Are you using cross-promotion to market and promote your new fitness program options? If not, it may be time to start. An often-untapped method of giving more exposure to programs, cross-promotion relies on current resources and staff participation, requires virtually no capital investment and reaps instant rewards. Incorporate the following strategies and methods to market both personal training and group programming and grow your business through cross-promotion.

“Sell” to Staff First

The technique of cross-promoting requires an understanding of cross-training and cross-utilization. The first step is internal marketing. For cross-training to be effective, it must involve assurances that everyone on staff understands a new programming option before making the effort to promote it to the public. A good way to ensure this is to dedicate a few minutes at every staff training to discussing the promotion at stake.

Management must make it both possible and mandatory for all staff to experience the current promotion. Those responsible for scheduling should also make it convenient and possible for all front-of-house associates to attend the class. The goal: to experience it and be able to describe it with full authority.


When all internal customers are onboard with the necessary background information about a new program, the next step is cross-promoting the program to the external customers. All marketing should be in place and designed to spread the word about the benefits of the new program.

To disseminate this message to the greatest number of potential guests, the technique of cross-instruction proves key. This means that the new fitness class should be co-directed, or team-taught, strategically involving different club demographics.

An example of cross-instruction occurs when a club promotes a class taught by one instructor from the group fitness department and one personal trainer. For example, a trainer and an instructor might team up to teach a boot camp class with a catchy name. This type of cross-promotion via cross-instruction expands the number of potential participants because some of the personal trainer’s clients are likely to follow their trainer into the classroom for the special event. An additional positive byproduct of such an endeavor is that all of the regular students of group exercise who attend the special class will be exposed to the personal trainer’s style and be more inclined to book that personal trainer. This type of cross-promotion is a unique way to increase sales of both group fitness and personal training, all while offering a solid, new type of class on the schedule.


Another type of cross-promotion involves cross-requirements. This involves creating a contest in which guests are required to try each of the new experiences included in their “fitness passports.” Depending on the available budget, these passports can range from simple, single-sheet pieces of paper to elaborately printed, multicolor books that hold squares for fitness passport “stamps,” which can be supplied by the various instructors involved. When an individual attends a class that’s included in the contest, he or she receives a stamp (or instructor’s signature) on the fitness passport. You might want to offer prizes to the first 10 individuals to fill up their passports with stamps as a way to reward them for trying new programs.

Cross-Promotions: Being Different Makes a Difference
It may help to think of cross-promoting trailblazing programs like cross-training the body. In physical cross-training, we create muscular interdependence and bring about change as we overcome training plateaus, drawing from different resources available to stimulate the muscles in different ways. Asking different groups of muscles to work together in different ways proves key.

Similarly, cross-promotion and cross-instruction seek to foster interdependence among different departments. This technique helps staff become fully knowledgeable about new programs while simultaneously helping guests overcome boredom. How? By giving them new programs that are created by taking advantage of the strengths of the facility’s different departments.

For more information, please see the complete article, “Cross Over Into Cross-Promotion,” in the online IDEA Library or in October 2010 IDEA Fitness Manager. If you do not currently receive this e-newsletter and would like to upgrade your membership so that you do, contact [email protected].