What’s Wrong With Our Marketing in the Fitness Industry?

Whats Wrong With Our Marketing in the Fitness Industry

Marketing has always been one of the most complex challenges for any business, let alone a small business. The fitness industry is unique in that there are so many options for your customers to choose from. Instead of competing on price like most industries, you must compete on personality and brand identity. This makes marketing even harder than usual. The following article will provide you with some insight as to what’s wrong with our marketing in the fitness industry and solutions to fix it.

Today I have a great article for personal trainers and boot camp owners. It is from Vito La Fata. I heard Vito present at Fitness Business Summit a few years back and saw him there last year. He did an amazing presentation and has a lot of amazing ideas on how you can make 2013 your best fitness business year. Enjoy!

~ Rick

In a nutshell, we don’t have much of it! We do one of two things mainly:

1. We use daily and one-week passes and hope this is marketing. Or,
2. We use the shotgun marketing approach.

What is Shotgun Marketing?

Have you ever seen a shotgun blast?

Hundreds of pellets are packed into one big casing and spray everywhere when it fires. The shooter hopes that at least one of those pellets hits the target, slowing it down enough to get another chance to shoot at it. While not a bad strategy for shooting ducks in the air, not the best strategy for our marketing efforts unless you want to kill your business.

Yet, this is precisely what many fitness businesses do with their marketing. They are trying to jam a bunch of pellets into one shot, hoping something hits the target.

An example of shotgun marketing is, “Then I’m speaking to everyone marketing,” — whether you are 8 or 9 years old, an athlete, want to lose fat, are a senior citizen, or recovering from an injury. This program is for your marketing!

You’ve seen it. It has 50 bullet points, tells you about the equipment and amenities, and tries to hit everyone.

There is no emotional trigger, no promise of an outcome. It’s just an attempt to shout into a crowd and hope someone hears you.

angry-aggressive-businessman-fitness industry

I was guilty of this when I started the industry and broke out independently. You see, I used to work for Crunch back in NYC about 10-11 years ago before I moved out to work for them in OC. I can remember when I first started Fitness Evolution in the gym of my apartment building, then in my garage, and finally opening my studio doors; I was trying to get anyone to train with me. I was blasting this shotgun marketing approach wherever I could, and it wasn’t working to grow my business.

One of the most significant issues that trainers face is that they suck at copywriting. It’s daunting and not a skill they have developed yet.

Then I discovered a strategy to get inside my client’s head using four simple questions.

This little strategy, which is more of a system you can use whenever you want to create your marketing, gets into the emotional pain points, the mental and psychological triggers that get your prospect to respond to your marketing.

Marketing is only effective when someone acts upon it. Marketing is the art of getting people to feel, so they buy.


So, let’s get your clients feeling and acting, not just thinking, so they buy.

Step 1: Create an avatar. Or your ideal client.

Grab as much social, economic, and psycho-social data as possible on your client. This is basic stuff any marketing course teaches you. Where your ideal client lives, age, income, kids, etc., but let’s go deeper. The thing you might want to hone in on is the psycho-social stuff. Where do their kids go to school? Where do they shop and eat? Daycare centers they favor, etc. This gives you clues into their daily habits and behaviors, which could prove valuable. And those stores or centers could be potential places to place your marketing since that’s where your “ideal” client is hanging out.

Step 2: Ask yourself these four questions.

1. What are your avatar’s goals for the next 12 months?

  • Try not to go longer than 12 months because the reality is your avatar wants something in their life fixed now. They don’t want the cure to what ails them to be 52 weeks away. So give them short-term benefits that will move them forward NOW. You will progress them through more, but your first hurdle is getting them in your door right now.

2. What are your avatar’s frustrations?

  • Everyone has things that are pissing them off that they would like to see go away. Find out what those particular things are, and then create a framework to solve them using your services for your client.

3. What does your avatar value?

  • The overweight mom has different values than the youth athlete and the busy executive.
  • Drill down on those values because those will be the words, emotions, and bullet points you will use versus telling people about your treadmills, suspension devices, and equipment.

4. What has your avatar tried before that has worked or not worked?

  • This is often a missed strategy. It’s like market research. You want to know what your prospects have done that’s worked and enjoyed so that you can include that in your offerings. And you also want to know what they don’t like, so you don’t have that in your offerings.
  • You want to know what they are getting pitched from all your competitors so that you can differentiate yourself.

These four basic consumer insight questions will help you find the “language” to talk to your market using their words and not your own. A simple go-to strategy that works every time to make your marketing simple, clean, and practical.


Now, go out there and grab five of your best clients and start asking these questions because January marketing is around the corner, and it’s a make or breaks time of year.

Visit www.21daygtm2.com for free training videos on establishing effective group training programs in your firm.

Vito La Fata has created a program to help fitness professionals doing group training make 2013 their best year. It is called the Group Training Marketing Machine.

Vito La Fata is an International Presenter for IDEA, IHRSA, Mindbody Online, Filex, and more. He runs multiple successful businesses, including Fitness Evolution (his studio) and Fitness Profit Systems, which help fitness professionals find simpler, better ways to run highly profitable businesses.

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