Tim Benjamin

How to Get Subscribers and Keep Them For the Long Term

With gyms shut, many people have turned to fitness apps to fill the gap created by lockdown. But in between online learning, remote working and video calls with friends and family, many people are exhausted with screens and searching for new ways to work out. Enter: WithU. WithU is audio-based coaching delivered by experts direct to your device. Brainchild of Steve Clarke and developed with Olympic 400m runner Tim Benjamin, WithU gives you access to over 1,000+ strength, HIIT, running, cycling and mobility workouts with coaching from Olympians, Elite Athletes, and advanced trainers from around the world. But with so much competition in the fitness app space, how do you cut through? And once you generate new subscribers, how do you keep them engaged?

We spoke to Tim Benjamin about:

  • How to get your app noticed
  • The most effective marketing techniques and
  • The key to hanging on to those subscribers for the long-term

With so many digital fitness options available, how do you make sure that WithU gets noticed?

This was a big consideration when we were building our app. We had to answer the question, “How are we different?” The answer is that we are an audio-based product. The reason we chose audio is that there is continual growth in this space. Think about the growth of audiobooks and podcasts. It is a sustainable vehicle for resources and information.

Digital fitness has exploded over the past year, but the vast majority is screen-based. Our big differentiator and USP is the portability of our product. For example, you can go for a run with our product on a treadmill or outside, then immediately transition to a strength session in a gym or at home. You never need to look at a screen. If you’re not sure how to perform a certain exercise, we provide a 3D avatar that shows how to do the exercises correctly, but the experience is entirely audio based. While our app wasn’t built in response to the pandemic, the portability makes it an obvious choice for people looking for different ways to workout right now.

Our other USP is intimacy. Our workouts always talk directly to the individual not the group, which is different from a lot of other products. You’ll never hear our trainers saying things like “You got this guys,” or “Come on team.” We record the audio with a real model so that the instruction is tailored to a real person’s experience of the workout. It’s like having a personal trainer in your ear.

So, to stand out, you need to know your USPs. For us, that is portability and intimacy.

What sort of marketing have you found most effective for your app?

Budgets for digital marketing are becoming less and less effective as everyone is competing for the same audience. What we’ve found to be the most effective marketing tactic is to ensure there is very little barrier to entry for your product. People need to be able to go in easily, try it for free and get into a workout in 2-3 minutes. When signups are complex, you lose people. The key is to capture your audience quickly with a clear call to action. We’re about to launch Version 2 of WithU which will make this process even easier.

The biggest challenge is getting people to try it. So, to get people interested in WithU, we offer snippets of the audio on social so people can see what it’s all about. We know this works because once people try it, our completion rates are well over 70% and our attrition rate is under 10%. We retain customers really well.

Let’s talk more about that. Once you’ve managed to attract new subscribers, what is the key to hanging on to them for the long term?

I look at our analytics daily. I want to understand what our customers are doing. What workouts are they doing? How long are they staying? What trainers are most popular? What workout length is completed most often? From all this data, we can start to build a picture of what kind of content is working well. Right now, we know that bodyweight HIIT is most popular, closely followed by meditation.

Based on this information, we then release fresh content every week and we use our data to inform what content we create. From a retention perspective, it is all about delivering content that is fresh and engaging. The dynamism of the product is important. It needs to be consistently changing – kind of like your newsfeed. If it is static, people get bored.

We also know that the first six weeks in which someone uses our app is important. If we don’t engage them in that first six weeks, we know we’re likely to lose them. For that reason, we send push notifications if someone hasn’t worked out in three days. We also try to get people bought into the brand with a holistic approach. We create social content so people can engage with the brand on other platforms. In the future, we want to provide even more content like blogs on topics like nutrition, recovery, prehab and rehab.

How do you determine the right pricing for your app?

We offer both monthly and yearly subscription prices. In order to land on our pricing structure, we did a huge amount of research in the beta phase. We asked people what they would be willing to pay for the product and studied the transition rate from trial to paid user. From there, we found our price point.

Since launching in May 2020, what’s been your biggest learning to date?

The biggest lesson for me was to keep things as simple as possible for the customer. I’m learning every day how little time you have to impress someone and get them interested in your product. We launched features in the past that didn’t land because they just weren’t obvious enough. We’ve learned a great deal about how to engage our audience in the last eight months.

One thing that has caught us by surprise is the demand for our product in the B2B space. We have several companies using the product as part of corporate wellbeing programmes as well as big leisure operators like Everyone Active offering WithU to their members as an extension of their membership. While we do spend on B2C marketing, our subscriber base is growing organically from people using it via their employer or gym and telling their friends and family about it.

For gyms, WithU can be a complementary service. Having been an owner/operator for the last 13 years, I know the product can work well in a gym environment. When someone goes with a screen-based product, there’s a risk they get used to it and don’t come back to the gym. But with us, we saw so many people coming back to the gym using WithU. People were using it on the gym floor for guided runs on the treadmill or a strength session with kettlebells. There’s very little risk of cannibalising your audience.

WithU is available on iOS and Android for £7.99 per month. Access is unlimited, with no additional pay-to-unlock content. For more information, go to: https://withutraining.com/

Posted in Fit-tech, Interviews, The Fitness Network.