Most fitness and wellness professionals will need an online marketing presence, but what online tactics should we be considering?
Understanding online marketing is key for fitness professionals looking to increase their reach and raise their profile. A few businesses can still operate successfully without any web presence but as eyeballs are increasingly on screens, that will become an increasing rarity.
Where Google is the most visited property online, social media is where people spend most of their time. In fact, over 4 billion people own a social media account today and spend on average 1hr 15mins online every day.
YouTube, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram allow users to create and share content online are moving fast to bring bigger advertising opportunities for brands and more power to creators and local influencers.
In this article, we look at the different fitness and wellness marketing tactics you can apply to boost your online presence, get noticed and attract more customers.
The main benefit of digital marketing is that you get access to a ton of data. You can easily view your channel’s performance and audience behaviour in real-time, and accurately assess whether a blog, post or ad has done well or not. Taking a step back and analysing your data before designing your next marketing plan is a very sensible way to refine your strategy.
TikTok has surpassed the 1 billion user mark making it the 7th most popular social network as of 2021. Facebook remains top of the charts, with YouTube following closely. Over 500 million people watch Facebook videos every day and a whopping 84% of people say they have been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a video.
Social commerce is a thing
Today’s customers expect the capability to purchase a product or a service directly from social media due to convenience. eMarketer expects US social commerce sales to rise to $80billion and the opportunity this presents is huge, not only in the US market but globally too. Instagram, Facebook and TikTok are leading the way with their browse, discover and in-app checkout features.
Roll out online memberships
Staying on top of all your customers’ different packages and schedules is tough. Setting up online membership packages will save you precious time and allow you to focus on client retention and virtual engagement. Online memberships is a great way to entice new customers to join and accommodate higher numbers which is far trickier using a traditional setup. See how you can create memberships with Gymcatch.
Large online communities with thousands of disengaged members are a thing of the past. Instead, social media users yearn for safety, privacy and real connections. With the right strategy in place, communities can build loyalty as they offer a great way to make your customers feel valued.
Once your have your marketing strategy in place you’ll want to make sure your fitness management software is ready to take on the bookings. That’s where Gymcatch can help you, get in contact with us today.
If you are a fitness or wellness professional looking for new business ideas to kick-start the New Year, we have highlighted below the key takeaways from our most recent Facebook Live with Anna Martin, owner of AMF World; and Elle Linton, fitness professional, influencer and blogger.
1. Flex to impress
Flexibility has become part of the norm for businesses operating in periods of disruption. With the help of technology, our businesses are better prepared to adapt to the changing circumstances and needs of our customers, allowing us to go from face-to-face to virtual classes seamlessly.
“It’s important to get to know the ebbs and flows of your customers. Get to know them and understand how things are impacting them,” says Elle Linton.
Taking your fitness business online seems like an obvious choice when it comes to preparing for the future and planning to reach out to a wider audience. Virtual classes are a great way to add extra flexibility to your services and promoting them through your social channels is a natural strategy to consider. Your customers are your ambassadors and will help with sharing the work you do, if they are online, they will amplify your message and give you a big boost.
“Referrals through word of mouth are what keeps us going. You want to be so good that your customers talk about you at the dinner party,” says Anna Martin.
2. Making the hybrid model work
The new post-Covid19 customer is spoilt for choice; with some looking for the convenience virtual classes bring whilst others favour 1-2-1 or small group sessions, or a mixture of all.
Allowing for both can help retain customers and attract new ones.
Virtual fitness classes or sessions are a faster revenue channel too as running costs are lower and you can reach out to more people. Monetising from your workout videos and online content is a great way to increase revenue streams and enhance the services you offer.
“Make use of the quieter times to pre-record as much content as possible. Set aside a couple of days to record and edit your videos,” says Anna Martin.
3. Packaging and pricing your fitness services
Structure your packages in a way that is simple and manageable, for both you and your clients. Offering a membership is a great way to build recurrent revenue and get your clients to stick for longer.
“Don’t give your clients endless choice. They want to be told what they need to do, the easier you present this to them the more engaged they will be,” says Elle Linton.
If you are considering raising your prices next year, think of the extra value you can add and make this proposition a very attractive one. Undersell your services and you can quickly be missing out in generating income that could have already been there.
4. Find ways to diversify your income
There are many ways to diversify your income as a fitness professional. Affiliations, referrals, merchandise, advertising, content etc are all great ways to generate more income.
“If the pandemic has taught us one thing is not to have all your eggs in one basket, just in case one fails,” says Elle Linton.
Look for opportunities that may enhance your work.
5. Retaining clients is cheaper than acquiring new ones
Focusing your efforts in getting new clients can be taxing and expensive. Instead, why not focus on your existing clients?
‘It’s more financial beneficial to get existing clients to spend more with you,” says Elle Linton.
