Driving Footfall & Acquiring New Customers For Gyms

Health and Wellness | 11/08/2021 | Written by Matt Stump

Over the past year, there has been a spike in search volume for gyms with more people looking for gyms online and researching before they try. It is a similar story with opticians, and other similar businesses as well. 

Having worked with Anytime Fitness, 12×3 & Cirq we have definitely learned a thing or two when driving new customers to gyms. The impact of Covid-19 and national lockdowns has driven more businesses online,  so what can gyms do to drive more gym-goers?  

Well, hopefully, we can help…

Here are our recommendations/suggestions:

Have a great sales hook/incentive

When it comes to driving people to your gym, the ‘build it & they will come approach doesn’t quite work. Whilst brand awareness can go a long way, it is important to offer an incentive to entice potential customers and deter them from competitors in an oversaturated landscape. 

Whether it’s a free trial of your gym, or a set number of free classes, offering something non-committal for a customer is an excellent way to drive foot traffic. This also has the added benefit of helping with online to offline tracking, which was a big driver of trialists for both 12×3 & Anytime Fitness, and if provided with good experience, this can lead to strong customer retention.

Playing on your point of difference and unique selling point is incredibly important in a competitive market like gyms. Communicating this point of difference is even more important, as chances are the consumer will have a choice in their local area of where they go. 

Location targeting tactics

The obvious tactic is to target those who are within the radius that would feasibly visit your store. Let’s be real, it is quite unlikely that someone from Stoke would travel to Southampton for a gym session… 

The first things first are to choose a sensible radius to target but there is more to it than that on Paid Search & Paid Social. The best approach is known as ‘Donut Bidding’.

Bidding upon those closest to your location, and less on those further away means that your bid should closer match up with the potential customer’s propensity to visit.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly on paid search, is having a strong structure that captures as many location-based customers as possible. It is important to capture those who are not only searching within your set radius, but also those searching for specific locations. For example, people who are searching for “gyms near me” whilst in London, or searching for “gyms in London”, both need to be serving. 

It is also worth thinking about grouping business locations into clusters if they are geographically close. This helps to negate the risk of ad overlap, fatigue, and ultimately confusion if customers are being served ads prompting them to visit different gyms.

Content – Assurance

Within the health and wellness industry, it is inevitable for there to be customer questions and concerns, particularly during a pandemic like COVID-19. Therefore, it is essential to answer questions quickly and informatively. It is likely that new/potential customers are concerned about attending the gym or it may be that they want to know more about the protocols for booking and attending, whatever the question – ensure that these are being answered online and on socials. Make sure you are serving your customers content that reassures them and not just for the sake of selling to them. and not just constantly selling to them.

Thankfully, we have a framework for finding out exactly what these questions are. Welcome Assurance …. 

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So, to conclude, if there are three main takeaways when it comes to driving footfall then:

  1. Give people a non-committal reason to visit, without forcing the initial sale
  2. Ensure that your channel location targeting is precise, but also casts a wide enough net to maximise visibility 

With the context of opening up again, make sure you reassure both existing and new/potential customers by answering their queries and concerns. 

 Interested in learning more? Get in touch with our team today.

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