So you’re looking for gym marketing ideas to get the word out there about your facility? We can help you with just that.
We've compiled a list of the best gym marketing ideas, followed by some actionable examples that you can directly take inspiration from. We won’t just give you ideas, but we will let you know how to implement them - even showing you how it is already being done with proven success.
Before we jump straight into all of our tips for marketing a gym, if you want to up your game in the fitness industry, why not enquire about a level 4 course in personal training? Alternatively, find plenty of other health and fitness courses that can make your gym stand out here in our downloadable prospectus.
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9 Ways to Market your Gym
From low cost marketing ideas for a gym, to those that may require a little investment, we have covered the best ways to get your gym out there in 2022. So let’s see what is up first.
#1 Conduct Competitions for Free Memberships
Competitions are a reliable marketing tool, they're a great way to generate brand awareness but more importantly, they're one of the easiest ways to get the name, email address, or phone number of potential gym members.
Getting this information should be the main goal of your competition, as acquiring this information then means that you can contact your audience directly about any offers or promotions, and hopefully turn them into a paying member of your gym.
But what makes this type of marketing so reliable and successful, and how can you implement it as part of your gym marketing strategy?
How to Market Your Gym With A Competition
First off, implementing this strategy is pretty simple - create a competition that appeals to your target audience, set out the entry criteria, and promote it.
The first thing you'll need is a prize or 'incentive', this needs to be something that will make entering the competition (and giving away their phone number or email address) worthwhile.
If you’re an owner of a gym, the best thing you could give away is a membership, whether you offer a free month or year, those final details are all down to you.
Then, you need to set out the entry criteria. Since our goal is to get the contact information of potential members, you should consider asking for an email address or phone number (or both) in order to enter.
If you want to double up with this gym marketing idea and gain some brand awareness or grow your social media at the same time, you could add other entry criteria such as:
- Following you
- Sharing the post
- Tagging friends in the comments
Finally, promoting your competition can be as easy as sharing a simple graphic, outling the prize and how to enter - you can find an on-brand design below for example.
You should create an aesthetically pleasing post, yet make it simple enough that it is shareable - in other words, put the small print and details in the description not on the post itself.
The post itself should be simple and succinct, make it clickable, you want people to know it's a competition, but leave enough room for curiosity that they actually click on it and read it. Even better if they click through onto your profile, this meets your goal of brand awareness.
Again, you must also clearly lay out instructions to make it as easy as possible for plenty of people to enter.
Pro tip: Keep your branding colours consistent, it should match your social media pages and the aesthetic of your gym itself. Tools like Canva allow you to do this for free!
Don’t forget to include the small print and ensure you’re following the rules of your chosen social media platform - you can put all of this in the description of your post.
A lot of competitions are run on the likes of Instagram and/or Facebook. This is because the act of sharing is so simple yet still effective. Nonetheless, you as the business running this contest has an obligation to ensure you follow the correct guidelines and don’t put you or your business in any trouble.
If you want to run your competition on Instagram for example, you need to refer to the Promotion Guidelines set out by them. This goes for any platform that you choose to implement it on, the last thing you want is a bad reputation, as this would make this marketing technique completely backfire!
Instead, ensure you meet all the requirements and the fine print is accessible. This is a super beneficial prospect for your gym, it means that your branding will be across plenty of accounts, plus, they’re likely going to be on the accounts of those who are interested in joining a gym.
Marketing Your Gym Via Competitons: See It In Action
Below you can find an example from PureGym implementing the exact strategy outlined above. As you can see, they have created an attractive graphic that states they are running a giveaway in celebration of opening their 300th gym.
This is a perfect example of a shareable and actionable competition that is bound to create brand awareness and reach the correct people. There is a reason that this is at the top of our list, it is super valuable and among the low cost marketing ideas for a gym.
#2 Send out Rejoin Offers for Cancelled Memberships
Implenting a re-join marketing strategy is a really effective way of getting more gym members, and the good news is that it’s pretty easy to do.You already have the contact information of individuals who has cancelled their membership, so why not utilise it?
Here are two gym marketing ideas that you can do with this information.
The first is pretty simple, if you have the phone number or email address of an old member, you can reach out to them directly. For example, by sending re-join offers via text or email.
Your other option would be use their data to ask for feedback, for example by emailing them and asking them to take part in a survey or fill out a feedback form.
This will help you to understand why members have left, is it your prices? The facilities? Whatever it is, you can use this information to either improve your business model or create an offer that overcomes that probelm.
Say you find that the majority of those who have cancelled have done so because of high prices, you could create an exclusive 're-joiners' discount.
