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Design a content marketing framework to scale your fitness business

Updated: Feb 7


In a conversation with a friend who owns a small gym that offers personal training, nutrition & physiotherapy services, we were discussing if there were opportunities to attract new customers during these difficult times. As all other gym businesses, he was forced to close down due to the COVID-19 pandemic but he has recognized the opportunity that digital channels provide for growth


His bet is that low cost operators will struggle to get back to business given that their earnings depend on obtaining a high volume of customers to compensate for their low pricing strategies. On one hand, there may be temporary restrictions to the capacity within a gym and on the other, people might be skeptical to go into a gym with huge crowds. Hence the reason why many gym owners believe that it may be best not to open the facility for the given time.


Going back to our friend, his plan is to attack new segments of the market in an attempt to grow his business. Now keep in mind that he has a premium positioning given the value and variety of services he provides, so he does not have as much pressure to obtain more "volume;" his focus is more on gaining "operating margin."

His initial strategic reaction was to offer personal training sessions through an app at 1/3 of the price he normally charges. He is aware he cannot provide the same level of attention through the app and thus the reason for this temporary reduction in prices.

In addition, he has also started offering Pilates sessions via Zoom and this is bringing great results in terms of "capacity," since he can schedule many more clients without having to go to waste time commuting to the customer´s house. All of these actions have helped him with two of the main KPIs of the business, retention and referrals, and put him in a position to "attack" the third one (acquisition):


Main fitness KPIs


We had a brainstorming session on the segments he should attack and after that he wondered "how" could he reach new audiences. Our reasoning with him was that he would need to leverage the opportunity that creating meaningful content at scale could provide his business. His reply though, was that he did not have time to "create content at scale."


We instantly thought about this awesome post by GaryVee and the FREE deck he shared giving tips on "how to create 64 pieces of content per day." Again, the original content and the credit is for GaryVee´s team and this is just our take on how to transfer that knowledge into the fitness industry, leveraging from our experience with fitness brands in the past.


The Analytics: Who is your customer?


The first thing was to analyze his existing customer base, and we identified three main segments:

After analyzing each one we decided to elaborate a plan to "attack" the women´s segment, for the following reasons:

Main Fitness KPIs

The Topic: Choosing a relevant content category


So then we needed to elaborate a plan on how to actually generate relevant content for that type of user that would drive traffic to his business. The decision was to focus on just one category so we developed an action plan around Pilates content, given that it was one of the most popular categories within his customers from this particular segment.


In addition, we looked at the Google Trends graph around Pilates, which is attached below, where you can see a peak in March which is when the government of the country ordered the lock down. Since then, even though we saw it began decreasing progressively, it still remained well above searches during the year before.


Google Trends Pilates Spain

Our reasoning here though, is that the decrease in searches does not necessarily mean that interest in Pilates is decreasing. It could just mean that people looked for a solution in March, found it and remained loyal to it through other channels; those users did not need to use the Google search bar anymore.


Finally, we also considered "Pilates" to be a good "door opener" for his other services. After getting a loyal base of customers practicing Pilates with him, the goal was sell additional services (mainly personal training and nutrition).


The framework: Repurposing your fitness content


The next step was to actually generate the content itself without him getting too overwhelmed. The idea was simple: Create multiple pieces of content from one source.


In this case, we decided that from one Pilates session, we would select certain segments of each session and transfer them to their channels on Instagram & Facebook. My recommendation was to test transferring additional content to Pinterest & Twitter and see engagement in those platforms as well, although he did not have accounts opened on those platforms. In sum, this would be the approach we drew out:


Content marketing framework for fitness brands

Moreover, by creating more content, he instantly had more creative resources to do A/B testing through Google and Facebook advertising. The plan was to post different pieces of creativity, promote them with a small budget against both and once we observe relevant results, spend a higher amount of money on promoting the one working better to reach new audiences based on our target market selection.


And finally, we put in place re-targeting actions to engage with those interacting with the content across the different platforms. This required a deeper layer of analysis to fully understand who had more chances of going from "prospect" to "customer."


Summarizing a 5 step framework to scale your content marketing


With this post we wanted to share a content framework we used with a fitness business we worked with. The main ideas can be summarized in 5 steps:


content marketing framework for fitness businesses

  1. Identify the opportunity

  2. Carry out some analytics to understand exactly "who" you want to target it

  3. Select the product category that will enable you to reach that target

  4. Elaborate multiple pieces of content from one unique source

  5. Test, analyze and reinforce the content that works best


We hope you found this useful and if you want to take the content marketing game of your sport or fitness business to a whole new level, get in touch and let´s make it happen!


Keep safe