Category Archives: Branding & Website Advice

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  • How about when you come across an old, outdated website?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.

Want New Clients? Pay Attention To These 10 Things…

By | Blog, Branding & Website Advice, Business Help, Culture, Julie Weldon, Leadership | No Comments

Your business is probably changing lives, I will certainly give you that. The fact that every day you open your doors to the world in an effort to help them become better humans is nothing short of amazing. You may work a full-time job and then also run your business because it’s your passion, and that’s incredible. Or, you’ve sacrificed everything so that others can benefit from the thing that you’re an expert at, and that’s admirable.

But what if you could capture more leads?

Most of us get so immersed in our businesses that we forget what it’s like to be the new person just discovering us. We don’t think about how someone actually sees us for the first time. We fail to put ourselves in “their” shoes. If you’re a business owner, there are a few things you’d do well to keep in mind when you think about how a new potential client may view your business.

Here are 10 things I’d like to say to business owners to help them gain my business:

  1. My first impression of you is formed by looking at your website. Unless I hear about you from a friend, 9 times out of 10 I will find you through your website. There are 3 things I’m processing as soon as I click on your .com… #1 – “Does your website look current and fresh?” (if “no”, I actually don’t even consider the following 2 questions, I just move on to check out your competition). But if “yes”, I ask #2 – “Does it look like I would fit in there?” (by looking at your pictures), and #3 – “Does the vibe you’re communicating through your website look like something I would want to be a part of?”. All this happens in the first 7 seconds.
  2. If your website passes the 7 second test, then I go to your “About Us” page to see if you look like the kind of people I want to connect with. Your About Us page definitely matters to me… Do you look fun? Do you look relatable? Your staff pictures (videos are even better so I can get to know you a little) and how you write your bios are decision makers for whether I’ll reach out to you… or not.
  3. I found your website because I googled something. Maybe it’s “best workout in Charleston”, or “fitness gyms in Charleston”, or something similar. If you don’t show up in the top 5 (or better yet, top 3) when I google these things, I’m not going to find you and I’ll reach out to someone who does show up.
  4. When I search for you, I’m definitely going to read your reviews. What are people saying about you? How many people are saying nice things? What are the negative things? (I may even look at these first, if there are any.) Subconsciously I’m thinking that what other people say about you and how many say great things will most likely reflect the experience I will have with you.
  5. Written testimonials don’t matter nearly as much to me as video testimonials. Written testimonials, while ok, can sometimes feel contrived. They don’t feel nearly as genuine and engaging as being able to watch someone (in under 90 seconds) use emotion to talk about why they love being a part of what you are providing. They make me want what they have.
  6. It’s intimidating to come into your business for the first time. I’ve most likely been “researching” you for a while (weeks or even months). And, now I’m here because I’ve liked what I’ve heard, seen, and read. But, we all remember what it’s like to be the “new kid”. It feels like all eyes are on you. Everything feels awkward, but exciting. It’s hard to not know what everyone else knows – the culture, the language, who likes who, what the staff is like, am I wearing the right things, will I fit in, etc. It feels like the first day of 5th grade at a new school all over again. You make me feel welcome (and not like the odd man out), I’ll be forever thankful and stick around.
  7. I’m not necessarily looking for friends at the place I do business. Especially in the service industry, like fitness, often times we proclaim how great our community is and we say that’s what differentiates us. But, for the most part, people aren’t coming into your gym looking for new friends. It will be a by-product, most likely, but it’s not what I am focused on initially. Don’t tell me how great your community is, show me.  
  8. If I email you and get an automated reply (“Thanks for writing. We’d love to talk to you. Blah blah blah”), that doesn’t feel genuine to me. Automated email replies feel just that – automated. I’d prefer it so much more if you’d just reply back to me within 24 hours (the sooner, the better) with a personalized email, making me feel like you really were glad I reached out.
  9. If you don’t answer the phone when I call, I’m probably going to move on to your competitors. I know we all are busy and it’s not always feasible to pick up the phone every time, but when you do, it makes a huge difference. Oh and when I call, I’d love it if I felt like you were really glad I called (smile when you’re talking).
  10. No one cares about your business like you do. I’m checking out your business because of what I need. I have a “problem” and I think you may be able to help me solve it. But, honestly, I only care about your business to the point that it serves me. I know that may sound selfish, but it’s the truth.   

You’re probably no different. Start paying attention to the process you go through when you are in need of someone’s services. Allow yourself to feel all the feelings that a new person experiences.

There is a lot of competition out there. When you show up in big ways (which are often creating by doing a lot of little things right), people will take notice and want to be a part of what you’ve built.

 

In summary, here are the ten things. How are you doing on each of these?

  • Invest in an awesome website (this will pay you back in dividends).
  • Make your About Us page fun.
  • Show up in the top 3 when people search for you.  
  • Have great reviews, and a lot of them (at minimum 25-30).
  • Put video testimonials on your website (at least 3-5).
  • Make people feel “at home” at every point of contact with you.
  • Show the power of your community.
  • Get rid of automated response emails when someone first emails you.
  • Answer your phone.
  • Keep clients needs always at the forefront.

