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How Gyms and Fitness Centers Can Ramp Up Marketing During COVID-19

We won’t sugarcoat things: gyms and fitness centers are facing some difficult circumstances. Many have been forced to close and put memberships on hold until shelter-in-place orders have subsided. If you own a small gym or a private studio, you’re likely thinking that now isn’t the time to focus on fitness marketing. 

Hold that thought – we’re here to tell you that this time period provides a good opportunity to ramp up your marketing, not slow down. 

There are some great examples of gyms who are utilising these quarantine months to put new spins on a gym advertisement and messages to their clients. 

If you want to follow their lead, here’s how your gym or fitness center can snatch the opportunity. 

Offer Virtual Assistance

The best gym marketing tactic these days is to encourage viewers to get moving with you – even if it’s from their own homes.

You’ve probably seen many fitness studios, like Hot Yoga Richardson, offering virtual classes to keep their customers engaged and happy. It doesn’t matter if you teach Zumba, weight lifting, yoga, martial arts, or something else entirely – learning to increase user engagement via the internet is a hugely beneficial move for all fitness-related businesses right now. 

What’s even better than being a member and getting access to online workout material? Getting FREE classes online – even if you’ve never used the gym before. 

One of the best ways to market sports gyms right now is to entice future customers by engaging them in online classes for free. We don’t know about you, but we’d certainly rather join a gym post-quarantine that was there for us during the pandemic than one that was silent. 

Plus, these live-streams or online videos can serve as a “free trial” of sorts, giving people the opportunity to see what your fitness company really has to offer.

Provide Social Media Sneak Peeks

Gyms across the world are doing a lot of cool things to reach people on social media. In retrospect, this is a fantastic way to not just appeal to current members, but to also reel in new members looking to stay in shape while in quarantine. 

To give you a mainstream example, Planet Fitness has started free no-equipment-needed “work-ins” on their social media pages – of which are available to everyone. They’ve partnered with a number of high-profile athletes to run these sessions and promoted the events on Facebook and Instagram.

Now, you might not have the budget to bring in professional athletes to run your virtual classes. But this doesn’t mean you can’t use social media to generate hype!

Consider creating one to two-minute previews of your virtual lessons to promote on the major social platforms. If you haven’t looked into social media fitness marketing, now is the time!

Focus on Branded Content 

Our next tip is to continue teaching with branded content. People don’t need gyms or fitness studios to work out – they turn to them for guidance. Whether they get that through machines, instructors, classes, or simply the people around them, gym members want to be guided. 

There are plenty of ways you can push branded content these days. People are searching for things like at-home workouts, healthy recipes, daily habits, or simply some words of wisdom! 

Gracie Barra Chelmsford, a martial arts gym, demonstrates an excellent example when it comes to guiding people through quarantine.

Although Gracie Barra Chelmsford could have easily taken this time off and avoided making any big statements, they chose to continue their martial arts instruction through Zoom classes and online competitions for their members. They worked to remind people what martial arts is really about: positive attitude. 

If there’s one thing we could all use right now, it’s a little more positivity. As a gym, taking that position as a positive guiding force (in any capacity) is an extremely smart marketing move.

Prepare for Reopening

It’s safe to say that when quarantine is lifted and the world reopens, people are going to be flocking to gyms left and right. This is the time you really need to be coming up with ways to get those people in the door!

So how can do you this?

Well, unfortunately, you probably won’t be getting many signups while quarantine is in effect. However, there are many things you can do right now to set yourself up for when the time comes. 

How do you think most people will be looking for gyms once businesses start opening back up? 

Chances are, there will be a lot of Google searches for “gyms near me” or “gyms in [YOUR CITY]. 

Start by focusing on your website and do some “housecleaning” while your physical location is closed. Here are some great places to start:

  • Conduct a thorough SEO audit to make sure all the pieces are in place to show up on Google searches. 
  • Make sure your Google My Business data is correct.  
  • Update up your membership incentives and promotions. 
  • Examine your website’s user experience and how the process of signing up is for visitors – the name of the game is simplicity. 

If you haven’t updated your website in years, now is the perfect time to for a nice refresh!

Quarantine will pass. 

The last thing you want is to be dusting off cobwebs when people start flooding gyms again. Once stay-at-home orders are lifted, you need to come out of the gate swinging!

In Conclusion

These times are scary and uncertain, especially for businesses (like gyms) that have been forced to entirely shut their doors to customers until COVID-19 ends. Although this might make you want to slow down your marketing campaigns, we encourage you to ramp up with specific strategies. 

By altering your marketing messages to mirror the times and give people what they need, you’ll come out ahead once quarantine is lifted and people want to return to their regular workout routines. For any questions or concerns regarding fitness marketing and making it through these tough times, contact us at Fitclub Agency! We’re always happy to help!

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Rob Simpson

Rob started Judo at just 7 years old and, after years competing at national and regional championships, he discovered Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The rest, as they say, is history! He turned his hobby into a business when he opened a martial arts gym. This lead to consulting and developing leads and marketing systems for major businesses, franchise brands, fitness entrepreneurs and gym owners.

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