Get inspired with winning gym marketing ideas that will set you up for success. Stand out from the crowd. Attract members. And keep them coming back for longer with the right marketing mix. Find out how you can use marketing to grow your gym business in this idea-packed article.
Does marketing ever feel like a mystery? Many gym owners and operators struggle with gym marketing. Marketing for a gym can take up a load of time and cost a load of money.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Armed with the right tools, knowledge, and ideas, marketing will help you consistently sign up new members. And keep existing ones coming back too.
We know you’re busy running a gym business. And that’s why we’re here to help make promoting your business easier.
This article is jam-packed with 33 gym marketing ideas to help you grow your business and boost profitability. It even includes examples from gyms and fitness clubs across the UK to bring these ideas to life.
Let’s get stuck in!
Great gym marketing starts with the right software.
What is gym marketing?
Gym marketing is a vital part of success for gyms and fitness clubs. It’ll help you stand out and win new members. And build a lasting connection with existing members to keep them coming back for longer.
Marketing for a gym in the UK is all about getting the right message to the right person at the right time. It’s anything you do to promote and sell memberships and other services you offer.
It starts with building a gym marketing strategy and plan that will help you achieve your business goals. There are several types of marketing gym businesses can use, including:
- SMS / text message
- Social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, TikTok)
- Paid social advertising
- Website & app
- Search engine
- Paid search engine advertising
- Influencer and co-marketing partnerships
What are the 4 Ps of marketing for gyms?
The 4 Ps of marketing for gyms are product, price, place, and promotion. They’re an example of a marketing mix. Or, in other words, the combined tools and approaches used to reach your goals.
Build an understanding of the 4 Ps of marketing. And you’ll find it easier to create a successful and competitive marketing strategy.
“We know that marketing can be daunting for gym owners and operators. There’s so much you can do and that makes it hard to know where to start.
Looking at your business and your membership base. And then reviewing the 4 Ps framework is an ideal way to start building out a marketing strategy.
Always keep your members in mind. Get the fundamentals right like branding, your website, social media, and email marketing. Create engaging content with the right messaging to speak to common interests and pain points.”Jo Walker, Head of Marketing UKI, Xplor
Here’s a simple definition of each term that’ll help you pick the right gym marketing mix for your business:
What are you offering? For a gym or fitness club, this is usually your membership packages, retail products, and any services. Product includes your equipment, changing rooms, and all other facilities. A strong ‘product’ helps set you apart from competitors.
How much do you charge for the ‘product’ or ‘products’ you offer? Your gym pricing strategy impacts how prospects and members view your business. It should help you achieve sales and profitability.
Where do you promote your ‘product’ or ‘products’? Where will you find prospects who may want to join a gym? You need to show up in the right places to create brand awareness and attract new joiners.
How do prospects find out about your club? What promotional activities do you use to reach prospects and members? For example, you could use advertising, sales promotions, or direct marketing.
Create a winning marketing strategyTip
Find out how to create a marketing strategy and plan for your business that helps you achieve your goals.Read more
33 winning gym marketing ideas
Running a gym is hard work. And we know that you’re often too busy to spend a load of time researching gym marketing campaign ideas.
So, we’ve created an evergreen list of 33 gym marketing ideas, tactics, and tips that work for businesses like yours.
There’s a reason why we’ve put branding first in this list! Why? Gym branding is the most effective way to stand out in the competitive UK fitness market.
A strong brand will make it easier to achieve success with other gym marketing campaigns. Your brand will help you control almost every aspect of your member experience. So, every interaction is consistent and considered.
Creating a strong brand
Your brand should reflect your values, qualities, and benefits as a business.
- Understand why people buy things – appeal to their essential needs
- Know how people by things – take your gymgoers on a journey to identify a want and show how your business can fulfil it
- Align your brand around this!
As well as being embodied in your mission and value statements, other aspects of your brand include:
- Tone of voice and words
- Colours used
- Decoration and vibe of your facilities
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Coach Gyms
With 3 locations across the UK, Coach Gyms is a perfect example of powerful branding in action. Redefining affordable luxury, Coach has carefully crafted a distinct brand.
They are successful in capturing the high end feel of a boutique fitness brand. This high quality is reflected throughout the gymgoer experience. Every touchpoint is carefully considered.
2. Email gym marketing
Gym email marketing is a no brainer for fitness clubs. This gym marketing idea gives you straight access to people who’ve chosen to hear from you. And even better, you’re in charge of this channel.
99% of email users check their inbox every day. So, if you send an email to promote your gym, it’s highly likely your audience will see it fast.
What are the biggest tips for success with email marketing in 2024? Let’s take a look!
Choose a targeted approach
To have the greatest impact with email, you need to make sure your recipients relate to your emails. So, taking a targeted approach is a must.
A simple starting segmentation is to look at journey stage. Is someone a prospect, member, former member, etc.?
Next, look at more detailed segmentations based on demographics, interests, and needs.
Use your gym marketing software to create segmented target lists for email campaigns. Segment by age, gender, interests, visit patterns, membership types and more.
Make sure you pay careful attention to communication preferences. Your gym management software should make this easy with all your data in one place and always up to date.
