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.

11 Quick Tips You Should Be Using on Instagram

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

Do you feel confident in your Instagram usage?  If not, keep reading for a few basic tips…

Continuing with this month’s Hub theme of Content Marketing and Social Media, we want to unpack Instagram a little bit. In this blog post, we’ll focus on hashtags and how to use them to benefit your Instagram strategy and growth.

First of all, if you don’t yet have an Instagram account for your gym, go ahead and set one up today. In this day and age, most of your target market will be on Instagram so it’s a great way to keep up with your members and reach more people.  

Now that you’ve got your business account set up, here are some tips to follow when posting to Instagram:

  1. Always write a fun, but brief caption. Include just enough info to make them want to read, and if you can make them smile or laugh when reading, even better.
  2. Use hashtags, but use them sparingly. Instagram allows you to add up to 30. It’s best if you keep it between 3-7 but do your best to not use more than 10 in any post. You don’t want your posts to be perceived as spam, so research says less than 7 hashtags is optimal.
  3. Create a custom hashtag for your gym. Make it something fun that conveys the vibe of your culture, and then use it on all your posts.
  4. Use your hashtags creatively in your caption. E.g. we drove through #chicago to check out a #crossfit gym on the #westside.
  5. Save your list of frequently used hashtags in the notes app of your phone so you can just copy and paste any time you need it.
  6. Make use of throwback hashtags. Kick it back in time by using the hashtags #tbt and #latergram.
  7. Use #regram. Follow your members and then repost their content by using hashtag #regram and then their @accountname. Download the app Repost to make your reposting a breeze.
  8. Always tag people in your photos. Tag them in your caption, and tag them as well on the photo.
  9. Encourage your members to tag you on all their posts. This will be a great way to increase awareness of your gym, but will also allow you to keep up with things they’ve got going on.
  10. If you’re hosting an event, make a unique hashtag for that event, and encourage anyone connected to the event to use that hashtag.
  11. Use Instagram Stories. This is a great way to reach a broader audience, showcase your gym’s culture and personality and promote your services. Check out this great article for tips on using Instagram Stories effectively.

Using these 11 tips will help you get the most from your Instagram account.

 

Our focus this month in Hub is all about Social Media & Content Marketing. We’ve got video courses in Hub that teach you how to maximize your content creation efforts so that you’re continuing to establish your expertise in your corner of this world. Check out a month of Hub for only $10!

 

 

Also… if you haven’t registered yet for the 1st Annual Gym Owner’s Growth Summit, do so today!!  There are already 1,600 gym owners registered!  It’s FREE and it’s 3 days of content from some of the greatest minds in our industry!!

 

8 Easy Ways To Create Content Like A Pro

By | Blog, Case Studies, Digital Marketing, Julie Weldon, Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Here’s the thing about content marketing… it just doesn’t get results overnight. Which is precisely the reason why so many don’t do it consistently.

In this “quick fix” world, we want results… yesterday.

But that doesn’t eliminate the need for creating content if you own a business.

Creating content stretches us and gets our creative juices flowing. Content tells a story that otherwise most likely gets lost.

Content allows you to make your voice heard above the noise to the people you want to attract. Content demonstrates your expertise in a particular field.

We hear the term “content marketing” all the time, but what exactly does it mean?  Marketing expert Neil Patel offers a helpful definition in terms we all can understand, ”Content marketing is a long-term strategy, based on building a strong relationship with your target audience, by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.”

Those phrases in bold are key:

Long-term strategy,

building a strong relationship,

high-quality content,

that is relevant,

consistently.

Now, more than ever, people are “putting it out there” with videos, quotes, blog posts, Facebook posts, #tbt’s, Instagram pics, you name it. Never before has it been easier to join the chorus of content because with social media, the barrier to entry is lower than ever.

So, have you joined the crowds? Are you consistently posting content, and establishing your expertise?

Or, are you like many we’ve talked with who only publish content once (maybe twice) a month. To them, creating content feels like a huge hurdle to overcome. An all too common statement we hear, “I know I ’should’, but I can’t seem to get started.”  

Creating content doesn’t have to be a task that paralyzes you. You just need to start. And then develop the rhythm of consistency. 

To get you started, we’ve come up with a list of different content creation ideas to help your creative juices flow:

  • Tell your members stories. Believe it or not, you are not the hero of your business’ story. Your customers are (or should be) the hero. Do you know what really makes your clients tick? Where they’ve come from? Why they’ve chosen to make a life change now? The things that really interest them outside of your four walls? Start asking questions, really listen, and begin to unearth the golden nuggets that are right in front of you. Celebrate. Enter in. And publish. As you begin to tell their stories, your business will take on a personal feel that will be infectious.
  • Capture a quick video of a coach or member. You don’t have to professionalize these videos. Often, the more raw, the better. There are many options for these videos – demonstrating a movement, celebrating a PR, introducing a new member or coach, highlighting an event… the sky’s the limit. Think outside the box.
  • Answer questions. Start a list on your computer or phone of all the questions the people you impact (and those you’d like to impact) might want to know about.  Whatever comes to mind, jot it down. There are no wrong topics. Take 20 minutes and try to write down 50. Then just continue to add to the list as things come to mind. If easier, you can write big categories (nutrition, health, fitness, community, etc.) then break those down into topics. Once you have a good list, step away from it for a bit, then come back to it and choose the ones that stand out.  You were new to CrossFit once. Think of the questions you had back then.
  • Use hashtags. If you don’t already have one, create a gym hashtag and then start using it all the time, on everything. Also, as your members to start using the hashtag and tagging you when they do any posts that relate to their health and fitness. You can use the app Repost to share and celebrate the things your members are interested and involved in.
  • Take (and share) lots of pictures. Capture the essence of the kind of business you want to build through pictures. Do you have a gym dog? Is there a place where most congregate? Are there close-up face shots of people mid-workout that you can shoot? Is there a piece of equipment that everyone dreads? Caption these images with sayings your people can connect with.  
  • Pay attention. Start taking notice of things around you. If you are living a life “aware”, you will begin to see blog post after blog post beginning to take shape in your mind. These posts don’t have to be long, just capture what you see to inspire others.
  • Use Canva to create motivational quotes with images. Everybody loves a little motivational nugget every now and then. Make it good, and it’ll get shared.
  • Write about you. Certainly not all the time, but if you’re the leader, people do want to know you. They want to be let into your world – to know what makes you happy, to know what your struggles are. To know that you are a real person with real feelings. Let your personality shine through. Sprinkle this into your content calendar like a spice – not too much, but enough to give good flavor.

The key to this is to do something. Start small. Make a plan and stick to it. Again, consistency is key.

Content creation is an incredible, inexpensive way to expand your reach. Use it as a tool in your toolbox to build something people are proud to be a part of.

 

Our focus this month in Hub is all about Social Media & Content Marketing. We’ve got video courses in Hub that teach you how to maximize your content creation efforts so that you’re continuing to establish your expertise in your corner of this world. Check out a month of Hub for only $10!

 

 

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!!

 

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!!