Digital marketing skills are a ‘must-have’ for any fitness business, whether they are in-house or outsourced. Customers increasingly make buying decisions from the comfort of their own home which means your club needs to be seen to be considered.
But the skillset of a digital marketeer is far-removed from that of most leisure operators which is why so many use partnerships to compete online, especially against the budget gym chains that have taken huge market share through digital marketing channels and price disruption.
Hussle is an effective partner for operators that want to improve their visibility online and increase the leads they generate. We spoke to our Head of Paid Media, Charlie Hamouy to find out more.
When did you start working with Hussle and what does your role entail?
I joined Hussle in December 2018 and my role sits within the consumer Marketing team. The simplest way to describe what I do is to connect customer demand with the operators listed on the Hussle platform.
In practice, that takes a variety of forms, whether it’s appearing within searches for people Googling for “gyms near me”, serving adverts to potential gym enthusiasts across Facebook and YouTube, or working to acquire links from other websites that may complement our brand. It’s all about finding the right audience and being present at the right time.
It’s a broad remit and an enjoyable one, there’s always new tactics and methods to find your audience, and I enjoy being in a space where I can test them all out.
What did you do before that, do you have a background in fitness?
In all honesty, I can’t claim to be a massive fitness fanatic, but I’ve always been keen on doing more to improve my health and wellbeing, of which fitness plays a massive part.
What I am passionate about though is combining my digital marketing experience with helping businesses to grow. I’ve been working in the digital marketing space for just over 10 years now and before Hussle I was at the property marketplace, Zoopla, where my focus was on acquiring location-based leads for estate agents.
The lead generation aspect is incredibly similar to the Membership Conversion Service we offer to operators at Hussle now.
Why did you want to work for Hussle?
Hussle jumped out to me for three reasons;
Firstly, I thought the product was great and I could really see it benefiting people’s lives, I loved how it opened the fitness industry to new people who might not have otherwise engaged in fitness. The concept of an online marketplace is proven in so many other sectors – you only have to look at your phone to see how many you use personally. I saw no reason why this would not also be true for fitness.
Secondly, I could see how my skillset would be valuable. Digital marketing is a dynamic area of marketing and few companies invest the amount of time and resource needed to be effective.
In the fitness industry there are only really a handful of standout companies that use cutting edge digital marketing techniques and they have taken market leading positions as a result. The role of my team is to make sure we stay on top of the latest digital marketing techniques and apply these to bring customers into the gyms and health clubs we work with.
And finally, the company felt like it was on the verge of starting to make a real impact and get noticed, joining a brand at that stage of its development, and growing with it was a real attraction.
What are the digital marketing metrics that you would advise gym operators to stay on top of and why?
At the simplest level you need to understand your unit economics. How much does it cost you to acquire a new customer? How much do they spend with you? And how long do they remain a customer?
These questions give you your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and your Lifetime Value (LTV). Obviously, the goal is for your LTV to be higher than your CAC.
Once you know these metrics there are several more layers of useful data points to consider from a digital marketing perspective.
Ok so once a gym operator has calculated their CAC and LTV, what should they do next?
To get started, you can use your LTV to give you a guide on how much you should be willing to spend to acquire a new customer but obviously you don’t want to spend all of it as you will likely have a lot of other business overheads that need to be covered by the profit you make.
You should determine what ratio between CAC:LTV works for your business, say 1:3, and use this to grow your business efficiently. If CAC:LTV is less than your target then you can probably invest more money in growing faster, and if it is higher than this you probably want to watch your costs and focus on some lower cost marketing channels.
Once you have a steer on the budget for an acceptable CAC then you can start assessing how to deploy that money into marketing.
Ideally you want to have mix of different marketing channels, and ones that reach customers at various stages of the purchase journey. For example, search marketing is a great way to reach customers at the consideration and intent stage of the purchase, and it typically converts well so you will want to make sure you’re maximising this. At the other end of the spectrum, TV, YouTube or Outdoor is a great way to introduce your brand to new audiences and educate them on your proposition.
It’s important to not only get the right balance between your channels, but you should also test a mix of media to find out what works best for you, there’s no “one-size fits all template” so you need to spend some efforts working this out. If you don’t want to assign full-time resource to it, then it’s worth considering partnering with experts to manage things for you.
How does Hussle fit into this marketing mix?
Hussle is a marketing partner to the fitness industry, and we should be treated just like any other customer acquisition channel and used a part of your overall marketing mix.
The type of customer that uses platforms like Hussle to find the right gym and the right option for them are typically younger than most gym members, and they are more likely to want to compare options and do their research online before visiting your club. It’s a digital-savvy audience that the budget gym sector has pursued relentlessly for a number of years
The advantages we bring to the operators we work with are that we have the network scale to use higher cost marketing channels like TV, alongside national marketing partnerships with well-known brands to bring customers into clubs at a much lower CAC than if you were to try these channels alone.
We are also, first-and-foremost, a technology company which means we have the resource and skillset to be excel at digital marketing through search, retargeting, social media and other channels.
Let Hussle take the financial risk in these channels, that’s our job.
To find out more about how Hussle could provide you with a low-cost, new member joining channel, click here.