1. Get to Know your Target Market
Knowing your target market is absolutely essential. The more you know about your target market(s), the more you can tailor your marketing efforts to them. Where are they typically from? What do they do for work? How old are they? Do they have children? What do they want from a gym?
Carry out detailed persona research. This can be done by taking your existing clientele base and analysing their demographics, occupations and locations. Then you can actually make several set personas and ensure that you cater your marketing to each of these.
Below is an example of a persona that could be used to inform hospitality sector marketing activities. It tells you the goals of the target market, buying frustrations, preferred browsing / marketing channels and favoured brands:
Once you understand more about who it is that you need to target, you can begin to personalise your marketing specifically to them. A great benefit of gym marketing is that there are so many different key audiences. Almost everyone is interested in taking part in some sort of fitness journey, you just need to be sure you understand each individual’s specific goals and motivations.
Upon signing up, you should ensure you find out what it is your new member wants to achieve by joining your gym. You wouldn’t offer someone interested in strength training a weight loss programme, so be sure not to send out generic messaging across your entire database. Drum it down to each person’s specific goals and make them feel the information they’ve received is of use and of value to them.
2. Get Members Involved
Your existing member base is an incredible marketing resource if you know how to use it to your advantage. Incentives are a great way to get your clientele to help you out with your marketing. Offer discounted rates for members if they refer a friend – this can work even better if the friend / new member also gets a discount.
Provide rewards based on attendance and progress. If a member has a specific goal, offer rewards as they hit milestones and become closer to their goal. Rewards could be a free personal training session, access to the spa if it isn’t already included in their membership, cheaper membership rates, a free nutrition and workout plan – whatever works best for your gym.
However, you should be careful with this incentive – ensure you don’t push unhealthy or unrealistic goals by overmarketing to members. One way to handle this could be to place limits on the amount of activities people can engage in and the amount of time they spend in the gym. You can monitor and track progress by providing a USB device to plug into machines, or implement an app where members can track their own progress.
Encourage reviews by offering incentives for those who give you useful feedback. Reviews and ratings can go a long way in the process of choosing a gym, so having lots of varied and informative reviews can help you to attract more members. Again, this could be a free workout and nutrition plan, a free personal training session, a free day pass for a friend.
3. Use Signage and Print Effectively
Get involved with the businesses around you. What kind of places does your target market frequent? Ask like-minded local businesses if you can place some flyers with incentives and marketing messages on their premises to attract new members.
Tailor the offers by the general goals of the people who regularly go to these places. For example, offer mother and baby pool classes in baby clothing shops, offer strength training in sports shops, offer weight loss and detox programs in health shops, etc.
Direct mail is a great route for a gym to take. It may seem like a dated strategy, but mail can work so well for gyms as your target market is so wide and diverse. It gets your services and USP directly in front of everyone who may be interested in embarking on a healthier lifestyle.
You can send the same kinds of incentives as you would place in businesses you have partnered with as mentioned above, but make it more of an ‘invitation’ to acknowledge the specific recipient.
Large-format gym-front signage can be a great way of attracting passers-by. Having eye-catching materials that promote your USP directly outside of your gym may intrigue people to know more about the services you provide.
4. Make the Most of your Digital and Online Presence
Ensure that potential members can get all the information they could possibly need from your website. We’re in the digital-age, and people want information fast with little effort. Make sure your website tells the user everything they need to know about your gym, membership types and prices, location details and beyond.
Use your website to make members feel valued; why not implement a ‘Member of the Week’ scheme, whereby you write a short bio on a member who has achieved something great every week. This will incentivise new members as well as make existing members feel special and retain their loyalty.
Optimise your presence on Google
There’s a whole bunch of ways to optimise your presence on search engines and as Google is the most used search engine in the world, we’ll give you a few pointers.
Firstly, if you haven’t already, create a ‘Google My Business’ profile and add as much information as possible to help potential and existing customers find you. On your profile you can add images of your gym, put your premises on the map and add your opening and ‘busy’ times to encourage members to attend when it’s quiet. Your profile will also pull through reviews to help boost your member numbers.
Chances are, you’ve already set up a Facebook page for your gym. Use boosted posts and Facebook advertising to target your personas. Facebook is a great way to be really accurate, as you can target individuals based on their home or work proximity to your gym, as well as their sex, age demographic and personal interests.