What’s a Persona and Why You Need One for Your Fitness Business Marketing Strategy

5 min read


I’ve been in marketing for a long time. I remember the not-so-distant-past when it was perfectly acceptable to do what is called “spray and pray.” Send your offer out to as many folks as possible and pray that someone takes you up on it (fills our your inquiry form on your website, gives you a call or sends you an email). These offers were always the same and never differentiated on age, income or any other type of personal attribute. They were “sprayed” across anyone and everyone with an email address or a physical address. And although I’m not religious, I’m not the first marketing person to pray to the God of Sales that someone would respond to my cleverly worded ad, mailer or email.

In the age of Amazon where we now get personalized recommendations on books and products that we might like, it is no longer acceptable to treat everyone the same. We’ve all been trained to expect personalization or at least for any offer to be relevant to us. In addition, how do you know who you should target for your fitness business if you think your market is ‘everyone?’ This is why personas are so important and why you need to build at least one for your fitness business marketing strategy.

First off, you may be wondering, what is a persona exactly?

• A persona is semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer.

But isn’t everyone your “ideal” customer (or at least anyone who will pay your monthly / daily / or yearly fee)? No, no and no.

If you’re an MMA gym focused on serious fighters, your ideal customer is not the 50+ woman who lives around the corner who’s looking to lose 10 pounds. If you’re a CrossFit Affiliate in an area inhabited by mostly families, your ideal customer cannot be a 20-something single guy.

When you opened your fitness business, more than likely you had an “ideal” client in mind. That ideal client can be the basis for your persona to help you get started.

Now let’s start building out a persona. Ask yourself the following questions to get started. Even better? Ask these questions to a few of your very best clients and incorporate their responses into the answers below.

• What is your persona’s demographic information?
(e.g., Married? Kids? Age? Typical occupation(s)?) [clearfix]

youth combine case study • What does a “day in their life” typically look like?
(e.g, always works out first thing in the morning then drops kids at school, runs errands, volunteers in oldest daughter’s classroom for an hour, drops kids at soccer practice, races home to make dinner, reads books and checks homework and then watches 1-2 hours of television)

• What are this persona’s challenges and pain points?
(e.g, Works out in the morning typically alone and bored with routine; Looking to lose 5 pounds and eat better but always strapped for time)

• Where does this persona go for information?
(e.g., typically seeks out friends, looks at online forums, seeks out opinions on social media sites like Facebook)

• What are the common objections this persona has to your product or service?
(e.g., no extra time for personal training, too expensive, needs childcare in order to workout outside of the home, intimidated by lifting weights)

If you can answer these questions about your “ideal” client / persona, you can then take the next step to determine what kind of resources and tools you can provide to this persona and where you need to be to get this persona’s attention. In the next blog, “Increase Gym Membership by Promoting Resources,” we’ll explore how to then apply this persona to build out a marketing and promotional plan. Stay tuned!

To learn more about personas and how to better market your fitness business, check out our 10 Step Marketing Guide for Gyms.

New call-to-action