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4 Easy Ways to Market Your Gym: Our Simple and Effective Marketing Strategy

Hilary Achauer

Did you open your gym because you have a passion for fitness and changing lives or because you love sending emails?

I don’t know your life, but I’m willing to bet it’s the first reason.

Even if you hate it, marketing is essential for the health of your business. You can’t change lives if people don’t know you exist! In today’s competitive market, gyms need to have a marketing strategy and a system in place to make sure that strategy is implemented.

If the idea of marketing fills you with anxiety we can help!

An effective marketing strategy doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Marketing your gym does require time and organization, but it doesn’t have to take over your life. The key is to automate as much as possible, and to focus your energy where it counts.

If you’re starting from scratch -- or if your marketing efforts are unfocused and disorganized -- you need to start with the basics.

In this simple marketing strategy example, we’re giving you 4 easy ways to market your gym, and action items with specific advice on how to implement each one.  

Let’s get started!

Marketing Strategy Example

1. Clean up your virtual storefront

If you set up your website when you opened your doors and haven’t touched it since, it’s time to take a second look and think about what people see on their first visit.

Many gyms think the more options the better, so new visitors are faced with choosing from yoga, pilates, CrossFit, boot camp, boot camp lite, sweat class, mobility course, and a million other programs. Options for existing members are great, but when faced with this many choices most new leads get overwhelmed and leave.  

You know your gym best -- figure out one way for a new lead to make their first visit to your gym and roll with it! Too many options will have a horrible effect on your conversion rate. Make the membership options clear and simple as well. State in simple terms what you offer, and then direct people to take one simple action to make direct contact with you.

2. #NoLeadLeftBehind™

Ok, so you’ve completed Marketing Strategy Task #1. You eliminated any confusion and your prospective clients are happily jumping on your call to action. They are ready to go and want to meet.

Then they wait … and wait … and wait … for an email from you.

You finally sit down at the computer at 11:00 pm. You’ve coached all day and you’re exhausted. Ugh. Now it’s time to send your prospective clients an email.

This is not ideal!

You want to follow up quickly, but you can’t spend your day writing emails. We have a solution!

Use technology to your advantage (and have a swipe file)

Figure out a scheduling platform to use so prospective clients can immediately pick a time to come in. Some helpful membership management platforms are Mind Body, PushPress, and Zen Planner, which all allow for schedule integrations (you probably already have one of those in your gym). Alternatively, you can use stand-alone scheduling platforms like Acuity Scheduling, which is much faster for your prospective clients -- and really cheap! We use it to power UpLaunch.

If you’re not using an email automation platform or a CRM, a swipe file is a MUST HAVE. A swipe file is a folder on your computer containing pre-drafted emails and guides with commonly sent email responses. Make sure you have a generic (but warm) email saying thank you, that you can’t wait to meet, and most importantly asking if they can come in during a specific time. Don’t leave it open-ended with no deadline or incentive.

Try this: Can you come in tomorrow at 9:00 am?

They may not be able to, but you will get a response and that response will generally have an alternative time. Use the swipe file so you can send emails fast -- and try to get them in sometime before 11:00 pm.

3. Don’t drop the ball -- keep communicating

You’ve done everything right to this point and followed up with your lead as soon as they contacted you. And then ... crickets. You wait, and when you don’t hear back you decide they aren’t interested.

Somebody dropped the ball … and it’s you.

“Hey wait a second,” you might think, “I sent the last email, so the ball was in their court!”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. But don’t worry, all is not lost! It’s on you to keep following up, and to do so you need to use technology again or keep a record of your communications pipeline so you can follow up appropriately.

Try using an automated sequence or keep a tracking document with a schedule to make sure prospective clients receive continuous and consistent emails.

Here is a sample of a three-email lead sequence:

Email 1: Thank you – Reminder of first visit

Email 2: About the gym – Reminder of first visit

Email 3: What can we do to help – Reminder of first visit

If you aren’t ready for UpLaunch-caliber automations yet, make an Excel spreadsheet. Then, when a lead comes in, add them to the spreadsheet, send the first email, and keep referencing back to it each day. This is a great task for an employee! Set up the spreadsheet, make a quick procedure, and get it off your plate.

Want someone else to handle all of this so you can focus on other things? Give UpLaunch a call!

4. You’ve signed them up … now what?

It’s exciting when a new member joins your gym!

When that happens you should take a minute to celebrate and appreciate the fruits of your marketing labor.

However, this doesn’t mean you stop marketing to this person. When someone signs up, don’t hit the brakes and let the training speak for itself -- quite the contrary. It’s time to hit the accelerator and deliver an excellent experience, keep offering targeted communication, and continue letting the new member know you genuinely care about his or her success.

Marketing to current members is a bit different than communicating with leads. You now know quite a bit about this person, and everyone on your team needs to know about your clients’ training restrictions, pain points, the number of kids they have, their ages, etc. Have a spreadsheet, use Google Drive, or add it to the client record in UpLaunch.

When a client starts training, and information is recorded, send out a team email blast: from this point forward, the client must be addressed by their first name.

You may not want to hear this, but there is NEVER a time when it’s okay to stop nurturing a client relationship.

If you want to stay in business, increase retention rates and increase your ARM  (Average Revenue per Member). If you’re after longevity, you have to stop thinking that the most important communication is getting a new client to sign up at your gym.

The first few months of their membership is a delicate time. You need to keep reaching out and making sure the new member feels connected and motivated.

Knowing the needs and feelings of your new clients and making sure they are addressed is one of your best opportunities to build a strong relationship and ensure they remain a client for life.

A new client should leave your gym each day feeling full of answers, high on confidence, and with a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

Although some words of encouragement in the gym are essential, it’s equally important to make sure they receive some type of consistent outreach when they AREN’T at the gym. Remember that swipe file that we talked about? The one where we pre-drafted commonly sent emails? Yep, that’s the one.

Creating a simple email sequence to send out to new clients will yield HUGE dividends. Here are some examples to add to your swipe file just to get you started -- if you have specific things that are unique to your facility or your culture, make sure to include them!

Email 1: Welcome! Here’s what to expect (common questions, we’re excited to see you, etc)

Email 2: Building a fitness foundation takes time

Email 3: Focus on food: let’s talk nutrition

Email 4: Why workout tracking matters

Alright, guess what time it is? ACTION time!

Bonus time: If you have nutrition coaching, offer it with all packages as an add-on! Let people know you value nutrition from the start.

Implementing these four marketing strategies will transform your business. Already doing one or two of them? Try the other two and see what happens!


The easiest and cheapest way to increase membership … and increase revenue.

The Reactivation Framework will help you to engage former clients, rekindle meaningful relationships with them, and have them asking YOU how they can get started again!

Download our reactivation framework with five easy steps to engage and reactivate former clients!
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