Co-Marketing For Your Fitness Business

Co-marketing is one of the must haves for a Fitness Business. Here’s a simple guide on developing strategic co-marketing partnerships to reach new customers through greater value adds and with lower costs.

If you are a fitness business of any size, you’re likely to have seen how digital marketing has changed the way studios compete and attract members. Many of us get overawed by the marketing terminologies and technologies. Yes, we’d like our marketing to be super-effective (whether for our studio or for our own profile as trainers), but all the technicalities seem scary!  

This series aims to simplify and bring easy to apply practices for Fitness Professionals and Studios.

You’ve seen and heard examples of how smaller businesses today punch above their weight. Being smart and savvy in their marketing and embracing digitization, these represent the current and continuing trends in succeeding in the Fitness business.  Today, marketing is a combination of deep customer insights, specialization, and collaboration. To have a chance of making any sort of impact, partnering up is a way to combine all the above for better results.

Co-marketing is probably one of the easiest to use and most effective and low-cost tactical approaches. It’s something every studio owner should think about incorporating into their overall marketing strategy.

So what is co-marketing?

Co-marketing is a collaborative marketing strategy that involves combining resources with another company that serves the same audience you do. Typically, the marketing partner isn’t a competitor but someone who can deepen market share or refresh brand sentiment by tapping more customers in your space. Co-marketing when done well, has major benefits for both partners When you think about it, co-marketing makes perfect sense – who wouldn’t want to decrease their budge by half while at the same time getting double the leads, double the resources and double the chance with the end consumer.

Heidi Cohen very succinct describes co-marketing partnerships as “Work with peers who target similar audiences but don’t directly compete with your business or your brand”.

Let’s look at a practical example to understand this better – let’s say you are a Fitness Studio looking to expand your member base. Sure, you have taken out ads in the local press, created various social media accounts, shared your blogs about current offers, and linked every post back to your website. These efforts have gained some interest and traction, but your conversion rates are low. What should you do?

After really getting to know your own brand as a Fitness Studio, you found out that you have a lot of the same values as the local Insurance broker. Their team specializes in promoting healthier and fitter lives for their clients, they take great pride in customer service, and their clientele is very similar to your own desired clientele.

After meeting with the team and pitching your idea for a co-marketed open house event, you decide to work as partners. Through this effort, you are able to meet many of their clients and, eventually, became the go-to Fitness Studio for their clients!

This fictional account of the Fitness Studio is just one example of the various ways co-marketing can be utilized to elevate your brand. If you have a Yoga business, why not team up with the local doctors and offer discounts on referrals made by the doctors? If you run a local sports store, you could partner with a sport training institute and distribute each other’s marketing materials either onsite or online.

Co-marketing is a proven way to grow your studio’s audience size by tapping into another brand’s influence and followers.

While big brands team up on co-marketing campaigns all the time, it’s an especially appealing strategy for smaller companies without a lot of money to spend on marketing. Traditionally, small business may not have dedicated marketing departments. More often than not, they’re sharing marketing duties with other functions like sales or accounting. That doesn’t leave much time available for marketing a business, does it?

Here’s some practical advice on how you could build the co-marketing advantage into your business

First be sure that YOU are ready for reciprocity (Be ready to give, in order to receive)

Reciprocity is the byword in the world of co-marketing. Co-marketing only works if you’re willing to offer up something that makes it worth your partner’s time and effort. You need to give before you get, but what you end up getting together is something you likely wouldn’t have gotten alone

The world of business might be competitive by nature, but co-marketing opens new doors through cooperation.

Know yourself, know your ideal client

Knowing your gym audience and what makes your gym special over the competition will help you use the correct verbiage when marketing your gym.  You first need to understand what your strengths are, particularly in the context of your main customers. While it is easy to wish that you attract all categories of clients, the fact is that without focus, your results are likely to get diluted. So we begin by imagining a ‘persona’ – a fictional character that’s the personification of your average potential lead or client. Work through and think about why they’re interested in your service and what the reasons they may or may not be convinced to purchase.

