According to a recent study, the United States has the largest fitness market in the world. There are more than 62.4 million active gym members – a trend that shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.
But in an industry with this much competition, it demands the question – how does one successfully grow a fitness brand these days? What tips to follow to create a fitness app that would bring success? What are some of the marketing techniques you can use to build awareness and establish both trust and authority in a space with so many voices?
The answers to these questions do have straightforward answers, it’s just that they will require you to keep a few key things in mind along the way.
Utilize Social Media
By far, one of the best ways to grow your fitness brand – especially in the digital-driven world that we’re currently living in – involves leveraging social media to the best of your ability. This is especially true if you’re a trainer.
Sites like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and more have the potential to expose you to literally billions of people. One viral video, if you’re lucky enough to achieve it, could create the type of brand awareness that you literally cannot buy.
Doing so, however, requires you to keep a few key things in mind. All social media sites are different and they all speak to different audiences, so you need to first pay attention to where yours is in order to understand which channels are worth your time.
You also need to pay attention to what type of content works well on which platforms. Instagram tends to be heavily visually oriented, so photos of people working out or short videos would work well. You can also leverage IGTV for a longer exposure to your audience. TikTok users are used to incredibly short content – think a few seconds or more – so keep that in mind during the video creation process.
Facebook might be the place where you can write that long post about your fitness journey, whereas YouTube would be a better candidate for a longer video giving your thoughts on an industry topic. LinkedIn would be a perfect way to network with other industry professionals, hopefully in a mutually beneficial way.
Utilize Email Marketing
Equally important is your ability to use email marketing to get the word out – not just about your business, but about upcoming events, promotions that you may be running, and more.
One must acknowledge that this is not, however, an instant process. You need to spend time building your email marketing list to make sure that you’re focusing your effort on the types of people who are most likely to be receptive to your message in the first place.
You can do so by offering monthly emails offering tips and tricks for how to stay healthy and fit – essentially, give someone something of value without expressly asking for something in return, and they’re more likely to pay attention to what you have to say. You could also send interesting info that you think people might like, give your thoughts on industry news items, offer weekly recaps of what you’ve been up to, and more – all to keep people coming back for more.
Offer Fitness Freebies, Giveaways, Promotions, and More
Everybody loves free stuff – even if it’s not necessarily from a brand they’ve encountered before. That’s why this is also one of the best ways to grow your fitness brand – it takes someone and turns them into loyal customers in a way that also allows them to spread the word about your business far and wide.
You could offer free fitness merchandise like workout leggings, for example, that are branded with your business’ logo. You could even hold contests on various social media sites, giving away things like free personal training sessions or free spots for fitness classes.
All of this is important because it’s cheaper than conventional marketing, yes – but it also goes a long way towards instilling trust and loyalty in the people you’re trying to speak to. Someone may be on the fence about coming into your location, but they’re more likely to do so if they’re getting something for free. Once they do, they’re also more likely to head out into the world and tell other people about it – which in turn becomes the best form of marketing there is.
The same is true of opportunities like organizing free corporate fitness classes. When you meet with potential partners, reiterate the fact that healthy employees don’t just call off of work less frequently – they also tend to be happier and more engaged as well. That, in turn, leads to increased productivity, which leads to higher profit as well. This is something of legitimate value that you can offer to businesses in your area, and you can rest assured that some of those employees will eventually turn into customers, too.
Share Your Fitness Journey
Especially when it comes to something like fitness, people love an inspirational story. They have a particular goal that they’re trying to accomplish, and, at times, it may seem unattainable. But when they see someone else who has accomplished something similar, it gives them the drive they need to push forward. That’s why, if you’re able to, you should always share your fitness journey as well.
Social media is a great place to do this, but you can even do it on your own website. Talk about how you started small, working your way up to your current regimen. Detail how progress was slow at first, but you soon began to see results. Give people the inspiration they need to take the first steps of their own journey – which will give them motivation to embrace your fitness brand, too.
Collaborate with Influencers
Along the same lines, it’s important to remember that influencer marketing is one of the most important marketing opportunities available today – particularly among areas like health and fitness brands – and it doesn’t have to cost as much as you might expect.
People literally give more credibility to influencers than they do to the recommendations of their own friends and family members. They’ve become Internet celebrities in the best possible way, and that is absolutely something you can use to your advantage.
Pay attention to various social media channels and look at all the influencers that your target audience is paying attention to. Strategically reach out to them and see if they want to form a partnership. Maybe you can send them some fitness merchandise in exchange for an (honest) review. Maybe you can collaborate on a video to show off how to do a particular type of workout routine.
