fbpx Skip to content


Fitness Business Marketing Secrets

Keep an eye on these trending tactics.

Fitness business

How to Build a Strong Fitness Business

How is fitness business marketing changing, and what’s currently trending? It’s not easy to find balance in a shaky economic world, but sales and marketing experts are always trying to shed light on a lucrative path forward. As a fitness professional, you want to know how to connect—or reconnect—with clients, and how to forecast for the upcoming year. Instead of committing blindly to a roller coaster ride, consider three trends marketing professionals foresee for the next 6 months, along with tips on how to apply them to your fitness business.

Gifting for Retention

Loyalty points are out and gifting is in. Personal trainers may not be handing out “buy five get one free” punch cards, but many have been offering discounts or extras based on a client’s longevity. That approach is out of favor and the new road to retention, according to HubSpot, a marketing software company, is gifting. Connection is king on the other side of the lockdown, and gifting is one way to keep your fitness business front of mind.

What kinds of gifts can you offer? People still love water bottles, t-shirts, hats, key chains and branded towels. You may also consider partnering with another local business to offer gift cards for coffee, flowers, pet services and more.

See also: Retention: 5 Tips for Group Fitness.

Direct mail

Fitness Business Marketing with Direct Mail?

Once a stalwart in the marketing world, direct mail has fizzled out over the past decade. However, Seth Greene, a nationally recognized direct response marketing expert and author, told Trends.co “with all the changes in online media platforms like Google and Facebook, direct mail delivers better results than ever, with fewer restrictions.” Direct mail may be worth a fitness business campaign. Consider this: Hubspot reports that, particularly when it comes to “digital interactive” — physical mail used to drive readers online —response rates are roughly double what they were 5 years ago.

The good news is that print on demand is more affordable than ever and it’s also easier for fitness professionals to create their own postcard campaigns. With little to no graphic design expertise, you can use Canva or Vistaprint to create your own postcard promotions and select your target from your existing list, which you’ve hopefully segmented.

See also: Direct Mail: Now Fitter Than Ever

Fitness business

Retro Returns

What’s old is new again, and it’s not just direct mail. People who subscribe to the r/Retro subreddit have doubled since 2020, and r/80sDesign has hit 94.3k+ subscribers. Amazon is seeing an uptick in retro searches as well. According to Jungle Scout, weekly searches for “retro home décor” have bumped up 290% in the past year.

Fitness businesses can test this trend by offering retro workout experiences. This is easy to do with a class format or playlist (and the rich resources of the IDEA content archive!), but you can also take it a step further and find a local skating rink (hello 1984) or create an arcade-themed experience a la “Stranger Things.” Another notion: Use ’80s aesthetics in your ads (this may mean dusting off that unitard).

Staying current with trends isn’t high on the list when you’re already spinning your wheels trying to piece together training hours or scrambling to fill schedule slots. However, you can start small and test out ideas like the ones above. You don’t have to invest a lot of money and you can rely on helpful tips from IDEA to keep you up to date.

Start 2023 off two steps ahead of the competition by attending the 2023 IDEA® Personal Trainer Institute.







Joy Keller

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor and yoga teacher (RYT 200). She has been working as a business to business journalist for more than 25 years and specializes in custom communication and content strategy/ production.

Related Articles

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.


November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.