"The most dangerous phrase in the language is "we've always done it this way."" - Grace Hopper
The fitness industry has fallen into this trap and most businesses in this industry don't even realize it. Go to any fitness business website and what are the calls-to-action that you're guaranteed to see? HINT: they're the same bottom of the funnel offers that you'll see on every other fitness website.
Yep - you'll see the "FREE Trial", "Get Started Now", and "Join Today" offers. Who else is unimpressed?
If every person that came to your website was ready to buy, this would be a fine fitness marketing strategy, but that just simply isn't the case (if it is the case for your business, please stop reading this blog post now and go count your money.).
The missing piece is that the fitness industry has completely ignored top and middle of the funnel prospects and leads...to it's own demise. The industry has adopted a very forceful and almost slimy sales process that is only focused on forcing leads to join and have made it as hard a possible for someone to leave. Let's take a look at why and how your fitness business can break free from this "used car salesman" approach and start generating top and middle of the funnel leads that you can nurture into customers instead of losing them completely because they weren't ready to buy now.
WHY: Sales power has shifted
In today's almost completely digital world, the sales power has shifted from the salesman to the customer. In fact, 57% of the sales cycle is complete before a customer ever reaches out to a company or salesman. What does this mean to you and your fitness marketing? It means that customers are doing their own research before determining that they have a problem (weight issue, health issue, ect.), before figuring out what their options are (gym membership, home gym, classes, personal trainer, etc.), and before deciding on a company to work with or product to buy.
In order to get your share of these more educated consumers, you've got to take a more helpful approach. Education is now the way that you can get in front of these consumers while they're doing their research and help guide them to your solution and your business. If you're only focusing on a "Join Now", bottom of the funnel offer, you're completely missing the 57% research portion of the new buying process.
WHY: Stay front of mind
How many of your website visitors land on your website and never return? Are you doing anything to track, nurture, and close those visitors? Probably not.
If you're only focused on bottom of the funnel leads, those that visit and are in the top and middle of the funnel are never identified, tracked, or nutured. This means that once these people graduate to the bottom of the funnel and are deciding which company to work with, your business is likely not even in the running. Adding these prospects to your pipeline gives you the opportunity to nuture them and stay front of mind with them so when they are ready to purchase, your name is the first they think of.
HOW: High value content offers
So what can you offer someone that is the top or middle of the funnel in order to help get them into your database? By now we understand that the "Buy Now" offer doesn't work on these people because they're not ready for it yet, so we've got to provide them some value. This can come in many forms, but they're all typically some sorty of high value content offer. These can be eBooks, white papers, checklists, calculators, infographics, quizzes, or anything else that you can think of that provides value.
What's important to understand here is that you are not going for the sale right now. Your job when someone is in the top or middle of the funnel is to educate and inform. You have to provide information that they want and need, but you need to do it in a genuine and non-sales focused way.
HOW: Lead nurturing
Once you've got someone in your pipeline because they've filled out a form for a piece of your content, you've now got the opportunity to nurture those leads into customers through a lead nurturing campaign.
Again, in order for this to be successful, your approach should be one of education and focused around being helpful to your prospects. Just because someone has identified themselves as a lead for you doesn't mean that they are ready to be bombarded with your sales material.
PRO TIP: Understanding where the content that each prospects has downloaded falls in the sales funnel will help you identify where they are in the process and what kind of content you should be providing them.
So, now it's time to take a look at your fitness business. Are you embracing top and middle of the funnel leads or are you only concerned with bottom of the funnel leads? Opening up your business and your calls-to-action to these leads will fill your pipeline and increase your bottom line. Not really sure where to start? All great marketing campaigns start with a great strategy. Get a detailed, executable, and customized strategy just for your fitness business!