Newsjacking: Riding News’ Coattails

At the writing of this article, these things are in the news:

  • the US is experiencing an unprecedented heat wave
  • the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ passes ‘Avatar’ to become biggest movie ever
  • it’s 50 years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon
  • it’s National Ice Cream Day
  • Marvel announces at San Diego Comic-Con, its Phase 4 projects including the vampire hunter, Blade, to be played by two-time Oscar winner, Mahershala Ali.

“Newsjacking…”, in the words of David Meerman Scott (who wrote a book with the same name) “… is the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story so you and your ideas get noticed.”

It's National Ice Cream Day! (1)

We’re having a heat wave and it’s National Ice Cream Day! What’s a person to do? Enjoy! It’s nothing a little Group Power won’t work off tomorrow morning. 😉 #heatwave #grouppower #nationalicecreamday #icecream #iscream#onlyineaston #jivafitness

So, what this means is, that by using trending, searchable terms (now easier with hashtags) such as #nationalicecreamday, or #heatwave, more people are likely to see your marketing and take notice of your business.

ice cream

Example of Newsjacking and how it can give more attention to your marketing efforts: Instagram search for #nationalicecreamday

Another benefit of utilizing newsjacking techniques is that it can be a timely way of creating a little fun with your marketing.

Note: I would recommend staying away from polarizing topics such as politics and religion.

For a little more on newsjacking, check out The Art of Newsjacking (And Its SEO Benefits) by Ramona Sukhraj

Make Your Marketing Reflect Your Target Market

If you have a specific niche market (and you should), your marketing should reflect that market. There are two types of pictures that I see used in personal training, health club, and fitness studio marketing pieces that got me started on this topic.

Gym equipment

  1. Pictures of empty equipment. A picture of just equipment may show what you have for features, but doesn’t show who you serve. (How will people looking for a place to exercise determine that “people like me work out here”?) In fact, a photo of equipment only can be confusing and intimidating to those not familiar with the pieces.
  2. Inappropriate stock photos There’s a great deal of stock photos that, while they may be attractive photos with attractive models, do not reflect your target market.  Always ask yourself, “Are these people someone my target market will relate to?” young women lifting weights in class

boomer

Use your own staff and clients if you can, because, (of course) that would be the most representative. However, if that isn’t possible, be very selective when choosing a stock photo. Make sure it will allow your target market to make a connection with the people in the picture. (Note: all photos are stock from Canva.com)

 

 

How to Start Your 2019 Marketing Calendar

2019 is right around the corner and while you may be focused on closing 2018, don’t wait to start planning your marketing for next year. Here are a few ways to get a start on it.

Marketing calen

  1. Holiday Marketing: There are more holidays than the average personal realizes and every holiday offers an opportunity to market a little differently. A national calendar of holidays can not only show you the major holidays, it can also some of the lesser holidays. (Did you know that Friday, Mar 1st is Read Across America Day, or that Monday, Aug 26 is Women’s Equality Day.) Choose holidays that are particularly meaningful to your target market and create marketing around those days.
  2. National Health Observances: National health observances are a great way to help you create events and Healthfinder.gov even has marketing ideas and materials to go along with these dates (although they haven’t yet put up the 2019 calendar).
  3. Annual Local Events: If your city or town has annual events like festivals, fairs, or benefits, think about how you might tie in to those to attract your target market.
  4. The Seasons: The change of seasons is another natural time to change your marketing.
  5. Your Own Events: Maybe you do something special on your business’ anniversary or create an event of your own (maybe a charity benefit). Write these down in the calendar at periods that fit with your other marketing efforts.

Potential clients/customers become blind to the same marketing and it’s important to change it up frequently enough so that doesn’t occur.

Once your calendar is populated with the events that will engage your target market, you then need to create a timeline for each marketing event. (i.e. how far out do you need to start getting the word out about it? What arrangements need to be made? What materials need to be created? Who has what responsibilities? etc.)

Creating a marketing calendar for the year keeps you on top of your marketing and allows smooth transitions from one campaign to the next. Take some time and map out your 2019 plan.

If you would like an excel template for 2019, just shoot an email to mark @ jivafitness.com and I’ll get it right out to you.

How Plateaus Happen in Business

We often talk about training plateaus, but plateaus can also happen in your business. Imagine your business growing steadily and then, all of a sudden, your growth stops. The number of clients or members that you have levels off and you’re left wondering, “What just happened.”

Sometimes these plateaus happen because you got comfortable with the amount of clients or members that you have and stopped actively seeking more. Maybe you decided to spend less money on marketing, or you went to fewer networking opportunities, or stopped asking for referrals. Those things that you did so diligently when you were trying to build your business have fallen by the wayside and… so has the growth of your business.

plateauOther times, you have continued marketing as you have always done and that’s the reason that business has slowed. If the public sees the same ad, picture, sign, or campaign, they can become blind to your marketing efforts. You can think of it as becoming desensitized to what your marketing is saying because they’ve seen it so many times before.

