The 2020 school year was like no other. That we can all agree on. This year, the back-to-school season will look a little different for many students, as restrictions are lifted and in-person classes resume for many states.

As families get back into their routine and begin to feel a little more normalcy, this is the perfect time for you to get creative with your fitness marketing.

This is a time for students and families to get a fresh start, reconnect, and get motivated. Focus on these themes as inspiration when planning your marketing strategy. Here are some of our recommendations for back to school marketing campaigns for your gym:

Target college students.

There were 19.7 million students projected to attend college in the Fall of 2020. Now that those students’ back-to-school plans aren’t being derailed by the pressures of the pandemic, it’s the perfect time to start a “Get Fit for the New School Year” campaign to get students motivated during the early months leading up to the new school year.

With the growing popularity of influencer marketing and promoted social content, Instagram is a great platform to use for connecting with these students, and Tik Tok is on the rise as one of the best places to share fun and exciting content, marketing to the younger generation. This is where they want to hear from your brand and connect with your people.

Fall Fitness Postcard


Promote a fitness challenge on social media.

We have suggested this before, and we will suggest it again. Fitness challenges just work. They are fun, motivating, engaging, and are a great way to get some authentic, user-generated content that gets others talking about your brand on social media!

As students are returning to school, their schedules will likely become hectic and busy but that shouldn’t deter them from taking the time to stay fit and be healthy.

Have your instructors teach a class at a nearby university.

What’s the best thing about your gym that your members love? It could be your club’s atmosphere, the equipment, or even the classes. Whatever it may be, one thing is certain: your instructors are your best marketing weapon. Bring the class to the students. By offering a taste of what to expect, it will build motivation and get students talking about your fitness brand. Give them the full gym experience by adding a “Part 2” session at your facility that students can sign up for at the end of the initial class to get them in the door.

Target families with kids

With the kids back in school for the fall, mom or dad may finally have the time to get back into their fitness routine. Make sure your ad is front and center when parents start considering which gym or health club to join. Although parent’s are usually the decision makers, don’t forget to include kids in your messaging. Exercising is a great after school activity for the whole family, so if you have any special family memberships or promotions make sure to highlight them on your postcards or digital ads.


You need to be sure that your campaign is getting your gym in front of consumers when they are actually ready to buy. Timing really is everything. Back to school marks the beginning of the annual shopping season and your audience will already be well in the zone of making all of their school-related purchases by late Summer. Focus on a brand awareness campaign early, and later target your prospects with your student membership deals and new products.

For more back-to-school fitness marketing ideas and to begin planning your back-to-school marketing season, contact the fitness marketing experts at UpSwell. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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