10 Cost Effective Ways to Promote your Fitness Business

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  • 10 Cost Effective Ways to Promote your Fitness Business

Marketing your gym is an ongoing process.  Placing an advertisement periodically here and there will not be enough for your business to survive.  You always have to be proactively thinking about the next promotional idea, slogan, or campaign.  There are a handful of ways that are cost efficient and will effectively promote your gym business your within your immediate target area.  Here 10 ways to help get you started.

1.  Sponsor charities.American Flag on a pole waiving in the wind

Simply choose a charitable event or charity organization and do short term and long term promotions.  A short term promotion idea would be to donate all new members’ first month dues or signup fees to the Wounded Warrior Project on Veteran’s Day.  A long term example would be to host a running program dedicated to get your members in shape for the WWP 8K Run.  Then offer 50% of the proceeds for the running program to be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.  On the day of the run, you can also supply your gym brand running apparel for even greater recognition!

2. Sponsor an athlete, bodybuilder, or beauty pageant contestant that works out at your fitness center.

You can do this in a number of different ways.  To start, you can offer them free branded gym products to use and wear during their performance or competition.  If the free products are not enough incentive, you can always offer free membership and/or training packages in exchange for them becoming a walking billboard for your gym.  They do not have to be a professional in their field or even have to win the competition in order to make an impact.  Just the mere association of  your gym’s name will give you a good promotional boost.

3. Submit press releases.

Approach your local newspapers and magazine companies.  You can generally do this by going online to their websites.  Most will have a “submit press release” link or a “new tip” link.  At the very least, you can still contact them via email and attach your written press release.   You can submit press releases on topics relating to the considerable benefits of working, or write about any specific noteworthy accomplishments of your fitness center or those accomplishments of someone that works out at your fitness center.  Press releases are generally not a platform to directly promote your gym but simply have it become more recognizable within your community.

4. People love freebies.

Offer free personal training, nutritional counseling, or smoothies.  Offer whatever you can to get them interested in your business.  Don’t forget that with free stuff you give away, you are also giving away your first impression of customer service.  You have to show member prospects that you are genuinely interested in their health and fitness and that you stand behind your gym business.  You can do so by assuring them that they have nothing to lose by trying out your services. Talk to them and engage them in about the immense benefits that can be derived from regularly working out in a social and accountable environment.  With the freebies, genuine interest, and excellent customer service, they will surely come back for more.

5. Flyer campaigns every 3 months.

Although this seems like such a simple concept, do not under estimate the drawing power of flyers. People are usually drawn by flyers.  People have something to touch and carry with them as reminders.   Make sure that your flyer design is attractive and contains factual details.  Don’t forget to offer an incentive that has a deadline

6. Get involved in your community.

Find out local community events that deal with health and fitness.  Volunteer, and set up a booths.  If you are consistent with this, your exposure will accomplish brand recognition.

7.  Have a stack of business card always with you.

You will never know when you will need them. Every time you hand your business card to a person, that person becomes a potential customer. Even as a customer yourself at the local business surrounding your gym, you will make small talk that will eventually may lead to an offer to leave cards at their front station.  Make sure that these business cards offer an incentive to come into the gym to check it out.  Also be sure to offer the same to your business neighbors and leave some of their business cards at your reception area too.

8. Get a Sign Spinner!

What better way to promote your gym than to get a mascot to spin your sign.   If your gym doesn’t have a mascot uniform or costume, then get one.  Hire a sign spinner to dance and workout on the corner while spinning your fitness business sign.  This is both fun and attention grabbing.  It will also make your business unique from the gym down the street.

9. Social media.

I just saw an episode of Shark Tank the other night and the sharks ripped into the creator of PetPaint, not because they thought he had a bad product, but because of the way he DID NOT market it.  He failed to use the internet and social media outlets to sell.  In this day and age, this is now marketing 101.  If you do not have a website and use social media, potential offers and prospects will swim right past you, will the sharks tear right into you.

