Fitness businesses have been quick to react to the coronavirus pandemic with some launching digital fitness platforms almost overnight. The coronavirus has caused many businesses across multiple industries to really stretch their business models. The result is that now many many gyms and fitness studios are looking to reopen in the not so distant future with what is essentially a new business model. With both onsite and online classes, fitness brands will need to take a new look at their marketing campaigns.
Figuring out your reopening strategy is one thing but you may be marketing a business that’s pretty different from where you were three months ago. Many businesses will be looking at a potential rebrand and relaunch in a post-COVID-19 world. With new member personas and a bustling at-home workout crowd as well as your existing members, you need to think about how you will speak to and engage with these different people. In this article, we will look at what key elements make for a successful campaign and nine ideas to inspire your next fitness campaign.
Skip ahead to:
- The Fitness Industry Beyond COVID-19
- 3 Key Elements of a Great Fitness Campaign
- 4 Inspirational Fitness Campaigns from Industry Experts
- 9 Ideas for Your Next Fitness Campaign
The Fitness Industry Beyond COVID-19
In what feels like a never-ending day; it’s been around three months since the peak of the virus and the world went into lockdown. The fitness industry has been massively affected, with many streams of income shut off almost immediately. As businesses have adapted and shifted, there’s a need to convey this new messaging or mission. You may have a slightly different target audience and need to market new services that you have. If you have gone fully digital, you could be looking at a total rebrand.
In what is essentially a new beginning for many businesses, navigating this journey is tricky. It’s important to create the right messaging and target the right people. There’s now an opportunity to increase your digital marketing spend. With so many people scrolling and spending a lot of time online, now is the time to move. Several studies have found that brands that continue to advertise during a recession end up in a better position than those who don’t. They are able to recover better. This is because the brands that keep pushing their message maintain or even increase their share of voice in the industry when other businesses are forced to stop.
Glofox’s Fitness Founders Podcast latest episode talks about the difficult decisions gyms need to make right now. The host is joined by Eric Killian, a Certified Public Accountant and the founder of The Fitness CPA. The episode explores the difficult financial decisions you may have to make at this time.
3 Key Elements of a Great Fitness Campaign
There are a lot of elements that go into a successful fitness campaign. From compelling copy to creative imagery and absolute inclusivity, several things contribute to a successful fitness marketing campaign.
Storytelling is a strategic marketing tool brands use to engage their audience. It allows for a completely new way for consumers to interact with your brand. It’s not just a creative approach to your fitness campaign, it evokes emotion and creates a real connection.
Think about Nike. Storytelling has been apart of Nike’s marketing strategy for decades. Even though they are selling shoes, they make their audience think they can achieve anything and dream big. Back in 1988, Nike launched its famous “Just Do It” campaign. The TV ad featured an 80-year old man running on the Golden Gate Bridge. The ad focussed on telling the runner’s story, his commitment to running every day. The whole thing was about telling his story while subtly working the Nike logo into the ad. Decades later Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign is still hugely successful.
Solidify Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty is what every business dreams of. It’s the people who are willing to travel to your business and use your service no matter what. Modern marketing needs to establish trust with consumers. Your brand identity and positioning all go along with when building brand loyalty. Consumers are looking for transparency. They want to know how you communicate with your community, solve problems, where you stand on social issues like climate change or equality. Brand loyalty should be integrated into everything you do including your campaigns.
Foster a Sense of Community
People are craving community, now more than ever. By nurturing and creating a sense of community, you can build your brand reputation and engage with users. Social media platforms are a great way to create online conversations, share cooking and fitness classes, and make followers feel part of a community. From an extensive marketing campaign to a social media hashtag, you can start to foster a sense of community.
4 Inspirational Fitness Campaigns from Industry Experts
If you’re looking for inspiration for your next fitness campaign, it’s a good idea to look at industry experts. Here are three fitness campaigns that are well thought out, creative, and landed well with consumers.
Nike’s Living Room Cup
Nike launched the “Living Room Cup” to allow users to compete against Nike pro athletes from the comfort of their own home during lockdown. It was kicked off by Cristiano Ronaldo in April. The campaign uses a combination of big celebrity names as well as lesser-known fitness fans to emphasize the message that we are all in this together.
FRAME ONLINE: NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES
London-based studio FRAME now offers the digital platform FRAME ONLINE with plenty of on-demand fitness classes. As part of the studio’s “Not All Heroes Wear Capes” campaign, the service is free to all frontline workers. This is an example of a brand that was very quick to adapt to create a digital offering and run a campaign that was incredibly relevant with great positioning.
SoulCycle ‘All Souls Welcome’
SoulCycle’s colorful pride marketing campaign ‘All Souls Welcome’ focuses on inclusivity and acceptance. The campaign launched to highlight the LGBTQ+ instructors and community of riders at SoulCycle. The instructors were peer-selected, and the brand worked with Colossal Media to create hand-painted murals of each instructor. By using billboards, social media, and video content, SoulCycle pushed its all-inclusive message with a fantastic marketing strategy.
Reebok’s Sport the Unexpected
The Addidas-owned sportswear brand wanted to capture the attention of 20somethings. The “Sport the Unexpected” campaign is part of a wider strategy to reclaim the 90s era of chunky sneakers. They are making the 90s look cool again. With this campaign, they are looking to break conventional fitness marketing ideas and offer a different perspective on sportswear.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, we’ve pulled together 12 fitness ads to inspire your next campaign. We talk about how you can use social media marketing and influencer marketing.
9 Ideas for Your Next Fitness Campaign
Whether you’re figuring out how to rebrand and relaunch a new element of your business or are planning your reopening strategy, your next fitness campaign can help get your message out there. Depending on your budget and position, there are a ton of different options for your next campaign. Here are nine ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Social Media
Social media is an excellent place to start for your next campaign. It can work for so many different budgets and there are several ways you can use it to your advantage. Live streaming is a good way to keep gym members engaged with live free classes. However, remember that this should be used in conjunction with a paid offering.
