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Exercise Your Fitness Center Marketing

April 12, 2017

A key to effective marketing for any business is to know your audience. Sure, you know they want to either lose weight or become fit or both, but who are they? Who do you want them to be?

Does your fitness center appeal to Millennials more than Baby Boomers? Is it upscale with all types of services or is it more of a traditional gym with traditional workouts? Understand who your target audience is, i.e. your ideal members, and design your fitness center marketing strategy to appeal to them. Once you understand your target audience, consider using some of the following marketing ideas to help your fitness center or gym thrive.

On-Site Promotions

Weight Loss Challenges

Weight-loss challenges are always motivational. They’re a great way to get people to come to your gym to participate even if they are not members. Charge a fee for non-members and offer a discount if they join. Use your social media profiles to announce the weight-loss challenge and the winners!

Free Workout Promotions

Use direct mail, search engine marketing, or social media advertising to promote a free class or period of gym membership to the public. Or, offer free personal training or a free 28-day meal plan for new members who sign up by a deadline.

Personalized Training Plan Giveaway

Entice new member sign ups by offering a weekly or monthly drawing for a personalize training plan.

Support your on-site fitness center promotions with digital and print marketing solutions.

Digital and Print Marketing

No successful marketing plan is truly complete without online marketing. Digital marketing–such as organic search engine optimization, paid search engine marketing, blogging, vlogging, social and other digital techniques support your brand and your website. However, it’s also important not to overlook the power of print marketing and direct mail.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is an effective way of marketing to local neighborhoods by targeting demographics, lifestyle characteristics, and business profiles. You can use direct mail to offer free trial periods and discount coupons, as well as class schedules and personal training programs.


A fitness and weight loss blog is a great way to establish your business as a thought leader in the fitness industry. Blogs are fairly easy to set up on WordPress, Blogger, Medium, Wix, and on many other reliable blog platforms.

Use your blog to answer fitness and weight loss FAQs, provide health and nutrition tips, explain various pieces of equipment, how to work 30 minutes of cardio into your day, or discuss beneficial health supplements. Include videos with demonstrations of exercises or proper form.

Social Media

Fitness centers and gyms are relatively social settings, with the exception of a few. Social media is a great place to share the benefits of working out at your gym, introducing new fitness trainers and instructors, announce new classes, promote contests and giveaways. Let your follower help to promote your fitness center by creating social media contests. Reward members for check-ins, blog shares, Instagram posts, or online reviews.

Email Marketing

Use your email data to reach out to your members with members-only promotions or sales or a quarterly newsletter. Maintain a non-member database to nurture non-members with fitness advice, new member discounts, promotions, and more. Check out MailChimp for a free, basic email platform. Just be sure to comply with opt-out rules and consumer privacy laws.

Digital Coupons

People still love coupons. In 2016, the print coupon redemption rate reached 44% and digital coupon redemptions climbed to 77%. Whether you offer digital coupons through your website, email, or through a digital coupon platform like Valpak, be sure to make digital coupons available.

Video Marketing

Positive messages via video can be an effective marketing technique for fitness centers. Invite members to tell their success stories. Be sure to select members that represent your target market and let your viewers see members using the equipment and having a good time. Also, videos can offer tutorials or quick workouts to show expertise, proper equipment usage, and more. Use your videos on your website and social media.

Community Involvement

Strong Presence

Build trust and loyalty in the community by promoting and participating in local health and charity events. Hold food or book drives and provide a bin where members and non-members can drop off donations.

Relationships with Doctors

Medical offices are a great place to promote your fitness center. Ask physicians to refer patients to your facility and place brochures in clinic waiting areas.

Corporate Relationships

Work with large employers and offer discounts when a certain number of employees join. Get local businesses to compete in a fitness challenge and offer discounts or prizes to the winning team.

By putting some creative muscle into your fitness center marketing strategy, you can beef up your efforts to recruit new members and retain current ones by using a variety of tactics to get the results you’re looking for. Lace up your marketing running shoes and get started today!

Get Started Today:

  • First, understand your goals. Decide what your marketing objective is. Do you want to grow your membership, increase brand awareness, or work to retain current members?

  • Next, decide what types of in-person marketing would work best for your facility. Do you have a lot of members whose primary goal is to lose weight? An incentivized bring-a-guest weight-loss challenge could work well. If you’re looking to increase the number of members who are interested in strength training, offering a personalized training plan and a session or two with a trainer is a good strategy.

  • Brainstorm some ideas for blog posts. Develop a strategy to promote your blog on social media and in an email newsletter. Create an editorial calendar to ensure that you are blogging consistently. Also, develop ideas for videos or Facebook live events.

  • Look for local health fairs or charity events to promote or participate in.

  • Reach out to doctors’ offices and local businesses to develop relationships. Start by asking to place brochures or posters in their waiting areas or breakrooms, and continue working with them to ask for referrals, offer discounts, or develop challenges.