How to Create Powerful Gym Marketing in 4 Simple Steps
A WORD OF WARNING ABOUT
Gym marketing is what I do, and I’ve developed a simple but effective system for bringing quality prospects to fitness businesses all over the world.
I’d like to outline for you the framework of how you can accomplish this for yourself.
This is the basic framework that most of those fitness business mentoring programs use. The big difference being that they charge $5k, $8k and sometimes $15k+ to teach you this stuff.
It’s not magic.
Before we dive in, I just want to make it clear that there's no such thing as a magic formula.
There are others out there that make this seem like it's wizardry, and they have this magical answer that's going solve all your problems.
I can say that after seeing behind the scenes at most of them and having personally spent $100k+ on Facebook ads that it's just not the case.
There is no one universal solution that works for everyone. So you'll often hear me say things like, "You'll have to test this and find out" or "Here's what I normally see working" or "This is something to experiment with," because not everything works for everyone.
It's similar to fitness.
There are systems out the and the basic principles are the same, but the solution has to be right for the individual. It's got to be the best fit for them personally and what they resonate with.
Anything else is not going to work.
So if you do choose to explore the gym marketing world and hire people or get coaches or buy courses or anything like that, just make sure it's a good fit for you personally and that it's something that you believe in and can resonate with.
That being said, the magic really comes from experience and hard work.
This is like fitness, again, because the fact of the matter is, the difference between you and me right now is that I've likely spent more hours figuring out sales and marketing and applying it to the fitness world than you have.
It’s what I do all day every day.
If you're a fitness professional - a trainer, a coach, a business owner - doing something other than gym marketing all day, every day, then it's really a part-time thing.
And if you've been doing your own advertising, that's great!
It's going to get you results, but it just might take a little bit longer because you don’t have access to that experience.
Well now you do!
What’s working in gym marketing is always changing and you need to adapt.
On the flipside of that, just like I spend all my time doing gym marketing, the time that I spend working out and trying to get myself in shape is probably nowhere near the time that YOU’VE spent doing that for yourself and others.
We all have our areas where we’ve put in the time.
And sometimes it takes an expert eye to help you avoid the pitfalls that set you back.
Let's break down the method that I use to help gyms get more members and help personal trainers get more clients.
It's really quite simple, but it's effective and it works.
This is not necessarily a how-to. That would take far too long and would be fairly tedious to explain every aspect of how Facebook ads work.
This is not a lot of technical information. It's really about strategy and coming up with a method that’s going to work for you.
Then the actual technical aspects of gym marketing can more or less take care of themselves, once you have the strategy in place.
Want the video version? Watch below.
GYM MARKETING SUCCESS STEP 1
Finding the Right Offer
The offer is the engine that drives everything that you do, because without a clear, compelling offer, you're never going to get the results that you want when putting out fitness offers.
The reason for that is people need to be told what to do, and they need to be clear on what's going happen when they do it.
Sometimes I'll see these generic ads that are like, "Call us for more info" or "Come in for a free consultation" or something like that.
It's just not clear what they're going to get, or how to take action.
There’s no indication of what the programs are or what the personality of the gym is like.
A lot of those things just end up falling flat, because there's no clear offer in place.
When you're developing an offer, this is the starting point that I approach it with…
GYM MARKETING SECRET #1
NO DEEP DISCOUNTS
My whole philosophy is that you shouldn't decrease the price.
Instead, increase the value of what you're offering.
A lot of times, those Groupon-style offers of “half-off” or “come for a free month” or any of these kinds of offers are all about slashing price.
They de-value what you do.
Those can only work for so long, and they end up attracting the types of people who are looking for deals and looking for discounts, not the types of people who are looking to transform their life and really make a change for the better by getting in shape and taking care of their health and eating right.
You don't really want bargain hunters.
You want people who are interested in making that change in their lives. The way you can do that is by increasing the value of what you're offering.
Let’s break that down.
What it comes down to is...
value = results.
How can you get the best possible results for people so that it’s a no brainer?
