By Chelsea Boone, Special AFS Contributor

We all know fitness business owners (studios, small gyms, independent trainers) don't have the big budgets that many of the big box health clubs do. They don't have the resources or a team of marketing experts that can easily analysis where to allocate certain funds to consistently drive traffic into their businesses. 

Luckily in today's day and age, fitness business owners are armed with an abundance of technology to fill in the gaps when your budget might not allow you the reach the big box guys have.

Below I'll discuss how a simple revamp in marketing strategy lead to an exponential increase in members for a local fitness business in Salem, Oregon. In just 90 days this business grew from 60 members to 100.

So what does the owner attribute this exciting business growth to? A marketing revamp that consisted of a total website overhaul and a new online promotion. 

The Website Overhaul

A key factor in increasing the number of website visitors that take action on a site is adjusting it to align with the psychology behind what makes visitors convert. A successful website incorporates features and a structure that makes it easy for viewers to become informed and take action.

The majority of website viewers are coming from search engines, like Google. This means to land on a site, they were likely searching for exactly what your offer, in your area. This is a prime opportunity to convince them that your fitness solution is the best fit for their needs and make it clear and simple as to what their next steps should be to become a member.

Key features that made this website overhaul a success include:

  • Calls-To-Action On Every Page - You can have a distinct impact on conversions by simply adding one clear, consistent message that defines what an interested viewer’s next step should be. Signing up should be the simplest part. 

  • Immediate Contact With Leads - A Harvard study found that “Contacting potential customers within an hour of receiving a query is nearly seven times more effective in qualifying the lead.”  Instant Connect does just that. This feature allows businesses to contact their leads within seconds of them submitting their information. The value of your business is still fresh in their mind and you can build on that momentum to close leads with ease.
  • Easy-To-Navigate Website Design - It is important for website visitors to be able to access the information they need to make a purchasing decision. The goal of your site should be to pique a visitor's interest and show them how to act. Nothing more and nothing less. With a clear website design that provides multiple avenues to find instructor information and reviews, a visitor can quickly become a lead.

The Trial

A trial offer is a perfect incentive to persuade viewers to become leads.

While no one offer is perfect for everyone, this owner found success with an offer that provided value for customers while still requiring a purchase. This “sweet spot” between giving a deal while also requiring buyers to “have some skin in the game” makes for a high-performing online offer.

Consider this before deciding on a promotional offer:

  • Your location
  • Your regular pricing
  • The online promotions of your direct competitors
  • How long does it take to effectively showcase everything your fitness center has to offer?

While online promotions advertising free offers (i.e. One Free Intro Class, 2 Free Weeks, etc.) can create a high volume of submissions, these generally result in less qualified leads. Individuals who have no financial investment are less likely to actually follow through and show up. Finding an online offer that not only incentivizes viewers to provide their contact information but also gets them to come into your studio can mean exponential growth for your business.

The Results

With 20 new members in just one month, these simple changes created enough additional revenue for this owner to hire an administrative coordinator who now can handle all incoming phone calls from leads.

It wasn’t a lack of interest that was holding her back. She just needed a strategic approach that would showcase her offerings in the most effective way possible. Remember that once you've identified your target market and determined the right approach to get them engaged the process switches to sales.  Good luck with your efforts no matter how large or small your budget is! 


Chelsea is the Marketing Executive at 97 Display, a lead-generation website solution designed specifically for fitness businesses. Her responsibilities include branding, back-to-base marketing, and outbound advertising. Chelsea continually promotes new features and strategies to 97 Display's existing client base, in addition to sharing the company's proven SEO strategies with fitness business owners across the world.

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