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!!

 

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!

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.