For example, you could email old members and offer them a half price membership for 3 months. This allows you to overcome that price barrier and intices the member to return.
Re-joining offers: See it in action
If you want a better insight as to how and why this strategy works, let's look at this case study of JD Gyms, who are using this exact idea to market their gym:
As you can see they're offering old members the chance to rejoin with no joining fee. Phrasing their email in this way boasts exclusivity, and addressing the receiver personally creates a genuine sense that JD want this member to return.
They have said all of the right things, they want you to come back and take advantage of all of their benefits that they list.
#3 Offer Specific Memberships for Particular Populations
Another one of the marketing ideas for a gym membership is to set specific discounts or offers for certain groups of people.
Particular population offers are exactly what they sound like, they are prices set for people who fit into a particular category.
The strategy behind this is pretty self explanatory - make prices cheaper for those who fit into a category. The most popular ones include the likes of:
- Off peak memberships
This allows you to market to a wider demographic of people and for the individuals in those groups, creates a further incentive to choose your gym, since they feel like they're getting an exclusive offer.
As well as enticing members of these groups to join your gym, offering discounts to certain demographics is a great way to fill the gap in the audience that may be missing out on your gym due to financial restrictions, such as being a student.
Not only that, but it can help to spread the busy times in the gym out. For example, you may see that off peak time in the gym is around 11am-4pm, this is when a lot of people who work the 9-5 are at work but, those who have this time free could benefit from an off-peak membership.
By offering a discounted off-peak membership, which may bring in some elderly members, you can fill your gym during the day, allowing you to make more money and build a bigger member base without becoming over-crowded in an evening.
You might think that offering such discounts would be underselling your services, but as long as you specifiy that off-peak members can only train during set times, you'll actually be making money than you would be by only selling full-priced memberships.
Offering Memberships for Particular Populations: See it in Action
Below you can see Lifestyles’ membership page. It is simply laid out and shows exactly who can select which membership option.
Simple! You can of course have whichever memberships you think will do well in your area or, the kind that you're lacking in. This is an example of how even big gyms take advantage of this kind of marketing strategy.
#4 Advertise a Free Gym Pass
Marketing ideas for gym memberships don’t get more popular than this one. A gym pass is a great way to provide any hesitant customers to try before they buy.
A free gym pass is a simple strategy that is implemented in gyms everywhere, the big commercial gyms and private ones alike, but how does it work?
Simply put, a gym membership is a commitment whether it is for a month or longer so if anybody is hesitant, they can use their pass for a day, week or even a month and see if they could picture themselves there regularly.
Take a look at this mock up for example, this is how the length of the free gym pass can be easily communicated with minimal reading needed.
On the back of this material, you should include Terms and Conditions. Any fine print, the address of your gym and contact details should be on the back so there is no confusion about the logistics of it all.
The free gym pass would provide access to all areas of the gym, maybe even including classes for the first week. The beauty of it is, that you can design it to what you actually want to provide for free.
For example, if your 5pm class is a busy one filled with paying members, maybe don’t hand this out for free. Instead, give access to off peak classes that are a little quieter.
Plus, if you want to sell long term contracts, somebody who has tried it out first is going to be more likely to dive in for a 6-month contract than somebody who doesn’t know what to expect. It is an easy yet effective way to draw people in, and is simple to implement.
Arguably, you could fit this in the category of free gym marketing ideas, all you need to do is utilise emails that you have gathered.
You can simply send them a pass for them to show digitally or on printed when they come to the gym. You could redeem that for them and give them a pass for X amount of time.
Plus, now you have their details, you can put them on your email list and send any relevant marketing materials their way, like no joining fee offers.
Advertising a Free Gym Pass: See it in action
Below, you can find an example of how Total Fitness offers a free gym pass and in exchange, asks for personal details that they can then use to contact this lead in future.
So not only are they getting to try out your gym, but you can keep them on your mailing list if they decide not to join. This way, you’re able to send them relevant offers to try to get them on board!
For some more useful resources on marketing your gym, head over to our articles below:
- 5 Big Fitness Business Ideas of 2022
- 23 Best Free Personal Trainer Software Options
- How to Get Your Fitness Business in the Media
Upgrade your Portfolio with a Level 4 in Personal Training. Become the best in the business by enquiring about an advanced level 4 personal training course now!
Upgrade your Portfolio with a Level 4 in Personal Training.
Become the best in the business by enquiring about an advanced level 4 personal training course now!
#5 Create Sharable Fitness Challenges
When it comes to being a successful personal trainer, gym owner or just about anything in the fitness industry in this day and age - an online presence is a must.