In the context of co-marketing, personas are especially important since knowing yours and your partner’s audience is a key part of creating content that ticks both your boxes.

Identify the right partner

Choosing the right partner for your business is perhaps the most crucial part of the whole process. If this goes well, the other parts of your plan would likely slot seamlessly into place. If not, you’ll risk wasting time and money on a project that won’t get off the ground. On a broad basis, here are some criteria on finding the good fit partner:

  • What does the other company bring to the table, from a more practical viewpoint. Can they bring skills and expertise that you will benefit from – or are they offering resources you already have in-house?  
  • They shouldn’t be your competitor—or better yet, they should complement you.
  • They have a sizable audience (social following, email list, etc.), and ideally your chosen partner wants to target the exact same audience as your business.
  • They are as hungry for business as you are, and are willing to put in the work needed for a successful collaboration.
  • They have a great brand reputation
  • Accessibility. If the partners are locked away in an ivory tower or behind “gatekeepers”, they’re likely not worth the energy and resources needed to engage them. They should have hunger and willingness to share with experts from other fields.
  • Relevance. Some professionals tend to specialize in one industry making them more relevant than non-specialists. For instance, if you are in the food industry, you may find specialists who specialize in sweet treats, pastries and the like. This relevance could work significantly in your favor if they were to get behind our new gluten-free prepackaged brownies, for instance.
  • Their offering and yours does not have any direct conflict of interests

Tonality What is the tone of the partner’s online and offline presence? Do they embrace or are they at lest open to brands new ideas, and other opinions? or are they clearly opinionated or critical in a way that could be damaging to your brand

OPPORTUNITIES to connect

Greater choices gives you the ability to select the best fit for both your needs. Additionally, first impressions can sometimes be misleading. However big and attractive a potential partner may seem, some alignments may just not work out equitably. In such instances, there is no bigger confidence booster than knowing that if the alignment with one partner is not working out, there are always other partners whom you can tie-up with.

Look for opportunities to connect with as wide a set of potential partners as is practical. fiftyfiveandfive.com give some great ideas on potential opportunities avenues to connect, including social media sites like LinkedIn, networking in person, attending conferences and networking events among others. You also have custom built co-marketing solutions such as Aseema, which help connect with local Health and Fitness partners, as well as with client groups such as large corporates and insurers.

Define roles and expectations

Once you’ve found a company to partner up with, you need to define clear roles and expectations for what you aim to achieve. It is important to lay out the groundwork before anything else. By working out the details in advance there will be no confusion about what you expect out of one another. The last thing you want to have to do is have an argument halfway through the project.

Key discussions that you need to include; timeframes, costs and responsibilities. It’s important to clearly define early on who’s responsible for what aspects of the project, to reduce any risk of complication further down the line.

Trial and review

Hopefully, your new partnership will bring great business to both parties for years to come. However, life isn’t always perfect. For that reason, it’s perfectly acceptable to trail a relationship for a few weeks or months and call it quits if things aren’t working out.

Sometimes, the relationship may be great, but the offer that you combined together isn’t attractive to clients. If you go with the trail mind-set, it is much easier to go back to the drawing board and re-look at how you could improvise or change.

Having put the initial considerations aside, now let’s look at specific aspects that you could co-market with

Co-branded events

Partner up to target similar clients on co-branded events. A co-branded product release can be a massive benefit to both partners. Talking about how McDonald’s Happy Meals Toy and movies such as Peanuts or Minions benefit each other through co-marketing, Entrepreneur.com observes that “Kids get the characters in their Happy Meals and beg their parents to see the movie. McDonald’s benefits from additional Happy Meal sales, and the film companies benefit from additional tickets sold to their movies.”

You get all of the benefits of co-marketing, including reaching your mutual audience as well as your separate audiences plus the added benefit of revenue from your new product Co-marketing can be especially important during key events such as product launches and opening of facilities. That’s why it helps to have a partner to pull it all off. You can use these events to sell products or to strengthen your brand image.

