We noticed several years ago that we have a lot of customers in the fitness industry. And that gets us excited! So many people can benefit from living a healthier life. Personally, prioritizing health has been a game changer.

Since taking health seriously, I’ve dropped roughly 55 pounds… feel better, clothes fit better and I have the stamina to hike, bike and do the things that I love more easily. But that’s a story for a different day…

Many gyms and health coaches came to us looking to grow their business.

Luckily, we’ve cracked the code for a positive ROI on ad spend for gym’s.

Who doesn’t want to spend $1 in advertising to generate $30 in immediate revenue? Anytime you find that, you should go “all-in” until the well dries up.

We of course can’t guarantee any kind of return. However, what you see below is a snapshot of a real campaign and it’s actual results.

This 30:1 ROI on ad spend doesn’t even include the long-term value of an increase email list, customer retention and in-house up-sells (like supplements, personal coaching and more).

Want our proven formula to getting more gym memberships?

Then keep reading :-)

The Proven Anatomy Of Wildly Successful Gym Contests

A successful contest that generates gym memberships has the same basic anatomy regardless of geographic location.

In fact, this framework is quite similar to all successful contests.

Get a prize that helps you remind a prospect of the “fleck in their eye” (the pain point), agitate it just enough so they can clearly visualize the benefits of “removing the fleck”, and then give them a path to success.

Notice that we aren’t creating artificial pain, we aren’t lying or being deceitful.

With great power comes great responsibility.

-Uncle Ben, Spiderman

We adhere to a strict moral code when it comes to leveraging such powerful marketing levers. This is something that must be respected. Not only for credibility but also for sustained success.

Fitness Contest Example

Results Seen With This Campaign

Even with how competitive the fitness industry is in general (especially for gyms), we’ve seen incredible results with this campaign.

For every $1 spent in advertising, one gym generated $30 in near-immediate gym membership dues.

In fact, one of the campaigns spent $400 in Facebook Ads, generated 421 hyper targeted leads and generated $12,000 in annual gym dues from a portion of the prospects who claimed the free 5-day pass.

That means for every $1 spent in advertising, the gym generated an additional $30 in revenue. For many, this is an absolute game changer!

Yes, there are some costs associated with the software, prize fulfillment and time spent calling leads… but it’s hard to imagine many campaigns that even come close to that kind of return on investment.

Acknowledge The Prospects Pain

When it comes to fitness, it’s something intensely personal for a lot of people.

You’re well served to tackle the internal challenges so many people deal with instead of trying to skirt it.

We’re fans of building people up instead of breaking them down. So saying things like “Finally get the body that you deserve…” is much better than “Get rid of those embarassing love handles…”

This lets your prospects know that you’re there to help them actually achieve their goals, not there to make them feel worse about themselves than they might already feel.

Offer a “Hand Holding” Prize Solution

For gyms that offer personal trainers (most), you want to give them a proven path to success as the grand prize.

This is a great lead-in for the list of benefits you can offer as a facility.

“Imagine getting dedicated, one-on-one guidance from our best personal trainers who have helped transform over 500 happy clients to the fitness level they’ve always wanted.”

People like to know that winning your prize could be transformative, and few things actually feel more transformative than losing a bunch of weight and feeling like a million bucks.

Suggested Grand Prize

Giving the grand prize winner 10-personal training session and a 90-day gym pass should be pretty low overhead for your business, and is enough to give your prospects glimpse into the kind of transformation they could experience that might lead to a completely different quality of life.

Suggested Activation Prize

You want to give every single lead a reason to come to your location, check out your facilities and services. For a regular gym, a free 5-day pass converts like gangbusters. You’ll want to put an expiration date on this that’s just a few days after the end of your contest (must start your 5-day pass before expiration).

The goal here would be to get as many prospects as possible to activate the pass and get that micro-commitment of taking the first step towards better health and fitness.

When you call each lead (if you’re up for that, which you should… these are essentially the Glengarry leads after all), use their favorite workout/area of desired improvement as a talking point.

Benefits, Benefits, Benefits

Continuing our theme of “build up” vs “break down”, contests give you an amazing opportunity to pre-sell by talking about benefits and outcomes.

During the duration of your contest, you can paint a picture of all the ways your contestants life can be different (for the better) if they win your grand prize.

Plus, when you call each of your prospects to get them to activate their free 5-day pass you can talk to them about their goals, and encourage them to “just take that first step” by coming in and getting a few workouts in without any added pressure.

Always Be Closing (The Activation Trigger)

While you don’t want to be pushy or salesy, you can give subtle cues to what you want your prospects to do.

