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Why target markets for gyms are crucial to success [5 key benefits]

People of all walks of life engage in exercise to stay healthy. Whether that is heavyweights training, hardcore spin classes, or leisurely aqua aerobics, everyone needs a fitness ‘safe haven’. As a gym owner, accommodating a wide variety of fitness enthusiasts is a massive opportunity for your business.

Target market at gym

To build greater diversity among your members, you must first better understand your audience. This article will show you why target markets for gyms are crucial to success. With proper market segmentation, you will not only understand your members better but take considerable strides in overcoming your competition. 

In this article, we’re going to cover:

  • What is market segmentation and how does it work?
  • Fitness market segmentation: Key segments
  • Target markets for gyms: Key benefits
  • How can PerfectGym help?

Let’s dive right in!

two women after exercise

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What is market segmentation and how does it work?

Market segmentation is a common term that is used amongst business circles; however, it can be often overlooked by fitness club owners. Market segmentation is the process of sectioning your target market into smaller groups that are defined by similar characteristics. These characteristics vary depending on the business type. However, common sectors include:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Personality traits
  • Behavioural patterns
  • Interests
  • Needs
  • Location 

Once these segments are defined, you can use them to optimize your offer, marketing campaigns, advertising, and sales efforts.

Marketing segmentation is a valuable tactic because it allows you to develop different strategies for a wider range of potential members. By providing facilities to a diverse client base, you will boost membership and increase your company’s bottom line. The next section will explore some of the most common fitness market segments that can help your business grow exponentially.

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Fitness market segmentation: Key segments

Every fitness lover is unique. Some people enjoy plugging in their headphones and banging out a 10km run on the treadmill. Others prefer a more collective fitness experience like joining an aerobics class with their friends. This uniqueness in people’s likes and dislikes spells out a huge opportunity for your gym. To capitalize, you need to identify the commonalities between the different types of fitness and then provide that environment for your members.

In this section, we’re going to focus on the most common gym target markets.  

Making friends  

Our first gym target market is pretty self-explanatory. This group of people are not overly interested in the fitness benefits provided by your gym but are more interested in the social element. Generally speaking, these individuals are moderately fit and enjoy some fitness activities, but their primary motivation is socializing.

Fitness clubs and gym owners can attract this target market by providing a variety of fun, involved, and energetic classes. Another crucial element is having some space within the facility for socializing, like a bar or refreshment center.

Weight loss and getting healthy

Weight loss is an issue that almost everyone considers at one point or another in their lives. Whether it’s short-term weight loss goals (gaining weight over the festive season) or more serious weight problems (obesity), people will always use gyms to lose weight.

This market segment is one of the biggest in the fitness industry. As a gym owner, you must have considerate marketing campaigns that are inviting for those who want to lose weight. It is also important to provide a variety of classes that are designed specifically for those who have weight loss goals.


Out of all the common target markets for gyms, bodybuilders are probably the most loyal members that you can count on. Every day these individuals come to the gym to pump iron to improve the look of their bodies. This kind of fitness requires a tremendous amount of dedication and willpower to achieve results.

To attract this market segment to your facility, you need to provide weight training facilities and general fitness/aerobics areas. Providing a healthy dose of exercise classes that support their goals is also valuable for attracting this audience. 

Elite performance 

People in the elite performance segment are highly self-motivated and disciplined and aim to perform at their personal best. Elite performers can be into various disciplines like running, weight training, swimming, etc.

This segment can often be a little intimidating to other gym members because of the intensity of their workouts. They also have a tendency to ‘own’ the gym and surrounding equipment which is off-putting for others. Attacking this segment is a viable option for your gym; however, you must consider the needs of other members and ensure their experience isn’t hindered.


Last but not least, we have the sporting segment. People of all walks of life enjoy sports to socially interact and fuel their inner competitiveness. These individuals use gyms to work on their fitness so it can be translated to their sport. 

Sportsmen and women are motivated and are looking for classes or gym equipment that is supportive of their requirements. For instance, you’ll likely see a rugby player working in the weights section to strengthen their legs for scrums in the game. On the other hand, you might see soccer players working on their general fitness in the cross fit area.

Exercising at the gym

Target markets for gyms: Key benefits

OK. We’ve now identified the key market segments within the fitness industry. As you can see, there are several different segments of individuals, each with its unique set of interests and behavioural patterns. However, the question remains - Why do I need to bother with market segmentation in the first place?

The benefits of market segmentation are huge. In this next section, we’re going to take a look at some of the key benefits of target markets for gyms. Let’s begin! 

