Every industry is constantly evolving. This is especially true with the health and fitness industry. 7+ years of industry experience and working at a digital marketing agency for personal trainers / studio owners gave me some great insight into how social media is transforming the industry. In this post I want to share some of my findings with fellow business owners in hopes that this can help you adapt and thrive in this new environment.
We all know that the biggest factor of what client’s look for in a personal trainer is their appearance. Client’s want to hire someone that matches their ideal physical appearance.
With the gaining popularity of social media in the past few years, personal trainers now understand the importance of having an online presence. Nowadays we see no lack of personal trainers or studio owners advertise their services and themselves on social media.
Unlike other businesses, personal trainers tend to market themselves using their primary social media profile as opposed to creating a separate brand page. What makes this really interesting is that the information on a personal trainer is no longer limited to appearances; social media divulges much more information such as demographics, likes/dislikes, interests, etc.
As a result, the consumer's criteria of a personal trainer they want to hire is no longer limited to just physical appearance. A plethora of other factors such as social responsibility, education, and even political views can affect a consumer’s buying decision towards a particular trainer.
Blurring Distinction Between Amateurs and Professionals
When it comes to credibility amongst personal trainers, most of us would turn to credentials, qualifications, education and licenses. What if I were to tell you that this is no longer the case?
These days, when you are looking for a product or service, what do you do? You pull out your phone. According to GlobalWebIndex, 54% of social media users use social media to research products and 71% are more likely to purchase products and services based on social media referrals.
Since consumers are looking online when looking for a personal trainer, naturally credibility comes in form of the amount of reviews and online following. Certifications and qualifications are being leveraged by social following, online presence, and digital credibility.
Let me give you an example. Jennifer Selter has 12.8 million followers on Instagram but no formal fitness qualifications. She’s wildly successful in selling her fitness programs online and has a net worth of around 6 million. It’s clear that her clients care more about her social following and popularity than whether or not she has any qualifications.
How Can You Take Advantage of These Changes?
Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing
Now that we’ve established that a strong online presence takes precedence over certifications and qualifications, what do we do if we don’t have a robust enough digital presence to leverage?
The answer is influencer marketing. For those that are not familiar with the term, influencer marketing is a form of marketing that involves endorsements and interactions with influencers for the purpose of using their influence to promote a product, service or brand.
By specifically targeting influencers with followers that match your target audience, you’re able to catalyst your own brand awareness as well as boost your online presence.
You can rather reach out to influencers yourself or employ a digital marketing agency / talent agency to help you with influencer marketing.
Before you start thinking: “I’m just a local business, I don’t have the budget for this”, let me tell you, influencer marketing isn’t like hiring a celebrity. Influencers are classified by their following. Usually influencers that have less than 10,000 followers on their social platform are classified as micro influencers. The cost of hiring influencers is directly proportional to the size of their online following.
When conducting influencer marketing, you always want to look for an influencer that matches your business scale and target market. If you’re just starting out as a local business, you want to look for influencers with around 1000-10000 local followers. In the past, we’ve even worked with influencers that will help promote our client’s business in exchange for free personal training sessions.
If you don’t have a strong digital presence, let me tell you a strategy that worked for us when helping similar clients.
We mentioned earlier that the average consumer’s buying decision is now leaning towards online reviews and digital credibility.
As we can see in the image above, when we search for personal trainers on Google, chances are the first result is going to be a local directory. There are 2 reasons why we should look to take advantage of these directories.
First, it takes months of SEO efforts just to show up on the first page of search results. This means a lot of time and investment since you will most likely have to hire a digital marketing agency or freelancer to help you. A shortcut would be to get yourself listed on a local directory and get your business in front of people looking to buy.
The second reason is that even if you manage to get your website on the first page of search results, consumers trust local directories more anyway since there is a review system and platforms like Yelp are trusted by the general public already. Also, 51% of people purchase within a day of visiting Yelp and 91% purchase within a week. *June 2019 Survey by SurveyMonkey Audience of people who reported having used Yelp in the prior 3 months
Now here you may be wondering: “Isn’t this just like Google? How do I get my business to the top page of Yelp?”
Not exactly. Through Yelp pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns, you can ensure you show up on the top of related search results. Of course you can run a PPC ad campaign on Google as well; however, running ads on Yelp is bound to have a much better ROI. If someone goes on Yelp, it means they are ready, if not almost ready, to make a purchase, whereas when someone Googles the term “Best Personal Trainer”, it could be for other purposes such as studies or research.
If you need help with running an ad campaign, feel free to let us know and we can give you a free consultation to help you out.
I hope our observations will be of use to you. Let us hear some of your digital marketing challenges in the comments below!