When it comes to the ideal gym marketing strategy, fitness business owners are often split. Some believe paid advertising is the way to go, while others think an organic approach is more powerful.
The truth is, a combination of both is an incredibly effective way to increase conversion rates and gym revenue. Develop a strong, organic marketing campaign and layer on paid ads to create the one-two punch to grow your gym.
Today, we’re looking at elements and examples from each category. The goal is to provide you with a framework that you can start to implement in your gym today!
Let’s not make this complicated. Paid advertising is exchanging dollars for awareness. Paid ads refer to how your content is distributed to your target audience. One thing to note is that generally, content or media creation costs are separate.
Some examples of paid gym advertising include social media ads, television commercials, billboards and print ads.
For most gyms, social media ads are one of the most economical and effective forms of paid advertising. Within the realm of online advertising, there are two options to consider.
First, think about someone who’s interested in joining a gym. Unsure of where to start, they simply go to Google and type, ‘gyms near me.’ If they see your ad here and take action, you have a highly-qualified lead. In terms of the consumer decision-making process, they’ve already recognized a problem and started searching for info.
On the other hand, consider someone who’s casually scrolling through Facebook. Your ad pops up in their feed, prompting them to fill out a form. In this case, they weren’t necessarily in the market for a new gym, but you’ve piqued their interest. Your ad is presenting a solution to a problem they may not have thought about otherwise.
As our friends at LASSO explain, paying for gym marketing isn’t just to generate quick sales and new members. This type of advertising can also maximize organic leads for the long-term.
Pros and Cons of a Paid Gym Marketing Strategy.
There are pros and cons to consider with a paid marketing strategy.
On the pros side, it’s a quick way to increase brand awareness by trumpeting your gym brand to the masses. It’s also an effective way to reach a wide, extremely-targeted audience. And as long as you have the financial resources, campaign execution can be fairly immediate.
On the other hand, paid ads can be too sales-y or not effective enough to make people act, depending on the messaging. The strategy can also be fickle, as results can sometimes fluctuate based on market variables. And obviously, there may be financial limitations, depending on your budget.
Simply put, organic traffic comes from people seeking out your business without the help of paid advertising.
Organic gym marketing is mainly comprised of two media options: Owned and earned.
Owned media is content that is owned, maintained and distributed by your gym. The most obvious example is your gym website. You own it and manage it yourself. Other examples include blogs, email marketing, newsletters and social media.
As the name implies, earned media is the result of various ways that you can earn brand awareness. Instead of paying for it with dollars, it’s awarded to you by happy customers. Some examples include positive Google reviews, social media posts made by members and influencer marketing.
In both categories - owned and earned - SEO (search engine optimization) is a key component for effective content. Essentially, SEO is the process of making your content more appealing to Google.
This means focusing on quality and including key aspects of Google’s algorithm priorities. These are things like metatags, headers, backlinks, mobile optimization and site speed.
We get it. Most gym owners aren’t tech wizards and don’t specialize in SEO. Which is why we offer done-for-you, fully-optimized websites for PushPress Grow clients!
Pro Tip: Want to learn how PushPress Grow can help with your website, plus lead generation and nurture? Book a demo with our team today!
Pros and Cons of an Organic Gym Marketing Strategy.
There are pros and cons to consider with an organic marketing strategy.
On the pros side, it’s more cost-effective. You control the content, which means it aligns with your brand voice and values. And arguably, the biggest positive is that it’s simply more powerful. Reviews and referrals from real human beings will always trump paid ads.
On the flip side, an organic gym marketing strategy can take some time to set up. It also requires more planning and foresight than paid advertising.
Paid vs. Organic: Is One Better than the Other?
The most successful gyms are using a combination of both paid and organic strategies in their gym marketing.
When a customer finds your business through an organic traffic source, it can feel as if they discovered it themselves. In turn, this can create a stronger sense of brand connection and loyalty.
At the same time, paid traffic sources have their place as well. While organic marketing may take time to develop, paid ads can be quick and effective immediately.
Therefore, newer businesses may choose to invest more into paid ads to generate its earliest gym members. While at the same time, more established gyms have the ability to focus on organic marketing options. Either way, both can be powerful and impactful when done correctly.