The Gym Marketing Plan: What Is It All About?

If you caught yourself thinking about heading to the gym and doing some bone-breaking, booty sweat workouts because you wanted to look like the next Kendall Jenner, then yes, that is what a gym marketing plan is all about. A gym marketing plan is a documented strategy that aims to create leads, attract potential clients or customers, reach out to old and new target markets, with the intent to increase sales revenue through gym membership fees and other value-added services. Gyms rely on membership fees to keep their operations up and running. To do that, marketing strategies are created around concepts of beauty and lifestyle, creating a need to live a healthier lifestyle, or else adopt role models that represent what it means to be fit and healthy. When we think about gyms, what comes to mind are these large function rooms with workout equipment placed side by side, and people in them are either running, pushing, or grinding. We also have this picture of gym instructors counting down, or sometimes barking out instructions or phrases of what appears to be motivating for the customers. A lot of work has been put into creating that mastermind gym marketing plan. To stay on top of the game and to continue operating, gyms must keep up with the times with updated marketing campaigns, and develop SMART goal-type strategies. Out with the old, in with the new, as they say.

Top 4 Gym Marketing Strategies 

Gym marketing strategies are all about gaining new members. Strategies should be created based on the SMART method; Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The traditional method of packing your bags and heading out to the nearest gym still exist, but more innovative methods of working out keep on coming out of the woodwork, such as websites showcasing gym workout routines that you can either download or watch the live stream, workout digital apps that you can download and do your exercise at anywhere and anytime and even social media have broadened through social networking platforms, such as doing Zoom workout classes. As there is a lot to contend with in this day and age for gyms to keep up, marketing strategies should remain focused on the goal of what a gym wishes to accomplish. Here are some of the proven effective top marketing gym strategies.

Moving Towards Content Marketing: Are the days of flyering and pamphlets hand-outs all gone? Not totally, probably. Somewhere and in some way, these traditional methods still exist. But what has certainly overrun these was the advent of content marketing. Content marketing is your blogs, vlogs, and social media articles. It is a strategy of creating online content materials for sharing or distributing to attract, engage, stimulate the interest of the audience in the brand that it represents. The use of keywords and optimizing them through SEO (search engine optimization) creates brand awareness. Most often, content is created not to directly sell. They’re usually created to build a need by mentioning the product as a solution, especially when it comes to health and fitness. Content marketing is a very competitive strategy. Competitions are coming out of nowhere almost daily, so it is a must that the online team creates contents that are engaging enough to stand out and be the first choice when it comes to customers’ making their decision.Step Up in Social Media: What’s the best way to spread the word out faster than by posting it on social media? Social media has become this powerful and universal communication channel that reaches anyone everywhere in a millisecond, as long as there is an internet connection. Considered as the top marketing strategy for promotional campaigns, in the case of a gym, potential clients would love to have a visual of what the promoted gym looks like. They would also love to read feedback and reviews that ultimately influence their decision. An example of a social media strategy is posting live streams on Facebook or Instagram where there is an ongoing audience engagement. Social media marketing is also a good platform if a gym is after targeted customers. For instance, in Facebook, there are settings where you can be able to choose and categorize relevant viewers so that your posts will appear on the targeted market’s newsfeed.Encourage Referrals: The good old referral program is never a letdown when it comes to marketing strategy. People often trust word-of-mouth recommendations, since it is a way of communicating consumers’ experiences with a particular product or service. An effective referral program is also cost-saving compared to the average advertising expenses. Instead of paying for your brand’s ad display fees, the referral program relies on positive customers feedback and reviews. A gym referral program could be in the form of a plus 1 membership, wherein a new customer signs up and pays for the regular fee, and in turn, the customer can bring along somebody else to sign up for free.Creating an Affiliate Marketing Program: What’s great about gyms and fitness centers is that their core value is health and fitness lifestyle, an easy concept to create an affiliate marketing program. Affiliate marketing is when a company remunerates a third party that generates new customers for the business. In the case of a gym, the best third-party who can help produce new customers are medical professionals, nutritionists, or even educational institutions. For instance, doctors who recommend to their patients to have a regular workout routine point them in the direction of the gym they’re affiliated with. In turn, the gym provides the doctor with either membership discounts or compensation in the form of commissions. Affiliate marketing is also very much prevalent in the online world. Bloggers or vloggers often have registration links of the product or service that they’re promoting within their content as a way for them to gain a steady revenue stream through commissions whenever someone uses their links to register. So you see, affiliate marketing never goes out of style.

Creating a Gym Marketing Plan

A brand new gym with shiny new equipment and a fantastic workout ambiance is nothing without its gym clientele. What makes a gym come to life are the people working out on the treadmills, the bars and benches, the dumbbells and the barbells, the stationary bikes, the people dancing in aerobics classes, and not to mention the sweaty yet motivating atmosphere. Membership is what keeps a gym up and running. To inspire, motivate, and encourage more members to join, a good and effective gym marketing plan is a must. There are a lot of formats that can be used in creating a gym marketing plan, but here are the essential elements that you need to know when you’re planning on making one.