Couple your content

If you are putting efforts on content marketing, co-marketing may be a great idea is for you. You can trade blog posts, videos, infographics, etc. or you can team up to make something together.

If you are interested to know about the ins and outs of content marketing and in-bound marketing for the Fitness Sector, you will find more information on this post.

Trail session coupons

Trial sessions to your yoga session do not only have to be placed on your studio. Explore co-marketing opportunities with others such as your local organic store. Both partners benefit and there’s no beating the fresh positive buzz.

These could be done on-site and through your online and social media presence.

Exchange social posts

All you need to pull off some co-branded social posts is a little bit of time and some creative resources. To identify the right partners, think about someone who has some expertise or a product that complements what you have.

Digital Tools

As with everything else in life, Digitization has made online marketing and co-marketing much simpler. It is not uncommon to find smaller companies punching higher than their weight and achieving remarkable market results thanks to the numerous online tools that are currently available.

Some of the most useful tools currently available include HubSpot, WordPress, Mail Chimp, Aseema, BuzzSumo, Google Ads and HootSuite among others.

If you are interested to know more about these tools and how they help your Fitness Business, click here for a comprehensive look.

Bottomline

Co-marketing offers a myriad of benefits for companies of all sizes, whether you’re a fledgling startup or a global enterprise – which is why all the best brands are doing it! It’s true what they say that two heads are better than one.

Hopefully by now you’ve been persuaded that co-marketing is an effective strategy for your business, and you’re feeling confident in how to run a successful campaign. Have you tried co-marketing before and if yes, what has been your experience – where did things go wow, and what did not work well. I’d love to know. Let me know in the comments.

Fitness Businesses – The Top 10 Online Marketing Tools

Fitness Businesses need to have the right tools to ensure that your online marketing plan succeeds. Here’s a list of the Top 10 online marketing tools specific to the Fitness Business

The IHRSA reports that in 2018, there were 210,000 clubs globally, serving 183 million members. The fitness industry in the U.S. has been growing by at least 3 – 4% annually for the last ten years, with about 20% adults having a fitness club membership.

In the UAE, Trevor Brennan gives insights that there are over 800 fitness clubs with 523,000 or approximately 6% of the eligible population.

With a number like this, all small business owners are looking for a competitive edge. If you happen to be one, chances are you’re looking for strategies to get your leg up on the competition.

Is it all about large multi-liner Fitness studios and do boutique fitness really need to rue that they can’t compete with the large dollar spends of the big brands? Not really.. Business Insider notes that Boutique fitness as a category was the fastest growing brick-and-mortar exercise fitness business, seeing membership growth at a staggering 121% between 2013 and 2017. Obviously, luck isn’t the only reason behind the success of the successful ones. A lot of hard work, patience, resilience, and strategic thinking went into making their businesses successful. To step into the business market, meet customer needs, and achieve success in the long run, you will have to work hard on both your digital marketing strategy, as well as your core B2B and B2C sale strategy, hence marketing gets to be a major concern specially of small Fitness businesses.

There are obviously offline as well as on-line components that are needed to make your marketing effective. In this post, however, I’m going to outline some online marketing tools that you’d find extremely helpful. You may be familiar with some of these tools while others might be completely new. The intent here is to introduce you to the best tools that can help you simplify your online – social media marketing efforts so that you have adequate time to pitch sale your business in the real physical world, and to run your business.

What factors are important?

On selecting the best Online marketing tools, Digital Agency Network lists the following four key points as essential to consider:

  • Optimizing conversion rates
  • Gtting more leads
  • Reaching your target audience with an efficient budget and
  • Analyzing them.

Fortunately, there are quite a few online marketing tools available now that can drive traffic for businesses of all sizes.

Are you ready to grow your business through online marketing? Let’s start with the list of Top 10 Marketing tools specifically for the Fitness Business..

