How to Market Your Outdoor Fitness Classes This Summer
After so many months of the pandemic, things are slowly beginning to return to normal. But not everyone is ready to jump straight back into life as it was before.
You and your clients might be feeling cautious about resuming exercise classes indoors. Working out on your own in a gym is one thing, but staying safe and socially distanced is harder when you are leading a group.
While online classes have been an undoubted success during the height of the pandemic, they don’t necessarily bring the same level of value or income as in-person classes. And many people have struggled to maintain their fitness from home.
The need for in-person classes is clear, but holding them indoors brings added risks. So, what is the solution?
The answer is taking your classes outdoors. Not only does this give you the space and ventilation you need to reduce the risk of COVID-19, but you’ll be taking advantage of a growing fitness trend.
Exercising outside has exploded in popularity during the pandemic. Survey data shows that only 14.6% of active adults chose outdoor exercise at the beginning of 2020. But, by the start of 2021, that number soared to 59.1%. This includes 39.4% of gym members who say they have shifted their focus to outside exercise.
Many fitness trainers recognized the opportunity last summer and found that holding outdoor classes was vital to keeping their businesses going. In July 2020, CNBC reported on some of the ways gym owners had pivoted their models to offer classes outside.
The consensus was clear—outdoor exercise can help gyms and fitness studios bridge the gap while clients are still reluctant to return to working out indoors.
Whether outdoor classes are an established part of your fitness offer or you are new to this space, building momentum is going to be essential to making your sessions a success. To help you do that, we’ve put together some tips to help you market your outdoor fitness classes this summer.
Social Media Marketing
Marketing your fitness classes via social media is a quick and low-cost way of attracting new people to your outdoor sessions. You can share photos and videos of classes to pique their interest, while building your audience by sharing exercise tips and tricks in between sessions.
With so many different social media platforms available, you may feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with them all. If you’re feeling the time-crunch, concentrate on just one or two channels. If you already have a strong following via one social media platform, that’s the one to use.
If not, have a look at where your target audience spends their time. Health and fitness is a popular trend on Instagram, for example, where 35% of users list it as one of their main interests.
Meanwhile, Facebook remains the most popular social media platform worldwide and has the widest age range too. Sports-related brands see a high level of engagement from Facebook users, attracting above-average numbers of comments on their posts.
Here are some ways you can use social media to market your outdoor fitness classes:
1. Share sneak peeks
Tantalize your social media followers with behind-the-scenes photos and videos from your classes. Not only will it get them interested in what you offer, but it also normalizes the idea of meeting in groups to exercise.
2. Show your precautions
The informal nature of social media makes it a good place to share what you are doing to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in a low-key way. This helps to reassure your followers that you’re being responsible and that they can trust you to have their safety in mind.
3. Focus on the other benefits
Safety isn’t the only positive of moving your exercise classes outside. Spending time in nature has been increasingly important to many of us during the pandemic. Talk about the benefits of exercising outdoors, both for our physical and our mental health.
4. Create communities
Facebook’s groups feature is an excellent way to build a strong community online. Encourage your clients and followers to join a private group for additional tips and advance notice of upcoming classes. It also gives them a place to share their progress, ask you about any concerns they have before joining a class, and bolster each other’s confidence.
5. Use Facebook events
Facebook also lets you create dedicated event posts, which are an easy way to let people know of upcoming classes. Use an eye-catching photo of your class in action to capture people’s attention.
6. Share outdoor workout tips
Another part of normalizing outdoor fitness classes is sharing tips and ideas that people can use in their own workouts. You’ll attract more followers with helpful content like this, while establishing yourself as an expert in outdoor fitness.
You could even run an outdoor fitness challenge for your audience to encourage them to get exercising outside.
7. Ask existing clients to share
Testimonials from your existing clients are convincing evidence that your outdoor classes are worth attending. Ask them to share their progress on social media and tag you, so you can repost to your own profile.
