Should You Give Things Away For Free?

By | Branding & Website Advice, Building Community, Business Help, Digital Marketing, Financial Help, How To, Hub, Julie Weldon, Leadership, Marketing, Resources, Social Media, Staffing & Coaches, Starting a Gym, Tips | 2 Comments

We recently wrapped up an online Gym Owners Growth Summit with 3,000+ participants from almost every country in the world. THREE THOUSAND. That’s pretty amazing, especially since we were hoping for 500 this first year. The speakers were the best minds in the industry and they were curated to give some of their most solid advice for growing a gym. Three days of advice from the best. And, the most incredible part about it… it was free (except for the time needed, of course, to attend the sessions).

They say nothing in life is free, but this Summit really was free. Because, here at 321GoProject, we know many gym owners can’t afford all the expenses associated with traveling to a weekend seminar or the costs associated with hiring a mentor to grow their gym. Or, they live in other countries and don’t have as many resources available as we do here in the U.S.

People have a wide range of opinions about free. The majority are thankful, but of course you also have the naysayers. Some of these critics say things like, “People won’t value it if you give it away for free.” or “The content can’t be as good if it’s free.”, or “Paying money holds people accountable to take action.”

While I agree with these sentiments, I also know and have experienced firsthand that when you can give something of high quality away for free, it nurtures a relationship and fosters trust. Good people conclude, “wow, if they’re this committed to giving something of this quality away for free, what value must their paid services offer?”

What if you went into a coffee shop and connection to wi-fi wasn’t free?  Of course it costs the shop something to provide it, so following the arguments above… people wouldn’t value it (or you), or they won’t use it properly, or whatever. But, we all know a coffee shop offering free wi-fi only draws us in and makes us a more loyal consumer than one that doesn’t.

The reality is the challenge of free lies with the person actually receiving the free, not the free itself. (You might want to read that again.) If someone is a GSD (get sh!t done) kind of person, they will understand the value and maximize the potential of what’s being offered, whether it’s free or not. If they are not a GSD kind of person, they will have lots to naysay about why it’s ridiculous to give something away.

What’s more important though is being able to answer the question – does giving something away for free align with your values as a company?

Our values at 321Go are the following:

  1. We learn. We create. We give.
  2. We will be financially sound so we can invest into relationships.
  3. We will never assume because we know that clarity wins.
  4. We will lead by example.
  5. We will be the leader in delivering an incredible client experience.
  6. We will be ethical in our decisions and won’t compromise or take shortcuts.

So, you see, giving something as huge as 3 day access to a Summit fits right in line with a number of our values. When values and actions align, let all the critics say what they will.

Given that, we know many don’t have time to sit for 3 days watching training sessions so we decided to offer a 30 Day Pass for only $69. Literally, hundreds are seeing the crazy value in this.

So, here we are in an industry where, admittedly, many gym owners are incredible people and amazing trainers, but know very little about actually running a gym.

And, for just $69, we’re offering 25 sessions with the experts on how to grow your gym.

I’m not sure if this is for you, but just imagine how your business would change if you committed to watching just 1 session a day for the next month.… You’d have tools on marketing, how to create Facebook ads, creating a strategic plan, how to create videos that convert, how to set up effective retail, what insurance options are right for you, how to set up Profit First in your business, actionable tips on how to hire and how to be a good leader, to name just a few.

Most won’t do this because they will get caught up in the urgent of the day.  And 3 months from now, their business will be the same (or worse).

But for those of you who do, you will have a completely different business 3 months from now for only $69.

To what extent you are willing to suffer or sacrifice or be disciplined to get the growth that you want in your gym?

Sometimes free really is good.

5 Tips & Tricks To Get Found Online

By | Blog, Branding & Website Advice, Business Help, Digital Marketing, How To, Hub, Joshua Sturgeon, Julie Weldon, Marketing, Matt Scanlon, SEO Help | No Comments

We’ve spent the month of August in Hub focused on SEO and getting found when people are looking online. We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again…

It’s virtually pointless to invest time and money into a website if you’re not also going to invest time and money into making sure that website gets found.

It’s a little like having a mailbox, but not putting an address on it. You’re probably not going to get much mail.

