Fitness Marketing: The Definitive Guide [Must Read]

It’s no surprise that signing up new members is vital for your gym’s success but with so much noise in the market how do you make sure your gym stands out and…(which marketing strategies actually work)?

This guide is designed to help you better market your gym or fitness business.

I’ve included specific marketing strategies and tips for the fitness industry.

If you want your fitness business to be more than just a new year fad, you’re going to love this guide.

Let’s dive in.

1. Standing out in a crowded fitness industry

With so many fitness options available to consumer’s and new gyms popping up, how does your fitness company stand out?

In 2021, you need to remove the guesswork from your gym marketing strategies.

Success with fitness marketing is a numbers game, specifically data marketing by tapping into the huge amounts of data available about your perfect customers. 

For years, much of the advertising landscape relied heavily on guesswork.

Fitness brands, just like other companies, needed to make educated decisions about the kind of advertising efforts that they needed to invest in, based on the campaigns that led to the most revenue. Although we had access to some information, it wasn’t anything close to what’s available today.

Now, in 2021, we’re living an environment where data is being generated on a constant basis. Social media giants including Facebook and Instagram have so much information it’s easy to target ideal customers with the right marketing strategy. 

The good news for businesses in the fitness landscape, is that data can be leveraged to easily increase your sales and improve your marketing strategies – if you learn how to leverage it.

Targeting the right customers

How would you define your ideal client?

What kind of person sticks with your gym year after year?

Where do they live?

How old are they?

What kind of services or features do they value?

The more information you have about your perfect customers, the better your overall marketing will become.

So, if you’re not sure WHO you should be advertising to then here’s a useful strategy:

The key to appealing to your perfect customers is to focus on their shared values.

What do I mean by this?

Take any fitness business and look closely at their client base. You’ll notice they’re a diverse group of people, but they do share some common values.

And it’s these values you want to identify and build your entire marketing strategy around.

So, ask yourself this: 

“What are the common values that my ideal customers share?” 

And don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be perfect. Just list out the top 3-5 common values your customers share. Doing this one step will instantly make your fitness marketing 10X better.

Now that you’ve identified what your buyers value, you can use this to shape how you create ads, how you engage with potential new business and how you position your gym ahead of the competition. 

Successful seasons

When is the busiest time for new member sign-ups? 

A lot of fitness companies see a surge in clientele around January. However, there may be other times of the year when you notice a boost in your revenue too. Understanding your business lows and highs will help you to determine when you need to ramp up your marketing spend or could be a sign that your marketing need work if you’d like more consistency.    


Gym Marketing KPI's To Track

Your overall marketing performance: Almost every marketing tool that you can invest in today comes with tools that you can use to gain useful insights. Email marketing services give you information on your bounce and open rates. Social media tools show you when your customers are most active. Google Analytics can help you to track the performance of your website. The more data you have on your marketing campaigns, the easier it is to see which of your strategies are really working.

Marketing ROI: How much is a typical new member sign-up worth to you? How long does you average customer stay as a member? Once you have the answers to these questions you can begin to work out what each new member is worth to your business and then calculate how much you can afford to invest in marketing. Over time you should be able to know that if you spend X amount of dollars you’ll sign up Y amount of members.

In 2021, it’s crucial to ensure that every decision that you’re making for your business is based on real actionable data. Don’t just guess at what your audience need; learn about each of your customers using the services available to you.

2. Invest In Local SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is critical for any fitness business want long term success.
In today’s digital world, if customers want to find a solution to their problems, they head online and search for what they need via Google, Bing or another similar search engine.
While most fitness businesses know that they should be ranking for basic terms like “gym membership,” or “fitness centre” it’s easy to forget the importance of narrowing your focus down from a global crowd.

local seo for gyms on google

Investing in Local SEO rather than just concentrating on a broad search appeal, will help you to reach a more relevant audience, particularly if you’re offering a service from a brick and mortar location. After all, if you have a gym in Sydney, you don’t need people in the UK to know about it.
Perhaps even more importantly, in 2021, focusing on local SEO will also help you to optimise for voice search. 75% of smart speaker users in the current landscape use voice searches to find local services and solutions each week.
Ranking in the search results for terms that include location names and “near me” modifiers could help you to succeed in the smart speaker era.

how do you go local with your SEO?

It’s easy.

Use local terms in your content: Don’t just write about “how to make the most of your gym membership” on your blog. Focus on the benefits of gym memberships in the location you serve. Alternatively, ensure that your website functions well, loads quickly, has a nice design and includes terms like “fitness company in [insert your local area].”

Get plenty of local citations: Work on getting people to reference your business from local publications and companies. Is there an opportunity to get featured on a local fitness blog? Or perhaps a local news website? Strive to improve your standing in the local marketplace with backlinks from relevant brands.

