Get Your Marketing Plan in Shape With Our Fitness Marketing Guide

Like any good workout, building your fitness business is hard work. Let’s explore how to create your fitness marketing funnel and discuss a few other tips and tricks to pump up your client list.

Running your own fitness business is an incredibly rewarding, albeit sweaty, job. For starters, you get to do what you love. You get to spend time pushing your body to the limit while creating a thriving business.

More than that, you get to guide others along a path to wellness and help them feel great about themselves. Plus, you get to say phrases like, “We’re going to pump you up!” a lot (trainers say that, right?).

However, if you’re like most small business owners, finding new clients, and more specifically, finding the right prospects is a daunting challenge.

Whether you’re a personal trainer, a gym owner, or run a company dedicated to wellness, your business is the health and well-being of your customers, not marketing. That being said, you still need to bring in new customers on a consistent basis.

So how do you find those leads and prospects? How do you acquire them without taking time and focus away from your business?

One way is the marketing funnel. Or in your case - the fitness funnel.

FIT4MOM Honolulu and the Lead Machine

In a minute, we’re going to tell you the story of how one fitness business owner skyrocketed the number of leads she got each month through the strategic use of a marketing funnel. But before we do, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what a funnel actually is.

Even if you’re unsure of what a marketing funnel is, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been part of one at some point. It’s kind of like The Matrix. You don’t know you’re in it until you step outside and see what’s happening.

Any time a business steered you to towards a landing page or website (perhaps through a Facebook or Google ad) or asked for your email in return for some sort of reward, you were part of a marketing funnel.

There are a few things about funnel marketing that will serve a small business like yours really well:

  • The ability to target a specific audience with your message
  • The opportunity to nurture that lead as you sell them on your service
  • The fact that it can all be automated

That’s right, automated. As if your marketing team is composed of brilliant marketing robots who never sleep, and instead of requiring food, only require a little TLC. Seriously though, you can automate your entire marketing funnel. It’s incredibly powerful.

To get a good sense of how a funnel can impact your lead generation, let’s turn our gaze to Honolulu.

The Honolulu FIT4MOM franchise - one of the top fitness firms in the US for expectant and post-partum moms - conducts over twenty classes in numerous locations across town each week.

As you may guess from that schedule, the owner - Takara Swoops Bullock - and her team spend their time focused on their current clients with little time left over to help the business grow.

So Takara turned to Paperform to develop a strategy for automatically bringing in new leads.

It works like this.

She creates forms for her landing pages via the Paperform editor that tie back to a free trial class. Then she utilizes social media to direct traffic to these pages. A prospect completes a form, then clicks submit and off to Takara’s inbox it goes.


Takara then uses her account with online automator Zapier, which integrates seamlessly with Paperform’s tools, to generate personal response emails automatically.

Yep, it's that easy. Here’s Takara in her own words describing the process:

"I schedule the responses to be sent exactly seven minutes from submission. I personalize the emails with the information I gather from Paperform. For example, when an expectant mom says she is two months pregnant, that information is included in the email. When a new lead says they want to visit next week, that information is included in the follow-up, so it's like I'm personally responding."

So what has this fitness funnel combo of Paperform forms and Zapier automation meant to Takara’s business?

How about a 300% increase in the number of leads each month? That’s taking your company’s fitness level up a notch.

A Fully Formed Fitness Marketing Plan

So you’ve seen the fitness funnel in action, and you know that it’s a powerful way to pull in new prospects and leads. However, to truly excel in your fitness marketing, you’ll want to ensure you have a plan built for lasting success.

Let’s look at 9 ways to further sculpt a marketing approach that works and ensure your business stays as healthy as your clients.

#1 - Craft Your Message

One of the primary aspects of growing your client base is letting people know how you can help them. More so in fitness than most other pursuits, individuals look for experts, so it's vital this comes across in your messaging. You need to position yourself as the go-to person in your particular area of fitness expertise.

A fitness funnel provides a really straightforward way to demonstrate your expertise to your prospect. A prime example is how Takara manages hers:

  • Offers a fitness solution to new and future moms by appealing to them where they frequent (Facebook and Instagram).
  • Next, she provides a solution to staying fit during and after pregnancy and further declares her expertise with her Paperform landing pages (Stroller Strides® and Prenatal Fitness).
  • Then she pulls the prospect even further into her fitness funnel with a personalized response email to the form. This connects her to the prospect on a personal level and provides the prospect a positive vibe on which to move forward.

Of course, your message and funnel may vary from Takara’s. But taking the time to outline what you offer to clients and then understanding whom those services appeal to most will help you craft an efficient and successful marketing plan.

