gym marketing

Digital Marketing 101: How to Navigate Paid Gym Ads

You don’t have to be a marketing expert to enjoy the benefits of paid gym ads. Here are five myths - and truths - to help you develop a strategy!

Emily Beers
May 1, 2024
Digital Marketing 101: How to Navigate Paid Gym Ads
You don’t have to be a marketing expert to enjoy the benefits of paid gym ads. Here are five myths - and truths - to help you develop a strategy!

As a gym owner, the world of digital marketing can sometimes feel overwhelming and ever-changing. From content creation to paid gym ads, where do you even begin?

As gym owners ourselves, the PushPress team understands the struggle. Which is why we often direct our clients to LASSO, a company that creates and manages paid marketing strategies and websites for gyms.

Managing paid gym ads
Enlist the help of experts for your paid gym ads campaigns.

We recently sat down with owners Sherman Merricks and Blake Ruff to get all the info gym owners need to know about paid gym ads. The duo has helped hundreds of gyms grow by implementing successful digital marketing strategies. They believe it’s not about generating leads through cheap deals or free months. Instead, they help bring in clients looking - and willing to pay - for long-term fitness solutions.

Debunking the Myths about Paid Gym Ads

According to Ruff, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about paid gym ads.

“Our biggest battle at LASSO is false information, and gym owners having bad experiences with other marketing companies,” he said. “Our team is all gym owners so we understand what you are going through, and the type of client you want in the gym.”

Here are five myths to watch out for:

1. If Paid Ads are Good, They’ll Convert Immediately.

A common fallacy is that leads will convert after their first interaction with your paid gym ads. In reality, the customer journey is longer and more complex. According to LASSO, prospective members often require eight to 10 touch points before taking action. And this process can span several weeks, or even months.

With that in mind, your follow-up process is crucial. Make a plan to nurture leads for as long as it takes them to make a buying decision.

Pro Tip: The automated workflows in PushPress Grow can take the workload of lead nurture off your plate. Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

2. You Have to Track the Origin of Every Lead.

While it's beneficial to understand where leads originate, it’s not always feasible. Ruff explained that this is usually due to varying customer behaviors.

“Unfortunately, marketing is not black and white,” he said, citing Coca-Cola Super Bowl ads as an example. The company doesn’t have representatives at every cash register, inquiring if people saw their ad. Instead, they simply compare sales reports from before and after the ads have run.

How does that correlate to you as a gym owner? The key is the brand-building you’re doing over time. If you’re posting on gym social media and running paid ads, the combination is building consumer confidence in your brand. You’re consistently reminding people you exist until they take action.

Building brand awareness
Build brand awareness through social media and paid ads until customers take action.

3. Each Lead is Going to Be High Quality.

Ruff said that paid gym ads will often yield an abundance of leads. But he was quick to point out that it’s not realistic to expect each one to be high quality.

“The leads you receive will vary,” he said. “Some will be ready to sign up, others may only seek information. And some may not be serious at all.”

The goal is to have an effective system in place to convert a healthy percentage into paying members. Ruff said that target is between 10-25 percent. So having the proper mindset when it comes to expected closing percentage will help you manage expectations.

4. Ads Should Always Offer a Discount or Something for Free.

Freebies is one of the biggest myths out there when it comes to paid gym ads, according to Ruff. But the truth is, free offers or discounts generally bring in lower-quality leads. These are people who aren’t necessarily committed to long-term fitness goals. They’re just looking for something free or cheap.

Instead, marketing should focus on individuals looking for comprehensive, long-term fitness solutions. You do this by emphasizing the value of your programs and how they address specific fitness challenges.

“If you need to build authority and trust with a lead, how are you going to do that in a class of ten to twenty? As we mentioned before, free brings in people looking for free,” said Ruff.

Then, once you have higher-quality leads coming in, selling more gym memberships is all about your sales process. Build trust with a face-to-face conversation, diving into the emotional reasons that someone wants to change their life.

“Doing so shows you care, and can give them a customized plan to fit their goals and lifestyle,” Ruff said.

Providing customized fitness solutions
Meet with leads face-to-face, allowing you to find out about their goals and provide solutions.

5. You Should Manage Digital Marketing on Your Own.

While there are some gym owners that are proficient in digital marketing, it’s not a specialty for most. Further, the constant evolution of social media platforms can make it challenging to stay up-to-date.

That’s why working with the experts can help make your paid gym ads - and overall marketing strategy - more effective. Not only does this free up your time for other areas of the business, but you get to lean on proven knowledge and expertise. They know what works and what doesn’t.

Plus, they can leverage a broader ad spend to test and refine strategies. For example, LASSO spends more than $500k annually on paid gym ads, allowing them to test campaigns on a larger scale. In addition, their focus is on conversion that improves revenue, versus number of leads.

Ruff and Merricks strive to help gym owners double revenue within a 10-12 month period. Calls with gym owner clients every other week allow them to analyze campaigns and make improvements as needed.

In Summary: Paid Gym Ads Don’t Have to Be Complicated.

You don’t have to be a marketing expert to enjoy the benefits of paid gym ads. Understanding what works and what doesn’t is sometimes a matter of trial and error. But relying on the experience of experts like the team at LASSO can significantly speed up the process and improve results.

“We can help gym owners navigate the complexities of paid marketing, leading to more effective strategies,” said LASSO owner Blake Ruff. “And, ultimately, a more successful business.”

Want more info? Check out this four-part series from LASSO:

Emily Beers

Emily Beers is a health, fitness and nutrition writer. She has also been coaching fitness at MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. since 2009.

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