Let’s face it — it has become nearly impossible for fitness professionals to stand out online. This is due, in part, to the pandemic forcing everyone to move their brands online and also, in part, to the natural evolution of consumer demand for online services.
Regardless of the reasoning, it is imperative to find new ways to stand out to the right audience and the following five digital marketing strategies can help.
1. Lead Generation
The “algorithm” is not suppressing you or your posts; in fact, it does not even care about you. The primary focus of Instagram or Facebook is to keep users on the platform as long as possible.
Your mission is not just to grow your audience or follower size, but to attract relevant leads into your ecosystem. Whereas an audience member is passively watching your content, a lead is fully engaged and closer to becoming a client.
To grow your audience while understanding the algorithm requires you to:
- Create content worthy of sharing or saving. These are the only insights you should care about. Are the posts you are doing engaging your audience to share your content to their followers, thus marketing you and your brand or are your posts so valuable that your followers want to save them for future reference? The posts that get shared and saved the most are posts that are entertaining, informational or inspirational.
- Earn media features or digital partnerships. Tap into your target audience where they already are and give them a reason to enter into your ecosystem. These could include magazine features, podcast guest spots, digital publications or social media accounts that have the right audience for your brand. Pitch the various outlets with potential value-driven content you could contribute to their channel, which in turn positions you as a subject matter expert worth following.
2. Content Marketing Plan
To succeed at content marketing is not to invest every waking hour into creating content. Primarily focus on no more than 1-to-2 channels so you can have more impact instead of spreading your efforts too thin. Also seek ways to repurpose content whenever possible. For example, taking a single video and taking just the audio to make a podcast, take the transcript and make it your blog and newsletter, etc.
Your goal with content should be to add value to your audience’s lives as you nurture those relationships. Ask what problems your audience has that you are amazing at solving and that becomes the content you create.
3. Engage Your Audience
Before a lead is ready to purchase from you, they must have an established trust and rapport with you. With so many options and so little attention, your goal is to focus on nurturing your audience with such great value that you stay top of mind when they are ready to invest.
It is not enough that your audience knows you exist. They have to clearly articulate why you matter to them and how you can serve their needs.
This is achieved both from your content marketing strategy as well as having one-to-one engagement with your leads. The more you invest into your target clients, the more likely they are to invest in you.
4. Build a List You Own
As an entrepreneur we have two types of audiences. There are audiences we rent and audiences we own. Our social media followers are rented. If Instagram and Facebook crash, if your account gets hacked, if the platform shuts down, you will lose your audience. Also you are never in control of how much of your audience actually sees the content you create.
An audience you own is one where you have complete control such as your email list, SMS list or traditional mailing list. No algorithm exists that will prevent subscribers from getting your emails, your texts or your letters.
In order to build a list you own, create a lead magnet which is a free offer you provide in exchange for the audience’s permission to contact them. Examples of lead magnets can include e-books, printed books, downloadable templates, courses, webinars, events, group sessions, challenges and more.
If your lead magnet provides great value and solves a problem for your potential client, they are going to want to opt in to receive it.
When that happens, that is a signal back to you, which says that they are interested in learning more about how you can support them. It indicates that they are a warmer audience and much closer to becoming a client than someone who is not interested in your lead magnet.
5. SMS Marketing
Email marketing works and when done right, it is highly beneficial for many business owners. However, the average open rate for e-mail marketing is around 18%. Meanwhile, SMS (text marketing) has shown to have an open rate going as high as 98%.
There are now a bevy of affordable SMS-based text services making it far easier for entrepreneurs to build a list and communicate with their leads.
When someone signs up with their phone number, compared to their email, they are proving to be an even warmer lead and prospect, as we tend to be very protective of our numbers.
Growing a SMS list is very similar to growing an email list. If you create a lead magnet or offer an incentive that is valuable to your audience, they are going to want to onboard.