Grow Your Health & Fitness Business’ Membership with This 4-Step Shape-Up Plan

08.27.2019 Cox Media

Marketing for Gyms & Fitness Studios

A Multi-Screen Advertising Strategy for Your Local Health & Fitness Business

From no-frill gyms to high-end niche fitness studios, the health and fitness industry is growing faster than the line outside a SoulCycle class. Last year, more than 66 million Americans visited a health club,1 and industry revenues are projected to hit a record $31 billion this year.2

The soaring interest in fitness is both good and bad news for your business: There are plenty of potential clients out there, but more competition than ever for their dollars. How can you cut through the noise so that potential clients notice your business instead of your competition, building your membership and strengthening your sales?

As a health and fitness professional, you know focusing on just one aspect of fitness isn’t enough to get your clients in shape — and the same applies to your marketing plan. Just as it takes cardio, strength training, flexibility and a healthy diet to reach peak condition, your marketing strategy will get the best results if you incorporate an integrated mix of advertising tactics. Keep reading for an advertising “workout plan” that will help you get results. 


Your potential clients go online for just about everything, whether they’re searching for the nearest Pilates studio or looking for quick workout videos. That’s why online advertising should be the foundation of your marketing efforts. Some 45% of internet users watch more than an hour of online videos per week.3 Get their attention by running an online commercial before the videos they watch (it’s called “pre-roll advertising”). Cox Media can help you create a video ad that will show off the strengths of your gym or studio: the camaraderie of your clientele, fun classes, skilled and enthusiastic trainers, top-notch equipment and the results of working out at your location.

You can even use online ads to target potential clients who are browsing related topics online. For example, if someone’s been searching keywords like “CrossFit” or “weightlifting for women,” or has clicked on a competitor’s site, your gym’s ads can be served before any video they watch as they continue to browse online.


You’ve got your online advertising program in gear. Now it’s time to take things to the next level by adding TV to the mix. No other advertising channel builds brand awareness like television, or has its ability to target viewers by location, demographics and interests. Want to reach upscale women who are interested in spin classes? TV can do it.

Before you shake your head and say you can’t afford Super Bowl-level ad prices, here’s a reality check: In many cable markets, you can reach prospects in your local area for about the price of a new pair of running shoes. Click here for a blog post that sheds light on how much a 30-second ad really costs — you’ll probably be surprised.

You don’t need to advertise on the Super Bowl to get results, either. Try airing your commercials around niche or local sporting events. If you offer sports-specific conditioning for athletes, run ads during local high school football or baseball games. Advertise your women-focused gym during shows on the Lifetime, Bravo or Oxygen networks.

Combining TV and online advertising has been shown to increase ad ROI by 60%.4 Do you own a boxing gym that caters to young men? Advertise during Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter” or “Premier Boxing Champions” and tell viewers to go to your website to learn how to receive a free two-week membership. These viewers likely have their smartphones in their hands while watching TV (88% of Millennials5 and 84% of Gen Z6 do), so it’s easy for them to visit your site.  For example, see how much you can convey in just a short time with this sample ad for a kickboxing studio.


If online and TV advertising are the cardio and weight training of advertising, think of mobile marketing as high-intensity interval training: Not everyone does it, but those who do get amazing results. Since most people join gyms within four miles of their homes7 mobile advertising is a great way to reach people in your local area.

If you own a yoga studio, for example, Cox Media can help you use “geo-fencing” so your mobile advertising is only displayed to people in the local neighborhood. You can even muscle in on your competitors’ territory with “geo-conquesting,” which identifies prospects near a competitor’s yoga studio or other relevant location (like a workout apparel shop or juice bar) and shows them your ads. You can also advertise on fitness apps, which more than half of all mobile phone owners use.8


Did you know fitness aficionados are almost twice as likely as the average person to follow their favorite businesses on social media?9 To get your membership numbers in peak condition, make social media marketing the final component in your advertising plan. Repurpose clips from the commercials Cox Media can create for you for you and share them on social media to build buzz about your business. Create a series, like “Glute Week,” “Ab Week” or “Thighs Week,” and post a video each day demonstrating a new exercise.

There’s tons of health and fitness content on social media, so make yours stand out by using social media advertising. Since almost 8 in 10 Internet users — from Millennials to Baby Boomers — use Facebook,10 it’s cost-effective to start your social advertising efforts there.


As with reaching any fitness goal, building your membership and boosting your revenue is all about customizing a plan and sticking to it. Cox Media understands your local market and how to find the perfect target audience, and can help you create an advertising plan that puts your health and fitness business in peak condition.

Contact Cox Media at 1-855-755-2961 to speak with one of our local advertising specialists or click here to learn even more about your potential audience.


1IBISWorld, “Gym, Health & Fitness Clubs in the US,” August 2017

2IHRSA, “About the Industry,” May 31, 2017

4Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), “How Advertising Works Today,” March 14, 2016

5Consumer Technology Association, “Millennials Master the Second Screen,” January 2016

6Centro, “Generation Z: The Shiny New Toy for Marketers,” September 29, 2015

7The Wall Street Journal, “How Close Do You Need to Be to Your Gym?” March 21, 2017

9Hitwise, “5 Key Stats for Marketing to Fitness Buffs,” December 15, 2016

10Pew Research Center, “Social Media Update 2016,” November 11, 2016


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