Maybe you’d like to hire a fancy marketing firm that specializes in fitness marketing (who wouldn’t?), but like most small business owners, you’re probably hoping to spend less—and ideally achieve the same results.
The good news is that it’s totally possible to market your fitness business on a budget without sacrificing quality.
You just need a smart strategy to get you started.
In this step-by-step guide to low-budget marketing for your fitness business or yoga studio, you’ll learn exactly how to make the most of social media marketing, partnerships, blogging and SEO, plus some other techniques to establish yourself as an industry expert, grow your audience, and fill your classes—all without breaking the bank.
Step 1: To Grow Your Fitness Studio, Get Online
Let’s get the most important part out of the way first: Your fitness business—whether you run a gym or club, yoga studio, or offer private fitness classes in clients’ homes—needs a place online where potential clients can find out about your services, compare your prices, and book sessions.
That means every fitness studio needs a website (and with platforms like Squarespace or WordPress, it’s easy).
With a little ingenuity and a marketing strategy specifically tailored toward filling your classes, a website is a stellar way to drive new clients straight to you and convert them into customers. Once you’ve launched it (if you haven’t already), you want to make sure you’re savvy about how you’re using it.
Get that Search Traffic With Search Engine Optimization
Something you’ll want to keep in mind as you build your website is search engine optimization, or SEO.
SEO is a strategy to make your website appear higher in search engine results, so that when someone Googles “personal training Tallahassee” or “yoga studio near me”, you’ll come up first (or as close to the top as possible).
Here’s how to make the most of SEO without getting too technical:
- Keep your content compelling, authoritative, and current. Google rankings love sites that are putting out fresh content (like blog posts—more on that later) that provides real value to readers.
- Think: What would I Google to find me? Imagine you’re looking for yoga classes in New York City. You’d probably Google “yoga class New York City,” right? That’ search term is what SEO experts call a “keyword”.You want to make sure you have those incorporated into your site. Make a list of what your potential clients might be searching for and begin using them around your site.
- Then get even more specific. Ideally, you can figure out more detailed terms, like “prenatal yoga class Cobble Hill Brooklyn,” which has less competition for search rankings. If you’re not sure where to start, try typing in “yoga studio” into Answer the Public.
- Add a FAQ page to your site. Frequently, people use Google to ask questions and solve problems, so including common questions about your fitness studio or yoga practice is a great way to capitalize on that.
- Keep in mind that you don’t want to fall into the trap of “keyword stuffing,” which means shoving search terms into your text inorganically. Above all, make sure your copy reads like a human wrote it!
- Make sure that your site is optimized for mobile, which means that people can read your site on their phones or tablets. If you use WordPress, Squarespace, or similar template services, your site should be automatically optimized for mobile use.
List Your Services
You’ll need to make clear exactly what fitness classes you offer, so that people can Google the services they’re after and find you.
Provide detailed descriptions of your classes and private sessions, including how long classes last, their intended audience (beginner, super-athlete, etc.), and what clients can expect when they work with you.
Try answering these questions to help guide you:
- Do you offer private fitness classes or personal training? What about special first-time student packages or monthly membership discounts?
- Are you a community-focused yoga studio that offers discounted classes on Sundays?
- What are the best classes for total beginners?
- Do you help people reach certain fitness goals?
- Do you work with a specific type of client?
- What are some uncommon/nitch classes that competitor fitness studios in your area don’t offer but you do?
All of this should be spelled out clearly on your site.
Include Pricing On Your Site
Potential clients are definitely looking at your competition, and likely will skip right over you if they can’t easily figure out how much you cost compared to their other options.
List your prices per classes and private sessions, and consider offering bulk packages and special deals for new customers. A first-time customer incentive is huge, so don’t be afraid to advertise it front-and-center on your homepage.
Step 2: Set Up Your Fitness Business Listings
Your website’s not the only place potential clients might find you—they’re also likely browsing listings on platforms like Google, Yelp, or Classpass or open scheduling platforms (like us, Schedulicity!). If you’re not featured, you might as well not exist.
Start with Google, of course. Setting up a business listing on Google allows a client to directly look up your fitness business information and directions immediately, and it brings up that information right away when someone searches for your business.
Once Google knows you, browse through other marketing options where your fitness and yoga competitors are also listed. Some examples are Yelp, scheduling software, and booking software. Next, head to personal training-specific lists, like Ideafit. Remember that platforms like these spend thousands on bringing in traffic every year, so getting your name on their lists means you can capitalize off of their marketing efforts.
