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Written by Josh Unfried


Are you guilty of tunnel vision when it comes to generating new leads for your health club?

You may be wondering how to produce more qualified leads at the bottom of your fitness marketing funnel, however it’s possible you’ve been neglecting opportunities to engage interested prospects earlier in the buying process. Before you decide to write these top of funnel prospects off, it may simply be they need a bit more inspiration and education before they decide to join.

Unlocking this challenge could be the key to achieving what you want, which is more qualified leads.

The goal here is to no longer ignore, miss, or annoy interested prospects at the top of your marketing funnel by implementing a better strategy. After all, these are prospects that could become next month’s qualified leads. Let’s start by getting more familiar with your buyer’s journey.


As health club marketer, it’s important to have a good understanding of your buyer’s journey and also the marketing funnel in place to effectively attract, engage, and motivate prospects to join your gym. Not all leads are at the same stage of the funnel, however many health clubs market to all leads in exactly the same way, paying little attention to the prospect’s readiness for a particular marketing message.

A prospect at the top of funnel is usually not trying to join a gym (yet). Instead, they are looking for information and help tied to an opportunity to solve a problem, overcome a challenge, or meet a felt need that’s related to their goals, interest, or lifestyle. They may not be aware or connected to you yet. Or, they may already be your Facebook fan, an email subscriber, or a blog reader, but if they’re not taking you up on that free trial or introductory offer, it may be because they are not ready.



Prospects toward the top of your marketing funnel are usually motivated to learn more. Often these prospects are looking to become educated or to find information that can help them solve a particular problem. Their value as a lead at this point is uncertain, because they are unqualified, and it's not clear that they will buy.

Before you can qualify those leads, you need to make sure they know you exist and can find you online inside of their social news feeds or when searching for terms that relate to their problem (not your solution).


  • Someone knows they want to lose weight, but they won’t join a gym until they know how to get started.

What needs to happen to motivate this interested and early stage prospect to become a member? The answer is closer than you think. Think of your own journey to get in shape and start making healthier decisions for yourself. Whether you wanted that six pack to impress the girl or the beach body to fit in that swimsuit this summer, it all started with a specific motivation (the “girl”), a specific problem (the “beer belly”), and a specific group of needs (knowing what kind of lifestyle and nutrition choices are required).

What opportunities exist to educate, motivate, and equip those who want to be healthy or meet a fitness goal? How can you help people who feel trapped by their own lack of self-control or motivation and who want to break free?

You know your health club is the answer, but they might not.


Before ever searching for a local gym, many will search for topics related to weight loss, nutrition, and weight loss workouts.


Think of the problem or need of someone who knows they need to lose weight. Think about what they are up against and have to overcome mentally and emotionally before they ever step foot in your facility. Don’t be a lazy marketer and only spam this person with continual offers. Instead, be a smart marketer by taking a closer look at the problems your prospects face. Take note of the goals and interests they have at the earliest stage of their journey, the related keyword phrases they search for, and build a content marketing strategy that provides them the information they want and need to overcome those challenges. Doing this successfully will increase the probability they find and/or come to you when they go looking for it. Once they do, with you to thank for helping them, they are much more likely to claim your free trial or the next intro offer.


The marketing objective for prospects at the top of your funnel is to motivate, educate, inspire, and engage them in order to move them to the middle of the funnel.


At the middle of the funnel, prospects begin to qualify themselves by consuming content on your website and in your social and email channels that specifically relates to your brand, the solutions and offerings you provide. They know they have a specific problem, challenge, or need that you’ve helped them solve or address, and they've now moved on to look for and decide if your brand offers the best solution for them.

Here are some pointers and practical takeaways to help strengthen your marketing funnel and understanding of your buyer's journey in those early stages:

  • Become more segmented in your marketing strategy by developing buyer personas, which are fictitious representations of your most important prospect groups based on fitness goals, interests, or even demographics.
  • Understand and document the challenges, fears, needs, and issues prospects need to overcome before they will ever join your health club.
  • Develop, publish, and promote content tied to what you uncover that will attract and engage prospects at this stage of the funnel and help move them to the middle.

Over time, implementing these suggestions will reduce the number of prospects you lose and go a long way toward producing more qualified leads. This way of marketing also builds trust in your brand by becoming a more helpful resource to prospects and less disruptive, noisy or irrelevant.

Share Your Thoughts

Don’t be shy, tell us how you are reaching your prospects earlier in the buying process. Are you inspiring them on Facebook, providing content on your blog with common fitness questions? We want to know, share below.

Josh is the founder and CEO of WindFarm. Josh enjoys helping brands navigate the transition from traditional to new media and preparing their organization for digital-social marketing lead generation and success.
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