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5 Ways to Make Omnichannel Marketing Work for Your Gym

Forget making a buzz, you need your brand to be a superstar. The key: Think local!

When it comes to marketing, there’s loud and then there’s smart. You can try paying for a saturation campaign, or take a more targeted approach to marketing. One’s easy—you open up your wallet—the other takes expertise of today’s diversified communication channels. That means taking advantage of every tool and platform available. This is known as the “omnichannel” approach.

In an article, “The New Omnichannel Club,” in the August edition of Club Business International, industry experts stress that to be successful, today’s health clubs need to exist in a vast digital landscape that’s seamless and on-demand 24/7.

“Accessible 24/7, they’re powered by cloud-based mobile technology with minimal friction points. They offer revenue opportunities for upselling and marketing promotions, while working as a cost-saver in automating basic member services. AI messaging, machine learning, and chatbots can provide functions that once required paid staff, helping to lower labor costs.”

Delivering services to your members is one thing. You know where they are. You can offer a broad spectrum of on-demand services to direct accounts and destinations.

When it comes to marketing, it’s a different landscape. You’re reaching out to prospective customers and that means promoting your brand through a dense array of digital channels. And you have to know how to target those in your community. Even if you’re marketing video content to consumers beyond your health club’s region, you need to concentrate on local prospects to build your membership base.

Sales and marketing woman in fitness gear on cellphone Freepik stock column

These days, that can be complicated. And expensive. You don’t want to spend marketing dollars on guesswork. In today’s data-driven marketplace, we have precise accountability for ad performance and lead generation. But with so many channels to service and tools at your disposal (e.g., SMS, AI, email, social media), the data needs to be interpreted and applied to a practical strategic plan.

Time to drill down to the essentials. You have to be surgical. And the best way to do that is with hyper-local direct marketing.

5 Rules of Omnichannel Marketing: Hyper-local Edition

You’re not Zappos or Amazon. You’re not trying to lure customers from every corner of the globe. You’re a health club, with a specific location and identity. While you want your brand to shine everywhere, you need to reach out to your surrounding neighborhood. The people who will love you and love what you have to offer are out there. They just need to meet you, and understand how you can improve their lives.

Here are five ways omnichannel hyper-local marketing can help build your membership and revenue streams.

Try Mobile Geofencing. A “geofence” is the physical boundaries of a target location. While you may have great mobile marketing, it’s ineffective if you don’t use analytics to precisely target those in a designated “virtual fence.” With the right data research, ads distributed in these channels can be potent and practical, focused on what your club does best. This can also be paired with a Mail2Mobile service that matches your digital messaging with print materials sent to homes. Which brings us to…

Direct Mail Is Still Powerful. While it’s fashionable to say we live in the cloud these days, we actually don’t. We still live in our homes, apartments, and condos (these days more than ever). These physical spaces are still great destinations for your message. Direct mail has been used with great success by some of the most tech savvy fitness entrepreneurs in the industry. One of them, Alan Leach, regional manager of West Wood Clubs in Dublin, is an enthusiastic proponent of direct mail. “We can do a direct mail campaign that generates $3.2 million in revenue,” he says. For its costs, direct mail can be a terrific marketing investment. Take advantage.

Mine the Gold in Paid Search and Pay-Per-Click (PPC). Google is the whole ballgame here. The search engine has 92% of the market share in its category. It processes more than 3.5 billion searches per day. You need to put yourself ahead of your competitors with paid search. Somebody in your community is searching for “fitness, health, wellness, exercise,” etc., and your brand needs to lead the list. And with PPC, you don’t pay if searchers don’t click, and if they do, they’ve taken a huge step toward becoming a new member.

Make Sure Your SEO Is Managed for the Moment. It’s a jungle out there. The rules seem to change frequently and at the whims of tech giants. Google is notorious for adjusting their algorithms without warning. Links grow cold quickly—keywords can lose their luster. Your website, especially on mobile platforms, can’t afford any glitches or missed opportunities. You need a digital marketing partner who will assess your site’s performance and keep it up to speed.

Use Social Media Ads—But Beware. Posting on Instagram and Facebook just isn’t enough. You need custom ads that are timed and targeted to your best prospects. But if you don’t have the right analytics and messaging, social media advertising can be a huge money pit. Your social media campaigns need to be continually monitored and optimized. That takes a dedicated team of professionals who know the landscape.

That brings us to the big question: Who is your digital marketing partner? None of these omnichannel hyper-local campaigns will work without the expertise it requires to utilize these digital tools. You need a marketing supplier who specializes in hyper-local outreach, as opposed to those who take a one-size-fits-all approach.

Here’s who you need to contact.

Making Hyper-local Marketing Work for Your Club

UpSwell is a full-service marketing company that specializes in hyper-local campaigns for health clubs and fitness professionals. Founded 12 years ago, UpSwell’s dedicated team of marketing specialists have created campaigns for more than 2,500 gyms and studios, resulting in more than 2 million new members for these facilities.

UpSwell’s impressive track record is due to their laser-focus on hyper-local outreach. They’ll scour a three-mile radius around your club to unearth top prospects for your brand and services. By offering a vast range of comprehensive services in both print and digital platforms, UpSwell’s data-driven campaigns utilize all available channels with surgical precision.

Their digital and print services include:

  • Mobile geofencing;
  • Direct mail, including diversified mailers and newsletters;
  • Paid search and pay-per-click;
  • Email marketing;
  • SEO optimization;
  • Website analysis and design;
  • Social media ads;
  • Reputation management; and
  • Business listings.

UpSwell can get you up and started in under 48 hours. They work quickly and diligently to understand your brand and find the ideal targets for your message. And they don’t create campaigns and leave you hanging. They are with you 24/7, monitoring and analyzing your brand’s penetration into the local market.

UpSwell is so confident in their ability to generate new business for clubs that they make one promise: More members. Period. After the devastation of the pandemic, mining new members is more important than ever. UpSwell can reintroduce you into the marketplace and help build your membership levels to new highs.

Contact UpSwell for a free 30-minute consultation and see what they can do for you. Visit their website or call 470-458-1472 for a free marketing assessment.

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Jim Schmaltz

Jim Schmaltz is a contributor to IHRSA.org