As a graduate student studying nutrition, I felt a bit giddy when I was asked to write about fitness marketing. While I might not be the most athletically talented individual, I’ve always been intrigued by the health and wellness industry. I have secret dreams of becoming a yoga instructor but, unfortunately, opt for the couch more often than not.
Now that the new year has started and resolutions are still fresh on our minds, it is prime fitness marketing time. Your target audience is growing because more and more people are bathing in their post-holiday indulgent guilt. Ever wonder why the gym is so crowded in January? Duh, it’s calorie-burning season!
So how can fitness marketers capitalize on these peak times? This post is going to explore nine tips fitness marketers can use to grow their businesses. But first off let’s define what exactly “fitness marketing” is. There are many types of organizations that can fall under this category, including:
- Local gyms, health clubs, and workout studios (barre/yoga/spin classes, etc.)
- Fitness/nutrition apps
- Fitness gear/swag (clothing, watches, etc.)
- Health food/supplement companies
Basically, if your company focuses on health and wellness, in terms of food and fitness, you can benefit from these marketing strategies.
#1: Entice New Prospects with Special Intro Offers
While this tip might seem applicable to many industries, it is especially important for the fitness marketing industry, because like I said, the space is crowded. According to the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub association), “the $30 billion health and fitness industry in the U.S. has been growing at least 3-4% annually for the last ten years and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.”
So how can you stand out among the pack? You need a special way to entice new customers to come in. And I’m not talking a free bottle of water at your gym. Think something more generous, like a personal training session, a week of free classes, or a free first month for subscribing to use your health/wellness app. Whatever you come up with, it needs to be compelling to give prospects a taste of what they could be getting by incorporating your product or service into their lifestyle.
Take this example from a local gym that offers occasional “open house” weeks when they provide free classes to the community.
Not only does this get people interested (who doesn’t like free stuff!), but it also is likely a successful way for this gym to get new contracts signed. Once these prospects get a taste of how they could improve their lifestyle, they will be much more likely to make a financial investment towards their personal fitness.
#2: Provide Compelling Reviews and Success Stories
One of the first things I do before investing in any health or fitness product or service is binge-read reviews. Since these types of products can often be expensive and may or may not yield results, reviews are very meaningful in this industry. Not only do you, as fitness marketers, need to solicit reviews from happy customers, but you also need to incorporate these reviews into your marketing tactics.
For instance, if you have high rating on Google-approved review platforms, incorporate these into your Google search ads. Use customer quotes in your imagery for social and display ads. Or even go a step further and film a compelling customer testimonial video.
The bottom line is that if your customers are happy (which they should be), you need to leverage this to help market your business. It will make a substantial impact!
#3: Share Motivational Advice
While the thought of sharing motivational quotes might make your eyes roll, don’t worry! You can do this in a non-cheesy way. For instance, sharing success stories from past or current customers (which also ties in the tip above, extra points!). Your potential leads may be considering your fitness offerings, but they may just need that extra push to make the purchase. How can you give them this?
There are so many ways! Lose It!, The Boston-based fitness and health app often provides motivation in subtle ways with jokes, healthy recipes, and more. But their most powerful motivational pushes come from their customer success photos, like the example below.
So do not forget to motivate! This may be just the thing to encourage that lead to commit.
#4: Be Transparent about Pricing
There is nothing more frustrating than unclear pricing, whether you are unable to find pricing information online or deceived about what the pricing actually is once you’re ready to convert. In fact, doing either of those things is a great way to turn potential customers away.
Make sure you not only provide transparent information around pricing in obvious places like your website, but also make it easy to find in other places, like your paid advertisements. This will ensure you’re getting the most relevant, and most likely to convert, clicks, because these individuals will be fully aware the associated costs.
Take the example from Aaptiv below. Not only does this ad tell me what I would get through the service, but it also shares the cost twice. Even better, it lets me know right away that I can try out the product for free.
