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Giving Your Gym A Digital Marketing Work-out: 9 Top Tips

If you’re a gym owner or responsible for marketing a gym, just take a few minutes to look around at the people who are working out right now.

The chances are more than 80% of them snap at least one picture of themselves or their gym buddies during their workouts and share those snaps on social media!


Digital is really all around us, yet many fitness companies fail to harness the benefits of digital marketing to reach their target audience, costing them memberships, as well as brand exposure.


Taking advantage of digital to raise the effectiveness of your marketing is a great way to stand out and beat your competitors. Here are 9 top tips for growing your gym through digital marketing.


Trim down your marketing budget


Tracking the effectiveness of your non-digital marketing efforts and spend can be difficult. Undertaking marketing activity without tracking its success is a bit like setting out to do a 10km run but forgetting to turn your Nike app on. In other words, pointless!

Turning your marketing budget and campaigns towards digital channels, will enable you to get in-depth reports about reach, engagement, and conversions.  This way, you can allocate your marketing budget to what’s most effective at pushing you closer to your sales and retention goals.


Getting social is KEY to beating competitors 


Your members taking mirror selfies and posting them on their social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is something that you need to take advantage of as part of your fitness marketing strategy.  #fitnessjourney regularly has over 10 million posts on Instagram.  Regardless of why people are getting in shape, they’re documenting and sharing their transformations with the world to see.

Use this content to your advantage.  Host social media contests.  Promote check-ins on Facebook and other social platforms to maximise your reach.  Regularly post about what’s going on and specials you have.  Anything that appeals to your audience and members will allow you to increase engagement, get more shares, and get your brand further into the community (than ever before).


Diversify your fitness marketing content


Getting your body in tip-top shape is more than just a one-time event!  A perfect example is all the new-years resolutioners – they start a new gym membership full of motivation to get that perfect body and then a month later, most of them are never seen again. But what are you doing to stop this happening? Could you have made them stay?

By developing a strong, relevant (by customer segment) and frequent content strategy you can build a strong relationship with your customers which engages and retains them. Think about creating a blog and regularly posting content that helps your customers on their fitness journey.  Develop a “How-To” video series and post it to YouTube and Instagram to keep people engaged and trying new things.  These types of ideas will not only establish you as a thought leader for potential new customers, but will give your current customers something to engage with and talk about.


Ride the post-workout wave 


Whether a member has just run a 10km personal best or benched 80kg, we all know there is no better feeling than walking out of the gym knowing you’ve just smashed your workout.  Your heart is racing, and endorphins flood the brain as a reward.  Studies show that a notification from social media from your phone can do the same thing. So how can you take advantage of both?

Try offering members a free-post workout protein shake for a social media review and share to capitalise on their good mood.

When building your engagement plan it’s important that you don’t over send notifications.  The last thing you want to do is annoy your customers, so think about frequency and relevance.



Understanding your customers is key


In order to use the right digital channels in the right way you need to know who your customers are – not only to ensure you get maximum return on your investment, but to enable you to understand what type and frequency of content and messages your customers like / want.

Are you creating content for the regulars who sign up for the classes at the crack of dawn or are you enticing newbies to come in and give the fitness life a shot?  Chances are you’ll be creating content for both, so it’s important to differentiate your content based on who it’s for.  Remember, not everything you create will be for everyone and that’s ok!

When you know your customers, you’ll be able to maximise your fitness marketing efforts by sending the right message to the right person.  In other words, marketing with relevance and context.  You’ll be able to segment your contact list by who they are, what they like, how long they’ve been a member, or even what their fitness goals are.

Knowing your customers is the first step to understanding what works and what doesn’t.  It’s the foundation of a successful digital marketing strategy and without this knowledge you’re shooting in the dark.


Start early


The sooner you get started on coming up with ideas for promotions and marketing tactics, the better you’ll be able to execute your strategy.  The seasons matter in fitness marketing so make sure you have a plan that takes this into consideration. This approach will not only help you build a great brand, it will also mean that you’ll save time and money – avoiding those costly, last minute activities.

It’s not all about getting new sales either.  You need to create ways to keep your current customers happy and engaged.  Create incentive programs for the early months of the year to keep the new year’s resolutioners coming back.  Planning these promotions early will allow you to test them out and make sure your strategy is airtight for peak season.


Create a community


With the rise of social media, it’s never been easier to create a community of like-minded people.  Think about creating an online community of your members. Sponsor events such as 5km’s around town.  Schedule classes that bike around town or have a yoga session in a scenic part of town.  This will get people out of their normal routine and add some excitement into their lives.

Not only this, but they’ll most likely post about it on social media, or even directly tell their family and friends about it! Word of mouth is still the top channel used by consumers to influence their purchasing decisions, with roughly 72% of consumers buying products and services based on recommendations from the friends or family. Take advantage of little outings and community gatherings like this to maximise your reach, all while keeping your existing customers happy.  If someone who is interested is walking by, they might be compelled to sign up.

The community you create will set yourself apart from the other fitness clubs and gyms around town.  It’s your “secret sauce” in a way.  Positioning yourself this way will show your target audience the value they’ll get when they sign up, and will make it easier for you to achieve your goals.


Make it fun, to make it work


Some people loath working out.  They don’t have fun with it, and maybe that’s why they don’t stick with it after the first few weeks of signing up.  Others absolutely love it.  At the end of the day, it all comes back to knowing your customers, but when you make your website, your marketing, and the entire atmosphere of your brand fun it will make it easier for people to keep coming in or scheduling classes.

Create monthly eNewsletters which contain great competitions your customers can sign up for and incentivise them with something they would like!  At the end of the day, you need to know your customers in order to know what would make it fun for them, find out, and do it!


How can GDR help?


If you don’t have time or aren’t sure where to start with your fitness marketing, why not speak to one of our experts. At GDR Media Group we have many years of experience creating successful brands for single and multi-site gyms. Have a look at what we've done with U. Personal Training.

We can build a multichannel marketing strategy and activity plan that will tell your brand’s story in a way that helps your business grow within the community you operate in.


We would love to help!

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