How to Get Your Foot in the Supplement Industry Door – IronMag Bodybuilding & Fitness Blog
by Matt Weik
Quite often I get emails and messages asking how to get into the industry. While the supplement industry is fairly large, breaking in can be difficult. While some brands are looking to grow their sales team, many are going the route of working with distributors or being an ecommerce brand solely to keep their costs down and not need to pay salesmen to go out and push the brand. So, how do you get your foot in the door? Try some of the options below. If you want to get in bad enough, keep trying until someone finally opens the door for you and lets you in.
A great way to show the industry what you have to offer is to write. This can be in the form of articles, blog posts, forum posts, etc. This is the method I actually used (by accident) to get into the supplement industry. By sharing your knowledge with others, you’ll be able to showcase what you are capable of and how a brand can utilize what you have to offer. If you are good with ingredients, write about different ingredients. If you are up to speed on industry trends, then write about what’s going on in the industry or what to look for in the coming year. Getting your words on paper (or online) is a great way to get out in front of brands and grab their attention.
If you are a competitor, you already have a leg up on everyone else as brands are probably going to see you when on stage and in contest photos. I will say this, everyone THINKS they are a bodybuilder, but not everyone can do it at the next level. So, if you aren’t winning shows, there’s a good chance that no company is going to look at you. However, if you can catch their eye and bring value to their brand, you have a shot at landing a gig. But, don’t think just because you have a body that fits the industry, that you’re a shoe-in.
3. Brand Ambassador
I’ll be honest, personally, I’m not a fan of brand ambassadors. Many of them think they are “athletes” of a brand and all you really are is an “influencer” in a sense. The brand may pay you monetarily (very little), but most of them will simply give you supplements each month. This is, however, a great way to break into the industry. If you can show the brand that you get engagement and talk intelligently about the products, they might have something lined up for you if you give it enough time. If this is the route you take, just keep hustling and working with the brand to get their products out in front of your audience.
Network with as many people as you can in the industry. Talk to them on LinkedIn and tell them you are looking to get into the industry and was curious if they had any opportunities where you are able to showcase your talents. Go to your local supplement store (that you’re hopefully buying from) and ask if they have contact information for any of the supplement reps that come in that they would be willing to share. If you get the information, send them an email introducing yourself and asking who would be the best person to contact about becoming part of their team.
What experience do you have that can add value to a brand? Do you have a degree in marketing? Or are you a personal trainer? Have you owned a supplement store? Are you good with social media? Can you write copy or content that they could use to engage their audience? Look at what you currently do, and if it can be applied to the industry, start networking like mentioned above and reinforce that your skillset might be beneficial to the brand and that you’d be willing to work with them or simply have a trial and produce some sample work to see if you are what they are looking for. The more you have to offer, the better you will look and stand out from everyone else who is blowing up their email to work with them.
6. Social media
Do you have a good social media following? Start talking about brands and products that you use. Tag them or use their hashtag to attempt to get their attention. Engage with them on social media. Like and comment on their posts, but don’t turn into a stalker and like every little thing they put out. Just make sure you regularly comment and like what they are dropping on their platforms. If you want to work with a brand, you better be using their products and you better be following them on all of their social media platforms. If not, you’ll be blown off.
Expos are a great way to get your name out there, especially if you have experience or a skillset that can benefit their company/brand. Make sure you have business cards and find out who at the booth you need to speak with. If you have experience in marketing and have a degree, make sure your business card explains who you are and what you do. Find the marketing director at the booth and introduce yourself. At the end, give them your business card and ask them to reach out to you if there are any opportunities that you can be of service. Don’t expect a reply back, but just getting your name out there can land you something down the road if something opens up. You can use this strategy for sales, social, marketing, customer service, whatever position you are looking to potentially fill for the brand.