Putting together your messaging for your fitness marketing campaign can be challenging and confusing. It may be a struggle because you don’t feel like you’re a good writer. Or it may be it’s a challenge because you don’t have a framework to create your messaging from. There are a few things that you need to understand before you jump into creating your marketing messaging. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as telling people what you do and your experience in doing it. The piece that is usually missing is finding and understanding your ideal customer. This is the most important part. If you don’t know who you are talking to, then you won’t know what to say. Once you’ve done the work of creating your ideal customer avatar then this article is going to help you avoid common messaging mistakes.
The 5 C’s of Fitness Marketing Messaging
Before diving into the most common messaging mistakes we need to discuss the quality of your messaging. Your prospect is living in a world of information overload. So your messaging needs to be clear, concise, compelling, credible and the most important one customer centric. Without the 5 C’s you will get lost in the abyss that is the internet. Not only will these five principles help you get more clients but they will help you increase your retention rate.
You want your writing on your website, social media, and all other channels to be clear. When someone reads your messaging it needs to be easily understood. The number one way to get clear messaging is making it simple. You don’t need long drawn out paragraphs with complicated words. Keep it simple. Everytime you create a piece of messaging, see if it passes this test. “Would a 4th grader be able to understand what this means?”
Going along with simplicity, your messaging needs to be concise. That means being very direct and to the point. You don’t need essays describing who you are and what you do. People are consuming so much media on the internet and have very short attention spans. The more direct you can be, the better. How to make your writing concise: Before you publish that content, social media post, or new section on your website do a final edit. Try to remove at least 10-20% of the words from your content. The Hemingway App is a great tool to make your writing more clear and concise.
Once you understand your ideal customer then you can create compelling messaging. You know what they like and don’t like, where they struggle, and what they want to attain. With this information you can create content that is compelling to your ideal customer. If you are constantly helping them solve their problems then you will have an endless amount of content. You will also create some die-hard fans that love your fitness business and what you do.
Make sure that your content is credible. There are a lot of sources that your ideal customers can go to for information. Some sources are more credible than others. How do you build credibility? There are three ways that you can do this. The first way is by aligning yourself with other sources and authorities that are known to be credible. The second way is by offering proof that you can provide results. This is done through social proof, which includes metrics, testimonials and case studies.
- Customer Centric
The final, and most important of the 5 C’s is being customer centric. This means that your messaging completely revolves around your ideal customer. You are not creating messages because you enjoy the content or because you think it’s a fun idea. You want to consistently create content that helps your ideal customer solve their problems. This way they will consistently come to you when they want to spend money to solve their problems.
Why should a Customer choose your Business?
The three most important factors to consider when evaluating your marketing messaging:
- Are you clearly communicating who you’re for?
You want your messaging to reach out to your ideal customer and say “Hey, you’re exactly the type of person that we can help.” This is done in two ways. The first is, like mentioned above, doing the work of finding your ideal customer. Once you do this work, then you can very clearly communicate to them. The second way is by imagining that you are speaking to them one-on-one. Although your website is public and many people will see it, you must communicate like you are talking to one person. When your prospects read through your website they will feel like you are building a personal relationship with them.
- Are you clearly communicating who you’ll help?
You need to clearly identify your core offer for your virtual and/or physical location. If you are just selling your core offer as general gym services then you are going to be at a disadvantage. “But what if I am not specialized?” you might ask. Every gym is unique even though it may not seem like it. In marketing, it is about how you talk about what you do. You may be doing very similar things in your market. Helping people lose weight, increase muscle mass, reduce pain, or help with overall health. But you want to talk about what you do in the context of your ideal customer’s life. If you want to primarily work with middle aged women then you are going to have to communicate what is important to them. This would be very different from communicating with a 22-year old guy that has similar goals of getting fit. Getting more specific with this messaging leads to the next important question.
- Are you talking about what matters to them?
