Education is important in the fitness industry. Many fitness professionals believe it’s their duty and obligation to educate those who need to learn about fitness, especially since there is so much that perpetuates a lack of fitness in the world today. Educating people in need is not only an honorable thing to do, but with the right approach it can also be a great way to market and build a profitable fitness business. Many of the industry’s top companies are very generous with their educational material, using a give-to-get approach in their marketing strategy. This is not by accident. One tool a fitness professional can use is the “Marketing 4Ps” (Product, Price, Promotion and Place). This strategy is particularly useful in guiding fitness professionals looking to get the most marketing impact out of their educational efforts or perhaps adding education to their existing marketing strategy.
The Marketing 4Ps are taught in many entry level marketing classes. It’s a simple way to define marketing as Product - what you’re selling; Price – the price the market will pay for that product; Promotion – how you inform the market of your product; and Place – where the market will obtain your product.
Fitness professionals have a variety of products and services they offer. It’s important to have a clear definition of the product or service that you are trying to grow when designing educational opportunities. Let’s walk through a few examples. If you operate a females-only training studio and you want to increase your monthly leads, it would not serve you well to hold a seminar on building big biceps, a topic that’s largely more interesting to men. If you are a personal trainer trying to grow the elderly segment of your client base, then seminars about resistance training’s effects on longevity would be a great activity. It can be tempting to take on educational opportunities in any area where you have expertise, but if it’s difficult to tie that opportunity into a product or service offering, it should be categorized more as charity than marketing a business. It should also be noted that education can be a product in and of itself. As topic experts, there are a variety of ways fitness professionals can monetize education, both in-person and online.
Generally speaking, the higher price of the product or service that you’re trying to sell, the more value you need to create. Education is a tremendous way to create value. Teaching your customers of tomorrow will begin to add value to those relationships. For example, if you hold a series of educational webinars, you have built a positive value balance with everyone that attended. When it comes time to close the deal on a high-priced product or service, those clients will already have an idea of the value you bring to the table. They will also feel like they have received a lot of value at little to no cost and either consciously or subconsciously, they will include that value as part of the purchasing price.
Promotion is how many people define marketing and is a very important piece of the marketing mix. Education is an excellent way to promote your product or service. There are literally hundreds of opportunities to provide education in the marketplace and many of them are opportunities to promote your business. There is a popular piece of advice that says people should phrase things in terms of, “What’s in it for me?” Education is all about what’s in it for those that attend or participate in the educational opportunities and will get you and your business in front of the right people. A personal trainer who volunteers to talk to a local corporation about the dangers of sitting will have a captive audience of individuals they likely would not have crossed paths with otherwise. A gym owner who hosts an educational event about youth fitness will get parents and youth in the facility to learn about something that’s important to them.
In today’s world, place should be thought of both as physical locations and online locations. Getting traffic to your website, depending on the nature of your business, could be as important or more important than getting feet through the door. Using educational opportunities to get people to your place of business is a great strategy. Their interest in learning about fat loss may be the motivation they need to finally walk through the door of your facility. A customer that never quite had the incentive to follow the link to your website before may finally visit your site to attend a webinar on losing their baby weight. It’s important today, in all possible ways, to integrate your physical and digital community. If you host a physical educational event, offering a free follow-up resource via download or email submission is a great way to get your physical fans involved in your digital community.