McFIT Strengthens Its Digital Fitness with Yext
“For many of our members, the path to attaining the body they want begins on the Internet. That’s because those who are looking for a fitness studio can usually get an initial overview of what’s available in the city online. Therefore, it’s crucial for us to be as visible as possible in the digital environment and to provide correct and complete information across all platforms. With Yext as our partner, we are ideally placed to do just that.”
With more than 280 branches and over 1.7 million registered members, McFIT Global Group GmbH is the largest fitness provider in Europe. In addition to other brands from the lifestyle, fashion, and fitness segment, the company comprises the three studio chains McFIT, High5, and JOHN REED. The brand now has locations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. The secret behind its tremendous success lies in continuous innovation: As the first fitness studio chain, McFIT eliminated expensive additional services and fully focused on helping its members train successfully. Later on, the company also developed unique training concepts such as the digital course program known as CYBEROBICS®.
McFIT is also a pioneer in digital marketing. There is a huge amount of competition between fitness studios, especially in big cities. And if they want to come out on top, prospective customers need to be able to find them quickly and easily. A high level of organic visibility for each location is therefore particularly important. However, given its large number of locations, it was a time-consuming challenge for McFIT to maintain and keep all of the information on the growing number of relevant third-party platforms up to date. Only the introduction of Yext has made it possible for the company to centrally manage all of the data.
Consistency Across All Platforms
At the beginning of the collaboration in December 2017, McFIT wanted to update its listings. Furthermore, all the location data that had previously been separately managed as well as attributes such as offered courses or social media links were imported into Yext’s Knowledge Manager so that the McFIT marketing staff could centrally manage them. Via the Yext Knowledge Network, they are then synchronized with all of the important digital channels – from search engines, map services and social media platforms through to rating portals, language assistants and address directories. By integrating the Yext Knowledge Tags into its website, McFIT also ensures that the data on its own location-specific subpages is always up to date and easy to process for visitors to the page. After almost one and a half years, McFIT now has 25,000 managed listings. In addition, about 40 percent of the address entries listed online were incorrect and have already been corrected completely.
“Digital marketing was already important to us when many other fitness studio chains were still recruiting new members offline. That’s why we have always seen ourselves as a pioneer in this field. When Yext approached us, we quickly realized the solution’s added value — and went on to buy the full range of functions,” says Hauke Hagen, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at McFIT. “During the initial Knowledge Manager inventory, we found that 40 percent of the addresses stored on third-party platforms were incorrect, and 12 percent of the entries didn’t have a link to the website. Both could be corrected with very little effort. However, with its local search feature, Google remains the most important platform for us. Thanks to Yext, we were able to increase our visibility here: When we compare the first quarter of 2017 with the first quarter of 2018, we generated 33 percent more customer interactions (directions, website clicks and calls).
What Has Members Talking?
McFIT doesn’t just depend on Yext Listings; rather, it recognizes the value of the provider’s other solutions right from the start. The social media team uses Yext Reviews to carry out competition and rating analyses. Every quarter, approximately 50,000 ratings of McFIT branches appear on various third-party platforms — and these have a significant influence on the company’s reputation.
With Yext, McFIT can systematically monitor and evaluate this immense amount of data for the first time. Yext Reviews reveals the categories in which individual McFIT branches perform better or worse than their local competitors. The solution also provides content analyses. Using keyword lists, it identifies recurring topics in the reviews and compiles summaries. This makes it possible to quantify problems and support internal discussions (e.g. about the need for new course offers) with data.
“These days, a consistent brand experience is a key factor in positioning yourself against local competition at different locations,” says Martin Meyer, Head of Marketing at JOHN REED. “With Yext, we are able to fine-tune our company profile and centrally analyze the impact of our campaigns with relative ease. This way, we always know how our branches are perceived and where we have to act if necessary.”
Ideally Positioned for the Future
“We are very proud to have the European market leader in fitness as one of our customers,” says Michael Hartwig, Managing Partner Central Europe at Yext. “McFIT has long been outstanding in digital marketing and recognized the importance of digital knowledge management at an early stage. Together, we have succeeded in making the management of digital knowledge more efficient, ensuring consistency on all platforms and increasing the organic visibility of the company locations.”
For the fitness studio market leader, however, it’s not only about current challenges, but also about the future. Nico Hartwig, Head of International Marketing at McFIT, makes this clear: “We are now witnessing the rise of new technologies such as voice search. These will change marketing in many ways, and companies need to prepare for this. As an innovation leader and thought leader in the field of digital knowledge management, Yext is a partner that can provide significant support in this regard. We are therefore convinced that the partnership not only helps us in operating our business, but also brings a strong strategic advantage.”