Across the globe it’s estimated that there are over 201,000 fitness clubs, gyms, and fitness centers worldwide, according to this article by policyadvice.net.
That’s a big market and one which is worth over $87 billion in revenue. And, while the last 18 months have been disastrous for the fitness industry, there are now positive signs of recovery. In fact, The Financial Times recently reported that class sizes and revenues are close to returning to pre-pandemic levels in the US, and investors are beginning to invest in up and coming franchise concepts.
However, the rise of online fitness is fueling increased competition in the market. More people have shifted towards working out online. Allied Market Research predicts the virtual fitness market will be valued at $59,231 million by 2027.
In light of this, it’s more important than ever to have a well thought out gym marketing strategy for your business.
In this article, we will focus on what gym marketing is, why it’s important and some strategies you can implement to start growing your fitness business today.
Skip ahead to:
- What is gym marketing?
- Why is gym marketing important?
- Timeless types of gym marketing
- 7 ways to market your gym
What is gym marketing?
The concept of marketing is pretty simple. The topic is easily made complicated by the seemingly thousands of “gurus” out there claiming to possess the secret to marketing success. The reality is that there is a much simpler explanation than that.
Marketing is basically the ways and means by which you create awareness about your business and the products or services you offer. This awareness is created specifically amongst a target audience – basically the person who is most likely to purchase your product or service.
Within marketing, there are many different channels by which you can reach your intended target audience. And within these channels, there are different strategies that you can implement to ensure your marketing message has the most impact. Later on in this article we will look at the different channels and strategies that are available to you as a business owner.
Why is gym marketing important?
Gym marketing is not something that any gym owner should overlook. Fitness is a necessity and something that is evolving as nearly as quickly as technology. This means the demand is only going to soar, and so is the competition. For this reason, you have to do everything you can to show your services and facilities are the best!
Now only that gym marketing helps you to engage with existing members and allow them to feel valued like you’re thinking of them. Remember, feeling valued is key to help members stay engaged with your services and stay with you in the long run.
Moreover, in addition to competitions, there are other circumstances such as social events or holidays like Christmas, New Year, Birthdays, and more where you may notice a drop in your attendance. Similarly, you probably endure specific months where there is a huge drop in membership; as mentioned in another article, it’s not uncommon for 80% of members who join in January to drop out within the first 5 months.
Therefore having effective gym marketing can help counteract this and allow your fitness business to experience a consistent membership base.
Gym marketing is also an effective way to put your gym on the map. While clients are an asset to your reputation, gym marketing assists your reputation in other ways. Gym marketing allows you to showcase your persona offline and online, enabling you to be remembered by many people in your area and perhaps even further.
Ultimately, you need to have effective gym marketing for your fitness club to survive!
Timeless types of gym marketing
Regarding gym marketing, there’s not just one but a few types to try, like technology; it’s constantly innovating, which means it would take multiple posts if we mentioned them all! However, the main ones that tend to stay the same over time are:
In today’s world, you rarely see a gym without a discount offer. This is because everyone loves to feel like they’re getting value for their money, which means saving or getting something for free. Some gyms offer discounts like a special day, monthly or yearly rate for those working out in offpeak times.
They also provide discounts to seniors and offer slashed rates in quiet periods to encourage more sign-ups in dire times. Generally, gyms tend to use values to retain and gain members and also allow them to develop a presence that they’re inclusive towards all types of people in the community.
Not everyone likes to work out on their own; in fact, it can take a lot of confidence for people to hit the gym. Many gyms incorporate a refer a friend scheme that allows existing members to invite friends to join the gym at a cheaper cost.
But the benefit isn’t just for the new client; it also allows existing members to receive money off their monthly pass, personalized meal plans, free classes, or anything else you decide. This type of marketing is valuable as it allows the members to feel important. It can trigger a train reaction inviting other people to join quickly, increasing your membership base.
In today’s times, many gyms are choosing to provide free taster sessions to the public by providing them free workouts. A lot of these workouts are conducted over channels like Zoom, Facebook and Instagram live.
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Similarly, some gyms provide free in-person classes allowing to lure
people in quickly. If you choose to do it online, it also saves you time worrying about the type of content you’re going to provide, as it also doubles up on the content scope.
