There are a lot of different ways to promote the use of a gym, but not every marketing tactic ends up being successful. The primary emphasis with marketing for fitness purposes is that you want to create an environment where everyone is able to win. Better health is a great goal to have and it markets itself. What you’ve got to do is create a welcoming environment for everyone so that they’ll choose your gym over that of a competitor.
To start this process, it is important to begin at a place where you can set yourself apart from the competition in your community. What makes your gym not only different, but better than any other gym that someone could join? Answer that question and you’ll have the basis of emphasis for the following marketing ideas.
Useful Marketing Ideas for Gyms
1. Pay people directly for referrals over a short period of time and make the payment worth their while. People aren’t going to get excited to spread the word about you if they make ten bucks per membership that they generate. Now offer $50 or $100 bills during a short referral time, say 3 to 5 days, and you’ll get much more participation.
2. Create referral contests where everyone gets a chance to win instead of giving just the best producer the top prize. Not every person is as social as the next, nor are people as well connected as others, and so they’ll be at an automatic disadvantage in a winner-takes-all format. Give people a prize, like an entry to a raffle drawing, and you’ll get a better response up and down the membership line.
3. Offer free trials to people for a very limited amount of time, even if that is only 1 workout session. Most of the people in a community are already at a gym or workout at home and these free trials can help you to demonstrate what your gym has and why it gives someone an advantage in their quest to achieve their fitness goals.
4. Print up attractive marketing materials and drop them everywhere around your community. Put them on car windshields at the mall parking lot. Go door-to-door and distribute your information. Consider mailing out postcards to specific zip codes where there are good income demographics and people might have some disposable income for a gym membership. Pounding the pavement can reap great marketing rewards.
5. Don’t be afraid to utilize the free advertising methods out there on the internet on websites like Craigslist or the value ads that your local newspaper might provide. Don’t make this the centerpiece of your marketing efforts, of course, but use it to compliment what you’re already doing.
6. Get yourself a booth at a local health fair and mingle around with people who come to see what everyone is offering. Your goal is to get the contact information for as many people as possible and nothing more.
7. Speak with the employers in your community about setting about a business of the month so that employees at that employer can receive a special, exclusive discount on a gym membership during that month only. This gives you an added bonus of exposure as well because the co-op internal advertising for the business of the month is priceless. If you’ve got a large community, then you can even have more than one business featured monthly if you want. Weekly offers are a good thing too.
8. Create a business card that really gets someone’s attention and isn’t just one of those cheap freebie cards that you can get for a couple bucks from VistaPrint. Those cheap cards have a purpose, but it isn’t in providing a good first impression. Hand out high quality cards that have your contact information in a unique way and you’ll be remembered.
9. Get out into your community and raise some funds for charity through the donation of a portion of each sale because you’ll be able to kill off two birds with one stone. You’ll increase your membership rolls because people are feeling good about raising money for a good cause through the purchase of a membership and your local community benefits too.
10. Get involved with a youth fundraiser for school and you’ll arm the youth of your community with something better than stale pizza and boxes of fruit to sell door-to-door. Have them sell a short-term membership of maybe 3 months at a discounted price and then you can work to convert those short-term sales into long-term memberships over the next 90 days.
11. Make sure your personal trainers get involved and offer services to members even if they aren’t working with them 1-on-1 at the moment. Just a few friendly words of advice during a strength training session to improve form can sometimes be enough to sell an upgrade or encourage a membership renewal. It’s easy for trainers to sit on the sidelines when they don’t have an appointment, so don’t let them! They can always be training.
12. Use short-term weight loss or fitness achievement programs to market to groups that might not necessarily consider your gym as a way to meet their needs. Losing inches, dress sizes, or a specific amount of weight over a short period of time, say 3 weeks, can get people working out and tempted to continue their progress once the short-term program has been completed.
13. Talk with your local family doctors about wellness program referrals that insurance plans might offer people to get discounts on their coverage costs. Wellness programs drive down doctor visits, so many health insurance providers are giving out incentives to get people enrolled. Let the docs know that you’re ready and willing to be part of the solution and you might just solve your marketing problem.
14. Create a wall of fame that lets you showcase the success stories your gym has seen. This will often motivate people to do more, work more, and upgrade their memberships not to be on the wall, but to find the success that they want.