If you work in the health or fitness industries, the New Year is your go time.
After all, about 60% of people make New Year’s resolutions every year. Of those resolutions, the most common fall within the health and fitness category. It’s the time of year people are more likely to join a gym, eat better, and get fit. January is the best time to own a gym, as about 11% of all new sign-ups come during the first month of the year.
But this year, things could look different.
Earlier in the year, 68% of people reported that they’d be “much less likely” to go to the gym (thanks to the pandemic). The result? A push towards home gyms and exercises people can do at home.
This represents a new opportunity for the health and fitness industries to use creator marketing during New Year’s 2021.
Creator marketing, AKA influencer marketing, is now a $5-$10 billion industry. And there’s more good news: Creator marketing mainly happens online. It’s socially distanced. It’s a perfect avenue for marketing in tune with at-home fitness trends.
There’s just one question: How do you make the classic January/February push around health and fitness with a world still mainly under lockdown?
Here’s how to use creator marketing to do it.
Breaking Through the New Year’s Noise
One of the chief challenges during the New Year is that every other health and fitness marketer out there is working toward the same goal: To capture the audience’s attention wanting to lean into the “New Year, New Me” concept.
A disproportionate amount of gym and personal fitness trainer signups happen in January. For that reason, marketers pay special attention to this time of year.
In other words, there’s going to be a lot of noise to cut through.
The good news is that the struggle is well worth it. According to Bain, even a slight increase in client retention rates after January can create more than 25% profit. And marketers find that creator marketing is incredibly effective, to the tune of 91%.
But since everyone will target customers and clients making health and fitness resolutions in 2021, you need more than that. Creator marketing is significant for two reasons, and if you can optimize both, you stand a good chance of breaking through the noise.
Reason #1: Affordability
One of the reasons creator marketing is so successful is that it gives businesses a chance to speak directly to consumers.
If you can identify the right audience, every dollar you spend will be that much more effective. Consider that in 2019, every $1 spent on creator marketing returned an average earned media value of $5.78. Some companies have even reported up to $18 in media value created.
Ultimately, it depends on how well you research the creators you work with.
Reason #2: Maximum Reach & Impact
The temptation is to identify the creator with the largest audience and launch a primary campaign. But is this the best way forward?
You may find that focusing on creators with smaller followings can sometimes improve your engagement rates. One analysis of over 100,000 creators across multiple platforms found that creators with smaller audiences outperformed those with larger audiences.
This bore out on Instagram in particular. Creators with fewer than 1,000 followers tended to generate almost 7x the engagement rates than those with over 100,000 followers. The smaller creators beat them, 7.2% to 1.1%.
Whatever your approach will be, using creator marketing will help you break through the noise.
Taking the time to identify the right audience means you won’t need to build one of your own. You won’t have to spend money and time building up a traditional email list. You won’t have to invest in your social media audience for years on end.
Reaching out to creators (even those with small audiences) will give you a higher impact from the start.
How to Leverage Creator Marketing in a New Health/Fitness Environment
All of the statistics above are well and good, but what if simply engaging in creator marketing isn’t enough?
After all, the health and fitness market is a $4.2 trillion global industry. That means competition is ramping up and 63% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget next year.
How do you capitalize on the “New Year, New Me” trends while beating the competition looking to accomplish the same things you are? How do you excel in creator marketing if other businesses have the same ideas you do?
One of the best ways to learn is to see what’s already worked before. Here are some examples of ways you can break through the noise as a health/fitness brand.
Focus on Discussion & Community
When Women’s Best teamed up with creator @johannaolinemodin to advertise a pre-workout drink, it made sense. The message was on-brand for both the product and the content creator. It was a smart match between the content creator’s audience and the product.
But as you can see in the post, there was more than just a good match.
Johanna Modin included a caption that was designed to stir discussion within her community. “What type of workouts do you prefer?” asked Modin. “Bodybuilding sessions? HIIT circuits?”
How can you measure engagement? Keep in mind that the average engagement for branded posts on Instagram is approximately 4.3%.
Use this as a rule of thumb as you look for highly engaging creators. Do they also engage with their community? If not, look for creators who do.
