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Digital Marketing for Gyms and Fitness Centers


Whether you just recently opened a local gym a or you’ve been running a large chain of fitness centers for quite some time already, gaining new clients regularly should be a top priority of yours.

If you’re struggling to attract more members despite advertising heavily through word-of-mouth, there’s no need to feel discouraged. You’re not alone. Thousands of other fitness businesses are also in that situation.

While word-of-mouth marketing can make up most of your member acquisition, it’s sadly not enough in a highly competitive market.

As we’re presently in the digital era, the best way to step up your game is by incorporating digital marketing into your marketing strategy.

Let’s face it, almost everyone spends their time on the internet, so what better way to reach out to your target audience than by promoting your gym online? Right? Right!

This article aims to help fitness businesses grow their brands and drive new clients through the power of digital marketing.

From optimizing your website and creating video content to social media advertising,  it will cover everything there is to know about digital marketing, or at least, the basics. Think of it as a gym digital marketing course!

Let’s get started, shall we?

Know Your Target Audience

Identifying prospects is the first step in starting just about any business venture. Your content should be consistent and relevant with what your target audience is looking for.

Think about the people you prefer to work with – who will most likely benefit from your services and whether they’re essential in helping your business prosper in the long run.

Is your gym mainly for bodybuilders? Crossfitters? Those who aspire to look like female fitness models? Or maybe for people who are just trying to maintain their weight?

Lay out the qualities of your ideal clients based on who you’re already training or envision working with. Once you’re able to recognize who they are, you can use the information to determine the ways you can present your business in all forms of media.

Create a Fitness Website

That is, if you still don’t have one yet.

A visually appealing and informative website should be the centerpiece of your online presence. It’s pretty much where people will discover and learn more about your brand.

However, you can’t just include everything you wish to include. Your website should be strategically designed. Consider these principles:

  • Put your target audience first. By using your potential and existing clients as your inspiration for your website, you won’t have a hard time figuring out what content to include.
  • Be as clear and concise as possible. Make sure that your site provides all the information your audience wants to know. Describe the services you offer, who they’re most suited to, and of course, your goal as a fitness brand.
  • Make it easy to navigate. People can’t stand websites that are so complicated to navigate, which is why you should make yours simple without any hoops to jump through. You wouldn’t want to lose future members just because of a difficult site, would you?

Once your fitness website’s all set up, don’t launch it just yet. You need to refine it further for search engine optimization (SEO), which brings us to the next digital marketing tip……..

Develop a Solid SEO Strategy

If you’re not familiar, SEO is an online marketing tactic web builders, digital marketers, and bloggers use to rank higher in search results and generate more traffic. The more optimized your site is, the greater your chances are of gaining new clients.

When designing or maintaining your fitness site, keep these things in mind:

Use relevant keywords

A surefire way to boost your ranking is by using the right keywords in your web pages. Since you want gym searchers in your area to discover you, you can focus on keywords like “fitness clubs in (your city)” or “gyms near me”.

Provide quality content

Search engines are all about showing users the best content in their results. One tactic they use is by calculating how long people stay on a certain page. Longer duration means the readers are enjoying the content, which then implies that the content is worthy of a high ranking.

Be accurate with the information you provide

See to it that you type in all the right details in your gym address, contact number, and operating hours. If Google detects some discrepancies, there’s a huge chance that your page will get a lower rank.

Speed up your site

A slow webpage is the last thing people need when searching for information online, and it will only leave them closing the page and moving on to another. A fast website, on the other hand, can give you higher traffic rates and more qualified leads that can be converted into clients.

You can speed up your page load time by optimizing the size of your images, reducing the use of web fonts and plugins, minimizing the number of JavaScript and CSS files, and using a content delivery network (CDN).

If these sound a bit too difficult for you, you can look for a digital marketing course online or consult an SEO professional.

Get Ahead of Your Competition with Video Content

Video content marketing is becoming more and more popular, and it will continue to prevail over the years.

In fact, video marketers experience a 66% increase in qualified leads, and 57% of marketers are already using live video to promote their brands.

Video content gives your target audience a preview of what it’s like to work out in your gym, your one-on-one or group classes, as well as the different equipment and machines they can use. Most of all, it lets them see how much fun everyone’s having!

Instagram is a great outlet for marketing your fitness video content. It can help when users are looking for personal trainers, workout plans, or classes in their areas via location or hashtags.

Better yet, you can take advantage of Facebook’s live stream to show your followers what’s happening in your gym in real-time.

As much as possible, keep your videos short and engaging. Here are several ideas you can use to get you more leads:

  • Best exercises to burn fat, build muscles, target specific muscles, improve mobility, etc.
  • Benefits of the different types of workout
  • Stretches to do before and after a workout
  • What to eat before and after a workout
  • A client’s fitness journey
  • Client testimonials

Run Paid Ads

Running paid ads on huge social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram is one of the most convenient forms of digital marketing for gym owners.

That’s because you can do it all yourself – you get to create any content you want, set a budget you’re comfortable with, and choose your target. Plus, you don’t have to worry about spending big bucks on shredded female fitness models and hunky men anymore. You’re in control, after all.

Perhaps the best thing about advertising on social media is the specificity of info you can use to target groups who can most likely become your clients.

Age, gender, and zip code aren’t the only demographic factors you can track. You can now count on Facebook to obtain other significant details such as what people view, their purchase history and habits, and how they typically respond to ads.

Once you know how to use their marketing tools effectively, expect to receive a tremendous amount of return on  investment. Also, make use of your ads’ statistics to improve your next fitness campaigns.

Develop a Referral Program

Besides keeping your business well and alive, your members can be your best marketers. Just be sure that you’re providing excellent services, though. Incentives also work.

Here’s something that will get you new faces applying for gym membership: Start a referral program.

Digital Marketing for Gyms and Fitness Centers

Image Source: PerfectGym

Every time a client refers someone and that new prospect decides to sign up, you can reward both of them to push them to refer further. You gain more clients, they gain wonderful incentives – it’s a win-win for everybody!

The most crucial step in starting a referral program is by informing everyone in your fitness club about it. Next is to identify what referral tactics you’d want to use, and of course, the incentives that will serve as your members’ motivation to spread the word.

Below are three of the most common referral channels you can use for your gym:

Email Referrals

Send out a gym newsletter that contains a link to your referral form and have your members share the link to whomever they plan to invite. You can also create discount codes for members to give to their family or friends to redeem at your center.

Referral Cards

Another way is to issue referral cards to your members to distribute to friends and family. Leave room at the back for you to write the member’s name or email so that you’ll know who to credit for the referral when someone redeems it.


We’re talking about posters not just on your social media pages, but also around your fitness center. Having these posters on your gym makes it easier for clients to inquire about your referral program, as they can speak to you or your staff directly.

For the incentives, make sure that they’re attractive enough to persuade your members. Discounts off their annual membership are always a good idea. You can also offer gym freebies, a free class, or even a heavily discounted pack of personal trainings.

With these rewards, don’t be surprised to see your gym full-packed in the not-so-distant future.

Wrapping Up

As with all other industries, the health and fitness industry should also be prioritizing digital marketing, especially now that billions of people are spending most of their time online. Following the tips mentioned above will help you reach your target audience, boost your online reputation, and grow your business.

Author Bio:

Shay Berman is the founder and president of  Digital Resource, a full-service digital marketing agency located in South Florida. Shay’s clear-cut approach to internet marketing has driven his clients’ businesses to new heights and allowed Digital Resource to land on the Inc 500 list two years in a row and be named as No. 49 on Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur 360 list. 


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