3 Marketing Challenges That Make Fitness Chains Sweat


With the United States offering more fitness center options than any other country in the world, effectively marketing to new and existing members can prove quite the challenge.

And, as boutique fitness centers continue cropping up (seen any fire yoga centers yet?) and in-home fitness solutions rise in popularity (Peloton is making the treadmill cool again), finding your ideal audience has never been harder.

Let’s take a look at three common marketing challenges fitness chains face and how you can overcome them.


1. Demographic confusion


Fitness chains have a diverse clientele base, and this (while a good thing in theory) can make it difficult to understand what potential new members and their specific needs look like.

Because of their members’ diversity, fitness groups tend to fall back on geocentric marketing—soliciting potential members based on location alone. Another standard approach is to target males and females as well as age groups (under/over 35) differently.

While those tactics are solid, you must take into consideration more than just gender, age or mailing address to truly understand your current customers and ideal potential members. You need to look at specific data like income, household decision makers and fitness motivators, among other considerations.

Utilizing specific and actionable data allows you to communicate with distinct demographics. That data also allows you to reach a dynamic population so that the person receiving your marketing finds your content relevant and relatable—driving genuine interest.

Customer acquisition starts with knowing your customers. Here’s a real-world example: by switching from matching data via postal records to matching based on demographics, a national fitness chain increased their potential members from 2.5 million to approximately 15 million.


2. High membership turnover


You’ve worked hard to acquire an extensive database full of current, potential and former members’ contact information. You’ve marketed to those people, and some of them actually come through your doors. However, they seem to disappear after their 90-day introductory discounted fee goes away, or you can’t get them to upgrade from the most basic membership tier.

In today’s hyper-competitive gym-scape, you have to touch on what’s relevant in a member’s life; you’ve got to be personal without being intrusive. And good retention starts with good data. You need to know why members are leaving, and what their motivating drivers are, in order to keep them. If you don’t understand your current clientele, how can you retain them as customers?

Having insight into your customers, and their specific fitness goals/objectives, allows you to target members at the optimal time, through the best channel, with the right message.

Member profiling, including data about demographic and behavioral selects, can help you more effectively target and engage your audience. This information, along with targeted content, drives real interest. It also develops more authentic customer connections and builds brand loyalty.


3. Spray and pray email campaigns (marketing to everyone, converting no one)


As part of your 2019 marketing initiatives, you decide to run a new member email campaign. You’ve got your list of email addresses, and feel pretty confident about your delivery methods. So you run the campaign, emailing potential members four times over four weeks. And then you wait, and wait and wait with nothing more than a handful of lukewarm leads to show for all of your hard work. Sound familiar?

Making it into a potential member’s inbox is great, but it’s not enough. People want experiences they can relate to. They want their preferences taken into consideration. And that’s not easy to do unless you “know” your customers.

Almost every part of your email marketing campaigns should be personalized. From sender names and subject lines to copy, images and offers, personalizing content is essential. Having the right kind of content, as well as the right technology to service that content, solves many email marketing challenges.


More Effectively Target and Engage Customers

Keep your membership numbers in tip-top shape by using specific data and personalized content to understand (and provide) what members actually want—improving your customer experience while turning up the tempo on your fitness marketing.

Give us a call or drop us a line to learn how Keono can help pump up your customer acquisition and retention today.