As we forge ahead into a new year after one of the most unusual stints the country has ever experienced, quite a few small businesses are unsure of how to proceed. If you own a gym, you probably rank near the top of the list in this regard. All along, you’ve been struggling to compete with the large chains that already have national exposure on their side. To make matters worse, the public is facing uncertain times, so they’re a bit leery of starting anything new.

Like most fitness center owners, you may feel that gaining consumers’ attention is nearly impossible especially right now. In reality, few things could be further from the truth. This is the perfect time to fine-tune your marketing strategies and not only hold onto your existing customers but bring in a steady stream of new ones.

At UpSwell Marketing, we’re here to help you stand out in your field and grow your business. We’re experts in local marketing and dedicated to giving clients the boost they need to succeed. Our team is here to help you spread the word about your gym and make sure yours is the one consumers choose to do business with.

Tips for Propelling Your Gym to the Top

In marketing, certain universal aspects apply to businesses of all sizes and in every niche of the market. That being said, those general points are only part of the picture. Local marketing takes an entirely different approach. Bringing new customers into gyms requires even further marketing and advertising customization.

Despite the challenges, you’re in a unique position to attract new members and expand your clientele. People are more health-conscious than ever before, and millions of people resolve to get fit each year. On top of all that, quite a few are fed up with their previous gyms because they were left with utterly unusable memberships due to the pandemic and no hope of getting a refund. Now is the time to prove that your gym outshines all the others.

1) Develop Your Brand

First off, the most essential element of any marketing strategy is having a defined brand to promote to the public. This runs much deeper than giving your business a unique name, choosing a memorable logo, and picking out an exciting color scheme though those are certainly important aspects. Branding is the key to showing customers and prospects what sets your gym apart from the rest.

National and global brands have well-established names and reputations to draw from. Even in cases where local branches fail to live up to the public’s expectations, people tend to choose those gyms because the brand speaks for itself. They’re choosing the name rather than the services.

What This Means for You

As a small, locally owned gym, you don’t have a name and reputation that are known across the globe to bank on. Then again, you don’t need them. Consumers who are looking to improve their fitness levels don’t have a branch of a nationally recognized gym around every corner. Though you may be competing against one or two top names in the fitness industry, chances are the locals don’t really have many options at their disposal.

That means you need to develop your brand to differentiate yourself from competitors. They may have larger facilities, more equipment, and a longer list of trainers, but they can’t boast the same benefits your gym has to offer. Think about what makes you better than the competition.

Do you host smaller classes so members can enjoy more personal attention from instructors? Can members schedule one-on-one time with trainers? Do you offer free child care for members while they’re working out? Maybe you provide nutrition classes in addition to other services.

You may even have to scope out the competition to find out what they’re offering. This can give you some insight into what you can offer customers that the other facilities don’t. If necessary, you may have to develop a new service to help set yourself apart. In the grand scheme of things, one minor detail may be all it takes to rise above the other local gyms.

Think about the message you want to send to customers and prospects. How do you want them to view your gym? Combine those elements with the services you offer that go above and beyond others in your area. All that will help you develop your brand. Before long, customers will begin to associate your brand with your reputation, and it’ll speak for itself just like the bigger names in the industry.

2) Define Your Target Audience

Developing your brand and defining your target audience go hand-in-hand with building an effective marketing strategy. Deciding who you want to market to is crucial; otherwise, you won’t be able to reach the right prospects to pique their interest. To determine the types of customers you want to cater to, you must think about all the services you offer and what your specialties are.

Are you looking to bring in moms with young children? Does your passion lie in helping senior citizens improve their health and fitness? Is strength training your specialty?

Once you’ve laid out your specialties and the types of customers you want to draw in, it’s time to focus on those prospects. From there, learn as much about them as possible. Determine what their specific fitness goals usually are. What are their professions and hobbies? How do their income levels factor into the equation? Which issues are keeping them from joining a gym or prompting them to look for a new one? How can you solve their problems better than other local gyms?

