What every business can learn from the fitness industry during lock down

SocialB Digital Marketing Blog Last modified: 18 Aug 2020 by Simon Badman
Digital Strategy | Email Marketing

For many businesses in 2020, customers literally disappeared overnight. While retailers rushed to open or ramp-up their e-commerce offering, other venues, and destination-based businesses were left wondering when clients would return.

Parts of the fitness industry were quick to pivot online and start embracing an audience that may be isolated but keen to get active under lockdown.

Joe Wicks led the charge for personal trainers and instructors everywhere to consider that this online thing might just be worth trying out. For Joe, going live every day saw him reach a huge audience, with 100k people tuning in live for his last video after 18 weeks of broadcasting.

So, what are the key principles that businesses can learn from the fitness industry?

Embrace Going Live Online

Live video on social channels is currently very much a format worth considering.

As mentioned in Ecommerce – is there any hope for those with declining sales?  Adweek reported that:

Since Covid-19, Facebook has seen live viewings increase by 50%, Instagram by 70% and Twitch is seeing new channel creation up 33%, a high for the platform.

Live viewing is an activity which your audience has very likely been doing more of during the pandemic. So, isn’t it time to embrace this feature on the social channel where your audience is hanging out?

Give rather than sell

A bit like Joe Wicks, we’ve noticed other fitness instructors and personal trainers going live and giving away their advice and sessions. In fact, quite a few sessions have happened through Zoom into my garage, as family members have worked out virtually with personal trainer friends and sports club teammates.

Since lockdown, at SocialB we’ve gone live on YouTube, in our Facebook group, and via webinars on a regular basis. We’ve done all this for free and have given away, our expertise through sharing strategies and tips.

It’s built awareness to us as a business and to what we offer and also created conversations and connections. We deliberately haven’t been “salesy” or overly promoted our services, but instead have given away, building trust with those we’re engaging with.

Guess what? It has led to sales, not as the main focus but almost as a by-product and we’ve experienced some the busiest months in business during summer 2020.

People buy from people they trust; how could your business go live and give away your expertise to build trust with your potential customers?

Converting traffic into business

So what can you do with all this awareness and trust?

For starters, this new community that you’re building could be the beginning of your email marketing list, if you’re collecting emails as part of your free offer. You can then of course market your goods and services to those on your list. If fact, why not check out our Guide to Better Email Marketing to help you with this?

But could you actually deliver paid-for services online also?

In India, Fitternity, the largest online marketplace for fitness services in the country had around 500K monthly active users booking classes via its app prior to the pandemic. As a business, it pivoted quickly under lockdown, offering both live and recorded fitness sessions to its users at a slightly discounted price.

If you think of the issues facing Fitternity or other fitness instructors to deliver their sessions online, it could range from being difficult to get a clear camera angle to struggling to adapt to teaching online. Surely your accountancy or legal practice has even fewer excuses and simply needs to get online and go live?

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