How to Attract Local Customers Without Social Media

Jessica Thiefels Personal TrainerAbout the Author: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a content marketing consultant, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Honest Body Fitness. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram for health articles, new workouts and more.

Social media marketing connects your gym with people around the globe, but when it comes to reaching local clients, you may benefit from looking elsewhere. Offline marketing efforts, like flyers and events, allow you to target local community members without having to fight for the spotlight with dozens of other local and national businesses.

Don’t ditch social media altogether. Instead, take a mutli-channel approach. Use social media to drive branding, awareness and connections outside your immediate region, and offline marketing to better target potential customers within your community.

Meet Face-to-Face With an Event

One of the best ways to reach new customers is to meet them face-to-face, something that social media doesn’t allow you to do. According to Localist, the benefits of hosting an event for your small business include:

  • Brand recognition
  • Showcasing your location
  • Strengthening community relationships
  • Building trust
  • Establishing thought leadership

The good news is, you have space to host—your gym—and you can use this as a chance to connect with other local businesses, as well as potential customers. Ask a nearby restaurant to provide healthy food and a local childcare center to provide their services for the duration of the party. Building local connections like this benefits them and you, both now and in the long run.

If you don’t have the budget or time to plan and host your own event, you can attend or sponsor another event, like a race or local seasonal celebration. The key is to figure out where your potential customers will be and go to them.

Direct Mail Postcards

People may be checking their email more than 10 times per day, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best medium for reaching potential customers. Crowded inboxes, and the likelihood that you land in their spam or promotions folders means, no matter how many times they  check, they may not find your email.

Instead of relying solely on digital mail to share your message, discounts and brand, try direct mail postcards. These go directly to your customer’s home, making them more effective than an email. What’s more, 60 percent of businesses using direct mail say it’s their highest ROI marketing channel.

While direct mail can drive sales and sign ups, it’s important to remember that this format is all about the long game. As Radial Group explains: “Direct mail is not about making an instant sale. It’s about increasing awareness and extending a call to action that inspires the recipient to join your email list and/or visit your facility under extremely welcoming, non-threatening, low-pressure conditions.”

Use the Every Door Direct Mail service from USPS to best target potential customers who might be interested in what you have to offer.

Reach Them at Home With Door Hangers

This marketing asset can’t be ignored. Everyone has to walk inside their home at some point, and when they do, they’ll see your marketing door hanger. However, simply hanging door hangers throughout nearby neighborhoods will not yield the best success. Instead, start by finding your target audience using this tool offered by the U.S. Census Bureau. With it, you can find statistics about your local neighborhoods, like average age and income.

Once you know where to go, design a stand-out door hanger, which should include an exclusive offer. This entices potential customers to take action, rather than tossing the door hanger in the trash.

Take it one step further and personalize the door hanger, including the overall messaging and the offer, for the neighborhood, season or region. In 8 Secrets for Successful Door Hanger Marketing, design experts at MyCreativeShop explain:

“You can add a personal touch to your door hangers by customizing the messaging based on details like prior buying habits or well-known anecdotes about the neighborhood. Adding that small personal detail helps make your messages seem less generic. Plus, it shows you’re doing more than simply marketing—you’re taking the time to get to know them and the place they call home.”

For example, you may reference a local restaurant opening for the season: “The Lake House opens this weekend! Get 30% off your next visit to the gym before you get your first Lake House Lager!”

Get Offline to Reach More Customers

Social media is a valuable tool for all businesses, but to connect with local customers, you need to consider offline marketing as well. Use these ideas to reach your community without the clutter of the newsfeed, whether it’s in-person or through a personalized door hanger. Show potential customers who you are, and let them know you’re close by, to build lasting relationships.