Returning customers are crucial to a business’ growth. Make them feel special and they are more likely to spend more with you. For example, add rewards to your customer engagement plan to celebrate milestones. These don’t have to be expensive, a social media shoutout is a great low-cost way to do this.
“Create a community online and offline and get them talking. Returning customers are more likely too to bring you new customers,” says Anna Martin.
6. How to share your story
One of the many benefits of social media is that everything is visible. You can now see what the competition are up to in a couple of clicks. It is a great space to have a snoop around and gain ideas for your own business.
“Once you have figured out your voice use social media to amplify it. Use other tech sources too such as Pinterest to get inspiration and figure out how you want to come across” says Elle Linton.
For many of us, international travel is a means to escape, wind-down and de-stress by the beach (maybe with a good book in hand, or a cocktail or two). But there are other ways to recharge and return home revitalised.
Getting active is a fun and easy way to boost mental and physical wellbeing, so why not incorporate it into your next holiday? Sporting holidays are a great way to improve — or learn — a new skill, leave with a sense of achievement, and perhaps more adventurous holiday snaps to share with family and friends.
We looked at how well equipped the 50 top world holiday destinations are for hiking, cycling, skiing, water sports and yoga. We then considered weekly budgets and the number of tourists to find the most accessible and affordable ‘active holidays’ for your next big trip abroad.
The world champions
The study reveals that Australia is the top destination for an active holiday, scoring in the top 10 for all the sports other than skiing. Australia offers the most hiking trails per tourist, with 9653 different hiking routes on offer (or 1,095 routes per 1 million tourists). With beautiful coasts, rugged outback, mountain ranges and tropical rainforests, there’s a diverse range of landscapes to explore on foot. Australia is also the 4th best destination for water sports, the 8th best for yoga and the 10th best for cycling.
You may know Brazil as the world’s football capital, but the Latin country is a haven for sport lovers of all kinds. Coming 2nd in the study, Brazil scored particularly well for cycling; with the 4th most routes per tourist. The country came 11th for water sports, and 12th for yoga retreats and number of hiking trails, although — like Australia — the tropical destination is no skiing hotspot.
Norway came 3rd in the list. An alternative to the ski-season favourites, France and Switzerland, Norway offers the third best skiing option for international travellers when considering the length of ski slopes on offer.
Completing the top five were Switzerland in 4th place (which came top for skiing options per tourist) and the United States in 5th position (which came just behind Australia for hiking trails per tourist).
Best countries for cyclists
When ignoring data per tourist, it’s no surprise that Germany, Italy and France have the most listed cycling route options. But looking at the number on offer per tourist, there are plenty of alternative and attractive destinations to explore by pedal-power.
Even when taking in the amount of visitors per year, Germany is the ultimate cycling destination, with at least 1,500,000 routes listed. In second place — a trip promised to make you sweat — is Switzerland (although there are plenty of easier lake-side routes for beginners). In third place Poland offers the third most routes per tourist, thanks to a large recent investment in biking infrastructure. Cyclists can expect forest and river-bank trails, mountain trails and newly built city cycling lanes — check out the GreenVelo route to get started.
The most ski slopes per tourist
It’s no surprise that looking at the sheer length of ski slopes on offer, the United States and France both have over 10,000 KM of ski runs to race down. But if you don’t want to be squeezed into a ski-chalet, Switzerland, Austria and Norway offer more slopes to ski on per tourist. Switzerland is also the second most expensive destination on our list, so if you’ve wanted to try your hand at skiing but have been put off by the price, then Austria and Norway are excellent places to begin.
But not everyone wants an adrenaline rush on holiday. To reap the mental benefits of physical activity in a more chilled environment, why not do as celebrities and influencers do and try a yoga retreat? India is the home of yoga, and our data only fortifies its title as the ultimate yoga destination. With a whopping 797 yoga retreats — by far the most per tourist too — choosing the perfect retreat will be a stress-free experience.
With the tenets of Buddhism and Hinduism being central to its culture, Indonesia is a worthy runner-up. Whether you’re into eco-yoga, hot-yoga or something more luxurious, there’s something for every type of Yogi in Bali and beyond.
But you don’t need to travel across the world to downward dog. Portugal has over 221 listed yoga retreats and offers some livelier options which combine sports like surfing and yoga.
Top places for water sports
Again, it’s no surprise that bigger nations, like the United States, win on sheer volume of facilities. But per tourist, Egypt, Vietnam and Indonesia are refreshing options for a water sports holiday.
Egypt topped the list and has been gaining interest with water sports enthusiasts over the last few years. The coral reef in Sharm el-Sheikh is considered to be one of the best diving spots in the world, and elsewhere, visitors can expect to snorkel alongside turtles and dolphins.
