How to give your gym an edge online in 2020

12-Mar-2020 12:53:44

Marc Swann is Search Director at Glass Digital, an SEO and digital marketing agency that has created successful campaigns for the likes of Powerhouse Fitness, Lookers, and Wyevale Garden Centres. In this guest post, he explains what gym owners can do to get ahead online.

As the owner of a gym, you've no doubt already spent a fair amount of time and money marketing your business online. But are your strategies as effective as they could be, and is there anything else you could be doing to help you attract — and retain — new members? You can also use these tips to help your customers find online information about how you are dealing with the Coronavirus situation at your facility. In this article, I'll explore four digital marketing tactics you can use to give your fitness centre an edge over your competitors online.

Create a content marketing strategy to capture new organic traffic  

Almost every business can benefit from a good content marketing strategy, and gyms are no exception. The benefits of this tactic are two-fold: first, search engines favour sites with lots of high-quality, relevant content, so it's great for your site's overall SEO. Second, it will help to draw organic traffic — where users search for a particular keyword and find your businesses through the search engine results page. If you can answer a questions they have and impress them while they’re visiting your site, they may be persuaded to sign up or book a taster session.

Local keywords are likely to be your best bet, as these will bring the most valuable audience to your site. For instance, 'how to do a pull-up' or 'home workout ideas' might be very popular and competitive topics, but the majority of searchers aren’t likely to live close by, so these topics won't drive many conversions.

By focusing on topics a bit closer to home — such as 'outdoor workouts near [town]', or 'best running routes in [city]' — you'll attract a local crowd, which will help increase your chances of actually bringing new members through your doors.

You can find the best local keywords to target using an industry SEO tool like SEMrush. You can also outsource this work to an agency or copywriter who can research the most relevant topics and write them up for you.

Focus on local SEO

Whether you run one gym or have several venues across a wider area, it’s likely that most people who discover your business will do so through local search. So, it’s imperative that you’re doing everything you can to optimise for local keywords. There are a few things you can do to improve your chances of ranking for these, such as:

  • Get a Google My Business listing: This will make sure you're appearing in local search queries, that your contact details and location are available to see in Google info boxes, and that your physical location appears on Google Maps.To get the full benefits, you'll want to be thorough and provide as much information as you can.
  • Ensure your contact and address details are consistent across platforms: Being cited in listings pages and directories, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Yellow Pages, will help you rank for local search terms. But it will only work if your main contact details (including your company name, address, and phone number) are consistent across every citation. They need to be the same as your Google My Business listing.
  • Use local keywords: People are likely to use terms like 'gyms near me', so it’s important to target local keywords in your onsite copy, title tags, and meta descriptions. This will help Google to establish where you’re based, which should help you rank for these local searches. It can take a few months for these changes to take effect, as it typically takes Google and other search engines anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to crawl updated sites. But, after around six months, you should start to see results.

Use social media and blogging to create a community

If people feel that they have a personal connection to your gym, they’re much more likely to stay on as customers. Creating an online community using blogs, newsletters, and social media channels can be a great way to engage with your members directly, helping to build brand loyalty and encouraging them to renew their memberships. 

There are lots of ways you can use digital marketing to develop your relationship with your existing clients. You can encourage members to share their own gyms visits, progress, and milestone achievements on their channels using hashtags and by tagging your business — be sure to engage with these posts by liking and commenting, and you can also re-post them (with permission, of course). Be sure to get your personal trainers and in-house team involved in sharing their own day-to-day workouts and achievements, too. You could even create a 'Member of the Week' post to celebrate individuals reaching their fitness goals and feature them in a blog post or newsletter. 

Use affiliate marketing to increase membership through referrals

Affiliate marketing is a form of advertising where you can partner with other individuals or companies who will then refer other people to your services by sharing a link. If the referral results in a conversion, the partner will then receive a commission.

This can be a very effective way to encourage new members to sign up, as people will be more likely to join if they see your business being promoted by someone whose opinion they respect. Plus, you'll only need to pay commission in exchange for successful conversions, making it a cost-effective strategy.

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