How do you market your health club or spa? Are there any marketing strategies specific to the health and fitness industry that will give you an edge over your competition? We asked owners and marketing professionals for their best health club and spa marketing ideas. Here’s what they told us.
Booker is a great resource for spas and health clubs to manage bookings, payment, customer management, and marketing all in one system. Booker automatically distributes your open appointments on sites like Yelp, plus allows customers to book appointments through Facebook. You can market your business using Booker by sending custom email and text marketing messages. You can also create and track gift certificates on the fly and get a custom ecommerce store for your products and services. This could allow you to boost sales and increase productivity by over 40%.
Chris Post, President & Founder, Post Modern Marketing
Too many health clubs have horrible websites. I don’t understand how they can spend $10,000 on just one piece of exercise equipment but are not willing or hesitant to invest a similar amount on the first impression of their business a customer sees, which is their company website.
Your website is the face of your business online, so it’s important that you put as much effort into it as you would the rest of your business. Learn how to setup an inexpensive, professional website in under 60 minutes.
Marc Prosser, Publisher, Fit Small Business
When people look up spas and other businesses online, you want to be one of the first names that comes up. One of the first steps to getting there is to build citations for your business, which means making sure your business is accurately listed in as many online directories as possible. If you haven’t done so already, click here to scan your listings and find out how well your business shows up in local searches.
Rodger Roeser, The Eisen Agency
Everything about a spa is the experience, so getting potential customers to try out your space is critical. One of the smartest programs for any spa is to create a series of “nights” where you are able to invite folks in that are not necessarily clients, but offer an exclusive friends of friends event – and have an art show, an essential oil 101, a martini tasting. Anything that will delight the senses and allow people to actually experience the facility and the people. No selling required. Just send them off with a gift bag, and watch the sales roll in.
Email marketing is a great way to offer deals and specials, announce events, send out personal messages, and stay top of mind with customers by sending out pics and updates on a weekly basis. With dozens of custom templates, it’s surprisingly easy to jump start your email marketing with Constant Contact. Click here to launch your campaign today and start bringing in more repeat customers.
Maggie Aland, Marketing Writer, Fit Small Business
A great way for spas and health clubs to promote their business is to advertise on Facebook. The major benefit of Facebook advertising is that you can specifically target users who resemble the demographic of your typical customer, such as women ages 25-45 who live in your area and have an interest in health or fitness.
When advertising on Facebook, you need to remember that it is a social media site where people go to catch up with friends and family, so you don’t want to immediately ask people to visit your business. That would be like showing up to a party and trying to sell someone a product without even introducing yourself. You need to familiarize your business with the audience first.
You can do this by first warming people up by providing interesting content (awareness stage), then proving yourself as an expert in the field by posting an article that demonstrates your knowledge (consideration stage). You can then target people who showed interest in your first two advertisements with a post that includes a call to action (conversion stage).
View our step-by-step guide on how to set this up here.
Elijah White, Marketing Specialist, Morris – Sockle PLLC
Health and fitness is a huge industry online. There are dozens and dozens of bloggers and experts in the health and wellness field. As a Health Club or Spa, you should identify which influencers are most relevant to you and your audience. If your target market is affluent individuals within 20 miles of your brick and mortar store then it would make sense to focus on influencers that have an impact in your local area.
Follow these people on their social media accounts, interact with their posts, and with the responses of their audience. Someone has already cultivated a list of people that will be highly relevant to your marketing efforts. Find those people and start talking to their lists. Don’t immediately start dropping non-stop shoutouts to your business, but provide valuable insight and additions to the conversations being had, and you will establish yourself as someone worthwhile of investigating further.
Michael Juba, Content Marketing Strategist, EZSolution
Local citations are a mention of your business on the web usually with your name, address, and phone number, which are common in directory listings and usually have a link back to your site which has some SEO value and can get you referral traffic.
Also try to get happy customers to leave good reviews on Google+, Yelp, and Facebook not only because other people will see it, but also because it helps to increase your rankings for local searches. Make sure all of your social profiles are up to date and include images of your business because that is another factor that search engines take into account as well as what people are looking for.
Glenn Dickstein, Founder & CEO, NeighborhoodTrainers
I like to offer fitness assessments to local companies as a perk to their staff. This allows me to utilize one point person to reach a large group. As a partnership, this also looks like a perk offered through the company, so the company is more likely to promote your facility.
