Having launched nearly 50 separate health clubs, Neil Haughin of Impact Fitness is regarded as one of the UK’s leading experts in gym and health club pre-sales, with huge experience in everything from sales systems and offline media to SEO and email marketing.
As the fitness world becomes increasingly digitised, Neil has found that many of the traditional techniques have been replaced by online strategies. We met with Neil to learn the secrets to the most powerful digital tool of them all: Facebook.
Of all the avenues we now invest in, Facebook is by far the most important, generally providing around 60% of our total ROI. Not only is it where gym members of all ages and demographics spend most of their time online, but it offers the most sophisticated advertising platform on the internet.
The key with Facebook is to truly understand your client, their audience and the broader market. Only then can you capitalise on the pin-point targeting offered by the world’s largest social media network.
Step 1 – Research
The business – what are the brand guidelines? What are the objectives? Is this about general brand awareness or about driving sales for a specific club? How good is the website? Can we optimise it to convert visitors effectively or are we better off creating landing pages on Facebook itself?
Target audience – what is their age, gender, location, interest, marital status? Understanding this information is key as Facebook will let you drill down to the smallest detail. What is this audience looking for in a gym? Is it all about price or are there other key selling points we need to incorporate into the sales pages?
Competition – what is the competition doing that seems to be working well, and what can we learn from it? Never be afraid to copy your competitors if they’re doing a great job.
“Facebook will let you drill down to the smallest detail”
Step 2 – Execution
Create your pages – typically I would recommend creating one central page for the brand and then individual club pages for each location. Nobody in Manchester wants to hear about the new kit being installed in Leicester.
Create landing pages – if the website is not great and you feel it won’t convert well, it’s generally best to create dedicated conversion pages with data capture on Facebook itself.
Boosting on-page – first you should start by boosting the content that you put on the page itself so that both your existing fans and your broader target audience see the content. Otherwise you may as well not bother publishing the content in the first place as Facebook’s organic reach is now so small!
Dark posts – each day you only want to be adding 2 or 3 posts at the most on the page itself and you want that content to be targeted towards existing fans/members, such as motivational and educational content or refer a friend schemes. If the page is full of sales messages for prospective leads then that’s only going to irritate your current members. This is where dark posts come in. They won’t feature on the page itself, but rather only on the news feeds of the people you’re targeting so you can make this content highly promotional and it won’t negatively impact your existing audience.
Inspirational imagery – this is your single most powerful tool for communicating the brand, so you need to be clear on the brand guidelines and avoid anything that looks like stock photography. These need to be real people doing real workouts, just like your audience.
Carousels – Facebook now allows you to present imagery and content in a moving carousel format. Not only does this offer a far more engaging user experience than a still image, but it allows you to get away fro the 20% text rule (Facebook only allows a maximum of 20% of an image to be covered by text) whilst presenting a mix of inspirational, educational and promotional content to the user.
Videos – video offers the highest level of engagement, particularly since Facebook started the auto-play function. There used to be a time when people believed you had to keep videos under 30 seconds, but now users will frequently watch two or three minutes of video if you can just get them to hold on past the first 10 seconds!
Remarketing – social remarketing allows you to target people who have already shown an interest in your brand as they have previously been on your website. Normally this data is small but it represents a far better quality of lead and you can then target these people via Facebook rather than just depending on SMS and email. After all, it typically takes 6-8 touches to convert people into paying customers so have one extra channel to communicate through is hugely valuable.
“If you’re not paying to boost your content then you may as well not bother publishing the content in the first place as Facebook’s organic reach is now so small!”
Step 3 – Analyse and Evolve
Facebook insights – Facebook insights offers great detail into how successful your content and advertising has been at getting you in front of your target audience – what we call “reach” – and the degree to which they have engaged with that content.
Google analytics – Google analytics will then tell you how many of these users have clicked through to the website and how they have then behaved. Did they look at lots of pages or bounce off immediately? Did they submit their email for a competition? And most importantly, did they become paying members? This data is enormously powerful as it will tell you your Cost Per Conversion which then enables you to make some very informed decisions about future spend!