Climbing gyms are on the rise — good news for the sport, but it also means that there’s a lot more competition. Digital marketing for your climbing gym now needs to make you stand out from the crowd.
Here are the key elements you need for an effective online presence.
A functional, polished website
Yesterday a client asked my opinion about a website. I quickly rattled off some of the obvious problems:
- a tiled background that made it obvious that they hadn’t thought about their style any time in this century
- disorganized navigation with so many choices that it was more a list than a menu
- no logo or other branding, losing the site its chance to look legit and trustworthy
- content re-posted from other websites
- images placed haphazardly, interfering with reading
- so much visual clutter at the top of posts that it’s hard to identify the title
This site wasn’t a climbing gym site. And many viewers wouldn’t notice these issues right away. But they will feel that the website isn’t modern or polished, and this will make them distrust the organization that owns the website.
In every industry, a polished, professional website is a must for trust. Look at your website and make sure that you don’t instantly see problems of this kind.
Answers to your audience’s questions
Your climbing gym may appeal to hardcore climbers who want to keep up their strength between multi-state bouldering expeditions. It may also appeal to newbies who read about rock climbing in Self magazine. You might also welcome kids and families looking for something fun to do on a rainy day. If it’s not clear which group you cater to, though, you may find that no one will respond well.
You’re not paying for your website by the word. Offer plenty of information, including answers to all the questions your customers ask. If you know that you want to appeal to multiple audiences, consider designing your website to sort potential customers out from your home page, as shown in the screenshot below.
Then offer targeted content to each group.
Strong social media
Climbing is fun, social, and a passionate avocation for many people. It’s definitely something people talk about on social media, so you need to be there. It’s always smart to use your data to build your strategy, but here are some starting points:
- Focus on platforms that are all about visuals, and share your collection of great climbing shots. Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram are all great choices for climbing gyms.
- Create 30-day challenges. You challenge climbers to post a climbing photo at Instagram each day a hashtag like “#30DayClimbingChallenge” or create a challenge list from 1 to 30 with specific problems from your gym to master each day. Build up excitement ahead of time and award prizes at the end if you like.
- Be consistent with your hashtags, whether they’re temporary monikers for a campaign or long-term branding.
- Connect with people who use your hashtag. Respond to them and follow them. The more like an IRL community your online community is, the more people will be motivated to come into your IRL community.
Content marketing/ linkbuilding for local SEO
A guest post for a local climbing blog, a shared 30 Day challenge with a fitness blogger or nutrition company, a strong listing in a list of local gyms — what do these all have in common? They’re great ways to get the word out about your business. They also help search engines understand where you are and how you connect with your community.
Expect increased rankings when you complete a well-targeted content marketing campaign.
An integrated digital marketing strategy will give your gym a strong start — or a boost.