One more reason that you may have hit a plateau, is that something has changed in the market that you may not have noticed. This could be an economic downturn, seasonal change (this often catches new businesses by surprise), or maybe a new competitor opened in town.

These can all be avoided with some due diligence.

Never stop marketing. Even if you are currently comfortable, things change and it’s better to have too many people wanting your service and have a waiting list, than to have too few and leave yourself open to plateaus or downturns.

Always change up your marketing. Think of how often you change your clients’ programs (generally every 4-6 weeks). You can use that same kind of thinking when it comes to your marketing. You can literally periodize it. Plan out your macro, meso, and micro cycles for marketing.

Finally, pay attention to what’s going on in your community. What’s happening in the economy, what events are taking place, who’s new in town. Knowing what’s going on can not only prevent a loss in business, but can show you new opportunities for growth (what might you do if your realized a competitor was actually closing?).

This isn’t to say that you can prevent all plateaus, but these are some common reasons that they occur and some solid ways to prevent them.

Having Fun With Your Marketing

Marketing can sometimes be very dry and if your target audience is really looking hard for your service, maybe, just maybe, they will wade through boring copy for it. However, if you can add a little humor into your marketing, your audience will happily read what you have to say. The Instagram Untitled design (2)post shown is a simple, light Halloween post that got some great feedback. Many business folks will say that you need to have a serious “call to action” (and sure, I could have done that here. “Act now and get…”), but remember that just keeping your business in the consumer’s mind is important in and of itself. Plus, if you can throw a smile their way, that will increase their sense of connection with you. This, in conjunction with content that shows your expertise and builds trust (in the forms of blog posts, article links from reputable sources, etc.), will make you their choice when it comes to selecting a professional or business to help them reach their health and fitness goals.

Serious professions are great (and I’m not knocking the serious folks), but if your target market can get the technical skills AND have some fun, you can bet that they will choose the latter. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

What’s Smarketing?

I read the term in an email newsletter today, Smarketing, is a coming together of a business’s sales and marketing teams. According to the article, these two teams are often at odds, blaming each other when sales quotas aren’t achieved. The article then goes on to suggest ways to get the teams to communicate and cooperate. I have to say that I believe there is a bigger disconnect when this situation occurs.

Sales + Marketing =Smarketing, sales and marketing teams (and, in fact, all teams) working successfully together, should be happening from the start. In the mission, the mantra, the “Why” of the company it should be clearly communicated what the company is trying to accomplish and why that is important to the owners, employees, the community, and even the world. All employees should be working toward that bigger picture and not “for the money”. If these often commission-based teams are at odds, it’s because the management or ownership has set it up that way. If the marketing team is penalized when the sales team doesn’t make their quota, of course they might be upset or even resentful.

As I write this, my mind gets pulled toward research on types of rewards that motivate employees (that’s my excuse for the “stream of thought” direction this is taking). For most employees, money is the least motivating tool and, when used as the primary reward, the job becomes about the money and not being part of the company’s mission. On the other hand, if the reward is public appreciation (saying “great job” in front of others) or providing lunch for the team (maybe including the public praise), the response is to work even harder at furthering the mission of the company. Isn’t that what we all really want from our employees?

So….. my point…. the problem of animosity or the “us against them” between teams is an owner/manager issue. You either hired people that are not believers in your mission, you didn’t make your mission clear, or you’ve set up your compensation in a way that can put your teams at odds with one another. This is not about just trying to help them get along. That’s just treating a symptom and not the underlying problem. This requires a fundamental change that may be difficult for all involved, but will ultimately eliminate the problem and unify the company.

 

Know Your ROI

ROI, Return On Investment, is a measure of success. Did what you put into something produce a profit or benefit, and if so, how much? Was it worth it? More often than not, when we are talking about ROI, we’re talking about money and profit. However, it could also mean time and effort put into a project. The point of looking at the ROI is to determine if it makes sense to do it again.

Businessman drawing ROI (return on investment)

As an example, let’s look at running an advertisement in a local magazine. Say the ad cost you $650 and will run for a month. First, how are you going to know if it worked? You should always ask new clients/members how they heard about you. This is your effectiveness tracker. From this ad, you get only one new client. Was it worth it? Before you get all “What? I placed this ad and only got one new client??? That’s not worth it.”, think about what one new client is worth. If a client trains with you once a week (staying somewhat conservative) for a year and you charge $65/session, that means that just for that first year that client is worth (let’s see… $65 x 52 weeks = $3380) $3380. What was the ROI on that ad? One way to figure that out is to subtract the investment (or cost) from the gross income which gives you your net income or profit. Then divide the net income by the cost, in this case $3380 – $650 = $2730 divided by $650 which + 4.2 or 420% ROI. This, at least in my books, is a worthwhile investment.

jack-of-all-tradesThat was a straight financial example. Sometimes your investment is your time in putting together or creating a project or program. Because I’m good at a lot of things (you know, jack of all trades, master of.. well, a couple) this is where I often find myself. I could do it myself, but… is that where my time best spent? To find the ROI on a project or program you need to look at the cost of spending your (or someone else’s) time compared to what kind of return you will get. If a project is going to take you 10 hours and your hourly rate is $65, that’s a $650 investment. Estimate what you believe your return will be and then calculate the ROI for the project. Is it worth you spending your time to do it? Could you get a better ROI by having someone else do the work? This is an important exercise to go through.