Improve your Google My Business page: Use the Google My Business page that all companies can access to ensure that users can find useful information about your brand. Google My Business will show customers where you are, how to contact you, reviews and more.

3. Leverage the influence of Existing Members

Your existing client base is one of the most valuable marketing weapons you have.

All you need to do is learn how to leverage it.

While it’s true that positive ‘feel good’ marketing slogans and useful information about your company can help you to attract new customers, nothing will make potential clients trust you quite like the words of your existing community.

According to Hubspot, 70% of people trust the customer reviews they read online.

So, how do you convince your existing customers to help with your marketing?

One easy option is to provide incentives. You can also try various other methods, for instance:

Create a VIP membership scheme: Let people join an advocacy group in exchange for rewards. Every time one of your existing clients successfully recommends a friend, they could get a discount off their membership, or access some special gifts.
Encourage reviews: As well as cultivating direct referrals, focus on getting your happy customers to leave positive reviews about you online. For instance, you could provide discounts or free products in exchange for a review.
Make giving feedback easy: Sometimes, convincing your customers to talk about your brand doesn’t have to mean bribing them. Simply providing users with a branded hashtag they can use on social media or joining rating sites will generate conversations about your business.
Build a strong community: The fitness industry is all about bringing people together and helping them make a positive change in their life. Having a strategy of building a fitness community can make all the difference and really set you apart giving you the freedom to increase membership fees and grow your fitness business.
Lululemon, one of the leading companies in the fitness apparel landscape, encourages plenty of social feedback from customers on Instagram. #TheSweatLife is a community hashtag that people can use to show themselves wearing Lululemon clothing and engaging in fitness activities.

4. Go Offline

In 2021, it’s easy to assume that all of your marketing efforts should be focused on the online world. After all, we’re all dealing with a space that’s more digital than ever. Wherever you go, people are talking about social media advertising, SEO, and content.
However, there are benefits to being active offline too. This is particularly true if you have a brick-and-mortar fitness business.

For instance, if you’re a company that offers nutrition classes in a specific location, you’re a gym brand, or you’re a business that delivers specialised training to individuals in-person, you’re going to need to connect with clients face-to-face.

Taking advantage of offline marketing opportunities, like events and introduction evenings when people can come and check out your facilities could help to really ramp up your sales.

In a world where people are getting used to seeing and interacting with countless companies online, making a genuine connection with your clients in-person could really help to improve your chances of success.

Offline GYM Marketing Ideas To Try in 2021

Having a free open day: Invite potential clients to come and check out your facilities for a day without paying a penny. Make sure that you have plenty of printed content that they can use to learn more about your business available.

Launching an event: Get involved with other local businesses in a huge event. For instance, if you run a local smoothie company, you could run a health and nutrition day, where people can come to learn about improving their diet.

Using a pop-up strategy: Excite your audience with something new and interesting. For instance, you could visit a local mall to showcase some of your latest offerings, or partner with an influencer on a demonstration. Find a way to get people talking about your brand.

Look at how exciting and engaging the colour run is each year, for instance. This live event gets everyone talking about fitness, and numerous brands get involved around the world. Marketing doesn’t have to be exclusively digital.

5. Provide Amazing Offers

Finally, as much as most people want to get fit and healthy, they also know it’s hard work.

The majority of your customers will be struggling to decide whether getting involved with another fitness company is a good idea for them. After all, getting physically and mentally healthy takes a lot of time and effort. You need to convince your potential clients that it’s easy to get involved.

An introductory offer such as a discounted membership for the first month is an excellent way to get people to fall in love with your service or product. Once they’ve had a taste for a cheaper price, they’ll be much more likely to want to keep coming back for more.


Giving people an introductory discount or freebie: Give people a taste for what you can offer with either a discount to get them started, or a free trial, depending on the kind of service you offer. If you’re providing online fitness classes for instance, you could provide the first few classes for free.
Offering money off long-term memberships: A lot of companies offering memberships and subscriptions get increased signups by offering clients the chance to save money if they pay for a year in advance, rather than just a month.
Consistently rewarding repeat customers: Make sure that you continue to delight your existing customers with freebies, money-off vouchers, and other benefits. Don’t just reserve your offers for new sign-ups.

Make Your Marketing Work Out in 2021

Like all businesses, fitness companies need to think carefully about their marketing strategies if they want to stay ahead of the curve. You can’t just wait for your clients to come to you once a year when they’re feeling guilty about too much turkey.
Fortunately, in 2021, the five techniques above will give you everything you need to start ramping up sales, customer interest, and brand loyalty.
Which marketing efforts will you be trying this year?

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