I feel like a broken record when I keep saying this past year has been a wild one, but it is simply the truth. It has altered quite a bit when it comes to how we run our fitness businesses. So, as we move forward establishing new practices it’s important to understand why these shifts are happening.
A common concern we are seeing across the board the past 8-10 months involves marketing. Many fitness professionals are not seeing the response they used to see for their marketing promotions. That can be very frustrating especially if what you were doing before was working.
That is the nature of business. Either evolve with the changes or be left behind.
A great example of what happens when you don’t adjust your marketing message for changing times is seen in the story of Kodak. They thought the changes with digital cameras coming out wouldn’t affect them and they stayed their course. As we know, that didn’t hit home with their customers. Their customers wanted the new digital cameras and it showed with Kodak’s dwindling revenue to the point the once powerhouse in the photography world was no more.
Are you seeing the underlying issue here?
It was in the lack of understanding their ideal client. As the market changed they didn’t re-evaluate what their ideal client wanted or cared about. So, by sticking to their original message, that did work, it cost them more than they realized.
Their unfortunate story is your success story!
How does this help you? It clearly highlights why it is so important to know exactly who your ideal client is so you can understand how this past year has affected them.
What I want to highlight for you is to make sure you understand the value of not only having an ideal client, but to make sure you keep evaluating based on life changes. In other words, this past year has altered your clients’ behaviors and values. With those changes, if you keep coming at them with the same marketing message you used prior to this behavior change, it just won’t land the same way.
Are you at this place where you just feel like everything you put out there isn’t clicking, the leads are getting harder to come by, and you feel like you are in a fight or flight mode?
First just take a breath. This has been a lot, but when armed with the right tools and perspective everything is figure-outable.
Second, stop the random approach to see what sticks. It’s only causing you more frustration, and isn’t going to change the situation.
Third, let’s pull up the google doc from a year or so ago when you outlined your ideal client. We need to start here first and see if this original outline still makes sense.
Some areas to look for when evaluating the current outline:
-Does it clearly define a specific person? (not an age range)
-Does it highlight their big problems?
-Does this person have a natural desire for your solution?
After making sure the original plan was clear to begin with, now we need to make sure it is still relevant to current times.
What does that mean? It means you need to talk to your ideal client. That ideal person you outlined is the source of your marketing material. So, reach out to people that fit this description and ask them if they wouldn’t mind answering a few questions for you.
I want to quickly be clear about something when it comes to marketing. The more YOU try to inject your thoughts and feelings the further away your message lands. This is about your client, and there is no better way to understand what they want and need than to ask them directly. We can sit around a table all day speculating what might trigger them, and we could get some things right. But, it’s a lot faster to go to the source.
A few questions you could ask them are:
-Over the past year, has your value of health changed? If so, how?
-What matters to you more: being in an environment to work out or the ability to access it anywhere?
-As of today, what would be your biggest obstacle with hitting your health goals?
-If you were going to join a health program, what would you look for and how would you decide which is the right one for you?
-If I were to offer you (share your core offer for your ideal client) do you feel that would be the right solution for you? Why or why not?
You can certainly add a few more questions to this, but the goal is to understand how they think and perceive things now. That is the key to getting the right information. The past doesn’t matter; we need to know where they are right now to speak to them where they are at.
It’s no secret why some of the most successful businesses in history are also known to constantly poll their audience. Meaning they are always mining for data to deliver what their customers want and need. Trying to figure that out yourself is a fool's journey. There is a much better way and it involves actually talking to people over guessing. Those companies know they have no business trying to figure that out; they would much rather have their customers tell them directly.
Let’s walk through a recap of your action steps:
-Look at your existing ideal client outline and make sure it is a good starting point to begin with
-Go to 8-10 people that fit your ideal client description to ask them the questions outlined
-Take the new information you learned and update your ideal client outline
-Adjust your marketing message based on the information you received
-Go back through this process every 6-8 months
That last one is a crucial part of this. You don’t have to wait for a pandemic or any other major situation to happen to constantly keep a pulse on your ideal client. I’d rather go through this entire process and find out I am on point than to make assumptions, not do it and continue missing the mark.
Understanding your ideal client is the life source of your business. The more you understand them, the better your messaging is and the more you can serve them. In other words, you should be spending a decent amount of time in this area, it’s that important.
Marketing isn’t this mysterious thing. It’s having a deep understanding of who you serve and paving the way to the solution.
Times change, people change, and therefore, your marketing message also needs to change.