Let’s face it. Gyms are available on every corner and everywhere you turn, so what will make you stand out? Gym marketing is the most important aspect of running a successful gym. Focus first on what your unique selling proposition is and then funnel that into the following marketing ideas.
What is a unique selling proposition?
A unique selling proposition is what makes your gym different from the dozens of other gyms around you. Your selling point to customers has to be unique to what your gym has to offer. This is where your fitness culture and your brand experience come into play.
This could be something like having an in-house masseuse or letting members bring two friends to the gym twice a week and one friend for the rest. Anything that makes you stand out, advertise it and use it in your gym marketing campaigns.
Google My Business
The first and foremost marketing move you need to make is making your business discoverable on Google. Not only will this drive customers to your business organically, but it will also give you helpful statistics on what is attracting people to your gym.
Creating a business page is easy, but it is important to note the little things that will improve your SEO. Google algorithms rank businesses based on the volume of engagements with the information listed on the page. When filling out the information on your company, make sure to include keywords that people would search to find your gym.
It is important to maintain this page weekly, especially if your customers frequent your physical address, like at a gym. Upload photos consistently, even post your promotional flyers there for the public to see. When people see promotions, they are more inclined to consider your gym and get more information just by looking at your free Google My Business page!
People can also leave reviews and ask questions about your gym, so this is an important marketing aspect to focus on. Engage with prospective clients on this page as well to let them know that you are listening. People very often make their decisions based on reviews, so gathering positive reviews on this page improves your ranking and people deciding to join your gym.
Employ a Review Collection Campaign
Reviews are liquid gold for a business, especially a gym. 90% of customers do not make a purchase without reading reviews on the product, place or service first. Gym goers take a decent amount of consideration of where they decide to purchase a membership. Nobody wants to sign a contract without feeling the decision is worthwhile and valuable.
Therefore, get your clients to leave reviews as much as possible! Review collection sites have strict guidelines on how you can promote review collection. Incentives are okay so long as they are not incentivizing positive reviews. Share about your review collection campaign through email and posting it to social media.
Coschedule has an extensive blog on how to approach asking for customer reviews and great examples of companies that have employed these methods. Check it out and start thinking about what incentives your gym can offer for leaving reviews.
Seasonal Gym Marketing
Let the weather help you do business! Seasonal marketing is always a great option for any business. Holidays and seasonal changes give you the perfect ground for getting creative with your promotions. Charitable events are great to host around any holiday as well as Black Friday sales on membership costs.
For example, a promotion for Valentine’s Day, revenue from the new membership sign-ups in February will be donated to a local women’s shelter to share a little love.
It is important to keep an eye on competition during these times to see what they are offering and match it or top it, if possible. Successful seasonal marketing is based on creativity and using your unique selling proposition as much as possible. As expected every year, gyms will have New Years sales for people wanting to pursue their new year goals. these sales are effective, but they have to be creative to be competitive.
Partner with Local Businesses
Staying local is a really huge factor in people’s purchasing decisions. For every $100 spent at a local business, $68 of that stays in the local economy. Not only is it helpful for you in growing attraction to your gym, but it is helpful for your local economy to encourage your customers to spend more money locally.
Strategically designing local business partnerships can be a bit complicated depending on who you are partnering with and how each party will benefit. Here are five different basic business points to follow when forming a partnership agreement:
- Outline the details of the companies involved.
- Detail what each company will be contributing to the partnership and its duration.
- Make sure it is understood how each company will benefit in terms of splitting the profit and community engagement.
- Form a budget for the campaign and how the costs will be split between the partnership
- Make sure all parties have signed an agreement contract to ensure that all the details are understood and agreed upon.
Host Fitness Challenges for the Community
As a gym, your target audience is all about the locals. The specifics of your audience demographics depend on what your gym has to offer. A great way to get some local recognition is to host community-wide challenges that involve people of all types.
Facebook is an extremely powerful tool for marketing these challenges. Facebook events will get you in touch with absolutely anyone in your area. Listing an event on Facebook does not have to mean that there will be a physical meetup. You can create a page for the community-wide challenge and have the event signify the beginning of the challenge and draw people’s attention to the page.
