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November 16, 2023

How To: Maximise Sign Ups During the January Fitness Challenge

New year, new me! Who has never said that before?

January is the month of good resolutions: the time to start that new diet, pause alcohol, begin your job search, and of course, join the gym! For most businesses in the fitness industry, January is the peak time of the year, where membership sign-ups rise exponentially.

Learning how to capitalise on this momentum is key to ensuring a good beginning of your financial year. Marketing is the easiest and quickest way to go if you want to really boost those membership sign-ups to the next level. However, as this fertile period can pass by very quickly, the margin for error is much smaller than usual. If your marketing campaigns are not optimised to bring the best results, you might miss this key moment and have to wait another year to take advantage.

Of course, marketing is a trial-and-error game. You need to make mistakes to understand what works and what doesn’t with your audience. However, there are a few easy tips that you can follow to make sure that you do not make unnecessary mistakes, and you get the best out of the January gym rush.

And if you want to be 100% sure that your January campaign is a successful one, get in touch to get bespoke work done from a seasoned marketing agency with extensive experience in the fitness world. 


Red January: What Is It And Why Does It Matter?

"Red January" is typically a campaign that encourages people to get active and prioritise their mental health throughout the month of January. It often involves participants committing to some form of physical activity every day during the month. The "Red" in "Red January" stands for "Run Every Day," but it can encompass any form of exercise, promoting a holistic approach to well-being.

Red January provides a unique opportunity for fitness-related businesses to align their marketing efforts with the natural spike in interest and motivation for health and well-being that comes with the start of the New Year. Building a successful marketing campaign during this period can lead to increased visibility, customer acquisition, and long-term business growth.

How Do I Make My Business Stand Out?

Given the widespread recognition of the January fitness challenge within the fitness industry, you certainly won't be the only one seeking to capitalise on this momentum. That's why it's crucial to ensure that your campaign is tailored to your business and truly relies on your unique selling points.

Before diving into the creation of a flashy campaign with amazing graphics and colourful designs, or hiring the best copywriter to craft compelling text for your ads, you need to ask yourself: What is it that makes people choose my services over the competition?

It could be that your gym membership includes swimming pool access, or you have professional personal trainers leading fitness classes. It might also have something to do with your location or your opening times. Anything that can bring value to your business should be identified in the initial stages of the brainstorming process and prioritised throughout the entire campaign.

Which Marketing Channels Should I Priorities?

January gym offers should be the epitome of everything that the business has learned throughout the year with other campaigns, rather than the starting point. Considering the importance and the amount of business that this particular month can bring to your company, it is important to be prepared and have at least a rough idea of what works or what doesn’t in your work. This way you can really create a campaign as optimised as possible for this occasion.

If you are instead new to marketing campaigns, and have therefore no idea of which marketing channel would work best for your business, there are two ways you can proceed.

  1. Test all marketing channels

Digital Marketing can be highly cost-effective. Users can choose how much budget they want to spend each day, ensuring that their marketing campaign will never exceed the set amount. Additionally, for owners of small gyms or other fitness-related businesses operating in specific areas, the targeted audience is limited to the business's location, saving budget that can be allocated elsewhere.

So yes, as crazy as it sounds, testing all marketing channels can be a good idea. When we say 'all,' we are referring to the main ones, such as Google Ads and Social Media. And if at the end of the campaign one of these channels will have performed better than the other, you will still have gained valuable data that will provide the foundation to build successful marketing campaigns in the future, based on the messaging that resonated most with your audience.

  1. Make a decision based on what you are advertising

If, on the other hand, your budget is very limited, and you only want to focus your marketing efforts on one specific channel, you need to be smart about this. This means reflecting on what you are offering and choosing the best platform you believe will showcase your services in the best possible way.

For example, as a gym, your strength might lie in the state-of-the-art equipment you have in your location, as well as additional facilities like a swimming pool, sauna, yoga studio, etc. If that’s the case and you want people to be aware of those facilities as your main selling point, then social media might be the right way to go for you. This way, you will be able to use photos, videos, graphics, or any other visual element that will showcase your gym in the most effective way.

