How to build your best fitness franchise marketing strategy yet

There’s something rewarding about working in the fitness industry.

Whether you have a gym, a spa, or any facility that focuses on mental and physical wellness, you’re a force for change. Your service isn’t something people pick up off a shelf - it’s something that helps them transform their lives for the better.

Fitness franchises need a robust marketing strategy to succeed. And a franchise marketing strategy needs a few things to work. You need to know the best practices for your industry and franchises in general, as well as upcoming trends for 2020.

Here’s a guide on how to master your franchise’s marketing.

Find your franchise’s competitive advantage 

Fitness franchises are popular, and there are plenty to choose from. Some companies invest hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars across dozens (or hundreds) of locations.

In the fitness industry, you run the risk of falling into the same trap as convenience stores, fast food restaurants, and other popular businesses. When there’s a location on every corner, consumers can get overwhelmed. Which basically means all that time and effort (and money) you spent on marketing might become moot - simply because consumers are too used to seeing your brand.

To avoid this potential pitfall, focus on competitive advantage - those are the qualities that make your business superior to your competitors in a certain area. These include your accessibility, prices, or product/service catalogue.

Anytime Fitness set themselves apart from their competition

Source: Anytime Fitness via Pinterest

Take the above ad for example. Anytime Fitness set themselves apart from their competition with two unique differentiators: 

  • They help those whose work schedule and life obligations don’t line up with traditional gym hours

  • They offer a free trial 

Use differentiating factors like these to make you stand out and carry your franchise into the future.

So when you think long-term success, remember that your competitive advantage is how you deliver more to your customers for less of your own resources. 

Consider the top channels to focus your efforts

When you’re building a franchise marketing strategy, think like a franchise. What does that involve? Franchises are big and homogenous, and yet they’re diverse. While you can usually get the same level of quality at each one, they’re spread out across large areas.

You should frame your marketing efforts the same way - spread your content across multiple channels. Since you know focusing on your differentiating factors is the key to creating great content, now you just need to know where to put it. 


Your customer’s inbox is a great place to reach them. While you can succeed in many ways with a fitness email marketing strategy, it’s important to start with the basics. Welcome emails, follow-ups, confirmations of sign-ups, and even reminders of special offers are solid emails to create and send.

Peloton email campaign example

Source: Really Good Emails

Whether you’re making newcomers feel like part of your fitness family or keeping the conversation going with existing members, email carries tons of potential. With over 5 billion inboxes out there, it’s clear that email offers a big opportunity for engagement.

Social media

Social media is a massive part of online communication. We know that about a third of people use it - which means two-thirds of all internet users frequent at least one social platform.

Social platforms allow you to deliver a solid flow of high-quality, branded content with regular calls to action (CTAs). You should create and promote your social posts ahead of time and try to keep a regular schedule. Aim for at least three to five posts per week on all the platforms you use.

Posts can focus on a variety of topics, including:

  • Special Offers: Got a sale or special going on? Even if people aren’t personally interested, or the deal isn’t applicable to them, they’re likely to share it if they think it could help someone else. 

  • Holidays: Put a fitness spin on each holiday. For Thanksgiving, invite people to work off those holiday treats at your facility. And for the New Year, invite them to start fresh as a member of your gym.

  • Fitness Facts: Enlighten your customers with reliable information - it can rack up your followers quickly. People are always looking to learn more about how to stay in shape. Talk about dietary tips, exercise best practices, and even common fitness misconceptions. 

These are just a few ways to use social media effectively. Don’t forget to mix in other marketing approaches, too - like podcasts, print media, and eBooks. 

Master or (remaster) the fundamental aspects of marketing 

Even if you’re rekindling your marketing strategy rather than building it from scratch, it never hurts to reconsider the fundamental elements of your marketing approach.

Let’s start with copywriting. Now matter how big or broad your franchise marketing strategy is, the language you use is important. Aim for words that empower and motivate. 

Power words fall into several categories, but try to aim for those that are encouraging and safety-conscious. You want customers to view your fitness franchise as a place where they’re protected and can reach their goals.

Bose email campaign example

Source: Really Good Emails

Don’t forget about images - match your powerful language with powerful imagery. The email above shows a person engaging in physical fitness, and it looks natural. 

Authentic imagery that shows people in the act of exercising have a better chance of resonating with your consumers. They emphasize physical activity and look less promotional. Those reading your email see what they could look like if they click through.

Last but not least, don’t forget your CTAs. What’s the destination of your CTAs? Common links include your sign-in page, social profiles, and email mailing list. When you’re writing one, don’t forget to include those power words. Urge consumers to start their journey, join the fitness family, and change their life. 

Techniques to use

When you’re working with email and social channels, focus on a few simple techniques. For email, one of these techniques is triggered responses

How great would a customer feel to get thanked right after signing up for a membership - or receiving confirmation that their question was received? Triggered emails have the potential to make your customers feel like more than just a number.

This technique can also be used based on dates. If a deal is winding down, send a friendly reminder to those customers who haven’t yet taken advantage. 

As for social media, one technique to consider is sponsored promotions - which you can make more effective through keyword research tools like SEMrush to find words with a low pay-per-click cost. If a word has a better (lower) cost per click, use it in your ads and get more out of your budget. This can help save you money and find a keyword with potential. 

2020 trends worth considering

Whether you’re starting or revamping your franchise marketing strategy in 2020, it pays to know projected trends.

If you’re a fitness franchise that sells products like food, supplements, or cosmetics, you need to know what health-minded people look for. Natural products are quickly gaining popularity, and any company that offers them will have a unique advantage over competitors that don’t.

Trends like group training and classes for older individuals were popular this year - and they’re forecasted to maintain their following in 2020. 

The best way for a franchise to attract more customers is to be diverse. Diversity in both their service offerings and product lines help them provide something for everyone.

Wrap up

Your fitness franchise needs a great marketing strategy to succeed. When you’re looking to master yours, remember these three important factors:

  • Start with a brand-differentiating factor to stand out

  • Focus on email and social media first, then other content like print media, blogging, etc.

  • Keep up with popular trends to stay engaged with modern demand

If you follow these steps, your fitness franchise marketing strategy will succeed - whether you’re creating one from scratch or revamping it.

Do you have trouble building relationships with customers in your email marketing? Follow this blueprint and send better emails

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