This is when gym advertising ideas turn to social media and marketing becomes easily shareable.
The strategy behind this marketing idea is to make content as shareable as possible, after all, that is the only way you’re going to find more potential members. Shareable content should consist of:
- Aesthetically pleasing
You want to make a simple post for social media that provides instructions that are easy to follow. However, like we mentioned earlier with the competition post, you should leave some things unanswered - in this case, the reward!
You want users to actually click into the post so you need to create enough curiosity that they do that. This will get the name of your gym across plenty of accounts and at the very least, create brand awareness.
One of the simplest gym social media marketing ideas is to create a simple graphic laying out what the fitness challenge entails - you can see how this is done well next in our example.
Then, ask for the end user to tag you when they complete the challenge, this could be a picture of them, a picture of their smart watch seeing how many calories they burn, it is completely up to them.
Using Fitness Challenges to Market A Gym: See It In Action
Below, you can see this take from a fitness influencer who has created their own challenge.
It is easy to read, shareable and simple, she even gives instructions for those who want an easier alternative. This is a great monthly post that can keep you on your followers feed and increase interaction.
#6 Sell Gift Vouchers For Your Gym
Next, if you’re seeking marketing tips for a struggling gym, selling gift vouchers could be a great option to increase sales. Gift vouchers are used in almost every big industry, so why not your gym?
Gym marketing ideas don’t get more simple than this one, all you need to do is create either some paper form of gift vouchers or even design E-Vouchers. There are plenty of free services, like Canva, that provide easy ways to make professional looking E-vouchers. Just look at the many templates you can choose from below.
It is super easy to use and you can choose your branding colours or even start from scratch without a template.
Once that is complete, you can have the voucher set to an amount that the customer wants, it can either pay for a membership for X amount of time, or simply go towards somebody else's membership to help them with the costs.
Simply create a gift voucher on a free software like we mentioned, Canva for example and print them out - it is that easy!
If you want to avoid any hassle, you can always advertise E-gift vouchers, saving money on printing and distribution. There are benefits of both ways so you could actually implement both E-vouchers and physical ones.
Selling Gym Gift Vouchers: See it in action
Below, you can see a small independent gym that has implemented their physical form gift vouchers and still advertised them online.
It is a simple way to maximise income with little investment, while also cashing in on holiday seasons!
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#7 Focus on Email Marketing
One of the most effective advertising ideas for a gym is to utilise email marketing. This is an important one to take note of because gathering data is the relatively easy part, but utilising it has to be done right!
Email marketing is done all over the world in almost every industry, and gyms are especially good at this.
If you have ever joined a gym, you will know that you will have to provide details and your email is one of those. This email will be attached to your account with the gym and thus, they are well aware if you leave the gym and in some cases, how many visits you have under your belt.
The strategy behind this is monitoring your behaviour with the gym, PureGym for example have a check in and out system like many other gyms and so, you can be rewarded with how many visits you have made in 1 week or 1 month - this is of course communicated to you via email.
Not only does this provide current members with motivation, but for those who have left their membership behind, you can contact them with relevant offers to try to get them back.
Implementing this technique starts with gathering data, which consults some of the previous gym marketing tips we have spoken about and those still to come.
Things like gift vouchers, gym passes and competitions are all ways to gather email addresses from those who would be interested in joining your gym. For example, campaigns can be centred around seasonal offers, below, you can see an example of a simple email marketing campaign, it is easy to read, attractive and includes a CTA.
You should utilise software to create tailored customer journeys so you aren’t sending irrelevant information like this isn’t to the wrong people. Softwares like Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp are easy ways to create professional looking email marketing campaigns that can be effective and get new memberships or ex memberships up and running again.
You want a good balance of emails, don’t spam the end user so much that they unsubscribe, insead send a mixture of offer emails with call to action buttons but also send useful material like a free 1 hour work out.
This way, they’re likely to stick around on your mailing list if you’re providing a mixture of the two.
Email Marketing for your Gym: See it in action
Take a look at this email from Everlast Gyms, it has a call to action, emphasis on the special offer and it is simple to read.
As well as that, it is personalised to the person it is addressed to, it calls you by name and with just a few lines they have laid out the offer and made it easier than ever to re-join.
#8 Invest into Paid Advertisements
Paid advertisements work as a gym digital marketing strategy that is used across all industries who want an online presence that is going to convert people into paying customers.
There are two ways that we will discuss, this is social media paid ads and Google Ads - both effective ways of getting your name out there.