If, on the other hand, you want to run a campaign to advertise your low prices or a no-contract and no-joining-fee offer, opting for a Google Ads campaign might be the right choice for you. People who are concerned about prices (therefore your targeted audience) will not be looking for the fanciest or newest gym around, but they will likely just type into Google “cheap gym near me” and make their decision based on the search results. This is why it is important for your website to appear as the first result for searches like this one, and it should also feature a clear, simple landing page that seamlessly guides your user through the sign-up form.

Best Fitness Marketing Campaigns Over The Years

After figuring out what makes your gym special and choosing where you want to advertise, it's time to be creative! This part is flexible and should match your gym's style. But it helps to get inspiration from successful examples. Here are three examples of how well-known names in the fitness industry have advertised their January gym offers to their audiences:

The Gym Group - Make Real Resolutions

The Gym Group wanted to make it clear that their gym is for everyone, no matter their weight, ability, or body shape. So, they created a campaign to challenge the typical messages we often see in fitness advertising. Instead of promoting the idea that you have to endure a lot of pain to get fit, they took a more lighthearted approach.

They used various channels like billboards and social media to make fun of the usual motivational quotes you see in gyms. Instead of saying "no pain, no gain," they created messages that were a bit cheeky and made fun of the typical gym stereotypes. The goal was to show that their gym is different, more inclusive, and doesn't buy into the usual clichés about working out. The campaign aimed to attract people to their gym while also building up their brand in the process.

Equinox - The Controversial “Anti New Year’s Resolution” Campaign

This might have been a controversial move, but it certainly got people talking. On January 1st, 2023, Equinox, a luxury gym with locations in London, Toronto, Vancouver, and 105 gyms in the United States, announced that they wouldn't allow new sign-ups on the first day of the new year.

On their website, Equinox explained their decision by likening January to a fantasy – it arrives in a pretty box, talks about making changes, and demands a fresh start. They also pointed out how many people tend to give up on their resolutions after only a few weeks.

The campaign sparked controversy, with some appreciating Equinox's decision, thinking it would encourage people to focus on making lasting positive changes rather than quick resolutions. However, many disapproved, finding it exclusive and questioning why a health and fitness brand would prevent people from joining just because it was January 1st.

Equinox was clearly trying to make a statement about making a long-term commitment to a change in your lifestyle, regardless of the day or the month the decision was made. Despite the mixed response, the campaign became quite popular.

Fitness First - Red Monday Campaign

Blue Monday is known as the most depressing day of the year, marked by a post-Christmas return to work, low moods, and challenging weather and finances. Fitness First's Red Monday campaign aimed to counteract this by inviting non-members, members, and their friends to try the gym, attend classes, and participate in challenges. 

The campaign also featured community-building activities like DJ sessions and tastings with partners such as Huel. As part of the 'burn off your bills' incentive, visitors on Red Monday were also entered into a prize draw to win £300 to cover energy bills. 

To boost sign-ups, Fitness First offered discounted memberships and a £10 first-month promotion. The campaign resulted in a six percent increase in attendance compared to the previous Monday, contributing to improving physical and mental health during the challenging January period.


In conclusion, the January fitness challenge is a big chance for fitness businesses to get more people signed up and start the year off right. To make the most of this opportunity, businesses need to use smart and personalised marketing strategies that highlight what makes them special.

Since time is crucial during this period, it's important to avoid unnecessary mistakes. We’ve provided you with some of the best gym marketing campaigns from 2023, however, getting help from experienced marketing agencies that know the ins and outs of the fitness industry can make a significant difference in running successful campaigns.

We're proud to be that kind of experienced helper. With lots of success in creating fitness marketing plans, we don't just talk about results; we make them happen. If you're interested in discussing a plan that fits your business, we invite you to contact us through our online form. Let's work together to turn the January challenge into a big win for your business.

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