7 ways to market your gym
If you’re stuck for ways to innovate your gym, don’t worry; we are here to help you; here are some gym marketing ideas to help showcase to your demographic the best of what you’ve got:
1. Google My Business
Google is the king search engine of the internet; in fact, there are over 246 million users alone just in the USA. Google has become the go-to destination for people to reference their facts and view the credibility of a business.
Arguably people are less about TripAdvisor and tend to use Google My Business to see the online presence, photos, and customer reviews. Having a free Google My Business Profile allows potential members to search you when looking for a gym in their area. As a result, they can easily contact you, visit your website and find out more information about you. It will also help with your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for digital marketing purposes.
2. Use Facebook and Instagram
Who isn’t using social media nowadays? Social media is an effective form of fitness marketing. As a gym owner, you should be utilizing Facebook and Instagram for social media marketing, as a lot of it is free. It allows you to creatively make posts that showcase your business, advertise the latest and discounts to potential clients.
Plus, if your content is good, it will allow your audience to like, comment, and share your posts, causing a domino effect within the online community. This can enable more people to see your business easily while paying less money to advertise than you would on the TV or in a local newspaper. Do note that it’s important that you create your own business page on both platforms so you can access analytical insights to monitor the interactions and conversions you’re getting.
Remember to have a catchy profile picture, cover photo, and bio to lure in more customers. You will also want to ensure you update your contact details as soon as you make any changes to stop you from losing out on potential customers. Plus make sure to include relevant hashtags to get your content trending in your area.
3. Include emailing and app referral marketing
Yes, we know we mentioned referral marketing earlier in our timeless marketing plan section, but it’s really an effective strategy. It would help if you looked at providing electronic referrals that include incentives. You may want to consider incentives for current members such as free workout programs, gym merchandise, discounted memberships, and free passes. Once you’ve decided on this, you can initiate your persuasive referral scheme using the following:
Email marketing: Email referrals are an effective and easy referral option for your members to refer customers. It does not cost much to do either; all you need is a simple Google form to customize towards your referral program. Make sure the form includes space for the referrer and the person details they’re referring to. Then as soon as the information is verified, you can send out the discounts and establish a professional online presence.
Mobile app: If you have an app for members to use for your gym, you can provide them with a time effective option to refer friends and family within your own app. Just make sure you include a part that says invite a friend or family member. Then your members will add a channel to advertise it through, such as a phone number, text message or email.
Then as soon as they’ve selected their friend or family member will receive an invitation link. Following this, once the invitation link has been clicked, all the person will need to do is fill out the form and get the reward.
4. Have a user friendly website
Having a great website is equally as important as using Google My Business if not more important. If you have a website that is easy to navigate, it will encourage more visitors to book services or enquire about your gym.
Most importantly, an attractive gym website increases your credibility and enables you to show people what your gym is all about. To make your website stand out, it’s important to hire a professional designer and optimize your website for mobiles. You’ll also want to include a booking portal where people can sign up and book classes or services.
5. Create monthly, quarterly, and annual challenges
You may find that many members of your gym love to see their progress. One way of catering to your go getter members is providing competitions or challenges for them. You may want to consider conducting yearly marathons, triathlons, fun runs, or obstacle courses.
These events are fantastic as they also allow others outside your gym to get involved, showing that you care about others in the community. Who knows if the event is successful, the press might come and document it, which also means free advertising for you!
6. Sponsor charities and people
As a gym, if you actively sponsor charities, it will show people in the community that you care more about profit in the long run. Similarly, it adds another layer to your reputation showing you’re a compassionate business that is inspiring others to make a change.
The same applies to sponsoring people, whether it’s local soccer teams, fighters, or any other athlete. You might even wish to hold fundraising events to help your employees and members raise money. Getting people to do this together will give them greater value and feel part of something.
7. Create posters and leaflets
Noticeboards have not gone extinct just yet! While you can see advertising online, the paper form is still effective. All it takes is a good design with enticing information, and you can post these through people’s doors, attach them to street lights or ask businesses to put them up in their store. This form of marketing is effortless as it allows people to view your services without even trying.
Pre and post covid remains the same; to survive as a gym business owner, you have to innovate. This means you must come up with effective strategies to market your gym offline and online. Successful marketing will allow you to retain members and also grow your business steadily.