Complete Instagram Ads For More Gym Members Tutorial

This Complete Instagram Ads Framework For More Gym Members Tutorial will guide you in using Instagram ads to boost your gym marketing efforts. And it is 100% FREE!

The tutorial encompasses everything from initiating your ad campaign to crafting and optimizing your ads. It also includes strategies for expanding your campaign and reaching a broader audience with your message. By following this tutorial, you can develop a prosperous ad campaign that significantly increases your gym membership.

Our Instagram Ad Framework for gyms consistently delivers 100+ leads and 30+ clients monthly for clients who run ads and we are giving this to you for free.

These days, every fitness marketing agency makes claims their gym ads can get you 50 new members in 30 days, often using gimmicky marketing campaigns and marketing tactics that are not in alignment with how you may run your gym or typically bring in new clients.

The average fitness marketing agency charges $1000+ per month to run Facebook ads for gyms, most of them have not built or run successful gyms themselves, nor are they often experienced marketers who know the intricacies of independently owned community-based group fitness gyms.

Those of us who have owned and run them, know that we build relationship equity with our communities and work hard to protect our reputation. With so many health and fitness advertisements on social media platforms, gimmicky marketing practices can water down the trust and insert doubt in the prospect’s eyes.

How Do You Advertise a Gym Profitably Using Instagram Ads?

The best way to advertise a gym and grow fitness businesses using Instagram is to set up your campaign with proper targeting, choose the placements that generate the most leads, and use media that gets people to stop and take action on your ad.

If you do this properly and give Meta enough budget, you should bring seeing lead generation right away, usually the same day. Once you know your cost per lead you can scale your budget to meet your lead generation needs.

Once you are getting a steady flow of leads from your local area, you’ll be able to establish a conversion rate (your conversion rate is the percentage of all leads that you are converting into paying members).

Once you’re getting leads, the key to getting more gym members, keeping them longer, and making more profit is having a dialed-in offer, being priced optimally (not underpriced), and having the ability to overdeliver on the promises you’re making to your members.

5 years ago the fitness industry was far less saturated and your target audience on social media marketing platforms was not as overwhelmed with options and offers that all look the same. Back then, anyone with a gym or fitness studio could run gym membership ads and get a low cost per lead. As a result, you could easily get a 5x return on your ad spend.

More competition requires gym owners to have a more effective marketing strategy to stand out and differentiate their fitness businesses.

How Do I Create a Gym Marketing Plan Using Instagram Ads?

The old saying is “not having a plan, is a plan to fail”, and when it comes to marketing campaigns that is 100% true. What most gym owners do when they want to do some marketing on social media is click the “Boost Post” button, and while that might increase the reach of the post, it rarely does any lead generation nor is it an effective marketing strategy.

A successful social media marketing campaign is going to require you to have a budget, an objective, great follow-up, a high-value offer, and a proven sales process.

Here at Big Little Gyms, we walk our clients through all 5 of these components and dial them in, using data from over 800 gyms and over 5 million dollars in ad spend from the last 10 years of running gym marketing campaigns in almost every market on the planet.

What Is The Target Market For Gyms?

The target audience for gyms is everyone in your local radius, but most gyms are surrounded by tens of thousands of people. Luckily most group fitness centers only need a couple hundred recurring members to be successful and very profitable.

The best gym ads will start with an offer that targets the portion of their local audience who is already problem-aware, knows of the solutions, and is actively looking for a provider. We call this a ‘hot lead’ in the marketing world.

Where a lot of gym marketing agencies go wrong is they launch marketing strategies that miss the target audience by being too generic or too gimmicky. This results in a lot of leads that are poor quality and very low conversion rates.

This is done best by creating media (video ads and image ads) that connect with your target audience and having copy that calls out to them, creates demand, and calls them to take action.

How Often Should I Run Gym Ads on Instagram?