HubSpot

Price: Free to $3,200/month for enterprises

When it comes to marketing, sales and CRM software, HubSpot has become one of the top players. From attracting visitors to closing customers, HubSpot brings your entire marketing funnel together.

They are top-notch on their marketing software solutions – which is so versatile that it feels like a ‘swiss army knife’ for you marketing efforts. That’s why it’s a top choice for those who are starting a business.

With HubSoft’s software, you have access to tools that help with:

  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Website
  • SEO
  • Lead Management
  • Calls-to-Action
  • Email
  • Marketing Automation
  • Analytics

WordPress

Pricing: Starting from Free to US$ 45 / month for eCommerce sites

No introductions needed for WordPress – this is the default goto resource for all Bloggers, new or established.

It has a powerful publishing software used mostly by bloggers, authors, digital companies, and content marketers to create and publish content, and build robust website.

With this free and helpful WordPress software, you can design a website within 20 minutes. There are tens of thousands of free themes and plugins to make your website as professional and dynamic as you want.

WordPress has a simple and powerful content management system (CMS), which is extremely user friendly and effective.

Aseema

Price: Zero set-up fees, 10% AFTER THE SALE IS MADE

Do you find yourself asking this question: what’s working and what’s not about my local B2B marketing? One of the most effective ways is to tie-up strategically with large corporates (think local companies, large Insurers and corporates in your region). Unfortunately, things are not as easy as they seem – it is not easy to access the big businesses, technological and human gatekeepers (receptionists, executive assistants, bureaucrats and anyone who has the power to slow stop or accelerate access to the key people within these organizations), make it ridiculously difficult to tie-up with the corporates.

This is where Aseema comes in. You can use Aseema to connect with Insurers and large corporates directly and this is unbelievably effective in generating better results.

When you’re new to your business, you don’t want to spend countless hours dealing with Marketing issues. Unfortunately, this often happens when it comes to starting online marketing. Unless you use Aseema, of course.

The solution is packed with features, that allow you to:

  • Pitch your services directly to large Insurers and corporates (a huge win, and one with no gatekeepers to contend with).
  • Coordinate co-marketing activities with the best local specialist businesses (think fitness, diet, organics, coaching)
  • Analysis and reporting
  • Platforms and business integrations
  • Targeting and personalization
  • Multi-modal communications
  • Pitch to participate solutions such as the Insurer’s chronic disease management program (if you’re lucky, you work directly along with top healthcare providers and the Insurers).

A tool that helps you understand what your B2B business, so you can maximize your sales and leads, means that you have to give Aseema a try. It’s one of those tools that you don’t know you need, until you use it one time.

MailChimp

Price: Tiered pricing, plans start free and range up to $299

Email marketing use of email to develop relationships with potential customers or clients. Email marketing isn’t something you should wait on. Instead, you should implement an email marketing strategy from the very beginning. Consider the following statistics:

  • 91% of email users check their email at least once a day.
  • Email marketing returns an impressive $42 for every $1 spent.
  • 59% of survey respondents say email influences their purchase decisions.
  • Email marketing has a conversion rate of 2.3%, compared to 1% for social media.

The huge advantage of email over social media is that prospects and customers are more likely to see an email than social media. Just posting something on social media doesn’t mean that everyone you want to see your message will see it. However, an email will sit in an inbox until it’s read.

With more than 12 million customers, MailChimp has claimed its spot as one of the top email marketing providers in the world. While there are alternatives, this tool remains one of the best.

Free plan for those with less than 2,000 subscribers and those who don’t send more than 12,000 emails per month.

Inbound Marketing For The Fitness Business

In a new world dramatically altered by the COVID lockdowns, most buyers of Fitness Business do their purchasing research online, familiarizing themselves and making preliminary decisions long before even contacting the seller. A quick look at the implications

Marketing has experienced a considerable shift over the past few years as people have turned more to social media and the internet world for all their work and most of their play. Add to this, a situation as dramatic as the COVID-19 crisis and lockdowns have meant that all businesses completely re-adjusted their marketing approach. Let’s look at how business such as the fitness business can adapt and succeed in this completely different new world.