10. Never underestimate the power of WOM.

WOM stands for word of mouth.  Although this is the most potent type of free promotion, it is also one that may have you work the hardest and the longest for. Your customers will give outstanding reviews of your gym but this will require time.  You first have to earn their trust and loyalty.  After staying true to your word, providing excellent customer service, and genuinely showing interest in their health and fitness goals, they will recommend your services to their friends and family.

Over to you…

What are other cost effective promotions that have worked for you?

Happy Veteran’s Day 2013.  The Insight Team wants to thank all our Military and their families for the sacrifices you make.  You are all heroes!


Jesse Curry
December 11, 2013 / Reply

One of the best ways to differentiate your business is understanding the acronyms FSA/HSA/HRA. As a former benefit’s broker and 30 year fitness industry veteran I applied this strategy to one of my former employers and we brought in over 100,000 members over a 6 year period. More importantly, we saved both the employer and employees over $3M in payroll taxes (annually).

Your initial questionnaire that guests complete should have this question – Do you have a Flex-spending, Health Savings or Health Reimbursement Account? Knowing this ahead of time can provide you with a great closing tool and help overcome price objections. Here are some other benefits:

1. If your guest answer yes – this can open the door to their employer and gain access to their employees
2. You may get an introduction to their benefit’s firm (open’s the door to their book of business)
3. Help’s in retaining current membership base (pay with pre-tax dollars)
4. Helps sells PT and other fee-based programs
5. Do you offer children’s fitness classes (obesity as we all know is a major issue in this country)
6. Offer Lunch & Learn’s on nutritional planning, fitness classes and inform employees of the benefits of using pre-tax dollars for their health
7. Many employers want a wellness program but many also do not want to pay for one. By understanding these acronyms you can offer your wellness programs/services at a discount rate, they save on payroll tax dollars, have healthier employees and it didn’t cost the employer anything

There are some additional facts you should know before engaging in this strategy. Email me and I’ll provide them. [email protected]

Lawrence Fagan
December 11, 2013 / Reply

Hi Jesse,

I know initial questionnaires can be extremely useful, if they ask the right questions. You have not only provided the right questions to ask but useful strategies to implement thereafter. Thank you for this contribution!

Jesse Curry
December 11, 2013 / Reply

Thanks Lawrence. Before one (club/fitness professional) gets started they need to be able to accept these types of cards through their credit card processing units. They need to have the correct Merchant Category Code (MCC). They (clients) need to have a medical practitioner’s script (Rx). Would like to discuss with you via telephone when it is convenient. Regards – Jesse

Lawrence Fagan
December 11, 2013 / Reply

Hi Jesse,

I am in the middle of doing a several different integrations for the software now. I will definitely consider looking into your suggestion when I have completed the ones I have started and connect with you then.

Thanks again!

Erik Thiart
March 13, 2015 / Reply

Have a look at our forum, South African Bodybuilding, Strength and Fitness discussion forum – ‘Knowledge is Confidence’. Supplements, nutrition, steroid cycles and training information: check out our articles and forums.


September 5, 2015 / Reply

Hi jesse I am planning to sell my product In gym what will be best way to get in to gym and promote my products

December 11, 2017 / Reply

Thanks for sharing these ideas, They are really helpful and I look forward to using using some of these techniques.

Lawrence Fagan
February 14, 2014 / Reply

You are welcome! Let me know if you have of any other topics you would like to see written about.

May 2, 2014 / Reply

I appreciate the little tie-bits that help me to stretch my imagination! As a small home fitness studio, I believe I can use this information too!

Lawrence Fagan
May 3, 2014 / Reply

Good to hear that these ideas helped you out. Let us know if your imagination comes up with more. We would love to hear all about it!


September 30, 2014 / Reply

These are good- I definitely agree with #9: social media! I am the social media manager for a gym and we’ve seen much success come from it. Through contests and getting members involved through voting, commenting, submitting photos, etc. it’s really helped…. the gym is currently one of the most profitable gyms per square foot in the country! Let me know if you’d like any examples of how to grow a gym on social media- I’d love to help!

Lawrence Fagan
September 30, 2014 / Reply

Hi Summer,

We would love to hear an example! Thanks for sharing.