Supercharge your targeted approach to email marketing by using personalisation. Your members expect a more personalised experience than ever before.
Want to really live up to member expectations for personalisation? Find ways to use the data available in your gym management software to show you understand their needs and expectations.
Find ways to meaningfully personalise your marketing emails. So, you show you’re anticipating what a member needs and making a helpful suggestion.
Send at the right time
When you send your gym email marketing campaigns matters. If you can get it right, you’ll increase open and read rates of your emails.
In the UK, an email sent at 9am is most likely to be opened, according to research from Litmus. Over 14% of all email opens happen between 9am and 11am. So, make sure your emails are ready and waiting to be read during these hours.
Use your gym marketing software to schedule email campaign sends for around 9am. You’ll stand the greatest chance of success.
Write an attention-grabbing subject line
A member’s inbox can be a busy place. Writing a stand out subject line for each email is essential to getting their attention. And persuading them to open.
Here are some email subject line tips:
- Personalisation – personalising your subject line to the individual member helps you stand out and increase open rates
- Keep it concise – most of your members will read their emails on a mobile. And that means subject lines are often cropped. Aim for 20 characters to avoid cropping and encourage opens
- Use emojis – choosing to use an emoji as the first character in your subject line grabs attention to help you stand out. Be thoughtful in which emoji you pick
- Inject humour – use of appropriate humour in your subject line can help you stand out. Make sure it fits with your gym marketing campaign and your brand
- Capitalise your first word – this is another way to stand out. Careful capitalisation of the first word in your subject line can increase your open rate
3. SMS / text messaging
Want another way of reaching people directly, who’ve chosen to hear from you, via a marketing channel that you own? Yes?! Look no further. SMS or text messaging is a powerful method of marketing for a gym.
In the UK, most people will check a text message within 3 minutes of receiving it. And 64% of UK consumers say businesses should use SMS marketing more. So, if you can use text message marketing you’ll stand out.
Almost everyone opens text messages. Plus, it’s not just open rates that are sky high. Promotional texts have an average click through rate of 36%. And that’s 16x higher than the average email click through rate of 2.25%.
Here are some top tips for successfully marketing your gym using text message marketing:
Keep it relevant & use this channel sparingly
With a high open rate comes a greater chance of a member unsubscribing.
65% of consumers have unsubscribed from a marketing text from a business. The top reasons for unsubscribing were finding the messages spammy and receiving too many messages.
Think carefully before using SMS marketing. Use segmentation to make sure you keep messages relevant to each individual member. And use SMS only for the most important campaigns, avoid sending these too regularly.
Get to the point fast
The standard text message length is 160 characters. And for marketing SMS messages, you will need to include details of how to opt out. So, keep your messages short and sweet. Link to landing pages on your website and app with more details.
Be mindful of when you send
Your members are much more likely to have alerts set up on their phone for text messages than email. That’s one of the reasons why open rates can be so high. But it does mean that SMS messaging can be more intrusive. So, choose your timing carefully.
There are quiet hours that you must adhere to for SMS marketing. That means you can’t send SMS marketing messages after 8pm or before 9am.
No one wants to be woken up at 1am by a text from their gym! In general, late morning to early afternoon tends to be the best time to send marketing text messages.
Your gym marketing software should make it simple to send the right text message, to the right person, at the right time.
4. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
So, with around 93% of UK internet searches coming from Google, search is an important part of marketing for a gym UK. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of making sure your website can be easily found.
SEO is all about optimising your website’s technical set up, the relevance of your content, and building links. So, you show up when prospects and members search for relevant and popular terms or queries.
The good news is that SEO is surprisingly simple for gyms and fitness clubs. Get the basics right and you’ll be on the way to SEO success!
Here are our top tips to make the most of SEO to grow your gym business:
Start by looking at your website
The ukactive Digital Futures 2023 report found web and online presence improvements are a top priority for 73% of operators.
And with good reason too! Why? Even beyond gym marketing, your website plays an important role in a member’s journey with you.
From an SEO perspective, here’s what to consider when looking at your website (or even creating your first website):
- Choose a short and memorable domain. For example, if your brand is ‘StrongLift Gym’ then go for strongliftgym.co.uk (or strongliftgym.com if you plan to have clubs outside the UK)
- Pick a website platform. These are either hosted or self-hosted. SEO experts recommend a self-hosted, open-source platform (e.g., WordPress) as it’s highly customisable. So, you’ll be less limited
- Create a positive visitor experience. Use HTTPS rather than HTTP and encrypt your site to protect visitors. Make sure your site reflects your brand, uses a readable sized font, and is mobile friendly
- Design a logical site structure with internal links. Make it easy for visitors and search engines to get around and find what they’re looking for. Your URLs should also be logical and as descriptive as possible
Focus on local SEO
Local SEO is a type of SEO that focuses on the geographical elements of a search. It will help you show up in searches that happen near to your club or clubs.
Ever typed ‘gyms’ into Google? You’ll probably notice ‘gyms near me’ pop up in the suggestions. When anyone searches locally using ‘near me’ or adding a specific location, there are usually two types of search results:
- Map (map pack)
For example, the results in the pink box below are map listings and the others are regular search results.
