All posts by Julie Weldon

9 Ways to Ramp Up Your Marketing Efforts on the Cheap

By | Business Help, Julie Weldon, Marketing | No Comments

Most (ok, all) small business owners don’t know everything. Maybe they come from the financial world, or the marketing world, or the business world, or whatever world in their “previous life”, and, as a result, their skills are more specialized. So, when they reach that glorious day of becoming their own boss, they find themselves having to wear every different hat… and it can be a bit overwhelming.

No more things being done for you. Now everything has to be done by you. Growth. Understanding the numbers. Managing social media. Sales. Creating content. Referrals. Partnerships. Maintenance. Hiring/Firing/Training staff. The list is long, and often times endless.

For every entrepreneur, two things are constant: 1) there never seems to be enough money, and 2) there never seems to be enough time. BUT… you have to grow your business. You have to get sales, and in order to get sales, you have to do marketing.

So, we thought we’d tackle the often illusive topic of marketing and give you a list of things that don’t require much of either time or money. Below are a handful of key activities that will create awareness and exposure of the business you’re working so hard to build.

  1. Create Partnerships in the Community. Your reputation among other businesses in your community is vital to your success. Any business close to you can be a good “target” to develop a relationship with (e.g., dog groomer, child care, wine store, restaurant). If you’re located among other businesses, spend a morning walking around and introduce yourself to the business owners. A few ideas: 1) Offer all staff members something special (like a free drop-in) and ask if you can place a flyer/business cards somewhere in their business; 2) Create a banner in your gym with a list of local partners in order to help them to promote their businesses; 3) Have a board dedicated to promoting ‘Community Partners’ and you could arrange for all your members to receive a percentage off their products and services; 4) Invite the business owners to your big events. Tell them they can set up a table/booth to promote their businesses in exchange for some freebies on the day; and 5) Have them put your logo (with link) on their website and you do the same. The ultimate goal is a win (for you) – win (for the business owner) – win (for your members).
  2. Get More Online Reviews. Social proof means so much these days. We all look at the reviews before making purchases. Focus on Google primarily (FB doesn’t measurably move the needle and Yelp is not as valued), but be sure this is slow and steady. Too many reviews at once will send a red flag. An idea is to give drop-ins a 2nd free class after leaving a review. Another idea is to email your members, asking for a review and giving them the link to click on – make it simple! Use this tool to help. 
  3. Put a Video in your Email Signature. This idea comes from our resident SEO & Social Media expert, Josh Sturgeon. Film a short (>60 second) video sharing a little bit about what gets you up in the morning. You can give it the title #MyWhy. The idea here is to place a video thumbnail in your email signature that leads anyone who clicks it to a landing page where they can watch your video. On the landing page there’s a Call to Action below the video where they can book a time to chat more about their fitness/health goals. The goal here is to make that personal connection to foster trust early on. At the end of the day, people do business with people…and people they trust.
  4. Reach Out Personally to your Clients. Set up a system where each client is hearing from you (or a member of your team) at least once a month. No agenda, just a “Hey Sarah, thanks for being a part of what we’re doing here. Let us know how we can help you better reach your goals!”
  5. Conduct an Exit Survey for Cancelled Members. This can be a short email that people get when they decide to cancel. It will give you lots of insight into why people cancel, so that you can address these things for the future.
  6. Organize Monthly Athlete Challenges. People love healthy competition – things like most meters rowed, most cals on the Assault Bike, etc… This doesn’t have to require a lot of thought or energy. You just need a big whiteboard, and a few inexpensive prizes at the end for the winner/s.
  7. Send Out a “One Pain Point” Email to all Your Members. The email would go something like this – “Hi! Could you do me a huge favor and hit reply and answer this one question to help us continue to build up our services and serve our community as best as possible? Question: What is one major Pain Point (problem/challenge) with your health and fitness that you are dealing with right now? Thanks for helping us make [company xyz] better!” Our suggestion – edit this with your gym info and send to your email list. What a great way to hear what people’s pain points are! Word to the wise though… if you do this – be sure to respond to each one, offering value.
  8. Play Bingo. This idea was shared in our private client FB group by Joe Minichino and got a great response. Your members will strategize on what boxes to fill out and classes to attend (see image at right). Run it for a week, and then give prizes for things like one bingo ($10 gift card – 3 winners), three bingos ($25 Merchandise Credit + $25 gift card – 2 winners), and a blacked out card ($50 Merchandise Credit + $50 gift card – 1 winner). Cards should be checked at end of the week and they get entered in for the prize determined by how many Bingos they get.
  9. Offer a 6-8 Week Program for Other Businesses. This idea is from Matt Scanlon, member of our 321Go leadership team. He says your approach to the business owner would be something like this… “We will run a 6-8 week course designed to Ramp Up [Company Name] Employees to a healthier lifestyle at a special [Company Name] discounted rate. This will be limited to [__] people per class and people must sign up for the entire program ahead of time. We encourage companies to provide incentives such as cost-matching and rewards for most classes attended to drive adoption.”

