How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Fitness Business

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gym member retention advice

There is no marketing magic bullet, campaign or program that you can run that will immediately bring loads of new members to your fitness business. (If there is, please let us know as you have found Marketing Nirvana.) The most successful fitness businesses we work with are always testing new campaigns and marketing tactics, and then making adjustments to these programs based on what’s working and what isn’t (or in other words, optimizing their campaigns).

When thinking about launching a new marketing strategy, the most important step you can take is to first build out your persona. We keep listing this first because so many fitness businesses want to skip this step.

marketing persona jokeA persona is simply your target market (and no, your “target market” cannot be all men and women within a 20-mile radius who are between five and 70 years old). It includes age, gender, location, school (if relevant), other interests, values and fears, along with goals and challenges. In order for a persona to be truly usable, it should be as specific as possible and we’d even suggest giving your persona a name. If you’re struggling with this concept, start with your current students or gym members and ask them why they chose your fitness business. Again, it is important to be as specific as possible. You may hear responses such as “cost” or “coaches” but dive in to learn more.

  • Cost (why was this so important?)
  • Quality of instruction (what exactly do they like about your instructors or coaches)
  • Availability (hours of operation, why do the hours work for them)
  • Location (how far would they be willing to drive to get to your business?)
  • Meets needs (what specific needs?)
  • Solves problem (what problem?)
  • School or fitness community (why is this important?)
Looking for additional marketing tips? Get your copy of our 10-Step Marketing Guide for Fitness Businesses

Once you get this information, you can then use it to attract similar audiences. For example, if you know that community is a really important aspect of why students or members love your fitness business, you may want to look at starting a referral program. Members who love the community you’ve built will likely be eager to get other friends, acquaintances and colleagues into your school or gym.

Another thing to think about is the fact that your fitness business likely has multiple personas if you offer a wide range of programs. A martial arts school that offers a tiny tigers program, self-defense classes for women and anti-bullying programs for adolescents should develop, at minimum, three different personas and then target each persona with different marketing programs and campaigns.

If you’d like to learn more about personas, there are a ton of resources available. Some of our favorite resources come from HubSpot and their marketing blog.


Looking for more recommendations to help you build a strong marketing strategy this year? Get your copy of our easy-to-implement, 10 Step Marketing Guide for Fitness Businesses.

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