To rank in the map results you’ll need an optimised Google Business listing:
- Set up a Google Business profile (if you have multiple locations, you can manage all your profiles centrally)
- Fill in as much detail as possible – including the types of services and facilities you offer. Add your logo and images too
- Regularly update your profile – including adding seasonal opening hours if these change for bank holidays etc.
- Ask for Google reviews. These can help you increase your ranking position. Plus they encourage prospects to visit your website instead of competitors
Do keyword research and add these to your website
Creating a keyword strategy is a key step towards SEO success.
You can use Google Keyword Planner to find out more about words or phrases related to your business that are being searched for in your local area.
Ahrefs also offers a basic keyword generator tool that you can use for free. It will tell you how competitive a term is (keyword difficulty – KD). This indicates how easy it will be to rank for that keyword term. And it also shows the average number of searches the term has had a month over the last 12-months.
Add those keywords to your website. A starting point is to add one or two to your homepage (or another page like your memberships overview page). Make sure you use them naturally in your copy.
5. Directory listings
Following naturally on from our 4th gym marketing idea – SEO – are directory listings. Directory listings online can be a part of a bigger strategy to get reputable websites to link to your website.
Links like those from directories are commonly referred to as ‘backlinks’. And this is a factor search engines will look for when deciding the position to show your site in for a particular search term.
A Google Business profile is a directory listing. And your Facebook Page can be too. Make sure you include a website link in both cases.
Other directories to look at are:
- TripAdvisor – you can claim a free listing. It’s also another place to attract reviews. And can encourage people looking for activities in your local area to consider a visit to your club
- Yellow Pages – you can sign up for a free listing and there’s also a paid option with extra perks
- Nextdoor– You can claim a free business page on this app used to connect with people and businesses locally
Fitness industry specialist directories
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re on directories in the UK that are designed for people looking for a gym workout:
- Independent Gyms UK & Ireland – the membership organisation that keeps on giving! A membership is a must for independent gyms and it includes a listing on the ‘Find a gym’ tool
- Hussle – this is a platform that gymgoers can sign up to. Hussle gymgoers buy a pass for a listed gym or a Hussle membership that gives them access. For you as a gym owner or operator it allows you to get more people into your facility
6. Search engine marketing (SEM)
Whereas SEO is all about showing up on Google and other search engines for key search terms without having to pay, SEM is all about paying to show up.
Search engine marketing (SEM) is the use of paid advertising to make sure you show up on search engine results pages. SEO is a long-term investment to get traffic to your website. SEM comes in and helps fill the gaps.
Getting started with search engine marketing for a gym
Google Ads runs on an auction basis and you pay on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis.
Identify the keywords you want to bid on and how much you’re willing to pay for a click. And then when someone searches for that keyword, you’ll be entered in to the auction.
Where abouts your ad appears in the search results will depend on your quality score. This score measures the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. The higher the score, the more likely prospects are to click through.
Your bid amount coupled with your quality score will determine where your ads show up.
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Google Ads
Searching for a gym to join in Newcastle upon Tyne brings up a selection of ads. These appear before organic results and business listings.
The top 3 results all feature price-led offers to entice prospects to click through. Photos also make the top 2 stand out.
All these ads are bidding on non-branded keywords. Alternatively, you could choose to bid on competitor brand names. This approach can pay off, although it comes at the risk that competitors will do this to you too.
7. Refer-a-friend programmes & promotions
Next up, we have a gym marketing idea that is highly effective with the right approach.
Gym member referral programmes! These gym marketing campaigns encourage happy members to refer-a-friend. So, you attract new members to your gym.
Tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing
Refer-a-friend promotions and programmes take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing. And this type of marketing is powerful. Why? It lets you tap into trust.
88% of people trust recommendations from people they know more than any other type of advertising. And 77% say they’re more likely to make a purchase after receiving advice from someone they trust.
Running referral programmes can also attract higher value members to your gym business. Research shows people who’ve received a recommendation will spend 2x more and go on to make 2x as many referrals themselves.
Designing a successful referral programme
Usually, a referral programme will incentivise a particular action and reward everyone involved. When a member makes a successful referral, they’ll be rewarded. And so will the person who was referred.
For example, ‘when you refer a friend who signs up for a full membership, we’ll pay for you both to have a personal training session worth £50.’
Create a referral programme to turn members into advocatesTip
Find out how to create a high performing referral programme for your gym business.Read now
Your gym management software should make it simple to run referral programmes and track performance.
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Refer-a-friend promos
Game-changing 24/7 chain, NRG Gym currently runs 6 clubs across the UK. The gym operator makes it’s referral programme easy to find for all members with a dedicated web page.
The page clearly explains the benefits of making a referral. When a member makes a referral and their friend joins on a gym contract that runs for 2+ months, the referring member gets 1 months free membership. FAQs on this page make it simple to understand how the referral programme works.
Members have their own referral code. This code can be shared with as many family members, friends and colleagues as they like. This makes it super simple for members to spread the word about NRG Gym.
