Considering how many great low-cost ways there are to promote your fitness business, some people are still going for the “it’s cheap so it’ll do” trap.
Your potential clients’ first impression of your business must always be the best possible, even if the methods you use are free or relatively inexpensive. Nobody looks at a well-constructed WordPress site and thinks a business can’t be any good because it only costs the owner a few bucks a month to promote it online. For marketing a well-promoted website is by far the most cost effective way to present your business, but it will only be part of your marketing mix.
But Craigslist is Fast & Free!
A lot of thought and effort goes into an attractive website, whereas a daily post on Craig’s List, for example, looks tacky and unprofessional. Add some choice typos and you’ll never get any business from it.
I’m not knocking Craigslist– it does serve a useful purpose, in fact I just bought a like new drum set for my six year old son on Craigslist. But it’s not for fitness businesses trying to make a great first impression. Unless you can afford to pay thousands of dollars to one of the best copywriters in the business who will construct your ad and write a highly persuasive landing page, Craigslist is best avoided.
Fliers are really Cheap!
When I ran a bricks and mortar business I always looked forward to people leaving stacks of fliers. It meant I always had scratch paper, because the fliers were never printed on both sides.
Now if these flyer distributing fools had taken the time to talk to me about their business and possibly offered me an incentive to promote their business for them – that would have been different. Why the heck would I recommend or endorse a business I know nothing about? I want to keep my customers’ respect thank you.
Firstly, if you’re going to leave anything at other businesses, make sure those businesses have customers who fit into your target market. With fitness training you should look at spas, barbers, beauty salons and boutiques – places where people go to make themselves look good.
Secondly, give the business owner a good reason to hand out your cards or a special offer coupon – offer her an amazing free training session for example, that she’ll want to talk about to her customers. And always put a time limit on your offers, free coupons or money-saving offers. Most that don’t have time limitations will be put in the “oh I can do that any time pile” and never get used at all.
When you’ve built a relationship with those businesses owners, leave good quality literature or business cards and please reciprocate – offer to put that business’s cards in your business. If you’re savvy, at some point you could also ask the business owner for a reciprocal link to your website. Google will reward you both if you’re in the same area and have related businesses.
Printing can be cheap, but cheaply printed crap is not going to impress. Invest in high quality printed materials, such as tri-fold brochures and cards that can be mailed back to you. They are valuable items and you’ll be a lot more selective about where you leave them!
And forget about flyering cars in a parking lot, unless you want to be hated by the entire community.
Offline advertising using fliers, brochures and mail-in cards can be very effective if done right or a complete waste of money otherwise. Examine your junk mail and look at the fliers that are left at your local businesses. Why do some work while others are thrown in the trash immediately?
Partner with a Network Marketer
Everyone knows about network marketers, it’s hard to believe that there are still thousands of them out there, mostly selling stuff you can purchase just as easily in a local store – and cheaper. They are a strange breed of people. New network marketers – which are most of them – can be like annoying flies that keep buzzing in your face until you give in or tell them to go away.
Asking a network marketer to promote your business isn’t usually a good idea. Your business name may become synonymous with the word “nuisance”. Unless you can partner with a very successful network marketer and offer them an extremely lucrative commission, there are far better, more efficient and cost-effective ways to market your business. The chance of finding a successful network marketer who is in a related business to yours is also very slim.
Even if you do have a long list of potential client’s phone numbers, don’t ever be tempted to text them without permission. Texting costs the recipient money every time you do it – not everyone is on an unlimited data plan – and for most people it’s really annoying, disruptive, and intrusive to text them with offers and ‘deals’ when they don’t know you on a personal level. How can you present your business via a short text message that can only be seen as an annoying interruption? You can’t.
Better to capture email addresses and send those people a short, well-worded, informative email once a week with a link to an attractive website. Give it a catchy and interesting title that everyone will want to read. People can read emails at their leisure. They can crash into trees reading unwanted texts. Emails cost nothing, just a little time and careful planning.
You don’t have to avoid texting altogether of course, but use it wisely, like Tweets. It’s a great way to communicate with existing clients, but only if you have their permission.
Basically do what you’d want others to do to you. Text your clients who already know, like, and trust you. Add value to their lives.
You can remind them of upcoming appointments and they’re a great way of saying “You’re doing great Mary you’re nearly at your goal. Well done!” Encouragement in this business is essential, especially for clients who are struggling.
If you’re going to use any kind of marketing, think long and hard about it first. If you consider something a waste of time or annoying, like putting fliers under windshield wipers in parking lots, don’t do it, go with your gut. Better to invest in a great website and some clever, highly focused, targeted techniques that offer proven, measurable results.
Now, I’m not just going to leave you with four tired and useless fitness marketing tactics… So here’s a checklist of 21 fitness marketing ideas that kick butt!