How to use digital to attract more gym members

When it comes to promoting your gym, and attracting new members, it’s time to embrace the power of digital marketing. Just think about it; with more than 3.5 billion searches being made on Google per day worldwide, as well as the increase in fitness influencers using a variation of social media platforms to broadcast their work and progress, gymgoers are far more likely to research gyms through Google, or take recommendations from their Friends on Facebook.

24/7 Fitness is just one of the industry experts using digital to attract new members to their gyms. They said: “We’ve successfully used digital in both member attraction (through automated email campaigns, and social media direct marketing) and crucially, member retention. Uniquely, our virtual personal trainer app allows members to learn the specific equipment at their gym with virtual support from qualified trainers, and this has been particularly successful with first-time gym users, getting them through the all-important first three visits.”

Adrian Hunter, is the General Manager at KRUNK.com, a social networking app that connects fitness enthusiasts to enable them to locate new friends and join in group training classes. He says: “It’s hard to even get eye contact with someone these days as we’re always glued to our mobile devices. However, our KRUNK app connects active, like-minded people by location, activity, and interest, so it allows members to feel like they are already part of a Community.

“Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors can promote their classes or one on one sessions through social media or by creating a KRUNK or macro community in our app. As KRUNK allows gym owners to create events and invite members and other non-gym members to join in these on these events, it’s a great way of increasing class participation and growing your business through digital.”

Crocodile Marketing provide Inbound Marketing Services for Brisbane and Gold Coast, as well as being a HubSpot Partner. HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales platform that has helped the Australian Institute of Fitness experience a 9% increase in leads & $200,000 in revenue increase within the first 3 months of using it. David McMahon, Marketing Director at Crocodile Marketing, says: “Technology has changed traditional marketing, A Google study in 2014 showed that local searchers lead to 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day, and we are seeing the trend still growing in Australia for local businesses.”

As this suggests, you’d be missing a trick by not utilising these platforms to your full advantage! To get you started, here are our top tips for using digital to attract more gym members…

Make sure your website is designed with the user in mind

Firstly, you need to ensure your website is easy to read and navigate, and that it’s been designed with the target audience you want to attract in mind. For example, you don’t want to have pictures of huge powerlifters if you’re trying to run an exercise class for over 60s!

When it comes to the navigation, make sure you have a clear menu and that each of the major services you offer has its own dedicated page. Individual gym classes (such as kettlebells and CrossFit), personal training, and sports massage are all different services, so they need their own pages to reflect this.

Additionally, if your gym or club only has one location, make sure each page mentions where you are, alongside the service you’re offering. So, if your gym provides ‘Personal Training in Cardiff’, it should be in the title of the page to help it rank higher when people search for this term in search engines.

For larger cities, you’ll also need to mention the specific area(s) you’re covering. For example, ‘Martial arts classes in Peckham’ would be better than using ‘Martial arts classes in London’.

When it comes to your contact page, we’d also advise installing the Google Maps Plug-in to show your potential clients exactly where you’re located. As Google is the most widely used map service, making sure you use it means you stand a good chance of showing up in the Google search results if someone does a location-based search.

To ensure your information is listed on Google, don’t forget to complete a Google My Business listing. Advice on how to do this can be found at Google My Business Help.

Ensure search engines can find your website

Once your website is looking the way you want it to, you’ll need to ensure that Google can understand it, and therefore rank each page correctly in the search results. This is a vital component of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and means that for every page, you’ll need to make sure it has a Title Tag, Meta Description, and Header (or H1) Tag at the very least. If possible, you should also implement H2 Tags.

As the Title Tag and Meta Description (which are also collectively referred to as ‘Metadata’) are what will appear on the search engine results page, they need to accurately describe the page. Alternatively, Header Tags are used for a page’s heading and subheadings.

If you don’t have your own in-house marketing team to take care of this, we’d advise enlisting the help of a digital marketing agency who will be able to implement these things for you. If you’re completely unfamiliar with SEO and want to learn more, you can brush-up on some of the basic terminology with this digital marketing glossary.

As well as inputting these, you’ll want to ensure your website has a sitemap as this tells Google where everything on your website is.

If your website is currently without a sitemap, you can build one for free using the XML-Sitemaps tool. Once this is done, it will need to be uploaded to your website at yourgymsname.com/sitemap.xml.

For the next step, you will need to add the sitemap location to a file stored in yourgym.com/robots.txt. Don’t worry if this sounds complicated, as this is something that can be done by your web designer.

After your sitemap has been uploaded to your website, it will also need to be submitted to Google for indexing. Instructions on how to do this (as well as how to upload the sitemap to your website) can be found at WordPress tutorials.

Now your website should be findable by both Google and your clients!

Use social media platforms to attract new gym members

When it comes to advertising your club on social media, Facebook is a good place to start. Not only is it one of the most used platforms, with 59% of UK adults using Facebook daily in 2016, but it was also found to be the second most popular amongst 18-29 year olds behind YouTube (source).

As well as having a large database of users, we’d recommend using Facebook because of its expansive targeting options for paid ads. Because the average user provides so much information to the platform to complete their profile, you’ll be able to target prospective clients by location, age, gender, language, and their behaviour on the platform (such as the Pages they like, the ads they click, and what content they share on their Timelines).

However, one thing to bear in mind is that Facebook’s organic (a.k.a. non-paid) reach has dropped by 50% in the last year. means you’ll probably have to use paid ads to get good exposure on the platform.

If your gym is located in a smaller town, then you can do this really effectively by targeting an audience that likes some of the sports and fitness services you offer, as well as selecting the right age range and limiting the radius of your ad to just your area. But, if your gym is in a bigger city, such as London, then you’ll need to be more specific; but in places like London, even this can be too broad. We’d suggest investigating how to set up remarketing lists as people that have found your site are the most likely to engage.

“Instagram is also another a good option for promoting your gym or sports club online. As its ad targeting is based on your Facebook activity and profile information, it’s also fairly expansive.” – Debbie Aurelius, Peppermint Fish

Additionally, Instagram has a 20% organic reach, which you can take advantage of by including popular and relevant hashtags in your posts. Plus, with the influx of gymgoers now using the platform to find fitness inspiration, it’s also a good idea to get your personal trainers spreading the word on there too!

When it comes to using social media to attract new gym members, Dan Pinne from Organik Digital says: “Facebook Messenger Bots are a new and engaging method to communicate with your potential customers to easily move them closer to the point of conversion. They work by automating a conversation in a user’s Facebook inbox. Users interact with the messages and you can design a ‘choose your own adventure’ style of conversation based on the services you offer.

“The unique aspect with Messenger bots is they allow you to capture information from their Facebook profile to automatically send to other platforms like email services or even payment/booking systems, all without ever having to leave Messenger. The key to remember about Messenger bots is they don’t replace human interaction, they merely open up a conversation that you potentially may never have had before.

“To start with Messenger bots, you need to use a 3rd party program that makes it easy for you to setup. Manychat is our recommendation and they have a free profile but at $10 per month for the advanced features, it’s highly worth it. Gyms and fitness centres can use bots to provide a personalised solutions for people looking to join, and this might be through a series of questions that evolve around, but don’t mention (remember, it’s a personal space in their inbox) losing weight, toning up, training for an event in language that is conversational.”

The team at Traffic Jam Media helped us to put this together! Traffic Jam Media are a digital marketing agency, so if you need help in attracting more members then get in touch!

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