Written by: Richard Fong
Published on September 10, 2020
Published on September 10, 2020
If you’re selling in sports and fitness, the craze around Peloton has probably made your jaw drop at least once over the past few years.
Whether it was over their controversial holiday ad or the dedication of their raving fan base, there’s one thing every fitness business has to admit: Peloton is winning, and they have the numbers to prove it.
Ranking 176 in the world for Sports, with 2.9 million visitors per month and over $700 million revenue earned in 2019 -- Peloton has become the brand to beat.
Here at Bliss Drive we’re known for reverse-engineering the best strategies for our clients. For the first time ever, we’re going to invite you in on a part of that process.
Today we’re diving deep into what’s really working for Sports and Fitness industry businesses like Peloton.
Peloton was founded in 2012 when founder John Foley had an idea, “What if studio fitness could happen in the home?”
Fed up with the struggle to balance fitness classes with busy work and family life, John and his team of co-founders departed on a journey that would change millions of lives. They brought hardware, software, world-class instruction, and content together into one machine & app combo. Seven years later, they hit a $700 million dollar year with an IPO valuation at $8.1 billion.
Talk about proof of concept.
So, there’s no wonder why any business providing sports and fitness equipment or tech would want to take a page out of Peloton’s book.
While it seems like Peloton is everywhere these days, it appears there are 3 critical pieces to their marketing & brand explosion.
1. Viral Campaigns
2. Public Relations
3. Last but certainly not least, SEO
Like most modern companies, Peloton is all about using brand awareness to drive prospective clients back to their website. The majority of their traffic is either direct or from search, but they do use PPC in some situations to beef up the volume.
But how exactly do they split those marketing dollars up to be so effective?
That’s what we’re going to find out.
The majority of Peloton’s traffic comes from search and direct traffic, with some PPC to boot, but don’t let the small number of referrals, social, and direct fool you. It all works together, starting with brand recognition.
The reason we said that is because the majority of their traffic being direct means a couple of things:
1. Their name recognition is huge. People know their website’s URL.
2. Their users are probably logging in through their website (which we did confirm is true in this case).
With that being said, their brand awareness strategy had to be strong and intentional to build this kind of activity on their site, even if the referral numbers are low currently. It just means they’ve been consistent enough to over the years to compound into a larger brand profile.
Their backlink profile proves this without a shadow of a doubt at 172,000 backlinks pointing back to their domain (with over 130k Dofollow links in that batch):
Not to mention the fact that their top keywords are branded:
Peloton was obviously very purposeful about making sure their name was known, and remembered.
So, how do we repeat the results?
You may have heard that the best way to remember a new associate’s name is to say it, right? Well the advice works both ways. If you want other people to remember your name (or your brand in this case), make sure they’re talking about it.
Peloton holds no punches in implementing this for their own moniker:
The #1 word in Peloton’s playbook is RELEVANCE. Meaning, as long as people are talking about them, the sky’s the limit.
Take a look at how they do it:
Anyone who knows Peloton knows they’re all about community building and influencer marketing, so it’s no surprise when mentions like these show up in their referrals.
You’ll see everything from donating to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in a time of social crisis, to running a giveaway contest, to flat out offering a 90-day free trial during a pandemic when people need home-based fitness relief. The key takeaway here is that Peloton gets noticed by showing up in conversations that are already relevant to their user base.
They understand that even if they’re not the focal point of every conversation, you can only hear “Peloton” so many times before hopping on Google to see what they’re about.
This makes it easy for them to garner a wide-netted backlink profile from all types of outlets and referral sources. It also helps them build a social responsibility profile that creates loyalty in their customer base who shop based on values. So not only are they getting attention and mentions, but they’re also getting loyal fans in the process.
Though Peloton may pay special attention to current events, influencers and community building, they still stay true to form when it comes to their promise to deliver a great instructional experience for their users.
The content that gets the highest engagement for them is in the “How-To Article” base, with reviews following closely behind.
And we’re guessing most of those reviews are based on YouTube, from this chart of some of their top referral sources.
So, so far we have a few nuggets from Peloton’s organic approach to traffic and relevance.
Here are the keys in a nutshell:
- Make sure people are talking about you (even if the focal point of the conversation is actually something else)
- Influencer marketing, community building, and news jacking are highly effective at generating backlinks and brand awareness
But what about their paid strategy?
Take a look at some of Peloton’s highest performing ads:
Notice a trend? We noticed a few.
The first of which being that every single ad’s primary keywords are related to Pelothon 2020 - Peloton’s annual competition. That’s the most consistent piece.
With such a large organic profile getting attention to their general brand, it makes sense that Peloton puts a smaller marketing budget toward specific events and causes. This smaller emphasis doesn’t equate to an afterthought level of effort, though. These ads demonstrate intelligent testing for maximum performance.
Points that they’re testing in each ad are the need to know details, as in start date, length of the competition, how many teams, and in the first ad they also tested announcing the deadline to join.
Peloton also consistently pushes the message that impact and community matters. Case in point, the ads with the highest traffic also includes a mention of their Corporate Responsibility campaign for hunger relief.