When creating a community-wide challenge it is important to have a clear mission that is not just a thin veil over a marketing tactic. You want this to be meaningful and contribute something valuable to your community.
Host Giveaways for Social Media Followers
Hosting giveaways on social media is effective gym marketing for three reasons:
- They require that customers are actively engaged with your social media accounts, and you generate more followers.
- Contests can be as cost-effective as you would like. They can even be free if you partner with a business that will provide the prize!
- Conversion rates for giveaways are around 34% which is outstanding for your business.
Everybody loves a good giveaway. Coming up with giveaways can also be really exciting and easy. Thinking from the client’s perspective, what would they want from their gym. Giveaways are extremely versatile in how they generate revenue. Giveaways can be completely free. At the bare minimum, they just require engagement and sharing about your gym for a random winner or they can be monetized.
For example, you can host a giveaway where people have to purchase from your online store (because you should have some awesome branded merchandise for sale) and each dollar they spend is an entry for the grand prize.
Create a Loyalty System for Members
Rewards systems are tried and true and can be a powerhouse for client retention. Use this marketing strategy to give your clients a feeling of investment in going to your gym. If you think from a client’s perspective, wouldn’t you want to go to a gym that will reward you for coming in. Some days, going to the gym can be hard enough, but it could make a huge difference if I’m one visit away from getting a free cupping session.
If some extra reinforcement is needed for why you should employ this strategy, then digest these monster statistics (from Forbes):
- 71% of consumers say loyalty programs are a meaningful part of their brand relationships. (Bond)
- 57% of consumers spend more on brands to which they are loyal. (Accenture)
- A 5% increase in customer retention increases profits by 25% to 95% (Harvard Business School)
The Classic Referral Campaign
Without a doubt, your loyal customers have some friends that they have been hounding to get in the gym. I’m sure their pitch to their friends will be much more persuasive if there is a reward involved with the sign-up. The sense of impulse and a good deal is a driving factor for sales and what makes referral marketing so effective. That, and the fact that people trust the opinion of their friends and family so much more than the ad you have running.
Referrals are particularly effective in gym marketing with quick, shareable links that your clients can send to their friends and family to sign up. You can employ this via email, mobile apps, SMS messaging, social media posts, and more. Even include a designated modal on your webpage for this referral program.
Make sure that your clients are well aware and that the reward is something that will be valuable enough to encourage people to be advocates for your brand. It is also important to have an effective gym culture that will make people want to share about their experience at your gym.
Gym managers are, without a doubt, very busy people. Saving time with marketing and communicating consistently with clients is imperative, so SMS messaging is a simple, easy way to manage communicating promotions and updates about the gym. SMS marketing has a 98% open rate, which is…. awesome for marketing.
People are always on their phones and they appreciate a personalized touch to marketing. Personalized marketing is especially effective. 90% of customers are more likely to purchase a membership if the marketing they come in contact with is personalized.
This means it is imperative to use client feedback and tailor promotions to what they want from your gym experience. You can use tools like EZTexting to employ this form of marketing
Client Content Marketing
We all have seen the gym-goers who stand in front of the mirror vigilantly trying to take their best post-pump picture in the wall of mirrors. You have also probably seen those people who bring their buddies to the gym to have them take videos for social media of them powering through those reps. This is free gym content marketing that they are doing for you!
Take advantage of that and create some geotagged filters for them to add to their Snapchats or geotag stickers for them to add to their Instagram story. These are extremely cheap to develop, if not free. This is another method of branding the experience your members have at the gym. Let them know that they can tag their location in their posts by advertising your filters around the gym.
Your clients have a special degree of power when it comes to advertising your business. Running campaigns that encourage your clients to post about your gym can show massive results in membership sign-ups. 90% of people trust recommendations from their friends and family, so your current clients are the most credible marketing resource.
Offer Two-week Trial Pass for New Members
Many gyms offer seven-day free trials, but people’s lives are completely unpredictable. Offering a two-week trial pass gives customers a little more time to get feel for your gym and actually have more opportunities for exercising there.