The strategy behind paid marketing is that you don’t have to earn your spot on the SERP (search engine results page) because you can simply pay for it.
First off, Google Ads works by targeting a keyword, for example, if you’re a Liverpool based gym, you may want your gym website to be the first link that pops up when a user searches for “Liverpool city centre gyms”.
You will then pay on a cost-per-click basis, this would take interested users to your website, in hopes that they will read and sign up to your gym. Or, at the very least, keep you in the back of their mind when they do decide to join a gym.
Why should you invest in something like this though? Well, Google has actually released data that concluded that on average, there is a $2 return for every $1 spent.
This results in a 100% ROI (return on investment) so, if you’re looking for a place in marketing to spend your money wisely, this is going to be a good way to begin. You can see an example of what Google Ads look like on the SERP in our example, this is exactly what your gym could look like if you can financially support the upkeep.
We should mention that depending on how popular your keyword is, the price is going to be different. For example, you can see the average cost per click below for the keyword - gyms in Liverpool.
This data has been pulled from AHrefs, a software worth investing in if you want to market your gym well and wisely.
Similarly, you have social media advertisements which are a little more straightforward when it comes to understanding and implementing them.
Creating a campaign is relatively simple, we will get into that next, but when it comes to being beneficial for your gym, it is especially unique as you can tailor your audience super specifically.
For example, when creating a campaign you can choose how long you want it to last, and the characteristics of those who you want to view it - from gender to age and interests.
As well as this you can measure your success. You can see below the key features laid out from Meta.
As you can see, it lays the foundation of a successful campaign and how to progress and improve.
Implementing both of these covers the points we have just discussed. When it comes to Google Ads, you should see who your competitors are and work out what costs are going out and what your expected ROI would be.
You can track your progress on Google Analytics and you should do this thoroughly. The last thing you want is to waste money, so from start to finish see what is working and what isn't and make the changes.
Google is helpful in that it provides an in-depth step by step that you can follow to set up a Google Ad campaign, you can find this here to get started.
Implementing a social media campaign can actually be done straight from the app. For example, you will need to ensure that your Instagram is set to a Professional Account and not a personal one. After that, you will find a button on your profile for Ad tools. Once you click into this, you will find this screen as you can see below.
Pretty much all the hard work is done for you, all you need to do is follow the steps and Meta will take you through the steps of promoting your chosen post - simple!
Google Advertisements for your Gym: See it in action
Below, you can see two examples of paid advertisements in action. Google Ads and a Facebook / Meta advertisement for reference of a real life example.
#9 Set up a Google my Business
Finally, Google my Business is a free and extremely beneficial component to any strategy, plus it is one of the best gym marketing ideas that is completely free!
There isn’t necessarily a strategy to this, but it is a vital tool that should not go overlooked. When you’re looking for a shop, gym or just about anything for that matter a Google search usually gives you the answer promptly.
This is because businesses that you’re looking for have set up a Google my Business page which gives you all the important information.
Implementing this is pretty easy, you can just follow the steps on this Google page and Google will take you through everything with you.
This makes it easy to ensure your business has the correct details like:
- Phone number
What you need to remember is that to claim your business, you’re going to need to verify your business profile which you can do here.
Google My Business: See it in action
Here you can see a Google search page and what your business would look like if you listed yours too on mobile and desktop.
As you can see, reviews are a huge part of Google my Business, it allows for your business to seem more legit. People like to see honest reviews, and a simple Google search can provide just that.
You should make sure you keep it up to date, as you can see, this has opening times of ‘24 hours’ in this example. If you have varied opening times, make sure you update it if they change, same goes for your address and contact details.
Other Successful Gym Marketing Ideas
We could go on forever about the amount of successful and varied examples of gym marketing that we found across multiple companies. However, after going into detail on 9 of the many, we think you get the idea!
Below is a list of some other marketing ideas for a small gym, or a big gym - no matter what, we have seen great examples of each of these working well in the industry.
- Utilise Fitness Influencers
- Bring a Friend Membership Options
- Corporate Discount Scheme
- Create an SEO Friendly Webpage
- Seasonal Campaigns
- Out-of-Home Marketing
- Utilising Current Trends
If you want some more information on related topics to our list above, follow the links to some in depth articles around the same topic.
Before You Go…
We are confident that by implementing these gym marketing ideas your business will see positive results over time.
One thing to remember is that marketing techniques can often take time to get to work, so be patient with your ideas and let them work before you give up!
If you want to offer more than your average PT in your gym, why not take a look at OriGyms level 4 in the Personal Training course here? Or, sift through plenty of our health and fitness courses here in our downloadable prospectus.
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