Issue Date: April 2011 Web Features, Posted On: 4/25/2011

The Time Is Now
By Kaiser Serajuddin


The internet is strange in that you can express desires you couldn't or wouldn't admit to anyone else, anywhere else. Google has become everyone's best friend.

This matters because we can get accurate and almost real-time data about what's going on in the general populations' heads at any given time. It's a really unique look into what people are thinking and what they're looking for, and if it applies to what you're providing (i.e. personal training), you'd be real smart to jump in front of the trends.

A book I read last year that specifically talked about these search patterns and how they relate to people's weight loss goals was CLICK: What Millions of People Do Online And Why It Matters, by Bill Tancer. The book had an entire chapter devoted to how the populations' weight loss ambitions are played out online through their search patterns, and the info may be useful to you.

With personal training and fitness in particular, here's some of the data: "For a brief period of time, four days at the beginning of the New Year to be exact, there is a surge in weight loss and fitness interest (and coincidentally, online and search engine marketing.). Estimates are that between 40-45% of all Americans make New Year's resolutions each year."

The book points out some of the psychological ramifications of this, but we won't get into that here. Of all the choices out there, I think we as trainers and ethical marketers are the only ones that really provide a meaningful service that can educate people and help them achieve real results. What we can really take home from this is a piece of strategic info that serves, the fact that "the yearly pattern of visits to online dieting sites is one of the most predictable in the realm of all Internet behavior. " That doesn't apply only to January 1st, but the period we're in NOW too:

"In fact, by charting dieting and bikini searches together, we can see that we're thinking in advance, as early as March and April of each ear, before the need arises for swimwear, with bikini search acting as a great proxy for swimsuit interest, which begins in late May and ends in the August time frame."

The graphs in the book show a search trend not quite as high as the four-day peak in searches after New Years, but more prolonged, lasting for several months. For that reason it appears that the window of opportunity to take advantage of the business around this time is more prolonged (a period we're in now, by the way).

And in case you were wondering when to cut back your advertising dollars and marketing efforts, that would be leading up to and on Thanksgiving Day. That's the lowest point of the year when it comes to people's searches for nutritional guidance (but probably the time they need it the most). What's important about this info isn't just that people are going online to get info about health and fitness. It's that these numbers reflect what the population as a whole is thinking in general. It's a look into their brains in a way that you wouldn't get as accurately on a survey form.

You can use this info when you're presenting a deal to a potential joint venture partner, whether it's offline (partnering with a gym or other business for a promotion) or online (creating a program and working on releasing it to a wide audience specifically when people are searching for it).

Knowing when people are looking for what you're selling is vital to getting the best results out of the time, effort, and money you're putting in to getting new business. Right now is one of those times, so go get 'em!

Topic: Jump Start Web Column

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