Whether you’re building an online fitness business, or a brick and mortar one, marketing techniques are very similar! Social media posts, social media ads, word of mouth, local, national, and international media, and of course, branded merchandise. With an online fitness business, clientele may be located further away, which adds an extra element of complication, but luckily, in 2019, shipping is pretty simple and affordable.
Decking your clients out in branded merchandise can be great for advertising and word of mouth referrals. First of all, if you send your clients gear after signing up with you, they are going to be very proud to rock it! Merchandise can be anything. T-shirts, tank tops, hats, water bottles, socks, drawstring backpacks, notebooks, shorts, and so much more. Of course, you don’t have to go out and purchase all of this gear with your logo on it, that’s a big upfront investment! However, you can start small and then build up your merch department as your business grows.
Your client shows up to their local gym for a workout. They’re wearing your branded tank top while following their workout through your app on their phone. Looks good, doesn’t it? All it takes is one person to see them and either ask them about their training plan or Google your brand, which your client is wearing right on their shirt! Trust me, I personally have had this exact scenario happen with a few of my clients. One client was working out in the gym, wearing my branded t-shirt and crushing his workout. A few people saw the workout he was doing, approached him, and asked which program he was following. This lead my client to show off my app, and a day later I had an email from a new potential client. BOOM, it’s as easy as that!
Here are four steps you should take when adding branded merchandise to your online fitness business marketing plan.
1. Choose Your Merch
Decide what kind of branded merchandise you want to send to your clients. Note that I said “send to your clients,” meaning you should be giving paid clients the merchandise for free! Also include your merchandise for sale on your website, because you never know! If your gear is nice enough, perhaps non-paying clients might want to get in on it too!
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2. Invest in Quality
Don’t go cheap. When I’m designing gear or choosing partner companies, I only order gear that looks great and is made of quality material, ideally sweat-wicking and non-smelly. If you actually want your clients to wear or use the gear, make the investment: visually appealing and good quality!
3. Start Small
When you’re getting started with merch, place a small order to test the waters. This could be as small as one simple t-shirt design. As your business grows, and merch becomes more popular, you can begin to add more items and designs. If you aren’t skilled in design, work with a designer to really bring your ideas to life and make the gear look really good!
4. Shop Around
Take that beautiful, high quality merchandise and make sure it’s affordable. It’s also important to research shipping costs, so you know how much it’ll cost to ship the gear to your clients after they sign up with you (or purchase it from your website). It’s good to know these numbers before you make the commitment by ordering the gear and promising it to your clients.
Sometimes, you have to spend money to make money. Owning a fitness business depends on some creative strategies to grow your brand recognition! Using merchandise can be a really beneficial tactic for scaling your online fitness coaching business… and you’ll look fly while you’re at it.