March 18, 2015 / Reply

Hi summer, I currently work for a great guy that has given me a chance to prove myself.
Anyway he owns a boot camp and is beginning to sell memberships. We have signs out front. What other ways can we get advertisement out so he can generate more business? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

April 16, 2015 / Reply

Dear Summer,
I know your post was more than 6 months ago and I am hoping you are still on this forum.
I work for a local gym as well and the market getting saturated.. I would LOVE to know how to differentiate our gym from the others and love to hear any ideas / suggestions that you have done that has helped.
Am I able to email you some how?

Tim Edwards
October 12, 2016 / Reply

I would like information how to grow my job I be opening in two months so I would like to hit the ground running.

Lawrence Fagan
December 6, 2016 / Reply

Hi Tim,

Be sure to read through our blog archives – we cover this topic frequently and we have lots of good information from the ‘real word’ of opening and running gyms and fitness centers. Done right you can be cashflow positive before you even open your doors!

Craig Whitney
October 27, 2016 / Reply

Hi Summer, I would be very grateful to hear about your tips on promoting through social media . My son will be heading this strategy up for our new gym and your input would be much appreciated. Thank you, Craig

Lawrence Fagan
December 6, 2016 / Reply

Hi Craig,

Thank you for your comment. Please have a look through our blog archives – we have lots of information on marketing and promotion for you!

February 2, 2017 / Reply

I would love to hear more about how you ran your social media at your gym!!?

October 8, 2014 / Reply

this is really some great info!

losing weight fast
October 25, 2014 / Reply

Thanks Lawrence. Before one (club/fitness professional) gets started they need to be able to accept these types of cards through their credit card processing units. They need to have the correct Merchant Category Code (MCC).

December 1, 2014 / Reply

Great tips! I’m a Certified Personal Trainer in Houston and I use many of these tips to promote my business 🙂 Maybe I need a sign spinner for the new year!

Jacob Brown
February 24, 2015 / Reply

Yeah, its very important to choose right clothes for gym workout, because gym is the place where we do running stretching and exhausted, so its very crucial to decide clothes that fit for all condition and always gives a comfort feel while workout.

Andrew Itenge
June 30, 2015 / Reply

I am busy setting up a Gym in a town where there is no one operation the Gym. What is the best marketing option I have to introduce the gym to people who are not exposed to it in the past?

October 10, 2015 / Reply

One of my friends is thinking to set up a new gym, but worried about the marketing strategy. I thought social marketing can play a big role for health and fitness product marketing or for a gym marketing, but after reading your article it should be easier to use to invest money for the right marketing strategy. Thanks for sharing this informative article.

Rohit Singh
August 20, 2016 / Reply

Thank you for this even I am have a blog which shares workout routines and bodybuilding tips but I am finding it very hard to find blog where I can comment. Do you have any suggestions?

April 2, 2017 / Reply

Hi Rohit,
I’ve personally used Word press and paid for the £2.50 membership, but it offered the option for comments below.

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September 18, 2016 / Reply

Thanks to my father who told me about this webpage,
this weblog is really awesome.

Lawrence Fagan
September 19, 2016 / Reply

We’re so happy to hear that it is helpful! Let us know if you have any questions we haven’t covered in a blog yet & we’ll put it on our list.

Have a great day,
The Insight Team

Craig Whitney
October 27, 2016 / Reply

Dear Lawrence, thanks for sharing your advice for operating a successful gym. We are preparing to open our gym soon and would be very appreciative of any additional information you could share to help in our promotion strategies. Best regards, Craig

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Lawrence Fagan
February 21, 2017 / Reply

We are thrilled to hear that you enjoy our blog so much. It is our intention that all future blogs will be just as helpful if not more so. Thank you for letting us know!

May 6, 2017 / Reply

But wanna say that this is very beneficial, Thanks for
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Chris Simon
September 15, 2017 / Reply

Hello Lawrence,

Our website has recently opened a Partner Page that allows fitness companies to upload a profile. Each profile contains a lot of information that enables our website users and students to view their company, product, service and URL’s. I believe that it would be a great example on this web page or possibly a great opportunity for another sponsored post. Please contact me by my email so we can talk more.

Kind regards,

Chris Simon.

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