If you want to promote your fitness business, increase brand awareness, or attract more clients, then advertising is a great option.
In this article – we share the best fitness advertising examples, creative ideas, and best practice tips to help make your ad campaigns a success.
Fitness Advertising Tips & Best Practice
Fitness advertising can be a hugely controversial area of marketing. Done correctly it’s an incredibly effective tool for generating leads and increasing brand awareness. But done wrong, it can have a seriously negative impact on your brand.
Some sectors of the fitness industry have a pretty poor reputation when it comes to advertising. Supplement companies and equipment manufacturers, in particular, have received a lot of bad press for their marketing approaches.
So how can you avoid this kind of negativity? How do you ensure that your advertising gets the positive results you want? And how can you do this if you don’t have much experience with advertising?
Here are 5 fitness advertising tips that’ll help you get the best results from your efforts…
- Use ads as part of a sales funnel
- Target a specific audience
- Focus on benefits, not just features
- Maintain your integrity
- Ensure your ads stand out from the noise
Now let’s look at each of these best practice areas in more detail…
#1 – Use ads as part of a sales funnel
Most people think that the objective of fitness advertising is to generate sales. And that’s completely logical right?
Except that people will rarely see an advert and immediately be compelled to purchase. It does happen, but usually for low-value items like groceries and toiletries.
Higher value items like fitness programs and gym memberships tend to require more consideration. This means that the sales process is longer, since people need to weigh up the decision to purchase in more depth.
The most common fitness advertising mistake we see is an attempt to shortcut this process. Companies drive cold leads directly to a checkout, when they really require warming up before they’ll purchase.
They need to get to know, like, and trust you before they’ll buy. They may need some education around your offering and why they need it (especially if it’s a brand new concept).
Top tip ⇒ For higher-ticket items, use adverts to drive leads to a free opt-in, instead of a checkout page. Then use an email series to generate more awareness, interest, desire, and finally action (also known as the AIDA principle). Although the process takes longer, your conversion rate will be much higher in the end.
#2 – Target a Specific Audience
Another common advertising mistake we see is not targeting a specific audience. Companies take a blanket approach and try to appeal to the mass market, but not everyone is going to be interested in your offering.
So unless you have a national presence, don’t advertise in national publications. That means no airline magazines or country-wide newspapers.
Even advertising in local newspapers is questionable, since only a small proportion of the readership will be interested in health and fitness.
Instead target publications that your ideal client is likely to read. Not only will it be more cost effective, but you’ll get much higher quality leads too.
Top tip ⇒ Define your ‘ideal client’ and then select advertising channels that allow you to target them. Google AdWords enables you to target specific search phrases. Facebook allows you to pinpoint people based on their demographics and interests. So take full advantage of the targeting tools available.
#3 – Focus On Benefits, Not Just Features
Many companies focus on ‘features’ in their advertising. They list all the tangible things that a customer will get, in an effort to demonstrate good value. But features don’t tend to inspire people – benefits do.
Benefits address why the customer should care about the features. They demonstrate what’s in it for the customer – why should they care? Why should they value the features you’re offering?
People aren’t generally excited by the idea of ‘training plans’. But they are inspired by the idea of feeling strong, sexy, and confident on their summer holidays. So focus your messaging on benefits to get the best fitness advertising results.
Top tip ⇒ Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask yourself ‘so what’? So what if I get a 6 week training program? So what if I lose weight? Keep asking yourself this question until you’ve identified the true benefit of your product or service. Then communicate this in your advertising.
#4 – Don’t Sacrifice Integrity For Sales
This is a mistake we see all the time in fitness advertising. From late night infomercials to magazine ads, fitness companies are continually making bold claims about the effectiveness of their products that don’t hold up to scrutiny.
It’s a shortsighted approach, since people who purchase are soon disappointed, which leads to negative PR and a decline in sales.
Another way that this mistake plays out is through fear-based marketing. Companies use messages that prey on people’s insecurities, and make them feel they’ll never be good enough unless they buy X product to ‘fix’ themselves.
This negative approach to fitness advertising can have implications that go way beyond business, destroying people’s confidence, body image, and perceptions of what ‘healthy’ looks like.
“Fitness marketing should inspire people, not prey on their insecurities.”
The most annoying thing about this mistake is that it damages the reputation of the fitness industry as a whole. Every decent trainer, honest fitness studio, and genuinely effective product gets tarred with the same negative brush as the crappy ones.
Avoid It By ⇒ Holding yourself to a higher standard of integrity than the average fitness brand. Stick to claims that are scientifically accurate to ensure that your customers don’t feel mislead or disappointed. Make an advert that you’d be proud to show to your Grandma!
#5 – Go The Extra Mile To Stand Out
People are busy and bombarded by ads from all angles. So whether it’s billboards, magazine ads, or internet pop-ups, people have become immune to interruptive advertising.
Think about your own experiences… when was the last time you actually paid close attention to an advert?
This shift in people’s attention means that you need to work even harder to stand out. It’s not enough to place a full page advert in a magazine and expect people to read it – you need to find a way to differentiate yourself from the noise.
Top tip ⇒ Select your position and design carefully. Adverts tend to get lost when they’re surrounded by other adverts, such as in a magazine. So choose a position with no competition, like the back cover. You can take this a step further by choosing an arena where there’s little competition, such as an up-and-coming social media platform. Then create an eye-catching design that jumps out and grabs people’s attention. Bright colours, bold fonts, and surprising images can all help you achieve this.
Top Fitness Ad Examples
Now let’s look at some fitness advertisement examples to see how the leading health and gym companies approach things…
Basic Fitness Ad
This fitness ad template is a good starting point as it incorporates most of the key elements. It has a clear headline, body copy, call to action (call us), and contact details. Colour blocks have been used to help distinguish each section and make it stand out from surrounding adverts.
Anytime Fitness Ad
This Anytime Fitness ad has a clear headline, call to action (try 7 days free), and contact details. The central image is unexpected which is likely to catch people’s attention and make them look twice. The minimal amount of text (no sub-header or body copy) means that it’s easy to read at a glance.
Apple Fitness+ Ad
This Apple fitness ad takes a completely different approach. It doesn’t include product info, close-up photos, or a call-to-action. Instead, it features a group of diverse people in a range of different activewear so that there’s someone who will resonate with everyone, whatever their background or sporting interests.
Arguably, this type of minimalist ad is something that only a huge brand like Apple could get away with. After all, they already have a huge level of public awareness.
But perhaps their advertising objective was awareness rather than encouraging immediate action. In which case, the ad doesn’t need contact info or product details.
This Equinox example doesn’t feature much text either. It features a clear headline, but no body copy or contact details.
It’s designed to increase brand awareness rather than generate leads directly, so doesn’t include any superfluous info. If your brand is as well-known as Equinox then you can get away with it, but it probably wouldn’t be effective for smaller brands.
Gold’s Gym Ad
This Gold’s Gym advertisement example showcases another novel approach. It doesn’t feature a single element you’d expect on an advert – not even a headline. There’s no call to action or contact info. It’s another branding piece that Gold’s Gym is renowned for, but would need some tweaking to be suitable for general gym use.
Effective Fitness Advertising – Summary
Using these tips and examples will help make your ad campaigns more successful and generate better business results.
Warming up your prospects, targeting your specific audience, and focusing on benefits, will lead to higher conversion rates. Maintaining integrity will establish your credibility, and help you avoid negative press. And going the extra mile to stand out will ensure that your efforts aren’t accidentally ignored.