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Marketing Messages as an Industry


With what seems like an ever-increasing rise in obesity-related health issues in the U.S., health club operators have always thought of themselves as part of the solution. 

For some consumers, a fitness center of any type is viewed as intimidating, uncomfortable, unclean and teeming with perfectly fit, sweaty bodies flexing in the mirror. While we all strive to eliminate that misconception, the stigma still exists.  

Now, with what feels like “the new normal,” operators face even more scrutiny and hardship as we encounter a record number of freeze requests and cancelations from members due to coronavirus concerns. In order to move forward and come out of this stronger, we must take a new approach to how we market to both current and potential members. Our message must be a focused approach that works to offset the fears so many have. 

It’s not simply about getting new members, but also engaging current members and helping them feel safe. Marketing campaigns should be geared toward new, current, past and frozen members, highlighting safety protocols and the myriad health benefits of exercise. 

I recommend using multiple platforms. Try text, video, pictures and internal and external campaigns — whatever platforms you have at your disposal. Be sure to utilize: 

  • Staff and member testimonials.
  • Recommendations from health care providers.
  • Tips on working out with a mask.
  • “Thank you” campaigns for those members who are still with you.
  • Organic, heartfelt messages from the owners and operators that highlight everything you are doing to provide a safe place for your community to engage in health and fitness.  

As an industry, our messages must flow seamlessly from the initial marketing message to the way the staff frames their greetings, tours and sales messages. We must listen to our members and our team to find the appropriate messaging as we fight tirelessly to show everyone we are safe, we are clean and we are essential in the fight against coronavirus, in conjunction with mental, physical and social health.

Landon Burningham

Landon Burningham is the founder and CEO of Physiq Fitness with four locations in Oregon and the owner of Burningham Consulting. With more than 15 years of experience in the fitness industry, he is eager to share his passion and experience with others.

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