One of the biggest mistakes gym owners make in their gym marketing efforts is running their ads too frequently and allowing their ads to fatigue. As a result, their target audience gets “banner blindness” and the cost per lead starts to rise and the lead quality continues to go down.

Many gym owners will turn their ads on and leave them on in perpetuity, after the first 2-3 weeks the ads fatigue and the campaign is no longer profitable.

To continue running ads that get a return, you need to cycle your campaign in the facebook ads manager and allow your market to recover, this reduces ad fatigue and allows Facebook to find a new “hot” audience to show your gym Instagram Ads to.

To optimal time frame for social media marketing campaigns is 3-4 weeks, with a 1-2 week break in between to allow the ads to recover. In between each campaign, you rebuild and retool your campaign using the data from the last campaign to start stronger and get better results each time.

Your typical fitness marketing agency does not do this. They instead turn your gym ads on and leave them on until you bring it to their attention that improvement needs to be made. A good fitness marketing agency should be proactively managing and scaling your campaigns without your constant oversite.

What Are The Most Successful Gym Instagram ads?

The most successful gym Instagram ads are ones strike the right chord in three critical areas: an irresistible offer, targeted audience engagement, and captivating visuals.

Irresistible Gym Offers For Ads

The heart of a successful gym ad lies in its unique value proposition. Whether it’s a transformative fitness challenge, exclusive membership perks, or innovative workout classes, the offer should be tailored to spark interest and meet the specific needs of potential gym-goers.

It’s about presenting something more than just a service – it’s an opportunity for change and improvement.

Target Audience Engagement:

Precision in targeting is what makes an Instagram ad effective. Utilizing Instagram’s robust targeting tools, gyms can focus on individuals based on location, fitness interests, and lifestyle.

This ensures that the ad reaches those most likely to be interested, making every view count. When we run ad campaigns we look at the data every 4-5 days to see what platforms and demographics are getting us the best cost per lead. Then we adjust the targeting of new ad sets to optimize for that audience.

Captivating Visuals for Gym Ads

In the visually-centric world of Instagram, the ad’s media needs to stop users in their tracks. High-quality images or engaging videos that showcase the gym’s atmosphere, member experiences, or dynamic classes play a pivotal role. This visual appeal is crucial in not just drawing attention but also in conveying the gym’s unique brand story. Click-thru rates validate that the ads that get people to stop are also the ads that generate the most leads.

In essence, the magic formula for a gym’s success on Instagram lies in blending a compelling offer with strategic audience targeting and visually engaging content. This approach not only garners attention but also fosters a connection with potential members, paving the way for a thriving gym community.

How Do I Promote My Gym Organically On Social Media?

Organic marketing is the cornerstone of every business, while paid marketing strategies like Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads are effective in boosting traffic, lead generation, and new memberships they are simply tools, not core pillars of your business’s long-term client acquisition.

Every gym’s long-term marketing strategy should lean heavily on organic traffic. This means posting regularly on your channels with high-value content that speaks to your target audience.

Here’s a condensed strategy:

  1. Understand Your Audience: Tailor content to their common pain points, providing solutions that edify your expertise and help validate you as a provider to help them reach their fitness goals.

  2. Consistent Posts: Keep your social media updated consistently to maintain engagement.

  3. Diverse, Engaging Content: Mix it up with workout tips, success stories, and educational content.

  4. Leverage Video Content: Use videos for tutorials, testimonials, and trainer insights.

  5. Encourage User-Generated Content: Get members to share their journeys, leave reviews on Google, and repost their content on social media platforms.

  6. Interactive Engagement: Actively respond to comments and messages.

  7. Share Events Online: Host events and create buzz around them regularly to give more people who are considering joining a chance to visit without feeling like they’re entering a sales pitch.

  8. Collaborations: Partner with local influencers and local businesses for wider reach.

  9. Stay Trend-Aware: Adapt your strategy based on current social media trends. In the fitness industry, the larger trends are always changing, especially as the younger generations come of age.