When you have a clear picture of your target customers, you can fine-tune your marketing strategies accordingly. It’s certainly possible to appeal to more than one genre of consumers as well. Of course, that requires developing marketing campaigns that are unique to each set of prospects individually. Be sure to use your gym’s strengths as they apply to the target audience you hope to reach when planning your marketing strategy.

3) Use the Right Marketing Channels

Developing a targeted marketing campaign isn’t enough. Your message also needs to reach the right people. Not all marketing channels work for all target audiences. Tailor your social media marketing and other tactics based on where and when you’re most likely to be seen.

Social media is a major driving force in marketing and advertising, and it’s only going to become more prominent during the years to come. Still, which social media sites are best for your marketing needs depends largely on your target audience.

If you want to bring in customers who are 25 to 50 years old with high- to mid-range incomes and at least some college education, Facebook would be the best social media venue to get you noticed. Those who are targeting people who are 18 to 25 years old might fare better with Instagram. In the event you’d like parents to enroll their teenagers in fitness classes, Twitter and Snapchat could give you a great deal of exposure.

Of course, LinkedIn is great if you’re targeting professionals and executives. Don’t overlook the power of Pinterest for reaching moms as well as adult women in various age ranges. It’s also important to mention that those who want to target senior citizens may reach more people via radio advertisements.

4) Promotional Offers and Rewards Programs

Nothing gains consumers’ interest quite like special offers, and this can certainly work to your advantage. Several options are available in this realm, but for gyms, offering a free class or workout session to bring in prospects is typically an effective starting point. This will give people a chance to check out your facilities and services while feeling like they have nothing to lose. When they like what they see, they’ll be inspired to purchase a membership.

You could also offer free gifts for new members, such as branded tote bags, water bottles, or t-shirts. Don’t forget about existing customers, either. Consider giving them gift cards or prizes when they reach certain milestones, like attending five consecutive Zumba classes, getting in a specific number of miles on the treadmill, or graduating to a higher weight with the kettlebells. They’ll tell their friends, relatives, and coworkers about those prizes, and this might inspire new people to join your gym.

Referral programs tend to generate ample new business as well. You could offer existing members gift cards or in-house credits for each new member they help bring in. This falls into the category of word-of-mouth advertising, and it’s the most effective strategy of all.

5) Stream Your Classes

These days, getting customers in the door doesn’t necessarily have to be taken in the literal sense. Streaming is big business at this point, and it’s not likely to lose its popularity any time soon. This gives you a unique opportunity to attract members.

First of all, people remain hesitant about spending time in shared public spaces thanks to the pandemic. Countless prospects want to ramp up their fitness efforts, but doing so on-site doesn’t appeal to them right now. Streaming gives them an alternative.

Secondly, streaming classes and instructional videos online helps solve the most common problem people have with working out: a lack of time. If you offer them the option of benefitting from your services online in the privacy of their own homes at their convenience, they’re sure to jump at the chance. Not all gyms are offering this alternative, so this alone may be all it takes to set you apart from the rest.

Bring Your Gym to the Forefront of Local Customers’ Minds

You’re passionate about changing people’s lives through the power of fitness. There’s no doubt that people want the services and opportunities you have to offer, and you know your gym is better than all the rest. Getting the chance to prove this to others is all it takes to bring in new members and expand your customer base.

Drawing attention to your gym and proving to prospects that it outshines the rest requires a tailored approach. At UpSwell Marketing, we know what it takes to set our clients apart from the competition. Call us or contact us using the form on our website to learn more about how we can help you stand out and grow your business.

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*This offer is for customers who have not previously used UpSwell’s digital marketing services for PPC Search or Social Media Ads. The Digital Splash promotion requires a minimum 3-month commitment to either social media ads or pay-per-click, and a media spend of at least $1,000 per channel. A one-time new customer set up fee of $150 will be charged upon signature of the contract. Contact UpSwell Marketing for details.