Did you know that the health and fitness industry is worth around $30 billion in the US alone? Tapping into the trend for looking after yourself is a fantastic idea for fitness fans and budding entrepreneurs, but how do you go about turning a passion or a business plan into profit? If you’re eager to launch a fitness business, or you’re already up and running, and you want to be the next big brand on every gym bunny’s lips, here’s a useful guide to help you beat the competition.
Identifying your target customer
The health and fitness industry is booming, and demand for services and products is growing. However, this doesn’t mean that success is guaranteed. One of the most crucial steps to take in the early days of establishing a profitable business is identifying a target market. Who are you trying to appeal to? What does your ideal buyer look like? Create a persona and use this to shape your marketing and branding strategies. Are you going for a broad audience of people who are keen on exercise? Are you hoping to entice those who are new to fitness and want to shape up and lose weight? Do you have a specific gender in mind? Are you keen to focus on an age group? Do you have a niche in mind, for example, fitness during pregnancy, weight loss or body-building? Think carefully about your target customer. The ideas you have will dictate how you reach out to people through marketing, what your branding looks like in terms of logos and straplines, and how much you charge for services.
Researching the market
Before you dive into any industry, it’s critical to undertake extensive market research. Gather information about competitors in your area, have a look at their marketing strategies and pricing policies, and get to know your ideal customer. Send out surveys, chat online, run social media polls, and organize focus groups to discuss ideas, talk about what customers want and work out how you’re going to make a splash in the market. Focus on creating and pushing a USP that will appeal to your ideal client. What separates you from the crowd, and why will that particular feature, service or perk benefit the individual customer? Use the findings of your market research to refine your business plan. It’s also essential to ensure that there is a demand for the type of service you plan to offer. If you’ve got a niche market in mind, for example, you’ll need to ensure that there is a demand for your business before you launch. You don’t want to invest money and time in an idea that won’t work in the real world or the location you’ve chosen.
Creating a strong brand
Most of us could list a host of businesses based on spotting their logo or strapline. Branding is a means of educating and informing customers about who you are and what you sell. It creates a unique identity for your company and sets it apart from others. Building a strong brand puts your business on the map, and it can help to make your venture more appealing to customers than others. If you’re launching a new gym, a sports clothing product line or a new equipment brand, it’s essential to concentrate on creating a brand that will connect with your desired audience. Think about who you’re trying to attract, what kind of message you’re trying to get across, and how you want people to perceive your business. You can take advantage of tools for creating a fitness logo online or work with professional designers and branding experts to come up with ideas and get some inspiration. It’s also wise to test out prototypes and see what potential customers think. Your logo should be eye-catching, and it should relay what you do. You don’t want consumers to spot it and wonder what kind of business it belongs to. Keep your logo simple, make sure it’s relevant, and consider factors include colors, images, and the font style.
Once your business is up and running, and you’ve got your logo and strapline sorted, you can turn your attention to enhancing your brand image. Many customers buy products or sign up for services because they have a positive perception of the brand. More and more businesses are choosing to support community causes or charities, for example. In the world of fitness, you could consider approaches like supporting sports schemes at local schools, sponsoring competitions, or donating to charities that organize sporting events for people with disabilities or conditions that impact their mobility.
Marketing your business
Marketing plays a key role in drawing attention to your business, and it can help to drum up interest and increase customer numbers. Use the information you collected during your market research to design a marketing strategy that will reach your ideal customer and showcase your brand. Ask people how they want to be contacted, look into online habits and trends, and find out what kinds of offers, promotions, and discounts are most attractive to the customers you’re trying to appeal to.
There are several techniques you can use to market a fitness business, and the channels you choose will often depend on the type of services you provide and the kind of customer you’re hoping to entice. If you have a young demographic in mind, social media is a great option. Internet users spend an average of 136 minutes per day on social media, and usage is even higher among people aged between 18 and 35. Social platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are ideally suited to fitness businesses because they enable you to share visual content, which provides an insight into the services you offer and the benefits clients can enjoy. Compare the impact of a chunk of text talking about the advantages of regular training to a clip of a customer taking part in a workout. Humans respond well to visual stimuli, and images and videos are fantastic for promoting your brand and getting people talking. Clips can be shared hundreds, thousands, even millions of times within a matter of seconds.
As well as using social media to get your business name out there, it’s also wise to take advantage of the popularity of search engines. If a customer is looking for a personal trainer in their local area, for example, their first port of call is likely to be Google. Google processes more than 40,000 searches every single second. To ensure that your website and your links appear at the top of the page, utilize SEO (search engine optimization) techniques. Optimize blog posts and other types of content you share, and provide useful, factual, engaging material. Make sure your website is up to scratch. You don’t want to generate a huge amount of traffic via SEO to lose customers straight away because your homepage is drab or web users can’t find information about the services you provide or the fees you charge. Create a site that is visually appealing, provide an FAQ section, list services, and include images and video clips to make your pages more interesting and immersive.
Another way you could consider promoting your business is through existing customers. You could offer a branded promotional gift, for example, a water bottle or a drawstring gym bag, for every new client. This is an item that active people will use on a regular basis, and it should introduce others to your brand.
Running a profitable business isn’t just about getting good reviews and bringing in new clients. It’s critical to ensure your books are in good shape. Keep an eye on running costs and expenses, and try and increase the margin between your outgoings and your income. Run your business as efficiently and cost-effectively as you can, audit your accounts frequently, and look for ways you can reduce overheads without compromising on quality.
Fitness is a growing industry, and there’s a huge demand for products and services that promote health and wellbeing. If you’re thinking about setting up a new company, or you’re keen to grow an existing venture, hopefully, this guide will prove useful.