This method is more effective than offering discounted initial rates because people will still be dissatisfied with the full price later if their only motive to sign up was a lower rate for the first month or two.
It would be unfortunate and ineffective to have clients that only come into the gym once or twice within the 7-day trial and not actually get a chance to form a good idea of what your gym offers. Gym marketing relies on the effectiveness of the campaigns you employ, so give them time to take effect with your clients.
Create Membership Packages
Often, people are looking for more than just basic admission to the gym. There are features to gyms that make them more marketable like having saunas, pools, daycares, courts for different sports, a rental system for equipment, etc. These are all qualities of a gym that enlighten their unique selling point.
These are all also items that you can use to tailor to your customer’s wants out of a gym membership package. Creating levels of access to these different features can make purchasing memberships more manageable and desirable for customers. This can even help customers to slowly move up in subscription tiers once they completely understand the value of the subscriptions.
Packaging classes and personal training sessions help to sell more sessions for your trainers as well. This is common already for personal training, but I want to elaborate on how important it is. When you can package goods and services to make them more affordable and valuable, you will make more sales. Selling points are all about impulse decisions in response to value.
Offer a Free Initial 1-on-1 Session with the Purchase of a Membership
People refuse to come to the gym out of fear of getting judged. We all know this. So how do you overcome that? Let them get a taste of your gym culture. Just like when you start a new job, it takes a little bit of understanding and getting used to in order to grow comfortable with the environment.
Offer 1-on-1 sessions for clients so that they can develop that sense of comfort with your gym right off the bat and build extra value around the membership purchase. This not only will improve your rate of signups, but it can also improve the rate at which people purchase personal training sessions.
These sessions can be actual training sessions or just tours of the gym so that customers can become more familiar with the equipment. This is an important moment where those sales conversations will come into play. Therefore, keep your staff up to date and well advised on how to lead these conversations to a positive conclusion for your gym.
Apply this same concept with any other valuable offer your gym can group together with the purchase of a membership. Let’s say your gym sells supplements. Offer a free sample package of select supplements that your gym has for sale.
Aside from either of these options building value to sign up for a membership, it also gives the new member a sample of what other services and products they can purchase at your gym. If they liked the 1 on 1 session or a certain supplement, then they are more inclined to invest in either of them again. Thus, they become a more valuable customer for your gym!
Lazy Sunday Live Classes
Sundays are the days that people will least want to go to the gym because of a few different factors. These days are usually recovery days from a fun night out, people run their errands, they do their cleaning, they go to church, and so on. Whatever the case may be, Sunday will probably be the day with the least amount of engagement.
Bring the gym to their living rooms. For paying members, you can offer free or decently priced Sunday classes that are live-streamed. You can do this through our app, FitSW where you can host up to a whopping 200 clients in your live class.
This is also an important selling point for people who are busy but want to have access to a fitness guide. For the days that your gym sees lulls in activity, let live classes be the answer. Reaching people anywhere at any time is extremely powerful in creating consistent customer engagement.
These days, to get any recognition on the internet, you have to have content and a lot of it. Strategically planning your content around keywords and phrases that people use to search for gyms in your area is vital to getting recognition.
Blogging is helpful for many reasons, but the two most important are for SEO and giving your clients valuable information that makes your brand more valuable. Search Engine Optimization is a tricky fellow who changes all the time, but writing content that is relevant to the services your gym offers will help people find your gym much more organically.
Blogging is free.
Organic clicks to your site and social media are a lot cheaper than spending a ton on advertising and other means of gym marketing. All it takes is getting a little creative and listening to want your clients need more information on.
Get creative! There is no way to express this enough. All of these ideas need to be built around what makes your gym unique. Take them and run with them… maybe not on a treadmill because they will go nowhere. *Buh Dun Tsss* Really though, use these forms of marketing to be consistent with your presence and never leave your customer’s guessing what your purpose or mission is.
If you use any of these ideas, please give us some feedback. We love to hear about your success and growth. You can leave a comment below or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the rest of our blog for more tips and tricks. Consider these blogs our treats to you guys this Halloween!