In the first of this series, we look at inbound marketing – an approach that is proving to be much more effective than traditional push marketing.

The COVID-19 Impact

The COVID-19 crisis has considerably affected the digital marketing sphere. We can see and feel the impact of COVID-19 on a business of any size. By now, many have refactored their business logic by cutting expenses as much as practical and offering remote options among the numerous measures.

Like everyone else, those of us who work in the Fitness Business have seen a dramatic disruption to our work and daily lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But social distancing also places a unique spotlight on our industry. The more society leans into social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the more each of us will rely on media, especially digital media, to keep us informed, working, learning and entertained.

With an onslaught of news and the biggest social disruption in generations, it’s not surprising that consumer sentiment is constantly evolving around the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why it’s very important for brands to lean into consumer sentiment tools. By understanding the topics and trends audiences are engaging with, brands can determine if, where and how they want to engage in the conversation.

Old styles of push marketing have a limitations

Old styles of marketing have been losing their effectiveness and we have known this even prior to the COVID crises. Older styles of marketing are just not recognized by younger, target generations and they tend to be more expensive too, especially when factoring the time, energy and money spent for your message that is then ignored. Mashable report that about 44% of direct mail is never opened and 84% of 25 to 34 year olds have clicked out of a website because of an “irrelevant or intrusive ad.” In a world seeped in advertisement overload, businesses are increasingly turning to more effective forms of advertisement, such as inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing or Pull Marketing is a relatively new marketing concept where marketers attempt to “pull” in potential customers with interesting content. Also called content marketing, inbound marketing involves creating blog posts, social media, infographics, white papers, email newsletters, and other content that people actually want to read. Inbound marketing is the concept that rather than paying to get customers to your website using ads and other in-your-face tactics, you instead give them a compelling reason to want to be there.

Creating content that is useful to your target market will help you turn up in search results and get found by those people that will eventually become your customers.

Inbound is known to be more effective than outbound marketing because with inbound, you can generate organic traffic to your site. Organic traffic is cheaper, lasts longer, and is more predictable than paid traffic. The following are some startling findings in this Mashable reports :

– Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than outbound marketing.

– 3 out of 4 inbound marketing channels cost less than any outbound channel

– 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog

Inbound Marketing Funnel

As we saw, the rules have now fundamentally changed for the buying process
and sales cycle. Buyers are now firmly in control, often completely ignoring
traditional advertising channels and actively searching for product or service
information online to make an informed purchasing decision with little or no
input from the seller.
Fortunately, there is a silver lining for marketers to this new paradigm.
Inbound marketing provides a new avenue for reaching the modern buyer on their  own terms – providing valuable, objective information that can gently guide the buyer into a relationship with the seller without the taint of “advertising.” Inbound marketing creates warm leads who see value in what you have to offer and want to engage with you.

Eighty percent of all search traffic are queries to find information about a
topic, including challenges consumers face such as “what product / service will
make this problem go away?” By providing objective, educational information
regarding that problem and possible solutions, you’re improving your chances of engaging that interested prospect, gaining their trust, and eventually their
business.

Unlike traditional marketing which pushes generic messages out to a passive,
mass audience, inbound marketing is focused on attracting interested prospects through relevant and helpful content that provides educational value and is personalized to them and where they are in their journey for information.
What makes inbound marketing so powerful is that your content reaches
interested prospects when, where, and how they prefer, as they’re actively
searching for a “cure” to their “pain.” The content created for each stage of
the funnel automatically nurtures prospects by guiding them toward a discussion with sales.
The basic premise of the inbound marketing funnel is that not all visitors to a
web site or blog are equal and more importantly, they’re not all looking for
the same thing. The inbound marketing funnel is broken up into three different parts. Each is perfectly suited for the buyers’ journey.