Think about innovative London gym chain, Gymbox, and one thing comes to mind. Distinctive and provocative branding and gym marketing campaigns crafted to appeal to Londoners. Their referral offering is no different.
Like NRG Gym, the gym operator has a dedicated page on their website. Gymbox members are incentivised to ‘refer a mate with training buddy potential’. They get the opportunity to win 12 months free membership.
Members simply enter their name to get a personalised link they can share with friends.
Located in Oldham, Glo Gym is another fantastic example of a fitness club taking advantage of the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
Using social media, the club has run referral campaigns. Campaigns that give members the chance to get 1 month free membership when they successfully refer a friend.
These posts grab member attention. And that’s thanks to playful copy that’s aligned to the Glo Gym brand.
8. Special offers
Make use of discount functionality within your gym management software to run special offers. That could be a discount for new members. Or a special offer on PT sessions for existing members.
Guest passes are a great option. Give prospective members the opportunity to try before they buy with a free pass to use your club.
Gym challenges are a great way to get exposure for your fitness business. They’re an easy way to make use of gamification too.
And running challenges:
- Builds accountability – by signing up to a challenge, participants are building accountability to achieve a certain goal. This can help with future fitness goals
- Creates community – challenges can make it easier to create opportunities for members to interact with each other. And that can strengthen the community within your gym
- Adds to the member experience – feeling a part of a challenge and interacting with other members can enhance the experience members get
- Motivates members to show up – challenges give members a reason to visit and keep active. Their efforts are recognised and rewarded
- Raises money for charity – choose to make your challenge about raising funds for a local charity and unite members in a common cause
- Attracts new members – showcase your challenges, and even get prospects involved, to drive membership sales
Keep your challenge simple and share easy to follow instructions. Offer adaptations for those who need or want them. You can make tracking participation simple with a whiteboard in-club. And ask members to tag you in their social posts about the challenge too.
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Zone Health & Fitness Weymouth
Located in Weymouth, Zone Health & Fitness is one of the biggest gyms in the area. And provides outstanding fitness experiences for everyone.
The gym promotes challenges on its social media channels like this one. It’s easy to follow, has an incentive (win a prize), and encourages members to share their efforts on social media.
The challenge is also a fantastic way of promoting the club’s recent affiliation with HYROX.
As we’ve seen, there could be an element of competition to your fitness challenge with a prize on offer at the end. And, you can also run competitions to attract new members.
Competitions will help you generate brand awareness. Plus, you can use competitions to gather leads for your sales team. With the right follow up, you can encourage these leads to sign up for a membership.
Think about the prize you want to offer, perhaps a free month’s membership. This is something in your control that works for new and existing members.
Select an entry mechanism. That could be a form on your website. Using contact details provided for marketing? Yes? Then remember to collect appropriate opt-in.
Or your competition could be a social campaign. One that helps you grow your reach by asking those entering to follow you, share your post, and tag a friend in the comments.
Include the entry terms and conditions in a suitable place. And make sure you follow the rules of any social platforms you’re using.
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Fitness Space Wantage
Fitness Space in Wantage is a boutique gym. It supports members with the right environment to thrive, have fun, and get fit.
We love this example of a giveaway competition run by the club. Promoted on Instagram, it offers something for both members and non-members. And entry instructions are clear and simple.
The post gets those entering to like and share the post, follow their page, and tag a friend. So, Fitness Space is making the most of the competition to grow it’s following and build brand awareness too.
Fitness events provide a fantastic gym marketing opportunity. Benefits of events include:
- Attract leads and sales – 79% of businesses who run or take part in events made sales as a result
- Boost member motivation, satisfaction, and loyalty – events create shared experiences and leave a lasting positive impression on members
- Inspire word-of-mouth referrals – the buzz created from an event will encourage members to tell everyone about your club
- Get free advertising – inspire members to post about the event on their socials and let them promote your club for you
- Raise money for charity – like with gym challenges, events can be a great opportunity to raise funds for a good cause
- Build a new revenue stream – if you run paid-for events, you’ll bring in extra revenue for your business
Running events can help you elevate your fitness brand.
The true magic happens when these events inspire word-of-mouth promotion. Design engaging activations within your event. And you’ll inspire participants to share their experiences – photos, videos, and anecdotes – across their social networks.
And beyond the immediate buzz, events will help you create lasting communities. Plus, unforgettable experiences stay in the minds of attendees. So, you’ll keep your brand at the forefront and build a loyal following.Jade Limpus, Marketing & Events Specialist UKI, Xplor
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Urban Reform
Manchester group training gym, Urban Reform, knows how to run winning fitness events.
For example, the club ran a ‘Ladies Who Lift Charity Challenge’ on 4 February 2024. It raised money for a local charity that makes a difference in the lives of those affected by domestic abuse. And the event was promoted on social media. The event was open to female members and free to book onto online.
Find out how to plan a successful event for your business. And get 13 event ideas.13 fitness event ideas to boost business in 2024
12. Seasonal gym marketing campaigns
New year. Summer holidays. Back to school. There are so many opportunities to run seasonally themed gym marketing campaigns.
A seasonal marketing campaign is a limited-time promotion to boost sales and drive retention. These campaigns help you push your audience to take action before the opportunity passes.
