One of the things I find so fascinating working in digital marketing is how quickly a trend can blow up the social sphere. I’ve seen it happen time and time again on Instagram, particularly in the weight loss industry. I’ll readily admit that I’ve been sucked into most of these fads at some point, including drinking some foul ‘teatoxes’ and attempting ‘Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide’. My latest venture is ‘The Body Coach 90 Day Shape Shift Sustain Plan’.
It’s unlikely that you haven’t heard of Joe Wicks, who is the mastermind behind ‘The Body Coach’. His recipe book, ‘Lean in 15’, topped the Amazon bestseller chart for weeks and his 90 Day SSS Plan has been sold to tens of thousands of customers since it was created two years ago. More recently, Joe announced that he will be running a TV show based on the plan’s principles – and all this from someone who has put a total of zero pounds into paid promotion since starting his business. According to an interview, he made £1.3 million in his first year alone, reaching a staggering £12 million in his second year, with a 90% profit margin.
How has The Body Coach become an internet phenomenon?
I wanted to break down exactly what Joe has done to build an empire from scratch in such a short space of time, in order for us to replicate his tactics for our clients.
While it might be the 90 Day SSS Plan that is raking in the cash at £150 per person, it is his #LeanIn15 videos which have gained him global recognition. Joe has been posting these 15-second recipe videos twice a day since starting his Instagram, each following the same format. This isn’t the only content he pushes out, though; on Instagram alone he posts around 10 times a day, with other channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat, getting their own regular unique content.
Consistent content establishes authority and credibility, it builds brand awareness and engages your audience; all of which ultimately results in lead generation and new customers. By continually pushing out consistent content, Joe has managed to establish himself as a leader in the fitness and nutrition industry. His followers can rely on him to post daily content that advises and educates, giving them an actual reason to follow and engage. The content he posts also follows a similar theme each day, so there are no unexpected surprises on his feed.
It is not enough these days to just push out any old content; it needs to engage your audience and stand out from the crowd. Content that doesn’t demand engagement gets ignored and forgotten, making it a waste of time for both you and the reader.
Scrolling through The Body Coach’s Instagram feed reveals a number of ‘double tap’ or ‘tag a friend’ captions, where Joe encourages his followers to essentially promote his posts for him. When he’s not instructing engagement, he’s asking questions, like whether his followers want to see a recipe for a ‘Lean In 15’ post or if they fancy his latest foodie creation.
He also frequently runs user-generated social competitions and Twitter polls, and shares images of customers with their ‘Lean In 15’ books. He uses live video streaming and Snapchat to give an insight into his daily life and workout routines while his YouTube workout videos allow followers to participate in workouts ‘with’ Joe. Those who tweet him can expect a retweet or a reply, and users of his #LeanIn15 hashtag will often have their posts liked or commented on by Joe. Over on his blog, he answers common questions his followers have with content like his top 10 breakfast ideas or his guide to protein powder.
Of course, all of this takes time and effort – but it is such an important step in building loyal fans, so is well worth doing. Someone who has committed to engaging with a brand will feel invested in the relationship and will feel motivated to continue these interactions – either by continually engaging via social channels or by purchasing products and services.
Considering Joe Wicks makes a living selling his content, he sure seems to give a lot of it away for free. His Instagram and blog are full of ‘Lean In 15’ recipes, which could potentially discourage people from buying his book while his YouTube channel is full of workouts that are featured in his 90 Day Plan. He even offers a free 14-day lean guide – if you sign up for his newsletter, of course.
It would be entirely possible to follow a self-guided version of his plan, yet people still buy his book and sign up to the plan. It completely negates that old saying, why buy the cow if the milk is free?
Well, if the milk is that good, why wouldn’t people want to buy the cow?
Free content has two purposes: to establish yourself as an industry expert and to generate leads. Giving away quality content for free acts as a ‘try before you buy’ method. It builds trust with your audience and gives them the reassurance that they’re not being scammed if they do sign up. It’s like a free trial, and once customers have faith in the product, they don’t mind paying the full price – often at a higher price point than what they would be prepared to pay had they not received a free trial.
Joe Wicks might have millions of customers, but the level of care he shows to his followers has remained consistently high no matter what his follower count. Those following the 90 Day SSS Plan get their own dedicated coach who answers any questions they might have, and Joe himself listens to feedback via Instagram comments and tweets – often answering them in video form on his social media platforms or via his website blog.
A really simple and effective way Joe deals with customer queries is by creating an interactive online FAQ section on the 90 Day SSS portal; this gives the customer control and reduces the need for customer service, without leading to customer frustration.
By providing effective solutions to customer problems, often before these problems are experienced, Joe creates a positive customer experience and builds an audience of loyal fans. It is no surprise that 60% of his leads come from word of mouth referrals!
Using customer testimonials as a marketing tool is really effective for generating sales because it substantiates your claims and makes your product or service seem credible. Testimonials are also unbiased and often relatable – particularly in the case of The Body Coach. The 90 Day SSS results and testimonials Joe shares are usually long winded, giving detailed insight into the customer’s struggles and back story. This, coupled with a positive review, works by getting potential customers to think, “If they can do it, why can’t I?” The accompanying visual showing off the results is just the cherry on top of a well-iced cake – a cake that everyone wants a piece of.
Relevant brand endorsements
Something I’ve never liked about traditional marketing is the tendency to pair any celebrity with a brand, despite how irrelevant they might be to the brand’s image and target audience. Endorsements are getting much more savvy in the digital world, and Joe Wicks is collaborating with all the right brands, making ‘The Body Coach’ more and more influential.
Notable endorsements of his include superfood brand of the decade, Lucy Bee coconut oil, healthy lifestyle brand, Holland & Barrett, and New York bagels – the latter even inspiring a series of blogger collaborations, where food and health bloggers designed their own build-up bagel, a staple on the 90 Day Plan.
Working with relevant brands helps to increase your own reach, by capitalising on your partner’s audience. However, it only works when their audience has the same interests and tastes as your desired audience – use an unrelated endorsement, and at best you add no value, at worst you confuse the brand message you’re putting out and can lose your existing audience.
The importance of great content
It is hardly shocking that most of these principles point to one thing: good content. After all, I’m sure the phrase ‘Content is King’ is ingrained into the minds of anyone who has worked in digital marketing for even a short period of time.
Good content informs and educates, it entertains and drives engagement. It differentiates your brand from others by creating a clear brand voice, and it allows you to establish yourself as an industry leader. Content can evoke emotions and create a connection with a brand, driving customer loyalty and building brand communities. When customers identify with a brand, they are motivated to purchase from them no matter what better (or cheaper) alternatives there are. Often, content marketing – particularly that on social – is neglected because a direct ROI cannot be measured, but as ‘The Body Coach’ has proven, it is a powerful tool in building up a customer base and encouraging long-term profit, if not direct sales.