8. Use video
Beautiful images can help you catch people’s attention. But video is even more powerful. Engagement with video posts is 2.3x higher on Instagram, 1.4x higher on Facebook, and 10x higher on Twitter. Sharing videos of your outdoor classes will help get your new offer noticed.
9. Don’t forget captions
If you are sharing video content, don’t forget to add captions. Around 92% of mobile users view videos with their sound turned off, so you’ll quickly lose their interest if they can’t follow what is going on. Views, engagement, and clicks all increase when you caption your videos.
10. Use paid ads
While Facebook is notorious for limiting the organic reach of businesses, its paid advertising can be especially effective for fitness brands, which see the highest conversion rate of any industry. While the industry average is 9.2%, fitness ads on Facebook have a conversion rate of 14.3%.
The best part of advertising on social media is that you can target your ads to the people who are most likely to be interested. Filter your audience by age, location, and interest to make sure you’re getting in front of the right people.
In an increasingly digital world, it is easy to forget the importance of local marketing. But your clients need to be able to physically get to your outdoor fitness sessions, so concentrating on your local area is a no-brainer.
The traditional route of handing out flyers and putting up posters is one aspect of this. But you can also use digital marketing to target people locally.
For example, you could:
1. Partner with local businesses
Agree on a mutually beneficial deal with other local businesses to raise both your profiles. Perhaps you could secure a discount at a local café for class attendees in exchange for them sharing your classes with their customers and via social media?
2. Add your classes to local event listings
Both physical noticeboards and digital ones can be good places to market your outdoor classes. You could also join Facebook or WhatsApp groups that cover your local area. If the admins allow it, share upcoming sessions.
3. Add your classes to Google
Google My Business is Google’s way of helping local businesses get found via searches. If you have a regular location for your outdoor fitness sessions, you can add it to your profile to show up on Google Maps. This way, people searching for fitness classes in your area will be able to find you easily.
Your website is both an essential source of information about your offer and a marketing tool in its own right.
Make sure it is updated with your outdoor class times and locations. Ideally, allow people to prebook and pay in advance. By getting them to commit to the class while they are feeling motivated, you are less likely to find they don’t turn up.
You can expand on the theme of outdoor fitness by including blog posts and fitness plans to encourage your clients to sign up. It will also help your SEO efforts, making your website more likely to show up in search results.
And you should also use your website (and social media) to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list. Offer downloadable outdoor workout plans or a discount on their first class to entice them to subscribe.
Email and SMS
On the topic of encouraging email subscribers, email is a powerful marketing tool with an excellent return on investment.
Emails and texts are also useful for making sure your clients don’t forget about your classes. And you can automate your email or text journeys, making this one of the few marketing techniques that doesn’t require many hours of your time.
Sending out a regular email newsletter to subscribers is a gentle way to market your outdoor classes. You can include valuable workout tips to keep them engaged. But don’t forget to add a clear call to action to register for your next class.
If you run a reward or referral program, you can use automated emails and text messages to encourage your clients to take part. Perhaps offer a loyalty discount if they attend a certain number of classes or set up a ‘bring a friend’ scheme to attract new clients for your outdoor sessions.
A little healthy competition can inspire clients to take part. Let them win points when they attend an outdoor class, leave a review, or invite a friend. It is a fun way to retain existing clients and attract new ones.
See Your Outdoor Fitness Classes Thrive
There’s no denying that it has been a difficult time for the fitness industry. But those who have risen to the challenge and responded to the changing needs of their clients have weathered the storm and come out stronger.
Online classes were a blessing at the height of the pandemic. But outdoor fitness is a rising trend that you should take advantage of this summer. Hopefully, our tips have given you some ideas for marketing your outdoor fitness classes, both online and in your local area.
With the right tools at your fingertips, you can continue to grow your fitness business as you branch out into new areas. WellnessLiving’s marketing features make it easy to attract new clients and retain existing ones. With automated emails, SMS, and push notifications, marketing your outdoor classes is a breeze.
Book a demo today to see how we can help your fitness business reach new heights.