Whether you’re a small local independent gym or a large chain of corporate gyms, every gym and fitness centre can benefit and gain success from a gym marketing campaign.
As fitness industry can be competitive, in every town or city you’re likely to come across a fair amount of competition for your business, whether it from another local fitness centre or other large chain gyms, you need to be able to establish your business aside from the rest.
Online marketing for your business can be useful when carried out properly, helping you to attract a much larger footfall and helping you to increase your profits steadily.
If you want to ensure that your gym or fitness centre gets the recognition and the footfall it deserves, then carry on reading, as we've comprised this list of the best digital marketing ideas for you to achieve more members and greater custom.
Have a User-Friendly Site
Whether your customers are finding your website online from the search engine results pages, or whether they’re typing in your brand name or website directly, you want to ensure that you are providing your customers and potential customer with a good experience of your website.
What that means is that users should be able to do the following on your site without facing any hassle:
- Navigate pages easily
- Find all the information they are looking for easily
- Pages and content should load within 2-3 seconds
- View and navigate your site on mobile
Whether you are or someone on your team is a bit of a technical wizard when it comes to computers, or whether you don't know your .com’s from your .net's it can still be easy to create a user-friendly website from scratch. Whether you want to use a CMS or your own bespoke website building programme, the choice is yours.
Use Local SEO
You may think that local SEO is only suitable for small local businesses, but you'd be completely wrong. Every business can benefit from a local SEO strategy in their online marketing strategy. Local SEO ensures that people in your local area will become aware of your business and will take time out of their day to come down and check out your fitness facilities. It also ensures that users who are using search terms and phrases such as ‘gym near me' or ‘leisure centre near me’ or ‘gym London', find your business when they are within a specified mile radius of your gym.
Just one way for you to implement your local SEO strategy is to create yourself a Google My Business (GMB) account for your business. Whether you have a website or not, it's a good idea to get this ball rolling and set up your account as soon as possible. To set your business up with a GMB account; all you have to do is visit Google’s GMB page and get started.
Your next step will be to fill out the details of your website, ensuring that you provide Google with as much of the relevant information such as your name, your industry, your address, your opening days and times, ensuring that you link any social media accounts. Once you have entered all your details and submitted your application, you will then receive a postcard in the mail to your business address. This is a confirmation not only of your address but will show your customers where to visit you in person, which is why it's essential for you to ensure that you enter the correct details on your application.
Once you have received your postcard with your confirmation code, your next step is to confirm your application, and that's it your GMB for your gym will be all set up for local customers to find your business in the search engines. Other benefits of using Google My Business are:
- Allow users to leave reviews of your business
- Allow users to get directions to your business
- Advertise images of your gym and its facilities such as spa, café, tennis courts, and the like.
- Let customers find your name, address, telephone number and opening time easily
Optimise Your Website's Content for Keywords
Whether you're familiar with the term keywords or not, they can help you to appear in the search engine result pages of the terms people are searching for. All you have to do is optimise your website content for these keywords, and it's easier than it sounds.
Your first step is to identify the keywords and search queries both that people search for and that are relevant to your business. For instance, if you're a gym, then there's no reason for you to be targeting the keyword ‘plumbing' just because it has a high search volume. Instead, when it comes to searching for keywords that are related to your business, here's what you should be looking for:
- Keywords that are high search volume and low density (you can use websites such as SEMrush and Ahrefs to check this)
- Keywords that are related to your business
- Keywords that are currently trending or currently picking up more traction with customers
- Location based keywords which relate to where your gym is situated
- Keywords which are related to your chain or business name
Once you have collected a list of keywords which you would like to rank for, your next step is to create pages of content around those keywords or optimise your homepage for those keywords. When optimising the content on your website for keywords, you should ensure that you do the following:
- Include your keyword in the title tag, H1-H6 tags, alt text, first 100 words of your content
- Ensure that your content flows naturally and your keywords won’t ruin the flow of your content
- Don’t stuff keywords into your content as over optimisation will earn you a penalty in Google
If you’re interested in finding out more on keyword research and how to optimise your content, then you can take a look at our keyword research and keyword optimisation pages for further reading on the subject.
Use Directories and Citations
As very few people today use physical directories listings anymore such as the yellow pages to find local businesses, you'll need to keep up with the times and go digital. Nowadays there are hundreds upon thousands of online directories where you can submit your gym for local customers to find your business, just as they would if they were searching in the yellow pages.
Some of the best directories and citations you’ll want to enlist your business on are:
Directories are a sure way not only to increase your footfall but also allow for users, both past and present, to leave a review of their experience of your facility. The better your businesses' reviews are, the more you'll find that more customers are inclined to visit your business over your competitors.
When it comes to reviews, it's essential not to be disappointed with any reviews left from disgruntled customers, as generally, this happens with most businesses. Please resist the urge to ignore or request to remove these negative comment (unless they are fraudulent or fabricated, then yes go ahead and remove these) and instead address the reviewer head-on.
Send them back a response something along the lines of:
Hi [Customer Name],
We are sorry to hear that you had a poor experience with us.
