When was the last time you went out and spoke to an audience in your community? I've noticed a trend with fitness professionals in these last couple years; there's been a lot of gravitation to email marketing. Email marketing is inexpensive, fast, easy, and can be very productive; but used too frequently it becomes unpredictable, and burnt out. Ultimately I see fitness professionals complaining that nothing is working without realizing they've become very lazy marketers.

Many of the more traditional effective marketing strategies have become all but forgotten in our fast paced current economic environment. That means for some there is a real opportunity to go back to your roots and prosper!

I recently booked multiple lunch-and-learns with a handful of corporations in the community. In just one lunch-an-learn I had more than 40 people in attendance. In a short span of 55 minutes for presentation and questions I left with 30 new contacts and had distributed 10 gift cards for our facility. These 30 contacts were added to an automated email sequence. In just the week that followed we received approximately 12 inquires and booked multiple trials and consultations which led to new clients that will generate more than $15,000 in additional revenue in the next 12 months. There's no reason you couldn't duplicate this kind of success at least once per month, while at the same time continuing to elevate your expert status in your community.

The key to a great lunch-and-learn:

1) Look for audiences of 10 or more people to maximize the return on investment of your time.

2) Be prepared with a highly informative, very engaging presentation with action points that attendees can apply in their own lives immediately. (Ex. Specific stretches to improve muscle balance and reduce pain like headaches.)

3) Lunch-and-learns are typically 30 or 60 minutes and everyone will get anxious about having to get back to work 5-8 minutes prior to the end time. Be prepared with a presentation that's either 20 minutes or 45 minutes to ensure there is adequate time for questions.

4) Start by making your intentions clear. "Guest speakers" are generally salesmen in disguise. Set the record straight and start by explaining why you offered to provide a lunch and learn. (Ex. We have a goal to help so many people in our community start a fitness goal. By educating our community we are working toward that goal.)

5) Most importantly, make sure you have a simple, realistic, logical reason for them to want to leave you their contact information. Some examples I've used are:
a. I prefer to be eco-friendly, rather than printing handouts so if you like to leave your email address I will send you the handouts. (TIP: Best with sample workouts, menus or something very practical.)
b. If you like what you've heard I send one article or demonstration video a week out to help people learn more about getting in shape on their own. If you'd like this information leave me your email address and I will add you to my list.
c. Provide a free resource that corresponds to your community vision. For us this is our 3 Week Home Fat Loss Course and has been our most successful contact builder yet.

6) Always re-assure your audience that your job is to protect them, that you won't share their information, that you don't spam them, and just how easy it is for them to exit your contact database.

Even if you've never done a lunch-and-learn or don't have any of the resources or tools you need to implement the above, you can fully prepare in no more than a few hours with minimal to no financial investment. What would an additional $15,000 (or more) of annual revenue be worth to you?

This easy foundation marketing plan is something that can and should be ongoing, It can be leveraged numerous other ways for additional benefits, and combined with other tried and true strategies can quickly and easily leave you with a solid and repeatable marketing plan.

Cabel McElderry, now known as the Profitable Personal Trainer, struggled as a solo personal trainer for nearly eight years before learning the strategies he needed to transform his barely six-figure business to a seven-figure (and growing) training studio in just a couple years. His studio (One-to-1 Fitness), now 5 years old, has won multiple awards for business excellence. Cabel has been recognized as one of the top 100 fitness entrepreneurs in North America and is currently one of 50 nominees for Optimum Nutrition's Canadian Trainer of the Year. Cabel still trains a handful of clients as his passion to help others will never fade but has also evolved. Cabel now also mentors fitness professionals in an effort to help them achieve similar or better results than his own. www.ProfitablePersonalTrainer.com

Topic: Entrepreneur Web Column

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