Ultimate Guide to Marketing a Fitness & Performance Facility: PT I

This is Part 1 of a 4 Part marketing journey dedicated to the success of your facility. This will be soup to nuts everything you need to know in order to market your facility in order to position yourself as the premier coach and facility in your market. So without further ado....

Part I

Marketing is simple - Identify your target audience, find your target audience, and then speak to that target.

Notice I said simple, not easy. What makes marketing so tough these days is knowing where and when to speak to your target audience.

Social Media has made it extremely easy to have a voice, but with so many platforms and lots of competition, it makes it tough for your voice to stand out.

In today's article I'm going to outline the marketing steps required to position your facility as the premier facility in your market, and allow you to stick out among the noise.

The theme of any successful marketing strategy is to centralize your messaging to what you want potential clients to see and what will benefit them most.

If your marketing goals are to increase revenue, generate more referrals, and improve the length of stay for your clients, then you need to start by centralizing your messaging appropriately.

Nowadays, the key to mastering the art of marketing is to have a strong digital focus with the end user in mind. Digital platforms are the way the world communicates today with ease, so your marketing efforts are going to need to be centered around such behaviors as well.

Building Buyer Personas

Identifying Values

Before we can get into content, distribution, and strategies that attract specific buyer personas, we must first establish some core values in your marketing efforts. You’ve probably heard companies talk before about how their core values guide their operations, hiring practices, and corporate culture.

This is the same philosophy I've seen work best for fitness and performance facilities in approaching their marketing initiatives. Consumers observe and connect with the value propositions that most align with the perceived value they believe they will receive.

For example, some well known brands showcase their philosophy on “No Judgements”, “Judgement Free Zones” or low priced memberships without a commitment. This allows them to focus on acquiring new members that may have always felt uncomfortable in a gym setting in the past. Other brands are more hardcore, and only appeal to weightlifters, bodybuilders or athletes.

Neither option is right or wrong. Each brand just values different experiences, and the types of buyer personas they target to walk through the door. Because of this, the people that walk through the door know exactly what to expect, and feel comfortable because of it.

The key is to have a consistent set of values that you want to market to the world, and then be vocal through marketing efforts to have a clear voice about those values.

So step 1 is to find your values, write them down and make them public!

Creating a Customer Avatar

In order to succeed with attracting new clientele, you first need to determine who your ideal clients are.

Where most facilities go wrong is focusing on an abstract target market instead of humanizing the experience and making it real for our target buying personas. By developing this persona, you now know who you are talking to with each piece of marketing material you put out there. This allows for a stronger response and a much more cost effective marketing campaign that leads to a better return on investment.

7 Ways to Gather Buyer Persona Data

  1. Facebook Groups – review profiles of group members.
  2. Online Marketplaces & Review Sites
  3. Typeform
  4. Google Analytics
  5. Facebook Analytics
  6. YouTube Analytics
  7. Survey current clients

This persona is also just a theory, it’s not set in stone. As a performance facility, you don’t have just one person that you cater to, so you are going to have to segment your marketing efforts into each demographic of members you actually serve.

You'll want to break it down by age, but in most cases, you'll want to break it down by activity as well. For instance if your current clientele ranges from age 13-28, you'll want to segment a persona for each category. Male and Female ages 13-17, or 18-24, it would also be smart to break it further into the sport, or their desired goals or problems you're helping them overcome.

Unique Selling Propositions

Unique selling propositions are the key differentiators that your facility offers compared to your competitors. How will your gym succeed where so many others have failed? How will you be profitable when there was a similar facility down the street that just closed their doors?

It comes down to your Unique Selling Proposition.

A unique selling proposition defines your position in the marketplace and lets you stand apart from competitors.

How can you identify your unique selling propositions so quickly?

  • Fill gaps left by your competitors
  • Find these gaps by reading customer reviews on your competitors
  • Actioning on current client requests and the needs of the market
  • Niching down your clientele to only a specific client that aligns with your true expertise.

If you'd like the client persona, and USP worksheet, message me or email me at and I'll share that with you.

Marketing Content

Marketing Cadence & Building A Subscriber Base

Now that you know who your target market is, you have to start creating content that resonates with that target audience. Over the next few sections, I will go over where to put this content and how to direct it, but in order to be successful in the 21st century, you have to frequently add value to your customers in order to stand out.

The most effective forms of marketing come through social media and email marketing campaigns. The key is to actually create this content, and be unique. You are not going to want to just copy and paste the same articles other people create, and use the same social media posts over and over again. I haven't seen that be as effective as creating fresh new content, that truly adds value to your demographic.

You'll also want to build a marketing calendar so that you know when and what to post. What I've seen work is sharing 1-3 posts per day on social platforms, and about 1-3 emails per month depending on where the prospect is in the funnel. The key is ensuring none of these contact points are “sales” related. They must be 100% “value” driven.

Provide the mental and physical benefits of working out for example, or the top 3 foods to eat to increase performance, or why you believe in unilateral movements over bilateral etc.

In no way should these be sales messages. Sales messages will only annoy your audience and ultimately have them lose interest and opt out. The idea is to have your brand identified with a certain topic, philosophy, or brand campaign and build subscribers.

Assume if a potential client is immersed in your blog content and finds a ton of value on how to increase their vertical jump for instance. Now after this season, they feel they need a little help with their training to continue to make progress. If they know your brand via your marketing content, and they identify your brand as the experts who have consistently provided great value to them, they will think of you first when pursuing a coach that works for them! Top of mind awareness.

Potential Content Topics

  • Topics that you have a level of expertise or experience on.
  • Topics that are trending in your niche.
  • Topics that help people avoid pain or gain pleasure.
  • Topics that solve a problem or provide insight.
  • Topics that clients are frustrated about (only if you have a solution)
  • Topics that your audience has told us they want. (hopefully this one is obvious)

The content should be insightful NOT informative. This means that if people can easily google it or have likely heard it before, you don’t want to use it as content. Insight is what to do with information in order to get a desired outcome. Information however, is just a commodity. We can ask Siri or Google for information. Your facility has to provide the level of value and insight about the fitness and performance industry and that is not easily available elsewhere.

Information example: “You should be walking 30 minutes a day 3 times a week in order to be considered physically active.”

Insight example: “To start your workout journey we suggest 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week, but increasing your workout length and intensity each week is also crucial to keep seeing results” (then give the process).

Another thing to consider when creating content is that content is NOT king, CONTEXT is king.

Truly great content is not just about putting your content in front of your audience, that’s easy. Great content is when the context of your content matches what your audience actually wants and needs and aligns with your brand identity. Your content should always resonate with your audience and be relevant to their life.

To be Continued...


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