gym marketing

The Low-Hanging Fruit: Ten Strategies For Gym Acquisition Marketing

Gym acquisition marketing is more powerful than ever in a post-pandemic world. Here are ten simple strategies to implement in your fitness business.

Monica Hilton
December 15, 2022
The Low-Hanging Fruit: Ten Strategies For Gym Acquisition Marketing
Gym acquisition marketing is more powerful than ever in a post-pandemic world. Here are ten simple strategies to implement in your fitness business.

In a post-pandemic world, gym acquisition marketing offers a tremendous opportunity for growth.

According to a recent study by RunRepeat, a staggering number of people became interested in fitness during COVID. RunRepeat found an 88% increase in desire for physical activity among those who previously exercised occasionally.

Many of those same people also expressed a desire to get out of the house and try new forms of exercise. That means all those weekend park joggers now want something more strenuous and well-organized.

At this point, though, many of them still haven’t gotten around to joining a gym. So there’s never been a better time for gyms to experiment with acquisition marketing.

Using gym acquisition marketing to acquire new members

What Is Gym Acquisition Marketing?

Acquisition marketing is the process of targeting customers who are already aware of your gym but have not yet become a member. This group is also referred to as the “target demographic.” The goal is simply to get new clients. And it can be deployed as a cycle whenever you’re looking to increase membership and revenue.

Traditional marketing aims to spread the word to an audience that has never heard of your fitness business. Acquisition marketing is the step taken after that, and before the sale actually takes place.

People often use the sales funnel analogy to talk about acquisition marketing. In this analogy, traditional marketing often brings potential customers to the opening of the funnel. Acquisition marketing is then used to push people down the funnel and toward the sale.

Benefits of Acquisition Marketing Strategies

Designing a gym acquisition marketing strategy available has many benefits, including the ability to:

  • Increase MRR (monthly recurring revenue) by attracting new members.
  • Build your gym community by adding some new faces to the mix.
  • Increase retention rate by reaffirming current members’ decisions to join.
  • Convince all customers to upgrade their membership.
  • Save time on redesigning the acquisition marketing process in the future.

Putting this plan together in advance will save you time, money and effort. It will also keep you poised for new gym member conversion.

Ten Effective Acquisition Marketing Ideas

Here are ten ideas to include in your acquisition marketing plan:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

SEO is likely to be the backbone of most gym acquisition marketing strategies. This is because of its effectiveness with your target demographic. Produce well-optimized SEO content so your target audience will see it first when they Google gym-related content.

Good SEO takes some knowledge and experimentation. Consider hiring an SEO expert to design the content plan and outline some pages.

2. Fitness-Related Partnerships.

Cross-business partnerships are another way to reach your target demographic in ways your competitors can’t. Linking up with a fitness-adjacent business (e.g. recovery options or a protein smoothie shop) will give you access to their customers. And while your target demographic may be passionate about their health, they may have yet to join a gym.

Finding good business partnerships is generally easy, since they’ll also benefit from advertising at your fitness business. Just be careful who you partner with, though. When you recommend another business, their image can be a reflection on you as well.

3. Exciting Challenges.

Nothing draws people in like a gamified challenge that offers a prize to the winner. This is especially true of fitness enthusiasts, who tend to be competitive. As it relates to gym acquisition marketing, offer something for people to strive for. Make it enticing to people who are already interested in your business but manageable for your bottom line. It will often be enough to convince members of the target demographic to take action.

4. Social Media Outreach.

Social media is a powerful tool for reaching the masses. And there are a plethora of tools available, like Facebook’s targeted advertising algorithm. These tools make social media acquisition marketing tools more effective than ever. Well-optimized content, attention-grabbing visuals and a properly-spent social media budget will go a long way. And similar to SEO, there are social media specialists available for hire.

5. Email Lists.

Even though it’s not exactly cutting-edge, direct email remains one of the most effective way to targeting tools. Social media may have the leg up for massive groups, but gym email marketing is better for specific recipients. And while social media has DMs, nothing matches the familiar feeling and urgent CTA from a well-written email.

Gather email addresses for your target demographic through things like local events or referral programs. Then use that info to send the right message to the intended recipients.

6. Video Content.

Video content is a powerful gym acquisition marketing tool because it instantly increases the search ranking of whatever page it’s included on. Therefore, producing informative, impactful video content is the key to being noticed online.

There are a vast array of video-editing apps to help you produce solid video content. A nice camera is a bonus too, but phone cameras have gotten so good that it’s not a necessity. You’ll probably need to invest some time and money into producing quality video content but it will be worth it.

7. Business Reviews.

People will always trust other customers over you, no matter how good you are at talking up your gym. That’s why member testimonials may just be the push your target demographic needs to move forward.

Gather testimonials through routine member surveys or day-to-day interactions with your gym members. Write down comments for future testimonial use. Then lean on SEO to get the testimonials in front of your target demographic.

Pro Tip: PushPress Grow allows you to request Google Reviews from all your members with one click! Book a demo with our team today to find out how.

8. Limited-Time Deals.

Adding a little time crunch to an offer is a great way to get people to act quickly. Knowing a better deal is available if they buy now will persuade many people to take the leap.

Of course, you don’t want to make yourself seem impatient or pressure your customers. Instead, try something friendly, like “Until the end of 2022, we’re discounting memberships to grow our fitness family.” Put the focus on what they’re getting (fitness family) instead of the time constraint.

Provide deals as a strong gym CTA

9. Data Analysis.

Your target demographic will be easily swayed by actual results-based statistics from your members. Getting those stats isn’t always easy and will require close, long-term observation. But they’ll be extremely powerful gym acquisition marketing tools once you have them.

Note: An easy way to gather members’ stats is by having them use smart equipment and monitoring that data. It may even be a worthy investment to give out free tracking wearables to your members upon joining. This leads to our final acquisition marketing concept…

10. Free Stuff.

People love free stuff. Throwing in some gifts with membership will make the deal more tempting. Some good ideas for free gifts include:

  • Fitness-tracking device
  • Branded merchandise, contributing to future gym retail sales
  • An extra few months of free membership
  • Discounted supplements, energy drinks or protein bars from your pro shop
  • Gift cards for non-membership services at your gym, or other local, small businesses (remember those fitness-related partnerships above?)
  • Trending, fitness-related product

In Summary: Hit ‘Em Again With The Offer

Gym acquisition marketing is easier than traditional marketing. Since most prospects are already aware of your fitness business, they’re one step closer to buying. You’re aiming to win the prospects over the rest of the way or take them from the competition. Remember that acquisition marketing can be time-sensitive, so creating a plan in advance is essential. If you prepare, target and execute well, you can turn interested leads into long-term members of your community.

Monica Hilton

Monica is our Content Manager extraordinaire for PushPress. She also owns her gym in Indianapolis, Together We Rise CrossFit, which she opened in 2014 and previously worked in IndyCar racing.

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