Health club marketing used to consist of newspaper ads and handing out flyers. Then digital channels like social media, email, and pay-per-click advertising became the norm. But they’re being replaced by the next big trend… content marketing.
You’ve probably heard the term and might have dabbled already, but most people aren’t yet utilising it fully. So in this guide, we’ll walk you through exactly what it is, and how to use it to attract and engage new members.
A Fresh Approach To Health Club Marketing
Whilst boutique studios have been using content marketing for years, traditional health clubs have been slower to embrace it.
This means that despite not being ‘new’ anymore, content marketing still offers a lot of opportunities for larger clubs to take advantage of.
Content marketing is a great strategy for attracting, engaging, and converting new members. It can help you establish credibility and build authority, whilst also reaching a wider audience. It allows you to target your ideal client with precision, build rapport, and gather their contact details for follow up. Best of all, it’s low cost (or free in many cases) so your return on investment is likely to be high.
“Content marketing is the art of creating, curating, and distributing valuable content, combined with the science of measuring its impact on awareness, lead generation, and customer acquisition.”
Traditional health club marketing companies promote products or services. Their approach focuses on communicating features and benefits in a persuasive way so that people want to buy what you’re offering. This is a great start but it’s not enough in the competitive world of fitness. Content marketing takes this several steps further and is about providing value so that you become the ‘go-to’ brand for information in your niche. This establishes you as a credible industry leader and is much more powerful than traditional health club advertising.
Modern health club marketing campaigns can provide value in the form of blog posts, instructional videos, infographics, or any number of other formats. But however you communicate it, your content must be valuable. This means it should either be entertaining (funny, interesting, a good story) or educational (helpful, practical, answering questions).
Using Content Marketing To Attract, Engage & Convert New Members
Content marketing can help you attract new leads, engage with them to build a relationship, and then convert them into paying members. These 3 stages are at the core of the health club marketing process, but most gyms rush straight from ‘attract’ to ‘convert’. It might seem like a quicker shortcut, but it also results in a much lower conversion rate and is less effective overall…
ATTRACT ⇒ Engage ⇒ Convert
Valuable content can attract new leads in many ways. Someone might search for a phrase and find your blog article on Google. A video you create can get shared on Facebook and seen by an infinite number of new people. They may type an exercise into Pinterest and then see your ‘how-to’ infographic. By creating truly valuable content, you’ll rank higher on Google, be shared across social media more often, and reach new people.
Attract ⇒ ENGAGE ⇒ Convert
Once you’ve attracted new people to your content, use it to engage with them. People buy from businesses they know, like, and trust, so this is where engagement plays a big role. The very fact that your content is valuable and helpful will help establish trust. It’ll position you as a credible authority on your chosen topic. You can also mix in other health club marketing ideas that help people get to know and like you. Talk about your values, the backstories of your team members, or why you started the business. Then encourage comments to further develop a relationship.
Attract ⇒ Engage ⇒ CONVERT
Once readers are convinced by your free content, it’s considerably easier to convert them into members. People are much more likely to sign up if they already trust you and know that you provide value. They’ll often think “if they’re giving this away for free, imagine how good their paid service must be”. So include ‘lead magnets’ or ‘content upgrades’ to capture people’s contact info. Aim for content that solves their problem immediately and is super-high quality, so that they’ll be willing to hand over an email address or phone number in return.
Incorporating Content Into Your Health Club Marketing Strategy
So, we’ve covered how content marketing works and why it’s beneficial to your business. The next step is to incorporate it into your existing health club marketing strategies. The good news is that you don’t need to completely overhaul your marketing approach. Content marketing is just another strategy that you can add to your mix. Here are 5 simple steps for incorporating it…
Step 1 -Define Your Objectives & Target Audience
As with all health club marketing campaigns, the first step is to define your objectives and target audience. The content you produce should be relevant to them, so it’s important to be clear about it up front. If you want to attract older adults, then focus on topics of interest to them (like maintaining flexibility and balance, or staying nourished on a smaller appetite).
Content marketing is low cost but highly targeted when done correctly. For example, offering broad nutrition tips isn’t very targeted, since it’ll appeal to anyone with an interest in health. But offering nutritional advice specifically for people training for an Ironman event is MUCH more targeted – so try to narrow it down as much as possible.
Step 2 – Choose A Topic
We recommend focusing on a topic that your audience wants to hear about (as opposed to one you want to talk about). There are lots of ways to figure out what they’re interested in, such as…
- FAQs – What do you often get asked or emailed about? What do people comment on your existing blog or social media posts?
- Forums – What questions do people ask on sites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, or Reddit?
- BuzzSumo – What kind of topics are popular on your competitor’s platforms? Use BuzzSumo to find out… we reckon you can do even better than theirs!
- Google Keyword Planner – What are people searching for in Google? Use their Keyword Planner to look for common search phrases, and try different combinations of your topic plus ‘how’, ‘why’, or ‘where’ questions.
- Quick Polls & Surveys – Ask your social media following or email list what they’d like to learn more about, or what they’re finding challenging.
Step 3 – Choose A Format
Once you’ve picked a topic, then decide which format you want to publish it in. There are loads of different options to choose from; written blog posts, online courses, podcasts, SlideShare presentations, videos, ebooks, webinars, social media posts, infographics, step-by-step guides, and so many more.
Think about the best format for communicating your message, how your audience is likely to consume content and your own preferences for creation. There’s no point in starting a blog if you hate writing, as you won’t publish content consistently.
There are some topics that lend themselves better to visual explanations, so might be best talked about using video or graphics. Whereas others can be explained clearly using audio or written formats, so it’ll depend on your own specific area of focus.
Then create your content in the best format, ensuring it’s useful, credible, and easy to read. The most valuable content is easily related to real life and tackles a specific issue.
Step 4 – Brainstorm Appealing Titles
Your title is what’ll first appeal to people, so it needs to be descriptive and intriguing. It should communicate what your content is about, or what the audience will learn from it. But the digital landscape is competitive, so it really needs to stand out too.
One way to do this is to add a ‘hook’ or something that entices the audience. This could be by taking a contrarian approach or being controversial. It might be saying something surprising, overcoming a common objection, or giving them a guarantee. Whatever it is, your title needs to do a good job of appealing to your target audience.
Step 5 – Promote Your Content
Promoting your content is key if you want it to attract new members. We recommend making a checklist of promo actions for every piece of content (e.g. share 3 times on Facebook, once on Instagram, post in specialist forums).
Partnerships are also highly effective yet one of the most under-utilised health club promotion ideas. Why not work with complementary businesses to cross-promote content? Find brands with a similar target audience to you, and agree to promote each other’s content. This will help you reach new people, and expose your audience to even more helpful content. It’s also an effective strategy for promoting events and new membership drives locally.
Health Club Marketing – Using Content To Attract & Engage Members
So now you know how content marketing can benefit your business and the exact steps to incorporating it into your health club marketing strategy…
By creating content that is valuable instead of self-promotional, it’ll get shared more frequently, rank higher in Google, and help you to reach more people. You’ll be able to attract, engage, and convert new leads into paying members, whilst helping them achieve their fitness goals.
Health and fitness marketing can be highly competitive, but content is something that can set you apart and help you get ahead of other clubs in your area.
Got questions about gym or health club marketing? Then use the get in touch tab on the right to ask us directly or learn more about our fitness marketing services here.