3 Deadly Sins of Fitness Marketing

Within this blog post, I am going to be sharing with you the 3 deadly sins of fitness marketing. These deadly sins or cardinal sins are not lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy or pride. I’m sure there are some lessons there for all of us, but that’s not what I’m covering here.

Fitness professionals from all parts of the world occasionally ask me the following question, “What is the number one marketing mistake that you see?” at question has been the catalyst for this blog.

Deadly Sin # 1: Inconsistent Marketing

The first of the deadly sins is inconsistent marketing. I would say that 95% of all the fitness professionals that I have spoken to, coached and consulted with for over two decades have not got a marketing plan that they follow from week to week and month to month.

Marketing is not an event; marketing is not a tactic. Marketing is in fact a system. But, here’s the thing, it’s the most important system within your fitness business. Marketing is a continual implementation of lead generation strategies that drive new traffic to your business.

It’s important to understand that you don’t need amazing results from one strategy, but good results from multiple strategies. The key point is you must always be marketing your club and its services. I did a free consultation with a club owner in early 2012. It was the start of spring, which is traditionally a busier time in our industry. Two days after the session, the owner calls me and says that he really enjoyed the session, but he thought that he wouldn’t need to focus on marketing because it was spring and soon it would be summer. He felt that the club would market itself based on the weather and time of the year.

I bumped into the same guy about a year later and quickly found out that his club had grow by only 2% in the last 12 months. I asked him if he knew why this was the case. He replied by saying, verbatim, “All the local gyms are stealing my members.” I just stood there in astonishment and replied, “Do you think it might be because of a lack of effective marketing!”

Not marketing or inconsistent marketing is deadly sin number one. Dan Kennedy, who I believe is one of the greatest marketers that ever lived, taught me to never stop marketing. His belief is that there is always something to do, and if you can’t think of anything, then pick up the phone and start calling people to generate interest in your product or service.

Deadly Sin # 2: Not Optimizing Your Marketing

The fourth of the deadly marketing sins is not optimizing your marketing. Marketing optimization simply involves any activity that is designed to maximize the return on you marketing investment. Marketing optimization comes in many different forms and can be achieved in a variety of ways. In this blog, I will focus on media integration as a way of optimizing your marketing campaigns.

Firstly, I would like to cover two basic definitions – media and marketing integration. Media is the means by which you deliver your message or offering. Email is media, SMS is media, and direct mail is media. Media is the way; it’s a tool with which you do the marketing.

Marketing Integration is actually a strategy aimed at unifying a particular message or offering. Its objective is to complement and strengthen the marketing impact of each media used, so that a greater result is achieved.

So often I hear about fitness professionals sending out a direct mail piece without integrating that media with SMS or a direct phone call. Other times, an SMS blasts goes out without integrating with email or social media, namely Facebook.

The more media integration a fitness business owner or manger can use effectively, the more future members they will attract and the less fragile their business will be. I’m constantly sharing this idea with my clients, so they can get a greater return on their marketing investment.

Integrated marketing is actually a simple concept. It is the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, functions and sources within a business into a seamless system that optimizes and maximizes the impact on existing members as well as prospects.

Deadly Sin # 3: Not Focusing Your Marketing on Current Members

When you first start a fitness business, you have little choice but to focus on gaining new members with outreach campaigns. The cost of finding those new members can be quite expensive. The problem is that most fitness professionals continue to spend money on acquiring new leads and forget about marketing to current members or clients.

Did you know that is costs 7 – 8 times more to attract new members than it does to simply keep an existing member happy? There needs to be a balance between spending time, energy and ultimately marketing dollars on acquiring new members, and also marketing to current members. From my perspective, marketing to current members can be broken down in three distinct areas.

1. Marketing to current members to either up-sell or cross-sell them into another product or service.

2. Marketing to current members to gain referrals.

3. Marketing to current members as an overall retention strategy.

The fastest way to grow any fitness business initially is through leveraging off your current members and clients. Long-term growth sees a continuation along this path as well marketing consistency and looking at optimizing your marketing at every opportunity.

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Frank Smarrelli
Co-Founder of Marketing For Gyms and Personal Trainers

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