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7 Steps to Creating a Fitness Marketing Strategy for The Digital Age

Posted by Eamonn Curley on 13 September, 2018

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We have broken down the complex world of modern digital marketing into 7 easy steps to get you started crafting your own marketing strategy for your fitness business.

Do you know what the very basic idea behind marketing is?

It’s getting the attention of someone for long enough to deliver them a message that will compel them to buy what you are selling.

Simple, right?

The following guide is not meant to make you a digital marketing guru, but it is meant to lay out clearly the steps in creating an effective digital marketing strategy for your fitness studio.

Read it, put it into practice, and start growing your memberships now. Included in this piece is some fantastic advice from some of our Glofox customers who have executed these steps successfully.

 

Step 1: Identify Who You Are

The first step starts with defining something that is very much easier said than done.

Who are you?

There are two ways to approach this.

  • Look at who you are internally
  • Provide a solution to a problem externally

James Murphy of Zest Fitness, found what he was looking for internally.

And it was very simple. It was personality.

James placed his personality and that of his staff at the forefront of his brand. “People are going to buy based on personality”, he explains. “You don’t want to sell the product, you want to sell yourself.”

So talk to your customers to find out how they view you and the relationship you have. Use this as a starting point to building the identity of your fitness studio.

For Stephen Weinmann of BikeRowSki, figuring out who he was as a fitness studio came from a problem he felt he could solve within the fitness industry.

Stephen saw a gap in the market and felt that “the fitness industry has become overly complicated in recent years” and that people were looking for a simpler fitness solution that delivered results.

He emphasized the creation of an “I can” ethos for BikeRowSki whereby the simplicity of the fitness model encourages the member to believe they can achieve results.

Overall, the goal is to develop something that is authentic and delivers a consistent tone of voice. Most importantly it needs to define the purpose, the value and the beliefs of your business. Let’s take a look at the example of BikeRowSki below:

 

BikeRowSki Brand Identity

 

Step 2: Identify Your Customer

Having a clearly defined target market is hugely important for a fitness studio in the boutique space. The classes you teach will not be for everyone and settling on a defined demographic will help you form the type of messaging you want to communicate through your marketing.

Remember that, as a boutique fitness studio, you need to spend your marketing budget wisely to maximize profits and that means having a well-defined target customer.

There are several different ways that you can identify your ideal customer and both James from Zest Fitness and Adriana Espinosa of the Wolf Yoga Company took different approaches to this.

For Adriana, it came back to something she was looking for herself when she arrived in Belgrade, Serbia.

“When I moved to Belgrade, I was looking for something like this that didn’t exist. I was meeting other people, who were foreigners in the city and they were looking for a similar community to what I was searching for.”

Adriana’s conversations about this shared need among the city's expat community led to the formation of both her business and her target market at the same time.

Meanwhile, in Dublin, James chose his target market based on two main factors. Firstly, his original location was in an area in the city where many large businesses were located. The majority of his target market is made up of those who work close by.

Secondly he wanted to target the type of customer who valued a more personalized fitness experience, and had the level of income required to pay for it.

He explains: “We were looking for the kind of person who values their privacy and can pay a bit more for high-end training.”

Essential to both these is clarity and focus in how you define who you want to become a member of your fitness studio.

To help identify your target customer, begin with a general idea of who you want target and then break it down into

  • Demographics: The statistical characteristics of your ideal customer
  • Psychographics: The personal characteristics of your customer.

 Take a look below at the typical demographic and psychographic factors you should be considering:

 

 

 IDEAL CUSTOMER

 

Step 3: Do Your Research

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After you have identified what you are about and what your target market is, the next step is to begin researching what areas of digital marketing will work for your business and the customer you are trying to attract.

And when we say research we don’t mean just reading. You need to be ‘doing’ as well.

Adriana sums this up with one important piece of advice: “Be on the field, experiment with what works and what doesn’t, see what people are responding to and what they are not.”

Another important aspect of the research process is looking to brands on social media that you admire and who do marketing that works. “Look up brands and business that you like and see what they have done.” says Adriana. “Spend a lot of time on social media and read plenty of articles on digital and social media marketing to get ideas.”

And the best place to start this research is with two huge resources that are 100% free.

Google and Youtube.

Get searching, get learning, and get executing.

Oh, and another thing: This research process is ongoing. Things can change so rapidly in the modern age that you need to keep up with current trends in digital marketing.

As James explains “We do a lot of video now but three years ago it would have been blogs. Five years ago it would have been our website. Everything is constantly changing so you have to keep up with it.”

Here are some great resources to get started with:

Gary Vaynerchuk: Social Media

Neil Patel: Blogging and SEO

Content Marketing Institute: Content Creation

 

Step 4: Know Your Strengths

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What you will find from your research is that you will be hit with numerous pieces of advice on what is the best way of communicating your marketing message.

Someone will advocate writing and blogging.

Others will tell you video is where things are at.

Another expert will tell you podcasting is what you need to go all in on.

And you know what? Do all three if you can!

