Haley McCoy, the brand director at VASA Fitness, shares why marketing wellness to a gym-shy community is essential.
The gym can be an intimidating place. Upon walking into a fitness center, people seem to know what they’re doing. They are sweating on various cardio machines, lifting heavy dumbbells, and using various pieces of equipment to pull, push and twist.
While many were introduced to working out by a coach or through an organized sports team, not everyone has had the opportunity to learn how each piece of equipment is used and works. We all started somewhere, and as fitness professionals and club operators, it’s important to provide a welcoming, guided approach for those who might be entering a gym for the first time.
Our goal should be to make fitness as accessible as possible and show that it’s not just about a fit body or losing weight. Fitness is about holistic well-being, from physical fitness to inner confidence and mental strength. To get started, here are some tips for marketing wellness to a gym-shy community.
First Impressions Matter
It’s extremely hard to get someone to consider joining your gym if they have a bad first experience. The way you showcase your brand through marketing materials is the cornerstone of attracting new members. Your prospective members need to connect with your message and feel like they could belong to your community.
There will be seasoned athletes who join your gym and won’t need help navigating your club. But look around your facility and see who is there. The more someone can connect with the brand you’re selling, the more likely it is they’ll take the next step to learn more about you.
Member Stories Build Trust
Your branding is important, as is your mission, and there should be no disconnect between what you say and what you do. Your members can attest to it. Bring your brand to life by highlighting the success stories of your members. Let them share how your brand helped them reach their goals. They will tell your story better than you can because they have lived it. These stories create trust and give you instant credibility.
Showcase Your Expertise
In our digital world, content is king. Use it to showcase your expertise by providing tools to help members on their fitness journeys. Knowledge is power. The more digestible you make your content, the more confident someone will feel walking into your gym.
Marketing wellness can also be additional lifestyle content to help your members make healthy choices outside the gym. Even if they don’t join your club, providing relevant content to prospective members will help you stay top-of-mind.
Create a Welcoming Environment
Once someone has given you their business, it’s imperative the first 30 days of their membership are exceptional. For people just starting out on their fitness journeys, ensure they have a great experience from the beginning. This will help them feel connected to your brand and increase retention.
Get to know the newer members of your community and commit their names to memory. Take the time to welcome each individual and create opportunities to form personal connections with them. Everyone wants to feel seen. Acknowledging your members will help them feel like they belong at your gym.
If your employees don’t live your brand values, how do you expect your members to? When a team is kind, helpful, enthusiastic and excited about where they work, it permeates throughout your club. It also positively affects members.
Create opportunities for your teams to bond through workouts, service projects or team building workshops. When your employees are friends with each other, this sense of community extends to members. Price might get members in the door, but relationships — with your staff and each other — keep them there.
When your brand becomes an irreplaceable part of your member’s life, you’ll have a customer for life. They will help you grow your business through their own testimonials and personal connections.
Photo courtesy of VASA Fitness.