This list is not meant to be exhaustive, only to get you thinking about how you can see your business grow by putting in a little effort. Feel free to use these as is or tweak them to better suit your business and needs. 

Here’s the secret: while many people may read this article, few will do anything about it. Choose a few of these things that make most sense to you, actually make them happen, and you’ll be steps ahead of your competition.

We specialize in helping gym owners excel at all things marketing and growing your business. If we can help you, schedule a free call with us here.

For the Love, Please Sweat the Small Stuff

By | Branding, Branding & Website Advice, Business Help, Julie Weldon, Marketing | No Comments

I’ve got some (maybe tough) news for you… you’re not struggling with getting new clients because your services are too expensive (there are plenty of people out there who will – and do – pay). And it’s not because new businesses like yours moved in down the street and you’re now in a saturated market (those paying people are going somewhere, right??).

There’s a deeper issue in why you’re not growing like you want to.

Your message isn’t connecting with the right people. You’ve gotten passed by for something that connects better with their emotional and psychological reasons for saying “yes” and buying.  

Here is a crazy idea… try seeing your business like a new person would see it.

You know the feeling of being new somewhere – all of your senses are heightened. Your excitement level is (usually) high because everything is, well, really new. Relationships haven’t been formed. Habits haven’t been created. And your experience is waiting to be discovered.

Let’s try some examples, thinking about other businesses…

  • What do you think when you see dirty/old bathrooms?
  • What’s your feeling when people don’t welcome you right off the bat?
  • How about when you come across an old, outdated website?
  • What about when the staff is less than kind and knowledgable to you?

I was introduced this weekend to one of the most ridiculous (yet effective) stories in changing the perception of a brand.

A Post cereal in Canada, called Shreddies, had painfully low sales. They decided to reach out to a marketing firm to help them turn that around. An intern for the marketing firm somewhat tongue in cheek suggested that they rotate the cereal to change it from a square (boring) shape to a diamond (exciting!) shape, and rename it “Diamond Shreddies”. Thinking there might something to that (crazy simple) idea, they hosted focus groups where they got their validation, then developed a new website and changed their marketing efforts with the diamond shape in mind.

The result? The brand sold out a four-months supply in two months and boosted sales by 18%.

Check out this 3 minute video that shows the rebranding of Shreddies (do your best to listen past the moderators’ dramatics).

Perception is everything. Shreddies added intangible value to their cereal without changing the product in the slightest.

So, let’s go back to your business. What’s the perception you’re giving others with your business?

  • How’s your customer service?
  • How’s your website?
  • How’s the appearance of your building (outside, front desk, bathrooms, etc)?
  • How easy is it to buy what you’re selling?
  • How do you address the objections that potential new clients are going to have?

Your brand is made up of hundreds of perceptions that create an emotional connection with consumers.

You have to be able to answer questions like… Why do people like your brand? Why do they use it? What emotions arise when they think about your brand?

If you went to a Michelin 5 Star restaurant and the floors were dirty or the bathrooms were disgusting, it would most likely drastically change your experience with the food. The cost and quality of the food would be incongruent with the care (or lack of) given to the facilities.

