11 Marketing Ideas to Grow Your Fitness Community

By Emily Martin

September 10, 2021

A recent study recorded a 58% decline in fitness industry revenue in 2020 compared to the previous year. So, as the desire and ability to return to the studio increases, ensure your brand stands out with these 11 marketing ideas.

1. Build or Revamp Your Website

Establishing a strong online presence for your fitness studio has been key to business success for years, but the pandemic made it more crucial than ever.  

Here are some facts:  

Facts on online presence

These numbers indicate how important it is to have a website for your fitness business. However, this website needs to have all the right elements in order to effectively promote your studio to your target audience.  

Research shows 88% of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience and, if your website load time is more than three seconds, you could be losing 40% of inquiries. So, what you need is a powerful, user-friendly online presence that will help potential customers connect with you.

Before getting started, create a checklist to ensure your revamped website covers the following:

Fitness marketing checklist

Find out how our fitness studio management software automates and unifies processes to improve customer experience and save you time.

2. Promote on Social Media

Take a cue from popular brands in the fitness industry, such as CorePower Yoga, who actively engage with their community by sharing workout routines, nutrition advice, health tips, and more.

Increase the brand awareness of your fitness studio by inspiring people to move and get fit. Offer guidance on eating the right foods to support their activity levels and introduce new workout plans with demos and trials that will catch people’s interest. Don't forget to incorporate safety tips and enthusiasm to keep them motivated and encourage your members to ‘check-in’ or tag you in their social media to boost brand visibility.  

Tip: if you’re unsure of how to use a particular platform then ask an expert! Instagram has plenty of engagement ideas on IGTV, reels, and stories that are ready and waiting to be explored. A social media professional will also help you run ad campaigns to get more from your content.  

Social media presence

3. Implement Referral Programs

Did you know that 65% of all new business comes from referrals? Encouraging existing members to spread the word about your brand is one of the most economical ways of boosting your reach. It also tends to be highly effective since your members are likely to be referring you to their friends with similar interests. This means the chances are high that they will love your studio too.  

The key to a successful referral program is ensuring your members are incentivized. What this means is “rewarding” both the referrer and the person who is referred, once they sign up. Some options for this are a one-week free pass, membership discounts, free workout programs, or swag!

It's also important to ensure you are communicating the program effectively and that the process of redeeming the incentive is easy and transparent for all.  

Illustration of a girl implementing referral program

4. Utilize Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the method of promoting your business through individuals or companies. They then earn a commission every time they make a sale on your behalf. Being in the fitness industry, you’ll want to associate with affiliates who can relate to your brand. Some examples to consider are fitness experts, workout routine, workout equipment manufacturers, health food and supplement providers, health juice bars, therapeutic massage centers, spas, and nutritionists.

Before starting an affiliate program, research as many candidates as possible. Talk to them in detail and screen them for specific qualifications you require to promote your brand. Once you have this finalized, you’ll likely need a platform to run the affiliate program, as there are emails, payments, sales, commissions, and more to keep track of. Discover how Zenoti will do this for you.

The next step is to advertise your program so that suitable candidates can find you. Put your social media platforms and website into gear here. Finally, always stay connected to your affiliates to understand their challenges, offer support, and boost sales.  

5. Engage in Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is similar to affiliate marketing but differs in the way an influencer interacts with your fitness brand. Instead of doing the sales, they collaborate with you to build your brand awareness amongst their followers.  

Image from Lindsey Bomgren’s Instagram, @nourishmovelove
Image source: Lindsey Bomgren’s Instagram, @nourishmovelove: https://www.instagram.com/p/CRqz3GYFH-4/

In the U.S., there are over 25,000 influencers with up to 10-million followers each, so there’s plenty to choose from! While this may seem a little overwhelming, start by honing in on your ideal target location and then find influencers that align with your vision and values. You can pick different influencers for different niches – personal training, group classes, boxing, yoga, and more.

Professional influencers will be up to date with industry trends, approachable to their audience, and demonstrate knowledge and expertise. They will also ensure that your brand gets value for money and keep track of stats and results that arise from the collaboration.

6. Offer Specialized Classes

One way to attract new members to come and try your studio is by inviting fitness industry experts to come and teach guest classes. These specialized classes can be seasonal or regular, based on demand and success rates.  

This tactic helps to add variety to your class schedule for your regular members and incentivizes walk-ins who may be fans of this individual or interested to learn from an expert. Consider also throwing in offers, such as “buy 2 specialized classes and get one free”, to boost guest turnout. The main thing is to ensure you schedule the classes with at least six weeks’ time for effective promotion and to spread the word around your local community, both online and offline.  

7. Spotlight Your Members

It’s not easy to stay motivated to work out regularly, so this tactic has the double benefit of keeping members engaged while positioning them as a source of inspiration for new members. Select a member on a monthly basis and celebrate their commitment to their health and wellness on your social media channels!  

