One Way to Dramatically Improve Your Website

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

If there is one thing that really matters on your website, it’s the images you choose.

The reason this is true is because of the simple fact that, according to a study done by 3M, our human brains process images about 60,000 times faster than we process text. What this means is people will come onto your site and in an instant decide whether (or not) they want to stay.

The images you choose are what makes the potential customer feel connected to you or sends them clicking over to your competitor.

Given the fact that one of our specialities at 321GoProject is building dynamic websites, we’ve seen a lot of websites – the good, the amazing, and the downright terrible. We want to help you make sure your website doesn’t fall into that latter camp.

One big initial mistake people make is they choose images that depict their business rather than choosing images that appeal to their ideal customer. In the gym industry, this would look like featuring a picture of your gym on your homepage rather than one of happy people working out. As proud of your gym as you may be, it’s just not what a potential customer cares about most.

They want to know they’ll fit in there.

They want to know how your gym can impact the change they want to see in themselves.

If they choose you, will they be happier? Will they be fitter? Will they be sexier? Will they be stronger to do the things outside that they want?

This is what should be portrayed on your homepage. And this is done through featuring people who have found these results. 

What motivates people to buy what you are selling is a deep need to fix an internal problem.

They don’t feel good about themselves for one reason or another – they can’t fit in their clothes, they feel insecure, they feel themselves getting older and weaker, they aren’t what they “used to be”, they feel out of control, or any host of other reasons.

Your goal on your website is to offer hope that what they are looking for can be found if they sign up with you.

Remember – your website is not for you or for your members. It’s for those new people considering if they want to be a part of what you’re offering.

Almost every single affiliate or gym owner we’ve spoken with says what differentiates them is “community”. Ok, I get it… that’s truly great, but there are a couple immediate problems I see with that: 1) everyone claims that what makes them different is their community, and 2) if you’re not communicating on your website that fostering community really is a value of yours through the images you choose, then no one is going to believe your words.

Donald Miller lists 3 questions you should answer with every image you use:

  • Does it add value or provide information? In the overwhelm of content we are exposed to everyday, people don’t just want to see pretty images, they want something that provides value.
  • Does it make an emotional impact? The best images are those that elicit an emotional reactions.
  • Does is show the transformation my product offers? Every image, especially on your homepage, should communicate what will happen if they use your product or service.

And then another thing to consider is which images you should not choose. If you’ve got any of these 4 types of images on your site, it’s time to do some serious renovating (or demolition/rebuild):

  1. Stock photos – we all have the ability to recognize a bad stock photo a mile away. They are generally dull and well, stock-photo-ish. An exception would be the gym specific stock photos you get access to in Hub.
  2. Crowd shots – it’s far better to use a close-up image that has a single point of focus. Group shots can tend to be boring if there’s not one single main subject to focus on. 
  3. Poor quality images – it would be better if you didn’t have any images at all (and that’s not a good option) than if you include over-pixelated, low res pictures.
  4. Images that people can’t relate to – for those people who don’t yet understand the world of CrossFit, it will be virtually impossible to relate to grimacing workout photos. You want them to see the positive emotional results, not the pain in the process.

Here’s an example. Check out both images below and determine which one image appeals to you more.

     

The 1st picture is okay – it’s crisp and clean, she’s fit, focused, working out, but there’s not much emotion. The 2nd picture is a close up, she’s motivational, she’s loving what she’s doing, she’s inviting you into something bigger than yourself. That 2nd one would be a better choice every time.

The images you choose for your website matter.

We’ve said it before and we’ll continue to say it because it needs to be understood – in this day and age, your website is one of the best investments you can make into your business. Think about how you feel when you’re searching for a new product or service and you stumble onto an out-of- date website. You probably don’t stick around long. Be careful that you’re not losing potential members because you’re unwilling to make the investment into a solid website.

Need help?  We’d love to chat. Just use this link to schedule a call with us at your convenience.

 

Want To Read More About Websites?

Everything You Need To Know About Building a New Website

Does Your Website Include These 9 Essential Elements?

5 Reasons A Good Website So Important

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Build Your Own Website

The Real Reasons People Click On Your Website

6 Quick & Easy Tips To Improve Your Website

Is Your Website Helping Or Hurting You? Find Out With Our Free Website Audit Tool

So What Exactly Does A Responsive Website Mean?

