To first attract and then retain clients are the main marketing goals for anyone in the fitness industry. It is important to remember that marketing is an ongoing investment that involves advertising, client support, public relations, media planning, and more. Your brand’s marketing plan should integrate strategies that let you grow your client base over time while still allowing you the flexibility you need to respond to changes in your client needs.
The fitness industry is a crowded and highly competitive arena. Not only do you need to attract and retain clients, but you also need to stand out from the competition. A top-notch marketing plan and the subsequent execution of that plan are essential to the success of your brand. We’ll talk about some general marketing best practices and then cover some ideas specific to businesses with a fitness focus.
Today’s consumers use Internet searches 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to find everything their hearts desire. Your business’ website is the digital face of your brand. It helps potential clients find you and can provide a ton of information and resources for existing clients. Your website should be fast, mobile friendly, device responsive, and it should provide interactive experiences to visitors.
Depending on the size of your budget paired with your level of technological know-how, you can create and maintain your own website or hire an agency to handle those tasks. Responsive, modern templates are available on website hosting platforms like Squarespace that you can use not only to highlight your services and experience but also to assist in your marketing efforts. Because a majority of searches are done on mobile devices AND search engines, like Google, rank higher websites with responsive designs, a fully responsive site is critical.
Page loading speed also impacts search engine rankings and user experience so make sure that your content is optimized for quick viewing speed. An additional component that factors into SEO and user experience is intuitive site navigation. For more on SEO best practices, see our blogs:
Email marketing campaigns are a relatively inexpensive means of marketing. These campaigns are easy to implement and allow you to target specific segments of your audience with personalized messaging. Email can be used to share any promotions you have going on, schedule changes, new services you are offering, and more. Client email addresses can be captured either while they are on your website or as they visit your facility. Regular, brand-based emails are an excellent way to maintain regular communication with your client base.
Social Media Marketing
Consistent, brand-centered messaging is the key to doing social media well. Start by determining which platforms your target audience is using and then meet them there with original, engaging content. Social media is the place to show your brand’s personality. These platforms are also an amazing channel for advertising because you can target specific audiences based on things like geographical location, keywords, age groups, online behaviors, and so many other demographics. We could write (and actually have written) a multitude of articles on social media marketing. Here are some links for more specific information!
A majority of people seek out online reviews and recommendations before patronizing a business. Use reviews from your current clients to help build and maintain a positive reputation of your brand. These reviews can be text or video based and are excellent content for not only your website but also print materials and social media posts. Multiple studies have found that social proof like reviews and recommendations play an important role in converting potential customers.
FITNESS SPECIFIC MARKETING IDEAS
Speak directly to customer pain points.
Clients will feel like you understand them when you directly address the issues they are facing. This strategy lets you target specific segments of your audience. Marketing pieces that include lines like “Class reunion coming up?” “Want to rewind your body 5 years?” or “xxx” help potential clients feel like they are not the only ones in their situation and that your services just might be the answer. This will also help you build a rapport and earn clients’ trust which will help increase your conversion rate.
Offer a free training day or trial period.
Potential clients see a free trial as low risk and low commitment. It gives you a chance to show them how your programs, classes, etc. can help them meet their fitness goals and lets them come to their own conclusion about how welcomed and comfortable they will feel in your facility.
You can create social media marketing campaigns that send people to specific landing pages on your website where they can sign up for a free one on one session or join a class. This also allows you to capture their contact information for follow-up after their free session or trial as well as for further marketing efforts.
Offer a “Get Ready for Summer” Promotion
The time period right after January first catches people when they are most likely feeling guilty about their holiday behaviors and looking for motivation to get back to a regular routine of working out. Marketing a 4-6 month high-intensity program that is uniquely geared towards weight loss and toning with summer attire sharply in mind. Providing a start and end date will help some people commit to the program who need an end goal in mind for the time and energy they will be dedicating to the effort. Consider incorporating mini-lessons about the importance of lifestyle changes and a continued commitment to regular exercise to encourage those clients to stay with you after the program ends.
Offer rewards to encourage various behaviors.
Do you need more reviews on Google? Would your Facebook feed benefit from more regular check-ins? All you need to do is ask…and throw in a carrot or two. Offer a one week or month-long guest pass to encourage clients to bring their family and friends to check out your facility and all you have to offer. If you have branded t-shirts, water bottles, or other things, offer those. You’ll not only get your review or check-in, but you’ll also get free advertising as your client proudly sports whatever gear he’s received for his efforts.
Be sure to incorporate a way to capture contact information for the friend or family member. Sending the pass electronically and directly to the guest is one way to go about it. Also, incorporate follow up messaging or personal communications just before the one week or month is over to encourage the potential member to join. If the guest does not want to join, use the interaction as an opportunity to understand why not and what changes, if any, could be made to make membership more attractive.
Host a weight loss challenge.
You can offer a weight loss challenge not only to your members but also to anyone else willing to pay a fee to join in. It can be a group or individual effort and various prize categories can help entice more people to take part. Encourage members to create teams comprised of their work colleagues or family members. Offer coaching and weigh-in sessions to bring people together throughout the challenge and help keep everyone excited about losing weight AND using your facility.
Create marketing campaigns throughout the year, not just your typical busy seasons.
Think of your marketing efforts as the ultimate communication channel. Of course, there are times during the year that fitness and working out are typically on people’s minds and your marketing team will easily be able to speak to those peak seasons with their campaigns. But don’t stop there.
Use your marketing communications to increase business during your slow seasons to maintain a fluid revenue level throughout the year. Plan quarterly strategies and create a marketing cycle that can be tweaked and reused year after year. Clients who see fitness as a way of life will stay with you 12 months a year. Others will be less committed but will look forward to taking part in your annual summer fitness programs or winter classes geared towards getting them out of the house and moving around during inclement weather.
The main key is to understand how your offerings answer the challenges being faced by current and potential clients. Use your marketing to show people you can help them get healthy, feel better, become stronger – whatever the desire is. Communicate how your brand can provide the support they need to accomplish their goals. Show them the best of what you have to offer. Use as many channels as you can – your website, social media, email, direct mail, etc.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing are ready to help you with all of these efforts. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and how we can create a personalized marketing plan that works with your particular business goals and budget. Let’s get started!