Successful gyms consistently market themselves on multiple digital channels to bring in new members.
As a gym owner, you’re well aware of the natural churn of membership that’s a factor for every business in the fitness industry.
The majority of gyms lose about 50 percent of new members within the first six months.
Therefore, marketing your gym is one of the most important parts of running your business successfully. And digital marketing in general is one of the most diverse and affordable ways to do so.
The following are nine expert tips to better market your gym online. You might also want to check out our Digital Marketing 101 guide for beginners to get a better overall understanding of the range of channels that you can use.
Optimize your website
It takes consumers about 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not and whether they’ll stay (and potentially convert into a customer) or leave.
User experience is paramount on your website. You should plan regular audits of your site and consider how:
- Simple it is to navigate
- Clearly your overall message is being communicated
- Easy it is to find key information, such as your location, hours, services, pricing and so on
- It ranks on search engines
Keep in mind that your website should focus on and be about your gym members, not you. They want to know what you can do for them, but they generally will have simple questions that need straight-forward answers, such as:
- How much does a membership cost?
- Are there membership contracts?
- Where are you located?
- What amenities are offered?
- Are group classes offered? If so, when?
- How can I sign up?
Of course, the deeper question on most website visitors’ minds is whether your gym can help them achieve their fitness goals. So, while you’re ensuring that your key information is easy to find, you also want to convey your authority, expertise and ability to help people like them.
One way to do this is by using variations of social proof, which refers to potential customers assuming that what others are doing is correct based on how often they see those actions. In other words, social proof is about looking to others to figure out the right way to interact in any given situation.
See nine ways you can use social proof to boost your customer conversions.
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that website visitors can easily sign up for a membership, book classes and so on. The more helpful your site is, the better.
Explore local SEO
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is when search engines rely on signals (such as local content, social profile pages, links and citations) to provide the most relevant local results to the user. It’s all about delivering the best and more relevant local search engine results.
After searching for a nearby product or service online, about 76 percent of consumers will visit that business the same day (and about 28 percent of all local searches result in a purchase).
Gyms can especially benefit from better local SEO since customers typically want their gym to be located nearby.
Some tactics to consider:
- Creating a Google My Business listing (and in other listing directories like Yelp)
- Using local keywords
- Building up your inbound links
- Increasing your internal linking
- Creating location pages (if you have multiple locations)
- Monitoring and engaging with online reviews
Dig deeper into local SEO with our 11 tips that will help you beat your competition.
Create a mix of content
It’s common to launch a fitness blog to help draw traffic to your website as well as build up your authority within your fitness niche.
But keep in mind that the more you can localize your content.
When it comes to SEO, ranking for fitness-related keywords is very competitive (and extremely difficult).
For example, even if you ranked for “squat exercises,” the website traffic you would be generating would likely not be local to your business. So, unless you have online services that can appeal to a national (or even global) audience, it’s best to focus on more localized content.
Such topics as “safest places to run in (your city),” “4 must-do hikes in (your city),” “3 of the best outdoor-workout areas in (your city)” and so on will help you connect with more local website visitors who are more aligned to your target clientele.
You’ll also want to mix up the content types you’re producing as much as makes sense for your gym and fitness brand.
Video is undeniably engaging across multiple platforms. In fact, we have five reasons why video is a must for your business.
Of course, video and fitness go hand-in-hand. Whether you’re demoing exercises or a workout, sharing fitness tips, showcasing how to cook a healthy recipe or anything else, video is ideal.
This could make YouTube or even Facebook Live great social media mediums to prioritize. Learn more about the best video-marketing platforms for your business.
The more diverse your content, the better. But make sure you capitalize on your strengths. You can see how in our seven tips to level up your content marketing.
Post consistently on social media
Social media should be a key component of any gym’s digital marketing strategy. Of course, social media isn’t just about reaching new potential customers, it’s also about engaging with your existing clients.
Consistent posts means more than frequency, it also refers to quality. Thinking ahead and planning out what content to share where and when can help you maintain consistency across platforms.
Not sure which social media platform is right for your gym to focus on? See our guide.
Leverage FOMO opportunities
In any of your gym’s promotions and marketing campaigns, keep your audience’s “fear of missing out” (FOMO) in mind. FOMO is about leveraging the fear we all have of losing out on amazing opportunities, experiences and so on, no matter what they might be.
You want to express scarcity and limits with your offers. In addition, any sort of social proof you can use will help as well.
Engage with email marketing
Emails should definitely not be overlooked. About 61 percent of consumers prefer to be contacted by brands through email.
When emailing, you’ll want to:
- Be consistent
- Segment your audience and your messaging
- Share engaging content that your recipients will value
Even the simplest weekly or monthly email newsletter can be used to appeal beyond just your existing clients.
To help during the email creation process, see our guide to the anatomy of an effective marketing email.
In the big picture, you’ll want to strategize your overall email series and promotions.
We recommend email drip campaigns that target specific segments of your contact database. Email drip campaigns are a type of time-release email marketing tactic. Think drip irrigation systems. Drip emails are intended to land with purposeful timing and targeting with minimal waste (and technically minimal effort once set up to run automatically).
Create an affiliate marketing program for your gym
Affiliate marketing is specifically the process where an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another’s products or services.
In this instance, instead of you being the affiliate for someone else (which is definitely a great way to generate passive income), others can be your affiliate, promoting your gym in exchange for a commission or discounts for any new members who sign up.
You, of course, can set the terms and will want to promote the program (likely among any existing clients and staff, especially those who might have larger online followings). You’ll also need to have a fitness affiliate program portal set up, such as ShareASale or ClickBank (among others), to manage conversions and owed commissions.
In addition, you can expand beyond your existing clients and staff by pitching your affiliate program to:
- Physical therapists
- Supplement providers
- Fitness apparel retailers
Remarketing to your leads
One powerful digital marketing method is remarketing to those who visit your website but don’t make a purchase. You can then serve those users ads elsewhere on the internet to encourage them to come back and convert into signing up for your gym (or make some other purchase).
Website visitors who are remarketed to are about 70 percent more likely to convert.
Popular platforms where you can easily launch remarketing campaigns include (but are not limited to):
- Google Display Network
A typical tactic is to offer a discount or other incentive to entice those visitors to return to your website.
Measure your results
Monitor and track the performance of all your digital marketing efforts. This is critical so that you can focus more on what’s working and adjust anything that’s not. It also will help you plan your advertising budget more effectively.
No one wants to burn their hard-earned money on lackluster digital marketing campaigns.
Many websites use Google Analytics, and that’s a great place to start by checking in on the top-performing pages of your website, your best traffic-referral sources (whether that’s Google, Facebook or another referring source) and so on.
But you’ll want to keep an eye on your social media profiles as well. Monitoring what’s working and what’s not on such platforms as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others will help you continue to engage and communicate better with your following.
While you’re marketing your gym, consider DailyStory. Our digital marketing platform integrates with MindBody and Rhinofit to better serve fitness studios and gyms and offers such features as SMS text message marketing, email marketing, automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. In fact, our platform can help you better target your contact database by segmenting your audience based on various characteristics. Schedule your free demo with us today.