How To Know If You’re Standing Out From The Competition

By | Building Community, Business Help, Culture, How To, Julie Weldon, Leadership | No Comments

Anyone can deliver average. Few deliver exceptional.

Recently, we went out for a night on the town and, as has become our routine, we called an Uber. The Uber driver checked all the usual boxes: was nice, had a clean car, got us there safely, played decent music, etc. A significant improvement from a typical taxi, but nothing special.

As the night came to a close, we called another Uber driver to take us home. We got in the minivan expecting the usual experience but really, at that point, only needing the bare minimum… just get us home safely.

What we stepped into was an experience we will never forget.

Our driver, Wyel, greeted us as we got in and immediately as the doors closed, turned on Journey – Don’t Stop Believing. “Good choice!”, we said. Then, seeing we’d play along, he cranked up his sound system so that the music filled every corner of the car. “Oh yeah, this is awesome!”, we said to each other through an approving look. He then proceeded to turn on under-seat, multi-colored lighting that changed with the beat. “Whaaat?? This is ah-mazing!” We had just enough liquid courage in us to sing along with him at the top of our lungs. He proceeded to start singing and playing air drums like it was his job. He then turned around and invited us into this experience even further by handing us a karaoke mic. “C’mon… is this real?!?!” I took the mic as though I’d been invited on stage and sang like my life depended on it. In an instant, I.became.Steve Perry.

Never, until this moment, did I care about an Uber ride ending. But when Wyel pulled up to our house, we secretly wanted him to keep driving. Our voices were just getting warmed up.

As we got out of the car, he handed us a business card that described him as simply, “The Uber Man”. Of course you are, we thought.

We walked away changed. That experience raised the bar for every other Uber driver. And we have told this story certainly more than once to all our friends.

This got me thinking about how important it is to differentiate yourself. In Charleston, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Uber drivers. And we’ve used a bunch of them. They are all doing their job, no doubt, but they don’t stand out.

Wyel stood out.

There are three basic responses a client can have to your service:

  • Disappointed – they get less than what they expected
  • Satisfied  – they get what they expected
  • Wow’d – they get more than what they expected

Only at two of the levels will you be talked about to their friends – when they are disappointed in you and when you wow them. If you Uber me home safe, I’m probably not going to tell anyone about you, or really even remember you because you did just what was expected. But, if you play Journey at a club volume level, put on multi-colored lights and hand me a mic, now I’m talking…

Many of you reading this are in an area saturated with competition. Not only are you having to compete with other CrossFit gyms, but also with all the other fitness places out there, as well as online fitness programs. It’s a tough world to win in unless… you stand out.

Here are a few lessons I learned from Wyel on wow’ing customers and being memorable:

    • Think about what your customers really want – while I do want a safe ride home, what would be awesome (and something I probably don’t even know I want) is an experience, something to tell a story about.
    • Make them feel like a hero – in that moment, the moment of them receiving your service, they are the ones who have to feel like they matter. When he handed me that mic, the hero spotlight felt like it was shining bright on me.
    • It doesn’t take much – I checked on Amazon and, for less than $50, Wyel’s minivan became a mobile rockin’ party.
    • It’s often just the little things – know their name, smile at them, ask questions to show interest, follow up, answer your phone, have spotless bathrooms, etc.
    • It’s all about the relationship – once you have a good product (and that’s important first because if you don’t have a good product, they won’t trust you), go out of your way to invest in the relationship.

We’ve created a course in Hub that’s called “How to Create Wow Experiences”. It’s specific to the gym industry, gives you practical tips and ideas, and walks you through evaluating and improving each client touchpoint. In it, we help you unpack every step of a client’s journey (see image below). You can check it out, plus all the other amazing resources in Hub, by signing up for a FREE 7 day trial of Hub by clicking on this link (really free… no strings attached!).

In the meantime, no need to get overwhelmed thinking you need to change everything all at once. Just pick one thing you offer and begin to layer in the wow.

And see if people don’t start talking.

Your goal?

Make them feel like Steve Perry, if only for a minute, and just give them something (good) to talk about.

Everything You Need to Know About Building a New Website

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

There’s a lot to think about when considering a new website. And rightfully so, because it’s a key tool in your gym growth toolbox.

As we talked about in last week’s blog post, your website is the online version of your gym so it’s not a decision you should make without careful consideration.

