So you’ve opened a gym, and now it’s time to fill it up with awesome people. Below are three awesome, tried-and-true marketing strategies that will help you build your business and bolster your brand. And best of all? These strategies are so easy anyone can do them and will cost you little to no money!
1. Write A Daily Email To Your Members
I know what you’re thinking: A daily email? I have to write an email everyday? It sounds like a lot of work (and yes—it certainly requires plenty of effort and prep) however, I think you’ll come to see how damn valuable it will be to your business. Back when my husband, Josh, and I owned our gym, I wrote a daily email to our subscribers. This daily email played a key role in both member retention and member acquisition.
From the retention standpoint, I was able to keep our current members engaged and keep our business top-of-mind. It was also a great way to win back any former athletes that cancelled their membership.
In terms of acquisition, our daily email reminded any subscribers that weren’t yet members that we are here, that we offer tons of value, and that we are ready for them to join when they want to take the next step. Capture new email addresses to reach these potential new customers on your website, social pages, and at local events (more on that below.)
The content of these daily emails is everything. If you write five sales emails a week to your subscriber list, you’ll be getting a lot of “(insert email address here) has unsubscribed from your daily email list.” As marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuck tells us in his bestselling book Jab Jab Jab Right Hook, "Your story needs to move people's spirits and build their goodwill, so that when you finally do ask them to buy from you, they feel like you've given them so much it would be almost rude to refuse."
For this daily email to work well, you’ve got to share personal stories, teach them new things, make them smile, show them success stories. Basically, you need to build rapport and provide value like no other. Then, and only then, should you ask for something. Monthly newsletters are out. Daily emails are in. You heard it here first!
2. Host a Free Monthly Community Workout
Let people experience how fun your gym is by bringing your gym to them! Events are a great way to build community and entice new members. Host a free monthly workout that anyone can come to. Run the free class at the same park every month (note: you may need a permit) and make sure it’s the best, most beautiful park within a five mile radius of your gym.
Program a workout that’s really fun, partner or team-based, and won’t crush the souls of the beginner athletes. I once made the mistake of programming a super-intense WOD for our free community workout (all I can recall is an obscene number of burpees) and literally scared all the new folks away. Lesson learned! Let the words “fun” and “intriguing” be your inspiration for this class.
Get the word out by posting flyers at local businesses that have community boards (run shops, juice bars, retail fitness businesses, coffee shops, etc.) and by asking your current members to come to the workout and bring a friend. Do the workout on a Saturday morning and CLOSE YOUR GYM during the workout. This will encourage your current members to come to the class and bring their friends and family. The more the merrier!
3. Recruit and Nurture Brand Ambassadors
My first introduction to Lululemon Athletica was back in 2010 when I was asked to be a “lululemon ambassador.” Fast forward to today, and I’m still a huge advocate for the brand, and have spent thousands of my hard-earned dollars on stretchy pants and flowy tops. This company created an extremely loyal follower (me) by asking her to be their brand ambassador for a year. They gave me lots of cash to buy clothes (which I’d likely wear while coaching fitness classes), put my picture on the wall in their store (which made me feel super warm and fuzzy inside), and invited me to cool and special events (which made me feel like a rockstar).
You can recreate this same awesomeness in your fitness business. We did, and it worked beautifully. Find one or two of your most wonderful members. Invite them to coffee. Thank them for being awesome, and tell them that you’d like to give them a complimentary membership to your gym. Tell them you think they are the perfect person to be an ambassador for your business, and that you’d be honored for them to accept.
It’s important to explain to your new ambassador that you don’t expect anything specific from them. They’re already doing exactly what you’d like them to do (coming to class all the time, bringing in friends, sharing their gym experience on social media, etc.). Your goal is to simply encourage the continuation of this behavior and show them gratitude for being loyal, wonderful members.
In short, don’t wait to share what you’re doing in your local community. Start by sending a daily email, hosting a free monthly workout, and recruiting awesome brand ambassadors. These three strategies, done consistently and lovingly, will organically build your business quickly… because you’ve got a gym to run!