2020 derailed most of our business plans (and many of your members’ workout routines) for the year.
The limitations of many fitness centers greatly reduced exercise options, and many people had to adjust their goals for being physically active.
These changes will likely continue this year, sparking a challenge for gyms to rethink how and where to connect with their members. So how can you adjust your gym’s marketing strategy to set yourself up for success in 2021?
Emerging trends in the fitness industry
According to research conducted by IHRSA, health club memberships grew by 28% over the last 10 years, plus another 5.5% since 2018. But despite this, the gym and health club industry in the United States dipped after the pandemic hit, losing over $13.9 billion in 2020 alone.
People are leaning on technology more than ever, so gyms can take this change and turn it into an opportunity. More time can be dedicated to improving the digital experience to bring in more members, and even attract those who aren’t often found in a typical gym setting.
The transition from working-out to working-in
In the last year, we have seen the fitness community head in a virtual direction. More gyms are relying on virtual connectivity for building community and generating revenue. A majority of fitness instructors are even moving their training to primarily online offerings. Before the pandemic, only 7% of instructors coached online, but it has now increased — by 300% — with 21% working primarily online.
Keep up with this transition by offering your members more online engagement through virtual coaching and expert advice on health and training.
- Be active on social networks. Digital engagement isn’t a new concept for fitness. Social media is one of the best ways to reach your members where they are, and with a successful strategy, gym social media content can promote your business. Let your social sites be a place of positivity. Feeling anxiety from isolation and lack of community is common, so you want to position yourself as a friendly, motivating voice.
- Offer virtual training online. Unsurprisingly, virtual fitness classes for gyms have been very popular during the pandemic. In fact, the virtual fitness market is estimated to grow from $6.04 billion (2019) to $59.23 billion by 2027. Your members want access to doing everything from home. Offer online group sessions of live and pre-recorded content as well as one-on-one sessions with a personal trainer.
- Encourage virtual contests. Selfie challenges, push-up challenges, and other contests are a great way to push your members to stay active in a fun and engaging way. These virtual events also promote community among other fitness members.
- Get creative with collaboration. You can increase the value of your fitness center by collaborating with different fitness brands and offering services your competitors haven’t even thought of yet. Consider collaborating with health cafes to offer supplement products, activewear brands, nutritionists, or even social influencers to promote your brand.
As people focus on doing more at-home workouts, find ways to offer more value such as convenience and flexibility through your services.
Continue marketing, but pivot your message
People all across the nation have become hyper-aware of the importance of health and wellness. Many are stressed due to the pandemic and continue to feel overwhelming anxiety.
With so many people struggling emotionally, you can pivot your marketing message to remind your members how important fitness is for relieving stress, increasing positivity, and boosting your endorphins. Let your members know you’re here to help them and support their fitness journey.
If you need help along the way with creating a marketing plan and implementing new strategies, the experts at UpSwell are happy to help start you off right for a productive and profitable 2021.