Matt Scanlon, founder and owner of CrossFit Memorial Hill has done the work with SEO, using the SEO resources provided by Josh Sturgeon in Hub. Because of that, he now shows up everywhere online when people are looking in his area for a gym, or fitness, or nutrition, or anything to do with the services he offers.

We asked him to give us the top 5 things he drilled down on when getting himself ranked high in the Google searches. The list below is his Cliff Notes version of where you should focus your efforts for the biggest bank for your buck. He even ranked them according to Cost, Time, and Technical Know-How (1 being low, 5 being high).

Most Impactful Things To Focus On For Overall Rankings:

1. Reviews – Cost: 0 | Time: 1 | Technical Know-How: 1

Reviews are singlehandedly the most important thing you can do to show up online. We wrote another article on why they are so important. If you focus on nothing else, focus on this.

Tips:

 – If you have a a lot of drop-in’s, offer their 2nd drop in free with a Google review.

 – If you’ve done (or are doing) the Bingo game, make “leave a review” a square.

 – Simply ask your members… they most likely think you’re pretty great!

 – Biggest thing: Create a system for getting reviews.

 

2. NAP: Name, Address & Phone Number – Cost: 0-2 | Time: 4 | Technical Know-How: 2

Google doesn’t like inconsistency. If you have different addresses in different places, it confuses Google. Even down to if you have “Street” in one place and “St.” in another. Make sure you use the exact same address anywhere you show up.

Tip: Use https://moz.com/local to get a score for your consistency. You can then opt to go and change everything manually or pay to have Moz do it for you (in Matt’s opinion, it’s worth paying for).

 

3. Local Listings – Cost: 0-2 | Time: 5 | Technical Know-How: 2

This is, basically, just getting your website on other local websites – Chamber of Commerce, fitness center listings, City Visitors page – ANYTHING you can think of. This will take a tremendous amount of time on your part.

Tip: If you have free interns – set them to this task. If not, pay the money to have Whitespark.ca do it for you. It’s a few bucks a listing and well worth your time. Their set-up doc takes a long time, but they use it for any projects going forward. (again, Matt’s opinion, it’s worth the cost)

 

4. Guest Blog Articles – Cost: 0 | Time: 4 | Technical Know-How: 3

Is there a local website that gets a TON of traffic?  If so, ask them if you can submit some content for them. Establish your expertise. Or, if you’re not a writer, have one of your coaches write something.

Tip: Make sure that your website is listed in the content or your bio.

 

5. Yoast SEO Premium Plugin – Cost: 2 | Time: 5 | Technical Know-How: 4

This is a last line of defense. You can optimize pages and blogs with this plugin, but it can feel a bit tedious and overwhelming if you’re not comfortable on WordPress and with blogging.

Tip: If you don’t have a regular blog, don’t bother here, focus on #1-4 first.

 

These tips are not magic bullets, but they do work if you’re disciplined to make them happen. And you will see, there is a good amount of low-hanging fruit that you will find if you commit yourself to doing the work.

Want step-by-step help? We’ve got and handful of exceptional video courses in Hub that teach you how to optimize your website so that you get found, every time. Check them out for only $10 for the first month of Hub.

 

 

Also… if you haven’t registered yet for the 1st Annual Gym Owner’s Growth Summit, do so today!!  It’s FREE and it’s 3 days of content from some of the greatest minds in our industry!!

Why Customer Reviews Are So Important To Your Business

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

Think about the last time you bought something online, or reserved a place to stay, or chose a restaurant. Before making a decision, what was one of the FIRST things you did?  If you’re like most people, you looked at the reviews.

How many reviews are there? Have they primarily been given 5 stars… or 1-2 stars? If they have mostly 4-5 stars, what do people love about it? And, if there are 1-2 star ratings, what are their biggest complaints?

If there are no ratings and reviews, what are your thoughts? You’re most likely a little leary to purchase, aren’t you? If no one else is trying it, you probably will keep looking for another product that someone else testifies is good, or (hopefully) amazing.

Ratings and reviews – good, bad, or non-existent – can make or break a business.

Customers trust other people’s opinion in today’s social media saturated world more than they trust what a brand says about themselves.

In 2015, BrightLocal released the findings of their Local Consumer Review Survey. They found that 92% of people said they read reviews to determine the quality of a local business before visiting a business. NINETY-TWO PERCENT.

