One of their more well-known campaigns is the variety of their vending machines. They have used the machine itself to promote their tagline and brand. 

These modified vending machines surprise people and record their reactions. They call these “happiness machines” promoting the idea that Coca-Cola is more a feeling than a drink. 

Coca-Cola placed these machines at strategic locations of New York and Queens. Similar machines helped immigrant workers make calls home in Dubai in exchange for bottle caps.

That’s guerrilla marketing at its best because it spikes audiences’ interest and uses word-of-mouth to advertise. They also use feel-good content to link their brand and product to happy events and emotions

Snapchat

Snapchat managed to turn a flop into a success using guerrilla marketing. Google launched Google Glasses in 2012 which were met with a cold welcome. After two years of unsuccessfully trying to market the product, they shut down production.

Snap, the parent company of snap chat, purchased the rights to the product and re-launched it. 

They rebranded the glasses as the latest trendy gadget. Claiming to be sunglasses that multiplied as a camera and directly connected to Snapchat. 

Their guerrilla marketing strategy was more dynamic and flourished. They employed the power of FOMO to sell to the younger generation. Overnight people were lining up to buy a pair with many even willing to pay above retail price to claim the glasses.

UNICEF

UNICEF proved that guerilla marketing campaigns can be equally effective in the non-profit sector as well. 

They placed modified vending machines on public spots that dispensed bottles of dirty water

The campaign aimed to create awareness for two causes. The lack of clean water accessibility for millions. And the wastefulness and environmental impact of single-use plastic water bottles.

Each button on the vending machine displayed the name of a different water-borne disease. It exhibited the problems faced by many in the less privileged parts of the world. 

They generated empathy and awareness for their cause by making the suffering more relatable on a personal level.

In summary

Digital marketing is changing. People are getting fed up with too much content that’s everywhere. 

To stand out, you need to change the form of marketing for your gym. Guerrilla marketing offers the component of surprise that could prove to be the missing element needed to elevate your fitness brand. 

Sometimes, unconventional methods can give you impressive results in reaching potential customers

You have to know what to use according to your business type. Oftentimes, we’ve seen businesses use flash mobs as a guerrilla marketing strategy. But that might not work for a gym.

If you want great results, use Glofox’s marketing tools to customize and find the perfect marketing solutions for your fitness business.

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