This is a Fitness Marketing guest post
Hey, Bedros here… You’re in for a treat today because I’ve got a killer post for you from Dave DePew, an industry legend, and a member of my 7 figure formula mastermind group.
This is a long post, but in it Dave gives you his 30,000 foot level view of his entire fitness business model and how he attracts leads and converts them into paying clients.
Take it away Dave!
Hey there, my name is Dave DePew and I’m a member of Bedros’ 7 Figure Formula Mastermind group.
I’m writing this post to share some strategies on creating relationships that will ultimately lead to more clients and more income for you in 2010.
My guess is that if you are like most personal trainers you are looking for the “get more clients” strategies to grow your business. The reality is that you not only need the tools to increase your clientele you also need the “know how” to increase your profitability.
My business has grown a great deal this last year due in a large part to the developing of my Fitness Marketing Funnel. The creation of my Fitness Marketing Funnel has given me the insight I need to produce qualified leads and refine both my marketing and the services my company provides.
What is a Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel is the foundation of any successful business and includes everything from lead generation to the actual selling of your products and services. Its purpose is to collect all potential leads in one spot, and then determine if those leads are ready for conversion into sales.
Ideally, a marketing funnel needs to become a sure way for you to effectively and aggressively bring in new prospects on a regular basis, educate those prospects about your products and services, and explain what you offer and how that will make a prospect’s experience better so that those individuals will be persuaded to become your customers. This in turn allows you to generate even more income.
Most fitness trainers do not have a complete marketing funnel, typically just bits and pieces. They might have a website or business cards, and occasionally run an expensive print ad or send out an occasional email blast. However, while components of a marketing funnel, they definitely are not enough, which is regrettable, considering all the potential sales that are being lost.
Importance of a Marketing Funnel
Why do you need a marketing funnel? If you have any interest in developing a solid system of generating leads over the long-term, which will ultimately provide you with more customers and more income, then you need a marketing funnel.
An old American proverb says, “Success is a ladder you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets.” The success of your fitness business is not something that is simply going to happen without exerting any effort on your part. Customers generally do not simply walk through our doors.
Developing an effective marketing funnel will require time and energy on your part. You cannot take a hands-off approach and assume potential customers will just come flooding in because you placed a full-size ad in the phone book, or created a killer website.
Building a proper lead generation system is about building relationships with potential customers, and that takes time. In most situations, potential leads have to cultivated, convinced and even cajoled into trying your products and services. Even after that, you often have to work hard to keep those customers happy and excited about becoming long-term clients, and to trust you and the recommendations you make for additional products and services.
The good news is that if handled correctly, all the hard work and energy you put into developing your marketing funnel and nurturing those potential leads generally pays off ten-fold.
Moving Through the Funnel
Prospective leads entering your marketing funnel go through various stages as they move down the funnel. For instance, at the widest part of the funnel are suspects. Suspects are everyone out there who may have seen or heard of you by either word of mouth or one of your marketing efforts (ad, billboard, flyer, etc.). If those individuals decide to take the next step and actually make contact with you, then they move down your funnel to become prospects. When those prospects are ready to “commit” and buy your products or services, they join the ranks of customers. Those that return repeatedly, and buy what you recommend become the most prized asset – your clients.
Emphasis is NOT on Sales
Yes you MUST know how to sell your product or service! Every marketing funnel, at some later point, will suggest the option of buying a product or service. While there is nothing wrong with making the suggestion, remember that the objective of your marketing funnel is to “build a relationship” with your prospects. If this relationship does not exist, then chances are it will be harder to convince any prospect to commit to becoming a customer, and buy what you are selling.
Simply put, do not “push” buying a product or service right out of the gate, especially when dealing with suspects. The appropriate time to put forth your sales message will come later after your prospects have gotten to know you and the value you can provide.
Think about it another way. How can you expect to sell anyone anything, if you do not know what their goals are or what they want? The only way you are going to discover that is by getting to know that individual, and discussing their wants and needs, and then letting them know how you can help. If you fail to be seen as a trusted advisor or a relevant resource of information to your prospect, they will never reach the point of being ready to buy your products or services.
Becoming a “sales ready” customer
While your emphasis is definitely going to be on building relationships with your potential clients, you still need to make sure that YOU are “sales ready” for when that prospect is set to become a client. Besides intimately knowing your products and services, you need to ensure that you can answer the following questions about your products or services for any potential customer that indicates they are ready to buy. A potential customer will likely want to know:
- What value your product or service provides specifically to me?
- What will I get out of it?
- What will I lose if I do not buy your product or service?
- Who are you, and what makes you an “expert”?
- What type of results have other seen from using your product or service?
- How much time or money will I have to commit to get the results I want?
- Depending on your products or services, customers will probably have additional questions.
Your job is to be sure you can answer these questions and any others they may have. Any inability to address a potential customer’s concerns head on, when that individual is ready, will likely translate in to a lost sale. Most of us cannot afford to lose too many of those. You probably cannot either, so be “sales ready”!
Impact of Cost on Your Marketing Funnel
As a rule, the more expensive the product or service you wish to provide the larger your funnel -and by default potential target audience — will need to be. For example, if you have a $4,000 product or service, you will need to reach a much larger number of people then you would, if you were selling a product for only $5. It is generally easier to convince a group of prospects to buy a less-expensive fitness book or supplement, then it is to commit to spending hundreds, if not thousands, on personal training. You will definitely need to work harder with a larger pool of suspects if dealing with a more expensive product or service.
One effective approach is to start out by offering a free or affordable product or service, which can generate a much larger pool of suspects to enter your funnel. Once they become prospects, you can educate and begin building a relationship through, for example, email marketing to create value. When these prospects become customers by purchasing a less expensive product, you can then use follow-up marketing to help them move further down your funnel to ultimately become clients, open to purchasing your other higher-end products and services based on your recommendations.
Targeting Marketing Efforts
The less specific your product message, the larger the reach will need to be and the more expensive it will be to get people into your funnel.
You can start your funnel one of two ways. One option is to offer a free product or service to a large number of people who have not yet shown a particular interest in the type of product or service you are offering. With this option, your message can be more generic, but it will likely prove more costly as you need to reach a larger audience of potential customers. This approach is doable, but not always effective, especially if you have a limited budget.
The other option is to leverage your reputation by providing something free to an audience that is specifically looking for your product and service. Targeting a specific niche, familiar with you or your types of products or services, tends to generate a higher-quality lead. The type that is more likely to purchase. This is an effective approach, but can be time consuming, as you need to spend more time really drilling down the niches you want to target and then tailoring your messages to those individuals or groups.
The approach you choose will largely depend on your product or service offerings, marketing budget and time you are willing to commit. Both approaches can prove effective if handled correctly.
Work in Progress
Do not wait until you think your marketing funnel is “perfect” before you start. Your objective is to create a progressive marketing funnel. In short, it is a work-in-progress that you will find yourself fine-tuning often. Continually finding ways to generate more prospects and creating actionable events that allow those prospects to pull the trigger and buy will be objectives that you should focus on.
Remember that your marketing funnel is not static. As your business changes, so does your funnel. As the market changes, so does your funnel. As you add new products or services, so does your funnel. Get the picture?
A good marketing funnel can take the guesswork out of where your next customers and clients are coming from. Take the time to make it a priority in your business and the results will speak for themselves.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.