Now, of course, not everything has to have a profit to be worth undertaking. Maybe you spend time or money on something where the only return will be the self-satisfaction of having done something good for someone else. This can include hosting or supporting some benefit event. Here, you simply need to ask, “Can I afford to do it?” and “Is it important enough to me, for me to invest in it?”

Understanding the ROI on your investments is crucial to building and maintaining a healthy business. Make sure you track the successes and, yes, failures by looking at the ROI of your efforts.

The Best Marketing Medium is Personal

At a conference last year, I was asked what I thought was the most effective marketing tool. Having presented at other conferences on social media marketing, I was pretty sure they wanted to know what the next hot social media app was and how to use it. My answer was probably a little surprising.

social-media-mobile-icons-snapchat-facebook-instagram-ss-800x450-3-800x450

If you are a business that relies on the local market, i.e. health clubs, personal training and/or group fitness studios, the best marketing is getting out and getting active in your community. Remember that what you are really marketing is you. Yes, this includes your expertise, but also your demeanor, your caring, your sense of humor, etc.

They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” That is because the extra layer of sensory engagement that a picture offers tells us a lot more. Video gives us the ability to hear as well as see and creates even more engagement. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that real-time, face to face interactions give others the greatest sense of who you are and what you are about. When you meet someone in person, you note their eye contact (or lack thereof), their smile (or lack thereof), the grip of their handshake, the tone of their voice, all in an instant. Nothing is truer than that. Others will walk away feeling like they have a sense of the kind of person you are.

meeting-580x300

Now, taking that meeting and turning it into acquisition of a client or customer requires more. You need to build a relationship first and that takes time. This is where social media apps can be particularly effective. After meeting someone in person (I’ll discuss how to seek out those opportunities in my next post.), immediately send an invitation to them to connect on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. This allows you to follow-up on any conversation that you were having, helps you remember them, and them remember you. With each additional verbal interaction, their initial face to face impression of you will be reinforced.

Of course you can still make initial contact and build a relationship through social media. However, it will rarely be as strong as meeting in person. If you first connected online, find an opportunity to meet in “the real world”. Your relationship will only become stronger because of it.

TOP 10 TRAITS OF SUCCESSFUL PERSONAL TRAINERS: #7

#7 Successful Personal Trainers Know How to Market Themselves
According to Wikipedia, marketing “is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and creates value for their customers and for themselves.” My own definition is more like “seeking out, connecting with, sharing who we are and how we can help solve a problem for your target audience.”

First, of course, you must know your target audience. Who is your niche market? Where do they hang out? Are they meeting at conferences, senior groups, clubs, churches, schools, community or other organizations? Or are they connecting with others using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Youtube, etc.?
Note: I’m not going to ignore the use of Direct Mail or more “traditional” marketing techniques. Well, actually, I am going to ignore them in this article (for some, they do still work). But they don’t directly connect you with your audience and successful Personal Trainers know that the best way to build rapport and trust is through interaction.
So now, you’ve done your homework and found your market, what do you do from here? You need to find a way to join in their conversations. Connect with the group leaders and see if you can… join the group, volunteer with the group, or present to the group a topic that would be helpful to them. Like selling, your first priority is to be of service to them. You must create value, trust, confidence in you as a resource before you ask for anything in return.
social-media-marketing2
Social media works the same way. Find which ones are used by your target audience. Facebook, Twitter,  Google+, Pinterest, blogs, etc. are all means of connecting with others. Create a presence by offering helpful information to your audience. If the content is interesting, they may then share the content you presented with their friends. Their friends share with their friends, etc, and before you know it, you have a large audience of potential clients.
Obviously there are a lot more specifics, but the essence of marketing in this day and age is connection and conversation. Only after building rapport and trust, will an offer for your services be well received. Seth Godin does a great job explaining this in his book, “Permission Marketing

Successful Personal Trainers know how to market themselves by actively getting involved with their target market, whether it’s face to face or using social media.

How are you establishing your presence?

Check out the full series.
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #1
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #2
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #3
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #4
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #5
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #6
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #7
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #8
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #9
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #10

P.S. Also, follow my Business of Personal Training page on Facebook.