Since the inception of our coaching business we’ve heard from dozens of studio owners that marketing their fitness studio is their most pressing issue.
Enter 'rona, she says in parentheses (sung to the tune of My Shot from Hamilton 🎶 – sorry I only watched the Disney+ version twice this weekend and it is FANTASTIC as expected).
But seriously – enter Coronavirus. How does one even begin to market in the midst of a pandemic?
Here are 4 strategies we’re leaning into right now to re-engage old clients and encourage new business.
1. Weekly Email Communication – Prior to the pandemic we were sending an e-newsletter about once/month. Since we closed down we have moved to sending useful content weekly to two lists – our active clients and our prospective clients (i.e. ones who have opted in to our newsletter or content either as a previous client or another marketing initiative).
This strategy is highly efficient and allows us to stay front and center in both our active clients’ and prospects’ minds. Typically, we use the same messaging and edit it ever so slightly to speak directly to each group. At the end of every email we include a call-to action (CTA) – something specific we want the reader to do. Some examples include: book a free session, join one of our online opportunities, opt in for additional information, comment on our Facebook page, etc. The goal is to drive engagement and help walk them down the path towards continuing as an active client or re-engaging after a break from regular attendance.
2. Targeted Direct Mail Campaign – Some may say direct mail is a strategy of the past, but we actually really like it in this case. We know our clients live or work within a 3-10 mile radius – with the majority of them coming from some specific neighborhoods and zip codes. Currently we are working on a direct mail piece that reminds people we are open (currently only virtually) for business and working with clients.
So much has changed and sadly many businesses have had to shut down due to the pandemic. Anything you can do to remind your ideal prospects that you are open can positively affect your bottom line.
Plus – for some reason mail seems a little more special these days - especially since for some people that is the only time they get out during the day. Getting something inspiring may be just what it takes to trigger a great client into action.
When thinking about a direct mail strategy consider your ROI (return on investment). How many clients do you need to convert to make it worthwhile? This will help you determine your budget for this campaign.
On another note, and using a the direct mail approach we also sent a “We Miss Seeing You – in person” mailer to all current, active clients. In addition to the note we included an Empower-branded face covering. With this simple gesture we were able to touch base, share our position on face coverings while in public, and provide clients with something useful they can wear when they are out and about in the community. In this case, our clients become a walking billboard for Empower, and it’s a conversation starter that may lead to “who is your trainer” and a referral coming our way.
Here's a picture of our daughters sporting the masks, helping stuff envelopes and earning a few dollars on the side this summer!
3. Election Signs – In the past this strategy has been one of our most successful at generating new leads and helping us convert new clients. What is it? It’s simply just strategically placing election-style signs nearby the studio and in prominent areas where we know our ideal clients live or frequent.
It’s important to keep the messaging super simple with a clear call to action. Something like FREE initial session, your logo and your email address or website is probably enough. You just need to trigger interest from your potential clients and encourage them to take the next step.
And – one thing of note is that you need permission in most cities to post these signs (i.e. a permit), but if you’ve never done it you can likely ask for forgiveness if you get caught. In our case, we were asked to take them down or risk being fined – and we did (take them down that is).
The signs did stay up for a few weeks and the impact was huge!
4. New Website – In a twist of fate, we just so happened to have already committed to launching a new website in the first half of this year. Enter Covid (again with the Hamilton refrain 😂) and we quickly shifted to designing and creating our new website with a hybrid business model in mind . Not only did we include information about our new model, but also have very clear call to actions so prospective clients know exactly how to get started.
We are very close to launching and TRUST there will be a blog post coming soon with the big reveal and why we built it the way we did.
A great website can make a world of difference in helping bring you new leads.
So see – marketing isn’t that scary after all. You just have to know who your ideal clients are and how you can reach them. Try not to get caught up in tactics (like posting a ton on social media – unless of course that is bringing you leads) and focus more on strategies.
For us, we KNOW that there are two main ways new prospects typically find us: through word of mouth and through our website. As such, every marketing initiative is done amidst that backdrop – how can we encourage our current clients to become raving fans and spread the word about us, and how can we make sure our website is informative and drives the action we want?
What about you? Do you know how your ideal clients typically find you? If so, how can you expand on this knowledge and implement strategies that work…even in the times of Covid?
We’d love to hear your comments below!
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