The global fitness industry is projected to grow over 170% in the next five years. For you, gym owner, this means the competition is going to get stiff. You’re going to need a killer digital marketing strategy to set yourself apart from the crowd and capture the consumers eye.
A digital marketing strategy is essential for helping your gym business stay relevant and competitive. If you’re starting a gym, you not only need to convince people to commit to their health but also that you are the best person to help them achieve their fitness goals.
As COVID fades farther into the past, home fitness and eStudios are beginning to fade with it. Nearly 40% of Americans hold a gym membership, and the number is growing. A recent study showed that 80% of those fitness consumers are expected to fully return to in-person experiences. As a gym owner, this puts the pressure on you to capture their attention before the competitor.
This article will look at:
- The best marketing strategies for your gym business.
- Tips for optimizing your digital marketing strategy
- How to measure the success of your marketing strategy
Ready to dive in? Let’s go.
10 digital marketing strategies that work
Consumers are no longer looking to buy a product, they’re looking to buy a story. When you think about marketing strategies for your gym or fitness club you need to ask yourself: what story am I telling?
Digital Marketing: Using Social Media to Drive Gym Memberships
If you aren’t on Social Media, it’s time to change that. Over 4 billion people use Social Media globally. While you will never reach all 4 billion people, that is still a huge potential audience.
The unique thing about social media is it allows you to curate a window into the day-to-day experience at your gym. Social Media marketing strategies give you the flexibility to experiment with several different tools.
Let’s look at Chipoltle.
Chipotle was one of the first corporations to get on TikTok–and it paid off. The fast food chain reported 88% digital sales growth and a 14.6% revenue boost following the launch of its TikTok campaign.
Their campaign had the goal of reaching younger consumers. In order to do so, they created content that involved the major TikTok trend of challenges. It even created its own challenges. The #ChipotleLidFlip challenge generated over 240 million views. Its #GuacDance challenge nearly doubled that with 430 million shares in 6 days.
TFW guac is free. Online/in-app only 7/31 #GuacDance Terms: chip.tl/avoday
Here are a few key takeaways from Chipotle to help you build a successful social media strategy:
- Know your audience
- Prioritize connection
- Be authentic
Attracting New Members: The Power of Referral Programs
Referral programs are one of the best ways to attract new gym members. Referral programs are a word-of-mouth marketing strategy that incentivizes or encourages members to advocate for your gym or fitness business.
Consider these statistics:
- Consumers are four times more likely to purchase from a brand when referred by a friend
- 81% of consumers’ decisions are influenced by friends’ social media posts.
- One offline word-of-mouth impression drives sales 5x more than a paid ad.
Not convinced? Let’s look at Tesla.
Car manufacturer Tesla had one of the most successful referral programs of any car brand. And they proved that you don’t need a pure product discount to do it.
Tesla followed a multistep model that rewarded for both referrals and loyalty. When they first began their reward program they offered owners who gave a qualifying referral an invitation to tour the Tesla factory and the grand opening party. They then offered attendees first access to the new Model X once it was released.
Referral programs are successful in helping you target your ideal customers. By asking loyal members to think about who would benefit from your services as a gym or fitness club, you’ll be able to create a database of potential leads.
Building a referral program for your gym or fitness club can be as simple as offering a customer referral template in your newsletter. Make your request more enticing by including a small incentive, such as a $15 credit to the gym store.
Building Your Brand: The Importance of a Strong Identity for Your Gym Business
Consistent branding is essential for creating a trustworthy and recognizable business reputation. If your branding is unclear, you will appear disorganized and untrustworthy.
Having a robust brand identity will help you become easily recognizable across platforms. This means that you have a logo, icon, website, and color palette. This will help you carve out a unique niche within the fitness industry.
Take Benadryl, for example.
Benadryl does not have a unique product and is, in fact, more expensive than the exact same off-brand medication sitting on the shelf next to it. However, if you are having an allergic reaction, odds are you’ll reach for the pink and purple box with a “B.”
Because Benadryl packaging is a model of consistency. Consistency builds trust. Therefore, when faced with two identical options, you opt for the recognizable, trustworthy choice.
For gyms, this is critical. For the most part, fitness centers will have comparable services–weight racks, treadmills, locker rooms, etc. The best brand identities are the ones that go beyond the logo.
They have clear and identifiable visions, missions, and values. This foundation invites consumers to adopt those same values, further building community and–therefore– your member base.
When you think about your own journey with gyms, what made you choose one over the other? Was it the equipment? The community? The classes?
Targeted Advertising: Reaching Your Ideal Gym Members
The average U.S. adult spends nearly two and a half hours on social media every day. By taking advantage of targeted advertising, you can ensure that your marketing efforts are finding the right people at the right time.
49% of internet users indicate they are more likely to base their purchasing decisions off social media advertisements.
In general, targeted advertising isn’t much different from traditional advertising, it simply is more efficient. By breaking up your consumer market into specific groups (also called segments) you can more efficiently direct your marketing efforts to your ideal customers.
Across social platforms, you can target content based on location, interests, demographics, engagement, or even further specific segmentations. Having these specifications allows you to maximize the potential impact of your paid advertising, a.k.a. Your marketing budget.
Promotions and Incentives: How to Drive Traffic to Your Gym Business
The whole point of a marketing strategy is promoting your gym or fitness club, right? So, double down on your goal for growth by offering promotional deals and incentives to leads and loyal customers.
