The Key To Fitness Marketing — A Comprehensive Guide

Congrats! You’ve just opened your new fitness center to the public. It has squeaky clean machines, sleek dumbbells, and plenty of open areas for circuit workouts. Now all you need to do is bring in new, loyal members.

Or, maybe you’ve had your gym up and running for a while, but the customers aren’t coming.

If you’ve noticed more vacant machines and less traffic flow in your gym, there may be some factors at play.

It’s not so much how you’re running your operation. Some people just don’t think they need to frequent a fitness center. A lot of exercise enthusiasts prefer the comfort, privacy, and convenience of working out at home. In fact, the home-fitness equipment market may grow by as much as 3% in the next couple of years.

As a gym owner, you need to convince your customers that making the trek to your establishment is worth it. That’s where fitness marketing strategies for gyms come into play. These health club marketing strategies guide cover all the bases and will help you attract your target audience. Try 12 health club marketing strategies today for the best results.

1) Create a User-Friendly Website

Have you not yet established your gym’s online presence? You’re already missing out on an excellent fitness marketing idea. Around 33% of online consumers use the Internet to search for local businesses every day, and another 16% search multiple times per week. 

Getting a website up and running is one of the marketing strategies for gyms that’ll let you reach a larger pool of potential customers. 

If you decide to go the DIY route, you can start with tools like Squarespace, WordPress, or Wix. These website building and hosting services make it easy to start your own site from scratch, so you don’t need to be a web programmer or graphic designer to do a good job. If you’re not confident in your website design skills, find a qualified professional with industry experience to do it for you.

Your website should be:

  • Easy to use: Have you ever landed on a website only to click away because it’s hard to use? To prevent frustrating your potential customers, make your gym’s site easy to browse. Include clickable links, a functional search feature, and consistent navigation elements.
  • Readable: Don’t go crazy on your site’s design aspect. Use your health club’s color scheme but don’t do anything too fancy or over-the-top. Make sure all fonts and colors are ADA-friendly for optimal readability.
  • Informative: People who land on your site likely want to start working out as soon as possible. To ensure a smooth experience, clearly lay out relevant information on your health club’s location, facilities, and hours on your site’s main pages.

With your new website in operation, build a portal where current and new clients can manage their memberships on their own. Offer a place to sign up, make payments, and book certain facilities or classes. Customers will love the additional convenience of this fitness marketing idea, and you can oversee everything that’s going on at your health club from a distance.

2) Implement Local SEO for Your Gym

Now that you have an attractive, functional website, Internet users will start discovering your gym online, right? Not so fast. Figuring out how to market a gym is a challenging feat. It involves incorporating multiple marketing strategies for gyms.

Even if you have a well-built website, it’s pretty much useless if you don’t implement local SEO tactics.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of driving up traffic to your site via organic search engine results. Improving it is one of the most effective marketing strategies for gyms.

Local SEO is pertinent to in-person businesses (like gyms), as regional customers will be the only ones interested in what you have to offer.

You may be wondering, How am I supposed to influence what comes up in Google search results?

It’s true — Google decides what comes up in customers’ search engine results. However, you can influence these results by implementing ethical SEO practices.

Some specific SEO techniques you can try out today include:

Sprinkle Local Keywords into Your Content

When you’re marketing a gym, one of the best things you can do is sprinkle local keywords into your content. 

These phrases are excellent examples:

  • “health club in [city name]”
  • “gym near me”
  • “fitness center near me”

These keywords are competitive, so you won’t rank with them on Google unless you thoughtfully incorporate them into your marketing strategies for gyms.

Don’t be tempted to “keyword stuff.” This malicious technique involves carelessly throwing keywords onto your website pages, even where they don’t make sense.

Ensure that you use keywords naturally, which will let Google know that you’re a real business with a legitimate website — and not some scammer who’s trying to draw website traffic for ulterior motives.

Update Your SEO Citations

Are you unfamiliar with the concept of citations? You should acquaint yourself with them, as they are pertinent to successful health club marketing strategies. 

A quick definition: a citation is an online reference to your company that doesn’t inherently need to link back to your site.

All citations must have the same three components — name, address, and phone number. Remember the NAP acronym when making your citations for your marketing strategies for gyms.