In this case, it’s getting them to activate their free 5-day gym pass during and immediately after the contest.

So when you email them with contest updates, you can point them toward a downloadable voucher for the 5-day pass that has an expiration date in the near future.

It’s important that you don’t want it to just be an open ended 5-day pass that never expires. Just like a contest, the best offers do eventually expire because this creates a natural point of scarcity that will get them to decide if they are ready to change their fitness patterns or not.

Scarcity forces them to finally make a decision and take action.

How To Implement This Contest

You might be thinking… “Great! I’m ready to grow my fitness business using a contest… but how do I actually get it done?!”.

Luckily, since there are so many of you – we can give you some resources and quick tips that will give you a massive jump start in running your contest.

Like all great contests, you need to define a few things…

  • How long will my contest run?
  • How will my contest be promoted?
  • What’s my grand prize and core offer?

Want a fill-in-the-blank Contest Execution Plan? Click here to get started.

How Long To Run Your Contest

The sweetspot tends to between 2 and 4 weeks for maximum results and effectiveness.

The length of your contest will be highly dependant on how much promotion you can generate for it (or how constrained your advertising budget may be).

But, that being said we’ve seen that the sweetspot seems to hover between 2 and 4 weeks. Of course each business will vary slightly.

This window gives you enough time to promote, generate referrals, and enough scarcity of it ending soon to maximize conversion.

If you’re running this contest in January for example, you might aim for a shorter contest (2 weeks) in order to capitalize on the New Years resolution crowd.

Promoting Your Contest

Our customers overwhelmingly love two promotional methods…

1. Facebook Ads

Utilizing Facebook Ads is really a two part strategy.

Part 1: Driving fresh, cold traffic to your contest targeting people who have an interest in health/fitness within proximity of your physical location.

Part 2: Retargeting those who saw your contest but didn’t enter. This is called retargeting and we recently did a guide about this for you.

If you’re just getting started, there are lots of resources out there – but our recent free guide may help get you started with the general how-to.

2. Contest Sponsor Method

Partnering with other businesses who have worked hard to curate a list of like-minded customers and prospects to promote your contest is amazing.

We’ve seen some customers generate literally millions of prospects this way when the right partnerships take place.

For fitness professionals and local gyms, just getting a few of the right prospects could be a huge win for everyone.

If this is something you’re interested in, we’ve put together a tidy little training about the 4 powerful ways you can incentivize contest sponsors to lower your cost of lead acquisition and generate even larger results.

Check out the Contest Sponsor Method here.

Creating Your Featured Image

The graphic needed for this contest is refreshingly simple. Below you’ll see a pre-made image you can download and simply add text over the top with your logo and name.

To the right is an example of what your finished image might look like.

We like to use the KISS mentality around here whenever possible :)

Template Image (400x700px)

Example Image (400x700px)

P.S. The font used in the image above is just Helvetica in case you’re wondering or wanting to use Fiverr etc to get an image knocked out. The image background is royalty free from our friends over at Unsplash, an amazing resource for this kind of stuff.

Creating Custom Fields

In our example above, we asked for two custom fields.

  • Phone Number
  • Favorite Workout

To add custom fields, simply go to Step 1 within your contest editor, then go to “Opt-in Fields” like so:

Make sure to check “Include this opt-in field” and “Required”, as it’s an important part of the outreach in this campaign.

One of the great nuances to this campaign is asking the contestants what their favorite type of workout is.

Depending on your particular services, it might instead be “what do you want to improve most?”, giving prospects options like “flat stomach”, “chest” etc.

Most fitness professionals will know that it takes a holistic approach to actually get desired results, but it makes for a great talking point as you reach out to each lead.

Inside of Contest Domination, there’s a simple format (once you know it) for creating these super useful drop down menu’s.

Now, you may be wondering why we have each option listed twice in the example above. One is what the contestant sees, the other is what we record.

You might want to show a simple option to contesants, but record a longer definition… or vice versa.

After configuring your custom fields, we need to know where to save that data in your email system.

If you don’t have a field on your contact records for phone numbers and the answer to your question, go create one then come back to this step.

Ready to get started with growing your fitness business? You have literally nothing to lose, try Contest Domination free for 7-days.

I hope you enjoyed this successful campaign blueprint. How do you plan to use this in your fitness business? I’d love to hear from you below in the comments.

Travis Ketchum
Travis Ketchum

Travis Ketchum is the Founder & CEO of Campaign Refinery and Contest Domination - helping 10's of thousands of businesses build bigger email lists filled with qualified leads since 2012.