Whether you plan to become a personal trainer and new to the fitness industry or have a brick and mortar gym, it is essential to use PR and marketing to grow the business. With the tremendous growth of the health and fitness industry, companies and individuals in the sector must train them and increase their impact and income.
Many personal trainers and gyms struggle to grow their business and get media exposure because they do not have a proper business plan or corresponding PR and marketing efforts. They are under the impression that clients will just come pouring in once they have received their certification. But, much like every other industry, without an effective marketing plan, no one will know about their products or services regardless of how excellent a service they provide.
In this article, we will look at
- Why is the fitness industry booming?
- The current struggle during COVID-19
- PR and marketing strategies for fitness professionals.
Why is the fitness industry booming?
The health and fitness industry has been proliferating over the last ten years, and there are no signs that it will slow down any time soon. There are many reasons why the industry is booming, which include; high health insurance costs, the new demand for healthier foods, wearables, streaming exercise classes, budget-friendly gyms, among other things.
Especially in the United States, health insurance can be costly. It has become clear that healthy people cost much less to insure, so to trim insurance costs, people have started realizing that they need to incentivize healthy lifestyles.
Another reason is the consumer demand for healthier, more natural, and organic options. This evolving attitude has caused people to be more conscious of their food, resulting in more people interested in fitness.
The current struggle during COVID-19
While the fitness industry will never disappear completely, changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused it to experience a fair of turmoil due to non-essential public places. We will look at some “common” PR and marketing strategies for fitness professionals further into the article, but let us look at how COVID-19 has affected the industry and how they can implement specific strategies to increase market volatility.
Even before the pandemic, the fitness industry has evolved a lot in the last couple of years. What used to be a market filled with large open gyms started filling up with high-end boutique fitness studios that cater to a specific kind of exercise and high value, low price gyms that rely on volume. Many in the fitness industry have suffered significant financial losses, and the economic downturn has left a lasting impact. However, individual companies have managed to produce revenue because they have found new ways to reach their audience in the digital world. Let’s see how.
1) Gym Equipment is selling out
Even when people are staying home, working remotely, and social distancing, they will want to get fit or maintain their fitness. In this case, they are flocking to sites that are selling at-home gym equipment. Due to that high volume of orders, companies that sell equipment have contributed to the fitness industry’s business to thrive.
2) Digital classes
Most business meetings these days are all through Zoom or other digital platforms, so why not fitness classes? The pandemic has increased the market for virtual fitness offerings. It has somewhat forced traditional gyms to focus more on offering virtual classes, products for at-home workouts, and apparel to attract the fitness community.
Individual fitness companies have started digital fitness programs through social media platforms and other digital platforms because they understand that that is where their target audience will be. They have put out classes for everything from intense cardio classes to yoga because they know that people need to find a way to stay active to maintain their physical and mental health.
3) Offer incentives
Another way that companies have stayed successful is by offering incentives. Customers are more likely to stay with a company and use word-of-mouth marketing when they get benefits in return. Fitness companies that show their members that they care about them and their health reassure them, and they are bound to stick with the company.
Other ways that a company can remain successful in the market is to stay informed, comply with recommendations, and keep members up to date, among other things.
Existing customers and prospects generally gravitate towards companies that show compassion and understand what needs to be done in a crisis.
Communication is also essential during this time because it keeps the company in its customers’ minds and keeps them updated on what the company is doing concerning the pandemic.
Exercise is more important now than ever because it is a crucial component of stress relief. Situations like the COVID-19 pandemic are unpredictable. However, successful companies are ones that have a good crisis management strategy. They can pivot to create new PR and marketing strategies to gain revenue and show that they understand what is going on.
PR and marketing strategies for fitness professionals
With the continual rise in the health and fitness industry, personal trainers and brick and mortar gyms need to develop effective PR and marketing strategies to reach their target audience. The purpose of public relations and marketing is not only to sell or promote a product or service. Still, it is also based on relationship management with potential and current customers and maintains and increases awareness of the business. Since the fitness industry is all about helping people achieve their full health and fitness potential, developing and maintaining a relationship is very important to attract customers.
