Marketing Success - Innovations, Trends And Tips For Your Fitness Business To Succeed In 2013 And Beyond

Are you preparing for the future of connecting with customers ? Follow some of these 8 ideas to take advantage of important marketing trends and strategies for 2013 and beyond. Please tell me what you think.

1. Integrate Your Message And The News

Figuring out ways to inject your brand into breaking news that generates media coverage, builds more awareness and creates credibility is a great strategy. Acting fast to develop a connection between a hot story and your brand is key. Using Google alerts or other monitoring tools to stay on top of the latest trending information is a good idea.

Some smart health clubs are hoping on stories about fitness trends, community news and reaching out to media, incorporating the stories into their blog content and social media feeds and this helps greatly in raising their profiles and credibility.

2. Use “Old School” Approaches Appropriately

Social media is a dominant area of marketing and many brands undervalue old tactics like direct mail . Some companies, however, are using more traditional forms of marketing to further reach prospects that have engaged with a brand online in a very focused manner. The key isn’t to limit the amount of online marketing. Consider enhancing the frequency and impact of your message with traditional methods for targeted prospects.

3. Work With Suppliers, Customers And Strategic Partners

Doing more with less is a big opportunity so working with your customers, suppliers and other strategic relationships to generate content is a good way of taking marketing to another level. Producing video interviews of clients talking about their specific challenges and opportunities is great content. For clubs, generating a video of a member who achieved great fitness results and how they did it is great content. In the realm of programming, partnering with group fitness program offerings like Les Mills enables a treasure trove of content for club marketing. There are many examples and we’ll see this trend continue to grow.

4. Mobile Mobile Mobile

The era of innovations integrating social media, local targeting and mobile devices is upon us. Do you recall this scene from Minority Report ? Look for more innovations around the “SoLoMo” trend, and watch more B2C companies try to capitalize on it. Mobile is moving really really fast and the opportunities are huge.

Foursquare, a SoLoMo application, is a great example of what is to come. Foursquare tells mobile users of nearby companies and available deals. When users input personal preferences or an app recognizes patterns when they are near a business that fits their profile, it will push out a notification for a coupon, discount code, special of the day or sale. This is the fourth of five eras of the social web that I wrote about in 2011 . More than Foursquare, things like making sure your web site is mobile friendly, are really important. There is going to be a constant evolution of what mobile really is including mobile commerce. What is mobile is the consumer. Learn more here .

5. Video Video Video

There will be a steady increase in the number of people viewing video content on computers, tablets and mobile devices in 2013 as compared to TV sets . More and more brands are planning to use the medium to communicate complex ideas and solutions in a visually appealing manner. Expect more video content from brands to communicate information. This is a big part of the “inbound marketing” trend that you can learn more about here .

6. Create A Content Lexicon

A lexicon is a vocabulary specific to an area of knowledge or activity. Content has been increasingly important for awhile. How that content is positioned in light of a specific area or market is going to be more important than ever . It will be the context in which content is delivered that will make it more or less relevant. In an environment that requires more targeted messaging the requirements of a Content Lexicon is obvious.

Developing content tailored for a targeted audience is fundamental. For example, if you sell fitness equipment, don’t talk about your equipment features, address issues in various vertical markets like YMCA’s, Parks and Recreation Centers, Micro Gyms, and others, that have unique demands and needs. Address their problems, their industry, their company and how you will benefit their business. Keep this in mind when creating all of your content including articles, videos, presentations and webinars.

7. Offer Calls To Action

Even when content is created with context in mind, it needs this important part of the equation to convert prospective buyers into leads: a call to action. Businesses are increasingly grasping the benefits of adding calls to action in their materials and all of their content. This important piece connects content to action, and gets information from prospects enabling them to be targeted more effectively in the future.

8. Don’t Plan To Be Right; Plan To Learn

What is irrefutable is how fast things are changing. Building out marketing programs from start to finish without any flexibility to make changes in the middle is something that isn’t wise to do.

When developing and managing marketing programs, organizations need to try different approaches, measure results, and make adjustments. Agility in marketing provides greater control and insight if executed in this manner. An important underlying principal is to keep cost low as new endeavors are being undertaken. Check out this recent post on new smarter ways to plan
for more examples.


Did you find these 8 marketing strategies helpful ? How is your business planning to market in 2013 and beyond ? If you like this content please subscribe to my web site or connect with me via social media. If you’d like help with marketing your brand feel free to contact me here today.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and serves as CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To learn more contact Bryan here today .