Match Your Message to the Content Creator
If you want an advantage during the New Year, now is the time to get started. Start your content creator research now so that you aren’t left searching when it’s almost time to kick off the campaign.
A Mediakix survey found that message matching is one of the most prominent challenges marketers face: About 61% of marketers reported it was difficult to find a good match.
So what makes a good match?
Here’s an example: Hello Fresh teamed with @fitfatandallthat for a sponsored post. The emphasis: Environmental consciousness.
On the surface level, this might not make sense for a home cooking company. But HelloFresh found a good match for one of its unique selling points.
While @fitfatandallthat talked about a year-long resolution to remain environmentally conscious, the link with HelloFresh was obvious: Its pre-portioned ingredients meant minimal food waste. In the post’s caption, other selling points like recyclable packaging put it over the top.
The match worked, and positive comments followed.
Explore New Avenues, Trends, and Content Creators
Health and fitness is a trend-friendly industry, but you’ll never know which trends might match your company unless you do some exploring.
For example, consider the vegan boom, an industry that may be worth up to $20 billion in the next five years.
Creator @notummymommy worked with Native, a deodorant brand, in what might not immediately seem like an ideal match. @notummymommy’s family-focused following, on the surface, has nothing to do with aluminum-free deodorant.
Yet by exploring this avenue, Native found a resonant message: Raising a family is hard work. It’s work that sometimes means sweating.
Suddenly, the 33% discount code for deodorant made sense. This was a match that Native wouldn’t have found if it wasn’t willing to explore new avenues with content creators.
Trust the Creator
Creator marketing is a collaborative effort. If you’re going to leverage creator marketing, you will have to let them have their say eventually.
After all, they’ve taken the time to draw their audience. They’ve curated the content that keeps people engaged. They know what types of posts tend to lead to engagement.
Here are some tips for a positive relationship when working with content creators:
- Be Open to Feedback from Creators: Creators have been there for 100% of their unique audience’s lifetime. If you’re going to create a resonant message, incorporate their feedback. Don’t force-feed your message.
- Collaborate on Offerings: Would their audience appreciate a contest? A discount code? A unique product offering? Collaborate with a content creator to ensure that the message doesn’t only line up with your brand but the specific product on offer.
Creators have been there for 100% of their unique audience’s lifetime. If you’re going to create a resonant message, incorporate their feedback. Don’t force-feed your message.
Utilize a Human Approach Whenever Possible
Creator marketing ultimately comes down to human engagement. According to Mediakix, 75% of marketers use engagement as a measure of success. That makes it “by far the most common metric.”
That may be why 65% of content marketers have a documented strategy in place. Without it, it can be challenging to ascertain which elements generate the most engagement with a creator’s following.
Adweek data suggests that 49.3% of customers make purchases based on a content creator’s recommendations. 44.2% generally trust recommendations from content creators. Simply put, a strong content creator understands this human element and works to create trust with their online community.
So how do you incorporate a more “human” approach in your marketing efforts? Look for content creators who prioritize and have a demonstrated content marketing strategy in building their community.
Content Creator Strategies in Health & Fitness
If you can find the traits listed above in a content creator and collaborator, you’re on your way.
But what about specific practices in health and fitness that will help you build a campaign for a “New Year, New Me” approach?
Health & Fitness Require a High-Trust Approach
Anyone investing in their health and fitness needs to know that they’re buying from someone they trust. That’s why fostering long-term relationships, whenever possible, will be vital to your success.
In one report, 21.7% of brands found that long-term relationships with “ambassadors” were the most useful collaboration styles.
You don’t have to have a long-term relationship with your audience just yet, but it’s always a good idea to seek out creators who do have trust with their audience.
Content creator marketing is so important in health and fitness because it requires long-term trust. When you access a creator with a trusting audience, your brand will have immediate access to that same connection.
Consumers also need confidence in seeing the health and fitness products being used by someone else.
According to the same report, “For products with long-term effects (like supplements), consumers would need to see influencers using the products referencing benefits they’ve already had.”
Fostering Personal Connections
Not every long-term relationship a creator has with their audience is a trusting one.
