Category Archives: Business Help

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.

How to Use Video to Generate Leads

By | Business Help, Digital Marketing, Julie Weldon, Marketing, Social Media, Videos | No Comments

So you say you want more leads.

That would solve a lot of problems, right? More money, fuller classes, you could hire another coach, etc.

Alright then, I have one question for you….

Just how much do you want those leads?

To get more specific, what are you willing to do to get them? How uncomfortable are you willing to get?

Are you willing to consistently put out content so that people come to know you as the expert?

So many know they need to create consistent content, but let’s be honest, few are willing to commit to it on a regular basis. Everything else somehow takes priority. 

Far too many gym owners want the quick fix. Write a blog or two. Shoot a couple videos. Do a Facebook ad. Run the newest, hottest, lead-generating tool/event you just read about on a group page. Then… hope (actually, expect) the leads will pour in.

But, the problem with quick fixes is that they’re just that. A quick fix. They’re not intended for long-term, consistent results.

The hard truth is that a quick fix is often the abandonment of responsibility. That statement may need to be read again for it to sink it.

In business, CASH is king.

In marketing, CONTENT is king.

These days in content, VIDEOS are king.

All the current research and studies are proving that video is where it’s at (and our experience wholeheartedly agrees with this). Not where it’s headed, but where’s it at now. A few statistics from an infographic by Hyperfine Media prove this point:

  • Including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%.
  • Video in an email leads to 200-300% increase in click-through rate.
  • 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process.
  • Enjoyment of video ads increase purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%.

These are some big numbers. You don’t have to have a degree in content marketing to know that video ruled the web last year. And, experts believe that video content will account for 74 percent of Internet traffic this year. 74%. Wow.

So the question, then, that begs to be answered…

How are you using video to increase your leads?

Good videos can differentiate you from your competitors because they open up people’s hearts. They evoke emotion. Unlike a blog or Facebook ad, or even an image, videos make people feel something. Once your marketing crosses over into the feelings territory, people want to do business with you. Because they can connect with you. As a result, videos become a massive win for your content strategy.

Using videos produces a number of benefits: 1) they can help boost your customer engagement, 2) they can increase a person’s time spent on your site, and 3) they can help you convert your leads into paying clients. If you use video creatively and with a purpose, it can transform your website into something that is dynamic and interactive and, most importantly, will establish you as the expert. Helping you transform your website and combine it with effective marketing is our specialty.

So, how do you make and publish videos with creativity and purpose?  

Here are just a few thoughts to get you started:

  • Don’t overthink it. Practice makes perfect. Like riding a bike, the more you do it, the better (and more comfortable) you get at it.
  • Speak in a language that even (or especially) the beginners would understand.
  • Be relatable and fun.
  • Pay attention to your backdrop and the level of background noise.
  • Be consistent in creating content.
  • Keep the majority of your videos short. Under 2 minutes and for Instagram, under 60 seconds are the good rules of thumb.
  • Add in music. You can get free licensed background music here. And you can easily edit in music to your video using iMovie or Quicktime.
  • Get an inexpensive lavalier microphone to connect to your phone for better sound quality.
  • Anytime it’s appropriate, include a call to action. Make it stupid simple for them to take the next step with you.
  • Whenever possible, tag people in the video and encourage them to share.

It is important to remember, though, that your ultimate goal of creating videos shouldn’t just be to capture a bunch of “stuff” for the purpose of checking it off a list. You want to build a purposeful library of videos (and other content) that establishes you as the expert.

Here are several ideas of what you could shoot in your videos:

  • Explain how to do something. How to videos are a good way to demonstrate your “product/service” while helping people get better at something.  
  • Highlight your athletes. Video a wide variety of people to show that everyone (in your target audience) can benefit from what you’re providing. The Rule of Social Proof says we’re much more likely to do something if we see someone else successfully doing it.
  • Promote your events. Short, fun videos to promote things that you’ve got going on in your business.
  • Raise awareness. Highlight important things going on in your community.
  • Give quick tips. On eating better, buying groceries, cooking meals, keeping moving at work, etc.
  • Record a product/software demo. Software is usually a learning curve for people, so why not help your clients by recording a short screencast (can use Loom or something similar) of someone using the system.
  • Do video testimonials for website, emails, or newsletter. These will add a different dimension and more trust to your client testimonials than just an image and text.
  • Highlight your business. Welcome visitors to your site on your homepage, introduce members of your staff or shoot a quick “day in the life”. This type of content allows people to feel like they know you before they even meet you and could be the deciding factor in helping someone take the next step in wanting to do business with you.
  • Repurpose your text content. Turn your blog entries into short video blips of content.
  • Facebook Live is a great tool when you’re in the middle of a fun event. Let people know what they’re missing out on!

These ideas are just scratching the surface, of course. If you haven’t yet determined your content marketing strategy for the year, make that a priority and be sure to include lots of video.

Biggest thing in getting started? Step outside of your comfort zone and shart shooting.

