21 years ago, the world-wide-web and applications such as Skype, Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist. Now they are ‘must haves’ for anyone in the Australian health and fitness industry or they risk economic failure.
Fitness Australia, a national health and fitness industry association claim that one-in-ten fitness organisations decreased in size during the 2008-2009 financial year. Some 27 percent of businesses claimed to have made a loss. This, the organisation stated in its 2008 Fitness Industry Profile Report, was due to industry professionals not being able to find suitable marketing opportunities. They also faced too much competition and were paying high advertising costs and overheads.
Fabian Di Marco, founder and director of the health and supplement site Build My Body and a social media and performance manager for a digital advertising agency, says that failure in the health and fitness industry is common. This is because professionals don’t know how to present themselves and their information and then get this out into the market.
“People in the digital age expect all things to be accessible, easy, and fast. Traditionally, the fitness industry has been none of those, and it’s still one of the slowest adopters,” Di Marco said. “This is largely because most people begin with their fitness and health product or service and then try to replicate this online. This is the wrong way to go about things and explains the limited success.”
Di Marco feels that success in today’s market is about reversing traditional thinking.
“Every personal trainer or nutritionist thinks they can just set up a website or Facebook page, do some SEO, and the world will change. It’s not their fault, they just don’t know better,” he said. “What we, my business partner and I, have done is to reverse that process. By understanding the digital behavior of our audience we then design our business model around this.”
Ray Kelly, an exercise physiologist who has worked on the television program The Biggest Loser and with a number of Australian athletes, has seen technology change the Australian health and fitness industry over his time. And he has learned to adapt.
“I’ve been in the industry for 20 years,” said Kelly. “Technology has had a positive impact on my business with everything I do from marketing to training. It allows me to be competitive with bigger companies that would have in the past had the higher-end market to themselves.”
Kelly, owner and manager of the Cardiff Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Centre, in Newcastle, believes that fitness industry professionals need to embrace technology to present information to their target audience or they risk being left behind.
“It is a very competitive market and technology helps to keep costs down, allowing you to provide a higher standard of service to your clients,” he said.
Alison Cavill, a certified personal trainer who began her business Fit Fantastic in June of 2011, and who is now a brand ambassador for Rockwear Australia, says that success in a highly competitive market comes from getting your business message out and thinking global.
“My business has flourished without me paying a cent due to the ability to advertise and promote the business, and get ideas through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other internet tools,” Cavill said. “It’s the ability to connect worldwide and have your message promoted through others such as re-tweeted messages, sharing links and the building of communities and groups,” she said.
For Cavill and other innovative thinkers in the health and fitness industry, there are no boundaries to economic development, if you present yourself and your business information well and harness the power of technology.
Video Source: Logan Nathan | YouTube