Fitness Advertising Mistakes [5 Common Pitfalls & How To Avoid Them]
Fitness advertising can be a hugely controversial area of marketing. Done correctly it’s an incredibly effective tool for generating leads, and increasing brand awareness. But done wrong, it can have a seriously negative impact on your brand.
Some sectors of the fitness industry have a pretty poor reputation when it comes to advertising. Supplement companies and equipment manufacturers in particular receive a lot of bad press for their approaches to marketing.
So how can you avoid this kind of negativity? How do you ensure that your advertising gets the positive results you want? And how can you do this if you don’t have much experience with advertising?
Well this article is designed to help. Here are 5 of the most common mistakes we see in fitness advertising, along with tips for how to avoid them…
#1 – Going Straight For The Sale
Most people think that the objective of fitness advertising is to generate sales. And that’s completely logical right?
Except that people will rarely see an advert and immediately be compelled to purchase. It does happen, but usually for low-value items like groceries and toiletries. Higher value items like fitness programs and gym memberships tend to require more consideration. This means that the sales process is longer, since people need to weigh up the decision to purchase in more depth.
The most common fitness advertising mistake we see is an attempt to shortcut this process. Companies drive cold leads directly to a checkout, when they really require warming up before they’ll purchase. They need to get to know, like, and trust you before they’ll buy. They may need some education around your offering and why they need it (especially if it’s a brand new concept). Companies who use Google Adwords and Facebook ads most successfully, usually try to establish a relationship instead of going straight for the sale.
Avoid It By ⇒ Using adverts to drive leads to a free opt-in, instead of a checkout page. Then use an email series to generate more awareness, interest, desire, and finally action (also known as the AIDA principle). Although the process takes longer, your conversion rate will be much higher in the end.
#2 – Not Targeting A Specific Audience
Another common fitness advertising mistake we see is not targeting a specific audience. Companies take a blanket approach and try to appeal to the mass market, but not everyone is going to be interested in your offering.
So unless you have a national presence, don’t advertise in national publications. That means no airline magazines or country-wide newspapers. Even advertising in local newspapers is questionable, since only a small proportion of the readership will be interested in health and fitness. Instead target publications that your ideal client is likely to read. Not only will it be more cost effective, but you’ll get much higher quality leads too.
Avoid It By ⇒ Defining your ‘ideal client’ and then selecting advertising mediums that allow you to target them. Google AdWords enables you to target specific search phrases. Facebook allows you to pinpoint people based on their demographics and interests. So take full advantage of the targeting tools available.
#3 – Focusing On Features Instead Of Benefits
Many companies focus on ‘features’ in their advertising. They list all the tangible things that a customer will get, in an effort to demonstrate good value. But features don’t tend to inspire people – benefits do.
Benefits address why the customer should care about the features. They demonstrate what’s in it for the customer – why should they care? Why should they value the features you’re offering? People aren’t generally excited by the idea of ‘training plans’. But they are inspired by the idea of feeling strong, sexy, and confident on their summer holidays. So focus your messaging on benefits to get the best fitness advertising results.
Avoid It By ⇒ Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, and asking yourself ‘so what’? So what if I get a 6 week training program? So what if I lose weight? Keep asking yourself this question until you’ve identified the true benefit of your product or service. Then communicate this in your fitness advertising.
4 – Sacrificing Integrity For Sales
This is a mistake we see all the time in fitness advertising. From late night infomercials to magazine ads, fitness companies are continually making bold claims about the effectiveness of their products that don’t hold up to scrutiny. It’s a shortsighted approach, since people who purchase are soon disappointed, which leads to negative PR and a decline in sales.
Another way that this mistake plays out is through fear-based marketing. Companies use messages that prey on people’s insecurities, and make them feel they’ll never be good enough unless they buy X product to ‘fix’ themselves. This negative approach to fitness advertising can have implications that go way beyond business, destroying people’s confidence, body image, and perceptions of what ‘healthy’ looks like.
“Fitness marketing should inspire people, not prey on their insecurities.”
The most annoying thing about this mistake is that it damages the reputation of the fitness industry as a whole. Every decent trainer, honest fitness studio, and genuinely effective product gets tarred with the same negative brush as the crappy ones.
Avoid It By ⇒ Holding yourself to a higher standard of integrity than the average fitness brand. Stick to claims that are scientifically accurate to ensure that your customers don’t feel mislead or disappointed. Make an advert that you’d be proud to show to your Grandma!
#5 – Not Going The Extra Mile To Stand Out
People are busy and bombarded by ads from all angles. So whether it’s billboards, magazine ads, or internet pop-ups, people have become immune to interruptive advertising. Think about your own experiences… when was the last time you actually paid close attention to an advert?
This shift in people’s attention means that you need to work even harder to stand out. It’s not enough to place a full page advert in a magazine and expect people to read it – you need to find a way to differentiate yourself from the noise.
Avoid It By ⇒ Selecting your position and design carefully. Adverts tend to get lost when they’re surrounded by other adverts, such as in a magazine. So choose a position with no competition, like the back cover. You can take this a step further by choosing an arena where there’s little competition, such as an up-and-coming social media platform. Then create an eye-catching design that jumps out and grabs people’s attention. Bright colours, bold fonts, and surprising images can all help you achieve this.
Fitness Advertising Tips & Tools
Avoiding these fitness advertising mistakes will help make your campaign more successful, and generate better business results. Warming up your prospects, targeting your specific audience, and focusing on benefits, will lead to higher conversion rates. Maintaining integrity will establish your credibility, and help you avoid negative press. And going the extra mile to stand out will ensure that your efforts aren’t accidentally ignored.