If you need help, schedule a call with us or email me at Julie@321goproject.com!  We’d love to help.

 

-This post was written by Julie Weldon.

We Asked One Question…

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

Last week we asked CrossFit/Personal Training gyms and Cheer/Gymnastics/Dance clubs one question and got 200+ thoughtful, individual emails back.

The question was this:

What is one major Pain Point (problem/challenge) that you are dealing with right now as a gym owner?

We asked because we wanted to do a quick pulse check on the fitness industry. We asked because we always want to make sure the content we are putting out is helpful and speaking to things that matter.

Because we asked for their pain point “right now”, the responses covered the gamut of creating an exit plan to managing retail inventory to maximizing profit to paying themselves a salary. There were a few themes, though, that rose to the surface for the majority…

Getting leads, time management, and finding (and keeping) qualified staff were three of the consistent big ones.

It’s obvious to say, but if you don’t have leads coming in your door, can’t prioritize your important things to do, and have a hard time finding good people to work with you, it’s tough to run a good business. No surprise, right?

But what is a surprise is how many gym owners just allow themselves to get (and stay) stuck in the quicksand of their pain points.

So, what is your pain point?

It’s funny how that one question can evoke such emotions. When you think about your pain point, which of these feelings surface – anxiety? fear? inadequacy? being “found out” for being… you fill in the blank? frustration? hope (that if you get it figured out, your life will be so much better)? anger? These are just a few of the emotions we’ve felt as business owners. So, we get it. 

Here are the responses we got, broken out by categories and percentages: 

Pain points are real.  We all have them. The difference between the successful and the not as successful is that the successful actually do something about those pain points. They brainstorm with other business owners to get ideas about how they are recruiting good staff, they aren’t afraid to take calculated risks and change course when the outcome of the risk isn’t want they hoped for, they make that call to a company to help them in the areas where they are struggling. They understand that while paying money out for a service will require sacrifice in the short term, it will (hopefully) produce a good R.O.I. in the long term. They know that you often have to be wise in your spending in order to make money.

If we went back and asked every person who responded, “So, what are you going to do about your pain point?”, how many do you think would have an answer?

Likely, many are stuck. And will remain stuck for far too long.

So, if that’s you and you’re stuck, what’s the best thing you can do? Stare that pain point in the face and get creative.

It most likely won’t go away on it’s own. Have that hard conversation. Get involved in a mastermind group. Hire a mentor. Work with a company who can help you get leads in your door.

We’re certainly not the only company who can help, but we are one really solid option. We’ve been there, we’ve felt the pain of running a small business, we’ve dealt with staff conflict and the pain of trying to find good people, but one of our core values is that we build a relationship with you so that we can really be “in it” with you.

Here are 5 ways we consistently offer help at no charge:

  1. weekly blog on all things related to running a fitness business.
  2. weekly podcast with people who are in the trenches.
  3. free call with one of our team to talk through your pain points and offer ways to help.
  4. One of our Hub courses – the Business Checkup course – is available for free so you can see what you’re doing well and where you need to improve your business.
  5. Try 7 days of Hub at no charge. No strings attached. Just dive in and try it, and if you like it, keep going.

It doesn’t matter if you’re running a gym with 2-3 locations and 500+ athletes, or are just getting ready to open your space, pain points are inevitable.

There is a quote that says “Happiness is only real when shared”, which I wholeheartedly agree with. But I also believe that most pain points are best solved when shared. Find someone or a group of people to be in it with you.

An old proverb proclaims that “The counsel of many is wise.” Make the sacrifice (of time, money, or ego) and let someone else in. The smartest people in the room, know that they are not the smartest people in the room.

It’s amazing how much lighter your burden will get when you don’t feel like you’re in it alone.

 

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

9 Things to Give Up On If You Really Want To Be Successful

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

It’s easy to think we need to add things to our life if we want to hit our goals – more time, more money, more resources, more, more, more. But, sometimes we don’t even realize how many things we’ve got plugged in that are unnecessary or have a negative effect. The truth of the matter is that in order to get the more you’re hoping for, you may need to give up on a few things first to make room for what’s better.

See if any of these 9 things resonate with you…

1. Give up on the short-term mindset.
Far too many people want that quick fix. If I just had more athletes. If I just got more likes. If I just had more money. If I just… These things are all short-term thinking. What’s your why as a business owner? Who do you want to become as a person? And what do you want to become as a business? Back into these things by determining what needs to happen to make these a reality. And start thinking bigger and for the long-term today. Dream a little.

2. Give up on thinking you’re alone and don’t have people to lean on.
It’s a fact that business owners are some of the loneliest people on the planet because typically there are very few people in their worlds who understand what they’re really going through – the pressures, the stress, the joys, the challenges. In this industry, there are plenty of good people who will get in the trenches with you. Our M3 groups are a great start if you want accountability and community support. With building a business comes inevitable pressure. You don’t have to walk this road alone.

