To create winning marketing strategies for health clubs, use savvy social media marketing, smart telemarketing, targeted emails, engaging SMS and interesting viral/influencer marketing, as well as TV and radio ads. These tried and tested channels are highly effective when used right.

Gyms and health clubs have always had somewhat different marketing needs than other high-traffic businesses. While they function in a similar way to recreational and even some culinary clubs, they require unique marketing strategies to bring in more people and sign up more members.

To shed some light on how health clubs can upgrade their marketing framework, we’ve compiled 10 effective ground-up marketing strategies tailored specifically for health clubs.  

Let’s jump right in.

1. Community-Engaging Social Media Marketing

There are very few things on social media as refreshing as seeing a brand engage with their audience. This is a very effective strategy for anyone in the commodity service industry, such as gyms.

The company doesn’t have to pay for ad boosts and can still reach the most relevant audience. 

The best part about community-engaging social media marketing is that you get to directly talk to the person you’re selling a service to. This gives you a ton of opportunities for effective direct marketing.

How It Works [+ Example]

Starbucks and their Twitter presence is a great example of this strategy.

They regularly engage with their followers and share upcoming beverage releases, events, lots of news about specials, and even the occasional update to an old post. 

This works very well in their favor in terms of long-term engagement since coffee brands, much like gyms, are something people tend to stick with for a long time (if they’re really good). 

One important thing to note is that open engagement is very difficult to maintain on platforms not known for civil discourse. Companies need a solid social media management strategy to make sure the plan doesn’t backfire through a single bad or inappropriate tweet. 

2. User-Generated Social Posts

Seeing brands talking like real people is very appealing for anybody who subscribes to that brand. This means both posting positive content that other people write about them and peppering good reviews with incentives.

Taking a follower or client’s social post and using it for promotion has two main advantages.

Number one, it shows the client-centric nature of the business, and number two, you save money on creating ad content. Plus, gyms are usually selfie-central, so you’ll never be short of great pictures to structure content around.

How It Works [+ Example]

Your health club can do this by posting actual pictures that their consumers posted on their own profiles, such as in this example by Tone It Up.

You will need to get the consent of the client for this, but that shouldn’t be too difficult if you have a reward system in place for using their pictures. 

Even better than choosing specific photos is asking clients to submit their best selfies or transformation photos. You can have a promotion going where each client is informed via email, social media message, or with tangible promotional material.

This can also turn into a competition in which you reward the winning client with a discount on memberships. It makes the exchange mutually beneficial and provides you with free material to share and market. 

3. Persona-Based Email Marketing

Although all email marketing should be based on user personas, gyms can take advantage of this by segmenting their overall strategy according to different member personas.

Since gyms invite some of the most diverse clientele of any business establishment, it becomes important to unify messaging. However, creating personas out of the crowd helps make overall outreach much more effective. 

Additionally, centering emails around certain personas helps engage each client type much more closely. The clients respond much better too when they feel an email is “just for them.” 

How It Works [+ Example]

Health clubs can generate persona data by observing how people who fall into their persona segments interact with the club itself. You can use the same strategy as Spotify does to single out specific listeners.

To do this, simply segment members by age group, weight, gender, etc. Then, create emails based on their unique goals. You can discover their goals via a questionnaire provided at the time of admission.

Next, separate each group into personas and start creating email content that addresses each group very specifically.

Once you have finalized the drafts, you can send out a few test messages to tweak your messaging further. If and when successful, turn that message into a template that you can use to automate future email blasts.

4. Motivational SMS Marketing

There’s no alternative to a much-needed boost of motivation, especially for people experiencing health and fitness-related issues.

If that boost is coming via SMS from a health club, it works as a sure-fire way to boost engagement and increase the chances of a casual member prolonging their membership. 

How It Works [+ Example]

You can build a community around your health club based on daily or timely motivation.

You can use SMS opt-ins during admission or during promotional events to build a list. Once done, you can use that list indefinitely, depending on the member status of the individual. 

This strategy can even be used to market affiliate products. 

5. Targeted Incentive Offers via SMS

A potential member receiving a membership or referral discount via SMS can create a word-of-mouth marketing network. 

This is similar to the motivational messaging strategy mentioned earlier, only here you’ll center the messaging around promotional language. 

How It Works [+ Example]

This works similar to email marketing in that people who show their interest by either visiting a website or the physical health club location can sign up for a rewards program.

You can use this as a launch pad to roll out promotions and ensure they reach your primary user personas without delay.

The opt-ins also work similarly to the previous strategy, during admission or promotional events.

