There’s no place that benefits from an upbeat ambiance more than a gym – after all, you want people to keep coming back. Cultivating a positive client perception of your fitness establishment is an important part of maintaining membership rolls and business growth, especially when your clients make a point of telling their friends what a wonderful place your gym is. Friendly and helpful staff, good lighting and great tunes all help cultivate the vibe you want in your gym, but one area you may be overlooking is scent marketing.

What is Scent Marketing?

When marketing to your clientele, you have to appeal to all five senses. Sight, touch, sound, taste and smell. You probably already cater to sound by playing great, fully licensed tunes to accompany your clients as they workout (and if not, we can help you with that). Music keeps people motivated and gives your gym an edge.

Your lighting is set up in such a way as to keep customers feeling positive about themselves and to ensure that the layout of your gym is both aesthetically pleasing and affording just the right amount of privacy for a good visual experience. Mirrors, windows, natural light and other features are carefully crafted to create an atmosphere that keeps clients happy during their workouts and keeps them coming back.

Good quality mats and grips take care of the tactile needs of your clients, as does providing high quality towels and accessories.

In order to truly set your gym apart from competitors, you have to give them something to smell, too. That’s what scent marketing is: pumping in a custom scent to subtly influence your clients’ moods and make them remember your gym as a one-of-a-kind experience.

Why do Gyms Need Scent Marketing?

Historically, many gyms are (unpleasantly) associated with certain unsavory smells – primarily the raw, human smell of sweat and other unlovely odors. Scent marketing can sever the connection between the stereotypical “dirty sweat socks” scent that people associate with working out and the unique gym environment you’re providing, making your gym preferable to competitors that don’t use scent marketing. You’re enhancing your brand by adding something new and novel.

You can also use scent as a marketing benefit. Different smells have different effects on the brain. Citrus smells, for example, have been shown in a clinical setting to decrease depression. Lavender is a popular calming fragrance, which could be beneficial if you’re aiming to help people relax as they work out. When giving customers an additional brain boost by appealing to their olfactory sense, you’re offering something other gyms don’t.

How does Scent Marketing Work?

Scent marketing relies on a subtle dispersion of an aroma: not an in-your-face assault. Different businesses use different methods to make their scent known throughout their establishments.

For example, some businesses choose to use a nebulizer-style technology, in which the aroma oils are vaporized and spread throughout the ventilation system. Others use scent misters, which disperse small, aerosolized particles of the oils themselves into the air. Still other stores and facilities use a combination of solid air fresheners and aerosolized methods to keep their scent in the air as clients and customers come and go throughout the day.

What are the Disadvantages of Scent Marketing?

Different people respond to scent in different ways and everyone’s reaction to certain scents isn’t always positive. Some people have allergies to certain scents, while others may find certain aromas to be migraine triggers. Still others respond in a less severe manner, but are still subconsciously inclined to leave a space when they find a smell unpleasant.

Knowing your clientele and their preferences, as well as common allergies, can help avoid this avoidable downside of scent marketing. A customer poll, for example, would let you know of any common scent-aversions among your client base.

Another possible downside to scent marketing is choosing the wrong scent for your gym. As previously mentioned, different smells have different effects on the human brain and can motivate people to do things in a subtle manner. The smell of fried food, for example, would be totally appropriate for a supermarket but counterintuitive to the goals of a gym.

Working with an experienced marketing team like Retail Radio’s, that knows the psychology behind scent and how best to appeal to your clients is a good way to help choose the right smell for your gym environment.

What are the Benefits of Scent Marketing?

The brand benefits of using scent marketing in your gym are numerous. You’re appealing to an untapped sense, which enhances customer perception of your establishment. Using scent marketing in your fitness business creates a selling point that many competitors are lacking; it also gives you a subtle, yet tangible selling point to offer clients.

When done properly, scent marketing can enhance the image of your business in the eyes of your clients and set you apart as a clean, upscale, positive, welcoming place to work out – something everyone is looking for – whether they’re a fitness guru or a New Year’s resolution newbie.