  10. Analyze and Adjust: Regularly review your content’s performance and refine your approach. If something works, do more content in that style and evolve your delivery as you learn what your local audience engages with

This approach requires patience and persistence but can build a strong, organic online presence for your gym, fostering a loyal and engaged community.

It’s very important to maintain a focus on your organic efforts whether or not you decide to use paid social media marketing campaigns. Often, when fitness businesses lean too heavily on paid traffic sources like Facebook Ads, they neglect to build their organic engagement at the same time and often fall behind.

This results in the businesses being dependent on paid traffic, which history has proven, always rises in costs and diminishes in effectiveness over time.

We recommend using paid fitness marketing campaigns like Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads as a measure to backfill traffic when your organic efforts are not yet providing enough lead generation to sustain growth.

What Is Good Marketing Budget For Gym Ads?

Knowing how much you should spend on your gym ads is 100% determined by your goals. Before you can know your budget you need to know two things:

  1. How many new members do you want to acquire in your next campaign?

  2. What does it cost for each new member I acquire using paid ads?

Cost Per Acquisition (a.k.a. Gym Money Math)

When you run gym ads on Instagram you’ll quickly learn what your cost per lead is, and you will also quickly learn how many leads you need to acquire a new member.

As an example, say your cost per lead is $10, and for every 7 leads you get, you close one new member.

If we know these two numbers we can quickly figure out our cost per acquisition using some very basic math.

Your cost per lead ($10 in this case) multiplied by the number of leads you need to close a new member on average (7 in this example).

In this example, here is the math:

$10 x 7 = $70 (cost per acquisition)

Once you know your cost per acquisition number, you can quickly know how much you need to spend by multiplying that number by the number of new members you’d like to acquire.

So if you’re goal for your January gym marketing campaign is 10 new members, the math will look like this:

$70 (cost per acquisition) x 10 (new member goal) = $700 (your target campaign budget)

In this example, you’d want to set your budget at $700 in ad spend over your campaign. If this campaign is set to run for 3 weeks, that means you’re going to budget roughly $33 a day in ad spend to get those results.

One of the biggest mistakes gyms make in running ads is not running enough budget to allow Meta’s algorithm to find the target audience and serve the ads frequently enough to generate leads.

Sometimes spending too little due to being fearful can create the less desirable outcome you are fearing. That’s where having a proven step-by-step playbook and guidance can give you the confidence to lean in with your ad campaigns.

How Do I Create A Gym Ad?

To create a gym ad for Instagram you need to become familiar with the Facebook Business Manager, now called the Meta Business Suite, and also understand the platform as many of the recommendations made inside the platform are often far off the best practice for fitness businesses to get consistent results.

Often, Meta’s recommendations are built for much larger businesses with much larger marketing budgets, with cash to burn on testing.

Small businesses in the fitness industry often don’t have excess cash to burn on unproven marketing strategies so they need to start with something they know has worked before.

In THIS video we walk you through creating gym ads, setting up your campaign, setting your budget, creating your ad sets, finding your target audience, creating your ads, and what kind of media to use in your video ads for best results.

At Big Little Gyms, as a part of plugging in a proven growth strategy, we include a complete done-for-you playbook to fill your gym with new members using Instagram Ads.

How Do I Convert Leads Into More Gym Members?

Once you’re generating leads with Instagram Ads at an optimal cost, the next step is to optimize your follow-up and sales process.

Leads are great, but new paying members are the goal. “Speed To Lead” is our mantra, once you get a lead from social media marketing efforts you need to be in contact with them quickly. The standard is to aim for less than 5 minutes for initial outreach.

Gym leads that come off of social media platforms are often more impulsive than organic traffic, so they are quicker to cold back down and studies show that businesses that contact leads within 5 minutes have a 6 times greater conversion rate than businesses that have average outreach times of just an hour later.

At Big Little Gyms, we set up included systems to automate outreach and engage the gym owner (or the appropriate person on their team) to ensure outreach times are short and effective. For Big Little Gyms clients, these systems are included for free.

