How to Get Customers Talking About Your Fitness Business
This excerpt is part of Entrepreneur.com's Second-Quarter Startup Kit which explores the fundamentals of starting up in a wide range of industries.
In Start Your Own Personal Training Business, the staff at Entrepreneur Press and writer Ciree Linsenman explain how you can get started as in the personal training industry. From choosing your niche to developing your skills, this guide offers step-by-step instructions to help you create a business that answers the health and fitness needs of your customers. In this edited excerpt, the authors offers quick tips that will help you harness the marketing power of social media.
The very best use of social media for the benefit of your business follows the customer service phrases “How can I help you?” and “What can I do for you?” If you keep asking those questions as you make use of social media tools, you’re halfway to harnessing the mix of online socializing, marketing and in-person events that bring it all together.
Here are the steps to take to find the crowd that will understand your value and begin attracting them:
2. Search online for blogs relating to the subject matter you just uncovered in step one. Bookmark the sites, or add their links to your “favorites” folder.
3. Create a list of 10 topics related to your industry that you’re knowledgeable about.
4. Write down 10 problems your audience has, and convert those problems into article topics peppered with your knowledge.
5. Go to www.wordpress.com and set up a blog.
6. Go to www.youtube.com, and set up a channel.
7. Go to Facebook, and set up a business page, not a personal page. Pepper it with photos, a business bio and a few short articles about your goals.
8. Consider the information you’ve collected in steps one through four, and pick a topic from the list of your audience’s problems. Turn it into an article with a catchy title that would capture your demographic interest. For example, address the single parents among your audience who have trouble getting a babysitter with “Working Out With Your Kids Can Teach Great Habits.”
Be creative in the article, and talk about how parents can empower their kids to be coaches, riding their bikes while the parent jogs and cheering them on, and the benefits of doing this activity together. Your article only need be two or three paragraphs and shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to write.
Now, either take photos or use a stock photography site and choose some images to complement your article. Just search “royalty free photos,” and you’ll find sites offering free and low-cost images.
9. Repeat this process until you have 10 articles with accompanying images, and post them in an organized fashion on your blog.
10. Use your camera to make a tutorial of one of your signature exercises, and post it on your YouTube profile. Give it a catchy title. Repeat this until you have 10 videos. You can also create tutorials with photo stills and insert them singly on your blog or into a slideshow program on a photo-sharing site such as www.flickr.com or www.shutterfly.com.
11. Cross-reference all your sites to one another. Your Facebook site should contain a brief profile of your business, some great photos, a few videos, and three or four sentences or headline teasers that link to the articles on your blog. Your YouTube channel should contain teasers leading to your blog and Facebook page, and so on.
12. Do a word-specific search on Google that expresses what your audience is looking for. In other words, pretend you're them, looking for you. Look at the top 20 sites that come up. Review each one, and if it is or has a blog within it, read a bit, then contact the blogger to see if you may post a link to their site on yours and ask if you may submit an article to them to post. Sometimes it’s best to just ask if you can feature them on your site and wait to see if they return the favor. If not, move on to the next site.
13. Now that you have some online presence, complete the circle with actual, face-to-face networking. Find a group of people who are already interested in fitness or being active, join them in their activities, and offer to help them.
14. Look up fitness-related events in your city on www.meetup.com. Choose a couple of groups with a lot of members, and start to go to their events regularly. Bring your camera, and take photos of the event. Tell the group moderator and event participants that you’ll be posting the photos on your blog, then hand them a card with your blog address on it. People will tune in to look at the photos and see all your top-notch fitness tutorials. At the next meeting they’ll probably ask you about your services.
15. Go to www.yelp.com, and create a business profile replete with photos, a crisp, dynamic bio, and links back to your other sites.
16. List a low-cost or free social exercise event on Yelp that will be held in a beautiful outdoor venue, such as a nature preserve or city park. Try to host one of these each month so guests can get to know one another. At these events, they’ll learn about your other fitness offerings.
17. In-person networking can be greatly complemented before or after events by using blogs and social connection sites such as Yelp, Meetup, and Facebook to:
- Brief members on news about the group
- Show off event photos
- Announce future engagements and speakers
- Re-engage group members on related topics for further online discussion
- Expose group members to elements of your business that would help them
- Post industry news links from other sites
- Review products, services and places your audience uses
18. Show off your hard work on the Internet by inviting all your contacts to experience particular aspects of your profile. Write a personal email to each person that says something like, “I know you like yoga, so I thought you’d appreciate this,” and send them the link to the related article on your blog. Or send one of your core exercise tutorials on YouTube to someone who's struggling with that area of strength building.