Planet Fitness is one of the most successful chain gyms in the U.S. Here are a few marketing lessons we can learn from them.
- Be consistent
- Set the rules early
- Make your customers feel more appreciated
- Keep it simple
Your marketing strategy is among the most crucial aspects of managing a fitness center, no matter how big or small. The majority of your new members could be those who heard about you through people they know who use your gym.
Word-of-mouth advertising can be effective but in more saturated markets, it isn’t always enough. Gyms have to face stiff local competition for members because they are independently owned and operated. How do fitness centers stand out?
You will always get the same basic responses when you ask for advice about developing a unique and effective marketing strategy: Have a user-friendly website, use local SEO for gyms and fitness facilities, track your campaigns, employ content marketing, and post on social media to engage more members. All these are useful and excellent ways to get more customers, but they are too basic. Everyone uses the same strategies.
The best way to make your gym successful is by ensuring it stands out against competitors. How do you accomplish this, though? The best way is by taking lessons from brands that are successful in the current market. One such example is Planet Fitness. If you are a gym trainer or member you probably already know what Planet Fitness is, but if you don’t, this article explores the brand and what you can learn from Planet Fitness ads.
What Is Planet Fitness?
Planet Fitness is a hugely popular national chain gym, due in part to its infamous “lunk alarm” and laid-back fitness approach. They provide a sufficient number of amenities: for a reasonable monthly fee, members can access massage chairs and tanning beds, invite a friend at any time, and receive discounts on smoothie bar beverages.
Planet Fitness does not have barbells, even though they are essential pieces of equipment for weight training. This is an attempt to achieve its goal of being a judgment-free gym that welcomes everyone, but not having access to this equipment is a major turnoff for many serious trainers.
The lunk alarm strategy may seem like a joke, especially to professional trainers, and can be annoying to some gym users, but it has been quite effective nonetheless. It is, after all, one of the most recognized chain gyms in the U.S.
Marketing Lessons from Planet Fitness
It’s a basic human instinct to try to emulate those who have been successful. When someone wants to be rich, they study the habits of the rich. Similarly, if you want your gym to succeed, it makes sense to study and collect tips from a successful brand. Planet Fitness may not be the gold standard for gym success, but they sure have done well, all things considered. There are a few important lessons other gyms can learn from a Planet Fitness marketing case study.
Make Your Potential Customers Feel More Appreciated
Planet Fitness has such open disdain for professional weightlifters that every gym is outfitted with lunk alarms – sirens that sound off when someone grunts or growls or slams heavy weights. In their commercials, extremely muscular guys overuse the word “bro,” and scantily clad women do the same with “hot.” In one Planet Fitness advertisement, a musclehead reminiscent of Saturday Night Live’s Hans and Franz repeats the mantra, “I pull things up and put them down.”
Professional athletes and serious weightlifters are unlikely to appreciate this. The gym chain Planet Fitness may make fitness enthusiasts feel out of place, but it unites everyone else. They are critical of anyone, despite their “judgment-free” slogan, who might offend their clientele.
The success of the gym can be directly attributed to its message of extreme acceptance. Confetti in the shape of unicorns and rainbows sends the message that your uniqueness is not only tolerated but celebrated. It is in everyone’s best interest if trainers and gym owners work to foster an upbeat and encouraging atmosphere for their clients. The method employed by Planet Fitness may not be the best one out there, but it does work. Find a way to make your potential customers feel appreciated and ride with it.
You may have heard weird stories about people being kicked out of Planet Fitness simply for looking like they might be weightlifters or personal trainers. Gyms that can better fulfill their customers’ needs will pick up the slack left by Planet Fitness’s intolerance for these types of customers.
Customers who are outside of your area of expertise should be referred to another trainer or gym that can serve them better. It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that a gym should give away its clientele, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The gym or trainer you refer the client to will never forget you, and the client will appreciate it, too. This is the sort of customer service that gets remembered, and you’ll likely be at the top of their list for referrals in return.
Set the Rules Early
Beginners might feel like they’re on an entirely new planet the first time they visit the gym. It can become relatively easy to navigate the waters, though, if you know what happens, and when, and where. Planet Fitness’s standards and expectations are clear, and after a tour of the facility, members know what to do and what not to do.
Prospective members may tour many gyms, but there are ways to set yours apart. It’s easy to outline the rules for potential clients, such as telling them, “this area is for stretching,” or “wipe down equipment when you’re done using it.” New members will get accustomed and comfortable much more quickly this way.
Keep It Simple
The first thing you see upon entering Planet Fitness are rows of cardio machines: treadmills, stairclimbers, and stationary bikes. Why? Because these machines take little skill to operate. You board, press the start button, and the machine moves. This process is manageable by any novice. It may not be great for profits, but it’s comfortable and convenient.
It’s also important to emphasize education. Teach new members fundamental movements and provide a straightforward action plan. Hold off on the intricate movements and techniques until later.
Applying the lessons set forth by Planet Fitness ads and marketing strategy can take you a long way toward developing your own. It’s important to watch out for some common issues that may arise, though, so be on the lookout for the following problems so you can stop them before they start.
Keep an Eye Out for These Potential Problems
Planet Fitness advertisement may work for them, and a clever gimmick could work for you as well. Be careful, though, not to fall into the following pits:
- Selecting the wrong target market: You want to develop a catchy slogan or niche that’s unique to your gym, and that’s great – just be sure you’re pointing it toward the right demographics.
- Being too shy to self-promote: Being proud of the services you provide is vital for business owners, and this may be especially true for gym owners. Potential clients need to see that you’re confident in what you’re offering, or they certainly won’t be.
- Failing to listen to customers: Paying attention to your clients’ wants and needs is equally important. Adapting to their requests, responding to their complaints, and offering unique incentives based on their feedback are all ways to ensure you keep them coming back.
- Being in a rush instead of waiting for results to manifest: Patience is key when starting a marketing strategy. It may take a while for word to get out, for new ads to circulate, and for your catchy new slogan to become an earworm – but if it’s done right, you’ll get there.
It may seem like a lot to think about, practicing all these effective strategies while keeping an eye on these potential pitfalls. It’s a good thing, then, that there are professionals who can help you, every step of the way.
Get Help Creating Your Improved Version of Planet Fitness
While Planet Fitness might not be the gym a professional trainer would want to train in, they have managed to make millions of dollars by attracting novice gym-goers and making it easy for them to learn more about fitness and working out. Contact a professional to help you develop your niche.