Would you mind getting in contact with us so we can discuss this issue further with you to ensure that we don't make this mistake again in the future, it would be much appreciated.
[Your name] [Your position] at [Your business name]
This goes to show not only unhappy customers that you are eager to seek and resolve the issue and sets a good example, and also presents a credible and responsible image of your business to customers both past and present.
Alternatively, if you are getting a few good reviews but wish to encourage more of your customers to leave you a review on a directory such as Yell or Facebook, then you can also engage with your positive reviews and reviewers as well. It's up to you how in-depth you wish to go whether it's just a simple reply thanking them for leaving a review:
Hi [Customer name],
We’re glad to hear that you had a pleasant experience with us!
We hope to see you again soon!
[Your position] at [Your business name]
Being acknowledged by brands and businesses helps customers to feel noticed and valued, which will encourage others to leave a review of your business and generally, the more reviews left, the better. You could even
Be Active on Social Media
Nowadays, every successful brand has a significant social media presence, so why should you be any different if you want to be successful?
Using social media platforms can be great for several different reasons, especially when it comes to gym and fitness marketing. Here are the reasons why you as a business, whether big or small, should consider social media in your marketing strategy.
- It helps to build loyal and lasting relationships with customers – How do you get your customers to choose you over your competitors? Simple, establish relationships with your followers to develop dependable and lasting relationships by interacting with them on social media.
- Helps you to understand what customers think of your brand and in what areas you can make improvements – It's essential for every business to know and understand what are both the strengths and weaknesses of their business, as tricky as it may be. By tracking your social mentions by using a piece of software such as Hootsuite, it'll help you to understand what customers honestly think of your business.
- Can help to smooth over any disputes with unhappy customers by reaching out – Every business has had them for whatever reason, unhappy customers. The problem with unhappy customers is generally they tend to make more noise than happy ones, which can affect your reputation. By reaching out to these customers and seeking to resolve any issues, you're taking responsibility and attempting to rectify any problems which is always beneficial.
- Can increase your awareness of your business and entice customers to visit – However much you post on social media, ultimately you want your business to get more brand recognition and social media is an excellent way for you to do this. However, you should ensure that you post high-quality and engaging content to make an impact for the right reasons.
Send Out Newsletters
Newsletters, whether they be to your existing, old or even potential customers can be highly beneficial, although you may not see much benefit to be had from pitching ideas and selling your services to existing customers, you shouldn't make that mistake. The better you build your relationships with your customers, the more likely they are to recommend you to friends and family (especially if you have a lot of promotions or a referral scheme, which we will talk about later).
Share exciting insights, industry news or advertise your facilities, promotions or referral schemes in your monthly, weekly or even bi-weekly newsletter to keep customers and potential customers up to date with what's going on at your gym.
If you're wondering how you'd get the emails of potential customers, don't worry as it's easier than you think. For instance, you may have a list of potential clients who expressed interest in your gym, but they never converted into sales. Alternatively, you may still have a list of email addresses of customers who may have cancelled their gym membership but still remain subscribed to your emails; therefore you may still be able to entice them back with your offers or promotions.
Run Promotions and Set Up Referral Schemes
Another great way to entice customers to set foot in your gym instead of visiting your competitors is to advertise promotions and referral schemes on your website and social media. Gym memberships can be expensive and most successful gyms will have some promotional, introductory offer or referral scheme to entice members to sign up, and you can increase your customer base by doing the same thing.
Depending on how you advertise your promotions and referral schemes, it can be a sure way to boost the sales of memberships significantly. Whether you advertise the chance for someone to gain a month's free entry to your gym by creating a draw for anyone who shares your latest post on social media and interacts with it. Alternatively, whether you send out monthly newsletters to remind your members that for every friend or family they refer to the gym, they'll get 15% off their monthly membership or a voucher to use your spa facilities.
Keeping your promotions and referral schemes fresh and by providing them for your existing customers as well as your new customers, will not only help you to encourage customers to visit your gym but will also help you to establish relationships and an element of loyalty. Meaning they'll be more likely to stay with your gym because of the mutual benefits your relationship provides each other.
Host and Sponsor Events
Events are a great way to keep your existing and potential customers happy, so why not host or even sponsor some events?
Whether you want to host a Halloween party, Christmas ball, anniversary party or even just a fun day, invite your members and allow them to bring a plus one with them. If they enjoy your event, the dynamic of your gym or just like the look of all the equipment and facilities that you have to offer, they could be interested in getting a membership. So with an excellent referral scheme, how could they pass up that offer?
Gym and fitness marketing can be difficult; however, you can apply yourself as much or as little as you believe you can take on and which fits in with your marketing budget.
However, much or little, you wish to apply yourself; it is crucial that you take the time and put forward the effort and dedication it takes to carry out a successful gym marketing campaign. If you do find that you lack the time, effort and commitment that your business deserves, then you may even want to consider hiring a digital marketing specialist for you to give your gym marketing strategy the time and effort that it deserves.