You’ve been working tirelessly for months to build your new fitness studio, and now it’s time to launch. Congratulations! You’ve invested time and resources into creating a space that inspires people to move. All that is left is to spread the word to future clients (and teach, of course). Advertising is more accessible than ever, but it’s also more complicated due to seemingly unlimited options. It’s crucial to your launch success to have a reliable plan to ensure you’re reaching the right audience with a clear call to action.
Before you can begin advertising, you must clearly understand your brand identity and placement. This includes your:
Once you’ve developed your brand identity, your job is to keep it consistent across all marketing channels. Since you’re a new boutique studio just starting, you will have to build brand awareness from the ground up in order to compete against larger, more established studios. Use your logo and colors in your marketing and consistent messaging and tone across all platforms.
One of the most common questions I get from studio owners is about the difference between a soft and grand opening. The former is an unofficial opening without a ton of fanfare. Think of it like a dress rehearsal. You’ll open your doors- often with a free trial week- invite clients to take classes and begin signing them up for long-term class packages. You’ll still want to advertise and promote your opening day, but it won’t feature all of the pomp that comes with a grand opening- like a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Your grand opening can be months after you open your doors- there is no set timeline. Instead, if your soft opening is the dress rehearsal, think of your grand opening as the opening night gala of your performance. Give yourself time to iron out your processes before your grand opening. I’ve included a free checklist download to walk you through it here.
Many of the same promotional material applies to your soft opening minus the ribbon cutting and ceremony. Here’s how to spread the word about your studio launch in the months and weeks leading up to your first open-door day.
Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your fitness studio business. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok allow you to connect with potential clients and build relationships with existing ones. Although it’s a popular tool, it can also be overwhelming and steal hours of your time without leaving much to show for it. Before you fall into the social media scroll trap, plan a strategy:
Keep the sales content to a minimum. For every sales-related post, ensure you have five connection-based posts to prevent turning prospective clients off before you have a chance to sell. Connect first, then pitch.
Offering a free trial is a great way to attract potential clients who may be hesitant to commit to a membership with a brand-new studio. As a consultant, I steer clients away from “free” unless it includes a clear strategy. Soft opening launches are the perfect opportunity to gain exposure, market your new offerings, and connect with potential clients. Consider offering a free trial weekend or even a week of classes to build trust- but remember to post, share and promote the week before and during and encourage trial clients to share the offer with their friends and family.
As a new studio, you may not have many email contacts yet. While you build your list, consider partnering with other local businesses willing to share your landing page with their customers in exchange for marketing their business during your trial week or in your newsletter. Make a list of all of the companies nearby that cater to a similar clientele and reach out with a pitch for why they should partner with you. Partner promoting may look like inviting them to host a table at your grand opening, offering a class in their business, or recommending their services to your clients.
The more exposure, the better. Teach pop-up classes at athleisure stores like Athleta, host a table at health and fitness-related events and fairs, participate in farmer’s markets, and search for organizations that could benefit from your expertise. Trade your services for email addresses by ensuring you capture contact information at each event.
Email is still the king of conversion from prospect to purchase. As you gather emails, keep in touch with weekly newsletters updating clients on future classes, studio progress, and events. Don’t worry about over-contacting clients at this point. Instead, make sure your newsletters are entertaining and engaging and include a clear call to action- such as purchasing a founding membership or trial pass.
While social media and email marketing are powerful tools, don’t underestimate the power of local advertising. These can get expensive quickly, so do your market research. Where are your ideal client’s consuming their media? Is it via Radio? Newspaper? Billboard? The local news? Once you choose, reach out to advertising outlets with your story and ask if they’d be willing to publish a press release on your upcoming opening. Those are free!
Your website is often the first point of contact potential clients have with your business, so making a great first impression is essential. Your website should be user-friendly, visually attractive without being overwhelming, and optimized for search engines. Don’t forget to have a purchase link on every page above the fold- clients should be able to purchase without scrolling down.
Once your website is live, dedicate time to optimizing your Google page. You can get the step-by-step instructions here.
It may feel overwhelming, but this should be the fun part. You’ve put all the work in to get to this point; now it’s time to share your offerings with clients who will benefit from your months of effort. If it starts to feel like too much, start back at the top and check one item off at a time. Remember to grab the free grand-opening checklist to keep yourself organized and on track. Congratulations!
As a small fitness business owner, crafting a compelling founder's statement and story can help you establish a personal connection with potential customers, differentiate your business from competitors, and build a strong brand identity