Regardless, you’re taking someone who your audience already trusts and are leveraging a bit of their own credibility for your advantage. Likewise, you’re taking someone with an audience that is probably a bit different than yours and hopefully catching the attention of people who otherwise wouldn’t have found out about your brand. Both of these things are a win-win, which is why influencer marketing is and will remain one of the most important techniques that people need to be taking advantage of.
Offer an Affiliate Program
Another option that works particularly well in the world of fitness involves offering an affiliate program. This is where you would pay other people like bloggers or influencers to advertise your products and services, all in the name of generating sales. You get increased sales, and the partner gets a commission on each one – again, a mutually beneficial situation if there ever was one.
Now, it’s important to note that you need to make sure you’re picking your affiliates carefully. Much like influencer marketing, whoever you choose is going to become associated with your brand, and you don’t want to select someone that doesn’t have core values that are closely aligned with your own. But if selected properly, an affiliate program can be a great way to attract attention and generate more money in one fell swoop.
Create Free, Shareable Content
One of the recurring themes about fitness marketing – and online marketing in general, for that matter – is that you need to be prepared to offer something of value for free. People no longer have time for traditional advertising – they’re already being bombarded with it all day, every day.
But if you write an eBook with fitness tips that you’re willing to give away for free in exchange for getting someone to sign up for your email list, they’re more likely to make that decision. The same could be true of blog posts on your website filled with healthy recipes that they can use in the new year.
You could even take to your YouTube channel and post-workout videos. You could tackle a couple of common techniques that most people get wrong in a few short minutes, showing them the proper form and how to get the most out of their experience. Use professional video editing services to enhance your content before posting it on your channel, as it will help you make it more engaging.
You could post infographics that include helpful fitness statistics and things of that nature that people might find enlightening.
Another great opportunity is to post Q&A videos with other people in your industry, dispelling certain myths that people might have in general.
Finally, you could post fitness video bloopers and other fun things – not only to show off your brand but to show off a little bit of your own personality at the exact same time.
The Art of Personal Branding
Personal branding is also something you’ll definitely want to focus on, and while your website is an important part of this, you need to recognize that your efforts cannot end there.
Your logo should be reflective of not just the fitness industry, but the impression that you want to give off when people experience it for the first time. All of the merchandise that you offer should be consistent with this branding in order to not create a sense of confusion. You could even offer supplements that people can use to further their own fitness journeys, thus showing them that you continue to care and invest in their success even when you’re not personally engaging with them.
Just make sure that every single piece of content that you put out into the world is consistent with everything else you’re doing. If someone goes to your website, they should feel the same voice if they then go to your social media. They should feel your unique personality. It shouldn’t be totally confusing. The visuals should be the same.
Guest appearances are another great idea to grow your fitness brand, though it’s one area where you’ll need to get creative. Similar in concept to influencer marketing, pay attention to those people with things like YouTube channels who are already operating in your area and see if you can join them for a recorded session.
It could be an interview or a workout session; it doesn’t matter – you’re leveraging the power of their audience to your advantage. Along the same lines, don’t be afraid to reach out to the local news to see if they’d like to do a guest spot on one of the morning programs. This is especially common on the weekends, which also happens to coincide with when people have more time because the busy work week is over, and they’re more receptive to the idea of focusing on their health.
Local Marketing and Flash Mobs
Local marketing and flash mobs are other opportunities that are well worth taking advantage of. Don’t shy away from the advantages of print marketing – meaning creating fliers, pamphlets, and other printed materials that you can leave in stores or pass out to people on the street.
People think that in the digital world, print fitness marketing is dead. That’s absolutely not true, however. People love print materials because they are tangible – it’s so easy to just hit “Delete” and remove an email from your inbox, but a print flier is something you can hold in your hand. You can pin it up on your refrigerator or hand it off to a friend or family member.
Likewise, flash mobs could be a great way to create the right type of attention for your brand. Maybe you could say that at a certain time on an upcoming Saturday, you and whoever decides to join you are going to suddenly have an outdoor yoga session at a local park. The more people that show up, the more attention you’re likely to get – all of which plays well in the long run.
To Wrap It Up
Overall, the most important thing to understand about growing your fitness brand is that it won’t be any one of these techniques that is the “silver bullet” you’re looking for. More often than not, it is going to require a combination of many of them to reach as many people as possible.
Likewise, never forget the old saying that “slow and steady wins the race.” This is especially true in an admittedly niche industry like fitness. But the harder you work and the more consistent you are with the efforts, the more you’ll start to work towards your goals. At a certain point, your efforts will begin to generate their own sense of momentum – which in and of itself is the most important benefit of all.
About the Author
Stephen is a professional content writer in the field of fitness and talks about very unique topics like weight loss affirmations. He uncovers all types of diets such as Ketogenic diet, Atkins, Whole30, and OMAD.