All gym owners worth their salt knows that getting the word out there about their fitness business is the key to success.
When starting out, the initial buzz can be enough to get gym members in the door for a month or two. But after a while, you’ll need to come up with different marketing ideas and strategies to keep this consistent.
Running promotions is one of the easiest and most effective ways to kick your fitness marketing game up a gear, attract more clients, generate cash flow and beef up your bottom line.
However, with so much information about promotions out there, it can be hard to discern which offers and strategies work and which don’t.
This really matters because what many fitness entrepreneurs miss is that using the wrong promotion at the wrong time can end up doing more harm than good to your brand.
However, don’t be deterred. Because in this article we’re going to explore what components go into a successful promotional campaign and then we’ll look at 7 proven promotion ideas that’ll skyrocket your business to new heights
Sounds good? Let’s jump in!
How to Create the Perfect Gym Promotion
Promoting your gym the right way can produce stellar results for your fitness business. Promotions let you generate cash flow quickly, smash sales targets and scale-up.
But they also have the potential to damage your brand without properly planning. That’s why it’s essential to know the basics of how to create a successful promotional offer.
Let’s examine 3 key components of the most successful gym promotion ideas.
Understand What Your Audience Wants
The first step in creating a killer promotional idea is to understand exactly who you’re speaking to and what it is that they want. Having a solid grasp of exactly what motivates your audience will supercharge the effectiveness of your fitness marketing campaign.
Different audiences will respond to different offers. For example, it’s pretty likely that a target group of students will be motivated by lower prices, so a 30% off promotion could work wonders if your target market is in college.
Contrast this with a group of corporate executives who probably aren’t motivated price but instead are more likely to be interested in something like additional one-on-one coaching or greater time flexibility.
When creating a marketing campaign or promotion make sure to deeply research your audience and uncover what makes them tick. This gives you a better chance of generating gym promotion ideas that your prospects simply won’t be able to resist.
Set a Goal for Your Gym Promotion Ideas
Once you know who your audience is and what they want, it’s time to set a goal for what you want to achieve.
Setting a specific and measurable goal will give your promotional efforts greater focus and guide you to choose the optimal type of campaign to meet your targets.
For example, you might be looking to increase memberships. Or you could be trying to re-engage lapsed members and get them in the door again.
Whatever it is you need to know that different outcomes require different types of promotion. So, define your outcome goal clearly before you settle on the type of promotion you’re going to use.
Time Your Gym Promotion
When it comes to promotional ideas, timing is key. The right offer in front of the right prospects, at the right time, is when the magic happens.
Offers that align with seasonal trends often offer great returns. For example, you could offer a summer body boot camp in March, April, and May or consider creating a special discount on fitness classes for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
You don’t just have to limit the timing of your offer to seasonal events though. Many brands achieve excellent results through personalized offers like sending birthday discounts to members.
One key aspect to include in your offer where possible is an element of scarcity. If your offer expires within a time window or is limited to a certain number of clients, then it’ll encourage more folks to take action because they won’t want to miss out.
If your offer doesn’t have a set end-date the value of scarcity will be diminished.
When putting your gym promotion together, remember to start by researching your audience and finding out what they want. Then determine a goal for your campaign to narrow your focus and give you measurable results. Then lastly, consider the timing of your offer and include a sense of scarcity. When you properly consider these three components, you’ll set yourself up with the greatest chance of running a record-breaking promotional offer.
Okay, now we understand the basics of what makes a gym promotion work, let’s get some inspiration for the different types of promotion we can use in our business.
7 Proven Gym Promotion Ideas
Skip ahead to:
- 1. Get Leads with Bring a Friend for Free
- 2. Entice with A Transformation Challenge
- 3. Build Your Tribe with Loyalty Card Promotions
- 4. Partner with Other Businesses
- 5. Cash-in With Corporate Challenges
- 6. Get Social with Free Giveaways
- 7. Attend (or Create) A Wellness Event
1. Get Leads with Bring a Friend for Free
When it comes to selling memberships, your best salespeople mightn’t be on your payroll. There’s a good chance instead that they’re the folks training in your facility each week.
That’s because personal referrals are an incredibly powerful form of marketing. They allow you to leverage your current member’s results and satisfaction by offering them the chance to bring one of their friends along to train for free.
Nothing beats good word-of-mouth marketing.
Think about running a referral program during the quieter months of the year to encourage new sign-ups and boost your cash flow while your competitors are experiencing a slowdown.
To turn this promotion up a notch, you can encourage your members to refer potential new members by offering a bonus if their friends decide to sign-up as members – it could be a month’s free training or some free swag.
