One of the best ways to grow your membership is to understand who your best members are and respond to their needs, wants, and goals. Depending on the type of fitness operation you’re running, all of your members may have similar needs and interests. Conversely, they may be very different in terms of what they’re looking for from a fitness business. 

Enter customer personas. Here’s a closer look at why this savvy marketing strategy is a standout among gym marketing ideas.  

What Are Customer Personas?

Think customer personas, also known as buyer personas, just describe your members in terms of their demographic, gender, and socioeconomic status? Think again. The reality is that they do much more than that. 

Says the Buyer Persona Institute: “Built from the real words of real buyers, a buyer persona tells you what prospective customers are thinking and doing as they weigh their options to address a problem that your company resolves. Much more than a one-dimensional profile of the people you need to influence, or a map of their journey, actionable buyer personas reveal insights about your buyers’ decisions — the specific attitudes, concerns, and criteria that drive prospective customers to choose you, your competitor, or the status quo.”

In this sense, they go a step beyond segments by allowing businesses to understand and respond to key traits of your idealized members.

Customer Personas and the Fitness Industry

“Personas have recently come to the forefront as a great tool to help enterprises target and develop a brand design that is user-centric. As the focus has shifted to the customer experience, personas become wildly useful to achieving that goal. The sales, customer service, operations, and HR departments all benefit from the knowledge gained by using them,” contends creative executive Molly St. Louis for Inc.

While customer personas are used across a breadth and depth of industries, they’re especially useful for fitness businesses. 

“Well-researched customer personas will also help you grow your membership and profit margin by describing the patrons who are right for your business goals….Knowing the characteristics of your customers is one of the pillars of marketing. You have something to give customers in return for monthly memberships and premium payments. You are attempting to match your skills and facilities to the consumers who will get the most out of it and pay you the greatest return on your investment,” proposes Gym Insight.

Additionally, developing customer personas can help you focus your efforts in such a way as to facilitate the most significant ROI. Rather than throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, customer personas let you hone in on the most fruitful member and potential member groups. 

Creating Customer Personas

This begs the question: How do you go about conducting gym member persona research in order to develop these fictional profiles? There’s no better source of information than first-hand: surveying willing members about their backgrounds, demographics, goals, expectations, challenges, and opinions is a great place to start and is easier than ever now thanks to email platforms such as 

Group of people getting ready to workout together.

Observed behaviors, known as identifiers, can also help. “For example, you may notice a high-income executive persona tends to have an assistant who screens their calls. This knowledge should factor into your strategies for reaching out to members who fit that persona,” explains Gym Insight.

Still not sure about what your customer personas should look like? ClubReady recently shared a list of the top fitness marketing personas. While not all of these may apply to your unique fitness business, some are likely to be a fit. 

“Once you have developed a persona or personas to your satisfaction, they become the guiding beacon for your marketing,” concludes Gym Insight. Of course, having customer personas is just one part of the equation. Harnessing their full power for everything from product creation to gym marketing is also essential. 

One element likely to be consistent across multiple fitness business customer personas is the importance of technology. Download the AccuroFit App today to learn how it can help you drive member recruitment and retention.