The free marketing tool you need in your fitness business

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The free marketing tool you need in your fitness business

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Fitness business owners usually assume we mean spending hundreds (or thousands!) on digital ads when discussing marketing. But there are so many alternative marketing sources, including guerilla marketing or maximizing event visibility to attract your ideal customer. The key is to take advantage of your available resources, especially when they're free.

Google Business

Google's free business tool is one of the best free marketing tools to bring new customers to your gym. Unfortunately, most gym owners are not benefiting from organic Google as a marketing platform since they unintentionally leave their pages unfinished. Page optimization is especially important before you plan to advertise with paid ads, but all business owners should ensure their page is up to date and refreshed monthly.

Google explains, "Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search." Although you can't change your distance from the person searching, you can and should optimize your Google Business relevance and prominence scores to rank higher on potential customers' search results.

Let's start with the basics.

  1. Claim your listing. You'll need to create your page if you're a brand new gym. If you're an existing business, first check that you don't already have a profile that needs to be claimed or merged. 
  2. Follow the prompts to create your page, taking care to complete every question thoroughly. 
  3. Choose the most accurate description for your business type and add any services you offer. You can change any information later, but missing information will negatively impact your relevance score.

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Verify Your Business

One of the most important steps is to verify your business with Google, which is crucial for your page's visibility. Once you submit, you'll receive a postcard with a verification code in about a week- keep an eye on your mailbox, so you don't need to start over. After you confirm your code and receive verification, you can add your profile's details to get you noticed by customers, including hours, photos, and messaging options.

Optimize Your Page

Business Description: This is your opportunity to speak directly to your target client, encourage them to click to your website, and begin the journey into your studio. This section is chronically underutilized amongst small business owners. When building your description:

  • Include what makes your studio unique and hone in on why your client is searching for a gym or boutique fitness studio in the first place. They're on Google to find a solution to their problem. Show them you have it.
  • Try to avoid overused phrases in order to stand out from your competition. Even if it's true, "well-trained instructors" is in every studio's bio, but it doesn't tell the searcher why they should choose your gym over another.
  • Include keywords in your title and description. This part is essential, but it often intimidates gym owners. You don't need to become an SEO expert overnight to make the most of your industry's keywords. A few well-placed keywords such as your modality and location will dramatically improve your relevancy score.

Photos: According to Google, business pages with images receive 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more website clicks. It's not just any photo, however. You want to illustrate all the points from your description and encourage searchers to click by presenting:

  • Your community. Customers searching for a new fitness business want to see if they'll fit in with your community. Show your (happy, committed) clients interacting in your gym and include a wide range of your ideal client types. If your avatar is a specific demographic (e.g., seniors), make sure your photos reflect the kind of client you're looking to attract. 
  • What to expect. Your job as a gym owner is to remove as many barriers as possible to help your new client purchase. Show off your facilities so clients can picture themselves walking in and eliminate surprises. You may want to include a Google 360 tour.
  • The exterior. Business owners often forget to verify that their address and exterior photos are correct. Your clients will check the outside images to look for parking, landmarks, and general upkeep before getting in their car. Sometimes the photo selected by Google is outdated or incorrect, so double-check to ensure your clients don't get lost.

Reviews: A robust review section is one of the most critical factors for ranking well. It's not just how many reviews you have, but how frequently they roll in, their content, and whether or not you respond. Don't be afraid to ask for reviews, and take a moment to thank each reviewer who submits. 

Post Updates: It may already be challenging to manage a gym's social media posting requirements, but adding google updates to your page is a great way to increase your ranking and let your client learn more about you - for free! Google customers are looking for an answer to their specific pain point, so keep your posts informative, speak directly to your ideal client, and include a link to your website to boost SEO. Aim for one to two posts a week and include topics such as:

  • FAQ articles with links to your blog, if applicable
  • New offerings
  • Upcoming schedule changes
  • Announcements

Add Your Offers: Did you know your Google Business page has a section to post your intro special and other packages? Link a few purchase options to send potential customers directly to the cart or a landing page and minimize website bounces.

Our preferred coaches have watched as studio owners went from not ranking at all to ranking in the top three after a few months of google optimization work. With an increase in position comes an influx of new leads ready to try out your studio. Although it may add to your workload in the short term, taking the time to improve your Google Business now will continue to pay off each month as long as you keep it up to date. All it takes is a few minutes each week and this guide.

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About the author:

Niki Riga
Industry Expert
Limitless Studio

Niki has been a client, a studio owner, and a coach in boutique fitness for over a decade, and she can’t think of an industry she'd rather be in. Her favorite part about coaching and studio ownership are the same: she loves supporting clients as they push past their limits and achieve their goals. Niki became a coach because she was regularly asked, “how did you do that!?” by other studio owners who were drowning in the day-to-day responsibilities of business ownership but didn’t have the support to grow their studio to its potential. She created Limitless Studio to partner with owners who have a vision for their business and are ready to implement systems to build the studio of their dreams.