Companies that are socially responsible are proven to attract a bigger audience that raises their bottom line. So it’s no surprise that when running ads to cold traffic, Peloton puts their hunger relief program front-and-center. It’s not just a great cause. I’s also a great selling point.
With that being said, they still speak to user-specific benefits with “pick your team, earn badges, and make an impact”. Each of those points in the ad copy speaks to a specific desire Peloton users have.
“Pick your team” is the open door to community and accountability that many people exercising from home find themselves missing.
“Earn a badge” offers a sense of reward and accomplishment that people yearn to feel when working hard at something. It also adds a competitive edge for those who thrive in competition.
“Make an impact” speaks to being involved in helping others (with the hunger relief program). What makes it even more compelling is that busy Peloton users can make that impact from the comfort of their own home while working on their own health and wellness.
All of that in just 47 characters. It’s impressive.
With everything we know now about how Peloton generate attention and traffic, it only make sense to know what they’re doing with that traffic to seal the deal and expand their user base.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much Peloton can get people talking if they can’t close the deal. Traffic means nothing without conversions.
Luckily, we learned that Peloton is hiding some craft tricks up their sleeves to get people to make a relatively high purchase.
Ultimately, their landing page strategy is about one thing, lowering the barrier to entry.
They know that once users give it a shot they’ll be hooked on the superior (and addicting) experience that the Peloton bike gives them. So all Peloton has to do is get their foot in the door, and trust the users to do the rest.
To demonstrate this, let’s check out a couple of their landing pages.
Their top landing page is onepeloton.com/bike, which lands you here:
Right away you see an engaging video showcasing their revolutionary product, with copy that addresses the #1 question most fitness customers have, “is this something I can stick with?”
They’re also transparent and accessible, putting the price right there in the top menu and a chatbot in the bottom right corner.
But that price is no small feat. Over $2,000? Yikes!
Not to worry, the landing page is equipped to handle this objection quickly. If the users scrolls down, they get the instant relief of being offered a free trial.
Peloton might be expensive, but they lower the barrier to entry on the front end. Between the 30-day free trial, financing and payment plans, it gives prospective buyers an opportunity to see if it’s really worth coughing up the dough - which is something the consumer base really appreciates at this price point.
We can assume that by the time they hit this page, they’ve probably heard brand mentions of Peloton several times over. Perhaps their friends have one, or they’ve seen influencers talk about it, or both. They’ve heard about the community, the engagement, and how great the experience is.
So when they get to the page and have the sticker shock connected to that price point, they’re going to resist that sticker shock because they don’t want to miss out on:
a) A community experience they keep hearing so many great things about and
b) A convenient home solution for fitness that could be the answer to all of their problems right now
Buyers’ psychology is complicated. Your buyers won’t have a black & white, “in or out” mentality when making large or long-term purchase decisions. Peloton has mastered navigating this with a big brand awareness buildup, and low barrier to entry on getting started. This helps balance out the buyer’s perspective when confronted with what might be a very intimidating price point for them.
In fact, another one of their top-performing landing pages is fully dedicated to another kind of trial:
The difference about this trial is that it’s not for the app. It’s a paid trial for the bike itself.
And they even address the prospects’ price objection head on with a quote from a user:
This is all before it rounds off with a CTA to enter your email to learn more about the Home Trial for the bike itself, and a full FAQ list for anyone who wants their questions answered now.
So we can confirm, Peloton’s marketing strategy isn’t all talk and buzz. They round off the buyer’s journey with a surprisingly easy transition from prospect to customer with their trial offers.
There are a few key takeaways to note here.
One overarching that we have from watching Peloton is that they have well-defined brand messaging that’s consistent across the board. Whether it's through their ads, landing pages, SEO content, or influencer marketing campaigns, Peloton makes sure their brand is consistent regardless of the platform.
Peloton also hasn’t been consistent with just anything. They’ve drilled down what’s important to their user base and been consistent about those things.
From the social responsibility and community building angles, to an engaging and convenient workout experience, Peloton taps into the heart of their user base and gets involved in what’s important to them.
This driver behind their brand awareness campaigns made it possible for them to become a household name. It wasn’t just about being everywhere, it was about being everywhere that’s relevant to the people that matter to them.
The final takeaway is to lower the barrier of entry. This is especially important if you have a business model that’s designed to bring people back for more.
How much does it matter if they get 30 days for free, if you’re confident they’ll love it and stay for 1+ years after the fact? Peloton can rest assured with this business model considering you pay for the bike and monthly for the community membership.
And like the testimonial (and many Peloton users) say, “I don’t regret a thing. Take the shot...you’ll love it.”
In a Nutshell:
1. Get people talking about your brand across all platforms
2. Stay relevant and aligned with what’s important to your prospective buyers
3. Lower the barrier of entry. Make it as easy as possible for them to say “yes”.
If you’re struggling to figure out exactly how to tailor what we’ve covered here to your brand, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll start with an audit of where you’re at, determine where you want to go, and develop a roadmap to get you there.