Operations: Are You Ready for the Digital Economy?

digital economy

There are several evolving marketing concepts getting a lot of buzz right now that will have a big impact on the fitness world. As we move toward a fully digital economy, businesses need to adapt with the times and coast the wave of the digital revolution. The fitness industry is always on the cutting-edge of new technologies, so why not utilize the newest tools and strategies to increase revenue and expand your brand?

One of my favorite books for fitness entrepreneurs is Leading Digital — Turning Technology into Business Transformation, by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee. The authors point out that innovations like the now ubiquitous smartphone, social media and cloud computing are fundamentally changing the business landscape as we know it. Leading Digital gives business owners a clear framework on transforming their companies into a digital master, how to engage more closely with your customers, and how to create a leading digital vision. One of the most important ingredients of creating a powerful digital presence for your brand is omni-channel marketing.

Omni-channel marketing is providing a seamless experience for your customers across a multitude of platforms. It’s more than the latest hot marketing take — it is a cohesive, all-encompassing approach with measurable benefits. This new media marketing strategy focuses on creating a holistic customer experience and delivers the same strong, on-target, consistent messaging through each and every channel, leading to a much stronger relationship between consumers and your brand.

Every time a customer interacts with your brand — via website, Facebook, Pinterest, your mobile app, Twitter, or a visit to your health club — the experience should be consistent and integrated.

Studies show that the ROI in print media and email blast campaigns is steadily declining. Consumers now want one-on-one, personalized attention from the brands they support, when they want it. Omni-channel marketing is a customer-focused strategy that creates a unifying brand experience.

A key success factor in digital mastery and successful omni-channel marketing is providing quality content. Consumers crave relevant, useful content that’s available at any time — whether it’s an on-demand fitness class accessible instantly on their mobile device, or customized diet tips served up via push notification. Utilizing creative content to entice and engage with your customers builds a deeper, more profitable bond with your target audience.

A great place to start developing content is through your website by adding a blog. It’s important to offer evergreen content that is still interesting weeks or even months after the initial post. Remember to post regularly and update older posts as needed. A weekly posting schedule should be a basic building block of your digital marketing strategy. Marketing pros suggest that companies post all content first via their website, then share and repurpose it across multiple platforms to increase reach.

Another fabulous way to generate exciting fresh content is by enlisting existing loyal customers and your employees, positioning them as influencers. Authentic, influential content should first come from unpaid or pre-existing loyal customers who are thrilled to endorse your product because they love it. The first step is to communicate honestly with your staff and long-standing local customers, and offer incentives for sharing branded content to their online networks. Each one of your influencers has their own sphere of influence, reaching possibly thousands of potential new customers for practically no investment at all.

Of course, this user-generated content should adhere to and uphold your brand’s overall aesthetic. Clear, simple communication of your goals with your selected influencers should occur regularly to ensure an appealing, unified front.

Now that practically everyone has cloud computing and social media literally at their fingertips, it’s easier than ever before to communicate directly with your customers — and collect vital data for your customer relationship management systems. With the rise of GPS and fitness wearables, businesses can now track the preferences and habits of their customers like never before. Don’t be afraid of the brave new world of technology — now is the time to become a digital leader, and take advantage of new ideas to increase the profile and profitability of your club.

 

Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business advisor, founder, writer and keynote speaker to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter@LindseyRainH2O.

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