Statistically proven ways to increase attendance in your fitness challenge

So you’ve decided to launch a fitness challenge to generate leads or grow your audience. But you’re afraid you may not get enough participants. Or maybe your previous challenges yielded a discouraging turnout.

If these describe you, you’re gonna love this blog post. I share straightforward strategies based on research that you can use to get more attendance. If you don’t even know how to get started, don’t worry because I created a detailed fitness challenge checklist that you can follow.

1. Get the word out

Even if you’re not big on marketing or social media, you probably have a ton of avenues to reach people. The Omnicore agency found that the average person has accounts on at least 8 different social media platforms. (I counted all the platforms I ever registered to and it actually checks out.)

That’s an awesome place to start. If you can get your close friends to share the information, even better.

You could also run really cheap Facebook ads. I’m talking about $10 ads.

It sounds like a small amount, but not really. According to Revealbot, 1000 impressions on Facebook ads cost about $9.77 dollars on average. 

If you narrow your target audience by location, age, and other factors, you can really get impressions based on people you actually want.

2. Show don’t tell

This is an age-old principle that works in almost every industry, including copywriting and marketing. 

Show don’t tell means that you’re letting people experience things – emotions, activities – for themselves, instead of just telling them about it. It’s very tempting to just tell people about your challenge and what it will do for them, but it’s more effective if you show them how the exercise will work.

It actually makes sense if you think about it. 

Showing a video of yourself and some clients moving to sweet tunes in a Zumba class is much more engaging than talking about it.

If you’re creating a promotional video for this, it could start with a short clip of an intense and engaging Zumba class, followed by you talking about your challenge. If you’re sweating, smiling and mildly out of breath, even better!

Now, the viewer has heard the high-energy music, they’ve seen how much fun it is, and they know it’ll burn calories.

Your video will also get more shares than any photo or text-based announcements (up to 1200% more, according to brightcove.) People prefer to share videos than texts or pictures.

3. Offer incentives that differentiate you

Runtastic stick with it challenge | freelance matthew

Every year, thousands of trainers and brands launch fitness challenges, from Adidas’ runtastic to fitness copywriters like me.

As a result, participants have tons of options to choose from, and your offer needs to stand out. One way to do this is by incorporating current fitness trends. 

As human beings, we love to hop on the bandwagon and do what everyone else is doing. I for one am a victim of this, and I’ll watch whatever show is trendy. The logic is that if so many people like it, the show must be great. And that’s how Game of Thrones broke my heart

Many of the concepts you use as a coach are based on this, from social proof and testimonials to transformation photos. Seeing others do something gives you permission to do it.

So what does this have to do with your fitness challenge?

Well, offering a challenge based on current exercise trends like HIIT and home workouts will help you get more attendees.

You could also offer unique incentives, like a knowledge base, around the workout type. Condense this knowledge base into a string of well-written blog posts and share the links with your attendees. You can drive traffic to your website, and stand out from the competition at the same time.

Just between us, if you can lunch a workout program that can help me do clean one-arm pushups in 30-days, please let me know! 

4. Get help from past attendees and clients

Here, you have the opportunity to use word of mouth and social proof to your advantage. Who better to talk about how great your fitness challenges are than people who have taken them?

You can ask them to share promotional materials on their social media. Or even better, make a short video talking about how much they got from the challenge.

This one is a little dicey, from my experience. I have a hard time getting clients to record testimonial videos for me. What I do is to call them via zoom, ask about the results and record the conversation.

If you have a long list of attendees and past clients, you could pick a few and have short conversations with them. It may seem like a lot of trouble, but it’s worth it. 

I know this because 7 out of 10 people trust recommendations from people they don’t even know. Another 97% of people say reviews influence their online buying decisions. (Optin monster)

Offer rewards to current clients

You can also boost attendance by having current clients invite as many people as possible. Offer incentives like whoever invites the most people gets a free month’s membership or gets to lead their own workout class.

5. Launch it in the new year

Almost 4 out of 10 people plan to lose weight in the new year. But even more than that, up to 95% of new year resolutions are fitness related (Sundried). So basically, most people are looking for a way to get fit in the new year. Get what I mean? Wink wink?

But how do you get people to choose your challenge over the thousands that will (definitely) be launching at the same time? 

By using all the tips above, of course! Show people how much benefit they’ll get from the exercise. Have previous participants talk about it; share it on all your social media platforms; offer challenges on trending exercise routines.

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