Senior fitness program

How to Start a Senior Fitness Program to Increase Gym Revenue

Launching a senior fitness program in your gym is beneficial for both the demographic and your revenue! Here are five tips to get started today!

Emily Beers
February 28, 2024
How to Start a Senior Fitness Program to Increase Gym Revenue
Launching a senior fitness program in your gym is beneficial for both the demographic and your revenue! Here are five tips to get started today!

Did you know: There are 100 million adults over the age of 50 in the United States today. They control a whopping 70 percent of discretionary spending. And yet, it’s somewhat rare to find a senior fitness program across the fitness industry.

In many ways, the 50+ crowd is the ideal client. Not only does this demographic have money, they’re willing to spend it on premium coaching services. In addition, they’re free in the middle of the day.

Increase gym revenue with senior fitness
Senior fitness programs offer a virtually-untapped opportunity to increase gym revenue.

According to Jay Croft, founder of Prime Fit Content, older adults offer “the greatest economic opportunity.”

Croft, who is 60 and lives in Atlanta, GA, recalls, “As I aged, as a life-long gym goer, I found I was becoming invisible to fitness marketing. And it didn’t make sense to me that I was no longer being targeted.

“By the time you’re fifty, you have more stability and you’re more committed to taking care of yourself. And I finally had some money and nobody wanted it,” he added with a laugh.

So Croft created Prime Fit Content, a marketing company that helps gyms offering a senior fitness program to reach the 50+ demographic. He describes his ideal client as a gym owner who “appreciates the fact that slightly-older people make better customers.”

How to Launching a Senior Fitness Program in Your Gym.

1. Craft the Right Marketing Message.

Although it might sound obvious, Croft insists that your messaging needs to convey two things to your target audience. First, that you offer a senior fitness program. And second, that you want them to be part of it.

The reason is simple. Most likely, the “globo gym” is what this group has in mind when they think of a gym experience. Picture a front desk person that doesn’t make eye contact while the music is blasting. As Croft described it, “All you see are young people throwing weight around looking at themselves in the mirror.”

In this sense, the average 50+ adult who wants to get in better shape doesn’t feel comfortable in this setting.

“So you have to make it clear in your marketing, and in your communication, that you want older people to come in,” Croft said. “And that you are capable of giving them great service.”

Pro Tip: Use automated workflows in PushPress Grow to save time and reach segmented audiences, like the 50+ crowd. Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

2. Getting More Specific to Market Your Senior Fitness Program.

Diving a little deeper into crafting the right marketing message, Croft offered a few specific tips:

  • “Be respectful but not patronizing,” Croft warns. “Being over fifty or sixty doesn’t mean you’re one hundred and twenty-five years old, and frail and hunched over. So you have to let go of all these stereotypes and bring this modern awareness to the gym.”
  • Overcome the idea that “it’s too late.” A common fear among the 50+ demographic is that they’re past the age where it’s appropriate to start exercising. Therefore, make it clear in your marketing that it’s never too late. Show them the benefits and that there is no time limit.
  • Show them people that look like them in your senior fitness program. Use client success stories and testimonials, which Croft says can be powerful and add emotion. Don’t shy away from showing people how your gym has helped clients overcome problems. It just might be the way a new client can relate and gets them to take action.

3. Use the Proper Marketing Channels.

According to Croft, there are four main channels to focus on when distributing your senior fitness program marketing. His recommended combination includes your gym social media channels, email and your website.

Jay Croft owner of Prime Fit Content
Jay Croft, owner of Prime Fit Content. (Photo credit: Jay Croft)

Until recently, he said Facebook was considerably more effective than Instagram for the 50+ crowd. And despite the two being a bit more even when it comes to delivering results during recent years, Croft says Facebook is still the overall winner. But even with that in mind, he warns gym owners not to shy away from Instagram.

In terms of overall effectiveness, prioritize your email marketing and building a powerful gym website. First, Croft recommends sending email marketing twice per week, to both current and prospective clients. Second, make sure your website shows plenty of people aged 50+. This makes it clear to your target audience that they belong at your gym.

One more idea: Consider hosting a senior fitness program informational seminar. This demographic tends to shop around, doing plenty of research before making a decision. A seminar gets them through your doors for information. Plus, it’s less intimidating than trying a class first.

4. Offer Health and Fitness Solutions, Not Discounts.

When it comes to creating content, Croft suggests being informative and speaking to this demographic’s problems. They’re likely not looking to add 20 pounds of muscle, complete an IRONMAN or get those booty gains.

“By the time you’re my age, you want to maintain your physical autonomy,” said Croft. “And you want to have a good quality of life. And you want to enjoy your grandchildren and you want to enjoy the sports you have always enjoyed.”

Therefore, prospective clients “ need to get to know you and like you and trust you. So provide them with good information.”

Think about content topics like staying fit enough to play with the grandkids, improving hot flashes or increasing sex drive during menopause. Other ideas could include building strength to overcome the fear of falling, or working on balance and mobility as you age.

Croft also recommends avoiding promotional jargon about your senior fitness program. In short, this group isn’t highly concerned with discounts.

5. Weigh Your Options for Offering a 50+ Class.

Should you offer a specific class for older adults? It depends, Croft said. Some people might appreciate a class designed specifically for this demographic. However, he said others might be insulted by the thought of joining “an old ladies’ class.”

“I would never in a million years join a class for old people,” Croft said. “But some people might.”

So tread carefully when it comes to the name and messaging of your senior fitness program. Perhaps you could start by offering an 11:00am class. You’ll anticipate that it will be largely filled with older adults. But as Croft explained, “a class for old farts” can be prohibitive and exclusionary.

Senior fitness program
Consider small group training for the 50+ crowd, for socialization and overall wellness.

One more option is to offer small group training, limited to just three or four participants. The 50+ demographic would likely be willing to pay a premium to train in this setting, versus a larger group. In addition, it’s more social than traditional personal training options.

In Summary: A Senior Fitness Program Could be the Secret to Untapped Revenue.

Launching a senior fitness program in your gym is beneficial for a variety of reasons. First, this demographic is in need of the premium coaching services you provide. Second, they have the time and money to invest. And third, it’s a virtually untapped opportunity to increase gym revenue.

Start by crafting the right marketing message. Be informative, provide solutions and get specific. Use the proper marketing channels to distribute your content. Focus on the health and fitness solutions you offer, not on discounting your services. And finally, consider the options when it comes to offering a 50+ class specifically.

As Jay Croft explained, it’s all about spreading the right message to the right people.

“Let them know over and over and over again,” he said. “They have money and all the time in the world. All you have to do is tell them you want them, and then deliver a premium service. And they’ll stick with you for years and years.”

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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