So, what does that mean for you?

If you don’t have a lot of reviews all saying how amazing someone’s experience is at your place of business, chances are you are losing people, and probably a lot of them.

Here are a few other statistics that communicate the importance of online reviews:

  

 

 

 

 

Reviews matter. And they matter a lot.

So, given that, here are a few things that are key to know and remember:

  1. Volume of reviews you have – many customers form an opinion after only reading a few reviews, but they want to at least know that there are many similar reviews just like the ones they read.
  2. All on the same day – Google doesn’t look favorably on all your reviews happening around the same time frame. Spread them out and consistently ask for reviews. Sort your members alphabetically and reach out to the A-E’s the first week, then F’J’s the following, etc.
  3. Incentivize – You certainly don’t have to incentivize your members to leave you a review, but it wouldn’t hurt, would it? You can enter them in a raffle for a $25 credit to your retail, or a $5 giftcard to Starbucks, etc. For drop-in’s, you can offer them a 2nd drop-in for free if they leave you a review. Their efforts will be well worth the investment you spend. 
  4. Reviews impact your search ranking – Google likes it when a business has a bunch of reviews so they will use these to rank you higher in searches.
  5. New customers will pay more for highly rated products or services – You know as well as I do if you read awesome positive reviews about a product, you are more willing to open up your wallet.
  6. Have reviews on different platforms – The main platforms to have a healthy dose of glowing reviews are Google and Facebook, but it never hurts to have a good handful of positive reviews on Yelp as well.
  7. Make it “stupid simple” for people to leave a review – Use our template to help people with the review-leaving process. The less clicks they have to do, the more likely they’ll actually leave you a review.

We cannot understate the importance of getting at least 35-50 positive reviews, spread out over the course of time. The more, the better. Invest time in this and it will pay you back in dividends.

Want more help with this? Check out Hub. This month, we’re focused on helping Hubsters get found online and getting reviews is just one piece of that. For only $10 for the first month, you can get your online “house” in order.

 

 

Also… if you haven’t registered yet for the 1st Annual Gym Owner’s Growth Summit, do so today!!  It’s FREE and it’s 3 days of content from some of the greatest minds in our industry!!

How To Be Sure You Are Showing Up Online When Potential Leads Are Searching

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

Ever wonder if your gym actually shows up when people search for a gym online? Well, you’re not alone.

If you ask the majority of small business owners how well their website is performing in online searches, most don’t have a clue. But, it’s important to remind you that if you’re not getting found when people are looking, you’ve thrown good money after bad when you invested in your website. One of the main points of a website is to market to your potential leads, so if you’re not showing up, your website is like a dull blade.

Each month we release new content in Hub. For August, the content is all about Local SEO and Getting Found Online. And you can check it out for only $10 for the first month.

Here’s a sneak peak into the content you’d have access to once in there…

INTRODUCTION

Everybody wants to show up on the first page of Google, right? Of course! It makes no sense to have a website that doesn’t get viewed. But, the truth is, not many gyms are showing up in those prime spots. Why? Because no one really know how to make it happen.

Is this you?

  • Not 100% sure if your Google Places page is optimized.
  • Not sure where you rank on Google for the keywords you want to rank for and definitely not sure how to take actionable steps to increase their ranking.
  • Not clear on the key drivers that affect your ability to rank higher.

This month, we’re committed to walking with you in helping you understand what it takes to get your website found.


GAME PLAN FOR AUGUST

GSD 1: Watch the “Local SEO 100: Introduction” course (Approx 29 minutes)
GSD 2: Watch the “SEO 101: Get Your Website Fit” course (Approx 52 minutes)
GSD 3: Watch the “SEO 200 Part 1: Understanding Citations and Reviews” course (Approx 41 minutes)
GSD 4: Watch the “SEO 200 Part 2: Link Building Tactics for Gym Owners” course (Approx 40 minutes)
GSD 5: By the end of the month, make sure your gym’s Google My Business Listing is 100% optimized based off the course. Use the “Hub Google My Business Checklist” pdf for reference
GSD 6: Have a plan in place to get at least 8 new Google reviews each month

By the end of this month, you should:

1. Have completed the “Local SEO 100: Introduction” course
2. Have completed the “SEO 101: Get Your Website Fit” course 
3. Have completed the “SEO 200 Part 1: Understanding Citations and Reviews” course
4. Have completed the “SEO 200 Part 2: Link Building Tactics for Gym Owners” course
5. Confirm you have your Google My Business Listing page setup properly
6. Have an ongoing plan to get at least 8 Google reviews per month

For only $10, you could work through this Game Plan and have confidence that your potential leads are finding you when and where they are looking online. Check it out today!