Let’s say you're doing a one-month boot camp as your offer.
Here are some things you can add in to create value.
VALUE ADDS FOR GYM MARKETING OFFERS
These are all great ways to increase the value of what you’re offering.
Instead of decreasing price, you try and give people as many tools and as many things as possible to get excited, get motivated, and get the results they're after, because, really, what people are after is NOT “this many sessions for this many dollars” or “come three times a week for X dollars” or the latest and greatest fitness techniques.
They're not into that.
What they're into is the results that they can get from changing their life.
Lose weight. Feel great. More energy. Confidence. Sex appeal.
The more that you can offer that, the better you're going to do and the easier it is to sell.
That's just a general principle.
People are far more interested in results than price…at least the people you want as clientele, anyway.
GYM MARKETING SECRET #2
NEVER PUT PRICE IN ADS
Because price is just a number. A number can be really high or really low, depending on what you get.
For example, let's say you're doing a bootcamp for $199, and your prospects are just scrolling through their Facebook feeds.
They're looking at pictures from their aunts, pictures of their nieces and nephews, friends posting about political stuff, whatever.
They're scrolling through their Facebook feed.
What is your ad going to do to grab attention?
A $199 price tag is not going to grab attention.
It might grab attention in the wrong way, because what you're doing is just giving a price without establishing the value.
At that point, you really have no way of overcoming the objections that come up in people's minds when you're in a sales situation.
If someone's scrolling through their feed, and they see the price tag, they're just going to keep on scrolling, because even if they have the money, even if they can afford it, there's just no way for them to know whether what you're offering is worth $199 or not just from one ad.
That's the kind of thing that comes up in a conversation, when you find out what they're after and what they really want.
And we already know that’s RESULTS. So give them that, not a dollars and cents situation.
So how do you do that? Well, when you put together a compelling fitness offer, there's really a few different aspects that go into it.
COMPELLING OFFER ELEMENT #1 — The Fitness Program
The first one is the fitness, and this is really what most gym marketing campaigns get right.
This is the actual programming of the workouts, the frequency and duration to get people results.
Whether it's HIIT or CrossFit or kettlebells or general strength training or bodyweight exercises or yoga or a Zombie running simulator any kind of program you can dream up, it doesn’t really matter.
Whatever you're doing, this is an important part, and you need to let people know what you're offering and what the benefits of it are, not just the actual details of what they’re getting.
What will these workouts accomplish?
COMPELLING FITNESS OFFER ELEMENT #2 — Nutrition
The second part is the nutrition. I think a lot of gyms offer things like this, but they don't play it up.
It's often treated as an afterthought or an add-on, as opposed to a main part of their core offering.
I think this is a big misstep, because you and I both know that I could work out all day long, but if I’m not eating right, I’mnever going get the results I’m after.
Let's face it, most people are looking to lose a few pounds, so playing up that nutritional aspect is a huge part of your marketing and your offer.
A lot of gyms leave that out, and they really shouldn't.
COMPELLING FITNESS OFFER ELEMENT #3 — Accountability
The third thing is some kind of accountability or results tracking or community around your program.
This can take a few different forms, but you should ideally have something in place.
It could be a Facebook group for members where people keep each other motivated, share recipes, get them thinking about the gym, even when they're not at the gym.
It could be results tracking. Having people set out their goals and help them track their progress as they work towards them.
It could be the coach texting people and following up if they miss a class or motivational things that they text out to everyone or emails outlining some recipes for the week — something that's just going keep people engaged and held accountable for the results that they want.
Those are the 3 main elements of any compelling fitness offer, so if you can nail those three things - the fitness, the nutrition, the accountability/community…if you can get those things into your offer, you're going do a lot better than the people stuck on the "Try us for two weeks for $29" offers.
Do you see how this makes for more powerful gym marketing campaigns than you've ever run before?
So how do you frame these offers in practice?
There are a few different options, but you want a timeframe where people can get some real results.
So, usually, that's a 30-day offer, a 28-day offer, a 4-Week offer, which is all kind of in the same general timeframe.