Vietnam and Indonesia, in 2nd and 3rd position, are both great destinations for adrenaline junkies. These south-east Asian spots are great places to try kitesurfing, parasailing or water-skiing, with Vietnam offering slightly more choice per visitor.
Which destinations are most popular?
But where are Brits searching for their active holidays the most? By using Google Search Trends analytics, we can see that, likely due to travel restrictions, most Brits have been searching for active holidays in the UK and Europe.
The most searched European destination for an active holiday is Greece. Greece is an obvious choice for a sea-soaked Mediterranean adventure, but it is also the 7th best country in the world for choice of Yoga retreats.
Croatia was the next most searched for destination (and is the 6th best world destination for water sports facilities), and France, famous for cycling and skiing, was the 3rd most searched for spot.
Considering the recent anxiety around travel, it’s clear that European destinations are currently more appealing. Rather than heading to Greece or Croatia, our research suggests the top sporting destinations in Europe are Norway, Switzerland and Germany.
After a difficult few years, we all deserve a break. We hope this study inspires you to plan your ultimate, active holiday and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Swap your flip-flops for trainers, your book for a bike, and explore the world one adventure at a time.
Pilates is the exercise discipline that showed the most resilience throughout the ups and downs of the Covid pandemic. Our research shows that the public stuck with, or turned to, Pilates when other exercise disciplines were experiencing tougher trading conditions.
Formed by Joseph and Clara Pilates in the 1920’s when they opened Body Conditioning Gym in New York City, Pilates has evolved through the years while sticking to its original philosophy and principles.
Today over 12 million people enjoy the benefits of Pilates, establishing itself as the top wellness and fitness trend in the UK throughout the pandemic, performing even more robustly than Yoga.
The popularity of Pilates
When assessing the popularity of Pilates the main factor was consumer attitudes to the discipline. Pilates enthusiasts, more than in other areas of fitness and wellness, considered Pilates to be an essential part of their routines, rather than a hobby.
Moreover, in a period where people were particularly keen to avoid using health services, we saw consistent feedback that the low-impact, low injury risk reputation of the discipline saw consumers turn to Pilates rather than disciplines that they perceived as riskier.
Finally, Pilates has proved to be a more convenient form of exercise during the past year, as lower intensity and simpler forms of Pilates were perfectly suited to participation at home.
Pilates in numbers
Lower impact exercise saw a 2556% increase in bookings between January and July 2021 on Gymcatch. Pilates alone has seen a 25% increase from 2020 to 2021, despite the incredibly challenging backdrop. In the UK Pilates is a truly national discipline with participation levels slightly higher in London and southern counties but distributed throughout the country with almost half of English counties searching for a Pilates exercise class.
Virtual Pilates classes are here to stay
Many consumers have fully adjusted to online classes and are now seeking the perfect blend of face- to-face and virtual sessions. But this does not mean that face-to-face delivery is going anywhere. The majority of consumers have returned to in-person delivery and in most cases virtual sessions appear to be supplementing, rather than replacing the in person experience.
Following the end of the national lockdown in the UK in April 2021 we’ve seen a steady recovery of in person delivery. In May 25% of classes were still online only. During June and July 2021 85% of classes were delivered in-personGymcatch expects about 10% of pilates participation to permanently switch to virtual.
World Mental Health Day on Sunday 10th October is a timely reminder of how mental health is at the heart of fitness and wellness.
The nexus between physical and mental health is well established. And the joy is that benefits are so multi-faceted that regardless of what it is that you enjoy, there will be associated mental health benefits.
Yoga and Pilates
Yoga is perhaps the most obvious example of how the body and mind are inextricably linked. The ancient fundamentals of the discipline are as relevant today as they were millennia ago. And now there are now more varieties on offer than ever which means there will be the right discipline and instructor for you. Our friends at Yoga Alliance can put you in contact with one of their thousands of instructors.
Pilates was founded on the central premise of physical and mental health being closely linked. The controlled exercises within Pilates are perfect for those seeking to improve and maintain their mobility. And with that improved strength, balance and flexibility comes the ability to lead an active lifestyle. The team at JPilates are always on hand to find the right instructor and the right programme for you.
Ways to destress and decompress
For some people, exercise is a way of letting of steam. For them, there is no better way to destress, decompress and get those endorphins racing than some up-tempo music and a high octane boxing workout. And over at Fight Klub, that’s exactly what you get.
And of course, the benefits of apply to any exercise. From walking around the block to a gruelling hour with a personal trainer and everything in between provides that physiological response that can be so beneficial to mental health.
What’s more, exercise can be a fantastic social vehicle. It could be through exercise that you meet an inspirational instructor who can catalyse an improvement in your mental health.
It could be that exercise is the gateway to a new and positive social dimension to your social life.
