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Fitness Marketing: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

A boutique pilates studio, 24/7 commercial gym, and a crossfit gym are undeniably different, would you agree?

Sure, at their foundation they’re all ‘fitness’, but they appeal to vastly different groups of people.

Pretty basic stuff, right?

So it blows my mind to see so many people (and I think certain agencies are particularly guilty) marketing them all in the same way, especially on social channels. Go out with some big offer, target anyone and everyone interested in ‘physical fitness’ or ‘health’ and cross your fingers/hope for the best.

Couple of problems with this.

  1. At some point, almost everyone on social media has expressed at least some interest in physical fitness, so you aren’t exactly narrowing your target audience down
  2. Huge offers can actually cheapen your brand, and while suitable for some may not be ideal for your more boutique studios (more on that later)
  3. A lot of Australia’s gym marketing industry has been built on frequent offers (I’m looking at you, big-box gyms) so a crash-sh*t hot offer is only as good as the gym 500ms away equally crash-sh*t hot offer

It’s also easier than ever to become a lead (all it takes is a few taps of your thumb), so be aware that if you’re using a feature like Facebook’s Lead Generation forms and targeting a broad audience, you are more likely to attract lower intent leads (you know – the ones you ring and they don’t pick up the phone, or worse, can’t really recall even submitting a form).

Thankfully, there are some not-so-difficult fixes for this.

Audience Targeting

Facebook is pretty-nifty in terms of interest-targeting (you’d hope so – they literally have entire research teams dedicated to the stuff), so when you can, go as specific as possible. If you’re a larger commercial gym, it may be worth targeting that larger ‘physical fitness’ interest, or you may want to get a bit more specific and target people interested in ‘strength training’, ‘cardio’ etc.

However, if you’re a more specialised gym, it is more important than ever to really refine those interests. The fact, is Mary who’s 62 and loves her Zumba classes may be interested in physical fitness, but she probably isn’t interested in your powerlifting program.

Image result for grandma powerlifting
Or maybe she is. You do you, Mary.

This is where you can start to get quite granular – Facebook has niche interest targeting ranging from powerlifting, to parkour, high intensity interval training and more.

Now that’s phase 1 of your target audience, phase 2 (where we really amp it up) is by creating custom audiences based on people’s interaction with your page or website. I won’t go into details now, but don’t worry – I’ll follow this whole thing up with a blog post on creating your perfect audience.

The Industry of Offers

We’ve all seen them. $0 Joining Fee. 2 Weeks Free on a 6 Month Plan. Join Now & Receive 2 Free PTs.

I’m not bashing offers (really, I’m not!) In fact, I think for any style of gym a properly timed offer with the right intent can work a treat eg. Building an audience for retargeting, creating awareness. But you need to make sure you DO something with that audience afterwards.

The reality of the situation as well is that big-box commercial gyms have always been prone to cycling offers, and yes, they usually revolve around a certain number of weeks free, reduced joining fee or some other seemingly high-value hook. In many ways, these gyms have trapped themselves in this offer cycle, as their competitor down the road offers a similar offer and they need to remain equally enticing to all the gym-aspiring fence-sitters in the area.

It can be a different story for your more niche gyms. See, the value in these gyms doesn’t come down to price-point or proximity or even equipment, it comes down to uniqueness. CrossFit is a very unique style of training, powerlifting has its own different unique method and specific goals, even F45 have dominated the marketplace with a very specific ‘forty-five minute functional workout’.

Yes, the audience for these types of training is generally smaller, but it also means people are willing to travel further/pay a little more for the exact style of training they want. It also means a huge offer may not be necessary (or even translate that well) to the audience you’re going after.

My point here

Whether you’re a marketer, gym-owner or agency, just understand ‘fitness marketing’ isn’t just fitness marketing, and the audience and offer that works well for one gym may be a total flop for another.

Understanding who a gym’s current members are and what’s important to them will go a long way in the process of getting MORE members.

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