Share insights into their workout routine and habits to encourage potential new members who may be on the fence about joining. It also demonstrates your support and dedication to your members, presenting a positive workout environment that individuals will want to be a part of.  

8. Stir Up Some Excitement

Boredom setting into workout routines is natural. Make some noise and inspire new and existing members with exciting challenges, such as:

inspire new and existing members with exciting challenges

Other ways to get your gym members excited is to offer giveaways, free class passes, monthly meal plans, and birthday treats. These marketing ideas work best when you publish them on your social media platforms, as they drive more traffic to your website, get more people to talk about your brand, increase referrals and followers, and boost brand awareness.  

increase referrals and followers, and boost brand awareness
Image source: https://unsplash.com/

9. Create a Corporate Wellness Program

There’s never been a better time to establish a corporate wellness program, as the pandemic put the importance of health front and center. In fact, a 2021 employee wellness industry trends report says that mental health has become a top priority for employees.

So, with an increasing focus on stress management, resilience building, and preventive care, companies will need comprehensive and personalized wellness programs that can cater for the varying healthcare needs of their workers. Here’s what some well-known brands offer in their wellness programs:  

Company Corporate Wellness Programs
Accenture Special rates and discounts for gyms and fitness centers, online fitness programs, virtual consults with physicians, mental health support to beat anxiety, stress and depression, etc.
Google Onsite physician, chiropractor, physical therapy, massage services, fitness centers, classes, community bikes, kitchens with nutritious meals and portion control, etc.
Microsoft Funding for gym memberships, fitness equipment, activity purchases, free Zumba classes, onsite running tracks, basketball, volleyball, and baseball courts, etc.
Zappos Fitness subsidies, wellness adventures like golf, laser tag etc., wellness subsidies.

Top tip: ezConnect can help you further inspire people by sending marketing and communications around their fitness goals? Plus, any responses or goal check-ins are automatically stored in the student’s profile – meaning your partnership and support are automated!

Take steps to position your fitness brand as the go-to membership option for businesses looking to prioritize the health of their employees. Firstly, engage with the human resources teams of companies in your local area to find out what wellness programs they had in the past and what their current wellness goals are. This will give you a good idea of where your brand could fit in.  

Learn how to boost revenue with membership programs that work.

You could also consider offering a range of customizable programs that focus on stress relief and prevention of physical ailments. From providing consultancy on how to create a stress-free workplace environment to throwing in fun, stress-busting activities during work time, there are many ways you can help workers move more, breathe easily, and beat anxiety.  

If this isn’t possible, then tap into the on-demand fitness class market which research shows 53% of workers are looking for in 2021. Or offer group memberships – not only will this encourage a larger number of attendees; it will also drive greater accountability among them. Organize challenges and contests within their work community and tag them in all your social media content to get more engagement from the interactions.  

2021 Employee Wellness Industry Trends Report by Wellable

10. Sell Branded Merchandise

Another fun marketing idea to promote your fitness studio is to display, sell, and give away branded merchandise to your gym members. Set up a visible space in your facility to exhibit promotional items, such as the entrance or reception area. Consider giving out discounted merchandise to encourage engagement, such as when guests first sign up, win a challenge or contest, or achieve a fitness goal. Don’t forget to display your branded merchandise in photos and videos on social media platforms to build brand recognition and boost sales.  

Ideas for branded merchandise
Sweat towels Boxing gloves
Sports t-shirts Stress balls
Gym duffel bags Gym balls
Drawstring bags Kettle bells
Sports bottles Dumbbells
Protein-mix shakers Resistance bands
Hot & cold packs Hand sanitizers
Exercise mats Bento boxes

11. Build a Fitness Community

Grow your brand awareness locally by becoming an active participant in the community. Achieve this by connecting with non-profit organizations, attending health-related events, hosting fundraisers, workshops, seminars, or outdoor summer bootcamps. Alternatively, ask to officiate sports or fitness events where you can demonstrate your experience and expertise. If some of your classes cater to specific audiences then research where you’re likely to connect with them or organize taster sessions, for example pregnancy yoga or Pilates for over 60s.  

Begin small by blogging about your thoughts and suggestions on health and fitness. Take your ideas and opinions to larger platforms by publishing eBooks or contributing articles to publications and magazines in your area.  

Yoga Workout On The Beach With Group
Image source: https://unsplash.com/

Power Up Your Fitness Studio with Zenoti

Elevate your customer interactions and deliver kick-ass marketing with the fitness studio software that rises to the challenge.  

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Emily Martin

Copywriter, Zenoti

A self-confessed bookworm with a passion for languages and weaving together words. Happiest when immersed in nature, either on horseback or skis, or curled up with a good thriller. Emily's writing focuses on sharing trends and insights impacting the beauty and wellness industry.

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