As a fitness business owner, you need to focus on impactful fitness marketing that differentiates your studio or gym and gets more people in the door. You already offer amazing classes with talented fitness instructors, but the most important part of running your business is getting clients into your studio so they can have an amazing workout and customer experience.

Implementing a strategic fitness marketing plan is important for acquiring these new customers, as well as expanding your studio’s brand awareness and increasing customer retention. However, jumping straight into paid advertising or hiring a marketing resource can be a big expense, which can sometimes make fitness marketing seem challenging or overwhelming. We have put together the best and cost-effective fitness marketing tips to build your studio’s credibility, engage with your clients and attract even more customers. 

1. Establish your unique brand and niche

When opening and managing a fitness studio, you should prioritize your core branding and hone in on your niche so you can market specifically to your ideal clientele. Elements of your fitness brand include not only your core fitness classes but also your values, promises, personality, tone of voice, tagline and logo. You should take time to learn how to effectively market to your audience in a way that connects their needs with your fitness services and values, which will help convert them to customers. 

2. Build out your branded website for effective fitness marketing

A branded website is a key piece to any strategic fitness marketing plan because your website creates your online presence. Your website should include your brand personality, and of course, should highlight your fitness classes in a descriptive way alongside your class schedule. It’s also impactful to take time to optimize your website with easy navigation, Q&A, and a clear way to communicate with your studio staff through a contact form, phone number or chatbox. 

3. Set up social profiles and stay socially active

Social media allows you to connect and converse with your clients and potential customers in a truly authentic and humanizing way. When it comes to online fitness marketing, social media is a free channel to help you expand your online community, talk directly with your audience and show off your unique personality. You can share photos and videos of your studio and your instructors and clients in action, announce studio promotions or events you are hosting, and you can even run contests that can boost overall engagement.

You should take time to write engaging captions on your feed which are sometimes considered mini blog posts. If you don’t have time to write brand-new content each day, you can use inspirational quotes, motivational customer stories or even ask your audience for their opinion or ask feedback questions. 

4. Utilize Instagram Stories

Taking advantage of Instagram stories can boost your social engagement through exposing your “behind the scenes” authenticity. Instagram Stories are similar to Snapchat where you can post daily videos and pictures in real-time, and add features on top such as polls, surveys and GIFS. Even better, you can then create “Story Highlights” that show up on the top of your Instagram profile for easy access to information. For example, you can have a story bubble labeled “classes” and add videos and pictures of your real class moments into that story highlight. If you don’t have time to post a picture on your profile feed each day, you should try to post a few stories each day to keep up the engagement and gain more followers. 

5. Take time to optimize your website for SEO

SEO is important for your fitness marketing because searchable keywords will drive traffic to your website, which in turn, will bring foot traffic in your door. When potential customers are searching online for “yoga studio” or “spin classes”, you ideally want to pop up in those online searches as a local business. You can take online courses to learn the basics of SEO such as Udemy and depending on what web platform you use, there are step-by-step SEO optimization tools such as Yoast that can help you. When the time is right and you have the budget, hiring an SEO and digital marketing specialist can be extremely valuable. 

6. Start an online fitness blog 

Starting a blog on your website is also a great way to boost your SEO and amp up your fitness marketing. You can write blog posts on specific wellness or fitness topics and incorporate keywords you want to target. When someone stumbles upon your blog post from an online keyword search, they will then be directed to your website which boosts awareness and traffic.

7. Run seasonal promotions 

Creating studio and package promotions throughout the calendar year is an effective fitness marketing strategy that will help you retain your customers and gain new clients. While setting up promotions, it’s important to be strategic and only run discounts seasonally so you don’t over-discount and devalue your brand. You can get creative and festive with the types of promotions you offer throughout the year and align some promotions with holidays such as “Spring forward with a free trial” in April, or a Halloween promotion in October. The highest peak for fitness program shopping is the first week of January; during this competitive time, you should offer a class package discount and focus on how to make your studio stand out above the rest.

8. Use branded infographics to enhance your fitness marketing 

What can you share through infographics? Just about any type of information that can be broken down into bite-sized pieces. The best part about building your own infographics is that you can design graphics that align with your brand and use them as a marketing tool online — as part of your blog, on your social media pages and in your studio. Once you add infographics to your online content, Pinterest is an effective channel for marketing those infographics since it is a social search platform centered around visuals. You can create multiple Pinterest boards on specific topics and pin your infographics using keywords, allowing people to repin or visit your website. 

9. Join a fitness marketplace like ClassPass

A fitness and wellness marketplace like ClassPass is a great way to gain even more exposure, earn high reviews, boost class attendance and bring new faces through the door. The fitness industry is a competitive market and many people look for diversity in their workout programs. ClassPass essentially connects you to fitness and wellness enthusiasts looking to discover their next experience.

10. Cross-promote with like-minded businesses through strategic partnerships

Think about other local businesses in your area where there is health-focused brand alignment for potential partnership opportunities. Some examples include another local fitness studio, a local cafe, doctor’s office or fitness apparel stores. Partnering with other local businesses with similar values and target customers in your area will help you can gain exposure and reach a new audience. Of course, you also need to openly promote the partner business and build a working partnership to boost traffic for each other as a fair give-and-take. 

11. Launch a Referral Program

Your customers are your best marketers. You can create an incentive for your students to formally refer a friend or family member, and then if their referral purchases a package, everyone can be rewarded with a swag bag or a free class. You can also come up with ways to incentivize referrals through exclusivities such as early access to a new class or an invitation to an exclusive studio event.

There are many effective ways to market your fitness studio to create brand buzz and fill up your weekly class schedule. When you focus on a targeted fitness marketing strategy, you will increase your brand exposure online and offline, reach and connect with your ideal demographic in an authentic way, and of course, get new customers in the door.

Want to learn more about marketing your group fitness studio? Don’t forget to subscribe to the After Class newsletter for updates on facilities management, business owner insights and more. 

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