I am not one for memes and inspirational quotes, but I did see one the other day that made a lot of sense to me:
“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time” by Henry Ford (Ford Motor Company)
This quote resonated with me a little, I have been self employed and in charge of my own business for almost 15 years now and I am still learning the art of marketing myself and making sure potential customers are aware of what it is that I can offer them. One constant trend that I have always noticed is that as soon as I go through a period of not spending any money on advertising; whether that be on social media, GoogleAds, or even purchasing a banner to advertise in a gym, the contacts from potentially new customers almost come to a stop. Even non paid advertising such as social media posts, blogs and email campaigns can lead to no contacts if these are not regularly being utilised.
My advice to help build any fitness business is to create a business and a marketing plan. Decide first of all what your business objectives are and how are you going to build on this from your first month to the next, and then from the first year to the next and so on. Who is your target audience and how are you going to reach them? Then importantly give yourself an advertising budget and use it each month. This was one of my mistakes in the past, I never gave myself a budget each month, some months I would spend nothing, other months too much on the wrong advertising means. Now that I use a monthly budget I can see that it is used a lot more effectively and with more reward to the business.
Marketing is also a bit about trial and error, some advertising campaigns I have spent money with had no return in custom, so long as you learn from this and adjust it accordingly it won’t be wasted. Another key thing to remember is that even though you are not getting enquiries or sign ups, your name/brand is being seen. This plants the seed for a lot of individuals who may not action a contact right away. It is very important to have a consistent online presence in front of your target audience.
So where should this marketing budget be spent, and what are the advertising options?
- Social Media: Facebook and Instagram work great for my company. They allow us to promote our courses with direct adverts as well as promote insights into our courses, whether that is videos of our classes, testimonials from students or our blogs. The great thing about social media is that your adverts can be targeted to gender, age, interests and locations. For example, a Personal Trainer could place an advertisement for a wedding package, for females 20-40 (just an example) and target a local wedding fair… The options of targeting are endless. Again, stick to a budget with this, and personally the more money you can put towards an advert, the more reach of potential customers will be achieved. Ensuring you have a presence on other social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Snap Chat and others is also important.
- Google Ads: We always recommend our students to get a good website that will be an advertisement of their business, but could also double up as a hub for information that you will want to get across to current and future clients, this could be in the form of blogs, forums, videos, and resources. Another good plus of having a good website is that you can link posts on your website to your social media platforms and vice versa. To get potential customers to your website, and to get it up on the search engines, you can use GoogleAds, which again can be targeted. Once you start using GoogleAds, try to be consistent with it, and as your business grows you will find that you can start putting more budget towards it each month as your income increases. Tip: Contact Google about this and they may even give you a GoogleAds credit as a start up.
These are just two ideas for you to consider when planning your monthly advertising campaigns.
So, what next? Get a business plan in place. Design a Marketing Strategy of how are you going to advertise, and by what means. Set aside a monthly budget, and get your product out to the masses.There are countless times where I have felt like I am waisting time and money on Facebook Ads or GoogleAds, but having individuals seeing your brand, your product and you in the correct light is always going to lead to more business.
One more note, it is important that you back up a monthly budget in advertising with the correct advertising. Selfies post workout are not always going to attract your target audience. For example John, a Bank Manager, 45 and inactive is not going to be inspired to get fit and healthy off the back of a pic on Instagram of a post workout toilet selfie. He may on the other hand be inspired by seeing a picture or a video of a Personal Trainer delivering a session to an individual who is the same body shape and has a similar ability to what John does. Get the budget right, and spend it on adverts that would appeal to your target audience.