Day 31. Tactics for Keeping Fitness Businesses Healthy Amidst The Current Pandemic

Let’s flex those business marketing muscles and get creative at the core!

One morning in March—when news of social distancing and lockdowns came to light—I found myself bombarded with emails from gym owners, asking to pause ALL marketing activities at this time because…

1. Membership Revenue Decline. People aren’t going to the gym so their cash flow is suffering (AU and NZ fitness studios typically are on a weekly payment scheme so if people don’t attend, it hits their revenue real hard. $66 per member/week, with 200+ members. If they see a decline of even just 30%, that’s an estimated $4k in losses every month)
2. Social Distancing. They are afraid of getting in contact with asymptomatic gym-goers themselves and just want to adhere to social distancing
3. Community Lockdowns and Quarantines. The government might impose lockdowns (which did happen eventually, for both Australia and New Zealand)
I appreciate that these gym owners were only looking after the safety of everyone around them, and it’s imperative that they adhere to government orders. When you look at the situation, it does make sense to pause marketing.
However, what gym owners and fitness business owners fail to see are that…
1. There is an opportunity to stay relevant by running regular ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram using a modest budget, because people will most likely be bored from inactivity or confinement all day long. Fitness businesses can be in front of the same audience while they scroll through their favorite social media channels.
This is not a hunch. Statistics show that our current reality has changed the way we use the Internet, and as expected, online traffic has increased. Facebook alone has experienced a 27% increase in traffic. Prior to the Coronavirus crisis, Facebook and other big websites and social media platforms such as YouTube and Netflix have found their user numbers “stagnate.”
What does this mean for us as marketers, and for you as business owners?
1. Now is the time to boost digital marketing efforts. Now is the time to reach passive audiences and to warm them up to become loyal followers and hopefully, paying customers in the future.
2 – People who are on the fence about exercise will most probably be fully decided to step up their game, a wake-up call if you may, that they need to take care of their health and fitness.
It is not something to celebrate, but at this time, most people are really focusing on keeping themselves healthy and doing the best they can to improve their current fitness levels. As a fitness business owner, it is a way to pivot and adapt to this “new normal” state we are in.
How do you do that? 
  • Run an online workout + meal prep program, focusing on strengthening the immune system and increasing energy levels. Technology is our friend, let’s make use of it—for a reduced rate (it’s not going to bring in the same revenue, but it’s still cash flow).
  • Engage with your current members and remind them that cultivating a healthy habit reaps tremendous benefits and that there should be no reason for them to break their routines and start over once this period of home confinement is over. As long as you can work out, then do it! (How about a hashtag campaign like #StayAtHome but #StayStrong?!)
Need help setting this up? Send us an email and we’ll gladly walk you through the process.
3 – Stay relevant and staying ahead of the competition. Other gyms have probably already paused their marketing activities as well due to the current situation. Start building that strong database and continue serving your customers even when everyone is at home. You will be glad you did when all this blows over.
On Facebook, for example, we see a generally lower CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions)—with the costs dropping 50% at the end of the Q1. This is an important metric to note, which gives us an idea of how other advertisers are acting in the midst of the crisis: paid ads are being pulled out. There is less competition for ad space PLUS an increase in traffic gives us the opportunity to acquire new leads for less.
The way to survive and thrive during this health crisis as a fitness business owner, is not by stopping marketing efforts. Shifting and adjusting your strategy, while ensuring that your focus stays on the core of your business–your customers.
Keep on keeping on, ride out this storm, and come out better than ever!

Lean Fernandez-Estose is an experienced Digital Marketing Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing consultancy industry. She is skilled in the following areas:

  • Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Facebook Ads Management