Fitness Marketing: 10 Ideas to Creatively Market Your Gym to Get New Members & Keep Current Members Happy

Fitness marketing is more than just ads with pictures of super fit people with abs.

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Fitness Marketing in the Digital Age

There are hundreds of ways that you can market your gym, especially in the digitally connected world we live in now. When it comes to fitness marketing, there are a lot of fun and engaging campaigns you could run.

Using digital marketing, you could target and promote your gym to your ideal audience where they spend most of their time. You can promote your gym offers and promotions straight to their phones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, etc.

Fitness Marketing - Creatively Market Your Gym to Get New Members & Keep Current Members Happy

Reaching your ideal audience has never been easier but you do need to know what to market to them once you’re in front of them. Just like when working out, there needs to be a goal. Are you looking to increase members, raise brand awareness, create evangelists from your current members?

Having a goal also help you narrow down your focus. As the difficulty is not getting in front of your audience but getting their attention. You need to make sure your “offer” is something your target finds interesting.

You wouldn’t market the same thing to your current members as you would non-members. You also wouldn’t offer an individual trying to increase strength a weight loss program.

So I raise you the same question. How are you going to get the attention of your ideal gym audience? Are you going to get them to walk into your gym with a discount or maybe lure them with a giveaway? What is the one thing they couldn’t help but click?

For example; I’m currently part of a CrossFit box. I’m a “CrossFitter” and have no plans on going to any other gym. I’m a relatively new member, and I’ve been working extra hard on getting the movements correct. A creative way to get my attention would be in improving and perfecting form. I bet there are a lot of CrossFit members that would love to develop their movements and would gladly sign-up for more one-on-one training. Remember you can market to current members to keep them happy, get them to purchase more and get them to become your gym promoters.

Knowing what would and what wouldn’t work for your gym has a lot to do with the type of gym you own. The promotions you run for a CrossFit box are completely different that those of a bar or cycling gym.

Knowing your gym audience and what makes your gym special over the competition will help you use the correct verbiage when marketing your gym.  

Once you have your target audience defined and channel of choice (social media, search ads, mobile apps or blogging) the next thing you need is an idea. How are you going to market your gym? What are you going to do to get them to click on your ad, promotion, offer or blog post?

To give you a helping hand and to get your ideas flowing here are 10 digital fitness marketing ideas you can use to market your gym.

10 Digital Fitness Marketing Ideas

1. Summer Slimdown Facebook Promotion

fitness marketing campaign idea - summer slimdown

A slimdown Facebook promotion is perfect for a group of women looking to get in shape for summer. Starting January 1st when the fitness motivation is at its highest and ending the first day of summer would be the ideal timeline. Since you’re trying to attract new members to your gym, the “Summer Slimdown” would be a unique program that a coach would put together for fast weight loss and a toned summer body.

Marketing this as a special 6-month high-intensity program that is different from the regular class workouts. New members would sign up for six months at a special price and once they are hooked and love the results they see they would sign up for a long-term commitment to your gym.

Getting individuals to act towards achieving a goal when they are thinking about it the most, like the new year, would get the most amount of participation.

There are three things that make this campaign work:

It’s top of mind – The New Year.

Has a start date and end date – Clear timeline for the individual to reach their goal.

It’s cyclical – you can do the same promotion every year to attract more new members.

2. Flash Special on Gym Anniversary

fitness marketing campaign - flash sale

On your gym anniversary run a promotion for the first 20 non-members that visit the gym. The special price largely depends on your monthly membership costs and the type of gym you own. If you have a one-to-one personal training company, it might be a little more costly for you to give six months for free with a 12-month contract versus a big box gym.

Evaluate your membership and provide a unique offer that will get people in the door. When the 20 people do arrive, make sure you give them a tour, introduce them to the coaches/trainers and make them feel welcome.

3. Corporate Challenge

Fitness Marketing Campaign Ideas - Corporate Challenge

Do you run a corporate wellness program? Do you have multiple businesses working out at your gym? Run an organizational challenge.

Get local businesses to compete against each other. Give the winning business either a free membership for 6 months, products (such as vitamins, protein powder, etc.) or a trophy (because everyone loves to brag with a trophy).

Business owners are innately competitive and getting them to have a friendly competition with other business owners will get everyone working towards a goal, and bring more sales to your gym.

The competition could be whatever suits your gym. It could be weight loss, the total time devoted to working out, increasing in strength, or training for a triathlon or something like Tough Mudder.

When doing a competition such as this there need to be guidelines, rules, set a timeline and a visual display of who’s winning. Because as with all competitions, bargaining rights is just as important as the progress.

4. Free Training Day

Use your gym website to create a landing page where non-members can sign in with either Twitter, Facebook or email to receive a free one-to-one session with a personal trainer or join in for a class.

When the individual uses one of the above methods to sign-up to get the free class you have their information to provide them with more information even after they claim their free training.

Again, as with the other flash special, these people are testing out the waters need to be wooed. They have to feel like they fit in; they will achieve the results they are looking for and feel comfortable. This effort might seem like a lot to take care of in one class or session. But it makes the different from them loving their experience and wanting to sign up on the spot to just liking it and walking away.

But don’t worry, if they don’t sign-up right there and then you can always provide them with on-going valuable content via Facebook, Twitter, and Email.