Christian Adams, Founder, Spotter City
Realtors, more than anyone, know and interact with people moving to the area every day, and are ALL about referrals. Another great tip would be to reach out to realtors and realty groups to host sponsored breakfasts or lunches. This will encourage referrals, keeping your business top of mind.
Kevin Ho, Content Marketing & Partnerships, Wishpond Technologies
One of the best ways to engage and build an audience is to run a social promotion. Social promotions work by giving away a prize that’s relevant to your business (spa gift certificate, basket of local products, etc), and collecting entries for people who want to enter to win.
This works for two reasons:
- You’re generating a targeted list of customers who you know are interested in your services. Businesses can then follow up with this list using an email with additional offers, and with targeted ads using a Facebook custom audience.
- You’re helping to build your brand’s social media presence by increasing the amount of engagement around each post related to the campaign. Since we know historically that giveaways and promotions perform better on average than other types of organic posts, the added engagement will help increase your brand’s overall organic reach.
Especially if you’re just starting out, there’s few marketing tactics that can help gain as much exposure in a short period of time as a social promotion.
Deidra Lassalle, Under Armour Performance Center Powered by FX Studios
Health Fairs are generally held once or twice a year at larger companies. Employees can be competitive so use this to your advantage. We do a squat challenge that is very similar to cornhole, but you have to throw overhead and in a squat. We have created a leaderboard for each contestant and you can see them move up and down the board during the event. The grand prize winner should get a tangible item that they can see as the prize when they are competing – a duffle bag or workout clothes works well.
Also, instead of handing out a free guest pass to your health club at the fair, pre-register attendees for a day pass, and let them know they will receive a reward if they come in. This way, you are giving them an incentive to give you their contact information. Without their contact information, you do not have a lead in your pipeline and you cannot expect new members or follow up!
Brandon Schroth, seoWorks
Holidays are the perfect time to start offering discounts and promotions to motivate your health club members to buy extra gym packages to give to family and friends as gifts. One way to do this is by offering special rates to current members who are purchasing gift memberships. You could also offer a separate rate for those who are buying more than one gift membership.
For social media and marketing campaigns toward non-members, encourage healthy eating habits and promote physical fitness during this time of year that is traditionally high in food and drink consumption. Encourage your potential new members to come through the door by offering a free three day pass, or a discounted rate with a minimum one year contract.
Sarah Nelson, Pilatease
People tend to pay more attention and respond better to promotions or invitations when it’s about something that is already on their minds.
At my fitness studio, I’ve celebrated the Summer Solstice with a yoga flow class on our rooftop, a special International Women’s Day barre class with a “diva” playlist, a plank competition in the spirit of the Olympics, and a post-festival “detox” class after a city-wide music festival.
To promote the special events, I make a Facebook event and invite our members to share them. I send a special email to our member base to tell them about our event, what we are celebrating, and how they can get involved. I also plan a special offer to give the attendees (only good during/ right after the event) if they buy something on that day. After the event, I follow up with an email to all attendees that thanks them for joining us, reminds them of the special offer, and invites them to class or whatever we have coming up on the schedule. I usually make a Facebook photo album from the event and send the link to the attendees so they can tag themselves and their friends (and spread the event reach online).
Each of these events give us a new story tell, a reason to invite people in, and a marketing hook so we can make a special offer to drive business.
Anton Eliasson, Marketing Manager, Shakr Media
Email campaigns, Facebook news feeds, Twitter feeds, YouTube pre-roll ads, Instagram, digital signage in the public space, and everywhere else, video is simply everywhere these days. To be an effective marketer today is to use visual storytelling in a beautiful and compelling way. 82% of B2B marketers reported success with video marketing initiatives, and over 70% of respondents claim that video performs better than other content for producing conversions. Adding video to your website can increase customer conversion by 30-40%.
Use video marketing to give your marketing contents some life and soul. Video has the highest CTR of all online ad formats and give your brand trust and authority in your space. It’s perfect to have on your website and social media, and will greatly help you with local SEO.
Emily Dille, Marketing Manager, Arizona Grand Resort & Spa
One of the most effective ways to generate business is to build your email list.
Create a landing page on your website that captures the user’s email address in return for a discount or free trial, with an incentive to forward the email to an interested friend.
Once you have built your list, make sure you create an autoresponder series that automatically emails your list on a regular basis with interesting content and case studies of people that have turned their health around by joining the health club.
Be sure to include a call to action to join the club.