And it could be as simple as getting out to exercise and bumping into your neighbours more often gives you a new and improved relationship with your community. Connecting with people and good relationships can give you a sense of belonging and help improve your mental wellbeing.
There are some useful resources out there with advice and support tools
In March 2020 our everyday lives changed drastically, with most Brits being stripped of their favourite fitness routines. The pandemic made us homebound, but how did the fitness industry adapt to this new way of living, and where do we stand now? We’ve analysed the bookings made through our app and search volumes to help you understand how the pandemic changed the fitness landscape.
LOW IMPACT TRAINING GAINED THE MOST POPULARITY
Low Impact Training (LIT) for older adults was the highest relative gainer during the pandemic. LIT classes saw a 2556% relative increase in bookings between January and July 2021 compared to the number of bookings from the same period of time the year before, reaching the highest number of bookings in March 2021 with exercises such as Active Aging and Paracise to the fore.
Besides LIT, gymnastics, and martial arts classes also saw big increases in bookings in 2021, with classes being held virtually from January till April, and then in person after the easing of the lockdown measures.
Perhaps surprisingly, the gymnastics lovers were eager to carry on exercising during the pandemic as the sport had the second highest relative increase with bookings for classes going up by 308% during the first half of the 2021 when compared to 2020. Martial arts also bounced back strongly in 2021, with Karate, Jiu Jitsu, and Kung Fu bookings seeing a 203% like-for-like increase on the Gymcatch platform between January and July 2021, placing martial arts classes in third place.
DANCE AND RHYTHM: THE MOST POPULAR WORKOUT CATEGORY OVERALL
Fun dance and rhythm related exercise classes such as Zumba, Pole, Clubbercise, and Boogie Bounce accounted for a third of all exercise classes booked through the Gymcatch apps in 2021, dubbing the category the most popular form of exercise for the third year running.
The classes gained even more relative popularity over the pandemic as 20% of all our booked classes in 2019 were dance and rhythm related, whereas during the pandemic the category saw a 10% increase and accounted for 30% of all classes in 2021.
Being one of the Brits’s all time favourite exercises, boxing has remained as the second most popular exercise for the past 3 years. Between 2020 and 2021 the third most popular exercise has changed from Aerobics to now highly popular Low Impact Training.
MENTAL HEALTH VALUED MORE IN LOCKDOWN
Lockdown periods have taken their toll on mental health, with feelings of uncertainty increasing anxiety. Therefore it comes as no surprise that 5% of all classes booked through Gymcatch in 2021 accounted for emerging wellness classes.
To help manage negative emotions, Brits have been actively looking to book online Meditation classes and Thrive Approach which promotes children’s positive mental health by helping parents to understand their child’s mental state also gained popularity.
The highest number of these type of wellness class bookings were recorded between March and July 2020, and January and April 2021 when the UK was still under national lockdown. Like-for-like, they were 50% more popular in April 2021 than there were in April 2020, indicating that people had looked for ways to maintain and improve their mental health to get through the uncertain times.
Lockdown undoubtedly caused a rise in virtual workouts and socially distanced outdoor activities, and following the end of the national lockdown in April 2021, this trend continued, with people still hesitant to attend in-person classes. In May 25% of classes were still online only, reducing to 15% in June and July 2021.
PERSONAL TRAINER DEMAND IN 2021
Personal trainers were in demand after the UK’s gyms reopened in April 2021. The number of personal training sessions booked through the Gymcatch app saw a 70% spike in April compared to the demand just a month earlier in March. All in all there were 10% more personal training sessions booked between January and July 2021 than there were during the same months in 2020.
PRE AND POST NATAL CLASSES: 2021 SAW A RISE IN BOOKINGS
In 2020, Pre and Post Natal classes accounted for a smaller share of the overall class bookings than they did pre-pandemic in 2019. However, in 2021 the number of bookings saw an uptrend and the classes made up 3% of all places booked using the Gymcatch apps. The number of Pre and Post Natal class bookings increased by 135% between January and July 2021 compared to the same period of time the year before in 2020.
THE MOST SEARCHED FOR EXERCISES IN THE UK
The Brits seem to disagree on their favourite exercises, as most of the English were looking up for local Pilates classes with the Scottish showing more interest in yoga and core workouts over the past 3 years. Like the Scottish, the Welsh were on a journey of a balanced lifestyle with yoga being the most searched for exercise. In Northern Ireland people were keen to work on their abs with most searches being for core exercises.
Even the English were divided over their favourite exercise; the South preferring Pilates, whereas the North preferred Yoga and Gymnastics. Overall, the most searched for exercises were Pilates, Yoga, and Martial Arts.
Things might not be as they used to be quite yet, but for what it’s worth at least gyms are open now, and most exercise classes are running as they were before the pandemic, providing many with a much needed sense of routine and community.
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