A decade into the 21st century, most health clubs now have websites, but what many health club owners may not realize is that their website can be a huge marketing and sales tool. By introducing search engine optimization (SEO) to your gym’s website, you can propel your fitness facility ahead of the competition. Billions of people use the Internet to search for local products and services, which means your gym has the potential to be viewed by hundreds of people each day. However, to be viewed by your members and prospective members, your club must be ranked high on search engines such as Google.
Achieving and maintaining a high search engine ranking will require your website to not only have content but to be optimized properly. As silly as it may seem, SEO is similar to the game played in the popular children’s book “Where’s Waldo?” What makes “Where’s Waldo?” so much fun is trying to find him in his red and white striped sweater. If he wore a black sweater instead, it would be extremely difficult to find him. The basics of search engine optimization begin with making your club’s website standout so it is searchable. SEO is that red and white striped sweater on your gym’s website making it easier to find and propelling your business ahead of your competition.
At the beginning of 2011, there were 5.9 billion mobile phone subscribers, 1.8 billion fixed broadband subscribers and 1.2 billion mobile broadband subscribers. Now imagine if we were to break that down to the United States or even further to your state or city. It becomes obvious that Internet marketing has huge potential for health clubs. The key is developing an effective Internet marketing strategy and using SEO to become searchable to potential members so that if someone looking for a place to work out types in “gym Miami Florida” and your club is in Miami, your facility comes up as number one in the search engines.
By having a well-developed Internet marketing strategy, your club can appear on the first page of search engines such as Google and Yahoo. However, this will not happen overnight. Internet marketing and web development firms can help by planning and implementing the strategies to make this a reality. Once you or your marketing firm has developed a plan of action, the next step is to create content that will keep your members’ and prospective members’ attention.
The content included on your website should keep readers’ attention by providing them with information that will entice them to come back to your website and into your gym. (Waldo did this by appearing in different situations that informed and intrigued us enough to keep coming back.) Furthermore, when we provide our members and prospective members with information (such as specials, promotions, personal training, group fitness, pictures and videos), it will keep them intrigued enough to come back for more. The use of pictures is so effective because it puts a face to your gym business. Waldo, for example, had dozens of top-selling books using pictures alone.
As more club operators understand the potential of search engine optimization and other Internet marketing techniques, an increased number of fitness center operators will begin using these tools in the near future. By using the Internet as your primary marketing tool, your club can present itself in front of hundreds of local residents each day. Being in front of this many potential members with the correct content, your health club’s website will increase its traffic and begin appearing higher on search engine ranking lists. The time is now to put that red and white striped sweater on your gym’s website and begin using SEO and Internet marketing to promote your fitness center.
Matthew Meyers grew up near Grand Rapids, MI, where he attended Western Michigan University. He moved to Palm Beach, FL, as a personal trainer for Ultima Fitness and Xtreme Tae Kwon Do in Wellington, FL. He is now the Internet marketing manager for BestGymWebsites.com and SoVi Digital. Best Gym Websites was created for gym owners by gym owners to market their facilities online. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call 800-232-0314.