If you’re after fitness studio marketing ideas, then it’s worth looking to boutique clubs for inspiration. The growth of this segment has been explosive over the last few years, helped in no small part by smart marketing strategies.
According to IHRSA, boutiques drive $2.45 billion in membership revenue, compared with $1.49 billion for traditional clubs. In the US, 42% of health club members are also boutique studio members, so they’re obviously doing something right…
With this in mind, here are 5 fitness studio marketing lessons that we can all learn from the boutique sector…
Lesson 1 – Focus on being good at one thing
When it comes to fitness studio marketing, people often try to do lots of things at once. But this means resources are spread very thinly, which can lead to poor results.
However boutique studios are known for being good at one thing. They provide high value, specialised experiences that focus on a particular area (such as indoor cycling or HIIT). So consider this approach with your marketing too…
Pick just one marketing activity and dedicate all of your efforts towards it. This might mean selecting one social media channel and focusing on developing an engaged community. Or concentrating on a specific marketing channel, such as a blog or podcast. Instead of juggling multiple platforms and formats, you can direct all of your efforts on just one. This will free up time to create higher quality posts, and more meaningful interactions. This focus on quality will lead to a more engaged audience, who feel connected to your brand.
Lesson 2 – Embrace digital to its full potential
With the rise of digital and on-demand services, people’s expectations have radically shifted. Netflix, Uber, and Amazon have transformed how we purchase services. In the fitness space, brands like Peloton and Aaptiv are shaking up on-demand workouts, and changing how people access exercise.
This shift in digital expectations is something that boutique studios are using to their advantage. Their websites, email sequences, and social media marketing are all well-oiled machines designed to maximise engagement and revenue. Online memberships, class bookings, and cancellations are all standard web functionalities in the boutique world.
So if you’re not using digital marketing to its full potential, then start. It doesn’t need to be overwhelming, or involve a radical shift in strategy. Just pick one thing to focus on at a time – develop an email sales funnel or automate your social media posts. Select the area that’ll have the greatest impact on your business and go from there.
Lesson 3 – Don’t neglect real-world community
This might sound counter-intuitive, but embracing digital doesn’t mean neglecting real-world community. Although they may seem contradictory, the two things aren’t mutually exclusive.
Despite people’s digital expectations, they also like to escape the ever-connected world. We crave real life community and feeling part of a tribe. People may like the convenience that digital services offer, but they still value genuine relationships and interactions.
Boutique studios are renowned for building strong communities. Social bonds boost loyalty and retention too, so try organising events, seminars, and workshops. Create opportunities for members to interact with each other, as well as with staff. Holding informal drinks or dinners after weekend workouts can go a long way to developing a sense of community within your club.
Lesson 4 – Provide personalised experiences
Consumers value unique, personalised experiences. Millennials in particular are driven by the need for tailored and customised products and services. They like their purchases to express their individuality, reflect their unique identity, and align with their values.
In your fitness studio marketing, this may mean tailoring your customer communications. Providing content that’s relevant to your clients’ specific needs and interests can lead to an increase in revenue as well as engagement. As we saw in this fitness email marketing case study, there are lots of ways to personalise email using a simple Mailchimp account.
But it’s not only about offering lots of different options. If you’re worried that adding variables will lead to complications, then don’t start by personalising products or services. Instead, work on making your brand more personable – show more of your human side so that you aren’t seen as a ‘stiff bland’ business. One simple way is to use everyday language instead of formal sentences in your marketing. You may not be offering ‘different’ experiences to each customer, but you’ll be offering one that they can relate to more easily. This will help them see how your brand aligns with their values, so they can make purchasing choices accordingly.
Lesson 5 – Adopt transparent pricing
Authenticity and transparency are key principles of the modern fitness sales process. The traditional sales approach of persuasion and sneakiness went the way of the dinosaurs a long time back. People expect upfront pricing, and get suspicious when it’s not readily available.
So adopt a consistent strategy that encourages purchasing whilst being open and honest. Publish prices on your website so that people can research and compare options for themselves.
If you’ve not taken this approach before then this might sound a bit daunting. However it’ll help qualify inquiries so that you (or your sales team) can avoid time-wasters.
⇒ If you’re unsure how to approach pricing, then check out this article on personal training pricing strategy as the principles are all relevant to fitness studios too.
Fitness Studio Marketing – 5 Lessons From The Boutique Sector
Boutiques prove that members are willing to pay more for a high quality experience. It’s not just about what happens in the studio though… It extends from their first online interaction with you, to the induction and beyond.
By learning from the boutique sector you can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your fitness studio marketing. So whether you want to increase membership revenue, or improve loyalty and retention, these lessons can help.
⇒ If you’d like more fitness marketing ideas then download our free ebook here.