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25 Powerful Low & No-Cost Marketing Strategies

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The health club industry has tried and tried, and tried again to get more than16 percent of our population to be members of a health club. It just seems to be a number we’re stuck on. While it is exciting that we have a prospect list of 84 percent of our target markets, the cruel reality is that most health clubs will never attract any of them.

It has proven difficult to penetrate our markets deeper than that for a variety of reasons: economic conditions, competition, smarter consumers, other competing “quick fix” products, etc. Our research has shown that even though you won’t reach the larger majority of the deconditioned population in your community, by using low and no-cost marketing strategies, you can make a sizeable dent. The secret is to use a variety of Grassroots and Guerrilla style marketing strategies, and to utilize them consistently. 

Here is a list of low-cost, no-cost Grassroots strategies that you can begin using to help increase your share of this untapped market. A few have been used for a long time in our industry, but most are often overlooked. However, if you can implement these strategies consistently, you will generate new members. It just takes time, as well as a commitment to integrating yourself more into your community. Hopefully some of these get your creative juices flowing:

  • Marketing to area businesses: Payroll stuffers, set up a table, email blasts, etc.
  • B2BTelemarketing: Call area businesses to give away free trial memberships
  • Fax to Chamber of Commerce members: Only if you are a member yourself
  • Area Colleges: Student mailboxes, presentations to fraternities/sororities, etc.
  • Apartment Complexes: Put flyers in their welcome packets, sponsor a breakfast
  • Community Functions: Trade shows, silent auctions, health fairs, college orientation
  • Car Flyers: Make sure you ask permission if you are on private property!
  • Call Trial Members: See how their workouts are going and if you can help in any way
  • Can Food Drive: Partner with local food pantry and receive free publicity
  • Newspaper Ad: A $5 bill for the first 50 people who come in for a tour on Saturday!
  • Bar Promotion: Collect names and numbers, one free membership at midnight
  • Sporting Event Promotion: Same strategy as bar promotion
  • Senior Citizen Events: Perhaps an early-bird membership special for the slower times
  • Partner with Restaurants: Bring in a receipt from the Taco House for half off enrollment
  • Auto Dealers: Free trial membership with every test drive
  • Bridal Shops: Special 12-Week bridal boot camp program
  • Bandit signs: small signs stuck in the ground at busy intersections near your club
  • Pizza Partnership: Tape coupons to pizza boxes, offer management free membership
  • Online Leads: Offer a free report or trial pass on website, then follow up with emails
  • Large Announcement Banner: Month of May Free for all Colorado Springs Residents!
  • Fish Bowls: Similar to lead boxes; Drop business card here to receive trial membership
  • Community Seminars: Free health seminars and screenings to increase traffic
  • Hold Parties: Have members bring friends, announce on radio, free food/beer
  • Newsletter: Bribe your members, “Free nutritional analysis for membership referral”
  • New member referrals: New members are excited and want to refer…just ask!

Remember, the key to successfully reaching new prospects is to utilize many of these strategies simultaneously. Continue marketing your club with the above methods consistently, and you will begin to attract many people in your community you would not have reached through traditional marketing methods.

Curtis Mock is the host of  www.FitnessBusinessTelevision.com the TV show for fitness entrepreneurs. He is also the executive director of gymsuccess.com. Curtis can be reached at curtis@clubsolutionsmagazine.com.

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  1. Rick September 3, 2010

    These are great marketing avenues and no doubt will bring more people in for memberships. How much of that 16% that are now members are actually more fit than the 84% of the “de-conditioned” population. Being a member does not make you fit. Perhaps marketing to the existing members with new and innovative programming that fits the market could make a difference in the conditioning level. My experience with most health clubs is that the service of connecting to your members almost disappears once the membership has been secured.

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