Can You DIY the Marketing of Your Business?

By | Business Help, Digital Marketing, Hub, Julie Weldon, Marketing, Social Media | 2 Comments

Marketing exists for the ultimate purpose of getting leads in your door and turning those leads into sales.

We’re a company who specializes in marketing, so we’ve seen it all. Everything from… logos done on Word, websites still live that were cobbled together back in 2010, Facebook ads that aren’t producing leads, not showing up until 4 or 5 pages into a Google search, businesses trying to grow without any marketing plan in place.

And these people wonder why they are in the same place they were this time last year (or 3 years ago).

Truth be told, there is a lot that goes into effectively marketing a business, including things like a dynamic website that works just as well on a mobile device as it does a computer, promoting and delivering fun events, producing quality videos, capturing testimonials, a creative and professional logo and brand, an engaging newsletter, writing blogs, managing social media accounts, creating landing pages, writing eBooks, showing up in the first three of the Google search, banners, t-shirts designs, email automation software with campaigns, scheduling software, FB ads that actually convert, understanding solid analytics. To 95% of small business owners, this list is both overwhelming and exhausting.

But the problem is… if you don’t pay attention to these things, you will get left behind.

So, can you DIY your marketing?

I recently started a podcast. I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours I spent (wasted) trying to learn how to publish a podcast. Just creating the website alone and connecting it to the hosting software and iTunes took me an embarrassing amount of research and time, only to finally throw my hands up in frustration. I don’t even want to think about how much that DIY cost me. My intention was to save money because we were on a limited budget (like $0), which clearly did not happen. In my frustration, I reached out to my nephew who does this for a living. $50 and 2 days later (obviously, that’s the family discount), he had me up and running. But, more than just “up and running”, his work gave me the confidence that it was actually done right.

It needs to be noted that there is a big difference between something that is an expense and something that is a critical value add. Cable is an expense. Electricity is a critical value add. Starbucks is an expense. Vegetables are a critical value add. LuLuLemon clothing is an expense. Clothing is a critical value add. You get the point.

An expense is an added nice to have or luxury, a critical value add is imperative for success.

How can you know if investing in the effective marketing your gym is an expense or if it’s a critical value add?

Given the fact that based on the majority of conversations we have with gym owners, the number one thing they need help with is getting leads, I’d say marketing is a critical value add component of your business.

We’ll ask the question again… can you DIY your marketing?

Sure, but only if you have the right tools and know how to use them. When learning new skills, you have to ask yourself the question, is this something that will benefit me in the long run? Or is it a “trendy” thing, like Facebook ads, that always changes and I’m going to have to keep re-learning it to stay current?

Setting up my podcast was something I only needed to do one time. It would have made a whole lot more sense to hire it out in the beginning rather than waste my time – and essentially money because time is money – trying to learn it myself. (and I should know this.)

We want to help. That’s why we’ve spent the last year and a half developing the Hub platform. It’s our solution to you being able to save money while upping your marketing game. The affordable monthly cost gives you access to an extensive library of video courses, and a litany of plug-n-play templates. If you only watched the step-by-step “How to Create Facebook ads” or downloaded the Staff Handbook template and applied it to you business, that’d be well worth the amount of a year subscription to Hub. Instead of searching Google for hours, Hub is a one stop shop. It also gives you access to our private FB group, which is unlike any other FB group page resource in the industry. 

So, one more time… can you DIY your marketing by piecemealing and Google searching and cobbling together what you’ve learned?  Sure. Anyone can do it. But, you have to look at what results your current efforts are producing for you. How many leads are coming in your door? The real question then is should you DIY your marketing?

Check out a Free 7 day trial of Hub today!  If you don’t like it, you can cancel. No strings attached. 🙂 And for only $99 more/month, you can add a M3 group for weekly accountability with peer gym owners and a 321Go Business Coach to make sure you’re implementing what you’re learning.

You’d probably never attempt to build a house – even if you had the blueprint and tools – if you didn’t have any experience. Surround yourself with people who know what they’re doing and the going will be much easier… we promise.

How To Make Videos That People Want To Watch

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

There’s a lot of noise out there in social media land. Everybody is wanting to jump in and contribute their two cents.

“Blogs are popular? I’ll write blogs.” “Videos are the new thing? Let me get out my phone and create some.” Problem is, a lot of times two cents equals just that… not much. Just more noise to clog up your feed.

We wrote an article a month ago about How to Use Video To Generate Leads, now let’s take that blog post a step further.

One thing is certain, all videos are not created equal.

So how do you create a video that stands out above the noise and gets people to want to click and watch, and ultimately buy what you’re selling?

I googled the most viral YouTube videos of 2016 to see what made them so contagious. I wanted to know the themes, the components that made them irresistible.

Here are a few things that stood out to me:

  • They tap into an emotion – either hilarity, happiness, cheering for the underdog… viewers love having feelings and emotions stirred up.
  • They make you smarter – they educate, inform, and give you useful knowledge to be the hit at the next dinner conversation.
  • They have cute kids in them – because who doesn’t want to watch a cute kid be cute?
  • They are like a bad trainwreck – you know you should look away, but something makes you keep watching until it’s over.
  • They are relatable and personable – you usually find yourself wanting to become friends with the person or people in the videos because you are “so much like them”.
  • They are authentic – your videos actually don’t have to be perfect and professional, but they do have to feel “real”.
  • They are entertaining – humor is a great addition to any movie. Add in bloopers, keep in “mistakes”.

