Gym Owner’s Guide: How to Create Effective Facebook Ads
For many fitness business owners, there is a constant challenge to keep new leads coming through the door. In order to keep your business growing & profitable, it’s important to have a strong digital presence and online marketing strategy.
While there are many different elements of a digital marketing strategy for gyms and martial arts schools, we are going to focus on Facebook Advertising. At this point, it’s common knowledge that Facebook Advertising is one of the most popular channels to market your business on due to the advanced targeting options, low cost, dynamic creative options, and more. But many gym owners struggle with how to run Facebook Ads to get more members. Without further adieu, let’s jump into our Facebook Advertising guide for gym owners:
1. Understand your goals & budget
Before you dive headfirst into setting up your first Facebook Ads, it’s important to start by understanding the key metrics and goals for your business and how much you are willing and able to spend on running a test campaign.
This blog will focus mostly on the ‘how-to’ of Facebook ads and not the metrics & measurement, but details on some of the most important metrics can be found in this blog post: Introducing: The Business Health Dashboard.
It is critical to think about your first time running Facebook Ads as a test. The goal is to evaluate if it is a profitable & effective marketing channel. To do that, you must have systems in place to measure your cost per lead, lead to client conversion, and average client value. You always need to make sure that Facebook Ads are bringing in the right kind of clients for your business - meaning, they are a good fit for the community, don’t quit after a short period, and pay for many of the services and offerings you’d want them to.
For many gym owners, we’d recommend starting with a budget of $500-$1,000 as an initial test.
2. Set up your Page to run Facebook Ads
Once you have a budget and goals in mind, it’s time to set up your account for advertising! There are two paths you can take - setting up a Business Manager Account for full access to all of Facebook’s advertising features or running ads directly from your Page.
To start, we recommend running ads directly from your Facebook Page since you likely already have one set up and it requires significantly less admin work. If you are trying to run more advanced ads or run into limitations, you should consider setting up a Business Manager Account.
Since most fitness businesses are focused on generating new leads, we recommend starting with either a Facebook Lead Ad, or, if you have a strong landing page you can run ads focused on ‘getting more website visitors’.
Regardless of the ad type, one of the most important elements of every gym owner’s Facebook Ad strategy should be the creative. Often overlooked, the actual images, videos, and copy that you use in your ads can be the difference between someone stopping and engaging with your ad or just continuing to scroll. In the next section, we dive into strategies and tips for creating effective ad content.
3. Create content
One of the main benefits of Facebook Advertising compared to Google Ads, is that you have more control over what content you are showing prospective clients. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase your unique community, facility, and programming focus.
In general, video ads are the most effective & engaging ad type, but here are a few specific ideas for ads you can create:
- Customer pain point & results - speaking directly to prospective clients' pain points and why your fitness business can solve them is a great way to build an ad. For example, your ad might say something like “looking to get in shape and make friends? Come in for a free fitness consultation and get ready to take control of your health!”
If you are looking to take your copy to the next level, check out Building a Storybrand, which offers a simple yet effective framework for crafting your brand’s messaging.
- Client testimonials - another excellent source of ad creative is to let your existing clients sell for you. You can run video ads of real clients talking about why they joined your gym/studio and what results they have achieved. Don’t worry about studio quality! An iPhone and quick testimonial video shot after class is all you need to get started with this strategy.
- Facility walkthrough - a recent article in the Morning Chalk Up, titled: From the Grungy Garage Gym to the Glass Front Retail Space: The Evolution of the CrossFit Affiliate claims that
“More and more gym owners are turning to fancier, more expensive retail spaces to become their gym’s home. And they say the trade-off is worth it.”
If you’ve invested in a modern, clean, and unique facility then why not showcase it to prospective customers? Facebook ads are a great way to break through the repetitive fitness stock images and highlight your facility with a walkthrough video or even drone footage!
Pro tip: need some inspiration for ads? You can view the ads any other business is running on Facebook by clicking ‘Page Transparency’ and then ‘Go to Ad Library’ from the left hand menu.
This can be a great way to get ideas for creative and see what other offers & promotions similar businesses are running. Just be sure to always make your ads your own and never copy & paste!
4. Target the right audience
After you have created your ads and are ready to publish, you need to decide who you want to target! There are an overwhelming number of options for how you can target different audiences on Facebook, from location-based, to website retargeting, to interest-based, and so much more.
For gym owners looking to start advertising on Facebook, we’d recommend setting up two audiences at first:
- Website retargeting - some of the warmest leads will be the people who have already visited your website from finding it on Google search or another marketing channel. Once they visit your website, you can serve Facebook ads to them by creating a Website Custom Audience.
- Location & interest-based - since most fitness businesses are somewhat limited by geography, you can use Facebook’s detailed targeting features to only serve your ads to people in a certain area code(s) and with specific fitness-related issues. Combined with other demographic info, this can be a great way to get in front of people who may not have known your business exists!
For example, you could build an audience of Women ages 25-35 in Chicago with an interest in CrossFit. Another audience could be People ages 40-50 with an interest in Mixed Martial Arts who live in Las Vegas… And the list goes on, with endless combos that only you will know how to create.
Here is the documentation on how to create audiences using detailed targeting.
5. Publish, measure, and improve
Even after you’ve gone through the legwork of setting up your Facebook Ads, it’s a good idea to regularly check the metrics and make adjustments as necessary. Remember, the initial budget is designed to be a test of Facebook as a marketing channel so by the end of the test, you should know exactly how many leads were generated and how many of them converted to paying clients.
An effective way to continually improve your ad strategy is to duplicate an ad, only change one element ,and then see which ad performs better. For example, keep the exact same client testimonial video but target a slightly different audience. The ad that performs better (lower cost per landing page view or lower cost per lead) will let you know which audience is more receptive to your messaging and business offering.
Keep testing & improving your ads as you continue to get comfortable with the Facebook Ads platform and we wish you the best in growing your fitness business with Facebook Ads!
BONUS: Don’t lose sight of your entire sales funnel and customer journey
Getting leads in the door is just the first step. It’s equally important to make sure you’re “closing” them (signing people up as paying customers to your different audiences) and creating an amazing client experience from day 1 to day 100.
No matter the marketing channel, it’s always more expensive to get a new client than it is to retain an existing one. You should be spending just as much (or more) time thinking about ways to keep your existing clients engaged than as you do developing new marketing strategies.
The metrics to keep yourself aware & accountable for your entire sales funnel are:
- New leads per month
- New clients per month
- Average revenue per client per month
- Average length of engagement
Two Brain Business, a leading business mentorship company, has great info on all of these metrics and a 2021 State of the Fitness Industry Report so you can see how you stack up against other gym & studio owners.
If you would like to get more business tips and learn how the Wodify platform can help your business growth, you can book a call here. Hope to talk to you soon!