GYM MARKETING SECRET #3
SKIP THE 6-WEEK CHALLENGES
There are a lot of 6-week challenges going around, and they fit that model as well. It gives time to provide people real results and also get them in the habit of working with you.
I would just be careful of a 6-week offer if there are a lot of those circulating in your area. They can be overdone and tend to burn out as an offer.
GYM MARKETING SUCCESS STEP 2
Creating an Attractive Ad
Then we come to the ads. Gym owners are always talking to me about how they just want a good ad that performs. They want to write a better ad.
It's a really important part of fitness marketing, obviously, and one of the ways I make my living, by creating gym marketing campaigns for gyms and other fitness businesses.
But if you don't have the offer in place and you don't have the followup and sales in place, you're never going make an ROI on your gym marketing.
That’s why the ads themselves are less important, because you can still have a “Just OK” ad and get good results if you have the offer and the followup right.
You want to clearly state what your program is and the basic overview of what you're offering.
This is really important, because people don't sign up if they don't know what they're getting and they don't know what's going to happen next.
Then you want to list what they get and the benefits of each item on the list.
In marketing speak, these are called “bullets.”
For example, instead of just saying “Come 3X per week,” you could say “Come 3X per week to our fat-torching workouts, designed to burn calories and build strength in just 45 minutes, so you can get maximum results in minimum time.”
See how much more powerful that is?
I have a whole system for writing ads that I use for my clients, and I keep a database of effective bullets that I know work well.
Then after some cool bullets for each part of the program being offered, I wrap up with a clear call to action, like, "Hey, we love to help people in <CITY NAME>. We do it all day long, and we'd love to do it for you, too. APPLY NOW”
Then you direct them to a form or landing page to fill out their information.
GYM MARKETING SUCCESS STEP 3
When people fill out your form, you want to make the process as simple for them as possible.
A lot of people tend to overthink this part of it. It really doesn't have to be that complicated.
It just needs to be a simple form, where they fill out some basic information about themselves so that you can start the followup and sales quickly.
From there, here are the automated steps I always take to make sure everything is automated and tracked quickly.
- 1Set up notifications so people filling out your form are sent to you immediately either by email or text message so you can follow up as quickly as possible.
- 2Send the prospect’s information to a Google sheet where you can track your results and keep on top of following up on leads
- 3Send the prospect an instant text message asking them a question to get the conversation started
- 4Send an instant email to the prospect showing them how to get started with your program
Once you have these 4 steps nailed down, your gym marketing & sales will instantly improve because you are notifying yourself and keeping track of new prospects while also getting in touch with the prospect instantly.
The tool most commonly used to accomplish these tech tasks for your gym marketing efforts is Zapier. You can find out more about Zapier HERE
GYM MARKETING SUCCESS STEP 4
Sales & Followup
The next piece of the gym marketing puzzle is the followup and sales.
If you are providing an experience for your members that is so good that they don't want to leave, then of course it's a no-brainer for them to stay on as a long-term member.
But you still have to sell people…
I could bring you people all day long, but if you can't make the most of those and sell them, then there's really no point.
You need to have those sales and followup mechanisms in place in order to turn these people into buying customers, because that's really what it's all about: getting an ROI on your marketing dollars.
GYM MARKETING FOLLOWUP ESSENTIAL 1 — SPEED
The first thing to know is that when it comes to followup, speed is everything.
You need to be following up with people as quickly as possible when someone fills out your form expressing interest.
There have been studies done on this, on online leads and sales, and every wasted minute dramatically decreases your chance of getting results.
Even the difference between five minutes and ten minutes can be the difference between a lead being red-hot and ice-cold.
You really want make sure that you're following up with people as quickly as possible.
There's no “next day when I get to it.”
There's no calling them a couple days later.
It's too late. You need to be quick.