  • Step 1: Defining the Executive Summary

    The Executive Summary of a gym marketing plan essentially gives an overview of how you intend to reach your target market and increase gym membership enrollment. It also provides a brief background of the gym, along with its culture and values. An executive summary can also contain the mission and vision statements. The Mission Statement provides the intent behind the marketing plan, what its goals and objectives are. The Vision Statement paints a picture of what you hope the marketing plan achieves in a given period. The executive summary, including the mission and vision statements, should overall set the tone of the whole marketing plan to motivate and provide a call for action.

  • Step 2: Analyzing the Market Condition

    Often known as the Market Analysis, analyzing the market condition will help determine if there is a niche in the market for the product or service offered, or will also determine how well can the product or service penetrate the current market. To do this, you need first to identify who are your target customers by doing a demographics classification. This is done by categorizing customers according to their age, gender, lifestyle, income, location, et cetera. Next is by doing a SWOT Analysis. SWOT analysis in a gym marketing plan is identifying the Strengths of the gym, such as what makes it stand out from its competition; identifying the Weaknesses, or what factors are hindering the gym from becoming a successful business such as low membership enrollment, lack of resources or equipment, lack of funding, and so on; identifying the Opportunities, such as taking advantage of digital media platforms to increase advertising campaigns; and identifying Threats, which are factors that could potentially harm a gym’s operation like an increase of competitors presence, an increase of workout online trends that could discourage a customer from going to an actual gym, or health crises that prevent members from going to the gym, like the recent pandemic.

  • Step 3: Gym Marketing Tactics

    This is where you present your gym marketing strategies. Keep in mind that the intent of creating your marketing strategies for a gym marketing plan, aside from increasing gym membership enrollment, is to provide solutions to your clienteles’ needs, and to present value-added service for health and fitness that your clients can greatly benefit from. Marketing strategies should also be bound to a timeline so that you can be able to monitor how far you are on accomplishing your goals. Some of the marketing strategies we have identified are creating an online presence through social media, and referral and affiliate programs. Be sure to always review the progress of your marketing strategies, and be ready to make some revisions as necessary.

  • Step 4: Financial Reviews

    Having a budget and knowing what expenses you’re up against is an essential part of a gym marketing plan. A financial review includes a balance sheet that shows the gym’s assets, its liabilities, and its other investments. It also contains the budget on hand, versus the startup costs and the overhead expenses. A financial review can also give projections of how much the gym will increase its revenue based on the marketing campaigns and strategies. Having a well-drafted financial review helps influence decision making, especially when it comes to creating marketing strategies. It also determines how healthy the current status of the business is when it comes to its finances. If there is a need to secure additional funding and resources, a financial review can be able to point that out, and the review can be used as a presentation for potential investors. Be sure to be accurate and transparent when presenting the numbers, so that you will have a realistic view of the market outcome.


What are the other ways to successfully market a gym?

Aside from the usual gym marketing strategies, here are some ways in which you can effectively market a gym: 1) Offer a free-day pass – A free-day pass can allow potential customers to get the feel of what it’s like working out in the gym and will also allow them to use the gym’s different facilities and equipment.; 2) Use brand ambassadors, celebrities, or social media influencers to promote the gym.; 3) Hosting a competition wherein the winner gets a one-year free membership gym pass.; 4) Provide value-added services, such as free massage for new gym members, or free consultations with licensed health professionals.; and 5) Promotional giveaways for every visit to the gym, whether to sign up or just to inquire, visitors get freebies such as tumblers, caps, towels, mugs, et cetera.

What are the usual services offered and equipment found in a gym facility?

Gyms offer several health and fitness services such as personal fitness training; classes like aerobics dance class, yoga, body pump, spinning, Zumba, circuit training, et cetera; or spa, and physiotherapies, and so on. Typical gym equipment is training benches, treadmills, stationary bicycles, rowing machines, fitness ball, kettlebell set, dumbbell set, barbell set, pull-up bars, and also sometimes even a swimming pool and a sauna or steam rooms.

What are some of the expenses involved in a gym business operation?

Common expenses found in a gym business operation are the startup and operating costs. Startup costs are the expenses required to launch the gym, such as licensing and permits, registrations, insurance, office and accounting supplies, marketing costs, and tools and equipment. Operating costs are the expenses incurred during the day-to-day operation of the gym, like the payment for utilities, maintenance, payroll, rental fee (if applicable), and the overall administrative and marketing expenses.

That’s right. It’s a “no pain, no gain” situation when it comes to marketing a gym. The pain comes in the form of effective planning and strategizing, and the gain comes in the form of increased gym membership enrollment. Going to the gym is more than just coming out and looking like America’s next top model. It’s about the understanding of the important need of exercising, of working out to achieve the overall optimal health through a good health and fitness lifestyle. And that’s what a gym marketing plan is aiming for. 

Creating a gym marketing plan isn’t that hard to do. With the help of our marketing plan templates that you can download, you can be able to draft your own personalized gym marketing plan in no time! Check out our templates, and start taking those steps towards a successful gym marketing campaign.