If you’re like the majority of boutique fitness studios, most of your marketing efforts appeal to women. But the reality is that men are often just as interested in taking studio fitness classes as women. Still, studios that teach everything from yoga and Pilates to Barre and kickboxing do a much better job attracting female members. Flywheel, a stadium cycling training program, and Barry’s Bootcamp, a high-intensity workout, are examples of studios that appeal to men because of their marketing. What are studios like these doing to entice men to join their fitness communities? And what can you do to make sure your studio’s marketing speaks to men as effectively as it does to women? Here are five strategies worth trying:
1. Use your website as a marketing tool.
Your website is one of the most important marketing tools in your arsenal so it’s important to use it to attract men to your studio. This is the place to showcase your gym’s offerings—such as personal training packages, classes and special deals—in a way that speaks to both men and women. “Our website shows both men and women training,” says Noam Tamir, owner and founder of TS Fitness in New York City, where about 40 percent of members are men. “We also create male-directed content. For example, June is Men’s Health Month. We created a number of blog posts and Instagram posts focusing on our male clients and men’s training.”
2. Leverage the power of your social media platforms.
Just as you do on your website, make sure your social media content speaks to men by featuring them in your imagery and stories. Tamir says using social media to highlight male fitness transformations has proven to be very successful. “We plan to create video testimonials of male clients to connect with potential male clients to help tell a story,” he says.
Paul Michael Rahn, founder and CEO of SWEAT in Chicago, has a 55 to 45 female to male ratio at his gyms and social media plays an important role in attracting male clients. “We ensure our social media represents images that appeal to men,” Rahn says. “Such images include photos of other dudes rocking class, photos that show our use of weights such as barbells and kettles, and we also highlight our male trainers as much as we can, showing our diversity.”
3. Create ads that speak to men.
While images of young, fit men may seem like the most attractive types of photos to use in your advertising, the reality is that men who are new to fitness are less likely to respond to them. Using realistic images in your ads will help you appeal to men who may have felt intimidated by a certain type of workout.
Think of men who are new to fitness and want to feel like they can actually do the workouts. Then create ads that will appeal to those men. “We do marketing ads directed only towards males with images showing the specific demographic of males that we want to attract,” says Tamir.
Show photos of beginner-friendly exercises in your advertising. And be sure to target the many benefits of exercise beyond improved fitness and weight loss, such as reduced stress and better sleep.
4. Promote training as a couple.
Since fitness classes tend to be predominantly female, one of the most effective ways to attract men to a class is to market working out as a couple. Getting more men to try (and stick with) your studio classes comes down to marketing a space that feels comfortable and not intimidating. Nobody wants to be embarrassed about their fitness level or stand out as the newbie. That’s why it’s so important to offer classes at a beginner’s level for men who may be new to fitness.
“Often the male partner doesn’t feel comfortable either because of his fitness level or because he thinks the workout won’t be hard enough,” says Tamir.
“We encourage our [female] clients to bring [men] in to experience TS. The consistency and results when couples train together have been great.”
Looking for a strategy to get started? Offer a week of free classes to a member’s male partner or discount membership or a block of classes at half price to a client’s significant other on a special day.
5. Develop workouts and experiences just for men.
“Dudes-only workouts, beers and barbells events that cater to only guys are great ways to bring all guys together,” says Rahn. In the past, he’s found success marketing a 30-Day Men’s Lifting Challenge to his clients. The challenge is “for only guys that want to bulk up and it includes three extra-strength workouts for them to complete outside their normal routine to gain muscle,” he says.
Think about what typically appeals to your male members and develop and market classes around those interests. For example, strength training for runners or yoga for golfers are workouts that will appeal to men and women so adapt your classes to include specific exercises and be sure to use this language in your marketing.
Finally, sell products that appeal to men. Rahn’s gym recently started working with a just for men product line of skin care, with the goal of highlighting wellness in men. Men who see a studio focusing on their entire wellness journey (from the workouts to the nutrition and beyond) are more likely to remain a part of that studio’s community for the long haul.