Blink Fitness’ SVP of marketing talks pivoting amid the pandemic and the power of influencer marketing

When Blink Fitness needed to quickly shut its doorways on the peak of the pandemic, the corporate shortly shifted its focus to the place shoppers had been: on-line.

We not too long ago spoke with Michelle Horowitz, senior vice chairman and head of promoting and communications at Blink Fitness, in regards to the on-line exercise courses the corporate started providing final yr as a method to maintain members engaged, the position that influencers proceed to play in its advertising efforts, and the channels that work finest for the model.

What did Blink study from 2020?

2020 was an unprecedented expertise, and we’ve undoubtedly seen an acceleration into the digital age for the trade. We spent the primary few months of the yr previous to COVID-19 with a very completely different advertising plan. So, we needed to utterly pivot and reprioritize our focus.

The shift with gymnasium closures that occurred in mid-March 2020 was additionally unprecedented for our enterprise, which primarily relied on the footprints of retail and our 100-plus gyms. Loads of the shift actually went to rethinking how we share our digital content material, and it gave us a possibility to be revolutionary. Less than every week after we closed, we launched an internet health class, referred to as “Get Up & Blink,” that we did day by day on Facebook. It was created by our private trainers, and every day we had a unique coach deal with a unique train, from yoga to weightlifting. We did that 5 occasions every week and noticed an amazing affect. It was primarily targeted on partaking and retaining our present membership base, however we opened it as much as all people. We reached almost 1.9 million individuals and are persevering with to take action. Now it occurs twice every week.

We even have an app that launched in 2019, and it has turn into an amazing car for us to remain engaged with our membership base, in addition to to ask new members to hitch.

Tell us extra about Blink’s cell app.

There are three elements to the app: health, vitamin, and a element we name “restoration.” We took content material that was produced by Blink—in addition to some standard health companions like Aaptiv and Daily Burn—and included all of these on the app. Members may use the app to enter the gymnasium, so it is a frictionless and contactless expertise.

Additionally, we have launched two new merchandise. One is a reservation system for our busier gyms, which permits individuals to consider after they need to are available. We additionally permit individuals to learn the way busy their gymnasium is. Essentially, it’s a capability tracker that we have tied into the app. We need to make individuals really feel snug coming into the gymnasium and permit them the liberty to plan their expertise. The app was all the time necessary, but it surely was secondary. Obviously, on the time of its creation, there weren’t plans for the capability tracker and reservation; that every one got here out of this time of uncertainty.

Is the app out there solely to members, or is there a capability to purchase a standalone subscription for those who’re not presently a Blink Fitness member?

There shall be a digital model of the app you could buy as one of many membership alternatives, we’re simply not there but. We nonetheless have a three-day free trial the place individuals can bounce on, join, and expertise the app.

Shifting gears, influencers have turn into an enormous a part of Blink’s advertising technique. Can you converse to how the corporate is specializing in this specific channel?

I’ll step again a bit and say that our content material technique has actually turn into the spine of our advertising and promoting technique. It’s giving us the liberty to deal with particular viewers segments and inside related channels.

We realized that lots of our micro-influencers have their very own followers and those who depend on them for route on their wellness journey. By partaking with these influencers, we’re actually targeted on making Blink central to that neighborhood. If we dig a bit deeper into physique inclusivity, we’re actually taking a look at influencers at quite a lot of phases of their life with completely different rationale for coming to the gymnasium. They might need to drop some weight, they might need to achieve tone, or they merely simply need to have enjoyable.

It’s actually about how you’re feeling versus the way you look. Our influencers acknowledge that going to the gymnasium and understanding can typically be intimidating—particularly for people who find themselves initially of their journey, and they do not know the right way to start. Often for girls, the burden coaching space of the gymnasium may be scary. So, serving to them soften and ease individuals into the gymnasium expertise is necessary.

Is there any channel that you simply’ve seen essentially the most success on so far?

I do not imagine one channel in and of itself can work effectively. They can exist, but it surely’s when issues work in tandem—whether or not you name it the flywheel impact or power multiplying—that is after we get a few of our greatest outcomes.

We have optimized every of our channels going from social to electronic mail to even pay [for] efficiency, which is working at a a lot greater degree than it has prior to now. We attempt to deal with creating built-in storytelling. It’s all actually threaded collectively, reasonably than us taking a look at every of the channels individually. That stated, throughout the board, we have seen large enchancment in our channels—notably electronic mail and social—and we proceed to iterate and discover. We only recently launched on TikTok, which we’re tremendous enthusiastic about, and it actually provides us a possibility to authentically attain individuals on that channel.

We’re open to exploring and constructing on the channels that we’re presently on. And that goes again to our content material technique, together with how we take a look at particular viewers segments and use these channels to succeed in individuals. It’s the basic march to the client: proper message, proper time, proper channel.

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