by Matt Weik
When you think of all of the marketing money that is being spent in the dietary supplement industry, there is one marketing strategy that I think more dietary supplement brands would benefit from. What marketing strategy am I talking about? They are community events.
You see brands running all kinds of Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads, but what are they doing to REALLY engage with their audience? I’ll answer you – next to nothing. Yes, they pat them on the buttocks and virtually high-five on social media, but that’s not a really meaningful experience. If brands want to step in front of their audience and build brand loyalty, they need to physically put themselves in front of their audience.
Sure, you could say booths at shows like the Arnold Classic and Olympia are a great way to get a brand off the ground in front of a lot of eyeballs, but the tricky part is that it’s not personable. I don’t care how much you say you connect with your fans and audience at trade shows, you really aren’t. You move the lines as fast as you can like you are herding cattle.
If you want a long lasting, monumental experience, you have to go to the community. It’s a time when no other brands are competing for everyone’s attention.
What kind of community events should brands consider?
There are several ways to set up community events. The reason I feel like not many brands are doing what I’m about to mention is that it takes time, planning, and money. But even so, they have no problem spending nearly $ 100,000 a month on online advertising. I think it’s a great way to differentiate yourself from the other brands that are trying to get their customers’ attention.
I would recommend the following …
Demos for gyms and major nutritional supplements
This is nothing new (and probably one of the more boring examples we’ll discuss), but I’m seeing fewer and fewer supplement brands setting them up. Most of the time, it seems like retailers are asking for brands to come out, but it falls on deaf ears. What better way to introduce your brand and products to an audience than with a demo where you can try a variety of products and increase sales at a specific gym or retailer? In addition, you can educate people about why they need your products.
It creates loyalty not only with customers but also with the gyms and retailers to show that dietary supplement brands support them and want their products to be sold on-site rather than having the owners and employees push products, just to remove them from the store shelves or cool boxes.
Even remember to take an action during the demo days. And don’t forget to promote the event. Diet supplement brands shouldn’t just drop it on the shoulders of the gym or retailer to advertise and get the word out. Spread it on social media, send it to your email lists, call it up from the mountaintop if you have to – just make it a buzz around the event.
One type of community event that I think is really cool is workout meetings. This is exactly what it sounds like – a meeting where you can train with your audience. One brand that does this great is Animal. They run ABC events which are their Animal Barbell Club. This is a great idea and it builds a community around the brand and brand loyalty.
At almost every big show like the Arnold Classic or the Olympia, they host an ABC event where everyone has the chance to work out with them at a local gym in the area. Throughout the year, they also host various ABC events in different cities and invite people to join them. Some are local while some driving lessons are just to be part of the event. It’s a cool culture that they create with these types of community events.
The last community event I’d like to see more brands go to are parties. Yeah, I’m talking about big brawls that get a lot of people in. While not a “supplement brand,” Natural Body does a good job in New York. NutraBio stepped in and also held some events.
Speaking of NutraBio, let’s touch it a little and this might actually be the fourth community event on the list, but I’d love to see supplement brands running tours. While I understand that some brands don’t want to divulge their secrets, NutraBio has no problem opening their doors and giving anyone who visits the facility the grand tour of the facility and allowing them to step by step through the manufacturing process watch (which I personally think is really cool).
Back on the topic, parties bring out huge groups of people. Mention that you have freebies, food, drinks, swag, cake (you have to have cake … Mmmmm) and maybe even some special guests and make something big yourself.
This is a supplement brand’s opportunity to mingle with their fans and customers. Get the branding team out, make the local sales team for the region, make the marketing team, invite distributors, invite retailers. Of course, everyone has to pay for their own way, but make it a big deal. Go above and beyond to make it a memorable one. It’s best to talk to everyone who is there. These are the people who buy the products and they may have some great ideas that you can implement into the brand to help them grow. After all, you want to make sure you are giving your customers what they want in order to keep them loyal, right? This is a win-win situation for everyone involved.