You want new people buying what you’re selling?  Maybe it’s time to look underneath the hood.

We can help. Click here to schedule a free call with us.

7 Steps to Setting (& Crushing) Your 2017 Goals

By | Blog, Business Help, How To, Julie Weldon, Leadership | No Comments

As 2016 quickly comes to a close, many people begin to set their focus on “out with the old, in with the new”.

If we were to ask 20 people what a new year is all about, most likely at least 17 of them would say “Starting fresh and setting goals”. The other three would roll their eyes and say “that crap doesn’t work.”

Let’s be honest… most of the time goal setting doesn’t work. We get to the end (or middle) of the year and look at the list of the 25 goals we excitedly wrote down in January with great expectation and we can maybe check 3 or 4 of them off the list. Frustration and disappointment with ourselves sets in. Great that we got a few things done, but why weren’t we able to check more things off that were important enough to make the list? Why is our business still not close to where we want it? Why do we wrap up most years feeling discouraged?

Three reasons: 1) We lose focus; 2) We don’t have a plan that we’re relentlessly committed to; and 3) We don’t put the accountability structure in place to hold our feet to the fire along the way.

What has 2016 been like for you? Are you a goal setter? In our private FB group with our motivated and driven clients, there’s been a lot of talk about this topic. Especially after our 30 for 30 Hub Challenge where gym owners made some giant leaps forward in their businesses. The questions involve – How do I set personal and professional goals? How do I help athletes set goals and hold them accountable? We all want to make this new year the very best.

In this blog post, we’ll lay out a plan to help you set personal and professional goals. And then next week we’ll tackle how to help your members set and achieve their goals.

Many people have written about setting goals. Some giving a step by step plan for creating goals, some saying goal setting doesn’t work. The concepts I’m about to spell out for you aren’t new. Goal setting processes have been around since the beginning of time. As humans, we’ve been created to crave progress. What you have in the blog post is the consolidation and repackaging of some of my favorite ideas from a handful of really smart and successful people (Michael Hyatt, Donald Miller, Chris Brogan, Chris Marhefka, to name a few). It’s a result of my countless hours of study on how to best set goals that I can actually hit and celebrate.

This is only one way. But it’s a way that works.

First let me say… You have to attack this as if you were creating a plan for a new business. Resolute. Determined. Creative. Focused. Give yourself permission to think about all your options. Set aside a block of time. Take off 3-4 hours (during the time you’re most fresh and creative) and go somewhere where you can think. A coffee shop. Your kitchen table. A friend’s house (when they’re not there). Somewhere quiet and comfortable. Somewhere free from distractions. And be sure to keep your email closed and put your phone on airplane mode.

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-9-34-29-amAlright, ready? Let’s dive into the 7 Step Approach…

These steps should be completed in one sitting and each step should build on the previous.

Step 1 – Write down 3 creative words (or short phrases) that you want your life to be about this year. Think big. Mine for 2016 were “Find a Way. Inspire. Be Thoughtful.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come back to these three “words” this year to reset my thinking. Maybe for you it’ll be words like Reinvest. Untangle. Equip. Build. Home. Conduit. Focus. Magnet. Consistency. Say “No” More. Pause. Adventure. Lean In. Think of areas in your life where you want to take action. What do you want to be known for this year? Choose only three. Once you’ve chosen them, be sure to put them in places where you’ll see them often. Use these 3 words to inform all your work in the rest of the steps.

Step 2 – Write down these 10 categories – Health. Family. Friends. Love. Joy. Business. Spiritual. Learning. Finances. Fitness. Choose one big goal for each of these. Only one. Be specific. Make it measurable. Want $20k in savings? Want to remember people’s birthdays this year with a handwritten card? Want to take 2 weeks off without being completely stressed? Have you always wanted to take salsa lessons? Want to read a book a month? Think through each one and choose one big goal for each category.

