87 weeks ago by Amelia
The fitness industry can be intimidating for a newcomer. 1 in 7 people in the UK have a gym membership, and large companies offering highly affordable membership deals can seem all but invincible to those who are just starting their business. While these companies are able to spend thousands on disruptive marketing campaigns and offer 24/7 access alongside hundreds of classes, there are still many ways in which small fitness studios and independent instructors can stand out. Here are some of our beginner-friendly tips for promoting your business without breaking the bank.
In 2017, you should consider social media as your online business card. Social media is a great way to start meaningful conversations with your clients — both existing and potential ones. Encourage people to engage with your content by asking them questions in your posts or creating a hashtag for your business. Make sure to follow your clients’ accounts as well as industry influencers and other fitness instructors in your area to create contacts.
Creating a strong and distinctive social media presence doesn’t require any money — it does require a good chunk of time, though. That’s why planning is key. Be realistic about how often you can post, and how many accounts you can update regularly. Plan out what content you will be sharing — e.g. a picture from a class on Tuesdays, a snapshot of your day on Wednesdays and an inspirational quote on Fridays.
For fitness instructors, Facebook and Instagram are especially valuable platforms. Instagram allows you to share shots from your classes as well as sharing video — this allows potential clients an idea of what to expect from your classes. Instagram also allows you to reach a wide audience through hashtags. Use a good variety of popular and more niche hashtags to attract a diverse audience. Make sure to tag your location, too!
Facebook allows you to create events that can generate a great deal of interest when your clients’ friends see that they’ve signed up for your workshops. It also allows you to chat casually with potential clients through Messenger. The live video option both Facebook and Instagram offer could be a great chance to stream one of your classes live, allowing people everywhere to join. Just make sure to publicise this beforehand to make sure people tune in!
Having a blog is a great chance to show off your expertise . Not too confident about your writing skills? Creating ‘listicles’, or articles that take the form of a list of points are an easy and quick way to create content, and are highly accessible to readers. Create a list of benefits of taking classes you specialise in, tips on what to wear to class or share a list of your favourite bloggers that specialise in your sport, writing just a few sentences about each point on your list.
With a blog you can create a meaningful relationship with your clients, attract new ones by showing off your expertise, and generate great and valuable content for your social media. You can even send a link to your blog to some small trade publications or local news outlet —chances are they’ll love having content ideas sent to them, and you might get some media coverage this way. As with social media, when it comes to posting on your blog, consistency is key. Make a promise to yourself to write on a regular basis, for example every two weeks or once a month.
As Jason Fried and David Heinemeier-Hansson write in their book Rework, marketing is not a department of your business, but something that is embedded into everything you do for your business. This includes your website. Indeed, alongside your social media accounts, you should consider it your online business card, as these days people are highly likely to find your classes through a search engine or links on social media leading to your website. Companies like Wix and Wordpress offer free websites that are easily built and can look pretty great. Make sure to update your site regularly with news and class schedules. To make sure your site looks great, you can use beautiful royalty-free pictures from websites such as Unsplash.
Being able to take bookings online can make a huge difference to your business. I won’t go on about the benefits of using a booking software too much, as my last article was on this topic. Suffice to say that a booking software makes a lot easier for potential clients to sign up for classes, leading to more bookings. Using sleek booking tools such as Fitbizzle will also make your business look more professional without breaking the bank.
Guerilla marketing is the free to minimal- cost option for advertising. It’s all about doing the unexpected and taking a humorous approach to marketing. You could do things like using chalk to write your business name and website URL on the pavement along a popular jogging route or make an unexpected lamp post poster like the one in the picture here. If you run dance classes, you could even do a flashmob with some of your existing clients to promote your business. Creativity is key here! Get inspired by others by searching for ideas on Pinterest and blogs like this one. While it might be tough to come up with a truly unique idea, embracing the unexpected when it comes to how and where you advertise your business could be incredibly memorable to those who come across your marketing material, even if it’s something small.
Hopefully you’ve found these tips helpful. I realise that these are all rather big blocks of work, so I plan on breaking these tips down into more easily-digested bites in future posts. In my next article, I’ll be going over some of the best apps for fitness professionals, including many marketing tools, so look out for that in the next few weeks. Bye for now!