This month I’ve been writing about what it takes to build a group fitness business that had consitant members session after session, week after week.
We’ve learned that being yourself and combining your personal values with your business will actually help your business, not hurt it. We often think that we should be putting on some crazy Personal Trainer persona when there is a huge group of people out there who want you just as you are.
We also learned that many trainers have misconceptions about what it takes to create effective marketing. This often leads us to feeling like we don’t know where to start. After all we don’t want to waste time and money working on a marketing campaign that doesn’t work!
I was the same when I started. I spent a lot of time with manual-intensive styles of marketing like letterbox drops and approaching people one at a time. Sure, it worked, but it was taking up so much of my time that my bootcamp suffered. My workout creativity was gone, I was losing clients because I didn’t have time for them and I was fast approaching burn out.
It was only later I realised that this was a very ‘head in the sand’ approach. Instead of stepping back and learning about marketing, setting up systems and researching what my clients wanted, I was just throwing myself at promoting the next bootcamp by any means possible.
I was spending my time doing fast, busy work instead of doing the harder, smarter work that would ultimately give me more freedom.
Enter the 4 Questions
After 5 months of hustling bootcamp to bootcamp I realised something needed to change. There had to be a better way to give me the consistently full classes that I wanted.
I decided to take myself ‘back to school’ and learn from others how to do this marketing thing right.
The first thing I learnt was that everything I write is marketing material. It wasn’t just the flyers or bootcamp page on my website, it was also the ‘about the trainer’ page, the way I wrote on Facebook and the way I presented my fitness beliefs to people. All of it has a place in encouraging people to train with you.
Then I tried the hardcore marketers method, using manipulation and persuasion to try and craft my marketing material. It just didn’t feel right though and seemed to attract clients that weren’t a good fit for my bootcamp. You know – the kind that complain all the time about every single exercise, and not in a fun way. I didn’t want people at my bootcamp because they felt like the HAD to come.
So I tried the other side of the spectrum. ‘Soft selling’ they call it where you just show you are a good guy and you do good things and then cross your fingers and hope people will join. This worked OK, I certainly felt more comfortable but I soon found myself spending hours a week marketing my bootcamp again.
I found the answer somewhere in the middle and from this created what I call the ‘4 Questions’.
I say ‘created’ when actually this stuff has been around for centuries (literally). I kept discovering these questions again and again in different forms in the marketing books and courses I tried. These were tried and true methods that I just had to take and adapt to a fitness business.
I used these questions to change my bootcamp page, suddenly enquirers went up. We were getting 3 to 8 new campers a month and that was with stopping the letterbox drops and flyers. Not huge numbers I know, but other than website hosting it was costing nothing to get these leads and I was able to focus on my clients again.
More recently I used these questions in my launch for 31 Days to a Better Bootcamp Business. 120 trainers signed up in just 3 days.
It’s one of the first things I get trainers to change when they ask me to look at their websites or flyers because increasing your conversion rate is much cheaper then trying to reach more people.
That is the power of just answering these 4 Questions in your marketing material.
What are the 4 Questions?
OK so now I bet you are getting annoyed at me because I haven’t told you what these seemingly magical questions are.
I’m going to take you through them one by one now and tell you why they are important along with the best way to answer them.
What’s in it for me?
This is the first thing someone thinks in any interaction with anything, not just when they are reading marketing material.
Think of the last conversation you had with someone, at some point you got something out of the conversation or tried to get something out of it. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have had the conversation. (Getting something out of it could just be the nice feeling you get from listening to someone’s problems)
We human beings are very ego-centric and our subconcious asks us ‘What’s in it for me?’ dozens of times a day for almost every task we do.
So the first thing you want to answer when writing content on your website or Facebook page or flyer is ‘What’s in it for the person reading this?’. Why should they read this? Why should they sign up?
The best way to answer it is to explain the benefits of your bootcamp. Benefits are what a person will get out of your bootcamp. It’s not what your bootcamp does, that is called the features, it’s what your bootcamp gives someone.
For example, some features of your bootcamp might look like this:
- qualified trainers
- high intensity workouts
- boxing sessions
- progressive programming
People don’t really care about that though. There is nothing ‘in it for them’. Here is an example of how you can display the above as benefits:
- kick start every day by exercising outdoors in the fresh air
- expert trainers so you are safe and learn how to do the movements correctly
- high intensity workouts that will get you fitter for chasing children, hiking and climbing the stairs at work
- relieve the weekly stresses and work hard without even realising it in our weekly boxing smash
- no two workouts are the same – you will never get bored of bootcamp
Why should I buy from you?
Once someone has decided that there might be something in this for them, their subconscious then begins to wonder why they should buy from your specifically.
Sure you claim to give all these fantastic results but this person doesn’t know you. You could just be saying that, you could be a scam, you could be a waste of time and money.
The best way to answer this question is with some well placed testimonials.
A testimonial that states the specific results someone got from training with you. Or a testimonial stating why they still train with you after years of training. Or a testimonial talking about their experience of their very first session. Or all three!
Watch this video from Social Triggers to learn what makes an effective testimonial:
Is this a good fit for me?
OK so someone has now decided that they can get something out of your training and they believe you are legit and that you have helped real people before.