Step 3 – Create one 60 Day Power Goal. Review all your 10 goals above. In this step, you’ll create one (only one) goal that you’re going to get done in the next 60 days. This will be a goal that will make a lot of those other 10 goals possible. Once you accomplish it, a handful of the 10 goals will be closer to being done. For example, maybe included in your 10 goals are something like the following… you want to be more present with your significant other, you want to not work 16 hours a day, you want to go out at least once every other week with a friend, etc. A Power Goal might be to create (and stick to) the habit of spending 30 minutes per day working on your business. This would get you focused and will directly affect a handful of your 10 goals. Your Power Goal needs to be accountable to a number. Thirty minutes every day. Don’t make this goal “comfortable”. Very little worth talking about happens inside our comfort zone. Comfortable, easy goals aren’t really goals. They are a to do list. Think big for this Power Goal. It will have a domino effect on your 10 goals.

Step 4 – Do a massive brain dump. Don’t focus on your 10 goals, focus on that one Power Goal. Write down everything you can think of that it will take for your Power Goal to become a reality. List the challenges, the steps that need to be done, the potential barriers to accomplishing it… just brainstorm for 10-20 minutes on that one Power Goal.

Step 5 – Write down how life will be different if you hit your Power Goal. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on this one… just brainstorm for 5-10 minutes. Continuing with our example… if you hit your goal of establishing a 30 minute routine every day to work on your business, how would your business be different? Maybe you’d get a handle on your marketing efforts. Maybe you’d create an event calendar for the year instead of haphazardly throwing together events last minute. Maybe you’d finally get your systems and processes documented. How would your personal life be different? Would you have more time for your own fitness, friends, family, etc. if you developed laser-like focus?

Step 6 – Break your Power Goal down into 2 week sprints. This is where you begin to back into making that goal a reality. Over 60 days, you’ll have four 2 week sprints (8 weeks total). In this step, you lay out your action steps. Daily/weekly action items to move you closer to your goal. First week might be setting up reminders on your calendar, finding a template to follow (if you need that), finding and setting up accountability, etc. Second week might be identifying what you want to accomplish during your four 2 week sprints of (using our example) 30 minutes per day. The key is to work backward. You’ve got your Power Goal, now lay out the small action steps of what needs to happen to make it a reality.

Step 7 – Set up your accountability structure. First things first, set a daily reminder on your phone to determine the two things you’re going to do today to reach your 60 Day Power Goal. Next, find other people to hold you accountable. Who are those few you trust to help keep you on track?

Once you complete the first 60 days and hit your Power Goal, you will celebrate (this is important!) and then create another 60 Day Power Goal. Keep going like this throughout your year, setting 6 individual Power Goals, and by this time next year, you will have hit all 10 of your big goals.

To help with Step #7, we are going to be launching -through our Hub platform– a Set & Crush Your Goals Challenge at the beginning of January. We’ll create a course in Hub that we’ll walk you through on Setting & Hitting Goals. It will include options and templates to help you create and track your goals. The first two weeks, we’re going to be helping you set and develop a routine for your personal goals. The following two weeks, we’re going to be walking you through setting up a system to help your members determine and hit their goals. This Challenge will include the accountability you need through a private FB group and regular emails to make 2017 the best yet. Would love for you to join us! More info on this to come.

This step by step plan is not a lazy man’s way of getting things done. It requires work. It requires the discipline to not only do the work up front, but to revisit it often (at least every 60 days) and keep at it on a daily basis. The sad reality is that few will set goals that they actually achieve this year. Be different.

When you combine an insatiable drive to set goals that make an impact on your world with a refusal to throw in the towel, you give yourself the best chance of hitting that success you’ve only dreamed about before.

Join us in making 2017 the best yet!

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.  ~Pablo Picasso

 

This post was written by Julie Weldon (julie@321goproject.com).

How To Use A Survey To Increase Member Retention (+ Sample Survey to Use)

By | Blog, Building Community, Business Help, Culture, Julie Weldon, Resources | No Comments

Smiley Survey Keys on Keyboard (buttons satisfaction smileys)

How effective are you at listening to your customers? Do you have your finger on the pulse of their experience with you?

If you really start to invite their feedback, you might just be surprised at some of the answers to those questions.

And then, when you ask, don’t just hear their answers, listen to them. Because we all know there is a big difference.

