The global fitness industry is healthy (pun intended), with a market value of $87 billion.
And as more and more people embrace a healthy lifestyle, the top New Year's resolutions in the United States typically incorporate some type of fitness or exercise goal.
But with more than 200,000 fitness clubs worldwide (and growing), how do you stand out from the crowd and attract these fitness enthusiasts at different stages of their journey?
That's where fitness marketing comes into play. It's all about understanding your target audience, sending the right message at the right time, solving consumer pain points, and adding value.
In this post, we'll share five ways to reach and motivate customers in the new year by focusing on these basic principles.
Let's dive in.
1. Understand your target audience
Understanding your target audience is the first step in creating an effective fitness marketing strategy. If you don't know your ideal customers, how will you know what messaging resonates with them?
For example, Sally, a grandmother of two who wants to join a weekly yoga class, will have very different fitness goals compared to Mike, a 25-year-old bodybuilder who lifts weights for two hours daily.
So take it one step further and break your target audience into different buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer and includes information about their demographics, interests, goals, motivations, and behaviors. It helps you understand what they want from your fitness business and how you can solve their pain points.
To create a buyer persona, start by answering questions like:
- Who are the people that purchase from you?
- What do they care about?
- What are their goals?
- How do they make decisions?
- What are their priorities?
- How can you reach them effectively?
By answering these questions, you can create a profile that'll help guide your marketing efforts in the right direction. For example, if your customers tend to be Gen Zers, you might focus on TikTok as your primary advertising platform.
Another way to develop effective messaging for your buyer personas is to analyze the different types of competitors in your niche. Who else is out there trying to reach this same demographic? What kinds of messages do they use? How do they promote themselves online and offline? What's working, and what's falling by the wayside?
For instance, Lift The Bar, a growing community of more than 1,000 health experts and personal trainers, displays a clear call to action on its homepage, offering a two-week free trial.
Is this something that you currently offer on your fitness site? If not, consider developing a free trial program before January rolls around.
Why? People just starting their fitness journey can be timid about getting their feet wet. They might lack experience and feel overwhelmed at a gym. A free trial is an excellent way to provide a risk-free opportunity to build their confidence in the gym or see if a personal training program is right for them.
The fitness industry is a crowded space. But it doesn't take much to stand out. If you understand what makes your potential customers tick, you're on the fast track to sending the right message at the right time and scoring new members this year.
2. Focus on building a brand
If you're a personal trainer or gym owner, you've got an incredible opportunity to build your business — and boost its success — by developing a solid brand identity.
Branding involves how people think about your business, product, or service. It gives them an expectation of your company's quality and experience before they even walk through your doors.
It can be anything from how easily people can find information about your products online to the look and feel of your website or gym. It can even include how friendly your staff is when someone walks in for their first visit.
Take Two-Brain Business, for example. Created by gym owners for gym owners, they have established a stellar brand identity in the fitness community by adhering to four core values.
And the key to good branding is consistency. Everything from their advertising materials to how they interact with clients reflects these same four core values (brand identity).
Follow Two-Brain Business' lead on this one. You'll be surprised how many customers repeatedly return because they know what kind of experience awaits them.
But what if you already have a brand that's not driving the desired results? Don't fret. Going through the rebranding process can help you re-engage and reach new audiences. And it's not as cumbersome as you might think.
According to HubSpot, the most popular rebranding strategy is changing your brand logo without establishing a new identity. Don't think of a partial rebrand as an identity crisis — consider it an adjustment to your visual brand identity to better suit new markets.
With the help of an AI logo maker, you can update or create a brand-new logo that appeals more to your audience while maintaining your company's vision and values.
Don't underestimate the power of a good branding strategy. It is a critical element of your identity, which can help you resonate and build trust with your target audience (the recipe for long-term business success).
3. Leverage the power of social media
Once you understand your target market and feel comfortable with your brand positioning, you can harness the power of social media to reach new customers via their preferred channels.
Start by setting up easy ways for customers to find and follow you on social media. For example, grow your following by simply including a Facebook logo vector on the website homepage that encourages website visitors to follow you on Facebook. Body Control Pilates does an excellent job with this strategy.
Social media can be a powerful tool for building trust and credibility with your audience. Use social media to inform your customers of upcoming events, new services, or anything else that might interest them.
You should focus on two main types of content: educational materials (fitness videos and articles) and entertaining or relatable posts.
The former will help educate potential customers by giving them information about health benefits and tutorials on performing specific exercise movements. The latter will allow you to show off your sense of humor while simultaneously sharing how much fun it is to work out.
Are you ready to think outside the box this year? Try stepping up your social media game by filming and sharing trendy celebrity workout routines on YouTube or TikTok. These videos have the highest possibility of going viral.
Consistently publishing high-quality content on social media is another surefire way to gain a loyal following. Use a social media scheduler to help make this job easier on your team. It'll seamlessly integrate all your social media channels into one platform for better planning and scheduling content to reach new customers.
Now you can automate and schedule a Facebook post to go live during peak engagement for Gen X or a TikTok for Gen Z while focusing on other strategic initiatives to grow your fitness brand.
4. Invest in fitness management software
While social media is an excellent way to build an organic following, 71% of consumers say they don't trust social media ads. So how do you grow your following and avoid wasting thousands of dollars on ads?
The answer: focus on building the best fitness experience possible. One that is so extraordinary that your customers can't help but tell all of their friends, family, and colleagues about it.
Word-of-mouth marketing is quite a force of nature. Research shows that word-of-mouth recommendations discover 85% of SMBs.
With the help of fitness management software, you can quickly turn a poor customer experience around and grow your business. Fitness management software provides many benefits, including:
- Grow your business by providing members access to online training programs, class schedules, and more.
- Manage your gym more efficiently through automated billing and scheduling systems.
- Track members' progress and gather feedback to improve their experience at the gym.
- Create a referral program to reward customers for referring others to your business.
Investing in fitness management software is a no-brainer. You can manage your in-person and online services in one place for a better customer experience that'll drive a steady stream of worth-of-mouth referrals.
Can you hear the applause as you start the new year off on a high note?
5. Develop strategic partnerships
Finally, strategic partnerships can be a great way to reach new audiences and inspire potential customers to try your product or service.
However, for a partnership to succeed, it must be mutually beneficial for both parties involved. Fitness Business Association prioritizes this to benefit their members.
So, as a gym owner, consider partnering with a telehealth company that provides access to mental health resources like online anxiety medication and other wellness supplements.
Why? Because new joiners might be anxious about starting their fitness journey and need help getting them on the right path.
They can use the telehealth service to get a professional prognosis on their mental health and finally get the resources they need to achieve a healthy (physical and mental) lifestyle.
And as the gym owner, you have happy and healthy clients that renew their gym memberships every month. It's a win-win.
In short, pairing up with the right strategic partner can lead to better results for everyone involved. You can grow revenue without increasing costs or starting from scratch.
And when you partner with someone who has the experience and knowledge that can help guide your efforts, the possibilities are endless.
With the proper fitness marketing strategy, you can easily reach and motivate people that have established a fitness goal as their New Year's resolution.
The key is to understand that not everyone thinks about fitness in the same way and tailor your message accordingly. You can convert more leads by understanding your audience, aligning with consumer needs, creating compelling content, and leveraging technology.
Don't waste any time. Your competition is already implementing a fitness marketing plan to start the new year off on the right foot. And you should too.