You know what they say — location, location, location.
Location is a crucial factor in how people find businesses and service providers online.
The use of search terms like “near me” or “top-rated” + “in [city name]” has exploded in the past few years. And search engines like Google now automatically take the user location into account when showing results.
This is why it is vital that you have a hyperlocal marketing strategy in place for your gym — to ensure you have the right kind of online presence to show up in these kinds of local searches.
So, in this article, we are sharing tips and strategies to help your gym become more visible to your ideal local customers, no matter where they look online.
Hyperlocal Marketing Explained
Hyperlocal marketing is a strategy that focuses on increasing your online visibility and reach within a specific geographic area or local market. It is important because when most people search for a gym, they do so with a location in mind — someone near where they work or live. For example, “Hey Siri, what is the top-rated gym near me?” or “best personal trainer in Vienna, VA”.
To show the most relevant results possible, search engines like Google evaluate your online presence according to the five pillars of local search visibility:
- Recency — How frequently do you publish new content on your website, social media, and online directories?
- Distance — Is your business located in/serve the area that the person is searching from?
- Prominence — Do other trusted websites link to you as a source of knowledge and expertise?
- Relevancy — Does your content provide the information the person is searching for?
- Availability — Is your business open when the person is searching?
So, let’s look at seven areas of your online presence that you can optimize to pass this evaluation and maximize your online visibility in hyperlocal searches.
Hyperlocal Marketing Tips for Gyms
One way to optimize your website for hyperlocal search is to include URL location tags for particular areas that you are targeting. For example, say you have a gym located in Town A. In this case, your website URL might look something like “https://localfittnesscenter.com/location/town-a”. When someone searches for “fitness center town a,” the URL location tag signals to Google that your website is a relevant match.
You also want to structure your site data using a local schema.
A useful analogy is to think of your website as a garage – a space that is filled with a jumble of different boxes and items. Similar to organizing your garage, a local schema labels the different objects on your site (content, images, media files, etc.), letting search engines know what and where they are. Doing so makes it easier for search engines to index and evaluate your website for local search.
The most important pieces of data you need to mark up are your:
- Business name
- Business address
- Business phone
- Business description
- Business latitude/longitude coordinates
- Business logo
Another reason you want to have structured site data is it makes your website content eligible to show up as one of Google’s Rich Results.
Finally, make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Your text size, images, links, and navigation must be correctly formatted to show on smartphone and tablet screens. Also, your media files should be compressed to ensure they load quickly — research shows that faster sites have lower bounce rates.
Your Online Listings
The customer journey has become much more complex in the digital age, where people will learn about your gym from a variety of places online. As such, you want your business to be listed on as many relevant sites as possible — more local citations equal more visibility in local search.
One of the most important citation sources to claim your business on is Google Business profile. Your profile is how you show up in Google Maps and their Local Pack when someone searches for your business. You will also need to claim your business on many other sites, including Bing, Apple Maps, Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, your chamber of commerce, etc.
Directory listings also play an important role in helping search engines evaluate your online presence. They go through and check if your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data is the same across all your online listings. Inconsistent citation data can be a red flag. It makes them question if you are the same gym the user is searching for or if you are possibly a fake business. Having consistent and accurate information across the web provides a strong signal to search engines that you are who you say you are.
Your Online Reviews
To maximize their user experience, search engines want to provide the most helpful, quality answer possible. As such, they take your online reviews into account when deciding if they should show your business profile in their search results. The more good reviews/stars you have for your gym, the more likely you will show up in local searches.
So, make sure to ask your gym members in-person to review your facility online. Hang up posters showing the best platforms they could review your gym on. As previously discussed, recency is an important local search factor, so aim to get at least three to four new reviews a month. According to a 2021 survey, 22% of respondents only pay attention to reviews left in the past two weeks. Another 28% of respondents only pay attention to reviews written in the last month.
Each piece of content you produce — blogs, videos, social posts, podcasts, images, etc. — provides information about your business that search engines use to determine if you are relevant to the local search.
As such, focus on producing quality content that includes location signals. The more locally relevant content that you share, the higher the chances you will appear in local searches. You can incorporate location signals via:
- Check-ins on social media
- Content titles & headers
- File names
- Meta descriptions
If your gym is new, or you need to quickly boost your membership, you can also use paid advertising on platforms like Google, Facebook, etc. Gyms are visually dynamic environments, so instead of just relying on text ads, you might consider using formats such as video, social, and display ads to further highlight your facility and classes.
When setting up an ad campaign, make sure to set location parameters (such as city names or zip codes) to ensure your ads only run for people searching for gyms and fitness trainers in your community. Another way to signal that you are a local business is to include location keywords directly in your ad copy.
Your Email Marketing
Email marketing is relatively low effort and can generate a good ROI — if you do it right. Permission is key. Nobody likes receiving unsolicited messages, so make sure you only send emails to people who have signed up for email communication. It is also a good idea to tailor your audience subscriptions based on interest. For example, you might have an email list for people who only want to receive billing notifications and another list for people who want to get personal fitness advice.
Like any other type of content, you want to localize your emails. For example, suppose your city hosts a big marathon race each year — you might send out an email with training tips to help people get prepared. If you have multiple gym facilities, you can also alert subscribers to new equipment or classes offered at the specific location they use.
Branding is an important part of building awareness in your local community. Made up of various elements — including your name, logo, colors, spokespeople, content, etc. — the goal of branding is to have people associate positive ideas and feelings with your business.
One way to build your brand in a hyperlocal context is to get involved in your community. For example, you can support local organizations or partner with other local businesses for special events. Doing so will help to build positive ties with your gym in a way that large fitness chains can’t replicate.
The Tools for Hyperlocal Marketing Success
Surefire Local has created a leading business intelligence marketing platform that makes hyperlocal marketing easy. Designed for the needs of locally-focused businesses of all sizes, you can implement all the tips we discussed above from a single dashboard. Our integrated approach allows you to gain deep insights into your marketing data to find out what is and is not working, so you can improve your ROI.
Book your demo today and learn how the Surefire Local Marketing Platform can help you quickly build your local search visibility!