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Sell The Destination, Not The Flight (A Simple Flip In Your Ad Copy Can Pack Your Gym With New Members)


Sell The Destination, Not The Flight (A Simple Flip In Your Ad Copy Can Pack Your Gym With New Members)




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Show Notes


When it comes to your gym’s ad copy and overall marketing messaging, you’re probably selling the wrong thing…

A lot of gyms want to sell their workouts and how different their functional workout is from another functional fitness studio. Or, why their spin workouts are better than other spin workouts. But, that’s NOT what people are looking to buy!

Imagine Your Ad Copy Was Selling A Trip To Hawaii (What Would It Say?)

You’d pain the picture of the beach.

The plush white sand.

Maybe the sound of seagulls as the crystal clear blue waves crash ashore.

How about some luau music?

Now THAT feels like Hawaii, right? But why? Why would you talk about all of that stuff to get someone to book a trip to Hawaii?

Why wouldn’t your ad copy talk about these things:

The Truth About Hawaii

There are constant thunderstorms in Hawaii.

It rains 195 days per year in Honolulu, and averages more than an inch of rain per day!

None of that is making it into your ad copy though, right?

Why not?

Flying To Hawaii

I bet the flight to Hawaii isn’t making it into your ad copy either…

Enjoy a non-luxurious middle seat, stale peanuts, and the smallest bathroom known to humankind.

Again, why not?

…because non of that stuff sells

Stop Selling The “Negative” In Your Ad Copy

I see too many advertisements where people bring up negative experiences in order to sell their own.

Examples of ad copy like this would be:

“Are you struggling to get back into shape?”

“Has 2020 caused you to workout less”

“Tired of the same old workout?”

“Hate working out?”

All of these are examples of selling the flight, not the destination. 

If you go to the website for Southwest Airlines, what would you see?

southwest airlines destination ad copy

You’d probably see an incredible destination…

But, here’s what it’d sound like if Southwest Airlines ran ad copy with the negative message…

“Are you struggling to have a relaxing flight?”

“Has 2020 caused you to take less flights?”

“Tired of crammed seats and stale peanuts?”

“Do you hate flying?”

Sounds terrible coming out of a champion’s mouth, doesn’t it?

Southwest does over $20B per year.  They have a good team that knows…. You DON’T sell the flight.

What’s their tagline?  Wanna Get Away? 

NOT: The Best Flight Ever. 


Because nobody cares about the best flight ever, they care about where that flight takes them.

The flight is a tool on the way to the goal.

How This Ad Copy Applies To Your Fitness Studio

Don’t sell the workout.  I get it, as a fitness junkie, you love it!

They don’t.

They just tolerate it more than the others when they say they love it.

I guarantee you that if they could have the body they’d love regardless, they’d rather be on the beach in Hawaii than at your gym… even if it’s raining.

The destination for them is the results your gym provides. Sell THAT.

They’re already visualizing themselves with a better body. It’s why they’re searching for fitness in the first place. Help connect what they’re visualizing to your gym.

Ignore The People Who Don’t Understand The Fitness Industry Or Your Members

I know, I know… some gurus tell you to have average Joe Schmos in your ads. That way prospects who see themselves as Joe Schmos feel less intimidated. They’ll say something like, “Hey, those are people just like me!”

I get this pitch. But here’s the thing…

I’ve actually done focus groups with average people showing them ads of “average people” versus those showing what society considers “the ideal body.”

Guess what? The “ideal body” ads win every time.

When asking my focus group participants “why” they didn’t choose the “average people” ad, Here’s what they’d say:

“Because I feel like I’m going to stay the same there… just workout a lot.” 


“I want to see how my body should look if I do a workout like this.”

It’s true.  Run a focus group yourself.

How To Run A Member Focus Group

Here’s my qualifications for someone to be in this focus group:

  1. You cannot be a fitness or nutrition professional or even someone that ranks themself higher than a 7 in knowledge in those areas.  Your opinion is too biased and tainted.
  2. The person must be someone who has at least one kid over 3.
  3. They should also be between the ages of 30 and 50.
  4. You must have already paid to be a member of a fitness studio or group class gym that cost you over $100 per month, and you must have had that membership for at least 3 months.
  5. And, you must want to see a noticeable change in your body

You’ll find at the end that people in the focus group want the end result. Period.

Here’s another example…

McDonald’s Commercials vs. Reality

Ever see a McDonald’s commercial?

Those big, fluffy, juicy burgers?

The bread looks so deliciously plump?  

How that melted cheese perfectly covers the wonderfully grilled beef patty?

Oh look… this really happy, healthy looking young person is about to take a bite!

Wow, look at her smile as the burger gets closer and closer to her mouth and ohhh….

The perfect bite! No ketchup or mayo on her face. Nothing. Clean. Amazing.

Now… have you ever actually ordered a McDonald’s burger and opened the wrapper?

It’s nothing like that, is it?

The bread is all bent in the wrong places, the cheese isn’t centered and hanging out of one side…

As soon as you touch it, your hands are greasy, ketchup somehow gets in between that part of your hand where your thumb and index finger connect… 

And, as soon as you bite into it, you need a napkin.

The smile is real though!

But why do they show the most perfect version of their burger verses the average burger that you’re actually going to get?

The same reason sneaker commercials show the perfectly clean version of those sneakers.

Landscaping companies show a perfectly bright green, mowed lawn.

And college commercials show happy, young kids graduating and holding diplomas.


This is why…

Remember What Your Ad Copy Is Really Selling

Advertising isn’t about selling a product.  It’s about selling a feeling.

The way you feel when you get there. Whether it’s the beach, the bite of the burger, the diploma, or… the body you’ve been dreaming about when you stare at the mirror.

We all want to feel good about ourselves!

When we buy a car, we’re buying a feeling

If we buy a new watch, a new outfit, a new house… we’re buying a feeling more than anything else.

Knowing that, we should aim to sell a feeling more than anything else.  

Why remind our prospects of the negative feelings they get when they don’t have it? Maybe in  the sales process, when you get them in a one-on-one situation, that’s a good approach.

But in the ad?

…When you’re just garnering their attention? 


Sell the feeling they know they’ll get when they workout at your gym.

Because THAT is what they’ll pay more for.

People always buy more of what they want versus what they “need.”

Sell the wants, the desires, and you’ll find that consumers will make more purchases.


If you’re interested in having Loud Rumor help you increase your sales by an unreal amount, give us a call at 480-567-9794 or email us at [email protected].

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