3. Give up on your excuses.
We all have them. For why we’re not this, or that, or better, or more, or different. We all know these excuses have to stop. We don’t like it when we hear excuses from other people, so why do we allow ourselves to make them? Only you are responsible for the choices you make and the direction your life takes. I can promise you that people far less smart than you threw away their excuses and went for it. And they are now reaping the rewards of not being held back by fear, or uncertainty, or feelings of inadequacy. Everybody is scared at some level. Embrace your fear and go for it. Own your choices, your business, and your life; because no one else will.

4. Give up on blaming someone or something else for not being where you’d like to be.
One key difference between the successful and all the rest is the ability to take responsibility for all of your actions, reactions, and lack of actions. No one else is making you scroll through that news feed (again), no one else is keeping your bottom line in the red, no one else is making you react in anger, or fear, or whatever emotion you choose in the moment. You may not know exactly how to make a change, but everything is possible if you commit yourself to learning and growing one step at a time.

5. Give up on your dependency to social media.
Start by paying attention to how much you check your different social media accounts – Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter. How many times per day? Many people would lose count after 50. We just want that quick fix. You may have seen the Millennials video by Simon Sinek where he talks about how social media notifications cause our brains to release dopamine. This is the very same chemical that is released with drugs, gambling, cigarettes, and alcohol. It’s what causes addiction, which is to say we can literally become addicted to our smartphones. For many, this is probably not a surprise. It’s scary how much our phones are ruling our lives. Today, at a minimum, start paying attention to this. And, as a side note, if you’re on your phone while driving, for the love, please stop. Throw your phone in the back seat so you minimize the temptation. You have people who you matter to. A lot.

6. Give up on hoping there’s a magic bullet.
We watch gym owners every day attach onto the latest and greatest crazes. They think something like this, “If it works for him/her like they say it does, surely it’s gotta work for me!” Problem is there really are no magic bullets, and they can’t see all the work that went into making it so successful for the other person. And, the other problem is that that statement sounds like it comes from a desperate place of grasping at straws hoping that one tiny straw you grab is the magic one that will eliminate all headaches. Here’s the truth… it never does. Don’t go for the shiny objects; instead go for the tried and true options that require plain old fashioned work every day to make it happen. Not as sexy, but much more effective. Do the little things every day, and let the compound effect do what it does best of multiplying those little things to equal big success.

7. Give up on trying to get everyone to like you.

We humans are funny folks. We like what we like, and have a very difficult time with what (and who) we don’t like. Often it’s just because we’ve created something in our minds that we now believe about a certain person or thing; but for whatever reason, it’s what we do. That said, you’re never, and I mean never, going to please everyone. So, definitely listen to the voice of your customer, but then run your business in such a way that you can lay your head on the pillow at night and rest easy. It’s a losing battle to try to make happy the ones who just don’t want to be happy.

8. Give up on being the martyr.
As a business owner, you’ve got it rough. No one will deny you that. There are long hours, unhappy customers, unmet expectations, scary bank accounts, trying to figure out how to wear 50 hats… to name just a few of the challenges of owning a business. But the successful people press on, and don’t fall prey to the sword of martyrdom. At the end of the day, people are selfish. They don’t really care about how hard life is for you. They just want a good product delivered every time. ​So, instead of complaining or being negative with your team and/or athletes, lean into your community of business owners when things are hard, because they will understand. It may feel good for the moment to be a martyr with those in your business, but that feeling is not worth it for the long-term. Give your clients your best.

9. Give up on dreaming small dreams.
It’s definitely not that we dream too big… if we only knew (and believed in) how much potential we actually have, our dreams would multiply exponentially. Think of the person you respect the most. Now, let me tell you something… you have just as much potential as them. What is it that you really want? Who is it that you really want to be? None of that is out of the question. It’s all within your reach… if you apply yourself, and If you are willing to accept the sacrifices it will take to get there. It won’t be overnight, but if you work at it every day, before you know it, you’ll be living all those things that only used to be a dream.

Oh, and one more that’s a bonus tip…. We’ve all heard it said, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” Apply this last one and you’ll win every time, every if you don’t come in “first place”.

Give up on quitting.
Winners are not quitters. They may not always get it right, but one thing is for certain, they do not quit. They know when to adjust course. They know when to go faster, or slow down. They know when to bring in experts to help with things they don’t understand. But they do not quit. They don’t walk away when things get tough, but they buckle down and focus all the more. They know their tendencies can be to get discouraged, so they surround themselves with people who will motivate them and push them to be the best version of themselves. A quote from The Slight Edge (which is an incredible book, by the way) goes like this… “It’s in the last 20 percent of the time we invest in a discipline that [the majority] of the rewards come.” How true is this?? Far too often we give up before we actually reap the rewards. Put your fingers back on the grindstone and keep at it. A little while down the road, you’ll be really glad you did.

Success is simple, but it’s not easy.

 

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