It’s 2023, and while everyone else was making resolutions to eat healthier and go to the gym, perhaps yours was to grow your fitness center and blow your business goals for this year out of the water. If it was, then you’re in luck, because we’ve created a 2023 gym online marketing plan just for you. All you need to do is work through our plan and tailor it to suit you and your business, and we hope you’ll be celebrating massive success on New Year’s Eve this year.
Setting the stage for success
Where do you start? Well, before moving into a new year’s plan, it’s a good idea to look back at your marketing efforts last year. Dig deep into what you did and check your stats and analytics to see what results you got. Was there anything that really worked? If so, bring that through to 2023’s marketing plan and consider doing more of it. Conversely, was there anything that really didn’t move the needle? Weigh it up even so. Why didn’t it work? Is there anything you could have done differently to make it work better? If so, learn from what went wrong and try again with it in 2023.
You can learn so much from an analysis of last year’s marketing and it really can help you achieve greater success this year.
Next, look at your goals for 2023. What would you like to achieve this year? Where would you like your gym business to be when the clock strikes midnight and we head into 2024?
Add up your total expenses and decide what amount of revenue and profit you want to make this year. Look at what you charge and whether your prices need to go up. You might find that you can offer bundle deals for people to sign up for blocks of classes in advance or you might want to add chargeable online classes to increase your income.
Perhaps you’re even looking to expand, either by adding more in your current space or by adding a new location. Or maybe you want to build your gym’s reputation further to attract new audiences.
Whatever you decide, you can now look at your current conversion rate for leads and work out how many leads you’ll need to generate this year to reach your new income goals.
Once your goals are set, it’s time to decide what resources and how much of your budget you can allocate to your marketing. It’s best to set a budget and try to stick to it so that you don’t overspend by mistake.
Crafting your marketing plan
We have a range of activities below that we’d include in a gym online marketing plan, but it’s your business, so take a look and decide what online marketing activities you’ll feel best fit your goals:
The beginning of the year is a great time to review your website and decide whether it’s still reflecting your brand and providing what your audience needs. Do a complete check of your site and then you can decide whether it’s fine as it is, if some updates are needed, or if you need a whole new site.
First, do a visual inspection. Is your site clean, clear, and attractive? Is the design fresh and up-to-date? Is it easy to see what your site is about and what you do? Are your contact details prominent on every page? Is there enough white space or is your site a little cluttered?
Try to think about it from the point of view of your clients.
Next, look at how it works. Explore the navigation. Is your site easy to use? Does your site guide visitors to where they need to go? Do all the links, menus, and buttons work? If you have booking forms, mailing list sign-up forms, or a checkout process, do they all work smoothly and do what they should?
How fast does your site load? If it takes longer than three seconds, there’s a good possibility your visitors have gone elsewhere. Make sure that your site also works on every device and every browser. You don’t want to lose potential leads because they can’t get to your site on their preferred device or browser.
Your website needs to make an excellent first, second, and third impression, or you could be losing sales because of it.
Your next health check should be on your SEO efforts. You need your site and your posts on social media and business directories to be fully optimized for SEO so that you build your online presence and start to rise in the search engine rankings.
Ensure you’re doing thorough keyword research and that you’re including local keywords in your copy, such as “gym in Portland” or “gym membership, Florida.”
At least meet the bare minimum with every post or page. Ensure that your main keyword is included in your H1 header and at least one sub-heading. Include it in your first paragraph and at least once elsewhere in the copy, and add it to your meta description. Try to also add related keywords to give context and to help the search engines decide what your page is about. For example, your main keyword might be “gym membership”, but you might also want to include other related keywords, such as “getting fitter”, “building strength”, “toning up”, the names of some of the classes you offer, “personal trainer”, and similar keywords.
3) Digital advertising
With digital advertising, you can pay for ads that are tailored to reach your ideal target audience. You can tailor your ads using demographics, such as age and gender, and you can target certain locations.