Pro tip: Offer current students a discount if they write you a Yelp review! The more positive reviews that your gym, fitness classes, or yoga studio has, the higher up you’ll appear in Yelp results. Think of it as grassroots marketing specifically for the fitness industry.
Step 3: Set Up a Social Media Presence on Instagram and Facebook
Instagram and Facebook are loaded with personal trainers, yoga instructors, and other fitness professionals. And for good reason: fitness clients love social media for finding inspiration, workout motivation, and new fitness trends.
Social media is also key to building rapport with online fitness communities—i.e. The ones that you can tap into for your marketing efforts. What’s more: Social media is an avenue to showing potential clients your personality—the unique brand, approach, and even quirks that people will connect to—and separates you from the competition.
Here are some of our recommended techniques for how to grow your fitness business through social media marketing.
Social Media Marketing 101 for Yoga Studios and Fitness Classes
When it comes to fitness marketing, Instagram is the front line of social media strategy—and your goal should be to land your posts on the Explore pages of fitness enthusiasts in your area so new people can find you. Follow these rules:
- Post beautiful pictures. Use natural lighting early in the morning or before dusk if possible. Keep in mind background clutter, and maintain a straight horizon line. Don’t get bogged down by Instagram-trends-of-yesteryear, like over-editing. Keep photos clean and fresh.
- Research hashtags. What hashtags are people in your space using? What hashtags are relevant to what you’re posting? Do the hashtags you’re choosing have lots of followers? Are they specific to your area? When in doubt: Don’t overdo it. Ten hashtags are plenty.
- Engage with your followers. Respond to and like comments, and make sure to like the posts of people you follow! They’re likely to reciprocate, giving your posts higher engagement and a higher likelihood of ending up in the Explore section.
- Consider paid ads for your services or fitness classes. Instagram ads can target specific people in your area when you have deals and packages. Make sure your Instagram ads are well-designed (this is a great time to work with a professional designer) and clearly state what the deal is.
For more in-depth marketing strategies for Instagram, check out this article here.
Facebook is another digital calling card for your fitness business—one where you can list current logistical information like hours or directions, but also announce special events or offers at your studio.
To fully flesh out your profile, do the following:
- Write a compelling and detailed About Page, telling potential customers all about your services. If people stop at Facebook and ignore your website, make sure they know what you’re about from your profile.
- Make sure you have a call-to-action, or a button that instructs potential clients to do something, like set up a consultation, book an appointment, or join an email list. Facebook lists the option to “Add a Button” which will take users to any URL you choose.
- Target your audience with ads. Facebook allows you to post ads (just like Instagram) with deals, promotions, or even blog posts you want to publicize. Make sure your target audience—which you can customize from your Ads dashboard—matches your ideal client, including age, location, or even attributes like profession.
- Post regular content that you’d want to see: pictures, videos, inspirational stories, and of course every blog post that you write.
With any social media efforts, recycling content is key so you can work smarter, not harder.
Have an extra photo from an Instagram shoot? Throw it on Facebook.
Did you make a Facebook video? The outtakes can go on Instagram.
And remember to include a Book Now feature on all of your social profiles—any scheduling software should easily integrate into your social media presence.
Showcase Your Expertise on Fitness Blogs—Including Your Own
Writing Regular Posts on Your Site Helps Your SEO, But Also Your Audience
Like I mentioned above, writing great content for your site helps your search rankings and draws traffic.
A blog is a perfect way to keep that content fresh and Google-friendly. The more you write about your approach to fitness or your yoga philosophy, the more Google will take notice.
Consider your expertise: Do you have a background in nutrition? Meditation? Zumba? What are the questions your clients most regularly ask you? These are great for that FAQ page we mentioned earlier but also for generating blog ideas. If they’re asking, other people are definitely Googling.
Keep your blog posts informative and make sure each article has a clear takeaway for the reader. Make sure to also include some articles that specifically highlights the sorts of fitness classes you offer—your blog is a great place to answer potential clients questions including the most important one: why should they choose your studio or classes over the competition?
Put Your Teaching Skills to Good Use Elsewhere, Too
While setting up your own blog and generating search traffic will take some time (sadly, SEO takes months, not days), there’s already a slew of fitness sites and blogs with giant audiences—and you should get yourself in front of them. Not only does guest posting on bigger sites expose you and your brand to a new, engaged audience, but it also establishes you as an expert in your field.