First and foremost, users care about whether a creator is authentic with them. 49.6% of influencers have even reported that their followers most care about authenticity. This spills over into the importance consumers place on personal recommendations: Over 80% of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends or family.
It might seem impossible for a newer brand to access this kind of trust on the surface, especially in the health and fitness industries, but creators have already developed these connections. And they’re more important than ever.
Look for creators who foster a sense of community with their followers. When you evaluate the creators you might work with, look for the following:
- Their Interaction Level: Does this creator engage with commenters positively? Do creators seem aware of their audience and routinely engage with them online?
- Their Content Style: For instance, Q+A posts are popular on Instagram, YouTube, and other interactive platforms. Look for creators who make a point of developing these two-way conversations rather than throwing up content and hoping for the best.
- Valuing Their Community: Does the creator routinely give back to their audience or make them feel valued?
You don’t necessarily have to find a creator who does all of the above, but these will be solid indications that you’re working with a creator who’s developed trust with their audience.
Today’s digital world can generate as much trust as old-fashioned word-of-mouth recommendations. Healthcare statistics point to 84% of today’s consumers trusting online reviews even more than personal recommendations.
In short: A digital community can feel just like an offline community, and that puts content creators in the spotlight for health and fitness.
How to Get Started with Creator Marketing
Given the above, what’s the best way to get started with creator marketing?
Thoroughly Research the Best Match for Your Brand
We’ve already reviewed the reasons not to seek out creators with the largest followings because you’ll get much more engagement from your marketing dollar if you seek the best match possible.
That leaves one question: How do you do it?
- Identify the Most Engaging Creators in Your Field: The key here is how you measure engagement. The number of followers isn’t enough here. Look for engagement rates above platform averages; for instance, look for creators who beat Instagram’s average engagement rates of 4% in branded posts.
- Embrace Small-Scale Creators with High Engagement Rates: Creators with large followings will indeed give you access to broader audiences. But maybe that’s not your goal. Small-scale creators routinely deliver higher engagement rates. Start by seeking out the smaller-scale creators who are a better match for your brand.
- Align Your Goals with Your Strategy: In the creator marketing examples above, you saw companies who expertly matched their goals with their strategy. Your own health/fitness efforts should do the same. Look for creators who have advertised similar products before and done so effectively.
Use Creator Marketing as a Source of Feedback
If you’re not learning, you’re stagnating. That’s as true in creator marketing as it is anywhere else.
Consider the example of Sara Blakely of SPANX. In the early days of the company, she would use her outreach to ask broad feedback questions. Any time she had access to an audience, she was learning.
By the time she was ready to take her brand to a broader audience, her products had already been through several rounds of feedback. SPANX was prepared for the masses. The result is what seemed like an overnight hit.
But on closer examination, Blakely’s strategy was to continually adapt her strategy until she achieved a close alignment between product and audience.
How can you do the same? Measure the feedback anytime you run a creator marketing campaign. Learn from your successes as well as your failures. Then use that feedback the next time around.
Get Started with a Capable Platform
How do you know if you have a high-quality platform? #Paid, for example, meets the criteria you should layout for yourself:
- Effective Ways to Find Creators: At #Paid, for example, creators are pre-selected and vetted, so you’re free to browse through creators with ease. This will speed up your research process and make it possible to sort through the best matches with a few clicks.
- Quick Managing/Launching for the Campaign: If you’re going to use your campaigns as a way to gather feedback with your audience, it helps if campaigns are easy to run.
- Incorporate Creator Feedback: Remember that this is a collaborative effort. At #Paid, it’s possible to review creator pitches. This gives you access to their expertise before you make a selection.
Creator Marketing in a Unique Year for Health/Fitness
2021 will be unlike any other year when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. It won’t be a year of mass attendance at the gyms—it will be an at-home adventure. That opens opportunities for health and fitness brands of all kinds.
Those brands plugged into creator marketing by the time the New Year hits will be uniquely positioned to the at-home audience. And you won’t have to wait to build an audience. You can capture an already-curated community fostered by creators.
How do you get started? Sign up to #Paid to begin browsing the creator marketing experts who are well-positioned to help your brand.