There is a rich opportunity right now, thanks to recent events. We all have access to a larger audience of people who are excited to buy and consume online. The platforms are easier than ever, and we now have a society that accepts virtual training as the new norm. Being able to intentionally, strategically and purposefully utilize social media to build an audience of ideal prospects, land the perfect buyers and craft a stronger influence is a skill you must own to compete in the new social retail economy. Let us show you how.

Note: This article shares highlights from the IDEA® World Virtual Session Free and Low-Budget Marketing Strategies to Attract Prospects, Close Clients and Build Influence Using Social Media,” presented by Anna Renderer La Fata, MS, best known as host of POPSUGAR Fitness, and Vito La Fata, founder of Fitness Profit Systems.

Opportunities and Systems

Although times have been tough, it has also never been easier to be online, work online and reach your prospective clientele. If you don’t have a strong digital presence, your clients are wondering where you are! Are you going to leverage this opportunity? The timing is perfect, and the best part is you don’t have to live and die by social media. You can use it while not allowing it to use you. The strategies presented here set you up so that you don’t have to be stuck to your devices. Social retailing is the new norm, and you can grow a loyal following—not just likes, which you can’t cash in, but the right people. Be authentic and offer value in every message. Break free of the shackles of the past, and step into what can be.

On a personal note, like a few other fitness entrepreneurs, we made the transition online before it was a necessity; at the beginning, however, we did a lot of research to find the best path to online education and training. Along the way, everything was random, and we had to piece it together. Random is the enemy of success, and we knew there had to be a better way, so we created our own road map. In other words, we saw the opportunity, and we took action.

This is where the importance of creating a system comes into play, and we were lucky to meet someone who could help us develop that system. There’s a time and place for everything, and we found a way to do things in the right order. That, in a nutshell, is how we built multiple brands, which is very difficult to do if you don’t have a system in place. It’s in the systemization that you see results. Here, we share three strategies that are free or low-budget and don’t require you to have a massive following. There are plenty of people who have thousands of followers but don’t know how to monetize, so maybe it’s time to rethink the “influencer” mindset.

See also: The 4-Step Marketing Funnel to Attract New Clients

Three Key Marketing Principles

Before we share the strategies, let’s look at three key marketing principles. If you don’t follow these, you’ll be vulnerable in the market.

#1: Speak to a specific audience. It’s crowded out there, offline and online. If you’re trying to talk to everyone, you will be heard by no one. Stand out for something and be a bigger fish in a smaller pond. What problems are you going to solve? Whom do you want to serve and transform? Narrow it down and be clear about which clients you love working with. Figure out their pain points and how to offer a solution.

For example, if you own a Pilates studio and can’t compete in a crowded market, take a step back and get clear on how you most love to help people. Let’s say you excel at getting people back to functionality after knee or back surgery. That’s your niche!

#2: Know the problem/transformation. How can you package transformation for people? What is their urgent need? What is their desired gain? If you know what the transformation is, you can create a brand that owns the market. Brand, package and offer a signature system, and get known for that system. Then, show the proof of the transformation online. Don’t make the mistake of making all your posts about you. Instead, get known for results. It’s not just about what you know; it’s also about how you help. Sure, you can prove your system works for you, but does it work for others? Demonstrate a method for getting them there.

Using the same Pilates example, take time to develop your program before you pitch your niche, so you can package your transformation in a format that’s easy to understand. Make the main aspects repeatable. Once you’ve had success with a few clients, ask them if you can share their success online.

#3: Show up consistently. This is a very important principle! Showing up occasionally doesn’t get results. It’s the same principle you teach your clients. If they work out just once a week, they won’t get the results they want. The same applies to your marketing approach. It’s important to have a theme so your market knows what you’re about. Focus on what you want to be known for. Stick to one thing, and let people know the audience you serve and the problem you solve that leads to transformation.

Strategy #1: Have a Content Strategy

Using tactics without strategy is like being on a hamster wheel. You’re working hard but going nowhere. Never let a moment like COVID-19 turn your business upside down again. A solid content strategy will help you consistently grow the right audience and convert prospects into customers. First and foremost, your content needs to speak to the problems of your audience and position you as an authority. You add value to your clients’ lives with your method/offer as the solution.

