Gym Marketing Lessons From Your Favorite Sex Shop

Learning what works from a somewhat unlikely source.

Whether you're a gym owner, a male fitness fanatic wanting to lift weights with your girlfriend, or a fit woman trying to find other ladies to work out with, you might find yourself wondering why are there so few women in the gym. Is it possible that the gym you own or work out at is as repelling to women as the seedy sex shop they wouldn't be caught dead in? And if so, what can you do to turn this around? What marketing strategies can you learn from the non-creepy sex shops that are always, always crowded?

I'm not saying your gym should be filled with half-naked women
sporting novelty items. What I am saying is that you could take a hint
from nice, clean stores which revolutionized the way many women looked
at sex shops and tapped into a whole new market. What separates stores
such as Good Vibrations or Fascinations from the XXX Adult Store even the bravest women won't venture near? Read on.

1. They're clean and well-lit.

Very few women like to shop...or work out... in a dungeon. Granted,
gyms are not always the cleanest of locations. People work out hard.
They sweat. We get that. But seriously, gym owners - clean up your
shit. Your mom doesn't work here. Make sure your bathrooms and
changing works have working locks, soap and toilet paper. Pick up the
pile of sweatshirts on the floor. Clean the floor. Pick up the piles
by the reception desk. And change the light bulbs. And if you're
looking for a gym you hope your lady friend will like, just
remember - an unlit and filthy gym is not attractive to women.

2. Greet every (potential) client or customer.

The problem with the creepy, smelly sex shop is that it attracts
creepy, smelly people. What's the best way to prevent this? Shine a
light on it. This strategy is actually used in convenience stores to
prevent shoplifting. And it has the added benefit of making people
feel welcome. Even if people keep to themselves during their actual
workout, nobody wants to be ignored. Create a pleasant and friendly
environment and you'll build customer loyalty.

3. Something for everyone.

A good sex shop has something that meets the comfort and tolerance
level of a wide variety of of customers. Not looking for hardcore
porn? Massage oil is pretty sweet and innocent. As are Halloween
costumes. Whether someone's looking for bachelorette party favors or
items to stockpile in their dungeon (er, basement), they can find what
they need in the good, well-lit sex shop.

How would this work for your gym? Simple. Make sure your offerings are
acccessible for the diverse needs of your client base. What does this
look like? Dumbbells that start at lower weights. Cardio machines and
even weight machines for people who will not be weaned off of them
quite yet. Kettlebells, TRX systems and bumper plates for your
hardcore clients. And a wide range of classes for all skills and

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4. Divided by sections

If you want to go to your local sex shop and stay far, far away from
videos, for example, it's usually pretty easy as they are in one part
of the store. Others, of course, will make a beeline to that very
area. Gyms can be the same way. Keeping the powerlifting equipment in
one area can create a more intense training environment for a few
people, and keep the grunting and weight dropping to a minimum around
those who are less accustomed to or appreciative of it. And keeping
the step aerobics equipment and Swiss balls far far away from serious
lifters is probably a good idea.

5. 101 Instructions

A good sex shop has a variety of instructional booklets for all of
your, uh, needs. This keeps relative newbs from total embarrassment
and solves their problem in the form of a product. Gyms can be the
same way. Whether you offer a new member orientation, teach intro
classes for people just getting back into the gym (or getting in for
the first time
) or simply give tours and assessments for anybody who's
interested this can help newcomers feel welcome. And that, after all,
is what you're going for.

So whether you're a personal trainer or gym owner trying to change
your gym culture to a more inclusive one, or simply trying to pick out
a great gym to work out with your lady friend(s), heeding these
lessons will definitely help you find what you're looking for.

Yael Grauer

Yael Grauer is a freelance writer and BJJ practitioner living in the Midwest. She writes regularly for the Performance Menu and MMA HQ.

You'll also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.

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