When it comes to online marketing, the default way of thinking for most fitness business owners is that they’re one magic funnel, ad, or campaign away from creating a flood of new business. It’s no surprise that they believe this, considering the fact that just a few years ago you could run a single ad for 2-3 days and fill up a challenge. Add in the constant array of experts promising to fill your gym with 50-100 clients in a couple of weeks and the fact that most business owners struggle with online marketing is more easily understood.

If that’s not the right way to succeed with online marketing, then what is? It really comes down to just two steps:
1. Connect.
2. Convert.

The first step, connect, is simply making a great first impression while casting a wide enough net to attract all the people who might be interested in what you have to offer.

While most businesses are trying to get people to make a buying decision as they scroll, the research says that the vast majority of people who are eventually going to buy don’t make their decision immediately upon learning about an offer. So we make the initial connection and get permission to follow up by giving those prospects something valuable in exchange for their attention. This could be as simple as giving them a book, a workout, a guide or some other gift.

Then, once we’ve connected, we move to the covert step, where we continue building a relationship with the prospect. Your objective here is to help the prospect get to know, like and trust you while keeping your offers in front of them until they’re ready to move forward with a program.

Conversion can happen in a variety of ways like email, text and Facebook Groups. All of these blend repetition, education & persuasion to move prospects from ‘interested to ready.’ This approach allows you to get the best possible ROI on your marketing efforts and to also employ the most effective approach to attracting & qualifying the people you want to work with.

When you combine these two steps, you both get a much higher percentage of your leads to become clients and you pre-sell those leads so that when they are ready, they choose you because you’re the best fit for them and their goals.

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.