For the past several months, we’ve discussed marketing your fitness business every which way to Sunday, and I admit, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming. Not to worry, though; there’s some great tools that you can and should be using to make everything run faster, smoother and almost completely on autopilot. Remember, effective marketing isn’t hard; it just needs an intelligent system. Here are my top seven tools for the effective fitness marketer:
As you’ve learned during the past several months, keeping in frequent contact with your prospects helps build a long-term relationship that you can leverage into a highly profitable asset, so build that list! To avoid sending emails manually, you will need an auto-responder. All an auto-responder does is send emails out automatically, but it’s the backbone of your marketing strategy. For details on setting up auto-responders, see part one of my Fitness Marketing Makeover series in the PFP online archives (www.fit-pro.com/magazinearchives).
You’ll want to be able to sell your products online and take credit cards, and for that, use a shopping cart. You can buy the software to do it all yourself, but unless you like spending eight hours a day maintaining complicated credit card validation technical problems, you’re far better off paying for a service that does it all for you.
You can go the low-tech route and use something as simple as PayPal, which allows people to pay you from their account or by using a credit card. The only downside to this method is that it can be hard to integrate with your other marketing tools; it’s almost too stand-alone and, frankly, it’s not that slick and presents you as kind of amateurish to your prospect.
I personally like 1ShoppingCart. It’s super-simple, their support is top-notch, and they offer a variety of plans. You can even pay a little extra for their auto-responder service to have the majority of your marketing under one roof. Another good choice is Clickbank, but you can only offer digital products through their shopping cart.
Once your marketing machine is up and rolling on autopilot, you will need to keep an eye on it and know which of your marketing efforts are making you money and which are costing you money. You need web analytics software that will give you an easy snapshot of what’s going on with your website and sales: who’s coming to your site, where they’re coming from, whether or not they actually purchase or join your list and about a dozen other important statistics. Countless options are available, and they all do pretty much the same thing. I recommend what’s easiest and has the simplest interface for you to use: StatCounter. It is free, with the caveat that it only stores the past 500 visitors’ stats. When you get things rolling and want to get a little more advanced and slick, try Visitstat. They have by far the nicest interface I’ve found with reliable statistics; it’s easy to use and offers maniacal customer service.
In part four of this series, we learned about the importance of testing your marketing. This can be accomplished in many ways, but the easiest way is with good split testing software. Basically, you install this software on your website and have two versions of everything, then the software sends half your visitors to one version and half to another, and it tracks which of those people take the action you want, whether it be buying something, subscribing to your list, sending you an email, etc. Then when you have received enough traffic for the test to be valid, simply look and see which version elicited a better result. Then you do it all over again and try to beat your control. This is the fastest way to go from a decent business to a business where you’re turning clients down and maintaining a waiting list.
I use Split Testing Pro because you don’t need to be a tech wiz to get it working; their service does it all for you.
In the past, companies would run focus groups and ask people what they wanted. People would say they wanted what made them look smart, ambitious or discriminating, but they wouldn’t say what they really wanted: results… fast. So what’s a marketer to do? Luckily, there is a keyword tool that allows us to see what people actually search for: Google AdWords (www.adwords.google.com). For more details on using AdWords, check out part five of this series in the June-July digital issue.
People ask me how I find the time to perform marketing consultations, train other people, train myself, write articles, keep up on marketing innovations and the thousands of other tasks. Ready for a secret? I don’t do most of it.
I do the important things, but only the important things. I don’t maintain my own websites, edit my books, answer most of my emails or do my own research. I do the high-value activities, such as product development, interviews and things where it has to be me that does it. It’s not because I’m lazy; it’s because I know my strengths and weaknesses. There’s only so much time and energy in a day, so I only do what it makes sense for me to do. The rest someone else does; whether or not I’m able to do it myself makes no difference.
It takes work and risk to find quality outsourcing, but I’ve had tremendous success using Elance.com. You can find freelance workers that will do everything from writing entire books for you to those who will pick up your dry cleaning.
An Internet-based phone service, Skype isn’t the first thing you would think of when you think “marketing tool,” but when used the right way, it’s a powerful way to market almost anything.
Skype is free software you can download that allows you to make phone calls through your computer anywhere in the world so inexpensively, it’s ridiculous. What makes it really valuable is that you can click a button and record any conversation to your computer.
It can take hours or even days to write a report or article for my subscriber list, but I can arrange a 45-minute interview with someone, record it and send it out to my list in no time at all. Not only do they have the same or better information, but an audio file is perceived as higher value. You can even do several and package them up together for an “instant” saleable product. It benefits both the interviewer because it gives you some fantastic content for your visitors, and it also benefits the interviewee as well because they have the opportunity to promote whatever their product or service is.
Sure, you can rent conference lines and do the same thing, but the simplicity of Skype makes it a must-have.
So there you have it! For about $100 a month, you’ll have a tremendously effective marketing machine running for you and way more time to focus on the important things in your life and business.
Now, you may be able to find services or solutions that can accomplish the above cheaper than what I suggest, and you may be able to find scripts or services that do it for free. When you’re working on a personal webpage with pictures of your dog eating peanut butter, free is wonderful, but when dealing with a business, free stinks. Free things are usually limited, buggy, a hassle, hard to use, offer no support, close down and a million other things. So when you’re deciding what you need for your business, stick with my recommendations. I’ve tried all the other options, free and paid, and the above are the best you’re going to find and will make life easier and more profitable. And let’s be honest: If you won’t spend $100 a month to grow your business, you don’t deserve one.
That does it for my Fitness Marketing Makeover series. Good luck, marketers!
Rich Butkevic, CFT, a.k.a. “Coach Rich,” is a personal trainer and consultant to fitness professionals who are serious about optimizing and growing their business. He’s also the author of the Trainer Traffic System, a step-by-step marketing system for fitness professionals; for more information, visit www.trainertraffic.com.
Read Part 1 – Building relationships with your customers and prospects using auto-responders>>
Read Part 2 – Cut costs while increasing revenue using strategic marketing>>
Read Part 3 – The power of positioning>>
Read Part 4 – Testing your marketing>>
Read Part 5 – Testing your marketing for five bucks at lightning speed using Google AdWords>>