As a business owner, you’re dedicated to growing and sustaining your business by all means necessary, yet sometimes, that means understanding and putting emphasis on where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck. Marketing is one of those areas where many businesses find themselves trying a bunch of different channels — from paid social media to flyers to free classes — to figure out what works for them. With the fitness landscape changing so rapidly, there is simply no rulebook for how you should market to customers.

But what if there was? Now, we understand that businesses in the fitness space vary widely, from size, style, leadership structure, and even what their goals are as a company: whether it’s to grow and expand or focus on building a tight-knit community. But we also know, thanks to a recent partner survey we conducted at ClassPass, where our partners are putting their marketing dollars, how much they’re spending on marketing, and what they’ve reported as having the best return on their investment. Read on to learn more about what channels might be most valuable to your business.

Marketing Budgets

It’s tough to know just how much to dedicate financially to marketing without doing a number of tests to see what works for you. And when it comes to running a busy studio, the marketing budget can often take a back seat to instructor payouts, new equipment purchases, studio improvements, etc. In our partner survey, distributed to ClassPass’s 8,500+ studio partners around the world, we found that 67% of survey respondents tend to spend less than $500 per month on marketing, with 26% spending less than $100 per month.

Where To Spend

As much as the fitness landscape has changed in recent years, so has the marketing landscape. There are so many opportunities now to put dollars behind getting your business “discovered” online, from paid Facebook and Instagram ads to Google search efforts. Yet we found that the majority of our partners, aside from paid social media, are still primarily focused on classic, tried-and-true marketing tactics. 92% of our partners utilize word-of-mouth marketing, with 67% relying on flyers and mailings as well as physical signage. Only 40% of partners reported utilizing promotional campaigns or search marketing in their efforts to recruit new customers.

Marketing Wins

While it’s always helpful to have a number of marketing efforts going on at once to maximize your customer acquisition efforts, our partners reported these three channels offering the highest return on investment:

  • Word-of-mouth
  • Paid social media
  • Physical signage

This is not to say that other efforts such as brand partnerships and search marketing are not valuable for your business. These, along with other channels such as promotional campaigns and hosting events, may bring in a lot of new customers, but they come at a cost. When you have limited resources and budget, often the most valuable measures you can focus on are word-of-mouth, paid social media, and physical signage.

Learn more about how to maximize your efforts in these three areas on After Class:

For all of our studio marketing content, visit the Marketing tab. Plus, subscribe to After Class to get our latest posts right in your inbox.