“The market size of the wellness and fitness segment in the United Kingdom has been growing steadily and is estimated to reach 22.8 billion British pounds by 2020” (Statista), so there is no shortage of competition in the gym industry. In order to stand out amongst the masses, you need to be sure that your gym has something unique to offer that people just simply could not get elsewhere – your USP.
Here are 5 proven strategies to help you promote your gym’s USP:
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.
Position yourself as an expert in the industry. Weekly, ask your members to submit a question or an area of interest that they’d like to know more about and then each week select a question and answer this on your blog. You can give recognition to the member for asking the question too. This will make your members feel valued and important and give you the opportunity to be sure that it is you they will be coming to when they want advice.
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.
Here’s an example of a local gym’s Google My Business profile. To create yours, visit https://business.google.com/create :
Have a virtual tour of your gym on your site that lets potential members explore the space and see what you have to offer. This could also help encourage first-time gym users, or people with less confidence to feel familiar with their surroundings before they dive in. List all equipment, services and classes clearly on your site so that users can understand if they are able to get what they want from a gym at your establishment.
You could also make use of Google maps ‘street view, see inside’ feature so that if someone Google’s a gym in the area that your facility is located, they can get more of a feel for the place.
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.
Below is an example of a potential target audience on Facebook, men and women aged 18-30, within 3km of the gym, interested in brands such as Fitbit, Slimming World and Nike or with interests such as fitness and weightloss. The potential reach of this audience is 110,000 people.
Introductory and Corporate Offers
An introductory offer such as discounted membership for the first three months is a good way to attract new customers. This however may not work so well if you offer shorter membership terms, as the new members may begrudge having to pay full price when their offer ends, so ensure this would be a smart incentive for your specific gym.
Other examples of introductory offers could include a free personal training session with full tour and explanation of facilities at the gym – this could encourage sign-ups through confidence in professional tuition. Make sure members are ready to start their fitness journey by helping them understand what they need to do to achieve their goals.
Differentiate the offers you provide between new and existing members. An existing member should be given perks, such as a free meal in the cafe at your gym or a free swim session – things that will make them feel valued as a customer. New members should be given incentives to join, such as discounts, free passes and personalised starter packages.
Are there a lot of businesses operating near the location of your gym? Offering a corporate wellness program may be something worth exploring. A partnership option where business owners can offer their employees the great perk of a discounted gym membership is a great opportunity to get your gym in front lots of potential members and retain them while they are employed at this business.
Finally, be sure to offer more than one type of membership – one size does not fit all. People want their gym to work around their schedule, not the other way around. Offer cheaper memberships for off-peak times, offer shorter contract terms for those new to fitness, provide options for gym only memberships, gym and class memberships, class only memberships, gym, spa and class memberships, and so on. Make sure that people are able to get exactly what they want from your gym without having to pay for services that they just won’t use.
Want to know more about how to successfully implement these strategies to drive membership sign-ups and retain existing memberships? Give us a call on 01642 525 100 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org