Here’s a breakdown of how to land a guest posting gig:
- Research fitness blogs that closely align with your services or classes so you can naturally grow your client base—bonus if they’re local to you—and brainstorm ideas for blog posts that you can write with authority.
- Then send an email to the site editor (check the contact page for a submission email address) with a two paragraph email.
- The first paragraph should outline the article you want to write (the subject matter, the format—like a list or essay—and how many words you anticipate).
- The second paragraph should explain who you are and why you’re qualified to write the article. Are you a yoga instructor who specializes in using the practice to improve mental health? Or maybe you own a barre studio that specializes in body positive fitness classes. Include those interests along with certifications, personal/business experience with the topic, and any examples of writing you’ve done in the past.
Here’s an example:
Subject line: Guest post about the best yoga poses for back pain/scoliosis
Hi [Editor Name],
I’m writing to pitch you a guest post about the 10 best yoga poses for back pain for people with scoliosis. I plan to write a detailed list explaining exactly why each pose works to reduce pain, as well as modifications for each pose. I’m also happy to include high-quality photos of myself demonstrating the poses. This post will be about 1000 words long.
I recently completed my yoga teacher training and teach two classes specifically aimed at people with scoliosis. I also write for my personal blog [insert link].
Please let me know if you think this would be a fit for your site!
When you submit your article, include an author bio at the bottom that links to your website!
Set Up Partnerships to Send Customers Your Way
In case you haven’t noticed, capitalizing on other fitness brands’ marketing efforts is a huge part of marketing your own small business.
Enter: partnerships, or working with other companies in mutually advantageous relationships.
Partner With Other Fitness and Wellness Professionals
Not all fitness and wellness pros are your competitors. In fact, many fitness pros can build mutually beneficial relationships.
Do you stalk your neighborhood masseuse on Instagram? Reach out to her about running a promotion that bundles your private yoga services with her massages!
This is fitness marketing done right—by partnering, you can grow your business without spending a dime.
If you run a larger gym or fitness studio, you can also consider a referral program where she gets a small percentage of the profits from anyone she refers to you—and vice versa. Apply this same logic to nutritionists, sports equipment stores, or anything else in the fitness world.
Get Referrals With Discount Incentives From Local Businesses
Companies are looking to up their fitness game for their employees, and that’s a market you can corner. Approach companies in your area about a discount for their employees—it costs them nothing to do the marketing for you!
Make sure you list these discounts online, so HR professionals who are looking to get fitness services for their employees can find you.
How to Market Your Yoga Studio or Yoga Classes
Not all fitness studios are created equally. Yoga studios, along with barre, pilates, and other related classes, have a very specific audience that often knows what they like—and as you know, there’s a big difference between Hatha and Bikram yoga. Don’t even get me started on all those Spin x Pilates hybrids.
Here are some additional thoughts to consider when marketing your yoga studio to grow your client base and make sure every yoga class fills up.
- In your marketing copy, whether it’s your site, Schedulicity profile, or social media bio, call out what makes your studio approach different from other yoga studios in the area. What classes do you offer that are totally unique?
- Offer a discounted or community yoga class weekly. This allows clients to “try before they buy,” which is especially important when there are so many different types of yoga (and Pilates and barre…).
- Introduce your teachers with clear, succinct bios. Have you ever booked a yoga class with an unfamiliar teacher, only to find that their approach makes it impossible for you to get into the zone? Teacher personalities vary, and that’s okay! Whether you’re trying to market yourself as a yoga instructor or market a larger yoga studio, it’s essential that you explain the approach you take to classes so that potential clients get a clear idea of what to expect.
- Don’t be afraid to get creative with your class descriptions—including class names. There’s something much more interesting about a class called Sculpt + Burn than Cardio Yoga, right? Making your copy as clear but interesting as possible will excite your audience, making them more likely to book a class.
- Make sure you’re speaking to all your potential clients. Remember that yoga classes attract all levels of experience from beginners to the most advanced practitioners. Include clear call outs when a class is appropriate for beginners, warn potential clients when a class might be a little advanced, and market private yoga classes to anyone who’s nervous about group fitness classes or where they stand. In short: Speak directly to your audience and answer the questions they have before they ask them.