Health club marketing isn’t the same as for gyms and fitness studios. It’s similar, but marketing a health club requires a slightly different approach to be successful. So, if you want to get more members to your club or improve retention, this guide is for you.
In this article – we outline 7 proven health club marketing strategies and ideas for boosting membership sales and retention.
- Define your target audience
- Website marketing
- Google Ads
- Referral campaigns
- Social media
- Local partnerships
- Email marketing
- More marketing resources
Let’s explore each of these health club marketing ideas and strategies in more detail…
We’re a specialist fitness marketing agency with 15+ years of industry experience, so we know first-hand what works (and what doesn’t!). We’ve helped gyms, fitness studios, and personal trainers to successfully promote their businesses, so our digital marketing strategies are tried and tested.Fitness Marketing Fundamentals [Online Course]
Define your health club’s target audience
The most important marketing strategy for any health club is to first define your target audience. Who is your ideal client or club member?
Health clubs tend have more facilities than a typical gym or fitness centre, so membership fees are are often more expensive. This means your target audience will be slightly different from the standard gyms in your local area.
You’ll be looking to appeal to people who will value the range of facilities you offer and have the disposable income to pay for a membership.
Think about their demographics, headspace, and hangouts…
- Demographics – includes considerations like gender, age, income, and location.
- Headspace – what do they think and feel when it comes to health and fitness (including worries and barriers to exercise).
- Hangouts – where are they likely to hang out, either online or in person (e.g. social media platforms they use, websites or magazines they read, where they eat, drink or shop in your local area).
By using this framework to define your health club’s target market, you’ll be able to create messaging that appeals to them and know which marketing channels to use. Completing this step means every other marketing activity you do will be more effective, because it’ll be targeted at people who are a perfect fit for your health club offering.
Health club referral campaigns
Happy customers are your best source of new members. They’ll generate positive word of mouth and have networks of people similar to them. So, tap into your existing membership base by running referral campaigns.
- Incentivise your current health club members to recommend your facility to a friend or family member.
- Provide them with one complimentary pass per month so they can bring a non-member along.
- Running fitness challenges that encourage members to workout with a friend.
Running health club referral campaigns is a highly effective marketing tactic when approached correctly. The key is to have a system for collecting contact info for these referrals so that your sales team can follow up with them afterwards. Providing an email address and phone number should be a requirement of any referral so that you’re able to promote your club memberships to them.
50 Fitness Marketing Templates
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When people are researching health clubs to join, the first thing they’ll do is look online. So it’s vital that your club has an engaging and persuasive website that makes people want to sign up immediately!
Your health club website needs should have lots of professional photos of your facilities – the pool, tennis courts, juice bar, everything. It needs to appeal to people and demonstrate why it’s worth paying the membership. Your site should showcase the experience that your club provides, in addition to the features.
It should also make it really easy for people to take the next step, whether that’s signing up for a membership online, booking a tour, or getting a trial pass. Ensure that there’s a lead generation button (like ‘join online’ or ‘free trial’) in your header menu that’s visible on every page.
Running Google Ads is one of the most effective marketing strategies for health clubs. It allows you to target people who are actively searching for gym memberships or other facilities that you provide. You can run ads that target keywords like ‘sauna near me’, ‘tennis club’, ‘spa day’, or anything else that’s related to your offering.
The beauty of these digital ads is that they generate warm leads. Your adverts are shown to people who’ve typed your preferred search phrase into Google. So, you know they’re looking for the services you have to offer – all you need to do is convert them.
You might also like… Effective Advertising Ideas For Fitness & Health Clubs.
This makes them much more effective than social media advertising, which tends to interrupt people rather than target those who are actively interested.
Another benefits of search engine advertising is it’s pay-per-click so you’re only charged when people tap your advert to learn more. This means it can be a lot more cost-effective than other health club marketing strategies.Fitness Marketing Fundamentals [Online Course]
Social media marketing is a great brand awareness and retention tool for health clubs. It’s a space where you can showcase your facilities, post aspirational content (especially on Instagram), and build an engaged community. All those beautiful photos that you created for your website can be reused here in the form of posts, carousels, and Stories.
You can certainly generate membership leads by including a lead gen link in your bio and posting about membership offers. But it’s really the brand awareness and retention aspects that perform the best for health club businesses.
Creating a social media strategy that drives comments and shares will help your content get seen by more people and extend the reach of your brand. Building an engaged community where your members can interact will aid loyalty and retention too.
Here are some detailed social media marketing resources for health clubs…
- Social media content ideas for fitness clubs
- Instagram post ideas for health clubs
- Instagram Stories for gyms & fitness clubs
- Facebook marketing ideas for gyms
- TikTok marketing for fitness brands
Forging local partnerships is a highly effective (but often overlooked) health club marketing strategy. Collaborating with other businesses is a fantastic way to generate quality leads and sell more memberships.
Some of the best ways that health clubs do this is to…
- Approach local businesses with a corporate membership offer, where they receive a discounted price in return for purchasing a certain minimum volume.
- Identify businesses where your target market already spend time (such as beauticians, independent delis, or health food cafes) and set up a referral deal.
- Collaborate with these businesses on health events or fitness workshops that generate leads for your club.
Leveraging the relationships that existing businesses have with their customers and staff is a great way to grow your health club.
Fitness Marketing Ideas Mini-Guide
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Email marketing for health clubs
Email marketing is another strategy that health clubs often neglect, but is actually really effective. If Life Time Fitness can make $600,000 from emails then maybe your club can too…
A solid email strategy for fitness businesses typically consists of three strands…
- Welcome emails – that onboard new members and minimise membership cancellations.
- Promotional emails – designed to drive membership sales, upsells, and referrals.
- Newsletters – that provide educational and entertaining content which aids retention and upsells.
By combining these three elements in your email approach, you can generate a steady flow of new sign-ups while also keeping existing members loyal.
Health Club Marketing Resources
Now you’re armed with plenty of health club marketing ideas to help you sell more memberships and boost retention too. If you’d like more support with your marketing, then we have training and done-for-you resources that can help…
Our Fitness Marketing Fundamentals course covers the key elements of marketing, from strategy to social media, and advertising to email. It includes everything a fitness business needs to know to promote itself successfully.Fitness Marketing Fundamentals [Online Course]
Our ready-made marketing templates help you to plan and organise your promotional activities so that you generate more revenue. You’ll get 50+ templates covering social media, content marketing, advertising, and more. Templates make it quicker, cheaper, and easier to promote your fitness business and keep customers loyal.50 Fitness Marketing Templates
Or you can learn more about our bespoke consulting and fitness marketing services here.