It can take time and patience to see good results from paid ads. You may need to experiment with different ad types, titles, images, backgrounds, and more, initially. But you can continue to test and tweak, until you find the right ads that work for you. You can then do variations on the ads that work and test those out until you’re getting a good conversion rate.
You do need a budget for this, but Google Ads can gain you great visibility at the top of the search engines, and ads on social media platforms, such as Facebook, can be targeted tightly to the people you want to reach.
4) Review/reputation management
As a gym owner, you want 4 and 5-star reviews to provide social proof and to encourage and reassure potential leads that you provide a top-quality service that gets results.
It’s important to add this to your marketing plan as you need new reviews on an ongoing, consistent basis. The reason for this is that many people won’t look at reviews that are older than a month, so you need a plan to keep getting them.
Of course, the easiest way to get them is to ask when people are feeling good, especially if they’ve just told you how much they love your gym or how pleased they are with the results they are getting. Encourage them to post on Facebook, your Google Business Profile, or on any relevant business directories. You can’t expect that they’ll post on all of them, but one or two of the main sites will really help.
You can also ask in your newsletters, send out surveys to find out what people think, have feedback forms to hand on the reception desk, include review requests in your email signature, and more.
It’s also important to plan in time to respond to your reviews. Not only do people want to see fresh reviews, but they also want to see a responsive gym that replies, likes, and comments on the reviews that they get.
5) Directory listings management
Directory listings give you the opportunity to add your gym’s information, classes, opening hours, services, and more, and build your online presence. Some directory listings will also let people write reviews for you and allow you to respond to them, so directory listings can be well worth the effort.
What’s really important here is to bear in mind that each listing could be the first impression potential members have of your business. You need to make it good, with great, keyworded copy, quality images, and all the information anyone could want. Fill in every part of your profile and ensure you’re giving potential leads what they need.
Your Google Business Profile (GBP) is another extremely useful site to be listed on. A complete, fully optimized profile can help you appear on the Local Pack at the top of Google Maps, part of a group of only three listings, so it’s definitely a good idea to make the most of this one.
Your GBP will also let leads call you right from your profile, ask questions, comment on posts, and leave reviews.
In addition, including your opening hours lets you get found when locals search for “gym in your area, open now”.
6) Social media marketing
For gym owners, social media marketing has so much potential. It’s a great way to reach your audience, to show off the results you get for your members, and to prove what an expert you are. You can build your brand, show off your knowledge, establish trust, and more.
What you need is a consistent posting schedule, with automation and scheduling to help you, and the right content for your audience. You know best who your gym is for, whether it’s aimed at women in particular, whether you want to work more with professional athletes, or whether you want your gym to be open to all. Decide who you’re aiming for and then tailor your posts to fit.
You can share before and after shots, talk about your existing classes, promote new classes, provide a quick tip exercise, like how to do the perfect squat, share morning routines, talk about nutrition to support members’ goals, provide free exercise classes online, review fitness equipment and clothing… the list really is endless.
7) Content marketing
Everything we’ve written above for social media marketing is equally true for content marketing. In fact, social media should be a part of your content marketing strategy.
With great content, you can educate and inform, guide people to the help they need, encourage them to take action and get fit, and so much more. And all of that helps to show what an excellent gym you have and provide a peek into what it’s like to join your gym and take part.
Don’t forget that content doesn’t have to be written. Video is hugely popular and it’s ideal for demonstrating techniques or sharing an exercise class. You could also run a podcast, and provide how-to guides, checklists, recipes, and a host of other great content.
And if you get stuck, check out your web stats to see what people are searching for, ask your audience what they want to see, and take inspiration from what your competitors are posting.
8) Email marketing
With email marketing, you can keep in touch with your members between classes, and let everyone know about new timetables and new classes, and any other gym news. You can also use your list to market to potential members who are thinking of joining your gym and to encourage current members to spend more by offering new features and upgrades, perhaps by creating a VIP membership level.
