Online marketing for gyms is seeing a resurgence after the COVID pandemic lockdowns and many…
PPC advertising is the best advertising platform for gyms. That’s because it is primarily designed to target people who are searching, unlike other forms of advertising and marketing.
A lot of gym customers know what they want and where to find it. And they will go to search engines like Google to search for a local gym with the amenities they require.
Using the power of Search advertising on a PPC platform like Google Ads, you can easily reach these people that are looking for a gym in your targeted locations.
In this article I list eight of the best PPC advertising tips for gyms to manage their campaigns effectively. This should help you to manage your campaigns effectively and drive many gym registrations.
1. Setup conversion tracking
It’s important to track all enquiries, leads and bookings for your gym that come from your PPC campaigns. This will help you to allocate your budgets accordingly, to the best performing campaigns, ads, keywords and search queries.
So, you should set up conversion tracking in Google Ads or goal tracking in Google Analytics and import the goals into your Google Ads account.
Without tracking you’ll be flying blind and wasting budget and time as you try to manage your campaigns. So, try to set up the tracking as soon as you can and even before launching your ads if possible.
2. Add new negative keywords
PPC advertising for gyms requires targeting the right search queries. When you first launch your campaigns, you’ll get some searches that are not relevant. And that is normal considering that you will still be trying to build traffic and see which searches work best for your gym.
However, some will not be relevant and you will see them straight away as you look at your search terms report.
So, you’ll need to take action early and regularly block irrelevant searches by adding negative keywords.
3. Find new keywords
Part of searching for negative keywords to add, as described above presents you with opportunities to find keywords that you can add and bid on too. Keyword research is most effective when it’s a regular part of your campaign management efforts.
An impressive tool to help you with this is the Keyword Planner tool that is in your Google Ads account and is free to use.
You’ll also notice that it has a forecasting tool too which you can use to determine what budgets to set in the future. Doing so will help to scale your campaigns and increase bookings for your gym from highly interested parties.
4. Update bid strategy
When you first get started with a new Google Ads campaign for your gym, it’s a good idea to start with an automated bid strategy. This is better than starting with a manual bid strategy because it’s not always easy to know what bids to set at the start, so it’s better to allow the machine learning system to set bids automatically at auction time based on the search context.
Maximise Clicks is one of the best bid strategies to start with. This sets bids automatically and tries to maximise the number of clicks you get for your budget.
With more data you can test other bid strategies like Maximise Conversions when you have had some conversions. And you can set a target cost per acquisition (tCPA).
5. Check Recommendations
The Recommendations page is a very insightful page with targeted opportunities to improve your campaigns. In here you’ll see suggestions on how to improve ad targeting for your gym and how to reduce spend and improve your return on investment.
However, not all recommendations will be relevant. So you’ll need to review each of them and apply the ones that you believe will improve your campaigns and discard the irrelevant ones.
Doing this will improve your Optimisation score and bring it closer to 100%. A higher score is usually a sign that the campaigns are optimised well and it also trains the machine learning system to send better recommendations in the future.
6. Do competitor analysis on other Gyms
PPC advertising for gyms should include regular competitor analysis to help improve campaigns. Seeing what keywords other gyms are appearing for is very helpful and helps you improve your keyword targeting and budgets.
There are reports and tools that help you with analysis. In Google Ads, the Auction Insights report shows you which competitors are appearing when your ads also show.
This report shows you a number of metrics including how often their ads appear when yours appear too. And you can see how you rank in the top and absolute top positions compared to other gyms.
You will find the Auction Insights report under the Keywords tab in your campaign.
Also a platform like SERanking shows you which keywords other gyms in your location are appearing for and how much they pay on average. And you can see which ads they are running and the Competitor research tool will provide all this info and more.
7. Consider broad match type keywords
Adding broad match keywords will help to increase the volume of searches that you get. You will also see new searches that you were not getting from your other keyword match types.
When you first create a Google Ads campaign for your gym, you should start with phrase and exact match keywords only. And later, you can add broad match keywords to increase search volume and target long tail searches too.
8. Check Quality Scores
Your keywords will have quality scores showing how they are performing for factors such as Ad relevance, Expected click through rate (CTR) and Landing page experience. This score ranges from 1 to 10 and the higher the score the better.
For some keywords, you’ll see a “-“ next to the quality score column and that means it has not had enough searches for the exact match keyword.
To improve the scores, you should improve the three factors mentioned above. Each of these factors will have a rating of either Below Average, Average or Above Average. So, you should improve any that have a Below Average or Average rating.
For example, if the expected click through rate is Below Average, you should improve your ads and update the headlines and descriptions to make them more targeted to the keywords.
Stars Gym is a highly rated gym which runs exercise classes and promotes social interaction among its members. They were running some basic Smart campaigns that were not performing as expected so they needed help from a Google Ads specialist. I setup a new Search campaign which helped to improve their conversion metrics. Read the full case study.