5 Tips For Using Mobile Apps to Drive New Member Sales

Reading the IHRSA web site this morning I came across This Week in Fitness : Increase Foot Traffic with an iPhone App. I also read the @theladylunches article in Retailigence 5 Tips To Drive People Into Your Store Using Mobile Apps (this article borrows a lot of her ideas and content so thanks to Meagan for that). The intro by IHRSA to the USA Today article said this:

An iPhone App doesn't bring paying members at a health club, but it can help get more people through your doors. LA Fitness, for example, lets their members make personal training appointments or reserve a spot in a group exercise class over their smartphones.

Since mobile apps are a new technology, there is much confusion about what they can and cannot do. You see mobile apps CAN bring new potentially paying members to a club (I share 5 tips on exactly how below and extend my thanks to Retailigence again and their article 5 Tips To Drive People to Your Store Using Mobile Apps.) Please check it out.

Whether you’re a large health club with many locations, or a local, small gym, the goal is the same: drive potential members into your place to join. With the help of smartphones and location-based applications, this is becoming more possible. Trends point to the fact that retailers and health clubs will continue to see improvements with the help of location based services. Consider these points:

●      the use of smartphones by moms has increased by 64% over the past two years, and
●      on average, 42% of in-store sales is generated through online shopping searches

Here are five ways mobile apps can help your health club generate more member sales:

1. Integrating with Location Based Search

Helping your potential members find what they are looking for when they are looking is critical. People connect with health clubs for this reason. The more potential customer members you find, the better.

According to a recent study by iModerate Research Technologies, more than 70% of iPhone users use apps or web browsers to assist them with their purchase before stepping into a store. 38% of all smartphone users check availability of a product through an app. “Smartphones are a major part of the shopping experience for more than half of online Americans now, particularly Generation Y and even Gen Xers,” said Chris Neil, VP of technology and telecom at CMB, Boston. “They are using their smartphones to search for you before they even step in the store—that’s how they find you." Believe me, this trend is extending into the health club market and consumer buying and shopping behaviors.

Layar is an augmented reality app - check it out the video here as I've written about before. The app uses the real world and adds a digital layer on top to find relevant products. A simple search will reveal the nearest locations with the products in camera view (AR View). Users are able to switch to a map view or a distance ordered list.

2. QR Codes (also known as Quick Response Codes)

QR codes are one of the most effective and simple strategies for engaging your memebrs with your product or health club. Using a code similar to a bar code, smartphone users scan the code with their phone’s camera.

With a simple advertisement in the local newspaper, on a web site, or anywhere, a QR code can provide a lot of information unlocked by a simple scan. Making sure that the QR code is simple to use, engaging and relevant is critical. Give directions to your gym, offer a promotion, the possibilities are endless. As an example, just for unlocking the code, present a prospect with a discount.

3. Drive Member Loyalty

An important tip is to make sure your business is listed with FourSquare, Facebook Places, Yelp and on Google. By giving an incentive that the more often they visit your club, check-in with you and mention you, the more discounts and rewards they will receive appeals to customers. They want to be part of an exclusive club. What type of incentives you offer is up to you, but bringing new customers through the door is what it’s about.

4. Special Events

Adding events to an app like AppCityLife can drive visitors straight to your door. If you’re having a promotion, or a launch party for a new Les Mills group exercise release use an app for instant push notifications, giveaways or pay a little bit more to be featured.

Nordstrom uses this type of technology, and as a retail operator has done some things the health club business we can learn from. According to Mobile Commerce Daily, as of last February, Nordstrom “holds 900+ events and promotions in its 112 stores across the country each month. The retailer uses Point Inside to pinpoint specific events for each mall, in addition to advertising company-wide sales.”

5. Location-based Games

Location-based games engage the user to hunt for your products, creating a level of awareness that can not only drive potential members to your door, but includes a unique aspect of fun.

The retailer Jimmy Choo is a great example of this. They took a $600 pair of sneakers around London and posted Twitter hints, Facebook updates and Foursquare check-ins to let fans know where the shoes would be. Fans had a brief amount of time to search and find the locations. After a month, and with 4,000 online participants, Jimmy Choo reported an increase of 33% revenue for sneaker sales.

Watch this great video on how Mini Cooper got users to participate in a game of competition.

So tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, are you planning on using any of these 5 tips in adopting mobile marketing strategies that can drive business for your health clubs ? Let me know your thoughts !