The fitness industry can be a dog-eat-dog world. If you’re a new player in the business, attracting customers or increasing your sign-ups can be a daunting challenge, especially if your business is located in a bustling city. Launching a fitness center like a gym means competing against other fitness centers that are all potentially vying for the same target market—and it’s essential to stand out from the crowd.
With the right strategy, you can create a buzz around your facilities and services to attract a loyal customer base. From offering personalized fitness plans to hosting giveaways for items like motivational spirit bands or sports wristbands, there are several tactics you can implement to ensure your fitness center becomes more appealing to potential customers.
Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a newbie in the marketing industry, below are some of the most effective strategies to generate brand awareness and gain loyal followers for your fitness center.
Many gyms worldwide have long used free trials to get potential customers acquainted with their facilities and hopefully stoke their motivation to sign up, and it’s still one of the most effective marketing strategies today. Whether it’s a 1-day pass or a 7-day pass, free trials allow potential customers to get a feel for a gym’s equipment, customer service, and culture.
However, be cautious against people who try to abuse free gym passes. Whenever a newcomer signs up for free sessions, cross-check with your system to make sure they haven’t already taken advantage of one, and advise your staff to watch out for repeat offenders.
Promotions and discounts are among the easiest ways to entice new customers to choose your fitness center over others. For example, gyms can offer discounts on a customer’s 6-month membership fee and yoga studios can offer discounts on personalized training sessions. Discounts encourage potential customers to try out your fitness center without feeling guilty while also boosting the likelihood of them becoming regular members.
Partnering with local businesses will allow fitness centers to reach a wider audience and attract more customers. For example, a fitness center can partner with a health food store and offer membership or service discounts to their customers. They can also offer free exercise sessions or fitness classes at the location of their partner’s business, such as a boot camp class in a nearby sports field or a yoga class at a local park.
Additionally, fitness centers can spearhead the internal fitness program of local corporations. Build a presentation on the long-term cost savings of having healthy workers and schedule a meeting with a human resources representative. Once you’ve stressed the importance of fitness, consider offering bulk membership discounts for their employees. Gyms may also consider hosting an open house exclusively for the company’s workers.
Working out in a gym can be anxiety-inducing for new gym goers. Plenty of first-timers are afraid of looking like a fool when operating new equipment and are intimidated by the gym atmosphere. To quell the worries of these newbies, you can offer free 1-on-1 training sessions with a personal trainer. A gym coach can teach them about proper form and make them more comfortable as they learn the ropes.
After a customer has completed their free personal training sessions, they will be more likely to purchase a gym membership or sign up for other services.
Contests and giveaways attract more customers to your fitness center and motivate your current members to be more consistent in their fitness journey. For instance, gyms can host a weight loss challenge where participants compete to lose the most weight over a period of time.
To sweeten the offer of signing up for a challenge, consider giving away free items to contest participants. Branded gym wear, sleek water bottles, gym accessories, or even a motivational spirit wristband are great giveaways to consider.
Nothing brings newbies to a fitness center more than seeing or reading success stories, and here’s where social media comes in. To attract more customers, you can utilize social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to post your customers’ testimonials of their personal fitness experiences. You can also post videos and photos of your fitness center, offer tips and advice on nutrition and fitness, or run social media campaigns to promote your events and promotions.
Influencer marketing is still one of the most viable marketing strategies today, so tap into popular influencers in your industry and see how you can work together. It’s best to target influencers who have built a genuinely loyal and engaged following, and offer them free memberships in exchange for promotions.
Aside from staying on top of social media, fitness centers should also focus on other avenues that help build their online presence, such as a website, blog, or directory listings.
Your business website should effectively showcase your fitness center, the services you offer, and provide information on your events and promotions. To improve search engine optimization (SEO) for your site, regularly update your blog with articles on fitness and nutrition, and make sure you’re targeting the right keywords. You can also consider hosting giveaways or contests on your website to improve engagement.
Nutrition is such an essential part of fitness that many experts say it is even more important than working out. To entice new customers to subscribe to your gym membership, consider offering free meal planning with a company-affiliated nutritionist. The free meal planning service should align with the customer’s goals of gaining, losing, or maintaining weight as well as their income level. You can bundle this free service with personal training to attract new gym-goers or offer it as a freebie to current gym members as a value-added service.
Plenty of fitness centers obsess with targeting the younger crowd, wrongly assuming they’re the only age group motivated to stay fit. You can set yourself apart by expanding efforts to target seniors.
Apart from being one of the fastest-growing demographics in many countries, seniors generally have a lot of expendable income and plenty of time on their hands to devote to fitness. In addition, they also tend to focus more on maintaining their health and wellness. By effectively targeting seniors, gyms and other fitness centers can position themselves as a valuable service for older people looking to stay healthy and active.
Not all your customers generate the same income, and fitness centers that capitalize on memberships should consider offering flexible membership options to cater to as many people as possible. For instance, fitness centers could provide a monthly membership option, as well as annual and bi-annual membership. To improve their bottom line and generate loyal members, they can offer incentives on longer-term membership options, such as offering a discount for people who sign up for a 1-year membership. Doing so ensures their customers stay with them for as long as possible.
While attracting customers to your fitness center can be a challenging task, there are various tactics and strategies that can be implemented to ensure that you’re building your subscriptions. While all of the above can help you secure a steady stream of new customers, remember to always prioritize customer service and provide an excellent experience to your customers so that they continue choosing your fitness center over your competitors.
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