Maybe you’ve asked some of these same questions… “Should I save the money and build it myself with a plug-n-play service like SquareSpace or Wix?”; “Should I hire a friend/family member/gym member?”; or “Should I invest the money and go with the well-known professional option?”.  It’s hard to know as a gym owner how much you should pay for your website, who you should hire, and what you actually need for your website to do it’s job well. With so many expenses going out the door, it’s easy to want to cut costs wherever possible, and a website is no exception.

Problem is, many people decide on a website service company only “hoping” they’ve made the right decision. But as you’ve likely heard before, hope is never a strategy. And the honest truth is – as with most things in life – when it comes down to having a solid, performing website, you get what you pay for.

Full disclosure, one of the things we do well is create websites… really strong, dynamic, cutting edge websites for the CrossFit and gym industry. But we are just one option you have. So, this is an honest, no salesy attempt at giving you a guide when making your website service provider decision.

Let’s look at your options with pros and cons. Then, fwiw, we’ll give our opinion on each based on our experience.

#1 – Build it Yourself with a Plug-n-Play Tool

Pros: inexpensive; quick; learn something new; sense of accomplishment; flexibility to make changes whenever you want

Cons: time consuming; doesn’t work properly; hard to know if you’ve done it right; little SEO integration (your website needs to actually show up when people search); may look unprofessional; will eventually need an experienced professional; low upfront costs, high long-term costs

Our down and dirty opinion: Simply put, a website is too important a tool to build yourself if you have limited to no experience. The plug-n-play options are quick and easy, and cheap, but much like stopping at McDonald’s for lunch… even though it’s cheap and easy, it offers very little value.

 

#2 – Hire a Family Member/ Friend/ Gym Member to Build Your Website for You

Pros: potentially less expensive upfront costs; they know you and you trust them

Cons: if you’re paying less, you’re most likely not a high priority to them, therefore, typically is a longer timeline to launch;they may or may not understand the CrossFit industry; hard to “fire” them

Our down and dirty opinion: It’s always tricky to hire someone you know well. It becomes hard to push them to meet timelines when you know they have other things going on and they’re cutting you a break on costs. Expectations are high and the ability to “fire” them without significantly harming the relationship, typically goes out the window. If you choose this option, make sure you spell out all expectations very clearly in writing.

 

#3 – Hire a Designer to Build Your Website for You

Pros: website will look pretty; you won’t have to struggle with learning to do it yourself

Cons: will cost you more; may have little to no back-end capabilities

Our down and dirty opinion: Your website is not and should not just be a pretty front door; the purpose of your website is to sell something! Be sure the company you hire understands the real purpose of your website. Here’s how you know a good website… when visiting it, do you say “wow, that’s a cool website”, or “man, I want to buy that product or service.”

 

#4 – Hire a Professional Website Company to Build Your Site

Pros: establishes your professionalism as a gym; access to a professional who can create landing pages, add content, create code, manage backend, etc.; stay up-to-date with technological changes; all security, hosting, daily backups, maintenance are done for you so you can have peace of mind; confidence that your website is a powerful tool that works for you 24 hours a day; can fire them if they are not performing as expected

Cons: will most likely be a bigger initial financial investment than any of the other options (but will save you money in the long-term by being set-up correctly and attracting business)

Our down and dirty opinion: Of course given all the pro’s and con’s of all the options this would be our recommended choice for you. Your website is too important a tool to pursue in a half-hearted manner. Whether you choose us, or another company, just make sure you ask (and feel comfortable with) the answers to the questions below before making a decision and hiring them.

 

11 questions to ask when considering hiring someone to build your website:

  1. How long has the company been in business? How many websites have they built? Any company who’s been building websites for 5+ years has ample experience to build you a great site. You want to know that they have a long list of satisfied customers, and that your experience with them will be no different.
  2. Do they understand the fitness, specifically the CrossFit, industry? Any design firm can build a website… what you want is someone who knows the intricacies of the industry.
  3. What’s their reputation in the CrossFit industry – have people heard of them and do they have good things to say about them? Are other people who’ve used them pleased with the level of service they’ve received/are receiving?  You want your website/marketing company to be tried and true and working with satisfied customers.
  4. Do you like their business website and is it easy to understand/navigate? If not, this is a big red flag.
  5. Are they creative, or is your site a theme that’s going to look just like the guy/girl’s down the street if they use the same company? Your potential member is going to search all websites in your area. You want yours to stand out from the crowd, not be a mirror image of your competition’s website.
  6. Is it easy to get in touch with their support team? Do they respond quickly? If it’s hard to get ahold of them prior to hiring them, just think what it’ll be like once they “have” you on the hook.
  7. Do you have access to make changes to the website yourself? Without this, you are at their mercy to make any and all changes to your site.
  8. If you leave them, do you get to keep your website? This is a BIG factor to consider. You invest a good amount of money, your site should be yours and not their “proprietary” possession.
  9. How do they keep your site up-to-date with all the rapid changes in technology? Do they keep your site current, or is it one and done? For example, find out if they provide a new site (at no extra charge) every 2-3 years… this is important.
  10. Can your site integrate with your member management system? Do they know how to configure the API so that the different systems talk with one another?
  11. Do you like them/enjoy talking with them? You need to work closely with the company for at least 6-8 weeks, if you don’t enjoy conversation with them, you won’t be as motivated to be involved in the process.

Gone are the days when you can get away with a mediocre website. The industry is changing so rapidly and becoming more “professional” every day that in order to keep up and outpace your competition, your website needs to be a powerful tool for growth.

If you don’t know where to turn, we can help. We’ll do a free website audit for you and answer any questions you might have. Use this link to schedule a call with us.

 

Want To Read More About Websites?

Does Your Website Include These 9 Essential Elements?

5 Reasons A Good Website So Important

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Build Your Own Website

The Real Reasons People Click On Your Website

6 Quick & Easy Tips To Improve Your Website

Is Your Website Helping Or Hurting You? Find Out With Our Free Website Audit Tool

So What Exactly Does A Responsive Website Mean?

Does Your Website Include These 9 Essential Elements?

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

Your website is the online version of your gym.

People will decide within 5-10 seconds if they want to give you their business… or not. Gone are the days where you can get away with an unprofessional website. If your site does not look solid and is easy to use, you are losing potential clients. Guaranteed.

We all know our website has a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. But most of us don’t give it the attention it needs to make sure it’s accomplishing its purpose.

This month our Hub and blog focus is all on websites. In last week’s blog post we provided 5 Reasons a Solid Website is Important. You have to know that it’s important to have a rock solid website before you’ll actually focus on yours to make it better.

In this blog post, we will walk through the essential elements of a strong lead-generating website and how to make sure each is included.

First things first, find someone you trust who will be completely honest with you. Now, have them do the “10 second test” on your website. The 10 second test involves answering these 4 questions:

  • What is this site about? This can be communicated through logo, slogan, and the content copy you choose.
  • Does it capture my interest? Is it an up-to-date design that seems well thought out? Do the images evoke some sort of emotion?
  • What am I supposed to do? Is there a clear call to action (CTA)?
  • Do I want to share this experience? Is it a compelling enough message that one of their first thoughts is to share it with someone else?

If your honest friend struggles to answer two or more of these, it’s likely time to revisit your site design.

Once you complete the 10 second test, dive a little deeper to see if your website includes these 9 essential elements:

  1. Built for the first time visitor – You can’t convince them. They must convince themselves. Design is important, but words are what sells your services.
  2. Has a captivating one-liner that describes the service you offer. This can be created by answering these 3 questions – “What is the problem most of your potential clients have?”, “What is the product/service you offer that solves their problem?, and “What’s the resolution your client will experience by using your service?”
  3. Uses quality images of happy people. Your site should visually display what success looks like by coming to your gym. Capture those moments once someone feels like they fit in. high five, supportive, hanging out after the wod, mobility, outside the gym.
  4. Tells success stories – people love to envision themselves in the stories of success that you tell.
  5. Includes social proof – highlighting local, reputable companies you work with builds trust.
  6. Is a good user experience, on both mobile and desktop. It’s unacceptable how many people still have not optimized their website for the mobile experience.
  7. Has a clear CTA with an easy way to take the next step. Most sites are missing a CTA. Getting Started is not a CTA. Your CTA should be on every page.
  8. Has scheduling software. Do you make it super simple for someone to schedule an appointment with you through your website?
  9. Is decluttered. Less is more, remember main goal of building for first time visitor. People get confused with too many options. Avoid the curse of knowledge. Cut down on the number of pages.

How does your website measure up with this list?  If these essential elements aren’t included, you are losing leads… most likely every day.

A small investment into a solid website will pay you dividends in the future.

