gym marketing

Gym Owners’ Guide to Rockin’ the Customer Journey: Part I (Awareness)

The first step for effective gym marketing is making sure prospective members know your business exists. Here are four ways gym owners can build awareness!

Emily Beers
July 3, 2024
Gym Owners’ Guide to Rockin’ the Customer Journey: Part I (Awareness)
The first step for effective gym marketing is making sure prospective members know your business exists. Here are four ways gym owners can build awareness!

When you started your gym, if you believed the idea that, ‘if you build it, they will come,’ you’re not alone. So many gym owners think simply opening the doors is the hardest part of the whole process. But it’s actually only the beginning.

In order to build and grow a gym, creating a plan for the five stages of the customer journey is crucial.

Gym owners guide to building awareness
Building awareness is the first stage in creating a powerful customer journey for prospective members.

If you’re not aware of the five stages, it’s the path your prospective members take as they go from being a lead to joining your gym. The five stages are awareness, consideration, purchase, retention and advocacy.

The journey is important to understand, not only for analyzing how customers interact with your brand, but for determining the stages where you can improve. Today, we’re exploring awareness.

Four Ways Gym Owners Can Create Awareness.

The reason for starting with awareness is pretty simple. If people don’t know that your gym exists, they can’t become members.

So in the competitive fitness market, how do gym owners go about creating robust brand awareness? The goal is to be well known in your local market, not only elevating your gym’s visibility but also attracting the right clients.

1. Prioritize Your Website’s SEO.

When’s the last time someone walked through your doors and said they found you by “just driving by?” We live in a digital world, where prospective customers do their research online before reaching out.

Therefore, a majority of your leads will probably become aware of your gym from a Google search, social media or paid ads. And then they’ll head to your website.

This is why SEO (search engine optimization) is so critical for gym owners. By improving your gym SEO, you increase the likelihood of appearing near the top of the list when prospects search “gyms near me.”

SEO tactics include everything from focusing on specific keywords to keeping your gym blog fresh. And always keep your GBP (Google Business Profile) up to date. Here are three quick tips:

  1. Just like on your social media, post at least one picture per day to your GBP, and ask members to do the same. This keeps your profile consistently relevant.
  2. When Google prompts you to add info or make updates to your page, do it. The prompts are designed to help improve your SEO.
  3. Keep business hours and services up to date, and double-check that they match what’s on your website and socials. Any discrepancies can be harmful to your SEO.
Pro Tip: Did you know PushPress Grow offers a fully-optimized website for your gym? Book a demo with our team today to learn more!

2. Build Local Partnerships.

Word-of-mouth is king for gym owners to build awareness. You’ve seen it when members have recommended your gym, prompting friends and family to give it a try. And the same can be true on a larger scale by developing strong local partnerships.

Building local partnerships
Building partnerships is beneficial for gym owners and members, plus the other local businesses as well.

As you explore various options, focus on the goals you’re looking to achieve. Because in addition to building awareness, you can also accomplish things like adding value to people’s memberships.

Need ideas? Check out this PushPress blog for seven local businesses to form a partnership with.

3. Create an Effective Social Media Strategy.

Social media isn’t often on the gym owners’ top ten list of favorite things to do. But when it comes to building awareness, it’s a must-have in a powerful strategy.

But like many other gym-growth tasks on your plate, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes it helps to simply put yourself in the shoes of a prospective member. What would you like to see? Or what kinds of content would compel you to take action?

Start by focusing on your target audience, then use your posts to pique their interest. For example, if you’re trying to appeal to stay-at-home moms, maybe shy away from images of shirtless dudes doing snatches and muscle-ups.

Here are three quick tips for building awareness through your gym social media:

  • Post Consistently. Keep your content fresh to ensure more visibility for prospective members. Building awareness will come from consistent effort.
  • Share Success Stories. People want to see that there’s someone at your gym that they can relate to, and that that person has been able to achieve success in some way. So telling members’ stories is a powerful way to accomplish that goal.
  • Education to Build Trust: Providing educational, easy-to-understand content will establish you as a local expert for fitness and health. Things like healthy recipes and movement videos can go a long way to build awareness and more importantly, trust.

4. Explore the World of Paid Ads.

The 2023 State of the Fitness Industry Report from Two-Brain Business found that only 49.1 percent of 13,444 gym owners surveyed were running paid ads. Those who weren’t cited poor-quality leads as one of the main reasons.

The report also found that the gyms that were more profitable were running paid ads. What we can take away from this is that, if done well, paid ads are an effective way to build awareness.

Running paid gym ads
Running paid gym ads is an effective way to build awareness to your target audience.

One common myth is that leads will convert after their first interaction with your ads. In reality, the customer journey is longer and more complex. According to PushPress partner 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 todayto find out more!

In Summary: Building Awareness is Step One for Gym Owners.

The very first step in an effective marketing strategy is making sure your prospective members know that your gym exists. Without awareness - the first stage of the customer journey - the remaining stages can’t happen.

In a competitive fitness industry, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle if gym owners aren’t intentional in the awareness stage. Start by prioritizing your website SEO. Then explore mutually-beneficial local partnerships. Next, create an effective social media strategy. And finally, explore the world of paid gym ads.

Together, these steps can help you build awareness for your gym, and prepare you to move on to the next stage: consideration.

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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