Hearing goes in one ear and out the other; listening causes positive change to happen.

Throughout the years of my career as a business consultant, I’ve created and administered many surveys for clients. And I’ve learned a few things along the way. If the survey is crafted well, the feedback one can receive is invaluable. Some of those clients used the information to better their business; others, unfortunately, let the results sit in a computer folder to collect the proverbial dust.

The ones who used the data are those committed to constant improvement. Every day they are looking for ways to better their business so they can differentiate themselves among the competition.

You have new athletes sign up on a regular basis. Do you:

  • Know why they chose you?
  • Know what their other choices are for getting fit (another gym, outdoor sports and recreation, a treadmill, a sports league, etc.)?  
  • What do they like and not like about these choices?
  • What else have they tried before deciding on you? Who else did they consider?

All of this is important knowledge to have as you’re building out your successful business. Because more than likely, if one person considers an option other than you, so will many others. An intake survey is a great idea to capture the pulse of new folks coming in right away. Immediately upon sign up, have them fill out a survey with questions such as:

  • How’d you hear about us?
  • What are all the regular ways you pursue fitness?
  • What were the biggest factors that kept you from signing up at CF xyz (cost, intimidation, etc.) when you initially heard about us?
  • Before joining CF xyz, where did you work out?
  • In 3-5 words, how would you have described CF before you joined?
  • Did you know anyone at CF xzy before signing up?
  • How long was it from when you first heard about CF xyz to when you actually signed up?
  • What pushed you over the edge and made you sign up?
  • What stood out to you about us?

These are all data points that will help you market better to new people. Knowing answers to questions such as these will connect you to the feelings and buying patterns of those who aren’t yet members.

But, what’s maybe even more important is to survey your existing athletes. Survey those who’ve been with you 6 months and those who’ve been with you for the long-term.

A few things to remember as you prepare to create and administer a survey:

  1. Keep the survey short and concise. Set the expectations in your survey invitation email. It shouldn’t take someone longer than 10 minutes to fill it out. The questions should be multiple choice or short answer. Try to avoid long prose, open-ended questions. If people think it will take up too much of their time, they’ll either not start it or stop halfway through.
  2. Offer an incentive for completing the survey. Put everyone’s name in a drawing to win a gift basket of products you sell, or a gift card, or something they’d be interested in winning. Announce the winner on social media with a picture of them holding their winnings.
  3. Distribute the survey link in as many places as possible. Your newsletter, an email to all members, a private FB page for members, have a computer set up at the front desk, etc. More places (reminders) will ensure more responses.
  4. Keep the responses confidential. Make sure you assure your participants that their personal details will be kept safe and won’t be shared outside of your team. And tell them that specific details about a certain coach won’t be disclosed to that coach, you’ll just use the data for general coaching with your team.
  5. Don’t allow yourself to get defensive when reading responses. Negative responses are hard for anyone to read. I get it. But, their perspective is their truth. You will get over-the-top positive responses and you will get difficult to read negative responses. Both are useful. Even if you disagree with their feedback, what they are telling you is valuable. By actively listening to them you will strengthen your relationship. You can’t just push the constructive criticism under the rug. If the results aren’t what you want, (first consider the source then) embrace the feedback and do something about it.
  6. Use the survey data to open lines of communication on why you do what you do. Use the data for future blog posts, for instruction during classes, for your onboarding process. Use all the data you receive as teaching moments.
  7. Review the survey data with your team (partners, coaches, staff). You are not the only one who can learn from the feedback. Hold team meeting to review the results so that you can all get on the same page of your member’s experiences. Take time to thoughtfully review survey responses and consider their implications.

There are three free survey tools we’ve used that you can check out:

  • TypeForm –  This is my favorite because the survey theme options are more creative and fun than other survey forms.
  • Google Forms – This is a powerful free tool that can populate the responses directly into a spreadsheet. If you choose to use Google forms, this article will be helpful to read first.
  • Survey Monkey – a well-known tool, but you can only include 10 questions and get 100 responses with the free version.

