The fitness industry is extremely competitive, but just like any other space, the person/company that does the work will reap the rewards. After working with dozens of fitness brands (including building and selling my own company), here are the 5 things I have found to be essential to online marketing for fitness.
I work with dozens of fitness companies developing products, communities, and content for online distribution. While the objectives may vary, one thing is always true: more exposure leads to more sales. Fortunately, there are some extremely simple ways to improve online marketing for fitness companies, some of which cost nothing at all.
I’ve used these simple rules to build a variety of business, the last of which I sold to Onnit Labs. I created everything myself for the business, from graphic design to photography to video shooting/editing to website design to narration and demonstration. I learned a lot doing so, and have since created thousands of pages of content, over a thousand online videos, and thousands of pictures and graphics.
My clients are sometimes surprised to find that the answers to improved online marketing for fitness are much more simple than they expected. I was pretty amazed myself when I found them out. While there are some exceptions to the rule, there is one thing that clearly stands out with most successful fitness brands. That rule is: “Consistent, long term effort pays off.”
This is shocking for a few different reasons. For one, it goes against all the fancy marketing “tricks” that most people are trying to sell you. You’ve probably been inundated with ads for “cheats” when it comes to online exposure. These include instant number one ranking on google, 50,000 followers on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter overnight, and millions of dollars in online sales using this “one simple trick.” Sorry guys/gals, the real answer to your future success lies in balls-to-the-wall effort for a long, long time.
If you need money in the next week or two, get a job. If you want to be rich some day and realize that it won’t happen overnight, read on.
While there are a million different ways to get more exposure for your brand, I’ve found these 5 methods to be effective online marketing for fitness companies. They aren’t glamorous or sexy, but they are true. Take these concepts, research them, and implement them over the long term and you will reap the rewards.
This is probably the easiest thing that you could do and it could have the best, long term results. All you need to do is post things on your website, literally, ANY things. I always tell my clients who are just starting out that it really doesn’t matter what you post initially, because no one knows who you are. Sounds kind of mean, but it’s the truth.
The point of posting at first is to get in the habit of posting. As you continue to post, you’ll improve the style and quality of your content, learn what people are interested in, and evolve your brand to meet your objective. The content could be tips that might be useful to your potential customers, funny pictures/memes for people to share, or just pictures of you doing work.
At the very least, you should be posting at least 5 times a week (Monday through Friday). At first, don’t worry about what you’re posting; just worry about posting. Look at what companies you envy post, mix in your own style, and do your best to improve over time. If you need some ideas for articles, read How to Create Endless Fitness Article Topics or check out my online marketing book.
I’ve seen this repeatedly in small business. Creating logos, finding domain names, and creating slogans is fun, so small business owners usually do it more than they should. The truth is that you could have the most God-awful name, domain, and logo in the world, but as long as you have a good service/product and work hard and consistently, you will make money. The first e-commerce store I put together was very ugly, but we posted consistently, had good prices, and good customer service. The first month we made $1,000 and over the next 6 months that average went up to $20,000.
The point is that building a brand is all about recognition, and the only way that people can recognize you is if they see you frequently and KNOW that it’s you that they’re seeing. You need to create a logo, brand name, and general style (style being colors, fonts, and photo/video lighting, background, and location) and stick with them for at least 2-3 years before changing anything.
While it’s not 100% necessary to have an attractive branding image, it is preferential. As a business owner, you need to be PROUD of your brand. If you don’t like it, how can you expect anyone else to? You can’t! You’re the spokesperson, put a smile on your face and act like it. For that reason, starting out with something that reflects your personal style and preferences is ideal.
Now, I’m a little biased because that’s what I do for people (that is to create attractive, consistent brand images that reflects business owners’ personal preferences and objectives), but I think starting out with something attractive will help you in the long run (that is if you follow rule #2). These days there are so many easy-to-use tools that you can teach yourself to create what you need. Using tools like the Adobe Creative Cloud combined with an endless amount of free tutorials online, you can probably make what you need.
At the very minimum, you need the following aspects to make a consistent, attractive brand:
I talk about most of these things in my book, Unconventional Marketing for Fitness Professionals, but you can easily find out more about each one for free online.
This is one of the most affordable, highly-beneficial things you could do for your business. Better yet, you don’t even have to be the model in the shoot if you don’t want to be (I’m sure you know someone who looks the part)! The important thing is that you do one. It will add a new level of professionalism to your brand that many of your competitors won’t do.
Really quick, picture the following brands in your head: Nike, Under Armour, and Gaterade. What did you see? Was it a swimmer about to jump into a pool, a football player removing his helmet on a field, or a sweaty-but-satisfied-looking runner on track? These brands are all about image, and in a world driven by image-focused advertising and social media, guess what you need to be to succeed?
One photo shoot can yield hundreds of pictures for use on your website, social media, marketing pieces, banners, and more. Better yet, they are all UNIQUE TO YOUR BRAND. No one can go online and buy them from DepositPhotos.com or some other stock photo website. You know how often I’ve seen this girl below? I see her almost EVERY DAY on different company websites and social media pages. You can use this image too if you want to buy it for a couple bucks.
I’ve done professional photo shoots for as little as $150. To see how to do your own, check out my article, 10 Essential Tips for Managing Your First Fitness Shoot.
If you’re like me, you don’t really like attention that much (I’m an introvert if you can believe it). Even so, as soon as I decided to be the face of my fitness companies, I knew I had to get over my aversion to social media. And you know what? I think it made me better at social media marketing.
The reason for that is simple. Remember the rule I talked about at the beginning of the article? Consistent, long term effort pays off. Look at your social media postings like you do any other part of your operation. Systemize it and bust it out. Know that it’s just another aspect of your business that MUST BE DONE. Accept it and follow the posting guide below.
This is a DAILY GUIDELINE for the BARE MINIMUM posting in terms of social media networks. There is WAY more you could be doing, but doing just this will get you on your way. Get to work.
There you have it! If nothing else, you should be able to do at least ONE of these things to improve your online marketing for fitness. Any of them will help, but if you really want to start increasing your online presence, you need to do them all. If you want to get a little more serious, get my online marketing for fitness book. Good luck!