For Greater Brand Awareness, Help a Charity

One of the first steps of building your business is to get known and one of the traditional ways of doing that is placing ads in newspapers, magazines, on the radio and even tv. While this does work in creating greater brand awareness, it can be costly and doesn’t go much deeper than awareness. Potential clients/members don’t really get a sense of what you and your business are all about.

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Another way to get known is to get out into your community and work with local charities. There are opportunities all around, from homeless shelters to educational organizations, that can give people a sense of who you are and what you are all about.

Start by looking for not-for-profit organizations that align with your beliefs. Next, look to see how you can support them. Of course, most will certainly take financial donations, but, for many new businesses, finances might be tight. These charities will often also need:

  • Volunteers to help on a daily basis (people in the community get to know you and like that you are helping out with this charity)
  • Volunteers to help with specific charitable events (like the previous, people will get to know you and, if you have less time, these events don’t require a daily commitment)
  • Donations for various raffles, auctions, etc. (this is a perfect way to showcase what you offer. i.e. donate a starter package of personal training sessions that is “valued at $X” or a week of unlimited group fitness “valued at $X”)
  • Locations to hold a charitable event (here’s a chance to get people into your space that you might not get there otherwise)
  • Local businesses to hold their own charitable event with the not-for-profit as the beneficiary (here’s a combo value, get people into your space, showcase what you do, and show support for the not-for-profit. i.e. hold a bootcamp where all of the proceeds go to the charity)

Now, some will say that if you are doing this for your benefit, it’s not really charitable. Of course the same can be said for charging for personal training. If you are personal training to help people, why are you charging? The answer? We do what we believe is good. Our “why” is to help. At the same time, we also know that we must make a living which includes charging for personal training and gaining a little social currency for ourselves and our business. This does not diminish the good that you do. It is a win/win for everyone.

So get out there and lend a hand. As the saying goes, you can “do well, by doing good”.

 

Doing Well by Doing Good

Marketing your business can come in all kinds of shapes and styles, but one of my favorites is to join forces with non-profit organizations or events. You can do this by either sponsoring or volunteering. Both can be very effective ways of getting your business’ name out there.

Sponsoring an organization or event can be done by donating money toward that charity. However, if you are just getting started and need to keep your expenses as low as possible, you can donate your services.. Many non-profits will put together raffles or auctions and seek prizes or items from local businesses. This is a great way to highlight what you offer and the value of it. i.e. (One month of unlimited group fitness, valued at $115) These can usually be donated with just the cost of your time.

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In less than 36 hours, this beard will be gone!!! If you’re not coming to the event at Pearly Baker’s Alehouse (6-9pm), then go to this link to make a donation. 100% of all proceeds and donations go directly to Cancer Support Community Greater Lehigh Valley https://www.gofundme.com/beards-for-breasts

Volunteering, or working for an organization or event, may be an even better way for people to get to know you, face-to-face, and get a sense of who you are and what you stand for. The newer standard of marketing is about building relationships and to work with others on something meaningful is a great way to get them to know, like, and trust you.

Currently, I am the president of our local business association (non-profit), my wife (and business partner) and I volunteer to work various festivals in town, sponsor our local farmers’ market, donate services to several charities, and I have been growing a beard for the last 6 months just to be able to shave it off for a local charity event. Of these, only sponsoring the farmers’ market actually costs anything more than time and all help to create awareness of our business.

Sponsoring and volunteering should be a serious part of your marketing plan. Not only do these marketing avenues help your business do well, but you are also doing good in your community.

 

Meeting Your Target Market

In my last post, The Best Marketing Medium is Personal, I discussed the importance of getting out into your community to meet your target market (desired member or clientele). Of course you first have to define who that is. If you run a T-Shirt company, your market may be any organization or business that wants a fun way to create brand awareness. If you are running a senior fitness program, you should be seeking to connect with seniors that want to improve their quality of life (and let’s face it, that’s most seniors). Once you know who you want to reach, you can start to plan ways to connect with them.

My wife, Heather and I, moved to a new town a little over a year ago. We opened a private fitness facility that offers personal training and group fitness. With fitness, our market is anyone who isn’t already on a fitness program and even some who are. So, our goal is essentially to meet as many people as we can. Get to know them. Let them get to know us. Build a relationship so that they know, like, and trust us and, when they are ready to begin a fitness program, we will be the people they go to.

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For us, meeting people means getting involved in almost anything. We are probably more social than we have ever been. We go to local theater, concerts, benefits, gallery openings, belong to the local business association, volunteer for civic events. We’re out meeting people, helping people, and having a ball doing it. It’s a win/win scenario. At the same time, we also know that it helps in creating a positive feeling about us and our company.

What if your target market is seniors? Volunteer at the local senior center or another senior program. Maybe there are programs at your church that you could help with. Attend events that seniors may also attend and strike up conversations with them.

If you want to work with first responders, you could offer to volunteer at their events or offer to give a presentation on tactical fitness. You could create a challenge between the EMT/Paramedics, Police Officers, and Firefighters (i.e. fitness, weight loss, obstacle course).

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No matter who your target market is, you need to find the venues that will allow you to get to know them. The quick and simple guide is:

Locate and get out among them.

Volunteer with their various organizations.

Donate prizes to organization benefit events.

Create and/or host benefit events of your own.

Build relationships with them…

and when they are looking for the services that you offer, you will be the one they come to.

THE ART OF PROSPECTING FOR NEW CLIENTS, PART 2: IN YOUR COMMUNITY

In The Art of Prospecting for New Clients, Part 1, I discussed the most immediate return for invested time, individuals that are already at your facility trying to change their fitness level.
In this post we’ll address how you go about getting prospective clients into your facility. For the sake of brevity, I’m going keep this about-face to face meetings.
If you’re working at a personal training studio, do in-home training, or simply want to reach a greater audience than your club, you need to go to where your target market is. (determining who your target market is, is a topic for another time.)

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Find out where they are. In example, if you’re seeking to connect with seniors you may want to go check out the senior center, senior college, local churches, or other groups for the older population. Get involved with these groups. You don’t need to be a senior. Volunteer. This could be your service as a presenter of health and fitness information or simply to help out with their day-to-day needs. The key is to become someone they know and trust. Note: Do not come to the group with your marketing guns a blazin’ or they will reject you. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Work on building relationships. Once people trust you, they will ask you, give you permission, to tell them more about how they might become more fit.
When you are asked, and this is true for any time you are asked (like at a party when someone finds our you are a trainer and they want to know how to lose “this” area.) proceed mindfully. Making recommendations without knowing all the important details is reckless and probably won’t get you the client. Your goal is to get them to come to your office or club so that you can sit down with them to find out all relevant information. This will allow you to make your best recommendation as to how to proceed from there.

1) Listen to what they are saying and acknowledge their concerns.

2) If you believe you can help them, tell them so.

3) Explain that in order to make a valid recommendation, you need to have time to sit down and learn more about them. (medical health history, lifestyle questionnaire, etc.)

4) If you can make an appointment now, do it. Then take their number so you can call and confirm. Give them yours in case they need to change times/days.

5) If you can’t make an appointment now, get an idea of what times and days are good for them. Then take their number so you can schedule the appointment. Give them yours in case they need to change times/days.

Remember to get out and meet your prospective clients where they spend time. Take time and build a relationship with them. Then, when they ask or you see an opportunity to help, invite them to sit and talk. Getting them to come in is the best way to be able to help them by gaining them as a client.

What groups do you connect with to find prospective clients? Please post them in the comments. I’d love to hear about it.