Gym Owners’ Guide to Creating a Successful Gym Marketing Funnel

Building an effective gym marketing funnel is essential for guiding customers through the buying journey. Here are why and how to set up your funnel today!

Monica Hilton
September 27, 2023
Gym Owners’ Guide to Creating a Successful Gym Marketing Funnel
Building an effective gym marketing funnel is essential for guiding customers through the buying journey. Here are why and how to set up your funnel today!

Successful gym owners know that growth comes from the combination of lead generation and member retention. And creating a strong gym marketing funnel is a powerful step to achieving these goals.

In working with gym owners around the world and owning gyms ourselves, we’ve learned what works. So today, we’re breaking down the marketing funnel and giving you new ideas to implement in your fitness business.

Creating a gym marketing funnel
A successful gym marketing funnel will guide customers all the way through to being a loyal member.

Even if you’re brand new to marketing, never fear. We’re here to make it simple, to save you time and let you get back to coaching, and the other tasks you love!

What is a Gym Marketing Funnel?

Put simply, a gym marketing funnel is a model of your customer’s journey. It starts when they initially learn about your business and continues to purchasing and beyond. That might sound complicated, but it’s actually pretty straightforward.

Imagine you're pouring water (or in this case, potential members) into a big funnel. Your aim is to get as many of them as possible to drip out the bottom as loyal gym members. The funnel has several levels. At each level, you want to engage your audience correctly so they keep moving down towards the ultimate goal – loyally supporting your gym brand.

The reason it’s called a funnel is because the start of the process attracts a large number of people with broadly-appealing content. As people continue down the funnel, the content gets progressively more targeted. So by the time they reach the bottom, they’ve become a loyal customer.

Ideally, each level of the funnel points the audience to the next level through actionable steps. Some of them will not follow the funnel but your funnel is doing its job if it’s getting a projected percentage of people to take the desired action.

So why does your gym need a marketing funnel? The main purpose is to guide your audience towards the sale, step by step. Other benefits include vetting your audience, and boosting conversion rates. It will also allow you to anticipate membership pricing and determine weak spots in your marketing.

How to Create a Marketing Funnel.

There are six levels to a strong gym marketing funnel. Each one will have a specific goal and type of content aimed at accomplishing that goal.

1. Awareness (Top of the Funnel).

This is where people first hear about your gym. They might not be ready to join just yet, but they're curious.

Some examples of awareness content include:

  • Social Media Posts: Pictures or videos in your facility, posts about health tips and motivational quotes.
  • Blog Articles: Create helpful content on your gym website. For example, "Five Ways Exercise Improves Mental Health" or "Unexpected Benefits of CrossFit Workouts."
  • Local Ads: Sponsor a local event or put up a billboard in high traffic areas.
Awareness stage of marketing funnel
In the awareness stage, provide content for people who are curious about joining your gym.

2. Interest (Mid-Upper Funnel).

At this level of the gym marketing funnel, people are now aware of your business. Here, they start thinking, "Hmm, this place might be worth checking out."

Some examples of interest content include:

  • Email Newsletters: Provide weekly tips, workout plans or member spotlights.
  • Videos: Offer virtual tours of your gym, showcase success stories and have coaches answer FAQs.
  • Webinars/Workshops: Host a free nutrition workshop or introduction to a weightlifting class.

3. Consideration (Mid Funnel).

Now your prospective members are actively weighing their options. At this stage, they’re thinking, "Is this the gym for me?"

Some examples of consideration content include:

  • Customer Testimonials: Show stories from satisfied members, and before-and-after photos.
  • Comparison Charts: Show people how your gym compares to competitors. These charts can also highlight your unique selling points.
  • FAQs: Address common concerns like schedule, contract terms, facilities and cleanliness.

4. Intent (Mid-Lower Funnel).

Prospective members are now on the edge of their seat, just about ready to commit. At this state, they’re thinking, "I might just sign up!"

Some examples of intent content include:

  • Free Trials: Offer a free intro session, class or even a week pass to let them try your gym.
  • Discounts/Perks: Give a special rate or exclusive offer to get them to take action. This can also apply to referring friends.
  • Membership Benefits Breakdown: Detail the benefits they’ll get from signing up to become a member of your gym. This can range from some free gym merchandise to a complimentary personal training session.

5. Decision (Bottom of the Funnel).

At this stage of the gym marketing funnel, people have made up their minds. "Alright, I'm in!"

Some examples of decision content include:

  • Sign-Up Page: Ensure a user-friendly sign-up process on your website.
  • Onboarding Emails: Welcome them to your gym by offering guidance for their first visit. Provide info about your gym onboarding program and what to expect for the first 100 days.
  • Engagement Events: Host member appreciation days or new member meet-and-greets.
Pro Tip: Did you know that PushPress Grow offers automated workflows to guide your new members through the first 100 days of their journey at your gym? Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

6. Retention (After the Funnel – Keeping them hooked!)

Just because they've joined your gym doesn't mean the job is done. You want to keep them coming back!

Gym retention helps drive gym revenue
Member retention is a key part of driving gym revenue. Keep members coming back for the long term!

Some examples of retention content include:

  • Loyalty Programs: Offer points for every visit, which can be redeemed for merchandise or other perks at your gym.
  • Regular Check-Ins: Send out personalized emails, set goal-setting sessions or have coaches touch base with members.
  • Exclusive Classes or Workshops: Offer special sessions only available to long-term members. Also, consider offering high-ticket gym services at this stage to increase gym revenue and retention.

Quick Tips for Building an Effective Gym Marketing Funnel.

Here are some general tips for increasing engagement and conversion at each level of the gym marketing funnel.

  • Include great imagery! Videos and photos on your website and gym social media have been shown to increase engagement by 80% more than basic text content does.
  • Make your ideas simple and easy to understand. Keep your sentences short and straightforward. Remember, people’s attention spans are limited.
  • Offer perceived value. Include free training guides or other valuable content to make people feel like they’re getting the red-carpet treatment.
  • Use your track record to your advantage. Establish yourself as the perfect guide to help leads and members know you can help them reach their goals. Additionally, use statistics or anecdotal examples that support the points you’re making.

In Summary: An Effective Funnel Helps Guide the Customers Journey.

Gym marketing funnels are the perfect tool to intentionally guide your customers through every stage of their journey. Remember, not everyone who enters the funnel will come out the bottom. But with the right content at every level, you'll guide more and more folks to becoming happy, committed members of your gym.

Benefits include vetting your audience, boosting conversion rates, anticipating membership pricing and determining marketing weak spots. From awareness to retention, each stage of the funnel will have a specific goal and type of content aimed at accomplishing that goal.

Invest the time in developing each stage of the funnel, then let it do its job. In the end, you’ll have satisfied, loyal customers for years to come.

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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