Thursday, January 27, 2011

Internet Fitness Marketing: How to Smell the BS - Part 1

This post is bound to piss off many fitness marketers. And although I don't call myself an expert on  internet marketing, I find myself rather proficient at smelling BS when its around.

Marketing has been around for ages. Its part of consumerism in this great country. The only way you are going to sell a product to someone is to attract that potential buyer by luring them into a structured web of belief. The two biggest marketing scams out there have to do with 2 things: making money and losing fat. 

How do they lure consumers? It's actually a science. As I disclose this, I will probably be hated by many...and some may say, "Here he goes again". Truth is,  there are honest marketing strategies and there are devious marketing strategies. 

The belief is everyone that doesn't have money, wants some. And those that have money, well...they want more. Same with fitness: those that are overweight, want to be skinny. Those without muscles, want muscles...and so on and so forth. The perception is happiness. If your personal training business can generate $20,000 in 3 months, that will make you happy. Why will it make you happy? It will make you happy because it will afford you more time to spend living life. And that is what we all want to do. We want to enjoy life by buying the things that make us happy, going to the places that make us happy, and spend time with the people that make us happy. So you can see happiness is really an easy sell because everyone wants it. But not everyone is willing to work hard for it. And marketers know this. And this is what fuels the relentlessly that is internet marketing. 

So how do they make so much money? Well, for one its all about sharing. Mastermind meetings are designed to put a bunch of hopeful internet millionaires in one room and consolidate consumer information. For instance, if I invite 10 of my friends to a meeting and ask each of them to bring their list of names; this would get the ball rolling. A list of names is simply a list of one's potential customers' contact info including email addresses. If each of my friends have a list made up of 5,000 names each and we combine all of them---that would make our list 50,000. That is alot of contact info. That's the first part. The second part is creating a brand. 

A niche is typically defined as what you are good at. Something that is all yours and is definitive to the target market you plan to attract. A brand is a distinctive mark. How do you make that mark? Its all in the numbers. No, not the dollar numbers, but in how many people can you get to say the same thing. The more people that say the same thing; the more likely you are going to believe it to be true. Similarly,  the more times you hear it, the more you will remember it and also believe it to be true.

Do you know what the greatest trick every played on mankind was? The greatest trick the devil ever pulled on man is convincing him he didn't exist! Fitness marketers do the same thing. Mastermind meetings that cost anywhere from $500-$1800 often promote revealing secrets to making millions overnight with bootcamps, fat loss formulas, or muscle building programs. However, the mastermind groups are set up to do six things:

1.) Develop a product or brand - usually a recycled product with few modifications since first roll-out
2.) Identify the target customer - here is where the mile long sales copy is generated
3.) Merge all email lists together to make one master list
4.) Publish sales copy - videos and stock photos work well here
5.) Create all scripts and distribute - getting everyone to say the same thing is PARAMOUNT
6.) Coordinate the attack!

Coordinating the attack is crucial to the success or failure of a product launch. If not enough people--and the right people--are not saying the same thing which consists of hyping up the product for sale-- than the perception will not be effective. If the perception is not effective,  the product will not sell. The objective is to get as many people saying the same thing over and over and over again. Repetition leads to belief.

What is the different between the perception and the real? Truth is, many fitness professionals in our industry are real. There are some that I buy from every time they develop a product. Why do I continuous buy products from these professionals when they market by the same means? Because their livelihood is based on what they do--not by what they sell. I would say that under half of the fitness products developed every year are created by marketers that do not even train others for a living. I will repeat: 50% of the products that will be made in 2011 will be made by people that do not train others for a living. Their product has been tried and tested on one person: themselves!  

So why would you want o buy a product from someone that doesn't train others everyday. In essence, when you buy someone's product, you are asking them to train you. Would you want to accept a doctor to perform brain surgery on you; if he never actually did it and only wrote about it in journals? My guess is no.

I can go all day with this post. But the message is clear. Before you actually press the "Buy Now" button on any product, make sure it comes from a professional that you know has a reputation to develop quality products and because his affiliates actually believe in it. 

Rule of thumb: The hype surrounding a product should manifest weeks AFTER a product launch. Not before. If a product is good, it will be talked about, posted, mentioned, and recommended by other buyers. When the hype precedes the product's trial--chances are its just good marketing.


  1. Unfortunate fault in their marketing is that they think they are selling happiness, when they are really selling pleasure. Let me emphasize the essential difference between happiness and pleasure. Because of physiological saturation mechanisms, pleasure is a state that cannot be sustained: whatever the pleasure you derive from eating a good meal when you are hungry, once your belly is full, the pleasure dissipates--however much you try to eat additionally. Or in other words the usage of "quick fix" marketed faulty exercise products, services, etc.

    Happiness, on the other hand, is often defined as the balance of pleasure and pain over an extended period. Another common measure is life satisfaction, i.e. the degree to which you are pleased with your life as a whole. Because of the saturation mechanisms above, there is no easy way to increase happiness by increasing the amount of pleasure you get.

    Empirical studies find that the successful pursuit of happiness is actually antithetical to such instant gratification. Happiness depends on your overall life or activity pattern, i.e. the way you interact with the people and environment around you. Happy people are those that are autonomous, free, feel in control, are involved in social groups and projects, have a sense of purpose or goal-directedness, feel part of a larger whole, get the material and social support they need... All of these require investment of energy for the long term and broad scale, not immediate, individual satisfaction.

    So concluding, if they are truly focused on buying things to make them happy, going places to make them happy, etc etc, the public will eventually expose them for what they are. Sellers of short-term pleasure (ie drug dealers and prostitutes)

  2. John,

    Speaking as someone who trains, and has products for sale: Spot on. I AM part of a mastermind (training, not Internet Marketing) and one of the things we were talking about just this past weekend is that you see so many of these trainer/marketers who are DESPERATE to never train another client.


    You know, if you want to be just a marketer, that's cool. But don't portray yourself as a trainer.

    If I own a company selling toilets, then I can hire salespeople and everything else to market my toilets. I don't need to pretend, nor have them pretend, that they're engineers and spend most of their time in the lab designing better toilets (a huge market in Japan, strangely enough). Nobody buying a toilet expects me to have built it.

    But in the fitness business (online) we see people spitting out launch after launch, month after month all while pretending to be trainers. Why so many products? Because their products suck. They hype them, get a bunch of buyers/affiliates, and then it all dies off. So next month they need to do it all over again.

    I'd much rather have a handful of great products that I can point to and say "I made this" proudly that still sell this year, next year, and the year after.

    All of this while still doing what I really love in this business: Training the best group of clients ever.

    Then again, what do I know? I'm just a country boy.



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