Stuck on some of these things? We can help. Check out how.

If you want to schedule a quick call with us, we’d love to chat. Just click here to find a time that works with your schedule.

 

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

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Gym

By | Branding & Website Advice, Clay Weldon, Digital Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

I have a love-hate relationship with social media. My guess is you do too.

So many businesses, friends, and groups fighting for our attention wanting us to be part of whatever they are up too.

You also have a growing business which relies on brand awareness, and in case you’ve been living under a rock, social media is the way we give people a glimpse into what our business provides as well as the culture around it.

Here are 5 ways you can overcome your social media fears and turn them into action:

Develop a Simple Plan.

You don’t have to overthink this one. You don’t have to be on all the platforms, just the ones where your customers are, which are typically Facebook and Instagram. Now think about what type of content you would want to see. Go take a look at what your competitors are posting and ask yourself if it’s compelling, interesting to you, or is the same old boring stuff you see from all the other other gyms. If that’s the case, then don’t follow their lead. Stand out.

Use Good Visuals.

Think about what makes you linger on a post, what makes you stop scrolling up or down and read something. Usually, it’s the visuals. A captivating image, a video that looks worth your time, an infographic that has info you’re interested in. We are in an age where people are willing to spend less and less time on reading long prose. Flavor your posts with images and video like salt and pepper and your chances of generating interest increase ten-fold.

Pay Close Attention To Your Headlines.

Your headline is the first thing a potential reader sees, and if it’s not engaging enough, it may be the last. It’s often said in marketing circles that 4 out of 5 people will read your headline, but only 1 out of 5 will read the body copy. Upworthy co-founder, Peter Koechley, says, “The difference between a good headline and a bad headline can be just massive. It’s not a rounding error. When we test headlines we see 20% difference, 50% difference, 500% difference. A really excellent headline can make something go viral.” Think about what makes you click when headlining your posts or web content.

Pay to Play.

Gone are the days when you can share a post on your Facebook page hoping it shows in someone’s feed. Did you know that even if you have lots of people who have “liked” your Facebook page, only a very small percentage (approx. 1-3%) even see your posts unless you pay for them? With that said, you still don’t have to invest a large budget to get in front of the right people. Just remember if you want to get your post in front of people, you have to pay for it. Fortunately, Facebook has made it really easy to target the right people and run ads. Good resources can be found here.

Build Relationships with other Local Businesses.

You are a local business. Most likely you don’t have any desire to open 25 more gyms across the country, or even across your state. There is power in developing genuine relationships with other local businesses where you cross-promote each other’s services. Think outside the box – pet grooming services, wineries/breweries, day care facilities, restaurants, massage therapists, jewelry stores, chiropractic offices, etc. Any place where your members (or potential members) visit/shop. Maybe highlight one local business a week on your social media, tagging them. The more you help (promote) others, the more others want to help (promote) you.

In this day and age, people live on social media. If you want to grow your gym, it’s worth your time to be on there as well.

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Build Your Own Website

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

Website under construction: Friendly man and woman building websWith all the DIY website programs out there, it’s easy to think building a website isn’t hard.

Just choose a template, drag and drop some images, write a little content, and voila… a website is born. And, actually that’s true. With tools like Weebly, Wix, and WordPress, etc., it really isn’t hard.

Problem is, there’s a big problem with that choice. Building your own website, or getting someone to do it who isn’t a professional, is similar to going through the drive-thru vs. eating a home-cooked, healthy meal. There just is no comparison. Going through the drive-thru is quick when you’re short on time, but it’s benefits are very few and far between. Absolutely no long-term value, only short term “feel good” (and that’s to be argued). Same goes with a quick solution for a website.

Below are a few of the reasons why building your own site really just isn’t the best solution.

Reason #1: The creation of a quality website is art.

I’m guessing if you were going to get married, you wouldn’t have Uncle Joe do the photography if Uncle Joe doesn’t have experience. It’s too important of an event to leave it in the hands of an amateur. Same is true for your website. Professionalism is worth a thousand words. Your website is far too important to the success of your business to not invest in a professional.

Reason #2: Technical support and security.

What happens if your site shuts down? When you have dead links? Who do you call? And, did you know your website can give your customer a virus? Hackers love to insert viruses which could affect anyone who checks out your website. It just doesn’t make sense for you to spend your time learning and trying to fix the problem. You have much better things to do as a CEO.

Reason #3: Your time in the long run.

Usually the main reason people decide to create their own site is because of the low cost. Sure, you might be able to use a template and create your site, but you’d (more than likely) be lacking the creative skills necessary in design, copywriting, programming, and image/video selection to develop a site that is geared toward your target audience. It’s just not in everyone’s skill set. The majority of the time, people will create their own site, then be unsatisfied with it and end up hiring a professional designer. Save the time and money up front by just doing it right the first time.

Reason #4: Getting found.