One thing to note is that you should minimize the number of steps it takes to reach the main promotion. Instead of making the member go through multiple input stages like in the example image, try to take them to the reward in a single step.

6. Casually Scripted Telemarketing

Natural language conversations can be the great equalizers for businesses looking to recruit more members. 

The more natural and easygoing your telemarketing scripts are, the more at ease your members will feel when talking to your salespeople.

How It Works

This works by engaging people using natural and even youthful language, such as what the typical “gym bro” character might use (obviously without being inappropriate).

Of course, you’ll need to make the messaging more inclusive for all the different persona types. However, the general idea behind the scripts should be the same: casual, inviting, and easy to talk to.

7. Creative Radio Advertising

Radio is still a viable marketing medium if used well. Luckily, health clubs can leverage the motivational nature of fitness speeches to invite more members.

Everyone knows how important verbal motivation can be to someone who lacks the drive to go join a gym without an external push. This marketing strategy is great for targeting specific people who might watch TV or listen to the radio for any chance of a motivational boost. 

How It Works

Your health club can grab a fitness speech by a modern influencer and use that as motivation, while coupling it with a discount offer if the listeners want to, for example, “build this and more.”

There are tons of famous motivational speeches, such as Stallone’s famous Rocky speech, or any of Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s statements about drive. 

They’re all available and usable in the public domain and can leverage the fandom associated with these personalities.

8. Meme-Based Viral Marketing

It may sound inappropriate for a serious business trying to generate ROI, but you might be surprised how effective memes are for viral marketing. 

Memes are by far the most engaging content on the internet, with about 60% the organic engagement and 10 times greater reach than standard marketing graphics. 

Plus, they are the natural content of choice for viral marketing since memes have consistently been the frontrunners of modern social media viral fame.

How It Works [+ Example]

Choose a meme that isn’t too silly but still relevant, and insert that into a social media ad or post.

This example by Ruffles is great to demonstrate the effectiveness and relatability that comes with seeing a marketing meme. 

There is one catch with memes, though. They appeal mostly to younger audiences and may come across as immature to older members, effectively turning them off from your brand. 

To make sure this never happens, go through the currently popular memes and choose the ones that you think will be most relatable to older audiences. Chances are, younger people will like it just by virtue of it being a meme!

9. Influencer-Based Viral Marketing

Fitness influencers have some of the biggest followings in the world. Your health club can leverage this to build a following. 

Although influencer marketing generally has an up-front cost (to pay off the influencer), depending on the person’s following, it may be more cost-effective in the long run. 

The best part about influencer marketing is that you don’t always need the most famous influencers to market you. Someone relevant to your service type with even an average-sized following will do the trick if their physique and overall look is in line with what you offer. 

How It Works

One way to go about this is to choose a famous influencer and have them make a positive statement about your health club.

This kind of marketing creates both a positive image for your gym and a source of motivation for your existing and potential members. 

One important point to ensure is that the influencer you choose should not have a problematic or controversial history. This can work against your business, especially if the person is associated with illegal products such as performance enhancing drugs. 

10. Multi-Channel Marketing

Obviously, the best marketing strategy is the one that involves multiple channels working together to create one cohesive outreach strategy. 

Now, this is not to say that individual channels are not effective on their own. They all work to target specific groups and have singular purposes that they’re effective for. 

However, no one strategy is as successful as one that includes multiple channels, with multiple content types and formats, all built around a central messaging. 

How It Works

Collect member data to determine which channel combination works best for which persona. For this, you’ll need member personas created at the start of your marketing journey. 

Once you have a decent amount of data on your members, use the optimal channel for each group.

For example, you can use viral and influencer marketing to invite millennials and Gen Z members. After all, half of new gym members are under the age of 30. Similarly, TV and radio ads will work better for both elder millennials and Gen X folks. Of course, some neutral channels such as email and SMS will work for everyone.

Once you have a targeted marketing system in place, try to create messaging that you can take from a social media ad and use it in an SMS, and vice versa. 

This holistic approach to marketing will also save you time and effort that would otherwise be spent creating unique messaging for each channel. 

Final Thoughts

With today’s focus on accessibility, businesses are more empowered than ever to market themselves well. That said, marketing to people about sensitive and personal subjects such as health and fitness can be tricky.

If you don’t have in-house expert marketers and wish to leverage the outreach talent they bring, let us take care of all your health club marketing needs. From strategy to execution, we make sure your marketing spend generates solid, dependable returns.

Contact us today to sign up and learn more about our services.