But now they start wondering things like ‘Sure, it worked for those other people but what about me?’, ‘Can I even afford this?’ and ‘I don’t think I’m fit enough to start.’
This is their subconscious brain trying to talk them out of signing up.
It’s kind of like that feeling you have when your alarm goes off in the morning and you want to stay in bed. It’s best for you to get up but your brain works hard against you to stay in bed.
This is where some Frequently Asked Questions work like a treat.
Don’t wait until you actually have received some FAQs from people to write a FAQ section. Try to think of what objections people are going to have before signing up.
Here are some of the common FAQs people ask themselves about training along with a good way to answer it:
- Sure, it worked for those other people but what about me? – a story or testimonial of someone succeeding (your story works too)
- Can I even afford this? – a break down of how cheap it can be per session plus comparisons to other things people spend money on
- I don’t think I’m fit enough to start. – a story or testimonial of someone’s first time – how you will scale for first timers
- What happens if it’s wet? – your wet weather policy
- Do I need to buy any equipment? – yes or no along with what and maybe a cheap place to buy it
- Is everyone else super fit? – a description of the range of people in your classes and how you scale the sessions
- What if I can’t make it to a session? – a short version of your cancellation/missed session policy
- Will I get dirty? – yes, yes you will
This is the final question that you need to answer. Your reader has decided that they will get something out of your sessions, that you are trustworthy and that you are a good fit for them.
And without an answer to this question they will probably say to themselves ‘Cool! I’ll sign up later’ and then close the browser or put down the flyer and go on to the next thing. Within the next hour they have forgotten about signing up. It sucks, I know.
So you need to give them a reason why they should sign up now and not wait until later. Here are a few ways to do this:
Offer a limited time promotion:
This is the most common offer I see and it usually involves some kind of limited time discount off your products. Having this in place gets people to sign up straight away or they will miss out on your discount.
While I do use this when I launch my ebooks but I’m not a huge fan of this as discounting your training can lead to a slippery slope of people never wanting to pay full price for your services. Also it can alienate those that are still paying full price.
There is software that will start a fake countdown timer on your website everytime a new person visits showing the promotion is about to disappear. While effective it’s also untruthful and it not a great way to start a relationship with someone so recommend staying away from such tricks.
Limit the size of your classes:
Put a cap on the maximum number of people in your classes. People must book and pay as soon as possible or risk missing out on a session. This method and the next method below works well for bootcamps that have a start and end date.
Have a sign up cut off date:
Set a date on which afterwards you will no longer take on any new sign ups. This works great for course bootcamps. You can also run it for your ongoing bootcamp by offering a theme each month. People want to sign up or they will miss out on starting the next theme.
This final option is a great way to add value. In this one, instead of a disappearing discount, we have a disappearing bonus. This could be something like a ‘Get ready for bootcamp email and workout series’ or a ‘free week of one on one training to prepare you for bootcamp’. Or if you are wanting to offer nutrition, work with a nutritionist or dietician to create a nutrition guide for new members.
Or go big, what is a client worth to you? Industry experts say a client is worth $1500 (I would say even higher). Why not give away a massage with every new sign up? You will have to pay for the massage but isn’t it worth it for a new client? This type of bonus needs to disappear so people sign up so run it as a limited time deal.
This last option is something you can run all the time. There is no deadline but it does encourage them to buy now by reducing the risk of buying. Offering a 30-Day Money Back Guarentee on all of your packages is perfect for this.
Finally, include a link to where they can enquire, register or pay.
So many sites don’t have this! They expect the reader to hunt around the website looking for how to contact someone. Make it easy for them, always include a ‘Sign up now’ link or button.
That’s it! Try to answer those questions in some capacity in all of your marketing material. Give people a reason to want to join your group fitness sessions.
And notice that nothing about this is slimy or underhanded. Everything is above board and you are giving new people all the information before they sign up.
Once you have answered the 4 Questions you can start looking at things like:
- How can I optimise the wording so it sounds like I’m speaking directly to my prospect?
- How do I lay all this out on my bootcamp landing page?
- My flyers are small, how can I possibly include all of this information?
- How did I actually get people to my website once I set it up?
I wish I could have answered those in this article, but it’s already stretching over 2,000 words and you have stuff to do I’m sure.
So what I am going to be doing is spending the next month in The Trainers Tribe members area going through all of this step by step. What you read today is just one small part of the Marketing course we are doing through out April. It’s going to be perfect for trainers who want someone else to give them direction on what to work on each day, increase their number of clients and create a business that’s less stressful and more fun.
If you want to boost your group fitness business, I’m opening the doors to The Trainers Tribe tomorrow to just 100 members. It’s till in beta mode so I’m only letting in a limited number and then I’ll be closing registrations.
Update: The doors are open! Come and grab your spot.
But for now, I’d like to challenge you to do just ONE thing. It will only take a couple of minutes.
If you currently run a group fitness business (or are planning on starting one) post a comment below with ONE idea you can use to answer Question 4 – Why Now?
Here’s what you should post:
“I’m [name] and I run a [bootcamp/group fitness/etc] business in [town, state]. One way I could answer Question 4 to get people to sign up on the spot could be… [your answer]”
Post your comment below.