Market Your Gym with These Productive Steps

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Market Your Gym with These Productive Steps

Fitness is in. Health is in. Gyms are in. And, people are cashing in. Savvy entrepreneurs are investing in gyms to make money off the latest workout craze. But, there are plenty of fitness gurus realizing their long-term goal of owning a gym. No matter what side of the spectrum you’re on, knowing how to market your gym is essential. The competition is thick and getting thicker.

These steps teach you how to market your gym. By following these tips, you’ll attract more memberships from people looking to get healthy and in shape. You’ll also keep members for longer.

#1: Memberships, Memberships, Memberships

Memberships are the lifeblood of any gym. This is where all of the revenue comes from. As a gym marketer, your job is to stimulate membership growth as much as possible. This means keeping existing members happy, while also attracting new gym goers. Almost every tactic listed in this guide will come back to this concept.

What's interesting about gym memberships is many people have them, but few use them. About two-thirds of the people that sign up with your gym will only use their membership once or twice. If you’ve always dreamed of having an active, always-busy gym, then this is a troubling statistic. Even the savvy entrepreneurs cannot look at this like it’s free money.

Low membership attendance is negatively impactful to many areas of gym ownership. It damages your potential to attract walk-in business because the gym looks inactive. Teachers and health experts won't want to teach classes for fear of low turnouts. And, it will be hard to establish a solid, friendly community within your walls.

Not all memberships are created equal. You want to attract the members that will routinely show up. Also, look for ways to encourage inactive members to show.
#2: Make An Offer They Cannot Refuse

Attracting new members is hard. It’s all about offering an enticing starting package. What you include in this package is up to you, but there are some must-haves. The first is a free trial period. Everyone has had a bad experience at the gym. This makes people wary of where they signup. Offering a free trial period allows a potential member to test the waters. Then, they can see if they like your gym’s community or not.

It's also smart to include some free merchandise. Not only does this make the new member feel welcome, but a branded t-shirt makes them a walking billboard for your gym. It's also smart to offer guest passes so that the new member can bring friends. This makes them more comfortable in a new gym setting, and their friends may decide to join as well.
#3: Cultivate a Positive Gym Community

It's not the equipment that causes gyms to thrive- it’s the community. Every fitness center has treadmills, free weights, and machines. Thus, you have to market your gym based on what only you can offer: community. In other words, the experience of being a member of your gym. But, creating the right experience takes time and hard work.

Everything you do, from the color you paint the walls to your new member package, to your staff, is a component of this experience. There’s a lot you can do to add to the experience and your community. Classes, for example, help bring members together. Even selling merchandise allows members to showcase their pride for their gym and its community.

Arguably, a community is why the best fitness trends get to the top; CrossFit, team sports, and even yoga are all based around a community. As much as we want to throw on our headphones and be left alone to work out, we also want to feel we belong to our gym.

#4: Expand Your Community Beyond Your Doors

To market your gym and its community experience, you have to get the word out. A lot of gym marketing is word-of-mouth. When someone finds a gym they love, they want to tell everyone. But, there’s plenty you can do also. One way is to partner with local businesses and organizations.

This helps get your name out to the larger community. It can also be an excellent way to give existing members new events and reasons to get together. For example, you could partner with a local, organic restaurant to offer classes about healthy eating and cooking. In return, their employees receive a fitness class.

Sponsoring events, like a local marathon, is another impactful strategy. You can even form a team of your gym members to compete. The goal is to build a reputation as a valuable member of the local community. People will look at your gym as more than a place to get in shape.
#5: Take Advantage of Social Media

Social media is a necessity for businesses trying to market themselves. Gyms are no exception. Selling your gym on social media does two things. First, it is a place for new, potential members to find you. Aside from recommendations from friends, people turn to the Internet to find the best gyms in the area. Social media provides a way for them to discover and learn about your gym community.

Second, social media pages are valuable for your existing members. It allows them to participate in the community, even when they aren’t at the gym. By commenting and interacting with other members, that sense of community only strengthens. Plus, it is a convenient place to learn about new events and classes.
#6: Ask Members to Share Their Opinions and Suggestions

It's easy to get caught up in trying to market your gym. Focusing too much on getting new members means possibly neglecting the ones you already have. If you were successful in cultivating a healthy community, then your members have pride in your gym. This means they not only want it to be the best gym, but they want to help make it the best.

Allowing for members to share their thoughts pleases this desire. You only have to open up a channel for those ideas to be heard. You can put out a suggestion box or hold scheduled meetings. Fostering an open dialog with members will make it easier to keep them happy. This means fewer members will defect to competing gyms.

These conversations should happen often. Even when business is booming, trouble might be looming. So, always ask for ways that the gym can be improved.
#7: Stimulate Growth Through Referrals

You’d be hard-pressed to find a gym without a referral system. Referrals work by rewarding existing members for bringing in their friends to sign up for membership. These programs are especially powerful during times of low attendance. They can help stimulate activity by bringing in new people.

Even a small discount or free t-shirt is enough to encourage most people to refer a friend. You may up the ante and start a friendly referral competition. The member that brings in the most referrals gets a lifetime free membership or something to that effect.

#8: Find a Niche (Optional)

There are tons of different fitness trends, diet trends, workout routines and health groups. Many of these have an almost cult-like following. Some gyms choose to market themselves as being specialized in one of these areas. For example, there’s lots of CrossFit “Boxes” out there, with more popping up.

Having a specialization can be particularly impactful in high competition areas. If there’s already five gyms around, finding a niche sets you apart from them. However, it can also ostracize potential members who aren’t in the know with your specialization.

Owning a gym is a dream for some. You want to make sure that dream lasts. This means knowing the best ways to market your gym. These productive steps will help you market your gym by attracting new members and solidify relationships with existing ones. By building a cohesive gym community, your members will reach their fitness goals together.

Author: Ryan Stewart

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