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“So, what do you do for a living?”

“I lift things up and put them down.”

If that exchange isn’t ringing a bell, perhaps Planet Fitness’s commercial catchphrases will: “Not his planet, yours.” “No Gymtimidation, no lunks.” “We’re not a gym, we’re planet fitness.” “Lunk alarm.”

These catchphrases are all part of a $10-12m offline marketing campaign by Planet Fitness, the fastest-growing gym in America. 

The TV ads are funny and focused, they have real viral star quality. They’re aimed at the pain points of inactive people, who tend to feel insecure or annoyed by showiness at the gym.

They’re aimed at people who have been uncomfortable at gyms and thought, “This just isn’t for me.”

So far so good on the marketing front. The ads are memorable, targeted and appealing. Unfortunately, when you follow the campaign online, the wheels start to come off.

 

This brings us to lesson one...

1: If you’re going to use offline marketing, make sure you’re ready to receive online interest

The Planet Fitness commercials go after a demographic who are reluctant to be active and/or have had a bad gym experience.

Even if this commercial sparks their interest, they probably won’t go straight to the front desk of their nearest Planet Fitness.

Likelier than not, they’ll go online to research or look for reviews. Naturally, after these commercials, they’ll be wondering: Why is planet fitness not a gym? What’s gymtimidation? What’s a lunk?

The same (bad) thing happens when you search for any of these queries.

The number one result is a Men’s Health article, “Planet Fitness Is Not a Gym,” subtitled, “And it’s stupid to keep pretending it is.” It’s not a complimentary article.

It isn’t until the fourth result that we see Planet Fitness’s domain. The result is the About Us page, which goes to show that there’s no preferred landing page to receive these queries.

What Planet Fitness should have done (and what you should do to optimize your offline marketing efforts) is the following:

  • Start tracking and monitoring keywords that could become popular because of your offline campaign. Think about what viewers will remember and what they will be skeptical about. Generate variations of those queries and begin to refine them as results come in.
  • Create preferred landing pages for important queries. People are going to have questions about your brand, especially if you're galvanizing them with an offline marketing campaign. While you don’t have to create a landing page for every question, an FAQ page probably won’t rank with the answer.

    A good preferred landing page will rank well and move your target audience down the buyer’s journey and closer to a purchase decision.

2: Control your video assets.

What a hilarious planet fitness ad I just saw on TV! I think I’ll go watch it again.

The first video result was uploaded by YouTube user “JasonHadley1” months before the official Planet Fitness channel got around to it.

Planet Fitness, number two on the SERP for its own asset, is losing social equity for its channel. It’s losing likes, plus ones, and other social signals.

Try any number of similar “Planet Fitness commercial” queries, you’ll see that the Planet Fitness account is consistently outranked or not present at all.

Given that 96% of consumers find video useful when buying online, it’s crucial to protect these assets.

Here’s what Planet Fitness should have done (and you should do to optimize your offline marketing efforts):

  • Be the first to upload your video. Make sure it’s optimized with a memorable phrase or action from your video. That way, you get maximal social equity for your channel and you have more control over commenting and engagement.
  • Consider self-hosting your video. By hosting the video on your site, you get valuable traffic and natural links right to your domain. (More on the benefits of self-hosted videos here.)

People are turning more and more to the web to do research before a purchase (particularly the couch potato demographic). Not only that, if an offline marketing campaign has spurred a consumer to investigate online, they’re in a later stage of the buyer’s journey.

It’s just commonsense: if you start a conversation offline, be ready to continue it online. Get the most out of your offline marketing campaigns by carefully coordinating online collateral.

Charity Stebbins

Published 21 March, 2014 by Charity Stebbins

Charity Stebbins is a content strategist at Conductor and a contributor to Econsultancy. Follow her on TwitterGoogle+, or connect with her on LinkedIn.

9 more posts from this author

Comments (11)

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MoneySpyke

I love affiliate Marketing, it's such a good way to make money because you're not only providing people with products relevant to what they're searching for, you're also making Passive Income..

over 2 years ago

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Sahil

You just saved Planet Fitness $1000 of consulting. Great article, thanks for sharing.

over 2 years ago

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Not winning

Yeah, planet fitness is not winning. Their campaign alienates the people who will more than likely want to pay for a gym

they recently scolded a woman for her body being 'too fit' and intimidating to other members and are being sued by a muslim woman about her head covering

There's a petition to boycott the gym here
https://www.change.org/petitions/planet-fitness-boycott-planet-fitness-don-t-pay-to-be-insulted-harassed

dum dum dum dum dum

over 2 years ago

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Voodoo Creative

Great job on looking at how people realistically search for information on the web. Real people are much more about conversational searches, rather than the short "keyword searches" that companies are shooting for.

over 2 years ago

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sam

Planet Fitness is catching up. They are embarking on a massive window-dressing campaign.

Local franchises are buying Facebook likes, purchasing Yelp advertising to suppress negative reviews and giving away free ipads to anyone who write good ones.

The staging of publicity stunts with local television journalists is by far the most brilliant.

We have a front-row seat to the largest window dressing event ever undertaken by a health club chain.

Kick back and enjoy the ride. I believe it will backfire.

The American public aren't as stupid as they used to be.

over 2 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CINO at Fresh Relevance

No, *THIS* is how online looks when the wheels come off - should be pulled and replaced by a redirect to their facebook page. Is it the same organization?
http://planet-fitness.co.uk/

over 2 years ago

Charity Stebbins

Charity Stebbins, Content Strategist at Conductor

Pete...wow, that is pretty dreadful. Looks like a totally different operation with the same name. (Not sure the wheels were really ever on for those guys.)

over 2 years ago

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Mavis FLixar Ohrum

I've been able to successfully sell my high-ticket coaching program using long-form landing pages. My buddy Simon told me they're best used in the sales of high-margin products/services where a lot of information is required in making the purchase decision. The longer the sales page, the more marketing effort goes into producing it, although a solid long-form sales page can be used to sell almost any product/service if executed with top talent. Simon can help you setup long-form sales offers too, and if you're doing any kind of big-ticket sales you should really call him at 615-603-3551.

over 2 years ago

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Jennifer

Good article, John!

over 2 years ago

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Jennifer

Whoops, sorry, meant to write "Good article, Charity!" :)

over 2 years ago

Charity Stebbins

Charity Stebbins, Content Strategist at Conductor

Thanks Jennifer :)

over 2 years ago

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