However, since there are only a certain amount of hours in the day a great way to prioritize what to work on is to find where your strengths lie and base your digital marketing strategy around that.

For Adriana, a Masters in Photography gave her the ideal starting point for her digital strategy. “I understand composition and good photography. With social media, good photography is one the most important factors for getting engagement.”

 

Wolf Yoga Company

 

Whatever method of communication you choose, keep in mind one of the most important factors in content creation.

Give value.

James identifies the value he gives through video as one of the main strengths.

“Each time you are doing something it is really to try and motivate them, to put something in their head to make them want to train, and if they are going to train, to come and train in your gym.

 

Step 5: Get Social

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Regardless of the level you use social media in your personal life, it is about to become the most important weapon in your fitness marketing arsenal!

This is the place where the majority of your customers are spending their time and this is where you need to be grabbing their attention. It is essential that you are regularly publishing content and engaging with your audience or you will become lost among the thousands of others who will.

But which social platform suits your business best?

For a fitness studio the best place to start is Facebook and Instagram.

Not only do they have they enormous reach with 2.2 billion monthly active users on Facebook and 800 million on Instagram, they are perfectly suited to the fitness due to their highly visual nature.

Facebook remains one of the main platforms you can promote your business on social media with the ability to set up a dedicated business page with several different features that you can use to connect with your audience. One of the most effective of these is Facebook Live, a video feature that James uses regularly to broadcast from the Zest Fitness page.

 “I try and do a Facebook Live video every single day” he says before going on to stress one of the most important points about this type of content. “Each time you make a video it is really to try and motivate them. You want to put something in their head that makes them want to train and if they are going to train, to come and train in your gym.”

And, according to James, one of the most important things to keep in mind with fitness related social content is simplicity.

“The other day I did some video content around my training for the week and my diet for the week” he says. “And I really broke down the reasons why I train on certain days, why I recover on certain days, when I shop, when I prep my meals. You really need to take it back to the easiest and most understandable level so your audience can get real value from the content”

Screenshot (20)                  Click through to watch.

 

When it comes to Instagram, strong branding, good visuals and community building are the the key components to any content you produce.

“We wanted a simple brand, a simple logo that was eye-catching”, says Stephen about the visual identity of BikeRowSki

 And with their Instagram he decided to make sure the brand came through in the feed by maintaining a consistent brand color across their posts.

On top of that he created #bikerowski so his followers could share their experiences from taking the class. “People who came to our classes were taking pictures with the logo with the #bikerowski or posting pictures of their heart rate results with the same hashtag so it had the effect of building a community of people through our Instagram.”

As stated in the previous step, do the research and experiment across the different social platforms to find the nuances of each but keep in mind the four factors that are universal no matter what platform you are using:

  • Be Consistent
  • Give Value
  • Think Visually
  • Engage with your audience

 

Step 6: Plan Content In a Way That Works

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One of the most important factors in executing a successful digital marketing strategy is planning out your content.

You can choose to be super organised and lay out a monthly calendar. Or you can plan from week to week if you feel you want to capture what goes on in the day to day life of your fitness studio.

Planning in advance is what Adriana decided to do at first for the Wolf Yoga Company but then found the ever changing nature of her business was more suited to creating content as it happened,

“At the beginning, we did planned posts where we scheduled our posts two weeks in advance.” she says.

But as the the business evolved and new features emerged alongside the increasing number of members, she began to take a more fluid approach to planning her content. “As things began changing and evolving, we modified our content based in the mood, our clientele, and what in general is going on.” she explains.

Planning your content in advance or making it a more on-going process are both options that can work depending on how your fitness studio operates on a day to day basis. The key to both is having the discipline to plan and publish regularly.

Which brings us to the final step:

 

Step 7: Be Consistent and Patient

Two words that sum up what it takes for any marketing strategy to work.

Consistency and Patience are the key and it is something James has learned from experience

“It wasn’t sporadic.” says James. “The content you put out doesn't have to be mind-blowing but it has to be consistent. You need to put stuff out nearly every day and stay relevant in people's minds”

In the beginning it can be tough to put the work in to a marketing strategy and not see results straight away.

And, as James explains, this is all down to keeping the faith and being willing to change things up.

“The reality is it takes time - it's taken me about 5 years to get to this point. Now I can put out Facebook Ads and I know pretty much what will get me certain results, whereas in the beginning it was a lot of trial and error. I was throwing a lot of stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck.”

The problem most business encounter is that if they are not getting the results they want after a certain period of time, they give up.

Think of it this way though.

Would you want your members putting in the effort and giving up after a couple weeks because they weren’t seeing immediate results?

Then you shouldn’t with this.

It takes work and time, but the results will come if you stick at it in the long term!

 

A huge thanks to our customers who took the time to contribute to this article:

  • James Murphy, Owner of Zest Fitness. Find them here
  • Adriana Espinosa, Owner of the Wolf Yoga Company. Find them here
  • Stephen Weinmann, Owner of BikeRowSki. Find them here

 

 

Topics: Business Management, Marketing & Social, Starting a Fitness Business