Growth

How Market Segmentation Can Help Grow Your Fitness Business

Jenny20Weller
Jenny Weller
15 January 20
11 min read
market%20segments

Whether you’re young or old, athletic or just starting out at the gym, exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. Everyone wants a place they can feel comfortable to exercise. Instead of focusing on providing services to just one part of the population, there’s an opportunity to expand. 

The fitness industry is highly competitive, you need to stay on top of the competition and be different. Think about the possibilities to grow your business when you bring in a more diverse clientele. In this article, we will discuss how you can use market segmentation to help grow your fitness business and increase revenue.

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An Introduction to Market Segmentation 

Lots of club focus on one segment of the market. Although this can work for some health clubs, for others this strategy could start to stagnate. By tapping into market segmentation you can expand your fitness community and reach new members. 

So, What Exactly Is Market Segmentation?

Market segmentation is the process of dividing your target market into specific groups. Each group requires different products or services and needs a different marketing mix. By targeting specific markets you can promote your services more effectively rather than just targeting the “average” customer.  

Through market segmentation, you can communicate your message more effectively. All of this results in giving your business a marketing edge over your competitors. To determine your market segments, you need to analyze the needs and wants of each segment. You can use several different factors to divide your target market such as:

  • Demographics 
  • Interests, behavior, and attitude 
  • Location 
  • Characteristics 
  • Purchase and usage situations  

Marketing Week explores marketing segmentation in their podcast, The New Rules of Segmentation. The episode talks about how marketers are moving away from more traditional market segmentation towards things like attitude, behavior, and lifespan. Despite this, many businesses are failing to effectively reach the over 50s market.    

5 Examples of Market Segmentation in the Fitness Industry  

Now that you know more about market segmentation, let’s talk about how you can use it within the fitness market. Here are five examples of market segmentation that you could use to effectively target a specific audience. 

Sport 

This target group is already heavily involved in sport. They love to play sport and always take the time to get a session of tennis in, play football or squash. They may even play at a competitive level. These people use your fitness center to improve their agility, strength, and endurance to make them better players in their field. 

Generally, this group of consumers are highly motivated and already have the knowledge needed to train. What they need from a gym is the right fitness equipment, activities, and space that support the needs of the particular sport they love. 

Health Needs 

The health needs group is looking to get healthier, increase strength and maybe lower their cholesterol. They’ve possibly been sent by the doctor to improve their health and your gym is the first stop on their journey. 

A person looking to get healthier may need a bit more help, encouragement, and guidance. They can benefit from personal trainers and expert advice. They will need much more encouragement and special attention than your regular gym-goer. 

Making Friends and Socialize

One of the top reasons to join the gym is to meet new people. Fitness is a great way to make friends and socialize. This target group is less interested in the health benefits that come from the gym and more focused on making friends. 

These types of people tend to be moderately fit and are active enough to join in classes. To attract this type of person, think about adding fun and energetic classes. Create a space where people can interact after they workout like a juice bar or cafe. 

Peak Performance 

These people are at the top of their game. They are highly motivated and very fit. They are constantly looking to achieve their personal best. Whether it’s beating their own running time or excelling at bodybuilding, these people are extremely focused. 

A benefit of this group is that they tend to be long-term clients. On the other hand, due to their expertise, they have a tendency to dominate certain areas of the gym and may intimidate some of the newer members.  

Losing Weight 

Finally, the losing weight market segment is a goal-orientated group. This group has joined the gym with the intention of losing weight. The most effective approach for this group is to be very welcoming and accepting of all shapes and sizes. 

This group needs support and motivation delivered by a professional. Try offering a six-week weight loss program or really utilize your personal training services you have available.    

The Benefits of Market Segmentation for Your Fitness Business 

Once you’ve identified your target customers you can divide your market into groups based on varying factors. When you look further into who your ideal customer is, the likelihood is that you need to come up with more than one persona to understand who they are. There are many reasons why businesses use market segmentation. Here are eight ways your fitness business can benefit from market segmentation.   

Reach a Wider Audience 

Market segmentation gives you the opportunity to reach an even wider audience. Whether you’re targeting men, women, seniors or Millennials, there’s a ton of different groups that respond differently to marketing tactics. Social media marketing may be effective on Millennials but a waste of time on seniors. By splitting your target audience into groups, you can properly and effectively reach a wider audience. 

For example, people over the age of 50 are now prioritizing health and fitness. By the end of 2022, health club chain David Lloyd is committed to having one fitness trainer over the age of 55 at every one of their clubs. People are living longer and longer. Marketing your services to the over 50s could be a lucrative part of your business. After all, they have the time and money to spend during their golden years.  

