While the New Year is traditionally seen as the most likely time to gain some new gym members, there’s another big opportunity just around the corner. As Blake Ruff explains, “the fall is a great time to to start getting in front of new clients.” And that makes now the time to start maximizing your gym marketing strategy.
Ruff is a former gym owner, and co-owns LASSO with business partner - and current gym owner - Sherman Merricks. The two know a thing or two about marketing and sales. LASSO has helped countless gyms grow by creating and managing paid marketing strategies and websites.
As we look toward the opportunities that come with the changing of the seasons, Ruff offered some ideas for an effective gym marketing strategy to capture new clients.
Maximize Gym Marketing with These Five Tips:
1. Start Early, but Be Patient.
As a gym owner, you’ve probably seen the typical traffic trend at your gym. The summer months are slower, and then traffic naturally picks up in the fall. Regardless, people sometimes need a little extra push to get them to get started (or re-started). This is where your gym marketing comes in.
Ruff suggests starting a paid advertising campaign now to “plant the seed.” Then, simply be patient, follow up adequately and give people a little time to take action.
“Anytime there is a change in life events or schedules, it takes a week or two to get back into a routine,” said Ruff. “So if you launch ads right when school starts, don’t be surprised if you don’t reap the benefits for a week or two.”
2. Target Parents.
When crafting an offer for paid ads, or with any of your gym marketing efforts, Ruff suggests targeting parents. He said mothers specifically are often the ones going through the biggest scheduling changes at this time of year.
“Normally, once school starts, mothers especially are more likely to join a gym again,” said Ruff.
As you create your ads, put yourself in the mindset of parents who might have a bit more free time now that the kids are back in school. This may be their opportunity to prioritize themselves and their health again.
Ruff suggests considering launching a new program specifically for mothers. Choose a popular time frame after school drop-off and even come up with a creative name. Then use your gym marketing to spread the word and get quality leads in your doors.
3. Circle Back to Old Leads.
Because the fall tends to be a time of change, it’s a great time to reach out to old leads. You may find that people who weren’t in a position to join your gym a few months ago might be looking to start a new fitness program now.
Educate them on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and provide some basic info about your current membership options. Invite them to upcoming gym events, or to bring a friend to try a workout at your gym.
Emphasize the opportunities that come with the changing of the season and create a CTA (call to action) to help get them into a routine this fall.
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4. Prioritize the “Weight Loss Crew.”
“If you had a crowd of one hundred people in an audience and asked who wanted to lose ten to twenty pounds, probably ninety percent would raise their hand,” Ruff said. “No matter what time of year, people are always wanting to lose weight.”
With that in mind, this should be a focus when creating your gym marketing messaging. Especially during the transition from summer to fall, take advantage of the extra motivation as people look to “start fresh.”
This is also a great time to promote your nutrition coaching program, if your gym offers one. If not, consider reaching out to our friends at Healthy Steps Nutrition (HSN). HSN offers nutrition coaching mentorship, a certification and business systems training. There’s also a ready-to-go nutrition program app that you can roll out for your clients.
5. Emphasize Personal Training Options.
Finally, Ruff recommends considering promoting your gym’s personal training options in your gym marketing this fall. As you’ve seen, the accountability that comes from personal training can go a long way in increasing gym member retention. Plus, you’ll likely boost your average client value in the process.
“Anyone can download a workout program online or follow an app,” said Ruff. “But what you are truly selling with personal training is accountability and personalized attention.”
Personal training can be especially useful for new clients looking to get into a regular routine and turn fitness into a habit.
Ruff explained, “If you are not starting all your new clients off with some kind of accountability and personal training, you are missing out on a lot of revenue, and probably experiencing higher churn. Also, you are not doing what’s best for your clients.”
He added, “If you sell PT-first, and they see packages ranging from four hundred to a thousand dollars, it makes your two-hundred-dollar-a-month package seem much more reasonable. Price anchoring will help you sell more and show value to your potential client.”
In Summary: Match Gym Marketing Messaging to the Right Audience
The fall season brings some great opportunities for your gym marketing. Think about targeting new demographics or taking advantage of the motivation that accompanies a “fresh start” for the fall.
The pros at LASSO recommend starting your marketing early to plant the seed. Focus campaigns on parents and the “weight loss crew.” Circle back to connect with old leads and emphasize personal training for all.
These tips will put you in the best possible position to get qualified leads to take action, driving membership and revenue numbers for your gym this fall.