Gain a wider audience

If you hadn’t heard of market segmentation before reading this article, you might have not even realized just how many fitness segments exist within the industry. As you can see above, several different segments present you with a vast audience of potential new members

For instance, you could run a targeted marketing campaign in January for people who use the gym for weight loss. You can even take segmentation further based on age, location, behaviour, or interaction with your social media platforms. With PerfectGym's BI & Analytics module you can break down your data more accurately, ensuring more tailored marketing campaigns reach those individuals, which in the long run is best for your business.

Save time and reduce costs

As the old adage goes, ‘time is money’. Market segmentation can be a considerable saver in terms of time and money for everyone involved in the sales and marketing process at your facility. With a clearer picture of your target audience, you can save countless hours of guesswork or trial and error of campaigns. 

For instance, younger people are more active on various social media platforms such as Instagram. On the other hand, over 50s tend to be more responsive to email campaigns and are not as active on social media - particularly newer mediums like Snapchat or TikTok.

By segmenting your audience by age, you will know that a targeted social media campaign is more appreciated by your younger audience. In contrast, an email marketing campaign would be better suited for people over 50. This approach will save you countless hours and reduce the costs of wasted marketing budgets.  

Personalised Communication

Build a diverse membership base

Every one of your members is different, each with their own unique preferences and behaviours. This diversity warrants a varied approach at your gym, both in the facilities provided and individual memberships. 

For instance, an individual from the sporting segment will probably have use for the weights room but also be interested in some fitness classes.

Providing a membership that comes with four classes per month and unlimited access to the gym would be perfect for this segment. By the same token, the social segment is less interested in working out independently, so they might be interested in a class-only membership.

The more diverse that your membership base becomes means the more creative you need to get to satisfy everyone. Some might view this as more work; however, diversifying your offering will guarantee greater financial returns for your business. 

PerfectGym allows its clients to customise memberships based on their business plan. This means that with PerfectGym you will be able to offer your members diversified memberships that will help them get the most value out of it. 

Increase membership retention 

Membership retention is a never-ending battle for gym owners. There are a multitude of reasons why one of your members might churn - lack of attendance, finding a better offer, or moving to different locations, just to name a few. Luckily for you, segmentation is a powerful tactic that can be used to boost membership retention at your gym.

One approach is monitoring the behaviour and attendance of members at your facility. For instance, running a segmentation that analyzes membership attendance, say less than five times in the past month, would be an excellent group to target with a promotion. Less engaged members are more likely to churn, so it is always a good idea to maintain steady contact with them.  

Boost engagement 

As a gym owner, you will know that an engaged member is a happy member. Maintaining high engagement is critical to keeping morale levels high and people at your gym. To do this, you need to be sure to create personalized and engaging messaging for each of your members. Market segmentation is the key that will help you to achieve your goals.

As you can see in the segments we described above; your members have different tastes and interests. For example, a member of the bodybuilding/body sculpting segment is probably very interested in any new supplements in stock.

So, instead of sending this person a generalized newsletter about upcoming classes, you would be better served providing information on new supplements in stock or upcoming bodybuilding competitions to look out for. This personalized message will be much better received and result in a more engaged member. 


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How can PerfectGym help? 

PerfectGym is the market-leading gym membership management software system for gyms and health clubs. Armed with our software, you can put your marketing segmentation techniques into practice. Check it out:

Business Intelligence & Analytics Module

The PerfectGym Business Intelligence & Analytics Module can help you dig deeper into your segmented data to create sales predictions, product recommendations, and sales forecasts. Our tool will help break down your audience into critical segments that you can use to your advantage. 

The module also comes with a host of other features such as:

  • Churn forecast
  • Attendance predictions
  • Detailed drill-down (See which products or memberships are driving revenue)
  • Class recommendations
  • Smart offers
  • Client acquisition

PerfectGym Automation & Marketing

Market segmentation and marketing automation go hand in hand. With PerfectGym Automation & Marketing, you can implement the marketing tactics necessary to engage the different segments you have identified at your facility. Marketing automation is a powerful tool that will save you countless hours and deliver results. 

Check out some of the features available with our tool:

  • Email, Push Notifications & SMS Alerts
  • Automated Smart Campaigns
  • Customer Segments & Tags
  • Coupons & Vouchers
  • Newsletters
  • Trainer & Staff Notifications 

Closing thoughts

Hopefully, now you can see that target markets for gyms are crucial to success. 

The process starts by identifying the appropriate fitness segments you wish to target at your facility. There are several segments, but the most common are weight loss, social, bodybuilding, elite performers and sport.

From there, you can segment further based on demographics such as age, gender, location, or behavior. It is important to remember that the more detailed you are with segmentation, the better results you will achieve. 

For further reading, check out Resources or Get in Touch with someone at PerfectGym for a detailed quote on our gym software. 

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