Should I Hire A Fitness Marketing Agency?

It depends.

For some small gyms, it can be costly since agencies typically charge a fee between $1000-$5000 per month just for the management fee and then you will need to budget at least $1000 per month in ad spend that goes to the social media platform to show your ads.

Paying for done-for-you service like a marketing agency can be well outside the budget of most mom-and-pop gyms budget to even get started

Further, in our experience, most marketing agencies that are not niched in the fitness industry are generalists that are going to take much longer to get results as they are starting from scratch versus hiring an agency with a decade of experience managing millions of dollars in ad campaigns for hundreds of gyms.

Another option is what we call “Done-WITH-You”, this allows you to get all the upside and benefit of a marketing agency (sometimes more) learning how to run and manage your ads in-house with a proven set of step-by-step processes, systems, and guidance.

We set up some of the more technical parts for you at the beginning, onboard you and your team, help you maintain them, and then give you the week-to-week processes to manage them. Often these businesses are getting the same or better results at a fraction of the cost within a couple of weeks of launching.

This is how we work with 90% of the 650 gym owners we actively work with here at Big Little Gyms.


1. Crafting an Irresistible Offer for Your Gym Marketing:

I will show you how to create an effective offer and ensure it’s specific, relevant, and valuable to your audience. It should be well-structured and clearly presented, making it easy for your audience to grasp.

2. Daily Ad Spend Guidelines:

How to define the optimal ad spend varies based on factors like budget, goals, and audience. Set and adhere to a daily budget, and monitor your results to ensure a good return on investment.

3. Setting Up the Campaign and Selecting the Right Objective:

How to choose an objective aligned with generating more local leads for your gym. This is critical in Instagram ads as the wrong objective can lead to ineffective spending.

4. Properly Setting Up Ad Sets, Targeting, and Placements:

I will show you how to create your ad sets, you will define the placement, audience, targeting, and budget. Small errors here can significantly impact your campaign’s success.

5. Effective Ad Copy, Creative, and Media:

Your ad should have relevant, engaging copy and visually appealing, relevant media (images or videos) to capture attention.

6. Key Metrics to Monitor:

The right way to monitor your click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and cost per lead (CPL) to gauge the effectiveness of your Instagram ads and how to audit your ads campaign to scale results.

7. Converting Leads into Paying Customers:

How to ensure your offer is appealing, streamline your sales process, and how to utilize automation tools like Gymnetics for effective follow-ups.

8. Implementing an Automated Follow-Up System:

How to implement an automated system that helps track leads and customers, saves time, and ensures regular, streamlined communication.

9. Scaling Winning Ads:

How to ensure your ad performs well (high CTR, low CPL) and gradually increase your budget to reach a wider audience. How to test different ad versions for optimal performance.

10. Client-Financed Acquisition via Instagram Ads:

Utilize the proceeds from successful campaigns to fund subsequent ones, a strategy suited for businesses with short sales cycles and high margins. Our clients usually see a front-end revenue of $300-$1000 per new client with acquisition costs between $30-$100, allowing for profitable reinvestment in future campaigns.

Growing Your Gym For a Long Time With Proven and Sustainable Methods

Business isn’t magic, it’s cause and effect. Big Little Gyms gets gym owners laser-focused on the simple actions that create big reactions. You’ll find our clients adding value, optimizing systems, and doing work, not talking on social media.

Big Little Gyms breaks the gymmin’ business down into basic building blocks (like Lego) and tells you how to assemble them for success.

Think of us like a business school but for the real world of owning a gym. We make learning the full stack of business-building skills a fun, collaborative process!


BLG is a program for gym owners that includes all the strategies, tools, and systems, for those that want business excellence. It shows you how to scale your business to 7 figures+ using proven methods and hyper-systemization. To learn more about Big Little Gyms you can visit our website to learn more and schedule an appointment with us.

To Your Success! Will Hurst & the team at Big Little Gyms

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