Many don’t know what questions to ask to get the best feedback, so we’ve created a sample survey with introduction to get you started. Feel free to use any or all of it for your next survey.

Sample Survey

It’s that time again!  We value your thoughts and opinions and use them to make us and our athlete’s experiences better each year. The things we do, we do because of your feedback, your suggestions and your desires! Your honest and open comments are much appreciated. We will continue the things right that we know you love and begin to work on getting better at the things you’d like to see changed.

This survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Those who complete the survey will be entered in a drawing to win a new “xxx”. Please have your response submitted by ___.  Please have your response submitted by [insert date] to be entered in the drawing. 

Rest assured, your candid responses will be kept safe and won’t be shared outside of our team. The more honest you can be, the better we will all become.

Thanks in advance for helping us make CF XYZ your most favorite place of your week!

1. Name

2. How long have you been a member at [company name]?

  • 6 months or less
  • 6 months to 1 year
  • 1 year to 2.5 years
  • 2.5 years +

3. Age

  • <25
  • 25-35
  • 36-45
  • 46-55
  • 56-65
  • 65+

4. Classes/programs you would like to see. Please add anything to comments that you would like to see not listed. (1 = Least, 5 = Most)

  • Strength/Oly Class
  • Mobility (20-30 minutes class)
  • Rehab (focus on those with injuries)
  • Gymnastic
  • CrossFit Kids
  • Cross Training for other sports (running, skiing, mountain biking, etc.)
  • Open Gym Hours
  • Other/Comments:

5. What is your average routine at [company name]?

  • 1-2 times per week
  • 3 times per week
  • 4 times per week
  • 5 – 5+ times per week

6. What is the best way to communicate events and happenings at [company name] with you?

  • Flyers at gym
  • E-mail
  • Website
  • Comments:

7. When adding class times to our schedule, what would be the most convenient time for you to attend?

8. What types of events would you be interested in attending and inviting your friends to (WOD & Wine, Barbells & Bourbon, Field Day, Pool Party, Restaurant, other)?

9. When would be the best time for you to attend these events (after work, in the evening, on a Saturday, a Sunday, other)?

10. If we were to carry retail products at CF XYZ, what products would you be interested in?

11. How satisfied are you with your coaches? (1 = Least, 5 = Most). In comment section, please provide feedback on what could make your experience with the coaches better.

12. What’s one thing we do better than others you do business with?

13. What’s one thing we could do to create a better experience for you?

14. How likely is it that you would recommend CF XYZ to a friend or colleague? (1 = Not Likely At All, 5 = Extremely Likely/I Do All The Time)

 

Gathering feedback from those who use your services has many benefits. A few of those are: 1) understand the buying cycle and behaviors of new members; 2) understand the pain points of current members, and 3) set up email campaigns for new and “old” members to keep them engaged.

The mere act of surveying a customer can increase satisfaction. By doing this you are communicating that you care what they think. But follow-up is where the real power lies. Make phone calls. Talk with them in person. Shoot them an email to get clarification and hear them out. All of this will increase your customer loyalty ten-fold.

It’s important to know your numbers, but at the end of the day, there’s no more important business measure than the voice of your customers. And when they speak, make sure you really listen.

 

This post was written by Julie Weldon.

How To Make A Lasting Impression In… Seconds

By | Blog, Business Help, How To, Julie Weldon, Leadership | No Comments

Let’s try an experiment.

I flash this collage of different people – all different types of people – in front of you and your job is to tell me what you think of them. What is your first impression when you look at them. Who looks friendly? Who is a little too different for your taste? Who would you want to get to know? Who would you want (and not want) to become a client? Who appears trustworthy? Who looks successful? Who looks like they still live at home?

How long do you think it would take you to form an initial impression of each one?  

A few minutes? 60 seconds? 10 seconds?

Believe it or not, research says it only takes the majority of us 1/10 of a second to make an initial first determination.

1/10 of a second based on looking at someone’s face.