When marketing a gym, your best to keep all your citations specific. For example, if you manage Gorilla Gym House on Crain Street, don’t have some citations under Crain Street and others under Crain St. When it comes to creating and updating your citations, consistency is key. If you need help with your SEO strategy, let us know.

Create as many high-quality, local citations as possible. You can do so on sites like Yellowpages, Trip Advisor, Facebook, and Yelp. Some may cost money to create, but they are well worth the investment.

Set Up Your Google My Business Listing

When you’re pondering how to market a gym, one of the best things you can do is create a Google My Business Account. GMB is a free resource you can use to increase your gym’s visibility online. 

Once you set up your gym’s listing, you can experience the following benefits:

  • You can appear in local packs.
  • You can display your hours, phone number, and physical address easily
  • Past or current clients can leave reviews for potential customers.
  • Potential customers can view pictures of your facility from the main SERP (search engine results page).

Always ensure that your GMB listings are updated and categorized correctly. If you’re in charge of multiple gym locations, you can make multiple entries but still keep them under one account for your convenience.

3) Keep Track of Your Gym’s Marketing Campaigns

As you’ve learned from the previous two marketing strategies for gyms, a lot of customer acquisition occurs online.

When you’re reeling in customers via the Internet, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the marketing fitness channels producing the best results. Never create a marketing fitness campaign, only to leave it on the back burner.

One of the easiest ways to keep your gym marketing campaigns on the top of your mind is to set up goal tracking in Google Analytics. Taking this step will let you track how successful each campaign is. Enlist a web developer’s help to ensure a seamless process.

With your marketing fitness goals established, you can start attaching UTM tags to every link you send out to potential customers. These UTM tags will include the campaign’s name, source, and medium through which it gets sent.

Send out your UTM-tagged link to your potential customers. Once they start clicking on it, you can view Google Analytics’ activity and see what strategies produce the best results. When you analyze your updated Google Analytics data, you can learn which digital gym marketing campaigns produced the greatest ROI.

4) Experiment with Video Marketing Content

Marketing strategies for gyms don’t have to be cut-and-dry. You can have some fun with the process, as evident in this health and fitness marketing idea. Potential customers may need some encouragement to join your gym, and you convince them to do so through fun and engaging videos.

And it’s one of the best things you can do to refine your fitness center marketing plan. When over 64% of users are more likely to buy your product after watching a video, this is a strategy you can’t afford to skip.

Depending on your budget, you can keep your health club marketing strategies simple or go all out. Some gyms experience great success by filming videos on an employee’s smartphone and posting to Instagram. 

Larger-scale fitness center marketing plans may have bigger bucks to spare. Renting camera equipment and investing in professional editing software will let your establishment create memorable content.

No matter the route you take, dedicate the time and effort to create a presentable final product. Don’t hastily throw something together, as poor-quality content will reflect badly on your business.

Struggling to come up with a health and fitness marketing idea? Some video topics to work into your fitness center marketing plan include:

  • A tour of your facilities
  • Spoken testimonies from satisfied clients
  • A brief stretching or exercise video to give clients a taste of what you offer
  • A tutorial on how to use a certain machine
  • A day-in-the-work-life of one of your most outgoing employees

5) Create Written Marketing Content

As appealing as videos are in a fast-paced online world, you should still dedicate some resources to creating written marketing fitness content.

Well-composed written content will give your company’s website a better chance at ranking for competitive keywords.

However, you’ll need to be realistic. You likely won’t be able to rank for general topics and keywords like “how to do a pull-up.” Topics like these already have coverage by well-established fitness publications like Coachmag and NerdFitness.

Instead, try to select topics locals would want to read. Some templates for marketing a gym you can try are:

  • “Best Outdoor Workouts in [city name]”
  • “Where to Buy Affordable Workout Supplements in [city name]”
  • “X Hiking Trails for Beginners in [city name]”
  • “Where to Meet Fellow Exercise Enthusiasts in [city name]”

Blog posts on topics like these will attract locals who are interested in getting in shape. In these content pieces, you can plug your gym to encourage potential customers to add it to their “get fit” routine.

When you focus on creating localized content, you’ll be less likely to draw in people from across the country who won’t have any interest in going to your gym. The question of “How to Market a Gym” will become much simpler to answer.

