A jab, jab, jab, right hook
to the fitness industry

Drawing on the advice of social media marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk, Justin Tamsett explains how repeatedly ‘jabbing’ prospects with useful content will enable you to throw a sales-winning right hook.

Standing in front of thousands of fitness business owners, managers and staff at the recent IHRSA convention in the US, Gary Vaynerchuk asked‘Who knows who I am – or let me rephrase that – who doesn’t know who I am?’ And with that, 70 per cent of the audience raised their hands to not knowing the world’s poster boy for social media success.

Vaynerchuk was one of the keynote speakers at the event, and he shook the industry to its core with his observations about how we market our beloved product – health and fitness – to the masses.

Not afraid to use colourful language in order to emphasise a point, he cast a spell across the room as he challenged our industry again and again, prompting us to evaluate the processes we use and the outcomes we expect from them.

He commanded the full attention of the audience when he asked a series of questions about our consumer behaviour, including:

  • Do you watch the TV commercials on a recorded TV show or do you fast forward?
  • Do you read the billboards on the side of the street?
  • Do you race home to empty your letter box and then plough through the direct mail pieces looking for a bargain?
  • Do you click on banner ads?
  • Do you decide what to purchase based on what your friends tell you or seeing, via social media, what they have bought?

Ouch!

His point was that we are living in 2014, but most health clubs, gyms and personal trainers are marketing with 2004 tactics. In a very simple but powerful statement he said: ‘Look at your own behaviour and this will give you an indication of how and where you should market.’

Vaynerchuk has seen incredible success with his family’s wine business by using YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. He initially spent 10 hours a day searching for and then engaging with wine drinkers around the country. Then he started producing content that was relevant to them. He listened, understood their wine questions or challenges and presented solutions.

He believes there is no reason why the fitness industry cannot duplicate what he did. He believes that if we rely solely on our physical facility we are destined for disaster. He believes we should become a media company and distribute content – content that will add value to people’s lives.

His most radical idea was to employ a journalist or to teach your front desk staff to produce content during quiet times – or better still, employ a journalist on the front desk so that your budget doesn’t blow out on salaries!

If your content is valuable and educational, people will share this with their friends. If your content is laden with sales messages then no one will share it and you may, in fact, prompt people to opt out of receiving your messages. This can be disastrous for your business.

Further reading
Crush It, Gary Vaynerchuk
Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk
Jab Jab Jab Right Hook, Gary Vaynerchuk

He calls constant sales messages ‘right hooks.’ When it comes to boxing, if all you throw are right hooks then your competitor will just sway away and wait for you to run out of energy. Boxing is a science, and full of strategy: you need to deliver a series of jabs in order to get your competitor into a position in which you feel comfortable that a right hook will work and have an impact.

Marketing, both online and offline, is also a science: you need to deliver valuable content, give some more, give some more, give again and then – when you feel that trust has been built so your prospects feel you are the expert to help them – throw your right hook, your call to action or sales message.

Vaynenchuk’s message about business, culture, marketing and futurism goes way beyond social media, however. The key thing, he said, is society, and engaging with people in a meaningful and useful way. Business success will be the natural by-product.

For more information on Gary Vaynerchuck’s message to the industry check out the Active Management Blog


Justin Tamsett, BEd
Justin is an internationally recognised thought leader who challenges the status quo of the fitness industry. Named Australian Fitness Network’s Presenter of the Year in 2008, he is highly sought-after as a speaker because he shares practical ideas that can be implemented immediately. His company, Active Management, has hundreds of clubs as members, all of which receive monthly education to improve their businesses. For more information visit activemgmt.com.au