At the recent IDEA World convention for fitness professionals held in San Diego, attendees learned about how to motivate clients, provide them with nutrition advice, and coach them in different methods. In one session, led by Amanda Patterson, mindbody online’s vice president of marketing, attendees received valuable marketing tips for fitness professionals. The biggest takeaway? Know your audience.

Right now, the fitness industry is booming, with a 21.4% growth between 2013 and 2015, according to Patterson. Specialty and boutique fitness studios are trending upwards, as more than 40% of the 57 million Americans who work out go to boutique studios. The average price of a class is up 7.8% nationally, so people are willing to pay more, she added. But the barriers are there: money, time crunches, need for variety – and fear of walking into a new gym.

Know your clients

Patterson suggested that attendees ask themselves:

  • Who are you targeting?
  • What’s motivating them?
  • Who do you want to attract?

These become the basis for personas, which are composite characters used when creating marketing materials. Patterson also recommended looking at the client journey:

  • The new person, who is filled with trepidation because they’ve never done the workout or are anxious about their first time at a new studio
  • The person who is struggling at the beginning – the client is committed, but not all in
  • The client who is seeing a transformation and is excited
  • The client who loves the gym so much that they become an evangelist for it

The key is to segment these audiences and tailor messages in each phase, including setting up automated email campaigns to reach these segments. Check in with customers, listen, and know them and their triggers and needs at each phase, Patterson advised.

How to tell your brand story

Brand stories are the ones you’re proud of, where you’re improving people’s lives. To tell a good story, and one of the best marketing tips for fitness pros out there is, make your client the hero of the story. Marketing that falls down is company-absorbed; people, even prospects, want to see themselves in the story, Patterson said. For example, you may want to change your website copy from “we” to “you” to talk to the potential client, and address their concerns and hopes simply, such as with a photo, she said.

Video can help tell your brand story. Patterson cited a 200-300% increase in conversion when brands used email in videos, and 90% of users say videos are helpful. This may prove valuable when demonstrating how your studio works. All titles you use, especially on YouTube, should describe the video, such as “Pilates Techniques for Beginners.” Pick a niche, use relevant keywords and descriptions, encourage people to add the video to their playlists, and transcribe and caption the video to boost SEO and views, Patterson said.

The best practices for videos, she said, include telling stories, connecting emotionally, being interactive and human, educating, informing, and going live.

Yes, live. According to Patterson, viewers will watch a live stream for an average of 34.5 minutes, and these videos garner 135% more organic reach and visibility than pre-recorded videos.

Tips for Facebook Live videos

  • Plan and announce ahead of time
  • Have a strong WiFi connection
  • Use a compelling description
  • Ask users to follow your page to receive notifications
  • Say hello to people who comment
  • Be creative
  • Broadcast longer

There are many other great marketing tips for fitness professionals, and these are a just a few that Patterson covered in her session at IDEA World.