“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.