Here are some highly effective PR and marketing tips to help fitness professionals develop their business.
1) Regular content creation
Outside of one-on-one training, group classes, or anything that has to do with the fitness industry, fitness professionals also have other valuable skill sets to establish their business. Creating content related to the industry allows them to put all their knowledge together and connect, educate, and engage with their audience.
Whether it is creating owned media or achieving earned media, fitness companies can write posts for their channels, create videos, and contribute to other industry blogs to increase authority. By writing workouts, personal stories, tips for healthy living, and other positive contributions, they can improve SEO and boost organic traffic. Another tactic would be to write for existing health and fitness blogs to showcase their expertise within the industry. Through public relations tactics, companies can make an email list of various media outlets and start reaching out to the person in charge of content.
Staying up to date with an email list and creating content can be very time-consuming and stressful, which is why PR agencies like Pressfarm exist. Instead of creating a media list from scratch, companies can use Pressfarm to know what content should be sent out and use their existing database of over 75,000 media outlets to find media outlets based on their industry.
2) Use social media marketing
Social media platforms are becoming one of the essential components of any public relations strategy. With so many people and businesses using social media, it is not just about having social media accounts. Still, it is also about knowing how to use them and maintain a balanced online presence.
By having a cohesive online presence, companies can show that their business is tech-savvy, open to communication with the public, and is transparent with their message.
To effectively utilize social media platforms, fitness professionals need first to understand their audience on every platform. Posting fitness related content would be the way to go in this situation. Something to remember is that variety is critical, so posting about similar but not the same topics will get people interested. Responding to messages and inquiries is another way to retain potential customers’ attention. Along with that, encouraging clients to post about their workouts builds a relationship with them and can get others personally connected with the brand.
3) Find and utilize referrals the right way
It is more than likely that potential and existing clients are busy and can forget to recommend services if there is nothing in them. By creating a referral strategy that is mutually beneficial for both the client and the business, it gives clients the incentive to refer one of their friends or their social media community to the company. For example, a mutual benefit would be to offer a free session or give them valuable insight into the health and fitness industry so that they can provide referrals while also getting something in return.
Cross-referrals are also beneficial to fitness companies because plenty of other professionals do not specifically work with exercise and fitness plans. By reaching out to other professionals like chiropractors, nutritionists, physical therapists, and others, companies can ask if they are looking for fitness services. They can also reach out to different local health businesses to help market their services. Talking to a local coffee shop, supplement store, or other companies can create a mutually beneficial relationship, whether both sides recommend their product/service for a percentage.
4) Build a great community
When it comes to the fitness industry, bringing clients together and building upon it is all about bringing clients together. Word of mouth marketing is one of the most effective ways to get more clients, so a business needs to develop a strong connection with its clients.
Forming a great community means that a business needs to have a great product or service. To get people interested, companies can and should add testimonials from past clients so that prospects and see reviews and posts about the great experience it was working with the business. These posts are what make a community come together to support a business.
5) Go to local meetups and events
Even though social media marketing is continuing to rise, companies should not forget about personal connections. Going to local meetups and events related to the industry allows fitness professionals to develop relationships with future clients and other experts in the field. While at these events, companies should pass out any information related to it, its services, and how they can help clients reach their health and fitness goals. Additionally, people resonate with others that open up about their health and fitness journey and make genuine connections. So, by going to these events, companies can develop relationships and attract their dream clients.
These are just a few PR and marketing strategies that fitness professionals can use to have an effective campaign; there are plenty of others to update and continually develop.
Regardless of what industry a company may be in, PR and marketing have become essential tools they need to use to achieve positive media coverage. While they may be able to do all the tasks necessary to create an effective PR and marketing campaign, they may not have the ability to concisely and transparently put everything together. By hiring PR professionals, fitness professionals can focus their attention on other parts of the business and achieve media coverage for their new health and fitness venture.