The important thing is that you build your list and focus on regularly adding people. You need to build your business on your own platform, not on someone else’s. Once you have someone on your email list, you can market to them forever, as many times as you like. If you build your business solely on social media, for example, what happens if your chosen platform disappears or cuts back on what you can post unless you pay? That’s why it’s so important that you have your own email list and website.
9) Lead nurture
While some people will find your gym, sign up, and dive right in, others may be nervous or trying to decide between you and your competitors. Lead nurturing can help guide potential leads through your sales funnel and into becoming paid-up members.
What you need to do is provide the right content to people at each stage in the sales funnel. New leads will be looking for information more than anything. They want to know more. They may have questions. What they don’t want is to be pushed into a sales call. Not right at the beginning. As the name suggests, nurture them, give them what they want and need to move through your sales funnel, and get closer to making a decision. As they near the bottom of the sales funnel, you can then suggest other options, such as signing up for your newsletter, getting in touch with any questions, and hopping on a call.
10) Text message marketing
Just as with email marketing, you can build a list of willing people who’d like to get text information from you. This has to be permission-based, of course. You can’t simply add anyone to your list. But once they’ve opted in, your chances of getting great results from this really do increase. Most people are fine with an email subscription, but not everyone is happy for companies to text them. If they do, it very likely means that they’re keen.
Again, provide great content. Keep it short, but interesting, and think about what they want to hear. You can convert leads to buyers with a good text message marketing campaign.
Analytics might not be the most exciting thing on your to-do list, but you really do need them. Without analytics, you won’t have any idea which parts of your marketing are working and which are not.
Take time at the beginning of each month to look at last month’s website statistics and your analytics on social media, paid ads, email marketing, and other areas of your marketing.
From here, you can find out what people are searching for and what they want to know. You can see what questions they are asking, and see which of your posts are the most popular. You can find out which topics are hitting the mark and which topics aren’t being looked at.
You can see which of your paid ads are generating leads, what it’s costing you, what your conversion rates are, and more.
You can see your open rates and your click-through rate on any links in your email marketing and see what people are interested in the most.
With that knowledge, you can do more of the things that work and less of what doesn’t.
Executing your marketing plan
Now you have all the pieces of your marketing plan, it’s time to bring everything together and plan out your schedule on a monthly calendar. This allows you to maintain consistency and keeps you from staring at a blank page and wondering what to write.
You can plan out your social media posts, content, and email marketing on your calendar, and think about which paid ads will work best at various times of the year, along with what you want to promote each week or each month.
Your monthly calendar really will become your marketing bible. It allows you to get ahead and batch and schedule posts in advance. You’ll save time and be able to plan work so that you create your posts when you’re less busy and have the time to concentrate on other things than writing posts when you really are up against it.
One other thing that can really help take the load off of marketing is to use marketing software. You can plan what you’re going to do, post, schedule, and more to save time and make life easier.
Setting the stage for growth
With your marketing plan up and running, it’s time to analyze and test everything. Keep your eye on how your marketing is doing and identify where your customers are coming from and what platforms and ads are working for you.
It’s important to do this regularly so that you can tweak and adjust your plan to suit and reallocate your budget to optimize conversions and new customer growth. Pivoting to suit the real results you’re getting is what leads you to greater revenue and success.
You can then also make informed decisions on adding any new online marketing activities to your marketing plan.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
At Surefire Local, we offer professional business intelligence marketing software at a fraction of the cost of other tools or agencies. We can help you manage your most important online marketing activities all within one platform, with our intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard.
You can manage every aspect of your marketing from our software, including your social media, content marketing, email marketing, paid ads, managing and responding to reviews, and updating all your business directories with just a few clicks.
Don’t try to do everything the hard way, book a demo with Surefire Local and build your gym to success the easy way.