The Fitness Marketing Campaign Planner is packed with loads of UK bank holidays, celebrations, and other events. So that you can plan seasonal gym marketing campaigns around these. For example:
13. Guest passes
Next up, is a surprisingly simple gym marketing idea – guest passes. Offering guest passes is about trying to get new members. And gives prospects the chance to try before they buy.
Plus, guest passes can be used as an incentive for members. Include these in their gym membership. And promote them in your gym member onboarding process.
Giving members guest passes helps them take advantage of the benefits of working out with a friend:
- Boost motivation – so members are less likely to skip sessions
- More fun – research has found that working out with friends can provide a mood boost. Why? It’s more fun than working out alone
- Tap into a competitive spirit – working out with a friend can drive competition and push a member to work harder
The Boost Profitability With Email Marketing Guide includes an email template that you can use to encourage members to bring a friend using a guest pass.Get the guide for free
Gym marketing UK spotlight: PureGym
- A bolt on
- A membership upgrade
This approach lets the gym operator earn revenue from guest passes. It gives members a motivation boost by bringing a friend. And shows prospects why they should join too.
Another great idea to power marketing for a gym, is to offer bundles. For example, bundles of 12 classes or 6 personal training sessions.
You can promote these bundles as an upsell option for existing members. And they’re also a fantastic way to give non-members access to classes and other services. In a way that’s lower cost and without the commitment of a membership.
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Fitness Worx Gyms
Transformation specialists, Fitness Worx Gyms (FWX Gyms) offer a range of personal training packages to appeal to common goals.
These are available on top of memberships at extra cost. These bundle packages will include a specific number of sessions. And the sessions will take place over a specific number of days.
For example, the Epic package is designed to help members looking to build muscle to get bigger and leaner. And includes 24 sessions over 84 days.
15. Special membership packages
Next up on our list of marketing ideas for a gym is creating and promoting membership packages. Packages with specific discounts or offers for certain groups of people.
These membership packages will give specific groups access to exclusive pricing. Those prices are usually cheaper than a standard membership. Examples include:
- Military/Armed Forces
- Emergency Services
- Work for specific employers
Expanding your range of membership options to include packages for groups who meet certain requirements lets you run gym marketing campaigns that target these groups specifically.
Gym pricing strategy – a guide to membership pricingTip
Work out how to create targeted packages that work for your members and your business using this handy guide.Read now
16. Branded merchandise
Everyone loves some branded merch! And it’s an effective way to spread the word about your gym business. How? By getting members to wear and carry your brand with them.
You can even choose to sell branded items like bottles, protein shakers, t-shirts, hoodies, and more. So, you’ll attract extra revenue.
Plus, make items a sought-after prize. How? By giving them away when members hit key milestones, take part in challenges, or achieve certain goals.
Sell items in your club. And even sell them online. Choose to hold stock and ship directly from your club. Or work with a third party provider like J4Branding or FitPro Clothing. These providers let you create a store front on their site that members can order from.
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Superhero Fitness
Independent gym, Superhero Fitness, is based in Felixstowe. The gym offers members the chance to show that they are a part of the community by sporting the brand.
From baseball caps to shorts, gymgoers can order their choice of Superhero Fitness merch online via the FitPro Clothing store front. Items are shipped to members and paid for via the platform.
This is a fantastic idea for marketing gyms can adopt. It lets the club enjoy having these items available for sale. And avoids the need to store stock, handle orders, and organise shipping.
17. Win back gym marketing campaigns
When thinking about gym marketing campaigns to attract members to your fitness club, it’s tempting to focus on new members. Yet, you likely have former members who’ve left within your gym CRM, along with reasons for leaving.
By staying in touch with former members, you can inspire them to return. Informed by leave reasons, these are some of the ways you could encourage former members to sign up again:
- Collect and act on feedback – show what you’ve done
- Share member testimonials and social proof
- Launch and promote new classes, schedules, and instructors
- Review and introduce new membership options and contracts
- Offer casual, pay-as-you-go options
Take a targeted approach to winning back members who’ve cancelled. Start with those who cancelled for reasons that can be addressed.Read more about how (& when) to win back gym members who cancel
18. Success stories & reviews
Hearing what others have to say about your fitness business can be powerful. Especially, when a member can share the success, they’ve had in their fitness journey. This can inspire prospective members to sign up. As well as encouraging existing members on towards their goals.
Ask members to review your club on Google and Facebook. Do this as part of your gym member onboarding process, as well as when a member has been with you for some time.
Respond to these reviews – good and bad. And share them across your marketing channels.
Identify members who would be willing to share their success story with others. Creating a short video can be a great way to capture a story in the member’s own words. Share this across your marketing channels – including social media.
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Success stories & reviews
So many gyms and fitness clubs do a fantastic job of sharing testimonials, success stories and reviews from members. And build social proof to convince others to embark on their fitness journey. Here are some of our favourite examples:
Unit 8 Gym
A gym with a difference, Unit 8 is a leading independent gym in the South West located in Ivybridge. The club uses testimonials and success stories on its website. These provide proof of the changes members have seen.