The whole purpose of a website is so that when someone looks for the type of service you offer, you can be found right at the top of the list. There is way more that goes into “being found” than anyone who isn’t a professional web developer realizes. You have to make sure that the search engines can find you and when they do find you that they like what they see. There is a complicated science for getting ranked high on Google. If you’re not going to rank high on Google, what’s the purpose of having a website?

Reason #5: You’ll lose valuable business credibility.

In this day and age, a website is one of the first and foremost impressions you can make on a potential client. If you don’t think an unprofessional website is hurting you, you’d do well to think again. You get 5 seconds to make a good impression. Read that again and count to 5. That’s it. That’s all you get. Miss the mark in those 5 seconds and you’ve just been passed over for the competition down the street.

Reason #6: Technology is always changing.

What worked last year, most likely is already out of date. We see this with the 10 year social media evolution of MySpace to Facebook to Snapchat. What once was only understood and used by the tech savvy college kids, is now mainstreamed to 65 year olds. How quickly what was once “the thing” is fading away. Now, if you ask the majority of kids and young adults, Facebook just “isn’t cool” anymore.

Reason #7: Peace of mind.

When you do something that you don’t have experience doing, you never know if it is done correctly. That’s not a good feeling. When it comes to your website, you can’t afford this uncertainty. Hiring a professional affords you the ability to trust them to guide the process. How much is your peace of mind worth?

Like McDonald’s says, “You deserve a break today.”  But I think you’d agree the kind of break you need is probably not a quarter pounder and fries. Quicker definitely doesn’t mean better. Consider making the right choice as an investment into your future.

Web Design Online Technology Working Office ConceptYou want to stand out from your competition? Find a professional to build your website. We have talked with far too many people who have built their own site, only to have them ask us to tear that down and build them one that actually works for them.

Just because you can build your own website, doesn’t mean you should.

 

If this is something you need help with, we’d love to have an exploratory call with you. No pressure, just listening and guidance. Click here to schedule.

6 Quick & Easy Tips To Improve Your Website

By | Blog, Branding & Website Advice, Digital Marketing, Julie Weldon | No Comments

Website

We want to help you make the most of your website. Your online presence is your most important marketing tool.

If you do it wrong you’ll confuse, and ultimately, lose people. The goal is to make it be a warm and inviting place where people enjoy their visit so that they want to come back again and again.

There are a number of technical things – like faster load time, backend optimization, A/B testing, unique title tags and meta descriptions, h2 tags, etc. – that would dramatically improve user experience and your website’s effectiveness, but those aren’t our focus for this post.

We want to focus on the exterior of the house and the interior decorations, so to speak. Here are a few tips that can help skyrocket the level of engagement of curious searchers.

Replace your current expert athlete website images with “normal” smiling faces.

Visitors who come to your site want to see that they can be successful in achieving their goals by seeing people who look like them. They need that emotional pull. They’ll connect with fun, not grimacing and pain. The average Joe or Jane looking for a new place to work out probably wouldn’t to be able to visualize themselves doing the majority of things most business owners have displayed on their websites.

Change your About Us page.

Most of the fitness websites I’ve visited have pictures of coaches hitting their PR’s. That’s great that your coaches are strong and are hitting records, but it does little to nothing for your visitors. And THAT’s who your website is for. If these are the types of images you have on display, replace them with one of two things: 1) a happy, fun picture of you/your coaches doing something you love outside of the gym, or 2) a 1-2 minute video that captures your personality. This will make a visitor feel like they “know” you before ever stepping foot in your business.

Make the words on your site fun.

Your business has a personality. It most likely stems from your personality, but it also comes to life with your coaches and members. Choose your words carefully and make sure they evoke the kinds of emotion you want to capture.

Simplify your message.

Your understanding of your business is most likely a 9 or 10 (out of 10). You get it. You know the lingo, the terms, the product, all of it, like the back of your hand. Quite the opposite, the understanding of those visiting your website is most likely a 1 or 2. In order to get them to stick around, speak their language.

Treat visitors like a first date.

You wouldn’t tell everything about yourself on a first date (hopefully). That’d be overwhelming. Some things are saved for the 2nd, 5th, and 200th date. So goes with your website. Tell them the important things, and then let them ask for more information.

Capture the email addresses of those who want more.

Sticking with the theme above, if you liked the person on your first date, you want to know more. So, you find ways to engage with them to learn more about them. Have places on your website where they can download things to give you their email address so that you can take it to the next date.

In this day and age, having a good website is critical. But having people really connect with your brand when they visit your website is what separates the exceptional businesses from the others down the street.

Don Miller, founder of StoryBrand, has a 3-pronged “Grunt test” for a website:

  1. What do you offer?
  2. How is it going to make my life better?
  3. What do I need to do to buy it?

Take a minute now to check out your website…  are the three things above super clear?  If not, we’d love to help.  We’d be happy to jump on a 15-20 minute call with you talk through your site and give you pointers on how you can make it better – just click here to schedule!