Madeline Johnson, CEO, Marketing & Public Relations, The Market Council
One of our most successful marketing and PR campaigns included promoting amazing treatments like the 7 Hour Massage at Townhouse which made the cover of TimeOut NY magazine, the 24K Gold Facial at the Fairmont Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, and hosting matchmaking events while offering makeovers at Aqua Beauty Bar.
The idea behind all of them was to create a stand out treatment that offered results and made headline news.
Maggie Aland, Marketing Writer, Fit Small Business
If your business has done something newsworthy, such as open a new location, create a new product, or host an event, take full advantage by sending out a press release. The goal is to have journalists pick up the story which will widen the audience that hears about it. Learn how to write a press release with our template and how to guide.
If you don’t have media contacts to send the press release to, we suggest using eReleases, our recommended press release distribution service, in order to get maximum exposure. View our guide to learn how to send a press release using eReleases.
Ryan Christie, Local Direct Network
It costs a lot less to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Identify clients who haven’t visited your business in over six months and create an email or direct mail campaign offering them an incentive (such as a half-price treatment) to make an appointment. Direct emails or a flyer delivery is a low cost way to lure them back. It also gives you the opportunity to mention any new services you have introduced since their last visit. Personalize the emails or postcards with the client’s first name and date of their last visit.
View Ryan’s 7 other marketing tips in his article.
Anita Perry, Founder, Yoga Anita
I have a small niche business in the fitness area (yoga) and realize I have to stand out from the crowd. Besides using my website, book signings (promoting my yoga book), social media, and my own and guest blogging opportunities, I pride myself on giving my students personalized messages of encouragement, monthly newsletters, lots of incentives to save money, and free recordings so they can take their yoga practice anywhere. I also feature my students in poses whenever I can.
Orun Bhuiyan, Co-founder, SEOcial (a marketing agency)
Exclusivity goes a long way for spas and health clubs—especially high end ones. Leverage this by offering a sort of special/VIP access to those who are referred by current members (and to those who refer, of course).
In the high-end market, this works better than discount incentives. As for what “VIP access” means, that’s up to the spa or club. The more they can offer that’s inaccessible to regular patrons (or the better it sounds), the more enticing the whole campaign will be.
Sachin Rajgire, Marketing, CoreAbs Fitness & Lifelong Fitness
It’s weird but this works: We have posted several inspirational quotes with pictures of Michael Jordan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and other famous people and posted them across our promotional material, Facebook page, and other social media accounts.Those images have [the] highest viewership and convert the best for us.
Ameet Khabra, SEO Specialist
I think all businesses (not just spa’s) should be aware of SEO and their efforts. What makes this tip more tailored to spas is that they should find ways to combine their SEO efforts with social media. There are so many topics that a health club/spa can write about which is why I would suggest starting a blog of common questions your clientele has or will have. This will give you the opportunity to promote your products and services and expertise.
With great content creation, one cannot assume that it will generate traffic itself. Push the content through your social media accounts – ask fans, friends and family to share your content which will lead to more shares. The purpose of this is to increase brand awareness and establish authority, which will lead to a larger clientele (more sales).
Maggie Aland, Marketing Writer, Fit Small Business
Google advertising is a great marketing strategy for spas and health clubs. You can show an ad for your business to people who are searching for your type of business at that very moment AND who are are looking for businesses in your area.
Read our article to learn how to get started.
Lori Lowell, Founder, Group Fitness Solutions
The best marketing tool today is to identify your key differentiators and ensure that you highlight all the great things that make your club different. Variety and differentiators are what get your door to swing. Inclusive language is a very important tool making readers feel that it is a place that they want to belong to or better yet already belong to.
Sara Daly, Director of Marketing, a’chromatherapy
- Be authentic. Use photos of your place, not stock photos.
- Give your clients value. Post a tip from one of your personal trainers on your website/social media page.
- People are interested in marketing that explains how a service or product is beneficial to *them*. Be specific (i.e. for women over 40, collagen decreases. Here is what you can do to increase the elasticity of your skin).
Stephan Reek, Co-Owner, BSR Online
The number 1 tip I can give is that you should give free information away. For a health club, you can do this on YouTube. You can show that you know what you are talking about which will attract people to go to your club.
Youtube is not the only platform to use. There are also lots of forums you can use to answer people’s questions. Forums work really well because you can directly answer questions someone has, and you can add a link to your website in your “signature” as they call it on those forums. You can of course also do this on social media groups and other platforms you find.
Over to You
A huge thanks to everyone who offered their marketing tips for health clubs and spas. If you have a special tip to offer, please let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you, too!