#5: Run Instagram and Facebook Ads to Your Target Audience
Hopefully this is not a ground-breaking piece of marketing advice. In fact, you may already be running these ads, but are you targeting your audience in the most effective way possible? The really neat thing about advertising on Instagram and Facebook is that you can get very specific in terms of narrowing down your audience to ensure your ads are showing to the right people, in the right location, at the right time.
Take the example below. Here, I’m targeting an audience of people within a specific zip code who are engaged shoppers, newly engaged, and interested in weight training and yoga.
This targeting allows you to make your content laser focused on this audience. For instance, in the example above, you can craft copy about your product speaking to newly engaged brides and grooms who are looking to get fit for their upcoming wedding.
This strategy adds another level of personalization to your advertising that makes your prospects feel heard and understood – and it may even compel them to convert!
#6: Boost Your Budgets during Key “Weight Loss” Seasons
If you are in the fitness industry, you’re likely often tailoring your marketing toward individuals who are looking to accomplish some weight-loss-related goal, whether it’s to drop a few extra pounds or to make a larger lifestyle change.
The thing about weight loss is that motivation often strikes during specific times of the year. There are the most obvious times, like New Years and right before a spring break or beach season. But you can also think outside the box, like wedding season or once the post-Thanksgiving bloat sets in. It may be different depending on where your business is located (think about the changes in weather), and the trends that your organization has seen in that past. Take into consideration all of these factors and use it to your marketing benefit by boosting your budget during these key times. Also make sure to do a stronger marketing push by becoming organized with engaging and seasonally relevant campaigns.
#7: Go the Old Fashion Route and Mail Some Postcards
Call me old fashioned, but there is something to say about getting a beautiful postcard delivered right to your home mailbox. Not only do I get extremely excited when I get mail, but it also instantly catches my attention when something is personally addressed to me. While mail campaigns were a big thing back in the day, with the rapid-fire growth of the internet and online advertising platforms like Google, Twitter, and Facebook, it’s easy to throw mailing campaigns on the backburner (with the heat off).
Now is the time to get back in the mail game! Create a beautiful hand-written postcard addressing your lead by name and making them feel special. Whether you’re sending a season greeting or promoting a special entry offer, get creative with your mailing campaigns to spark the attention of your future customers.
#8: Provide a Trial, and Make Sure It’s Approachable
The biggest hurdle to joining a fitness program for many is not even financially related; it’s motivation related. It often requires changing a routine and lifestyle that one has lived and felt comfortable in for years. This is why you, as the fitness marketer, need to break down any entry barriers for your potential customers.
One great way to do this is by offering a trial that allows leads to try out your service for a set period of time. Whether you are promoting a physical location like a gym or an online app, there is typically a way to offer a trial period. And I’m not talking about a 30-minute consultation at your gym. Rather, allow new potential customers to come in for a week or so. Giving them time to make this decision will increase the chances of getting a contract signed. They’ll be able to actually start making a new fitness goal part of their day-to-day and see that it is possible if you allow them to test the waters before committing.
#9 Remarket to Remind Leads Why They Should Sign Up
One powerful tool that every fitness marketer should have in their toolbox is the power of remarketing! Remarketing will allow you to encourage those on the edge, interested, but not ready to commit leads to come back and learn more. As we’ve discussed in previous tips, it can be tough to commit to a new fitness product or service so reminding leads what they are missing out on in a gentle way is key.
Configure remarketing ads through Google and social networks, ensuring they are relevant to that audience segment. For example, if you are promoting a specific boot camp program make sure your ads are relevant to the leads who have been visiting those pages or interacting with related content. Keeping things as relevant as possible will ensure your remarketing ads don’t feel intrusive.
Tis the season to get your fitness marketing on track and turn all of your leads into your fit brand ambassadors who will be raving about how your product or service made an impact on their lifestyle and overall health. How powerful is that?