With your fresh gym membership advertisement content, you can do whatever you’d like with it. Share it on local forums and social media accounts. Better yet, you can send it to churned clients who may need an extra push to get back into your gym.

6) Initiate a Referral Program

Don’t have the budget for a large health and fitness marketing team? No worries! Referral programs are still effective when comes to marketing a gym. Use this method to make marketing a gym easy for you and beneficial for your existing clientele.

You may be wondering how to market a gym with a referral program. It’s simple; use your current members as your marketers. Talk about affordable health club marketing strategies.

When you give your members high-quality services, facilities, and equipment, they’ll want to tell everyone they know about your fitness center. They’ll feel even more inclined to do so if you incentivize them.

When a current member refers someone, and that new person follows through with signing up, you should reward both individuals. With this reward in their view, each member will likely refer to everyone they know.

Before you start this program, settle on what the rewards will be. You may have it in your budget to offer a 20% discount on the first year of the clients’ memberships.

If you can’t afford to offer a big reward like this to every referred member, keep it simple. Some small-scale yet still enticing rewards you can hand out include:

  • Free swag like T-shirts, hats, socks, and armbands with your gym’s logo
  • Discounted add-ons like one-on-one classes
  • Discounted products like weightlifting gloves

Once your referral program is up and running, you should make sure that your current members know it’s part of your fitness center marketing plan. Advertise it on social media, send out emails about it, or put up posters about it on your gym’s walls.

Always make your marketing fitness plan as convenient as possible, but this especially rings true with your referral program. This is a great promotion idea when it comes to your gym. If your gym has a mobile app, build your marketing fitness referral program into it. This way, current customers can send out links to their peers at the touch of a button. Then, prospects can easily sign up, and their membership connects back to your current customer. 

7) Take Advantage of Social Media

Take your health and fitness marketing efforts to social media. This “how to market a gym” strategy is an excellent way to engage with your current clients and show potential customers what your gym is all about.

Use gym marketing channels like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok to widen your presence. Commit to posting at least a couple of times a week, although posting once a day is the best way to maintain an active presence. Initiate a couple of gym marketing campaigns you’re enthusiastic about and stick to them.

To experience success with marketing a gym, upload a good variety of content to keep your followers engaged. Post pictures of new equipment, triumphant post-workout selfies, and new enthusiastic members.

Consider making “fitspiration” content, which is content that motivates people to live healthy lifestyles. One study found that fitspiration content, when used appropriately, grants social media users access to health information and encourages them to lead healthier lives.

Depending on your budget, you may pay a social media specialist to post for your gym. Or, you can add it to a current employee’s responsibilities.

When it comes to implementing marketing strategies for gyms, don’t underestimate the power of social media.

8) Try Affiliate Health and Fitness Marketing

Earlier, we discussed using your current customers as your marketers. While this fitness marketing strategy can produce great results, you should also dabble in affiliate health and fitness marketing.

Affiliate marketing is about recruiting another business to help advertise your company. In the marketing fitness industry, you facilitate gym membership advertisements through other businesses.

To help you understand the power of an affiliate fitness center marketing plan, let’s paint a picture. Imagine someone goes to get bloodwork done by their doctor at their annual checkup. The bloodwork results yield a diagnosis for type 2 diabetes. Their doctor recommends they start exercising regularly to manage their new condition. 

If you enlist a doctor’s office to help with your fitness center marketing plan, the doctor will recommend your gym to his patient.

These gym membership advertisements take place without you batting an eye. All you’ll have to do is pay the business a flat fee or offer the employees discounted memberships.

Doctors’ offices aren’t the only businesses you can enlist as your marketers. You can also recruit physical therapists and supplement providers to be a part of your fitness center marketing plan.

Want to optimize your fitness center marketing plan? Talk to a personal trainer about letting them train their clients at your gym with no commission. Only require them to have an active gym membership. As a result, the personal trainer will bring in new paying clients for you. This is a fool-proof health and fitness marketing idea that will reap great profits.

9) Offer Gym Promotions

Looking for gym promo ideas? There’s an angle to take no matter the time of year, so start brainstorming gym promo ideas for your health club.

Here are a few gym promotions you should consider:

  • “New Year, New Me.”
  • “Get Your Summer Bod Before It’s Too Late.”
  • “Burn Off All Those Thanksgiving Calories.”

