When I think about marketing, it’s really just connecting with people — and there are any number of things we can do online that mirror proven offline methods and will likely boost the results that most businesses are getting. Here are a few.

Membership giveaways are the new lead box. Lead boxes were a source of gym leads for years, and those prospects kept the pipeline full and resulted in a few new clients month after month. You can mimic that same approach by holding a giveaway of a 3-month training program online for people to win. Draw one winner and offer the rest a consolation prize of a free or discounted short-term program.

Google is the new Yellow Pages. Google has replaced the Yellow Pages as the place people go to find solutions and service providers. You can do free listings and paid ads, and you can make your listing stand out from your competitors to attract more prospects who have intent.

Facebook is the new networking. Social networks were intentionally developed to allow people to stay in touch. We can share what we do, form stronger connections, create groups for common interests and so much more. When you think of Facebook as a place to network and create or nurture relationships that ultimately lead to business success, the possibilities are endless.

Online ads are the new commercials. People engage in social networks or video platforms to be entertained and ads are an interruption. Not many people log on to Instagram to shop. So develop ads with that understanding. Create low friction next steps rather than asking for an immediate sale and follow up with people to build value and demonstrate how you can serve them.

People are still people. The people you’re trying to engage with online are simply people, not profiles, impressions or anything else. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated. Base your expectations of them around what you might expect if you tried to engage offline. Be helpful. Demonstrate how you can serve them and assist in solving their problems or achieving their goals.

Online marketing is a wonderful vehicle to grow your business, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that we’re trying to connect with people who actually live and function offline. If you watch how most online marketing is done, not much of it actually prioritizes the prospect and how they think and feel. Do that and watch your business both grow.

Pat Rigsby is one of the fitness industry's leading business coaches and the owner of PatRigsby.com. He has built over a dozen businesses in the fitness industry as a CEO and co-owner, ranging from two-award winning franchises to certification organizations and equipment companies. Now he focuses exclusively on helping fitness entrepreneurs build their ideal businesses.