Feel Fit Gym
With state of the art equipment, a dedicated ladies only gym space and 30+ classes a week, Feel Fit Gym is Oxford’s largest independent gym. The club uses it’s social media to highlight member achievements.
For example, this spotlight post celebrates a member who has achieved their goal of conquering a half marathon.
Fitness Space Wantage
Boutique gym, Fitness Space in Wantage supports members with the right environment to thrive, have fun, and get fit. The club uses its social media to share member reviews.
For example, this post features many graphics containing reviews the club has received. So, prospective members are encouraged to sign up. And existing members see how valued their feedback is.
19. User generated content (UGC)
User-generated content (UGC) includes reviews (like those shared by Fitness Space Wantage). As well as other content about your business. It’s content created by your members and even your team.
UGC is a fantastic way to expand your reach and drive more sign ups. On social media you can create brand specific hashtags. And then encourage members and your team to use them.
Use UGC in your gym marketing campaigns following these best practices:
- Encourage creators to share something specific (e.g., share your best sweaty selfie at ABC gym)
- Ask permission before you share
- Credit the original creator
20. Gym community group
Another gym marketing idea is to create a community group that allows members to connect with each other. Meeting new people can be a key reason for signing up to a gym or even an unexpected perk!
And you can use this community in your marketing as a reason to sign up for a membership. Your gym community can:
- Become a place to collectively achieve fitness goals and support one another
- Help motivate members and build accountability, so they keep showing up
- Show you care about every member on a more personal level
- Let you share knowledge in one searchable place
Most of your members will have access to Facebook, so this can be a great place to host your community. Set up a group for your members. Use this to post updates and provide quick info on nutrition and training.
Plus, encourage members to use the group to support and speak with each other away from your club.
When it comes to marketing your gym on social media, hashtags will help you increase engagement and build brand awareness. Hashtags are an effective way to make your social content discoverable to interested audiences.
You can place hashtags at the beginning, within or end of your social posts. Or even in a comment. So, the network you’re posting on can index what you’ve written. It’s a great way to help people who are yet to follow or like your page to find you.
29% of Gen Z and Millennials prefer to search for information on social platforms instead of search engines like Google. Target these groups? If you do, it’s essential to make your social posts on platforms like Instagram and TikTok easy to discover in relevant searches.
Tips for using hashtags:
- Don’t get too carried away – for most platforms 1-3 hashtags will have more impact than using loads (especially if you’re using them in your post copy)
- Choose hashtags that are short and memorable
- Opt for hashtags that people are likely to search for
- Detailed and specific hashtags are more likely to bring you relevant traffic than broad terms
- Use hashtags where they add value and are likely to attract conversation and interaction
Start by creating your own branded hashtag. Use this consistently across all social channels and posts.
Encourage your members to use it when they share relevant content on their own channels (like those #GymSelfies). This will make it easier for you to find UGC that you can like, comment on, and share.
Research other businesses in your local area and find any location based hashtags they are using. This will make it easier for people in your area to find your content. For example, if you are located in Brighton you could use #BrightonFitness.
Depending on your target audience, there are broader hashtags you could use like:
22. Video gym marketing
Video marketing for a gym is almost essential in 2024. And especially so if you are actively marketing your gym on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
Spending time creating video content is worth the effort. 90% of marketers say that video marketing provides good return on investment (ROI). And 89% of consumers want to see more videos from brands in 2024.
Successful video marketing for a gym
Video marketing doesn’t need to be daunting or even expensive. Social media audiences favour authentic, natural content. Plus, editing apps make it easy to create your own videos.
Here’s what to consider when planning your video marketing strategy:
- Decide what you want to achieve. Common video marketing goals include:
- Reaching new prospects and building brand awareness.
- Convincing prospects to sign up to a membership or members to take up an offer (e.g. attend a class or take part in a gym challenge).
- Educating members in some way.
- Building fans and advocates for your gym business.
- Select the types of video you want to create. For example, educational, behind the scenes, interviews, testimonials, entertainment, etc.
- Choose where to put your videos – for example, on your website, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok. Focus on the channels that your target members use most
Once you know what you want to create and where you want to share, it’s time to start planning and creating your videos!
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Video marketing
Here are some of our favourite gym video marketing examples:
The Zone Callington
Located in Cornwall, The Zone Callington is an independent gym. The club provides an affordable, non-intimidating, valuable fitness experience to members.
The club effectively uses video marketing throughout its social media. For example, this video shows new gymgoers what to expect with a caption that helps settle any nervousness.
And this video which uses humour to capture the sentiment of new members who never knew the club existed.
Ramsays is the top group fitness studio and personal training space in Nuneaton. And a leader in its category for video content creation too!
For example, this video is an amazing way to introduce the club’s community to its social content creator:
And this video which is part of the brand’s meet the member series:
23. Social media gym marketing ads
Running gym ads on social media can be a really effective gym marketing idea. Through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok you can reach new, targeted audiences fast.
Paid social advertising usually works on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. And you should choose your channel based on your audience with a clear budget and goal in mind.
Common goals include attracting new members / sales and growing the number of followers your brand has on social media.
