How the Fitness Industry Can Use QR Codes to Become More Digital

The time is now for the fitness industry to go digital. It’s not only essential for getting through the coronavirus pandemic but to also meet the growing demand for at-home workout routines. Keep on reading and you’ll soon see why QR Codes have become a top choice for fitness businesses across the globe.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the fitness industry?

With gyms and fitness studios forced to shut their doors across the globe, the fitness industry has quite a tough road ahead. With the onset of the coronavirus, the $100 billion industry faced a tough choice: go digital or bust. For smaller gyms, making that happen quickly has been next to impossible. But for others who were more digitally prepared, they’ve managed to profit from the current situation. Peloton is one example, who recently reported app downloads at 5 times the rate in March compared to February. The traditional brick and mortar business model has now come into question about whether it will not only withstand the coronavirus, but also the increasing demand for digitalization.  

Why does the fitness industry need to become more digital?

The push for at-home fitness is actually nothing new. The first virtual fitness class was launched in 1951, and when Jane Fonda came on the scene with her VHS fitness classes in the 80s, the concept went viral. With the development of the internet and online shopping platforms, buying at-home workout equipment became easier than ever before. Fast forward to now, and you’ll notice that some of Youtube’s most successful influencers are in the fitness industry, because so many people find at-home workouts much more convenient.

Fitness-related businesses need to become more digital if they want to get through the coronavirus – and if they want to stay successful over the long run. The online fitness industry is experiencing growth like never before and it’s also expected to do so through the foreseeable future. So, an investment in digital methods now is an investment in a successful business in the future. 

Why QR Codes are the perfect digital partner for the fitness industry

If you’re ready to go digital, there are many different ways that the fitness industry can both create and market digital content. All you need is the right technology partner to do so: QR Codes.

Social distancing approved

QR Codes have helped governments, healthcare providers, and brands safely share information with the public without breaking social distancing rules. A major reason for this is that QR Codes have no minimum distance requirements to be scanned. If you look further at the details of NFC technology (what’s used for “contactless” card payments), actually it’s not contactless at all. QR Codes are much more preferred nowadays, because not only do they not require any physical contact to be scanned, they also can be scanned from far away distances. All that’s necessary is that the QR Code itself is large enough and the image is still readable for the scanner, which is precisely why China has used them to help manage the coronavirus outbreak.

A QR Code that connects people to coronavirus information on a print poster
A QR Code connects people to coronavirus information on a print poster. Source: Ma Zhenhaun at chinadailyhk.com

Utilizes unused physical space

If your gym is closed, window space is the perfect place to connect customers with digital content like online exercise videos. QR Codes can be safely scanned from a distance and also bring awareness to where previous customers can still keep in touch with their favorite trainers. It’s also worthwhile to use this method after the coronavirus is over because it will direct more traffic to online channels. Once gyms are allowed to open again, you can use a similar concept with mediums like wall posters and brochures.

A gym uses a QR Code on their window so customers can access online exercise videos
A gym uses a QR Code on their window so customers can access online exercise videos

Directs traffic to mobile channels and apps

Much of the online fitness industry takes place on apps. Even if you don’t have your own mobile app, you can add your online exercise videos to other apps (view this useful list of the most popular ones) and then direct your customers to that app with an App Store QR Code. App QR Codes display links to all relevant app stores on a mobile-optimized page, making it easy to view via mobile and simple for users to find the appropriate app for their operating system. 

Cost-effective method to meet digital demands

Although going digital sounds expensive, there are methods you can use to get started that don’t require a big investment. To give the best example, social media is the most inexpensive way for fitness brands to connect with potential customers. If you don’t pay for ads, social media posts are free and only require time. Furthermore, social media use has heavily increased as of late, especially Youtube, which is good news for online fitness. Here too, you can use the physical space around your gym in combination with a Social Media QR Code to grow your followers.

A Social Media QR Code on a gym poster conveniently connects people with social media profiles
A Social Media QR Code on a gym poster conveniently connects people with social media profiles

QR Codes for every purpose

There are QR Code types for everything that gyms could possibly need. You can use them to promote videos, images, digital coupons, collect ratings, and even boost event attendance. And this isn’t limited to print advertising – QR Codes can be used in digital marketing, too. When you use them on print materials, users scan the QR Code with their smartphone, and with digital channels, users can view the same QR Code content with a short URL (a shortened version of your link). This ensures that you reach users from every channel possible and can even compare campaign success across multiple channels based on QR Code scan metrics.

Fitness industry marketing examples with QR Codes

What does a QR Code marketing campaign look like for the fitness industry? Here are a few examples to help you get started.

Boost email marketing efforts

When you combine the hefty ROI (return on investment) of email marketing with the accessibility of QR Codes, you’ve got the perfect recipe for success. Your email subscribers have volunteered to subscribe precisely because they want to stay in touch with you about any updates. As a result, gyms can use this method for directing traffic to online exercise videos. There are a few methods for doing this. First, you can use the method previously mentioned with an App Store QR Code if your exercise videos are on an app. Or if your goal is to grow your Youtube following, you’ll want to use a Video QR Code. The Video QR Code can act as a teaser to what you can offer and then send users to your Youtube channel with a CTA (call to action) button.

A QR Code can direct users to exercise videos in email marketing
A QR Code can direct users to exercise videos in email marketing

Gain social media followers

You can also use social media to promote exercise videos. Instagram, in particular, is a great place to use QR Codes for two main reasons. First, Instagram is heavily used by the fitness industry. Many fitness influencers use Instagram as their main channel because Instagram prioritizes visual content. Secondly, Instagram posts don’t allow for clickable links. In order to find a link, users need to visit a bio, which often results in confusion when those two don’t match. QR Codes solve this issue entirely because you can connect to that link directly through the QR Code without having to leave the post and find the bio.

A QR Code on social media makes a fitness app easier to access
A QR Code on social media makes a fitness app easier to access

Attract more customers with digital coupons

Whether you use QR Codes to promote online exercise videos now or in the future, you can always use them to incentivize users to purchase packages with discounts. For this, you can use a Coupon QR Code that creates a digital coupon that can be redeemed from your website or another digital platform. Many gyms use this tactic around New Year’s, because of the surge in exercises that happens to meet New Year’s resolutions. So, that same concept can be applied during the coronavirus as well on something like a billboard ad or any other type of print ad.

A QR Code on a billboard ad promotes digital coupons
A QR Code on a billboard ad promotes digital coupons

Even if you’d prefer not to use coupons, print ads, in general, are a great place to use QR Codes to promote any type of digital content from a gym, because it makes the link easy to access and you’re not limited to that ad space. Plus, you can track how many QR Code scans you get from each print ad, which is precisely what you need to calculate the ROI of print campaigns.

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