6 Effective Gym Marketing Strategies for the Truly Bold
For gyms and fitness centers, turning prospects into long-term members is a huge challenge. As a gym or fitness center business owner, you’re probably familiar with this story:
There is a flood of new sign-ups beginning in January on the coattails of lofty New Year's resolutions. Then, throughout the year, memberships start to trail off. In fact, 80% of gym members quit within the first five months.
In this article, we’ll show you some of the most unusual but effective marketing strategies that we’ve seen gyms and fitness centers use to meet their membership goals. Use these expert insights to increase member engagement, boost renewals and attract new customers.
6 Proven Marketing Strategies for Gyms
In order to build a marketing plan, you’ll need to leverage the power of a few mission-critical practices and tactics. When done correctly, effective marketing strategies help people reach their fitness goals and, in turn, those customers help you to meet your revenue goals.
To help get you started, here are six marketing strategies that you should consider implementing for your business.
#1 Start Communicating 1:1 With Your Customers
Text message marketing is a very effective channel for communicating with your members. Our own studies have shown that 98% of text messages sent through our platform are read by the recipient. Other data shows that 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes.
The most effective mobile marketing campaigns encourage members to think proactively about their fitness. Our favorite text marketing campaigns include:
- Personalized Workout Plans: You can work with your member to develop a long-term fitness strategy. Once you understand what their workout plan is, you can easily schedule daily text messages to go out just before their workout is set to begin.
- Alerts: When it comes to working out during peak hours, some members might feel a bit self-conscious. Try sending a simple text alert on days when it’s slow.
#2 Create a Private Facebook Group
Creating a Facebook Group is a great way to build a tight-knit community. Members of the group typically share a few common interests.
Once you understand your audience, you could create a group for people that are interested in participating in specific fitness challenges. For example, you could create a challenge that encourages members to lose a certain percentage of body fat in four weeks.
Total Coaching implemented this exact strategy and a single message that took them 10 seconds to write generated $300 in sales in one day.
#3 Optimize Your Google My Business Page
Potential clients need to be able to find you, especially when they're Googling local gyms. Part of your overall search engine optimization (SEO) strategy should be focused around improving your local search ranking. Local SEO is all about helping you improve your rankings for your specific location within a broader geographic region.
Google My Business is one of the easiest ways to make sure that Google knows exactly where you are. Your Google My Business listing improves your chances for showing up at the top of the local search pack, the local finder, Google Maps, organic rankings, and in local search results.
To get started, you just need to claim your Business Listing. After you have your listing created:
- Make sure that you completely fill in all of your information. This includes your address, phone number, operating hours, and overall description of your gym or fitness center.
- Add photos and videos. Sharing photos and videos of the inside of your gym helps people understand what to expect when they arrive.
- Get a textable number or enable your landline for texting and add the option to text to your Google My Business listing to make it easier for prospective customers to ask quick questions or set up a tour.
#4 Launch a Referral Program
The average fitness business sees a “natural” 20% turnover of customers every year. This is due to things such as members moving to different neighborhoods, experiencing a change in financial circumstances, or other life events like a new job or children. After you add in the competition from new studios, Crossfit, Zumba and other boot camps, some businesses are seeing customer churn closer to 50%.
Attracting new members on a regular basis is critical for successful fitness marketing strategies. By creating a referral program, you can leverage word-of-mouth marketing to help bring in new members. Plus, if someone joins because a friend or family member is already coming, then they are more likely to stay motivated and become a long-term member.
Before you launch your program, you need to consider a few things.
- Decide if you want to reward the gym member that made the referral, just the person that was referred, or both.
- Think about your target market and determine if a gym-wide competition will pump up your fitness business. You can reward the person that gave the most referrals in any given month with a special prize.
- Determine how you will measure your program. You need to be able to compensate the people that gave the referrals as well as determine overall if the program is successful.
#5 Host a Special Event
There are a lot of different types of events that you can consider running. These include:
- Tasting Events: You can partner with local health-food vendors to hold a tasting event. People can sample smoothies, healthy snacks and more. An event partner will share in the expenses, and you’ll help market the event for each other.
- Influencer Appearances: Invite experts, social influencers, local celebrities or well-known public figures to give a talk or presentation. The speaker gets to promote themselves and their latest book, podcast or product and your audience gets more value from their gym membership.
You also want to make sure that you notify your members, subscribers, and other locals about the event. You can do this by sending a text message to your subscribers, posting on social media, sending an email, or even printing signs to put up inside your fitness center.
#6 Post Video to Social Media
The Social Science Research Network says that 65% of people are visual learners. With fitness being such a visual business, it’s not surprising that video would play a crucial role in your marketing strategies.
More and more fitness professionals are turning to video to help grow their business because:
- Video helps encourage word-of-mouth because people are more likely to share video content with friends and family.
- Video boosts your credibility by giving people a chance to “meet” you and get to know you before seeing you in person.
- Video builds trust by giving potential customers an inside look at your fitness center.
- Video helps you stand out among your competitors.
You can start with a short video on social media that shares information about common misconceptions, tips that you have found personally helpful, or a how-to for a specific exercise or circuit. You can also use video to feature a customer testimonial or talk about a unique class or feature of your fitness space. Got an infrared sauna that helps reduce inflammation? Video is a great way to show it off.
Use Ready-Made Text Campaigns
We’re here to let you in on a secret — the most effective gyms and fitness centers use text message marketing year-round to keep engagement high and treadmills full.
At EZ Texting, we have worked with a lot of successful businesses in the fitness industry to help them implement effective text message marketing campaigns. We’ve learned what types of messages get results and condensed them down into a single powerful playbook.
The marketing strategies in this guide can be customized to work for personal trainers, boot camps, boxing gyms, martial arts studios, pilates, spinning, MMA, Crossfit, Yoga and more. Find out how to build and deploy a wide variety of messages that are designed to attract new members, increase member engagement, and get more membership renewals.
We’ll show you the strategy behind SMS campaigns that have been proven to work. As a bonus, we’ll even give you 17 copy and paste templates that you can use to get started within minutes.
Grab all of our insights and templates by downloading a free copy of our Text Messaging Playbook for Fitness Centers & Gyms.