You’ll need to make sure you have tracking in place on your website to measure successful conversions. And that you’re using tracking cookies and technologies in a way that’s compliant with Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations.
Marketing your gym using Meta ads
Meta ads are those on Facebook and Instagram. At the Xplor Xperience 2023, Charlie Horton from leading digital marketing agency the Fitness Marketing Agency (FMA), shared learnings from working with 400+ fitness businesses.
When attracting new leads and members, FMA’s clients have most success using Meta ads. The agency finds that gyms and fitness clubs will be successful running ads when:
- Ads are run to the right destination – a landing page with a clear call-to-action and no distractions will maximise success
- Clubs are equipped to convert leads into sales – with the right tactics and tools to nurture those not ready to buy/sign up
- An appealing offer – ads should showcase an offer that’s quick and easy for prospects to understand. For example, a 30-day trial, 21-day kick start programme, 3-week challenge, etc.
- Targeting a specific audience – ads should be targeted to very specific audiences. So, you can appeal to their exact needs
- Ads are set up correctly – there are 3 levels to an ad. Campaign level is where a goal is set. Ad set level is where an audience, budget, and schedule is specified. And ad level where ad creative and copy sits. 90% of success is down to ad copy and creative. So, these must match your objectives and appeal to your specific audience
24. Out of home gym marketing ads
As the name suggests, out of home (OOH) ads are those found outside of the home. Think billboards, bus shelter posters, ads on supermarket trolleys, and more. OOH ads can be traditional printed posters or even interactive digital screens.
The idea is that you capture the attention of potential gymgoers as they are out and about. Perhaps commuting to work, running errands, and generally going about their everyday lives.
Depending on your campaign goals, OOH ads can be an effective way to reach people. Often grabbing attention in situations where they’re not seeing other ads.
Strategically place an eye-catching creative ad with the right messaging, in the right place, to reach your audience.
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Gymbox
Leading London gym chain, Gymbox, is renowned for its disruptive ads that speak to Londoners. It’s January 2024 ‘Made for London Life’ campaign was no different!
With ads run OOH using locations like billboards and bus shelters, the campaign creatively juxtaposed key aspects of London life. The ads are simple and effective in grabbing attention in a very memorable way.
25. Print ads
Even in 2024, print ads in newspapers and magazines can help you reach and engage potential gym members. As well as creative ads, this type of advertising can include advertorial pieces designed to look like a typical article.
Print ads can help you build trust. Reach an audience engaged in reading a publication. Attract sales. And more! Tracking success can be a challenge, so try:
- Using a unique promotion code
- Including a tracked QR code
- Setting up a dedicated point of contact (e.g. email address)
- Adding social media hashtags for online engagement
Many gyms will focus on local publishers instead of (or as well as) national publications.
Another traditional gym marketing tactic is leaflet marketing (also known as door drop mailing). With careful targeting, leaflet marketing can help you reach and grab the attention of potential new members.
Research has found that 89% of UK consumers remember receiving a door drop mailing. And 45% keep leaflets on a noticeboard or in a drawer. So, strategic use of leaflet marketing for a gym can be a fantastic way of building brand recognition.
Leaflet marketing can be challenging (and costly) to get right, here are 3 quick tips for success:
- Smaller is better – choose a leaflet size that allows you to give enough info at a readable size. Keep it small enough that it’s easy to carry, put in a bag or drawer, and place on a noticeboard
- Partner up – find businesses that complement yours who would be willing to distribute your leaflets. For example, a local health food shop with room for your leaflet by its tills
- Use leaflets as inserts – identify a publication like a local newspaper or newsletter that’s distributed to your target audience. See if you can place your leaflets within it
27. Digital gym marketing content
Next up on our list of gym marketing ideas is digital content. We’ve already touched on digital content in idea 22 with video. Video is just one type of digital content.
Digital content covers blogs, newsletters, how to guides, podcasts, videos, and more. It can be a powerful way to stand out from your competition. And it’s cost effective too, typically cheaper than paid advertising.
“Investing in digital content can help power marketing activities across your chosen channels.
Always create content with your audience in mind, as well as the channels you’ll be distributing it across.
Short form videos create strong engagement on social channels like Instagram. Longer form written formats work well for blog posts, especially those that’ll be distributed via SEO.
Many gyms can also benefit from repurposing existing content into new formats. For example, a how-to social video could be repurposed into a blog post. Repurposing helps you get more value from your content investment.”Jo Ashton, Senior Content Marketing Manager UKI, Xplor
Tips for creating digital content
Creating digital content can be easy with the right approach. Here’s what to consider:
- Your audience – Understand their interests, challenges, pain points, and behaviour. So, you can create content in the right format with the right messaging to resonate with your target audience
- Consistency – If you can create content to a consistent schedule you’ll see greater success and establish your business as a reliable source of valuable info. Start by creating a content calendar with topics, a schedule and distribution channels
- Visuals – To stand out and grab attention, incorporate high-quality images, graphics and videos into your content
- Calls-to-action (CTAs) – Think about what you want your audience to do as a result of each piece of digital content and add a clear CTA
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Anytime Fitness
We’ve already spotlighted many effective digital content marketing ideas from gyms and fitness clubs across the UK. And here we’ll look in more detail at the Anytime Fitness blog.