 

Also… if you haven’t registered yet for the 1st Annual Gym Owner’s Growth Summit, do so today!!  It’s FREE and it’s 3 days of content from some of the greatest minds in our industry!!

How Gyms Can Get More From Their Facebook Ads

By | Branding & Website Advice, Business Help, Digital Marketing, How To, Joshua Sturgeon, Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

One of the greatest mistakes I see among gyms starting out with Facebook ads is that they’re using an old approach to advertising on a very modern platform.

Advertising has had a major upgrade with the development of Facebook’s ad platform. This new channel also requires a new approach.

Here are the key ways that Facebook differs from traditional print advertising, and how you can upgrade your approach to get the most from your ad dollars!

Facebook lets you target a very specific audience

I’ve seen gyms take a wrong turn by using their printed flyer designs as Facebook ads.

Don’t do this.

Your flyers are probably designed for mass appeal. You’re handing them out at coffee shops and posting them in areas of high visibility. Your goal is to get as many eyeballs as possible to see it.

Not so with Facebook. It’s the key advantage, really. You can get so specific with who you’re targeting, it’s actually a little creepy.

So if you are targeting young, pregnant mothers in a 10 mile radius around Boston who want a safe way to stay fit during the duration of their pregnancy…make sure that you’re speaking to them in your ad copy! Speak directly to their concerns and offer a specific solution.

Facebook ads create a two way street for communication

In the old days, advertising was about broadcasting a message to as many people as possible. It was a megaphone.

The only engagement you would get on a billboard was graffiti.

But when you’re running Facebook ads in a newsfeed, you’re giving your target audience a voice to respond. Sure, you’ll get some “graffiti”. But you can scrub it off pretty easily with your keyboard’s delete button.

The takeaway here is that if you’re running Facebook ads for your gym, be ready to standby and participate in the comments section of the ads.

You’ve been given an awesome opportunity in the comments to overcome objections, be helpful, and show that you’re a real human being, not some heartless brand.

I’d recommend downloading the Facebook page manager app on iOS or Android to quickly respond to comments in real-time. Strike while the iron is hot!

Facebook ads are engineered to be shareable

Except for a funny Super Bowl commercial, when was the last time a friend shared an advertisement with you?

We’ve said it already, the old model of advertising depends on getting as many eyeballs as possible and at any cost. They are an interruption and provide little value. So why would anyone share them?

Friends don’t like to spam each other, but they do like to share helpful content.

Facebook makes it easy for you to get its users doing the hard work for you of finding the right potential new members. It’s common for people on Facebook to tag friends in the comments or even share your ad to their feed.

The cool thing about Facebook is that when people share or tag friends in your ad it boosts the “organic” reach, which is really just a fancy way of saying that you get in front of more people for less cost (thanks, Zuck!).

When your ads get engagement like this, Facebook rewards you with a lower cost-per-click and they won’t charge you for the people who see your ad thanks to a friend sharing it.

So what does that mean for your ad creative?

First of all, don’t be afraid to write long ad texts, as if you were writing a mini blog post. We’ve seen these long-form ads work quite well, particularly because they more closely resemble helpful content vs. ads and users feel more comfortable sharing them.

Tell a story about one of your members. Write in detail about the struggle between wanting to get fit while lacking the discipline to do it alone. Build empathy.

Second, you should outright tell people to tag and share. We’re an incredibly obedient species, particularly when we’re passively scrolling through the newsfeed!

Try something like this for your next challenge: “Tag a friend who should take on this 6 week challenge with you!”

Remember, a new platform requires a new approach.

Be bold. Experiment. And most importantly, don’t give up after running one campaign!

If you need more help with setting up Facebook ads, we’ve created a Hub course specifically geared toward walking a gym owner step-by-step of creating and launching quality ads. Check out Hub for only $10 for the first month!