Social media, video campaigns, email marketing – there are endless options for modern-day digital marketing. But when it comes to marketing for gyms, where should you focus your limited time and money?
We’ve previously highlighted how effective Instagram is for fitness marketing. We’ve also discussed social media marketing strategies, including how Facebook Ads can help small businesses. Around 45% of the world’s population now use social media, spending an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes a day on various platforms – so it’s safe to say that your fitness studio should invest time and money here.
But the key to social media marketing and the overall success of your marketing efforts lies in the 80/20 rule.
In this article, we’ll dive into the 80/20 rule and how to effectively apply it to any marketing strategies for gyms. Skip ahead to:
What Is The 80/20 Rule?
First developed by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle) states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. This can be applied to the many different aspects of running a fitness business:
- Sales. 20% of your sales team tends to produce 80% of your revenue.
- Customer Service. 20% of your customer base generates 80% of your customer service workload.
In the fitness business, applying the 80/20 rule is directs your focus to the techniques that generate revenue. To do this, you need to assess and understand your current marketing strategy.
4 Questions to Identify Your Current Marketing Strategy
Right now, you have a digital marketing strategy for your fitness studio. It’s online ads, promotions, and using different social media channels. Your plan might not be written out (it should be!), but it guides your approach to retaining current members and attracting new ones. So, how effective are your current techniques? Ask yourself the following questions to find clarity on what’s working and what’s not.
1. What Are Your Goals?
A marketing idea or strategy without a goal is not helpful. Ideally, your goal will involve a deadline and a number. For example, you might want to increase new member sign-ups by 10% a month-on-month. Without numbers and a deadline, how can you know if your strategy is successful?
2. Who Is Your Target Audience?
A clear understanding of your target audience is crucial for focusing your marketing strategy. When it comes to the fitness industry, remember that as a studio, health club, or gym: your target audience already has a specific pain point. Weight-loss, toning up, the desire to generally live a healthier lifestyle; whichever fitness niche this audience wants, your brand offers the solution.
3. What Are Your Resources?
In marketing, you ultimately have two resources to invest: time and money. If you have limited funds to spend on marketing services, you need to use your time wisely. Identifying your resources should mean a focus on working as efficiently as possible.
4. Are You Using Your Time Effectively?
Marketing your studio through every outlet is excellent if you’re doing it well across all platforms. But you need to make sure you’re using your time efficiently so that all means of marketing are executed to the best of your ability.
Did you spend an hour taking a great photo for Instagram, and it was worth it because that photo got high engagement? Well done!
But, did you only have 10 minutes to craft and send out that “We miss you” email for members who’ve not booked a class recently?… Go and take a look at that email. Would it persuade you to sign up for a class, or would it just go straight into your trash?
With the example above, you don’t have to sacrifice one of your marketing outlets. You need to use your time right to do both well and be consistent in quality. If you’re delivering great communication across all of your marketing channels – it’s still likely that one brings better results than others. This is where the 80/20 rule comes into play.
The 80/20 Rule in Action in the Fitness Business
Let’s assume that you have 10 hours of work time per week to focus on marketing and divide that time into two parts: 8 hours (80%) and 2 hours (20%). Here’s how to use that time for the best results.
80%: Do More Of What Works To Bring Marketing Results
Let’s say you get the majority of your customers through referrals. Great! Now ask yourself this: how can we get more referrals? The answer is simple: build a process and ask for referrals every day. In eight hours per week, you can probably ask for more than a dozen referrals with time to spare.
20%: Set Some Capacity Aside for Marketing Experiments
You’re focusing the majority of your marketing efforts on what already works, so experiment with the remaining 20% of your marketing time. In essence, marketing experiments are new ideas that may work or may fail.
A 7 Day 80/20 Marketing Plan For Your Studio
Putting the 80/20 rule into action is a challenge for busy gym owners. How exactly do you fit this into your day? The answer is to build marketing habits that seamlessly bring marketing into your day.
Daily marketing habits are a simple way to make sure that you make marketing progress each day. Just like a fitness journey, start small changes so that you never miss a day. As you’re implementing this habit day after day, you’ll see better results. If 80% of your marketing efforts are spent efficiently, you have 20% left to experiment with what you might do next. Here’s a week-long guide to implementing the 80/20 rule with your fitness studio marketing.
1. Monday: 80% Referral Marketing
Referrals are one of the most significant ways for a service-based business to grow. However, referrals are not automatic! You need to ask for them regularly. Let’s say you’re looking to get more leads for your studio. Dedicate 80% of your Monday to executing some great referral marketing.
- Use reports from your gym management software to identify members who’ve regularly attended your classes in the last six months.