Whatever you decide on, offer an enticing membership discount to people who sign up. Add some type of “scarcity” element to your discount to make it seem more enticing. Only offer your discount to the first 100 people who take action or make it time-sensitive.

Never let a promotion run year-round, as people won’t be in any hurry to sign up.

When it comes to advertising your gym promotions, you can do so across multiple channels. Invest in print gym membership advertisements, billboards, and digital marketing fitness campaigns on Google and Facebook. Get creative when coming up with your gym promo ideas, as people are always looking to get in shape.

10) Host an Event

It can be easy to get caught up in the grind of your gym marketing efforts. You should take a moment to stop and celebrate. The good news for your gym’s finances — celebrations don’t have to be purely for fun. Consider using an event as a promotional tactic and fun health and fitness marketing idea.

Put on a social event and encourage your members to invite their friends. Once your gym becomes known for its social events and emphasis on building connections, more people will want to become a part of your community. This is an awesome opportunity to interact with the community and boost employee morale. 

When it comes to marketing a gym, no event is too small to celebrate. You can host your gym marketing campaign to celebrate holidays or staff birthdays. You can also celebrate your fitness center’s first anniversary or a milestone like reaching 500 active members. Drive up gym membership advertisements even more with a celebratory event.

Don’t stray too far from your brand’s vision — strive to keep the focus on health and fitness marketing. 

Here are some event-based fitness marketing ideas to consider for marketing a gym:

  • A weightlifting contest
  • Free gym use for all attendees for a night
  • An obstacle course competition
  • A free family workout session
  • A charity walk-a-thon

All of these health and fitness marketing ideas can boost gym membership advertisements and get more loyal members in your doors.

11) Craft a Weekly Newsletter

Don’t gym marketing newsletters only make sense for current clients? Not necessarily. 

While your newsletter should contain the most up-to-date news regarding your fitness center, it can also be a great promotional tool. Just look at examples from businesses around the country, who report more conversions from newsletter subscribers. 

Gyms frequently use weekly newsletters to bring past members back in and convert old leads that never followed through with buying a membership.

Churned members and dried-up leads are still likely subscribed to your emails. This means you can send out your weekly health and fitness marketing newsletter filled with gym membership advertisements, club updates, and special promotions.

Need specific content ideas to build your newsletter? One thing you can do is create a “Member of the Week” section. This section can highlight a new member every week and how they’re achieving their health and fitness goals by using your club. Content like this in your gym marketing campaigns can inspire churned members who are looking to become active again. 

Only send out your gym marketing newsletter once a week, so you don’t annoy your prospects and flood their inboxes with overdone gym marketing campaigns.

12) Remarket, Remarket, Remarket

If you’re still stuck on how to market a gym, consider the power of remarketing.

Imagine a guy who saw an intense, exciting weightlifting competition on TV. It may have reminded him of his more athletic high school days, and he decides he wants to get back into weightlifting. He performs a Google search for “gym near me,” finds your website, and reads it over. Then, he gets distracted and clicks off the page.

A couple of days later, he’s on Facebook and sees a gym marketing ad for your website on his homepage.

This process is remarketing at play. Basically, it involves position ads for your site in different places throughout the Internet. Remarketing reminds people that they were once interested in what you have to offer.

Some common platforms to run your gym marketing campaigns on are Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Display Network, and Facebook.

Remarketing for a gym is very effective if you create compelling ads. One of the best “how to market a gym” strategies to implement is to create a remarketing ad specifically for people who viewed your pricing page. The ad can offer a promotion that’s only redeemable online, so people will be more likely to capitalize on the coupon that’s in front of them.

Always use UTM tags for your gym marketing campaigns to keep track of what’s working and what isn’t.

Start Fitness Marketing For Your Gym Today

In this guide on how to market a gym, you’ve learned plenty of effective health club marketing strategies. Some involve intricate SEO and digital marketing fitness techniques, while others are about building real-life connections with potential clients. Gym marketing campaigns and networking events are also excellent ways to get your gym better known in the community. 

No matter what solutions you try first, these twelve marketing strategies for gyms will always be here when you need to boost your fitness marketing plan. Try them today and get ready to take your business to the next level!