Promotions and incentives can not only be impactful for getting people in your door, but they can also be a great way to build loyal customers. Who doesn’t love a great reward program?
For health clubs specifically, incentives can help motivate members, help them keep track of their progress, and create achievable steps toward their health goals.
When considering promotional deals, it’s important to balance cost and value. You want to offer something worthwhile to your customers without risking bankruptcy. Some promotional ideas could be:
- One free training session for a referral that signs up for a membership
- Tiered loyalty program
- Calendar-themed promotions such as: A New Year’s resolution special in January or a couples membership special in February.
Creating a Community: The Role of Events and Activities in Gym Marketing
Cultivating an irreplicable community helps create loyal members. When you prioritize community, you then offer your members a social steak in your club–the opportunity to feel a part of something.
When you can create a strong community feeling, the thought of leaving your gym will also require members to consider if they want to leave a strong community.
Lululemon is a great example of this. Every year, lululemon carries out several lifestyle and fitness events. This ranges from free, in-store yoga classes to large, outdoor community gatherings with vendors, entertainers, and more.
Their “sweat with us” campaign was initially so successful, they have since turned it into a weekend health festival with thousands of attendees.
Hosting events like these help to increase customer engagement, promote the company as a top-of-mind healthy lifestyle brand, and build customer loyalty. You can mimic the results of this type of marketing by hosting activities or events at your gym or fitness club.
A few small ways to build community at your gym are:
- Creating a Facebook group
- Group Messaging
- Hosting online and in-person competitions
- Offering new classes
- Having a member party
Online Reviews: Leveraging Customer Feedback to Boost Your Gym Business
Think you don’t need online reviews? Think again. Your online reputation is essential. Now, more than ever, consumers are relying on reviews when making purchasing decisions. 93% of consumers have made buying decisions based on online reviews.
Moreover, consumers are unlikely to consider engaging with businesses that have a 1-2 star average rating. Case and point: you need reviews.
The good news is, over 60% of customers are happy to leave a review if a business asks for one.
The first step in leveraging customer feedback is to claim your business on Google. Google hosts 73% of all online reviews. By claiming your business you will have the ability to respond to reviews–something that is especially important for fielding negative reviews.
After that, include requests for reviews in your monthly newsletters, via text, or in surveys. You can up the ante by offering a small reward for leaving a review.
Influencer Marketing: The Pros and Cons for Your Gym Business
In recent years, influencer marketing has gained significant traction as a form of online marketing. This tactic takes the idea of celebrity endorsements, but with more flexibility when it comes to targeting niche audiences.
Influencers hold power because they are looked up to as an authority, expert, or trustworthy personality by their audience. Whether your target audience is broad or specific, there is likely an influencer who is looked up to by your target market on social media.
Consider these statistics:
- The average ROI is $5.20 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing
- 67% of brands use influencer marketing
If you’re a small gym, you could likely benefit from partnering with a micro-influencer. Micro-influencers are locally known figures who have sway among a local audience. These individuals could hold local offices, be outspoken members of a PTA, or even a regular at your gym with a large social network.
If you’re looking to reach a larger audience, a mega-influencer can have a huge impact. Mega-influencers are people who have a large audience across the country or world. These individuals can have a potentially huge impact.
The downside to influencer marketing is that it tends to be a more expensive option than all the social media marketing strategies.
If you’re looking to create an influencer marketing plan for your gym or fitness center, you need to:
- Be strategic with your budget and deployment strategy
- Determine what scale influencer meets your needs
Networking and Partnerships: How to Expand Your Gym Business’s Reach
Networking is a great way to expand your gym or fitness club’s reach. The best part? It’s free! Well, usually.
Networking in your community can help you build partnerships with businesses that complement your business. For example, a yoga studio might choose to partner with a local athletic clothing brand or juicery.
Along the same lines, hosting special events with other businesses or in community gathering places (such as a farmers market) can help foster organic traffic and build your brand beyond the walls of your studio.
Beyond business partnerships, building relationships with community members is a great way to get your name out there. You can do this by attending community events. Whether they’re specific or not, attending these events attaches your friendly and outgoing personality to your business.
Measuring Success: Metrics to Track Your Gym Business’s Marketing Efforts
This may be the most critical step in gym marketing: Track. Your. Success. The digital marketing landscape is dynamic and fast-paced. What worked one month may not yield the same results in six.
You need to be tracking how your digital presence is impacting your membership and sales. By doing so, you will be able to more effectively and efficiently market your business. When you don’t track your success, you’re essentially throwing money down the drain.
Tracking your digital marketing success can be made easy with software such as Gleantap’s analytics. This software helps to track engagement, calculate ROI, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing strategy.
Are you ready to take your digital marketing to the next level? Schedule your free demo today.
How can I choose the right social media platforms for my gym business?
Consider your target audience. Determine where they are most likely found and focus your energy there.
How can I create effective social media advertising campaigns for my gym business?
You need to determine who your target audience is and what story you’re going to tell them. After that, prioritize authentic connection, community, and diversity of advertising techniques.
What kind of content should I share on social media to promote my gym business?
The content you share should be inspirational, connecting, and informative.
How can I measure the success of my social media marketing efforts?
You can measure your social media marketing success through data collection and analysis software such as Gleantap, Twitter analytics, google business, etc.
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