March 21, 2014

Why Your Fitness Company Needs Content Marketing

A quick look at the craze surrounding CrossFit, TRX, SoulCycle and Foam Rollers evidences one sweeping sentiment. Fitness is no longer a passing fad—spanning from right before New Year’s to a few weeks before spring; conversely it’s quickly becoming a go-to lifestyle.  In fact, Americans spend more than $60 billion annually to try to shed extra weight, dolling out dollars on everything from gym memberships to weight loss programs to diet supplements, according to data by Marketdata Enterprises, a market research firm specializing in tracking niche industries.

And with disposable income increasingly being allocated for fitness pursuits, the competition has become fiercer than ever.

To begin, the number of gyms and clubs has exploded. In 2005, for example, the Yellow Pages listed 26,830 fitness centers in the US and by 2012 that number skyrocketed to 30,500. Moreover, the number of people joining gyms has surged from 41.3 million in 2005 to an astounding 58.5 million in January of 2013. So what does this mean if you are part of a fitness franchise or an owner of a mom and pop gym? It means you better start increasing the treadmill speed from 4.0 to 7.0 because the race to the finish line just got a whole lot more crowded.

Simply put, breaking out of the pack and attracting new clientele in the fitness world has become a dog-eat-dog challenge, as the myriad of opportunities for consumers is vast. It no longer matters if you offer the best BOSU class in your area. If your club doesn’t also boast top-notch personal training, a sauna and racquetball you may be at a grave disadvantage. But the answer to getting more foot traffic in your gym is simple—and it does not require dumping exorbitant amounts of money in billboard ads, TV commercials and magazine advertisements. Conversely, it just involves taking a look at content marketing.

Let’s take a look at three ways content marketing can help drive customers to your facility:

  1. It Gives Your Members Something to Read: The fact is that your members—and prospective members—don’t just crave a killer UFX workout; they also crave invaluable nutrition, workout and exercise tips. It’s why so many fitness companies are starting to populate lifestyle blogs, rife with interviews with personal trainers, recipes of the day and recovery techniques. Your prospective members don’t want to read about your classes and best workout tips in a magazine. Rather, they want you to share them via social media and blogging, using the platforms they frequent.
  2. It Gets the Word out About Your Unique Differentiators: Are you hosting a special workout with “The Biggest Loser” trainer Dolvett Quince? Did your club just introduce a barre class? If you have something that sets your club apart from others in the area, you need to let potential new members know about it by leveraging content marketing. And the best way to do that is to have a consistent blogging platform so that when an interested party types in “Where can I find a barre class in [insert state]?” your gym pops up first.  
  3. It Keeps You Current: Your most loyal gym goers are the ones constantly looking to shock their bodies. They are the ones who come to the gym frequently and are always in search of a new class, exercise and routine. And that’s why they expect your marketing efforts to be as cutting-edge as your gym offerings. Routine flyers posted on the locker walls will not be enough to retain your current base and attract new members. Alternatively, you need to spice things up with email marketing campaigns, social media, blogging, etc. Your marketing efforts need to stay as fresh as your workouts.

So the next time you look to add some brand new Elliptical and Bikram Yoga classes, make sure you are spending equal time assessing your marketing best practices. Because if the two aren’t in synch, your fitness regimen will quickly become out of whack and your customers will be in search of something more rewarding.   

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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