Look around the gym and you'll likely see more than a few branded items. This is because, in the U.S. alone, promotional products are a $14 billion per year industry. And this industry includes countless items designed to display your logo or business name.
If you're considering making this a part of your marketing strategy as a personal trainer or gym owner, you may be wondering whether it is the right decision for you. To answer this question, let's look at a few pros and cons of using fitness promotional products.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of having a promo item (or two) is that it helps increase brand awareness. It gets your name out there as a new fitness trainer or area gym. You can't get hired if no one knows you exist. Giving a promotional gift is a great way to overcome this obstacle. It lets potential clients know that you are here and ready to help them reach their fitness goals.
Brand recognition is another of the top 10 uses of promotional products according to Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). The more people see your name or logo, the more familiar you become. This makes you more of a known than an unknown.
Think like a potential customer for a moment. Who would you rather choose as a fitness trainer: someone you've never heard of or someone whose name you've seen all over town? For many people, it's the latter. This is the value of brand recognition.
Giving out promotional products also helps you stand out in the fitness industry. It shows that you are committed to your business and your brand. When you're all in, your passion shines through. It says, "I'm going to be around for a long time, so choose to work with me."
Promo items can also serve as a great motivational tool. They can compel a client to sign up for your fitness services. You can also give away some branded products only after clients reach certain goals. This encourages them to keep going with their fitness journey. Once the item is earned, it becomes a reminder of a goal they worked hard to achieve.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks to using promotional items for your fitness business. One is cost. If you're just starting out or don't have a lot of spare cash, this is probably not an expense that you're willing to take on. There are other things that you may feel are more important. As a result, promotional marketing is left by the wayside.
Another con is that you could wind up spending a good deal of money on promo items only to have little return. In the end, you still have to be able to convert your leads. If you aren't able to do this often enough, the return on investment might not be there. The cost of the items outweighs what you get back.
You also have to be careful with what the promo products say about you. For instance, if they are low in quality, recipients may think the same about your fitness business. You may also run into issues if the items you choose aren't functional, useful, or fun. This could signal that you care more about getting your name out than actually improving the lives of your clients. So, choosing the right products is critical as well.
Still not sure whether to include promotional products as part of your fitness marketing? Here are few questions to ask that can help you make the right decision for your business:
Do I have enough extra cash to invest in higher-quality promotional items? If not, you may be better off not having these products at all. The last thing you want is for people to equate your brand with being low in quality. This could do more harm than good.
Do I attend trade shows or health expos where I could hand out these products? If you rent a booth at a public health event every year, give attendees something to remember you. Let these items serve as a fun or functional business card.
Will I actually give away the items or will they likely sit in my trunk? Promotional items can only do good if they are handed out. If they're going to do nothing more than take up space in your home or vehicle, you're better off spending your marketing dollars elsewhere.
Is there a specific item that could really promote my fitness business? Maybe you always use resistance bands in your training sessions. Giving clients a branded band is a great way to promote your training style. Or perhaps you're a trainer who always pushes clients to rehydrate. A water bottle with your name on it can help make this connection.
If you decide to use promotional products to build your fitness business and brand, you have a variety of options from which to choose. Fitness products are the most obvious. This could include a sports bottle clients can use during their workouts or a shaker bottle to help them easily mix their pre- or post-workout protein smoothies.
Other fitness products to consider are a sports bag with your logo or a journal or calendar where they can record their workouts. Some companies also offer branded fitness equipment. We've already discussed that resistance bands are one option. If you teach yoga, you can also offer a personalized yoga mat.
T-shirts, tanks, and sweatshirts are all great promotional items. They serve as walking billboards for what you can do. They are a visual representation of how you can help clients achieve weight loss or gain muscle. Other gym goers see these results and want them too.
If you're looking for a promotional item that you can buy in bulk without spending a fortune, hand sanitizer and lip balm are two options to consider. Both can be printed with your business information, and both are incredibly useful both inside and outside the gym.
In addition to deciding what types of items you want to give away, you also need to decide when to hand them out. This could include:
To entice a new client to sign up for your services. Everyone loves free things. And if someone is on the fence at all about hiring you, a free gift could make their buying decision easier. It could also give you the advantage over other trainers or gyms that don't offer free promos.
When existing clients achieve their fitness goals. Offer certain promotional items only when clients achieve a specific goal. When the product is something they've worked hard to earn, they will cherish it—and show it off—more.
When a customer completes an event that you sponsored. If you sponsor a fitness event every year, give all attendees some of your business swag. It serves as a talking piece for both the event and you. It also helps strengthen your brand.
When you bring on a new employee. Don't just save your promotional items for clients. Employees like them too. Create a goodie bag for each new gym staff. This is a good way to say welcome. It also encourages them to promote your business for you.
When an employee reaches a milestone, as a type of corporate gift. Go the extra mile for employees who have stayed with you a long time or reached a high sales goal. Use a promo item as a way to thank them for their dedication and hard work.
However you decide to incorporate promotional items into your fitness business, don't forget to include them in your marketing. Post pictures of the products you give away. Create excitement and buzz so your email list and online followers will want them too.
For example, if you have a Facebook or Twitter business page, share posts of you handing out your swag. Encourage your social media followers to post their own pictures with your branded gear. Get them involved in actively marketing your business. Make this a regular part of your campaign on every social media platform you use.
The ISSA's Online Coach certification teaches even more ways to reach your target audience with a digital marketing strategy. From mastering social media to building a strong online brand, this course covers these topics and more.
The ISSA Online Coaching Certification is the fastest way to transition a fitness coaching business online. This course allows you to pick and choose what you need to learn about so it fits the needs of a new or seasoned trainer. The on-demand information is delivered in bite-sized chunks and it includes everything from how to set up email campaigns and FaceBook ads to positioning and selling your product to prospective clients.