We recommend you create a unique landing page (or several) as part of your approach, especially if building your lead base or promoting something specific. Your actual website can have far too many distractions and will move focus away from the action you want your prospect to take (leave an email, download free offer, view a video).

#2 - Leverage What You Do to Create Your Content

Look, we get it. You prefer to keep your focus front and center on helping and promoting the health of your clients. However, your marketing will shine if you have little nuggets of information to offer prospective clients (and current ones too).

The best part is you do what you do because you’re good at it and have a ton of knowledge. So illuminate your audience with that experience through content such as:

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Questions and Answers
  • How-To Guides on Exercises or Nutrition
  • Reviews and Recommendation on Fitness Equipment or Health Products
  • Video Tutorials or Classes

The point is, have valuable content that exhibits your expertise, your preparedness, and your desire to genuinely help others.

People love those traits, particularly in someone who is a trainer or works in wellness. With prospects, those same traits will also go a long way to turning them into current customers.

#3 - Implement Email Marketing

An effective way to build an email list is to offer something in exchange for that valuable address. A fitness FAQ, webinar on an effective workout plan, or similar to Takara’s case, a free trial class.

Make sure your landing page promotes the offer clearly and the form to capture the info is easy to access (Paperform helps with this). This approach is useful as the content you provide casts you as an expert and shows you confident enough in what you offer to give something away for free.

A good rule of thumb is the more valuable the offer, the easier a prospect will share their info.

#4 - Deploy Video Marketing

Video is hugely popular right now. Lucky for you a lot of fitness lends itself very well to a visual medium.

Some significant aspects about video are that it's an immersive experience, doesn’t need to be elaborate, and gives the audience the opportunity to see and connect with your methods and your services before signing up.

Your video need not be drawn out - a 3 to 5-minute class clip is plenty - but the video  quality must be professional. Higher production values will lend you more legitimacy and more leads.

#5 - Attract With Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are every business owners dream for drawing prospects to their funnel. Few methods offer the precise parameters for you to zero in on your ideal client group. Not to mention Facebook's overall consumer reach.

When building your ads, both on Facebook or elsewhere, remember to be clear in your message, show how you are a solution to a problem they have, and drive the target to your landing page.

#6 - Instagram Yourself

While Facebook ads might be great for more traditionally placed advertising, Instagram is the place to establish a network of followers more organically. Instagram has gained an excellent reputation as the go-to social app for those seeking fitness inspiration.

Make sure you are there providing it.

Post pictures of you or the classes you teach. Post tips on health and nutrition. Post simple motivations. It will help cast you as someone who cares about fitness and who wants others to be part of it.

#7 - Blog Your Insight and Expertise

We talk plenty about landing pages, but your website is a vital resource too.

Regardless of your health and fitness focus, you should have a blog on your site and keep it full how-tos, FAQs, reviews of fitness products, Q and As, and any other tidbits that will provide people a resource to help them on their quest.

#8 - Create a Membership

If you’re the owner of a gym, this is probably obvious, since you probably already offer memberships. However, if you are trying to reach a new segment of prospects or you want to recapture some that got away, offer up a membership special for this group.

If you’re an independent trainer or a wellness firm that hasn’t dealt in memberships before, create one. Offer exclusive content like at home workout tips or healthy recipes or eating schedules, where only paying clients have access.

The key here is to make it both affordable and worthwhile to the subscriber. For the gym memberships, tossing in a gift like a jump rope or a fitness towel for each new sign up or membership renewal goes a long way to creating fans.

#9 - Leverage Your Biggest Fans

Speaking of fans, have yours help generate even more customers. Fitness has a very communal vibe. If you help others achieve their goals, then their family and friends will want to get in on the action.

We mentioned Instagram posts of classes, but don’t forget videos. Showing people having a good time during a session is a powerful sales tool. So too are results. Don’t be afraid to request testimonials or for clients willing to have before and after shots included as part of your marketing materials.

A Trustworthy Source of Wellness

People looking to improve their health are really looking for someone to trust.
How you market yourself or your fitness company will determine if they choose you as their guide to self-improvement.

Just remember to create a clear message about how you can help them.

Develop content that shows your expertise and commitment.

And target your efforts to the group or groups that will most benefit from your knowledge.

Much like any good workout, your marketing needs a stable regimen to follow. Once in place, you will not only be building up bodies, you’ll be building up your business as well.

Ready to create your own killer fitness funnel? Try Paperform for free for 14 days, no CC required.

Stephen Altrogge

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