Ensure that your content is relevant to your audience. If you are specializing in corrective exercise for pain relief, don’t post content about training for a marathon. Chase the right metrics with the right content. In this case, you’d want to post information about self-myofascial release and the right stretching/strengthening program and post it consistently.

One way to keep yourself on track is to develop a content grid. First, identify the roles that resonate with your ideal audience/avatar. For example, your ideal client may be an athlete, mother/father, professional, foodie, traveler, high performer, etc. Come up with at least six roles. Next, identify the topics that add value and insight to your audience. Include quick tips, lifestyle, humor, challenges, education and motivation. Create a simple grid with the topics on the top and the roles on the side, and then plan out your content for the upcoming weeks and months.

 Two quick tips:

  1. Get people off social media and onto your site. Believe it or not, we find email marketing is more valuable than social media in getting conversions. Email gives you more control and allows you better access to put an offer in front of your desired clients.
  2. Always have a call to action. This will help maximize your content.

Strategy #2: Offer Free Workshops

Use this strategy when you want to make bulk sales with a specific product—say, a 6-week fitness program or nutrition boot camp. Plan events like these at least quarterly and be mindful about your goals, as you want to educate and sell something of value that will continue to nurture your client base. Free workshops are important because they

  • create hype and excitement while building community;
  • build trust and add value;
  • give you time to position your offer properly; and
  • can be repurposed after the event to create evergreen income (think on-demand video).

There are basically four phases to creating a workshop:

  1. Create your strategy. A virtual workshop is a good investment. Research the particulars of what you need to do technically to make this happen. The good news: It’s easier than it has ever been!
  2. Plan your training. Set the tone with a solid outline and be clear about the objectives and outcomes. Take your best material and decide what’s most relevant to your target audience.
  3. Create promotional materials. Either do this yourself (if you have the skills) or hire a graphic designer to do it for you. You want it to look as clean and professional as possible. Make brief videos about what you’re planning to teach, and then post them on your platforms.
  4. Launch your workshop. Send out reminders before the workshop and do a quick orientation call for people who have questions. Use a checklist to make sure you’re as prepared as possible, then go live.

See also: Providing Excellent Customer Service in the Digital Age

Strategy #3: Use a $10-$5-$5 Lead Generation Funnel

Low-budget ads are underrated. It’s okay to spend a little money on paid Facebook ads! Paid traffic gives you more control. Below are some additional reasons to give it a try:

  • Cold traffic is more expensive to convert, and it takes more time. You’re shooting in the dark.
  • Trust is at an all-time low these days. You need to warm people up more before driving them to an opt-in page.
  • Time is at a premium, so this allows you to grow your brand while on autopilot.
  • You’ll get better-quality clients, and it costs less per lead.
  • You’ll have a warm audience that you can authentically serve with timely promotions for webinars, launches, events, etc.

Decide on content that would warm up your audience. What can you do to help solve their problems? Maybe it’s a 4-week weight loss program or pain relief. Perhaps you know the secret to help people shift their behavior. Whatever it is that you excel at, put it out there. Pull from the most frequently asked questions you get from people, and create content around them. Aim to film between three and 10 short videos that answer these questions for viewers. Next, put all of these videos into a “video view” campaign with ad text that’s based on the topic.

Now here’s where the $10-$5-$5 part comes into play. For the first video campaign, pay $10 a day on social media to build a large view list. Set it up to run to either a look-alike audience of your current list or to targeted interests. Then take the people who watched at least half of that video (Facebook provides this metric) and spend $5 on the next campaign. Repeat this for the next stage ($5/day budget targeting the people who watched at least half of the previous video). You’ll end up with a more targeted list of people to whom you can then make your offer.

While times are certainly in flux, there’s also plenty of opportunity. There are no more excuses—it’s time to take control of your marketing.

There’s a lot more to this process, and we’re happy to help. Please feel free to reach out to us at thevisionaryplanner.com.