Another point to note: it’s an extra bonus if you make your video engaging without any sound. You can do this by avoiding dialogue altogether, or making sure that you include high-quality closed captioning (you can outsource this or do it yourself).

The truth is that nobody will care (and click) if you just turn your video on during a class and do a pano of the activity. What they will care about is if you do a close up of someone (who looks real and relatable) hitting a PR while everyone around them cheers. Or if you do a fun educational video about nutrition that is funny and endears them to you.

Like all things in business, your videos need to have a strategy and serve a purpose.

If you’re not shooting videos to promote your business, now’s a good time to start. And if you are capturing things on video, take your video’ing up a notch and include at least one thing from the list above.

Don’t just add more noise for the sake of “doing videos”. Instead of being noise, make your videos sing and be like music. When you do, people will watch and want to be a part of what you’re doing.

Need help with your marketing? We’d love to talk with you. Click here to schedule a free call with us!

If You Build It Sorry But… They Probably Won’t Just Come.

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

If you don’t focus on marketing your business, your business will not be successful. It’s as simple as that.

Your network of friends and family will only go so far to keep you afloat. Then what?

Here’s the common progression for many aspiring small business owners… they have a dream, they invest significant amounts of money (and time) into making that dream a reality, they finally get to the point where they have their grand opening, and then… they embrace (to whatever degree) the “if you build it, they will come” mentality.

After they’ve exhausted their network, they enter the stage of “desperation” – whether it’s 3 months or 3 years down the road. We’ve all seen it, and we know it when we are the ones living it.

Desperation appears in three all too familiar behaviors: 1) trying any new “thing” that comes into view without even doing the homework to see if it’s really a fit, 2) doing the same things and expecting different results, and 3) clinging onto the hope that things will turn around.

But, we all know none of these things actually work – in business or in life. Unfortunately, desperation is rarely attractive.

Since the majority of small business owners have very little experience in marketing, the “if you build it, they will come” mentality is understandable, but in no way is it a successful path for growth.

So what do you do?  

Let’s look to Starbucks for our inspiration. Whether or not you are a Starbucks fan, the fact of the matter is Howard Schultz and his team are brilliant marketers. What have they done? They have built a wildly successful business around a cup of coffee. Their idea was once the size of your business. So, how have they grown from approximately 7,000 stores in 2003, to more than 25,000 stores in 2017?

They have converted coffee into a luxury item.

They have transformed an everyday beverage into an experience that tons of people gladly pay (probably more than they should) for.

Here are a few things, in my opinion, they do extraordinarily well.

  • They get personal with their customers. You are not a number in Starbucks, you have a name. And you are known and called by your name. This matters to people. A lot.
  • They add value. I recently went to a local coffee shop to do work. I got my cup of coffee, got all settled in my spot, went to connect to their wifi, only to realize that they didn’t have free wifi. While maybe a “little” thing, this messed up my day of work. I get it. They don’t want people sitting around for hours on one cup of coffee, but I haven’t been back there since, and I’ve been to Starbucks (with free wifi) a countless number of times. The added value keeps people coming back again and again. If Starbucks took away the free wifi,  they would more than likely see a significant drop in customers. A small price to pay for loyalty.
  • They do their research. Here’s a tip: if you want to know where to invest in real estate, see where the new Starbucks are popping up. They relentlessly study the trends and move to an area before it’s cool. And when they bring in a new store, they often add more than one. This makes it feel like they are everywhere. They know that “competition” is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s helpful for the consumer to see your business as a “movement” – something that so many people are buying into that more providers are needed.
  • They are known for doing one thing really well. Starbucks is undeniably known for coffee (again, whether you like it or not). If you come in for a cup of coffee, you may also want a snack, or a bottle of water, or a pound of coffee to take home. They have these things, but they are hyper-focused on providing many variations of their “one thing”.
  • They aren’t afraid to charge more than people think it may be “worth”. I recently heard a statement that has left a deep impression on me. “Price conveys quality”. Think about how true this is. If you have a $10 bottle and a $50 bottle of wine in front of you, you will automatically assume that the $50 bottle will taste better in a side-by-side comparison. If you pay double for a cup of coffee at Starbucks than at a gas station, you will most assuredly expect a better cup of coffee.

A smart small business owner knows they don’t need everyone to buy their service or product. Instead, they get really clear on who and how many they want to serve and then go after finding these people and making them raving fans.

Sales (profitable sales) pays the bills. Marketing is what brings in those sales. Make sure you are focused on the right things.

Are you sending the message that your services are a “luxury” item? If you build it, and market it well… people will come.

Need help with all this? This is why we are in business. We help you make the complex world of marketing simple. We’d love to talk – just schedule a call here with us.

9 Ways to Ramp Up Your Marketing Efforts on the Cheap

By | Business Help, Julie Weldon, Marketing | 2 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.