It’s Time for a Digital Transformation in Fitness Marketing

It’s Time for a Digital Transformation in Fitness Marketing

Before we start, let’s have a quick poll. Question 1: How many of you made a New Year’s resolution connected to one of the following: healthier living, losing weight, improving your fitness or eating habits? (My guess is more than a few people raised their hands.) Question 2: How many of you belong to a gym that complements these goals with great fitness marketing? (My guess is very few hands raised.)

I quickly researched and learned that four out of the top five New Year’s resolutions people in the UK made for 2015 were health-related. And, Forbes recommends “maintain a health and fitness regimen” as resolution #2 on its list for 2015. I gave up on making such promises to myself and instead, I try to set my fitness goals throughout the year.

However, as a marketing professional and sports enthusiast, I pay extra attention to fitness marketing and new campaigns that appear shortly after the holidays. I know that they aim to attract new customers to sign up for a gym membership based on their New Years resolution fitness goals. The message is usually pretty simple: sign up now and get results quickly!

As good as this sounds, this approach works neither for the customer, nor for the gym, over time. We all know that in order to achieve our goals, we need to go an extra mile. What might be surprising is that the fitness industry has a great opportunity through content.

Content marketing and fitness marketing. The long-distance run (with obstacles)

Fitness centers often struggle with a high drop out rate shortly after January ends. What should they offer to customers in order to retain their business and change them into brand loyalists and advocates? Content.

We know that 90% of consumers want more content from their favorite brands, and we also know exactly where and how most customers want to receive content, mobile. According to Flurry by Yahoo, use of mobile and apps for health and fitness skyrocketed by 62% in 2014.

As a member of an always-on generation, I like to measure my personal fitness performance, compare and share results with friends via one of my devices and search for tips online. You will probably understand my disappointment when, after my last session with a personal trainer in London, I was sent away with a piece of paper containing sketches of the exercises I should do on my next visit. Of course, the paper was lost, and I found myself online trying to find some of the exercises he sketched.

This was a truly user-UN-friendly approach.

I go to a personal trainer to get a professional advice, great tips about diet and a workout routine. I do not want a sketch; I want engaging content effortlessly sent to me, when I need it, on the device I choose. It should include detailed descriptions of the exercises, recommended heart rate zones, maybe even a suggested Spotify playlist and recipe for a post-workout smoothie.

Sounds great, right?

Is this too tall of an order? Not at all!

You might think this too much to ask. It’s not. To prove my point, within 10 minutes I created a fully customized playlist using the Content Cloud Content on Demand solution and sent it to myself via text message.

(You can review the playlist here)

The biggest advantage is that I was able to source and mix both earned and owned content to create the best possible mix of content. The playlist is easy to customize and can be tailored to the needs of every single customer depending on their individual goals. It can seamlessly include visual images, short descriptive videos, tweets of encouragement, interesting blog posts or press articles.

Wouldn’t it be great if my gym and trainer had done the work for me?

Empower your reps with content for more personalized experiences

What I’ve described above would be easy for a trainer to create and would work just as well for countless other industries. Content marketing has changed the landscape of brand marketing and digital advertising, so why hasn’t it done the same for rep enablement in fitness marketing? Provide representatives with better, smarter, real-time, mobile content, and you can change occasional/short term customers into your most loyal brand advocates.

Tips for building personalized fitness marketing content:

  • Empower your employees with a tool that allows them to effortlessly curate, source and manage content that has already been created by users (UGC). Find authentic content to attract more customers.
  • Be a storyteller. Find out what your customers are looking for and share stories that engage and motivate with the right messages. In sports, success stories of others can work miracles.
  • Mix UGC with your own branded content to create original, personalized experience, while also creating a chance to promote other parts of your business, such as group training classes, wellness sessions or consultations with a nutritionist. Don’t forget that your representatives are the voice of your company; make sure that user-generated and rep-selected content is mixed with the branded content.
  • Learn from your results. In marketing, data collected from customers allows you to improve your performance, generate valuable insight into their engagement and determine what works best and where to improve.

I once heard that in fitness you can only improve what can be measured. Set realistic goals, measure results and don’t forget that the greatest success in both fitness and fitness marketing will come to those who take their routine a step further.

Now, that sounds like a New Year’s resolution I can get behind.

Tereza Bilkova @bilek_tereza
Contributor Bio: Tereza is Marketing Coordinator based in Thismoment's London office. She manages the synergy between the marketing and sales departments and localizes marketing activities for the EMEA region.
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