- Segment the groups so you can get personal.
- Send out a personalized email to this list of people:
You’ve been killing it at HIIT lately!… Get 10% off your next session.
Got a friend who’d love HIIT as much as you do? Bring them along to your next class, and you’ll both get 10% off.
Check out these tips for creating an effective gym referral program.
2. Tuesday: 80% Social Media Marketing
Success with social media requires a long term commitment and regular engagement. Sporadically engaging once a month is not going to cut it; you need to build a community to develop a loyal audience. Luckily, social media is the ideal platform for fitness marketing. Because the channel is so visual, Instagram marketing, in particular, can bring great results. With this 80/20 marketing habit, focus on engaging with current members and interacting with potential ones to help build a receptive audience for your gym marketing campaigns.
Take the time to look at the fitness marketing others are sharing, think influencers, and wellbeing/lifestyle accounts. What can you add to the conversation? What questions can you answer? This is great for building brand awareness, but also for nurturing relationships; influencer marketing should be part of your broader social media strategy. Search for relevant fitness hashtags to find content to interact with and inspire your future marketing campaigns.
3. Wednesday: 80% Events and Partnerships
Adding additional revenue streams to your fitness studio is a great way to diversify and grow your business and it can also be a great marketing asset. Planning and running fitness marketing events and partnerships add value for your current members, and it’s excellent for attracting new ones.
You don’t have to put on something large and extravagant; focus on smaller events that give value to the attendees. Here are 14 great gym event ideas to get you started.
With 80% of your Wednesday, research, plan or begin taking steps to implement an event. If you’ve never held an event before, start by asking your current members what they’d like from you – send out a short email survey.
4. Thursday: 80% Lead Marketing
What’s your sales pipeline looking like? Are there old leads who might have the potential to become prospects? Past leads who have not signed up for your gym represent a rich source of leads. Why? In many cases, signing up for a gym is a matter of timing. Some people will wait until December or January to sign up when New Year’s resolutions motivate them. Others want to lose weight for the summer season arrives.
The timing may not have been right when they first came to visit your gym. Dedicate 80% of your Thursday lead marketing and include checking up on old leads, as well as lead generation. This includes investigating old leads, figuring out why they didn’t sign up and what you can do to get them in. It’s a case of warming them back up again.
5. Friday: 80% Content Marketing
A recent study has shown that 69% of people search for a local business online at least once a month. What will potential leads and prospects find if they search for your studio?
More specifically, to your digital marketing – how can you direct these people to your website without searching specifically for your studio? Think of your content marketing as a helping hand in two ways:
- Help your prospective audience to address a pain point
- Help guide a potential lead to your brand
Dedicate 80% of your Friday to content marketing; be it planning or changing your strategy, or implementing it. For example – does your gym website have a blog? If not – why not?
Hosting a blog is a great way to help members discover you and promote brand awareness. You have a wealth of knowledge about fitness and nutrition, so think about the common questions your members have and share it. Providing helpful information builds authority and trust with your audience.
6. Saturday: 80% Customer Testimonials
Similarly to your Monday referral marketing, this technique focuses on reaching out to your existing customers. In this case, you are asking them for testimonials that you can repurpose across your marketing efforts.
You could send out an email to collect feedback, or you and your trainers can ask in person – this way, you can push for more in-depth answers. Take a look at your class attendance and start with the members who frequently attend, as they’re most likely to be enthusiastic with their comments.
Use the quotes as stand-alone posts across social media, or create a “fitness journey” section on your website where you can showcase your members. You could even make this a monthly series that you email out to members, which you can use as an opportunity to encourage more members to get in touch with their feedback.
You can personalize this approach to your studio; the journey doesn’t necessarily have to focus on fitness. Do your classes provide gym members with a sense of community? How has this helped improve their wellness?
7. Sunday: 80% Reflect and Research
Spend your time on Sunday, assessing the success of your marketing efforts from the week, and use it to power your next plan. 20% of your marketing has been spent experimenting in one area every day by this point. So how did that go? What did you discover? For each area, ask if you reached the goals you wanted to and jot down some ideas and experiments you want to implement next week.
For inspiration, do a little digging to see what your local competitors are up to. Check out some marketing blogs, Neil Patel has great insights that you can spin and use for your fitness marketing.
These 7-days of 80/20 marketing are a great way to give your efforts some direction and discipline, and they can also be adapted to best suit your business. Your approach to gym marketing has to fit into the context of the rest of your work. To keep your growth goals on track, you need to assess the success of your efforts and progress continually.
Determine the marketing techniques that bring you the best results and put 80% of your effort into them. Use that extra 20% for reflecting, experimenting, and adjusting.