When you’re creating any content (email, blog, or website copy), you need to ensure that the topics you are writing about are meaningful to your prospects and current customers. They have to understand what’s in it for them. It may not be specific to fitness! It could be related to other aspects of their lives. Maybe you create a content piece on how to manage time better so that they can actually get to the gym. Always take into consideration what is happening to your market right now.You just have to know what they are concerned with right now. Is it confidence? Is it stress? You may need to do some research to find out. A great way to do this is by talking to your current customers. It doesn’t have to be a private interview, it could be a passing conversation. Understand what is going on in their life and use your messaging and content to help them solve their problems.
3 Common Messaging Mistakes
Don’t Talk too Much about Yourself
Too often, we see fitness business owners make this mistake. The ones that don’t make this mistake have a huge advantage in the market. Read through your marketing materials (most importantly your website). Do you see the words “we, me, or I” occurring over and over? Do you see a lack of the word “you”? If so, this means that you are talking about yourself too much. The point of your business is to serve people. To help them solve their problems. You want to talk about them and their problems and show them how you are dedicated to helping them. If you are talking about yourself too much then they will get turned off. They won’t understand how you can solve their problems.
Think of dates that you’ve gone on, or even when hanging out with friends. We all know that one person that just talks about themselves all the time. How does it make you feel? You probably eventually feel bored, annoyed, and even ignored. But how does it feel when someone is interested in you? When they are asking questions about who you are and what you do? It feels good right? Your messaging should resemble that by talking about how you can help your prospect.
A great book that dives deep into this concept is Story Brand by Donald Miller. He uses the classic hero’s journey to create a framework for branding and messaging. He proposes the idea that you (as the business) should position yourself as the guide. Show the prospect (the hero) that you can help them solve their problems.
Don’t be Inconsistent
One of the easiest ways to build trust with your ideal customers is by being consistent. If you are inconsistent in your messaging then prospects are going to be confused and unsure about who you are as a company. If you talk about new offerings in your social media but they aren’t on your website. Then your prospects are going to feel the disconnect and not want to work with you. They may even think that you are trying to hide what you do! (Which is probably not the case) Oftentimes, this is caused by just making a change in one place and not thinking about it as a part of the whole. Go through all of your channels (website, blog, social, and email) and make sure that everything is in line with each other. This will help build a deeper sense of trust by showing prospects that you have your stuff together.
Another way that you can create trust is by being consistent with all of your marketing efforts. This means that if you have an email list, make sure that you are staying connected regularly. The same goes for any other type of content including social, video, or written. Do not post a bunch for a few weeks and then disappear for a week. This shows prospects that you are not reliable. They will think “If they can’t be consistent with content then how are they going to help me get in better shape.” Being consistent with your messaging has the added benefit of staying at the top of their mind. So when they are ready to spend money, they will be thinking of you.
Address the #1 thing on your Prospect’s Mind
The final messaging mistake that business owners make when it comes to fitness marketing messaging is avoiding the obvious. You must address the most important thing on your prospects mind at any given time. The market is always shifting and changing based on trends and current events. A good example of this is the pandemic. We noticed that some gym owners continued their usual messaging during the pandemic. These gyms struggled because they didn’t change with the market.
People became more concerned about being in a safe environment during the pandemic and less about their “regular” concerns. It was the #1 issue on prospects’ minds. “How am I going to stay safe at the gym?” Although many gym owners did put protocols in place they didn’t talk about them enough. If they didn’t talk about them, then how were prospects and members going to know that they were safe?
This messaging mistake is not just about the pandemic. Markets and trends are always shifting, so you must stay current with your messaging. You must always be thinking: “What is my ideal customer’s current problem and how can I solve it?” You can solve it through information or through new offers, the most important thing is that you are aware of it and you address it. You may be wondering, “But how do I know what their current problem is?” A very easy but often overlooked way of finding this information is by simply asking and getting curious. Talk to your members (similar to step 2 & 3 in our 5-step sales process) or send out a survey. Either way is fine. Just stay connected and let your messaging resemble what your ideal customers need at that time.
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(Want to learn more about what fitness business coaching can do for you? Check out this article to learn about how coaching can help you reach your goals.)
Success Coach, Fitness Revolution