How to Run Facebook Ads for Fitness Businesses

Want to run a successful Facebook ad campaign to grow your fitness business? Here are the most common questions our clients ask us when it comes to designing and running ads on the platform.

“Anything is possible,” you’re told. 

“You’ll make mistakes,” says another voice. “But not in your writing.” 

“Study International Marketing online with Sussex University!” adds a third. 

No, you’re not in a school-based fever dream, surrounded by enthusiastic teachers heavily invested in the prospect of your further education and waving the flag for Sussex. You’re simply scrolling through your Facebook feed. 

Adobe, Grammarly and the aforementioned Brighton-based university are all paying good money to feed their advertising copy onto your timeline to lead you into their marketing funnel. 

But how? 

As a newly-qualified (or experienced-yet-tech-averse) fitness professional, you might wonder how any company, big or small, goes from Marketing Department drawing room to placing an ad slap bang in the centre of your timeline. 

If that sounds like you, read on! 

1. How does Facebook know who to target? 

Long story short, it doesn’t - not without your help, anyway. What it does do is make intelligent guesses based on a mixture of geographic location, language, age, interests, pages followed and other similar parameters. 

Each individual online can be boiled down computationally to little more than a dataset of 1’s and 0’s: ‘Follows fitness influencers online [yes/no]’, ‘Has searched for weight-loss information in the last week [yes/no]’, ‘Lives in London [yes/no]’, and so on. 

Imagine a Venn diagram with thousands of possible circles, one for each parameter and each containing thousands or millions of individuals; not all of these individuals are relevant, so you and your marketing agency (hello!) can narrow down the field by selecting the particular intersections of the Venn diagram containing the specific individuals to whom you can very likely sell your services. 

Marketing, as we often say, is both art and science: the science is in choosing specific regions of the Venn diagram; the art comes from realising that, if you are too narrow, your audience will be too limited. It needs to be both large enough to be profitable and small enough to be effective. 

2. How do I choose a campaign objective? (What is a campaign objective?)

Facebook campaign objectives define what the purpose of a particular ad campaign is. They are split into three categories: 

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion 

These are also the three stages of a customer’s journey. To flesh them out a little: 

  • Awareness is simply the state of a potential client knowing that you and your brand exist. Choose this option if you want to expand the social media reach of your brand, regardless of whether people will opt-in to your offer. As a fitness professional growing your fitness business, we wouldn’t usually recommend opting for this approach in most circumstances. 
  • Consideration is a step further. Choose ‘consideration’ if you really want to get serious prospective clients to your landing page and looking at your offer.
  • Conversion is the final step. Convert potential clients into actual clients. These campaigns, however, cost a little more than the others. Really, though, this is where your ROI is found, and this is what we spend time optimising for our clients here at FitMedia!

3. Can’t I just click ‘Boost Post’? Why bother with all this? 

A word to the wise: clicking that enticingly-placed, easy-sounding ‘Boost Post’ button in the bottom right corner of your social media content is a total waste of time and money. 

If you’re going to advertise on Facebook, do it properly. Boosting posts might work to reach more people and increase your views and ‘likes’, so it feels like a good investment when you do it. 

But it isn’t. 

That’s because the audience you reach on boosting a post is often lukewarm at best. They have some interest in your area of expertise, but they largely aren’t looking to buy anybody’s services right now. It’s a low-quality, low-bang-for-your-buck marketing option. 

For a little more dough, you can reach ‘hot contacts’: clients who are likely to actually pay for your services, rather than simply clicking ‘like’ every now and then on your boosted post. 

In short: don’t throw your money at the ‘Boost Post’ button; invest it wisely and watch it multiply! 

4. I’m not creative, so how do I make the ‘creative’? 

It’s so easy to forget, when bogged down in the behind-the-scenes of marketing, that the real important bit of marketing is the ‘creative’: the process of designing, writing and editing the ad itself. 

A poorly-designed ad full of grammatical errors and dodgy, misaligned, downright ugly content is going to do more harm to your brand than good. 

Thankfully, FitMedia is equipped with all the creative tools and professionals you could possibly need to turn your ideas into a marketable piece of creative content; from logo and tagline to graphic design, we’re behind you all the way. 

However, you can equally go it alone: scroll through your own social media timelines for a while and check out the ads you think look great and those that don’t. Registering for a simple free tool like Canva can occasionally be enough to produce something you’re happy with - though we, for obvious reasons, recommend you invest a little more time, money and effort than this! 

As a top tip: you both can and should create different versions of your ads, with different visual creative and different copy, in order to test them out alongside each other to find which is the most effective. Remember, you are not your clients: what you think works well is not necessarily what actually sells your offer to Joe Bloggs down the road. 

Create, create again, create a third time, test, analyse, refine, create some more, and then succeed; don’t simply throw out your favourite images of you flexing your muscles into the world and hope they convince people to throw money back at you. 

Remember: the best bit of creative advertising is not the most complex. It is often the simplest but most eye-catching designs that convert the “maybe”s into the hallowed “yes please”. 

5. What is my call to action (CTA)? 

Your CTA is what people do after seeing your ad: they sign up, they book a call, they download your eBook on your specialist topic, whatever that may be. Maybe they even transfer a lump sum directly into your bank account in order to pay you for the services you have already convinced them are so valuable that they are already dead-set on working with you.

My oh my, what a world that would be. 

If you want your CTA to be taken up by your potential clients, you need to ensure your customer journey is as smooth as possible. A rough-around-the-edges, unclear, poorly-signposted or otherwise badly-put-together customer journey - perhaps littered with typos and grammatical errors or dodgy graphics - is going to drastically reduce the uptake of your CTA. And, just like that, down goes your brand reputation. 

6. What does it mean for my campaign to be a success? 

This is up to you, within reason. What is your campaign’s objective? Whether or not you achieve this objective is totally dependent on what it is and what metrics you are choosing to go by. Go back up and read about campaign objectives under the question “How do I choose a campaign objective? (What is a campaign objective?)” if you’re stuck. 

Remember that setting targets - ideally, SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) targets - should take into account the actual size of your niche as well as your own capacity to onboard new clients. 

7. What should I expect my budget to be? 

Setting a budget is one of the toughest parts of any campaign. As a rule of thumb, we recommend starting with £500-1000 per month for a minimum of 3 months. This is enough to gather real data, figure out what works, build a solid basis and learn how and where to move forwards with your business. You can read more about how to never lose money on advertising again on our blog to help you get your head around the numbers a little.

You can use our target CPL calculator online to get an idea of how many leads you should be hoping for in order to be profitable. For example, if you’re spending £500 per month on ads and your target CPL is £50, then aim for 10 leads per month - or one every three days. 

If you’re working with a marketing agency, remember to plan for ad spend along with their management and/or performance fees. 

Thankfully, with Facebook ads you can play around with audience, copy, creative, etc., until you end up with figures that suit how much money you’re willing to spend (overall as well as per lead).

Ultimately, setting a budget is a complex matter, but it is something we can help you figure out. FitMedia has run dozens of highly successful campaigns totalling millions of marketing dollars and made far more for our clients than they have ever spent on our services. After all, that’s just what we do.

Here’s to a successful Facebook ad campaign! 

For more information, book a call with one of the team over at

Are you a FitPro in a bind? Need industry-leading marketing tips but nothing springs to mind? 

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