Save Time and Money 

Market segmentation can save you time and money in the long-term. For example, when it comes to demographics, age significantly influences social media use. Younger age groups tend to use a variety of platforms, favoring Instagram and Snapchat. While the majority of users over 65 tend to solely use Facebook. With this information, you wouldn’t push Instagram ads at over 65 audiences. 

By splitting your target audience into groups you can save money and time by using your marketing budget effectively. Find out how each of your customer personas liked to be contacted, where do they hang out online and offline. By creating a large body of research for your target audience, you can market your services well.   

Increase Member Diversity 

If you’re looking to increase the audience diversity at your health and fitness club, start by having a diverse team. If everyone at your gym looks very similar, this might put someone off that looks a little different. It will be hard to picture themselves fitting in if they feel so different just walking through the door. Start by having a diverse team of staff. Your team should be welcoming and immediately put any newbies at ease. 

Another way to appeal to different types of people is to create different membership packages. It’s normal for a gym or fitness center to have two or three types of gym memberships but, you can go further than this. Think about the needs and wants of your target groups and craft membership packages around them. These packages will be a solution to their individual needs. For example, the social butterfly would love to go to your classes every week but might not use the gym. Sell a class-only membership or allow members to buy class passes in packs of 10.   

The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing 

Spread the word. Increase and promote awareness of your gym. When trying to reach different market segments, think about how you can use word of mouth marketing. It’s an effective and relatively low-cost way to market your fitness business. Try partnering up with local businesses and foundations. 

Another great word of mouth marketing tool is a referral program. A referral program is a systematic way of getting your members to refer their friends and family. This is usually done by offering an incentive for both the referrer and referee. To find out how to set up your own referral program, we’ve put together a quick guide to set up a successful referral program

Better Serve Members Needs 

Why did a person choose your gym over any other option? Are they trying to get fit, lose weight, make friends or maybe it’s walking distance from their house? 

To provide the best service to your members, you need to better understand their needs. Different groups of people have different needs. You might have one athlete and a person who has never stepped a foot in the gym. Are their needs the same? Of course not. 

Market segmentation gives you the opportunity to better serve your members needs. Although there will be some overlap, it’s important that your members feel listened to and valued.  

Increase Member Engagement and Retention 

82% of marketers have experienced an increase in open-rates when an email is personalized. You can create a more personalized and engaging experience for your members that span from your marketing efforts to the classes you have on offer and how you interact with them.

By paying closer attention to your members’ needs through market segmentation, you can focus on increasing member engagement and retention. Member engagement is essential to retaining members long-term. Once you’ve gone through the time and effort to turn a lead into a member, it’s important to continue to nurture that relationship. 

An interesting resource for anyone in the fitness industry is The Fitness Business Podcast. Listen to episode #256 How to Plan The Ultimate Gym Member Journey. The host Chantal Brodrick is joined by Jon Nasta, a consulting partner at Retention Solutions Ltd, Listen360.com and Keepme.ai. Another useful episode is #234 How To Improve Member Engagement in Your Fitness Business.  

Determine Marketing Opportunities 

Your audience research should produce a lot of information that will help you decide the most cost-efficient and effective way to target your audience. By dividing your target audience into groups, you can further define this information and produce the most effective marketing strategy through market segmentation. 

Once you have determined how you will divide your target audience, you might be able to discover new marketing opportunities. If your target group are heavy social media users, you could launch a fitness transformation challenge on social media, create a hashtag and encourage members to post their journey. Your current members become brand cheerleaders, promoting your business to their followers and inner circle. 

Tailor-Make Marketing Strategies 

You can not only determine new marketing opportunities but tailor-make your marketing strategies to specific groups. 

For example, an eight-week fitness program including cooking classes, nutritional advice, and fitness guidance would be very beneficial for someone looking to get healthier. This kind of program appeals to people who need motivation and help. They don’t fully know what they are doing but they want to change. You can then target the program to a specific group of people through social media marketing, posters, and leaflets. Every part of your marketing strategy can be tailored to the group you’re trying to attract.   

In Summary 

When trying to reach your ideal customers, reaching the right person with the right message is essential. When your marketing message isn’t optimized for the correct audience, you end up wasting time and resources with a message that’s never going to deliver. Through market segmentation, you can split up your audience in a way that allows you to precisely target marketing, personalized content, and services in the best way possible.