The most important fitness marketing question: do you offer your customers 'vitamins' or 'magic-pill painkillers'?

Posted on 18-08-2023

No. It's not about whether you're literally handing vitamin pills over the counter or providing your members with paracetamol. It's about what kind of problems you typically solve for them. It's interesting to find out if you might need to adjust your solution. And if so, how?

(This article also appeared in the Dutch magazine Body Life Magazine)

Long term: Vitamins

What is meant by the question in the title of this article: are you attracting members by promising them a long-term result? Or rather a short-term result? I guess you always aim for long-term results. It's not surprising, because as a professional you want to help your members achieve a healthier lifestyle in the long run. That's not something you can just achieve in a few weeks. After all, that's the goal of our entire industry, isn't it?

Short term: painkillers (magic pills)

But do your potential members really want that? Most people may not necessarily enjoy exercising, but they want the results. How many percent of people who start (again) with one of the many activities we encompass under "Fitness" this month want such a magic pill, promising results in 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks? I think most of them. But yes, the magic pill doesn't exist.

"Fitness studios grow with more members, revenue, and profit thanks to the growth formula with happy guarantee!"


The problem with the long term

The problem is that everyone rationally knows that health is important, especially later. But health doesn't sell. Health is later, someday. Stop living unhealthy now, "or you might get type 2 diabetes, too." So is stop smoking, "or you'll get sick later." Later is not accurate enough. What is meant by this is that it does not have enough impact in your potential client's brain.

Tip: Always start with the short term!

People do more to avoid pain than to feel pleasure. For most people, "healthy" in the short term equals pain. Pain, like eating rabbit food, not drinking alcohol, sweating in the gym for an hour three times a week, only to feel uncomfortable there as an overweight athlete among all the well-trained people. No, for this group the slogan "Fitness is fun, let's go!" really doesn't help.

A tip for all entrepreneurs in the fitness industry:
1 -  Offer pain relief to your new members.
2 - But deliver them vitamins, real results!

In other words, capture their attention with something hitting the mark. And through regular intake/needs analysis, which you're already doing with all your potential members, help them get what they need: a truly healthier lifestyle.

In times of crisis, offer first aid!

During these times, there might be an exception: Since many are uncertain about the future, fewer people might be willing to commit to a long-term solution. That's why we examined member recruitment campaigns focusing on short-term immunity boost to become healthier. We compared these campaigns with the results of regular member recruitment campaigns we conducted with these clients at the same time. What was the outcome? The best first aid you can do, even in these times, is normal short term jumpstart.

Taking it literally

Finally, consider whether you should literally provide your members with food, vitamins, and/or supplements:

The great majority of new gym members have the goal of improving their figure while losing 5-15 pounds. When they want to lose weight, they get 30% of their results from exercise and 70% from their diet. Your members are more loyal when they get a better result. When you make nutrition an integral part of your program, you help them much better. Plus, it's good for your net profit too. Both in the short term through additional sales and in the long term through more loyal and satisfied members.

Vitamins and painkillers, short and long term, actually go well together, but use them in the right way!

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Autor: Aernout Leezenberg

Author Aernout Leezenberg is the founder of Hidden Profits Marketing, which, with a growing team of fitness marketing specialists, has been helping entrepreneurs and managers of studios and clubs in the fitness industry in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and America, among other countries, to create a thriving business with an automatic stream of members and leads since 2004. All innovations and knowledge come from our own Fitness Marketing Innovation Lab.

'Help fitness entrepreneurs thrive long-term with awesome marketing solutions'


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