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Marketing tips

5 Gym marketing tips to grow your business

February 24, 2022
Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team
February 24, 2022 | Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team

Whether you just opened a new gym and want to attract new clients or are an established business looking for ways to increase your current clientele — having an effective marketing strategy is key to building a strong business.

That’s why we’ve put together the best gym marketing ideas to add to your gym business plan. These ideas are designed to help you succeed today, tomorrow, and far into the future.

So lace up, do your stretches, and get ready to explore every marketing strategy from free samples to fitness club charity events. Follow these marketing tips, and you’ll be well on your way to boosting your fitness business.

#1 Offer gift giveaways

If you are looking for ways to attract new customers to your small business, this idea is for you. A special gym giveaway can be just the thing to attract new customers while providing something special for your current members as well.

A few options for enticing your customers with great gifts include:

  • Monthly gym membership giveaway – Every month, one lucky member of your gym can work out for free. This membership giveaway can be open to everyone in your gym and is a great way to give back to your loyal customers. Randomly select a single gym member and let them know their monthly fee is taken care of.
  • Work out swag raffle – Fitness fans love their accessories, so give the people what they love. Allow your customers to enter a raffle to win an entire gift basket of workout gear. Gifts to consider include a set of wireless headphones, a yoga mat, a box of tasty protein bars, or even a quality water bottle. As the gym owner, choose items your customers and potential members can use and will appreciate.
    • Welcome gifts – Encourage potential members to sign up for your gym by offering gym promotions such as a special welcome gift. This can include things like t-shirts, towels, and gym bags—extra points if you put your gym’s name on the gear.
    • Give back to the community - Your customers may also be interested in giving themselves. For example, McAlister Training, a small California-based gym, chose to start a “Look good, feel good, DO good” month. Through social media marketing and an email campaign, the business encouraged its members to find ways to do a little good every day, whether that was buying a coffee for a friend or donating old clothes to charity. Mcalister Training chose to do good by donating their new client fees directly to the charity. Thanks to the buzz generated by their efforts, the business brought in dozens of new clients and made a difference in their community. 

While most people join gyms for health benefits, they’re bound to appreciate the extra gifts your gym promotions offer. It’s just another way of setting yourself apart, building your reputation, and showing your customers that you’re thinking of them first.

#2 Start a referral program

Word of mouth can go a long way for brand awareness—so why not double up on personal recommendations by creating a referral program? A referral program incentivizes your customers to recommend your business to their network. The customer that passes along a referral can receive a discount or bonus. A solid referral program brings in new customers and can also benefit your current members.

Consider implementing a referral program that follows these simple steps:

  • Discounts for new members – New customers who are brought in by current members can receive a discounted sign-up option. It’s an effective way to welcome members who already have a friend working out at your gym.
  • Bonuses for current members – Those who bring in more clients to your gym should be rewarded as well. Consider providing them with specialized discounts, free personal training sessions, or pre-determined gift options for broadening your customer base.
  • A reward network – With benefits on both ends of the referral, you can create a thriving fitness industry network of referrals, constantly bringing new customers and rewarding current members. 

It’s always good to have a workout buddy in the fitness industry, and now your members can find even more benefits for inviting their friends and family to join them at your gym. Make sure to reference your referral program in your various advertising materials and say hello to all your new clients.

#3 Upgrade your email

The average person checks their email about 15 times per day. That said, plenty of those emails are ignored, deleted, or moved to spam. To boost your email engagement and craft the kind of emails that your customers will want to read, there are some strategic ways to start making a difference:

  • Keep it short, sweet, and direct
  • Lead with your main idea or topic
  • Keep your language aspirational

Another key aspect of an email newsletter? Voice. Every gym has its own brand and style, which should be present in your email. If your gym’s foundation is built on positivity, self-care, and wellness, make sure your email epitomizes those qualities. 

When deciding what to write about, a few tried-and-true email templates include:

  • Offers and discounts – Always let your customers know when your next big offers are happening via email. This can include special classes, merchandise, or contract discount offers. 
  • Community updates - Consider highlighting recent additions to the gym, special events, and local success stories from around your community. You can also add a section that celebrates members who have achieved their various fitness goals — a few things are more inspiring than a success story. There’s always an opportunity to share exciting news with your customers. WKRT, a Columbia, South Carolina-based gym, used email to get their customers excited about upcoming workout programs using the Megaformer machine.
  • Reminders and encouragement – Maintaining a healthy life isn’t always easy. We all get distracted from our fitness goals from time to time and may lose some of our momentum in the gym. Connect with customers that you haven’t seen around the gym recently and encourage them to come back. A friendly email of support could be just the thing to get them back in the gym.

Keep up regular emails through marketing automation to ensure you’re connecting consistently with your audience. 

#4 Work on your website

While most gyms are all about the in-person experience, your website is still essential for customer interaction. Think of your website as an opportunity to make a positive first impression on potential customers and as somewhere current members can go for the information and content they’re looking for.

When designing your website for maximum impact, consider the following features:

  • Blogs – An online blog is a smart way to bring more eyes to your website and share experiences with your members. Whether you write about your personal story, exercise tips, or the people who inspire you, fitness blogs are popular among exercise experts and novices.
  • Video content – Give your customers another reason to visit your site by adding a visual element. Instructive videos, home demos, and gym tours are all wonderful opportunities for video content. Not only will you be advertising for your gym, but you’ll also be providing something your customers can use next time they work out.
  • FAQs and contact info – Answer the common questions you receive from members with an FAQ page and allow your readers to reach out. You can be a resource for your customers’ various fitness questions.

Consider a full website overhaul that integrates seamlessly with your other marketing materials. Consistency is key when building your brand, so be sure there’s a singular style across every medium and regulate things like:

  • Your logo
  • Your business’s voice
  • Color schemes
  • Key phrases and talking points

Create a unified vision for your gym, and your audience will have a hard time forgetting who you are and what you stand for.

#5 Shake up your socials

While your website is the primary hub of your online persona, social media offers a specialized tool for connecting with your customers broadly and one-on-one.

If you’re looking for new ways to start engaging on social media, consider the following options:

  • Share your success stories – Whether the gym has just welcomed its 1000th sign-up, or a local celebrity has just stopped in to get in a quick workout—share it with your followers. Your personal successes are a fun and exciting opportunity to show your customers how far you’ve come and where your business is going.
  • Encourage sharing – Spread the word by giving your followers another reason to share your post. Add a social media contest that rewards those who share your posts with the opportunity to win a free class or training session. 
  • Create a workout group – Those looking to discover new workouts, chat about their fitness experiences, or just commiserate about their passion for exercise can find plenty of opportunities through online groups. Create a group dedicated to your fitness community and explore what platforms work best for your gym. 

The social part of social media cannot be understated. By crafting a strong community around your gym—both in-person and online—you’ll curate an atmosphere of success that all your members can appreciate.

Bring your gym to Nextdoor

You’d think physical fitness would sell itself, but it can take a lot of hard work to bring in new members. Fortunately, these gym marketing tips are a great primer for refocusing your marketing efforts and bringing your business to the next level. That said, there’s one single tip that’s sure to bring you benefits almost immediately —Nextdoor.

With Nextdoor, you can connect to your neighborhood, offer special promotions, customize your Business Page, and gather recommendations for your gym. Claim your free Business Page to get started. 

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Forbes. The Way You Check Email Is Making You Less Productive. 

KSBY. Local gym to donate all October new client fees to charity. 

The State. Local fitness studio is opening new location in popular West Columbia district.

Claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. For resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers, pertinent news affecting business, and more, follow us at @nextdoorbusiness on Facebook

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