5. Offer a one-week pass for new check-ins via Foursquare or Facebook

Everyone is glued to their phones so why not take advantage this and provide a free week pass to new check-ins on Facebook and Foursquare.

Promote your offer on Facebook via an ad and only show it on mobile phones. Lure them with a free week of workouts and make sure you have a way to sign them up after the one week is over. Get hyper-focused by only hitting prospects that visited your website but didn’t convert by using Facebook retargeting.

6. Free month pass for a guest with a Google Review

10 Fitness Marketing Campaign Ideas - Free month pass for a guest with a Google Review

Google reviews not only look good when people are searching for a gym to commit to but people really read them and it helps your business rank higher than your competition in local SEO!

And more than not, it influences their decision. If you’re lacking in Google reviews get your members to leave you reviews and provide everyone that does a free month pass to give to whoever they wish.

This kills three birds with one stone.

First, you get Google reviews on your page which looks good to non-members and it great for Google.

Second, your member will be very happy to give that month free pass to their best friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, or relative. It gives them the chance to workout with someone they know!

Third, it gets new people to your gym. Once you do get them there make sure you keep them! Before the one month is over talk to the potential member about joining and get them signed up before the month is completed. If for some reason they don’t want to sign up to your gym ask why and learn from it.

The worst thing you can so when providing free passes is not asking for the membership, not paying special attention to them and not asking for feedback if for some reason they don’t want to commit to a membership.

7. Feature a Gym member every week or month

10 Fitness Marketing Campaign Ideas - Feature a Gym member every week or month

Do you have exceptional gym members that are working super hard to reach a goal? Of course you do! Make your members feel special by featuring a member of the week or month on your website and social media accounts.

Everyone likes to be recognized and there is no better way to keep your members happy than them knowing their personal trainers and coaches are paying attention.

Take a photo of your special member during or after a workout, share why they are so spectacular and recognize them on your digital channels. Want to take it one step further, create special t-shirts that has a special saying or acronym on them. These shirts can not be given to everyone but it has to be earned. Only featured members get to have them.

Fitness marketing is not only about attracting new members but keeping your current members happy.

8. Answer member questions via blog posts

10 Fitness Marketing Campaign Ideas- Blogging

You know those questions that members continuously ask you during class? Answer those questions on your website. Not only will these blog posts help with current members but now you have a place your members can turn to for resources and FAQs.

Want to take it one step further? Create short videos answering the question and post them on YouTube. This is great for gyms that have a lot of technical workouts where movements are essential in efficiently completing the workouts.

Members can have a resource that they can turn to again and again when they need that extra bit of teaching or forget something that you told them.

Creating this unique content is not only a great time saver, member keeper but it also helps your website rank for more keywords.

Providing consistent, valuable content that is SEO optimized will get more people to your website online.

Then in these blog posts, you have a way to capture the new visitor information and then you start creating an email list. An email list for your non-members and members. Send non-members valuable content via emails and persuade them to visit your gym with a discount or a trial period.

9. Weight loss Challenge

10 Fitness Marketing Campaign Ideas - Weight loss Challenge

You can test a lot of different fitness marketing campaigns but one thing that will bring members together is weight loss. Whether this be a group or individual effort a weight loss campaign with a start date, end state, weight goals and coaches to help the individuals along the way will get members and even non-members on board.

When it comes to a weight loss challenge you don’t just have to limit it to your members. Make the challenge open to everyone for a fee. You can give current gym members a discount since they will be paying extra to be part of the challenge.

A weight loss challenge accomplishes two great things. It helps members reach their goals and it gets non-members in your gym.

Besides the gratification of losing weight, you can give the winner something awesome. For a CrossFit box, the prize might be lots of Progenex products. For a yoga studio, it might be a Manduka yoga mat with cool yoga clothing. You get the idea, make the prize something that is related to your gym and it somewhat expensive.

10. Provide Meal Plans

Fitness Marketing Blog - Providing Meal Plans

One of the most difficult aspects of fitness and having a healthy lifestyle is nutrition! You know food is a constant battle with members so give them a helping hand with meal plans!

A big problem with eating healthy is that most people don’t know what to eat or how to make “healthy” food taste good. In addition to being an example provide your members and even non-members meal plans to make their life easier.

You might be thinking how is meal plans a fitness marketing campaign?

This falls in line with answering your member questions on your website via blog posts. Provide content that people want and find valuable will draw people in. Nutrition is one of the hardest thing for people to master so by providing a meal plan on your website (gated of course) will keep your members happy. They will feel like you’re going the extra mile, working harder to make sure they are seeing the results they want.

Let me explain what I mean by “gated.” When you create something like a meal plan, something that can be downloaded and saved on someone’s phone or computer or even printed is an “offer.” In order to get this offer the first time visitors will need to provide you with some information. This could be name, email and an extra question such as; “Are you currently a member or a gym?”

When you ask for this information this individual is now in your email list. From then on you could send them more valuable information and updates about becoming a member.

For current members, you would send the meal plans via email.

Fitness marketing is more than just ads with pictures of super fit people with abs. It’s about communicating the right message to the right person using the right method. Get that trio correct and you’ll get more members than you have room for.

Remember don’t try to sell, rather provide value, help your members and non-members reach their goals and you’ll see a different response.

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