Just be sure to collect the contact details of all new leads so you can follow up and convert them into paying members at a later date. The results will speak for themselves.
2. Entice with A Transformation Challenge
When the winter frost thaws out, few things motivate people to transform their bodies for the better like wanting to get in shape for the beach.
Depending on where you’re based you could run a one, two, three or even six-month promotion leading up to summer to tap into people’s desire to shed the few pounds they added during hibernation.
To promote the challenge post testimonials online and through social media to showcase the weight loss results that members have achieved previously.
Maybe offer a prize to incentivize participants to push themselves outside of their comfort zone. Because the end date is set in stone, many people commit wholeheartedly and achieve fantastic outcomes.
Transformation promotions attract people who might not want to commit to a full year’s membership and at the same time create powerful social proof for your brand by highlighting your ability to get clients the results they want.
3. Build Your Tribe with Loyalty Card Promotions
Some times during the yearn class attendance can dip pretty dramatically (looking at you, January). But as we discussed in Why Your Gym Should Never Be Quiet at Any Time of the Year you should be proactive to prevent this ever happening. So, take a leaf out of your favorite coffee shop’s book and offer members rewards for putting in the effort to show up when they have reasons not to.
Keep it simple with an offer like ‘Attend 9 classes and your 10th is free’ or ‘20% off next month’s classes if you achieve 85% attendance’.
Not only will this type of promotion help to keep your classes full, but you’ll start to foster a sense of community among your members – something that’ll go a long way to prevent hungry competitors from poaching your clients when you need them most.
4. Partner with Other Businesses
Teaming up with other businesses in your area can be a great way to increase mutual exposure with minimal costs.
Reach out to businesses that fit with your brand – it could be a coffee shop, a supplement company or a meal prep business and come up with ideas about how you could work together.
It might be one off events like a ‘yoga and coffee tasting morning’ or it could be an ongoing partnership like a ‘15% discount on sports massages’ at your local chiropractor’s office.
The key to making this type of promotion successful is to ensure that both parties are benefiting from the arrangement. If you do it right, you’ll be able to increase your offering to your client’s and get increased exposure to new prospects at very little, if any, extra cost.
5. Cash-in With Corporate Challenges
Business owners are naturally competitive. So, why not tap into their desire to be the best by pitting them against one another with a corporate fitness challenge.
Encouraging friendly competition between local businesses is a great way to get everyone working towards a goal, while bringing in more memberships to your business.
Ensure that the challenge suits the type of gym you’re running – it could be a collective weight loss challenge, biggest gains in strength or an endurance challenge, like a Hell and Back event.
Businesses love this because it gets people moving, it’s great for team spirit and above all else it’s great fun to compete for the title of ‘the fittest office in town’. Most employers are happy to pay or subsidise the costs of their staff attending your gym too.
When running a gym promotion like this, make sure you set out clear guidelines, rules and have some way of visually showing who stands where on the leader board. Then enjoy watching the competition and your profits heat up.
6. Get Social with Free Giveaways
If there’s one thing that’ll drive people crazy, it’s the prospect of getting something for free. Particularly if it’s something they really want – like a year’s worth of free training.
Leveraging social media to promote a giveaway is a time-tested tactic to increase your reach and collect a ton of warm leads.
The key is that your prize must tempting enough that people just can’t resist tagging, commenting and sharing like crazy.
Consider teaming up with an influencer or brand to boost the exposure and buzz surrounding your giveaway and reach new previously untapped audiences.
Your giveaways don’t just have to be a once-off – you can also create a lead-generation machine by offering a free downloadable fitness program on your website in exchange for people’s email addresses.
7. Attend (or Create) A Wellness Event
With more and more consumers becoming health-conscious, wellness events and festivals have been popping up all over the place.
These are the perfect opportunity for you to host free group workouts to show everybody just how awesome your gym is.
New audiences will get to meet you and see that you support local events and work within the community – which is a huge marketing bonus in certain demographics. Plus you’ll be able to create some awesome shareable content for your website and social media channels.
If there’s not already a public event in your area, then why not think about creating your own and inviting other businesses to take part? Sure you can say this is old school marketing, but the reason it makes this list is simple – because it works.
Promoting your gym is no easy task. However, running successful gym promotions has the potential to dramatically boost the success of your business in terms of memberships, client satisfaction, and ultimately your bottom line.
The best promotions make use of the basics we covered at the start of this post; knowing what your audience wants, knowing what outcome you want and timing your promotion to a tee.
While the promotions mentioned in this article are a great place to start, don’t be afraid to come up with your own creative promotions too. You’re the most knowledgeable person when it comes to your brand and your customers. So use that knowledge to craft gym promotions that will push your clients and your business to new heights.