And there are ways to automate parts of this and I highly recommend doing that (I do instant automated email and text messages for my clients as a MINIMUM)
GYM MARKETING FOLLOWUP ESSENTIAL 2 — BE CONVERSATIONAL
I find that so many gym owners want to jump right into the sale and say, "This is what you get. This is how much it costs. Let's get you started. Let's do it and here’s a link to sign up”
That's great, and it can work if you're a sales master, but if not, you just want have real, human conversations with people.
Whether through text message or by talking on the phone, just have a casual conversation with them, where at a minimum, you’re asking "Why are you interested in this offer?"
What are their goals? What are they after?
What have they tried in the past to get these results?
These are all important questions (I actually run through all this in the training resources I give my clients, but I don’t have the room to give the full script here)
People can detect an automatic, robotic response a mile off, so if you're doing too much automation, then you're removing the human element from it.
People don't feel like you're personally invested in them or that you care about them.
GYM MARKETING FOLLOWUP ESSENTIAL 3 — GET THEM IN THE DOOR
Unless you're really good at sales and you can sell on the phone or sell through text message quite easily, my recommendation is to always try and get people in the door, at least to start.
The reason for that is because most of the time, when I talk to gym owners, they are telling me that they have this amazing culture at their gym: "I just need to get people in the door. If I could just get people in the door and experience it, then I know I can get them to stay."
Get them physically in the door so that you can work your magic if you’re a local facility, or get them on a video call if you’re an online trainer.
I would always try to get them in the door the same day or the next day, if possible.
If you can get people in really quick, then you reduce your chance of no-shows, because there’s less chance of life getting in the way, and they’re still close to that moment of desire when they filled out that form saying they were interested in your program.
GYM MARKETING FOLLOWUP ESSENTIAL 4 — DON’T GIVE INTO PRESSURE
Sometimes prospects like to control the conversation. They might pressure you to just give them the price right off the bat and it’s not usually a good idea to do that without even having a chat about what they’re looking for.
A script is essential for framing these conversations so that you’re almost guaranteed to convert a good percentage of the time (I have one if you want it).
What it really comes down to is establishing value for the individual personally, and it has less to do with price than you might think.
I know people who can sell six-week challenges for $500, and they do it all day long. The reason they do it is because they are able to establish the value of it first, but they never START with that.
GYM MARKETING FOLLOWUP ESSENTIAL 5 — HAVE A SYSTEM
Here's what's working well for my best clients. This is what I recommend to all my clients to increase their level of conversion from prospect to sale.
- Do an automatic text right away. So when someone fills out your form, it sends them a text message immediately to start that conversation, so that even if you can't call them right away, they're at least getting some touchpoint from you.
- Have an automatic email going out reminding of what they signed up for and how they can get started
- Call three times the first day. Ideally you want to call people within minutes of them filling out your form. If not, then you call them two more times that day, because they may be filling out the form when they're at work and they can't talk, or they might be putting their kids to sleep and they can't talk right away. Obvious exception is if it’s the middle of the night.
I don't usually recommend leaving voicemails, because then it's easier to ignore you the next time, because they know who's calling and they just don't want to deal with you if they're busy.
- Text and call and email every day after that for about a week.
- After a week, drop them into a regular email list where they get content a couple times a month, so you have a chance at reactivating them later
Those are the basic principles of how to follow up with people to get them in the door.
If you follow it, your sales will increase dramatically and it’s the method I recommend to all my clients.
SO WHAT NEXT?
I intended this to be an overview of how I do things and how I think you could apply these solid gym marketing principles to your business.
It might be a lot of things you already know, or it may be completely new to you, but this is a blueprint of the best practices of profitable fitness marketing today.
Of course, there is always room for experimentation, so feel free to play with it and try out different things. That’s how you stumble upon greatness.
I’m always testing new strategies to make this system run better every day.
If you want some help implementing this in your own business, I set aside some time each week to get on calls with fitness professionals to see if there’s any way I can help, even if it’s just on the call alone.
There is no cost to this, and I get valuable market research out of it, so it’s a win-win for both of us.
You can check my availability to get on a fitness marketing strategy using the button below...