Here are two tools we have to help:

  1. 7 Day Free Access to Hub – this month in Hub, our focus is all about making sure you have a lead-generating website. 321Go Founder, Clay Weldon, has created an extensive video course with a checklist to walk you through the essentials of a solid website. For access to this course (and all of Hub), sign up for your FREE 7 day trial today! No strings attached or commitments needed… you like it, you stay; you don’t, you cancel.  
  2. A FREE website audit. Click here to schedule a call with us and we’ll walk through your website with you to tell you the good components and the things you can improve to make it more effective.

 

Want to read more about websites? Check out these other posts we’ve written…

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Build Your Own Website

The Real Reasons People Click On Your Website

6 Quick & Easy Tips To Improve Your Website

Is Your Website Helping Or Hurting You? Find Out With Our Free Website Audit Tool

So What Exactly Does A Responsive Website Mean?

5 Reasons A Solid Website Is So Important

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

In our highly visual culture, a strong website is one of the most important tools to invest in for any business.

It’s no longer a nice-to-have. The way your site looks tells users whether they want to interact or do business with you or click away to your competition. Sure it’s great to have good equipment, and good software, and quality staff, but if you don’t have a good website you will lose leads, and probably a lot of them.

In talking with small business owners every day, we find that the majority either overspend or underspend when building their website, and many, if not most, have no idea how to make good, informed decisions when it comes getting a quality website. A handful of folks go with the most expensive option, because the company makes a lot of promises on the sales call, only to find out a several weeks in that they gotten sold a bill of over-promised and under-delivered goods. Or, when money is tight it sounds really appealing to go with the low-cost option – a friend or family member, or “someone from church”, or the cheapest service you can find when you Google – but rarely is this a good idea.

I recently bought an old pickup truck. Our budget for it was small, so we found one that fit the budget and excitedly wrote the check. And, then… the spending compounded. Four trips to the mechanic later, we ended up spending 3x the original price tag.

So it is with websites.

You can go with the cheapest option, but it will always cost you more in the long run.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about why a good website matters to your business. And then in the upcoming weeks, we’ll follow up with blog posts on what are the essential elements of a strong lead-generating website and how to make sure each is included, and what to look for when hiring a web design firm that won’t break the bank.

So, why does a good website matter?

  • Your website is your online expression of who you are. It reflects your level of professionalism as a business owner. If your website is strong and solid, that communicates that you are doing well enough in your business to be able to afford a dynamic website. If it’s home-built and cobbled together and hasn’t been updated in years, that’s exactly the first impression you’ll make, and the “googler” will most likely (quickly) move on to your competitor.
  • Your website can mean being chosen over the other guy/girl down the street. When someone is considering getting fit, they likely have lots of options in a gym within in a 10 mile radius. The majority of these people will begin a Google search. If they find you, and like what they see, you may gain their business. If you can’t be found or your competitor looks more reputable through his/her website, you’ll lose business, just because of your website.
  • Your website can attract drop-ins. One of the first things people from out of town will do when looking for a place to workout, is do an online search. Again, if you have a solid site, they’ll choose you. If not, you’ll get passed over… every time.
  • Your website provides accessibility to your business around the clock. Brick and mortar stores close, websites don’t. This means that your website is always open for business. So, when they’re out and about on their phone, your website can easily be viewed on the go. Or, at midnight, after they’ve just finished a pack of Oreo’s, be the one they are looking for to help them make a change. 
  • Your website makes your product/service understandable. Many people have some serious misconceptions about the world of CrossFit. A good website can quickly dispel those fears and make you seem more approachable.

Considering that your website is one of your most important tools in getting people in your door, you’d do well to invest some time and thought into building a solid website and hiring the right people for the job.

But, be careful… there are a lot of website companies out there promising things they can’t (or don’t) deliver… either with little to no experience in the gym industry space, or who will charge you way too much for what you need. Be sure you know exactly what you’re looking for and what questions to ask before hiring someone to build you a website.

Having built close to 1,000 websites for gym owners, websites are one thing we specialize in. We’re happy to talk with you, just to answer any questions you may have. You can schedule a free call at your convenience by clicking on this link.

 

Want to read more about websites? Check out these other posts we’ve written…

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Build Your Own Website

The Real Reasons People Click On Your Website

6 Quick & Easy Tips To Improve Your Website

Is Your Website Helping Or Hurting You? Find Out With Our Free Website Audit Tool

So What Exactly Does A Responsive Website Mean?