It sounds absurd, but think about it. You go to a party or an event where you don’t know many people. You scan the room to find someone who seems appealing to you – maybe it’s someone who looks successful, or is attractive, or quirky, or funny, or smart, or out of place. Someone who you can relate to. Or want to relate to. One glimpse around the room is all it takes. Within a few short seconds, you scan the room and you make a decision to go talk with one of them (or not) for a reason. They look approachable. They seem friendly. They appear influential.

Now what if your picture was one in this collage. What initial impression would you leave on others? What would you want them to think about you?

I just travelled this weekend and so was in the airport for a few hours. I (very, very quickly) could have picked out three people I would’ve liked to have a conversation with of the thousands I saw. And so could you.

Every day, whether we like it or not, we’re making an impression on someone.

We may not always see them face to face, but know without a shadow of a doubt, you are making an impression.

As a business owner, where are the places you have the ability to make a positive first impression every day?  

In your community.

More than likely, since you are a local business, you frequent different establishments in your area. When you go… Are you kind? Do you start conversations with people? Do you tip well? Are you genuinely interested in their businesses and how you can help them? Are you actively looking for ways to partner with them so that you can highlight what they do?

You are a constant walking billboard for your business. Be friendly and interested in others, and they will want to know more about you. Support local, and they will want to support you. Build relationships. Be a connector. Promote other people and they will be more apt to spread good things about you. Get out in your community and be impactful.

In your location.

Know this – when someone walks into your business for the first time, 9 times out of 10, they are intimidated. Everything you offer is new to them. Nothing feels familiar. We are all creatures of comfort to some degree, so the fact that they summoned up the courage to step in your building means something.

When they come… Is it welcoming? Do you speak a language they can understand? Can they feel themselves fitting in quickly? The Platinum Principle states “Do unto others, as they’d like done unto them.” Pay attention to this, and ask new clients (once they become a paying customer) what their initial impression was to see how you can make it more inviting for the next new client.

On your social media.

What’s your social media like? Is it all about you? Or are you educating? Are your clients the hero’s of your Facebook and Instagram pages? Are your images, blog posts, Facebook posts, and videos captivating, funny and informing, or are they annoying and turning people off? Your contribution on social media doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to add value to other people’s lives. They want to know within a few seconds how you can make their lives better – make them laugh, make them think, invite them to be a better version of themselves.

On your website.

Your website is your online front door. Research says, “When viewing a website, it takes users less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression…. But it takes a little longer – about 2.6 seconds – for a user’s eyes to land on that area of a website that most influences their first impression.” So, you have between .02 and 2.6 seconds to make a good first impression with your website. That’s not much time. 

Many new clients will choose you because of the first impression your website makes vs. the guy’s website down the street. How current is your website? Did you build it 3 years ago and haven’t made changes to it since because it’s too overwhelming to know where to start? Does your website communicate the message that anyone is welcome, or does it insinuate that only the elite can do what you do? Think about yourself and the websites you go to… and remember, we all make judgments about a business based on our initial impression of their website.

When someone sends you an email.

I’ve sent many emails and have got an autoresponder that says something like, “We love it that you are interested in what we do here at Company xyz! We’ll get back to you shortly….“ For the love – please turn these off and just respond to their email with a personal email within 24 hours. Nobody wants an automated email response like that… it’s just so impersonal. And, when you write your email back, write with a smile… your email will be much more effective.  

When someone calls you.

This involves paying attention to two things: 1) your voicemail. People who call for the first time make a determination about you based on the tone of your voice. Be kind. Smile when leaving your voicemail message. Then call them back as soon as you can. And 2) when you answer and talk on the phone – do you sound like someone people would like to have a further conversation with? Or are you distracted and quick to the point? Your tone says more than you know to those looking to be convinced you’re worthy of doing business with.

What to do:

Take inventory of all the places you have the potential of impacting others without maybe even realizing it. You are without a doubt every day making first impressions. Smile. Lean in. Be confident (but please, not arrogant!). Be interested. Ask questions. Make eye contact. Be the best version of you. Add value. By doing these things, you are actively working to make those impressions be good and lasting, and your business will most certainly continue to grow over time.

People want to be around people they like. People want to do business with people they like. Be likeable, even in the first 1/10 of a second.

 

This post was written by Julie Weldon.