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What Gym Owners Should Know about Digital Marketing

Photo: someone working out in a gym or fitness center

If you own or operate a gym or studio, then you know how difficult it can be to make your location stand out. The health and fitness industry is a crowded market, with some gyms competing on the same block or in the same strip mall. Distinguishing your facility from its competitors can be a real challenge because you’re basically offering people the same thing that other fitness studios are offering. And that’s a safe place to get into shape.
Despite the inherent competitiveness in the health and fitness arena, many gym and studio owners lack a marketing plan. What does that mean? It means entrepreneurs who don’t have a marketing strategy have no way of linking whatever marketing they’re doing, if any, to set goals. If you’re marketing without a plan, you don’t have a connection between your starting and end points, which makes it impossible to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.
Look at it this way. Would you engage in a given exercise without knowing how it might improve your cardio or sculpt your body? No, you wouldn’t. Instead, you’d research the exercises that would produce the result you want and you’d do them as often as you could. When it comes to small business marketing, gym and studio owners should take a similar approach to promoting their locations.

Use the 7 Pillars of Digital Marketing

Even though fitness centers are essentially offering people the same service, there isn’t one set way to market gyms and studios across the board. With this in mind, your digital marketing plan may differ wildly from the strategies other fitness centers use even if they’re located in the same community as yours and they cater to the same target audience.
Although your digital marketing strategy may be different from your competitors’ plans, every digital marketing plan should have some core components. In fact, your plan should include the 7 pillars of digital marketing.


Too many gyms and studios operate without a website or they have a website that provides an unpleasant user experience. Your website has the potential to influence many other pieces of your overall digital marketing plan, such as your search engine optimization, SEM and paid ads, just to name a few of those pieces.
Because your website is such a key component of your digital marketing strategy, you need to give your website a lot of attention if it isn’t already up to snuff. Make sure your site has a responsive design that will look great on any screen and in any browser.
List the workout classes you provide and make it easy for people to book a training session with just a few clicks. Provide a virtual tour of the gym so people will know what to expect when they walk through the physical doors.


In general, people are going to look for fitness centers close to them when they’re searching for a gym they plan to use regularly. With this in mind, you may want to focus on content that speaks directly to people located near your studio and material that discusses things about your area.
Rather than conduct broad-based SEO campaigns, you may want to conduct local SEO campaigns instead. This can help people find your site in searches that include the words “near me” or the name of your city, which can increase the likelihood that they’ll contact or visit your studio.


Did you know that email has a conversion rate of 66 percent, which is higher than the conversion rate for any other digital marketing channel? Well it does. Email is also more effective at acquiring clients than Facebook or Twitter.
You can use email to let your subscribers know about any special promotions you’re running. You may want to use email to try to recapture former members of your gym as well. Email is a great way to share personalized workout tips with your subscribers and promote a referral program, too.

Online Ads

Whether you’re going to run ads on social media or you’re going to go with Google AdWords, running ads on the Internet is a great way to target a specific audience. Online ad platforms have many tools that enable you to get your ads in front of the audience you want to attract, which can help generate leads and conversions for your fitness center.


Many people will choose to consume content in video format if they have the choice between watching a video or reading text about the same topic. That’s because the majority of people are visual learners who retain more of what they see than they remember about what they read.
With video being the preferred format for so many people, it’s wise to incorporate video into your online content if you want to attract more organic visitors and get them to stay on your digital channels for longer periods. You can create videos of people working out, make videos that demonstrate the proper way to perform exercises or film clips that explain how certain pieces of equipment should be used.

Social Media

Social media is a great way for gym and studio owners to promote their locations. With social sites now offering you the chance to share live videos, you can even let your social media followers in on a live workout class so they can participate no matter where they’re located!

Reviews and Testimonials

It’s no secret that many consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust the recommendations they get from their friends, family members and coworkers. You should encourage your members to share their thoughts about your gym or studio online by writing reviews. You should also make it easy for people to see the reviews that people write about your fitness center by providing a feed on your site and/or linking to third-party review sites where your facility is listed.
While reviews and testimonials have the potential to drive traffic to your location, they can also help your website to rank better in search engine results pages which can drive even more people to your fitness center. Reviews give you another chance to interact with your members and prospects by allowing you to respond to the comments people make about your facility, which can be invaluable if someone leaves a negative review.

How We Can Help

If you need help marketing your fitness center, we can provide assistance in several ways. We offer digital marketing training programs where you can pick up all the skills you’ll need to promote your gym or studio. We can also act as your virtual marketing department. Our expert team can handle all the things that are involved with creating and executing a highly effective digital marketing plan.
For more information about our in-depth training programs or our services, schedule a discovery session with Musselwhite Marketing now.

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