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Marketing a Fitness Center


To have a profitable fitness center marketing is key but how do you market a fitness center?   The drop out rate of gym memberships is very high so you must constantly advertise to keep new memberships coming in. must be sold every month.  Be sure to budget money every month to advertise as it is easy to think you can cut money from the advertising when times get lean, but without new clients, sales will suffer.  Here are a few things to think about to effectively market your fitness center.

No Experience Required

Despite what the advertising professionals will tell you marketing a fitness center requires no special skills or education, just the testing and measuring your advertising.  Despite what the ad reps will tell you, there isn’t is perfect answer for a particular market in every instance.  Some markets radio will be better while other markets will see a better return with online.  The key factor is testing all of them and finding out which works the best.  How do you know?  Just ask your incoming customers where they heard about you.  Either train your staff to ask every time or put a question on your membership forms.  Very easy and simple to implement but very few fitness centers do it.   If you don’t know the what’s working with your marketing you could be wasting hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

When Starting a Gym, Where Are Your Customer’s Going to Come From?

When you are estimating how many customers you can realistically project, you will have a target market.  There are many options to consider when determining your target market. For example, you may decide to target a broad audience by offering a variety of disciplines from weight training, to cardiac work-outs and group classes. Or you may want to focus on a particular niche such as women-only gyms or discipline-specific fitness centers such as a pilates or yoga-based facility. To help you determine how you can capitalize on an underserved or potential market, step back and look at what the competition is doing and take the time to analyze local demographics. Identify your opportunity and define your market niche, then build your business around the opportunity – not the other way around.  Next find how many of these people live within a certain distance from your facility.  The market is very open with an estimated 80% of people in the U.S. never have stepped foot inside a gym, so a demographics survey of the area you’re thinking of will be key. For help finding this information with this check out this free demographic site, http://www.freedemographics.com.  Once that’s figured out what you need to look at is the fact that your many of your potential clientele is already working out somewhere.  How are you going to lure them to yours?  Before you open up your gym you should know what is making your place special enough to convince people to come to your place.  The key though is to differentiate what you are offering and focus on a specific demographic.

Be Different, But Not On Price

Most gyms do not differentiate their marketing mix. They tend to focus on price cutting and that is one of the reasons why the market is very competitive and difficult to enter since the profits.  If you want to make some money with a fitness center, don’t make your major selling point as being the cheapest as that is very easy for your established competition to follow.  Gauge your pricing on the completion in the area but be sure not to charge to little. Many new businesses make this mistake and is typically a recipe for disaster as well as your competition may not have any debt so they can better afford to match your price and still be profitable.  Find an untapped niche that wants what you are offering and you can charge more for it.

Can You Sell?

With the large turnover in customers in a fitness center, being successful is largely a numbers game. Figuring out how many prospects that have to come through the door to offset the number that are leaving is an important number to find.  It’s different in every market and niche so be sure to keep a close eye on it so you can adjust your marketing budget.

Make sure you have good people in the front that can sell memberships. Many gym owners find out they don’t have what it takes to become a true salesperson.  It’s not a skill that people are born with (even though some people are better at it than others) but there is no excuse here if you want to be a successful gym owner.  If you can’t close the sale, get people who can or take some classes.  Unless your gym caters to knuckledraggers and beach bunnies then you are focusing on the average joe who is wanting to “get in shape”.  Make sure your gym is no intimidating and makes them feel comfortable, which in turn makes it easy for them to sign up.

Remember there is no such thing as having a gym that just grows by itself. It’s a constant effort.

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