Leading gym franchisor Anytime Fitness boasts 185+ UK and Ireland locations. Through the blog, Anytime Fitness provides a wide range of fitness education and answers to common questions.
The blog makes it easy for readers to filter articles by category, tag and author. It even includes articles like this simple upper body workout plan with step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow:
28. Corporate wellness & wellbeing partnerships
76% of UK professionals are experiencing moderate to high levels of stress. And 60% are feeling anxious. So, more employers are now putting in place employee wellness and wellbeing perks.
And that presents a marketing opportunity for gyms and fitness clubs. Work with local employers. Create partnerships that will help businesses provide fitness and wellbeing perks to employees.
That could mean offering corporate rates on memberships for employees to improve health, relieve stress and boost productivity. Or running classes at local businesses. And even providing health and fitness check-ups.
29. Loyalty programmes
A loyalty or reward programme is a fantastic way to promote your business. Especially for marketing to current members!
Typically a loyalty programme will reward members as they meet certain milestones. For example, completing 25 visits or reaching a fitness goal. So, they can be a fantastic way of cheering members on and motivating them to keep visiting.
Or, rewards programmes can give members access to a selection of discounts with retailers and other businesses.
An attractive loyalty programme can encourage new members to sign up and motivate current members to stay.
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Loyalty programmes
Need inspiration for your loyalty programme? Look no further, we’ve got you covered! Here are a couple of real life examples we love.
Located in Greenwich, London, Meridian Fitness is a gym, health and fitness club with a friendly community feel. The club runs a loyalty programme where members can earn points for activities ranging from attending a class to leaving a Google review.
Located in the fantastic Village Hotels, Village Gym runs several clubs across the UK. The spacious clubs offer high quality equipment, heated pools, and cutting edge classes.
Members have access to a very wide variety of discounts. For example, discounts at Village Hotels and Pubs, shops, and days out.
30. Local partnerships & affiliate programmes
The businesses around you can offer amazing marketing opportunities for your gym. Why? Often you’ll share a target audience. And by partnering up you can reach new members.
Generally, there are 2 ways to run partnerships:
- Discount – arm partners with a discount that their customers can benefit from when they sign up for a membership
- Referral fee – give partners a kickback when a customer signs up for a membership having been referred. Usually this will be a payment of some kind
31. Local influencers
Similarly, working with influencers in your local area will help you market your gym. Local influencers are people and sometimes businesses in your community. These people will have a significant social media following – including your target audience.
With the right campaign, influencers can help you grab the attention of potential members.
Firstly, identify people, pages, or groups on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok that your audience follow. And then contact them to talk about collaborating.
You could offer them a free membership, a guided tour, or a discount of some kind. When they post about your business, make sure they follow the guidelines of each platform to show it’s a promotional post.
Gym marketing UK spotlight: Dual Strength & Fitness
Dual Strength & Fitness is an award-winning fitness club located in Horsham that helps members be strong and healthy. The club offers weight training, cardio, functional fitness, and is a HYROX affiliate.
The club makes it easy for fitness influencers in the Sussex area to partner with them and promote the club.
Potential affiliates get in touch with Dual Strength & Fitness online. And then receive a discount code that followers can use to get £10 off their first month of membership. Plus, the influencer gets £10 when a referred member renews for a second month.
32. Get involved locally
From local partnerships to working with local influencers. It’s clear, getting active in your local community is a powerful gym marketing idea for independent clubs.
You’ll reach people in your local area. Build brand credibility. And show your commitment to the community you serve. Ideas include:
- Sponsoring charity events that are happening or local events
- Joining a business networking group
- Partnering with community groups, schools, colleges, or universities to support sports teams and leagues
- Providing prizes for raffles and events happening in your local area
33. Healthcare partnerships
The final gym marketing idea is working with local healthcare providers and practitioners. At recent UK fitness events like PerformX Live, Elevate and Active Uprising, the need to partner with healthcare has been a hot topic.
Becoming more active with the right workout programme supports a range of physical and mental health conditions. So, look to form partnerships with local practitioners. And you’ll be able to reach new members who would benefit from the services your club offers.
Start by reaching out to GP surgeries, physiotherapists, podiatrists, massage therapists, chiropractors, and other practitioners.
Offer them the opportunity to visit your club and meet your team. Find ways to work together to help support better patient outcomes.
Gym marketing: The wrap up…
There you have it! 33 gym marketing ideas that will help you win new members. And keep more members coming back for longer.
Start by creating the right marketing mix for your business. So, you build the right offering, at the right price, in the right place, with the right type of promotions to draw in your target audience.
In this article, we’ve focused on arming you with foundational gym marketing ideas, tactics, and tips that will set you up for long-term success. And provide a strong platform for timely, targeted gym marketing campaigns.
Amplify the success of your marketing with the right gym management software in place. Software that helps you run effective campaigns, refine your approach, and measure success. Software like Xplor Gym. Watch the tour to see Xplor Gym for yourself
Article by Xplor Gym
First published: 19 February 2024
Last updated: 19 February 2024