Four Cost Effective Marketing Efforts For Small Business Owners
Guest Post: Rich McIver of Merchant Negotiators
Marketing a fitness business on a tight budget can be challenging for business owners. It has to be an ongoing process, and it has to constantly adapt and change to differentiate yourself from competitors, which is the key the growing your member base. Fortunately, there are dozens of ways business owners can market their company within their brand and their budget.
Digital marketing is a creative and inexpensive way business owners could target and promote their gym to an ideal audience. This allows businesses to reach people directly, straight to their phones. In-person marketing, however, still provides a valuable way to reach new people. There are several inexpensive ways you can promote your company and build your client base. Here are some possible marketing ideas:
Implement a Strong Social Media Marketing Plan
Successful social media marketing begin with a clear plan and a set, measurable goal. Businesses should determine the audience they are trying to reach, the goals they are trying to accomplish and how to do so. This could play a role in determining what social networking sites you want to use. Because sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are so different, they truly reach people in different ways.
If you already have profiles created, you need to audit them and determine what has been working and what has not been successful for your business. Once you do this, you can choose the sites that can best help you reach your goals and will allow you to share the type of content you want to provide. You may need to refine your existing accounts to make them work better for your business.
Generally, sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram appeal to a large audience. Facebook allows businesses to to share a variety of content and to connect with members and potential members on a more personal level. Twitter, which has a strict character limit, is much different in the way users connect and follow each other. Instagram allows users to share photos and captains, which could be a positive way fitness owners could highlight their facility, equipment and even members. Doing some reading on digital marketing and content generation will help
No matter the sites you choose to use, the key is to remain active and relevant. You should be sure the content you post appeals to your target audience. For gyms and fitness businesses, you could share content related to your businesses, what you can offer members, discounts and specials, healthy living news, food recipes and success stories from your facility. You should keep the content positive, informative and creative.
Request Online Customer Reviews
Customer review sites have gained popularity in recent years, and the words people post on these sites carry serious weight for other readers. According to a BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey, 88 percent of participants have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and the same percentage say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
This evolved “word-of-mouth” marketing can be harmful to businesses if negative reviews are posted, but they can see great benefits from positive reviews. Use this to your advantage and request reviews from your customers. Ask members to review your business on sites like Google, Facebook and Yelp to let others know what they think. You should make the process as easy as possible with email reminders, text reminders and small incentives.
If your business does receive a review — positive or negative — you should be sure to respond to it politely and professionally. You should respond with a personalized note thanking the person for his or her business. If you receive a bad review, you could professionally address the issues on the public page and respond privately. This could show potential members your passion and dedication to solving any issues that could arise.
Utilize an Email Marketing Campaign
Email marketing is a creative, simple and inexpensive marketing technique that can help fitness companies reach new members and reconnect with some who may have forgotten about their memberships. Email marketing lets you connect with a person directly through their inbox, reaching them anytime, anywhere
Before you implement an email marketing campaign, you need to know your goals and what you hope to accomplish. Like most marketing plans, this first step will help you determine the rest of your plan, like what needs to be done to implement the campaign. You could have one overall goal or small, incremental goals, both of which need to be something that can be measured to help you gauge if the emails were successful.
The email content should be original, informative, and it should represent your brand. You want it to be concise and simple, but it should also resonate with your readers. A compelling subject line can have a significant impact on whether or not a person even opens the message. According to Convince and Convert, 33 percent of email recipients open emails based on subject line alone.
Host More Social Events at Your Business
Some business owners may be wary of holding events because there are so many parts involved. Not only do they have to plan the event and coordinate with multiple parties, they have to be sure the fitness business still runs smoothly. Taking a little time away from everyday duties sounds intimidating, but hosting a unique event could be a way to market your business to new members and others in the community.
When choosing events at your gym or studio, you should have a set goal in mind. You should know if your plan is to attract more members, increase member participation, strengthen current member relationships with your brand or to get media coverage. The type of event you plan, when it is scheduled and nearly everything else revolves around your main goal. Once you determine a goal, you can decide on the scope of the event.
Events could include fun group sports games, healthy potlucks or appearances from local celebrity athletes or sports teams. You should think of how you can best utilize your location and your community. When planning, you should consider whether or not you plan to offer refreshments, the length and time of the event, what events will be occurring within the event and about how many people you plan to have attending. Asking potential event guests to RSVP is a good way to gauge the number of attendees.
Choosing a marketing technique that works for your business and within your budget can take some time. Whether you use online marketing, events or something else, the key is get people excited about what you can offer them. Building a client base is more than just getting people to sign up for your services. You need to build a loyal group of followers who are passionate about your business. Skilled and interactive marketing can help you do that, even on a strict budget.
About the Author
Rich McIver is the founder of Merchant Negotiators, a website where business owners can compare more than 40 different credit card processors to find the best and cheapest merchant services for their business.