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It’s also a great tool to share any news and updates you have or launch a new campaign. You can use YouTube Live, Instagram Live or Facebook Live to start streaming. You can produce both organic or paid social media posts and campaigns. Here are some ideas to include in your social media marketing:
- Encourage user-generated content with hashtags
- Create content to appear in trending hashtags like #MondayMotivation or #ThrowbackThursday
- Conduct polls
- Use the Instagram Shopping feature if you sell products
2. Address Current Events
A number of brands use current events in their marketing campaigns. An example of this is the brand Betabrand who is well known for their dress pant yoga pants. In a recent advert, they use the caption “Putting the OM in Work From Home”. As so many people are working from home and staying put, they have integrated this messaging into their marketing and jumped on an opportunity that’s relevant.
So, switch up your messaging and get creative. Whether it’s the lockdown, an environmental issue, or a seasonal event, it’s important to stay relevant. By addressing current events, you’re speaking to your audience who are in a certain situation. This makes it easier for them to relate to and engage with.
3. Offer Helpful Content
Create and offer helpful content. Things like blogs, videos, podcasts, and infographics can provide useful information that will help position your business as an authority. Think about content that is helpful now in the current situation like home workout videos and listicle style blogs on objects around the house that double up as gym equipment.
Your content can form part of your bigger fitness campaign. Your content marketing plan underpins your business goals and helps you grow. By sharing relevant, helpful, and consistent content you can work to build brand loyalty and increase your authority as a fitness expert.
4. Create Virtual Communities
If you haven’t already, it’s a good time to create a virtual community. By emphasizing community-building throughout your messaging and campaign, it can help members feel supported.
With social distancing in place for what looks to be a long time, it’s important to create spaces to connect digitally. Get creative with your online presence and continue to be active, reply to messages, and encourage interaction between your brand and audience.
5. Take Advantage of Email
A robust email marketing campaign can form a solid part of your fitness brands’ lockdown and reopening strategy. Your members have more time to spend online and are hungry for content. The level of interaction your brand has with customers at this time can really have an impact on member retention and how quickly your business is able to reopen and bounce back after the lockdown eases up.
From both a workout and a community-building perspective, you can use email to communicate and keep members fully up-to-date with your brand. If your members feel like they are part of a community and feel supported, they will be more likely to stay loyal to your brand throughout the crisis and beyond.
6. Share Success Stories and Reviews
It will always be relevant to share success stories and reviews with your audience. Success stories, member feedback, and reviews help to build trust with your audience. By showing your followers that anyone can see results and make a change, it allows them to see how your brand could help them make those changes.
The Fitness Career Mystery Podcast has an excellent episode for business and gym owners on how to step up as a leader for your community. The episode talks about pivoting to an online business model and creating additional streams of income never thought possible.
Championing your members is essential to building an engaged community and this goes beyond sharing reviews and success stories alone. Athleisure brand Outdoor Voices has cultivated a loyal following by building communities on social media. The brand uses a playful slogan “Doing Things” to promote its version of Nike’s infamous “Just Do It.” The tagline is short for the brand’s full slogan “Doing Things Is Better Than Not Doing Things”. It caters to the growing interest in today’s world for overall health and wellbeing. “Instead of sponsoring professionals, we’re sponsoring recreationals.” Says company founder Tyler Haney, when comparing the brand to Nike.
Rather than focusing on aspirational athletes, the brand’s marketing makes its customer the hero. Seeing others “Just Doing It” is what encourages followers to upload their content, to be part of the community. Outdoor Voices shares a tonne of user-generated content from its customers, as they’re encouraged to use the hashtag #DoingThings in their own posts. A scroll through the tag reveals users taking part in a range of “normal” and fun activities; as opposed to a specific workout.
7. Remarket to Existing Members
Unfortunately, many businesses may have found that members have quit during the pandemic. With several people experiencing a loss of work, money is much tighter. But, as the world opens up again and the lockdown eases, you have the opportunity to remarket your services to current members or those who have recently quit.
If you have created a new digital offering or updated your existing in-person experience, you can target your services and new messaging to members. It may be just what they need to push them over the edge if they are on the fence and considering quitting. Re-engage members who have recently left by promoting new classes and instructors and being flexible when it comes to gym membership options.
8. Leverage Fitness Influencers
Around 40% of people say they bought a purchase online after seeing an influencer use it on YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter. People are beginning to trust influencers much more, almost as much as a friend’s recommendation. It’s easy to see why influencer marketing is so popular.
As people spend more time on their phones scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, fitness influencer marketing presents a big opportunity. One way to use fitness influencers is to do a page takeover. At first, the influencer would share an update to encourage their audience to your page before the takeover. When choosing a fitness influencer, make sure to choose someone relevant who fits your brand, goals, messaging, and overall mission.
9. Fun, Viral Fitness Challenges
Online fitness challenges are a great way to engage your audience while spreading brand awareness. Challenges have the potential to go viral while encouraging your audience to get moving and stay healthy. Some ideas for fitness challenges include:
- Weight-loss challenge
- Push-up or squat challenge
- Staying hydrated challenge
- Meditation or mindfulness challenge
- Fitness goals challenge
Many fitness businesses are figuring out how to reopen their gyms and studios safely while potentially marketing brand new services. In what would usually take companies months to achieve, brands have changed and adapted so quickly without taking a breath. It’s now time to take a step back and evaluate the way your business has changed so that you can adjust your messaging accordingly. By getting creative, addressing current events, and making full use of social media, you can produce a successful and effective fitness campaign.