The new MANTRA among fitness marketers (me included) is CONTENT… CONTENT… CONTENT!
It’s amazing how the marketing of health and fitness continues to evolve.
Actually, it’s evolving in all businesses but health and fitness is so trendy, that it’s typically on the cutting edge of “things to come!”
CONTENT MARKETING is a perfect fit for all health and fitness professionals attempting to get above the noise.
Why the Cookie Cutter..?
When you look around the internet landscape of health and fitness websites… well, they all follow the same format.
I’m not really sure why.
But, let me bullet a few common web elements and then take a look at your own website and see if this is true.
Common elements include:
- About us
- Our Team
- Our Services
- Our Facility
- Schedule or Calendar
And, of course, there is the “OFFER” of a free consult or a free session…
Then, the OPT-IN BOX (free e-book, report, etc) that herds visitors into a marketing funnel of email sequences…
It’s very “cookie cutter” in design and a formulaic strategy. These days, most consumers are “hip” to the process.
Welcome to the New School of Content Marketing
It’s important to draw a contrast between Old School and New School.
The old school formula, as described above, is all about the MERCHANT (see the elements).
Features, benefits, team, schedules…etc.
And, many health and fitness marketers attempt to CONTROL how visitors browse their websites by using “opt-in boxes” or “start here” buttons, etc.
The new school of CONTENT MARKETING is all about the CONSUMER.
It is a complete shift.
The CONTENT MARKETING model shifts POWER to the CONSUMER.
It allows him or her to CONTROL exactly how he or she chooses to use the website to his or her own advantage.
This is a BIG DEAL..! It is a complete POWER SHIFT!
A Short History of Power Shifts
This power shift isn’t new. It is, in fact, the natural evolution of information technology.
Here’s a super brief history….
Back in the early days of retail there was a process of stocking the store shelves with inventory.
The typical scenario played out like this:
The MANUFACTURER of any given product would tell the MERCHANT that THIS (pick any product) was a “hot product!”
And, they better purchase a ton of them because THIS PRODUCT was going to be flying out the door!
In this scenario… the MANUFACTURER had all the POWER. After all, they conducted market research (information) and produced the “hot products” they knew the public wanted.
More than once this model failed leaving the MERCHANT stuck with a “hot product” that didn’t sell!
Then, along came computers and information technology.
With technology, MERCHANTS could instantly gather information and understand their sales, inventory, operations, and most importantly, their customers.
So, now, MERCHANTS used their new found power of information to tell MANUFACTURERS what their CUSTOMERS wanted. What was “HOT” and what was NOT.
It was a complete POWER SHIFT!
The Power Shift Continues
Today, with internet technology at their finger tips, CONSUMERS can instantly gather information on almost any topic, product or service.
As a result, the POWER has now SHIFTED from:
—> MANUFACTURERS to:
—> MERCHANTS to:
This shift to CONSUMER POWER introduces plenty of implications and requires “new forward thinking” about HOW we market our products and services.
As stated at the beginning of this post, the biggest difference between most old school marketing and new school CONTENT MARKETING is CONTROL.
Let’s relate it directly to a typical health and fitness website.
As mentioned earlier, most of them look the same and deploy the same “conversion” strategies.
There’s NOTHING WRONG with those elements. They absolutely SHOULD BE part of your website and online strategy.
But, those elements are only useful if the CONSUMER is interested in them.
Listen. It’s extremely important to understand this about CONSUMERS:
Today’s consumers are NOT STUPID. They are tech savvy.
They know when they are being “herded” into a funnel.
They know the consequences of completing an Opt-In Box.
They even understand the concept behind re-targeting pixels as advertisements creepily follow them around the internet.
Let’s Put It in Context…
With a content strategy… a health and fitness professional MUST offer more than the typical “features” and “benefits” —- MUCH MORE!
Again, let’s reference the typical health and fitness website.
Once a client or member is signed-up as a member or enrolled in a program there’s NO REASON for him or her to ever RETURN to the website.
Because they’ve already been converted — and that’s all the site is designed to do. Convert.
There’s NO CONTENT. Thus, NO REASON to return.
NO CONTENT results in:
- No return visits
- No potential up-sells
- No potential product sales
- No potential referrals
Why They Go to…
Do you know the primary reason people go to YouTube?
It’s because the platform is considered an information resource.
- Want to change a tail light on a ’69 Dodge Charger? There’s a video for that.
- Want to learn how to play blues guitar. Tons of videos for that.
- Want to learn about caregiving for your elderly mother? The experts are all on YouTube.
You see where this is going..?
YouTube is a RESOURCE. It’s a HUB of useful, actionable INFORMATION.
YouTube is all about CONTENT.
Fitness Celebrities Are Content Marketers
Whether you agree with their protocol is irrelevant.
But, from a marketing view point, the most financially successful and high profile health and fitness professionals have been “CONTENT MARKETING” for years.
Just take a look at the CONTENT woven into their websites:
Obviously, these “signature brands” did not spring up overnight. From day #1 they consciously decided to become “high profile” fitness celebrities.
So, I’m NOT suggesting you spend a gazillion dollars for a global online presence like these celebrities.
But, I AM suggesting you could become more of a HEALTH & FITNESS RESOURCE – an INFORMATION HUB on a smaller scale to your own LOCAL COMMUNITY and EXISTING TRIBE.
I’m also suggesting you LEARN from the some of the world’s best CONTENT MARKETERS.
Beyond all the “BUY ME” stuff, look how much CONTENT each of them offers.
Who’s it For..?
CONTENT MARKETING is NOT for everybody.
It has no place for “churn & burn” trainers who constantly launch “hustle programs” full of response ads and low-ball pricing: —> “Lose 20 lbs in 4 Weeks just $99 – or your money back.”
Nor, will it help “big box clubs” who pride themselves on closing as many $10 monthly EFT members as humanly possible.
CONTENT MARKETING is the FORWARD STRATEGY for:
- Certified, career-driven health and fitness professionals
- High-touch, hands-on boutique fitness studios
- Premium priced, all amenities health clubs
… all of whom share a goal of building long-term — or even lifetime RELATIONSHIPS.
Advantages of Content Marketing
If you are truly “all-in” and plan to run a successful fitness business for the long-haul, then, CONTENT MARKETING needs to become a way of life for your marketing!
The old saying, “Ya gotta give, to get” will take on a whole new meaning because CONTENT MARKETING is all about GIVING.
But, the rewards are amazing.
- First and foremost, just the very nature of CONTENT MARKETING — providing credible, actionable information will position YOU and YOUR BUSINESS as an EXPERT and AUTHORITY. That, alone, instantly translates into — and positions you — as a LEADER.
- Next, it will give CONTROL to your visitors and allow them to freely gain information about specific things that interest them such as recipes, workout tips or new research – with no strings attached. This breeds familiarity, trust and loyalty. The ingredients of a RELATIONSHIP.
There are a ton of additional benefits I’ll be writing about in the near future.
But, ultimately, CONTENT MARKETING is EXACTLY what will separate the true professionals, like YOU, from the “bottom-feeders.”
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