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Tricks of the trade

When we introduce a new service, we spread our promotional efforts over a variety of media. If we want a big push, we take out a print ad in targeted local publications. It’s important to note that a print ad has to run for a while before it gains attention. You can’t just run an ad once and think that it’s going to produce anything. An ad has to run for at least a couple of issues before the event you’re promoting, and has to continue to run for several months before people actually start to take notice and inquire about your offering.

We also promote new services on our website, and we use Facebook and Twitter, too. We’ve found that it’s best not to overuse social media, however. People like the “social” part of social media and resent it if they feel you’re invading their social space to sell them something all the time.

Sometimes it also helps to produce fliers or ad cards that you can post around town. The more specific you can be about the offering, the better. Like anything else, it takes a lot of legwork and time for new things to catch on. But once they do (assuming it’s a good service), they tend to stay caught on.

Amahl Harik

Method Fitness

Providence, Rhode Island

When I have a new service or product to promote, I use an HTML e-mail marketing service such as Constant Contact in addition to social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Constant Contact is great for targeting my database once every 4–6 weeks, but to achieve a weekly outreach to my current and potential clients, social media is my tool of choice.

Search for “Kristen Horler” on Facebook and you will see that my profile is all about my business. Since I am a mom as well as a business owner, you will see a post related to my family from time to time. However, since my profile is public, this is not my primary reason for spending time on Facebook.

In addition to my personal profile page, I have set up various group, event and fan pages for Baby Boot Camp® and Karna Fitness. Below are a few examples:

Fan Page. I have created a fan page for my new book, Baby Boot Camp: The New Mom’s 9-Minute Fitness Solution. I will use the power of social media and all of my friends and friends of friends to promote the book launch and book tour.

Events. I have created an event for each session of Karna Camp, small-group training for women, offered at my personal training studio, Karna Fitness.

Links. I post links to new products on the Baby Boot Camp (global) fan page and share my post with Baby Boot Camp franchise owners and instructors so they can repost the new product to their local Baby Boot Camp Facebook pages.

Be aware that social media can become a big distraction if not used properly. I am extremely focused when spending time on social media and schedule my Facebook time just as I schedule my clients.

Kristen Horler

CEO & Founder, Baby Boot Camp LLC

Sarasota, Florida

To promote a new service or product, I send e-mails to previous clients and friends, make fliers and put them on community bulletin boards and offer a free Bella Fitness T-shirt to the first 10 people to sign up for whatever I am promoting. I also make and send postcards every quarter that feature new services. I just began offering nationwide fitness coaching over the phone, so I promote that globally on Facebook and via my blogspot (www.bellafitnessforwomen.blogspot.com). I also use my website to give the details of my services, especially new ones.

Tiffany Palisi

Bella Fitness LLC

Mountain Lakes, New Jersey

As a small, by-appointment-only, personal training studio in a rural community, we have found we need to set aside a large amount of resources for marketing. New programs often only require a few participants to succeed, but, on the other hand, a few clients on vacation can “kill” a new program. Here are the marketing angles we hit.

Staff as Team. Most every decision we make about products and services is made as a team. We discuss cost, design, program details, compensation, etc., with our trainers before offering new products/services to our clients.

Clients as Team. Once we have a good idea what the details will be, we usually ask some of our clients for their opinions about our potential new offering, often gleaning important feedback.

Timing. In our area, it’s important to pay close attention to the calendar. For example, we may decide to offer a particular indoor service because the weather is going to get nasty.

Graphic Designer. We have an ongoing trade with a graphic designer. We rely upon her expertise when creating marketing campaigns. She helps us to create the new “look” of our services, the look that will follow through in our fliers, e-mails, newsletters, print ads and even radio ads.

Internal Marketing. We put up fliers in several areas in our studio for our clients to view. We also use our scheduling program to send an e-mail blast to interested clients and use our online newsletter program to send out information on new offerings. In addition, we give our trainers the latitude to give away a service if they feel that may help sell it in the future (e.g., free class passes for
existing clients and a guest).

Attractive Pricing Structures. In addition to free introductions, we sometimes give clients the option to pay a flat rate for more services, which will often eliminate a financial objection.

Website. We use our website as a constantly changing brochure. We promote our new programs in a section called “What’s New?” Our graphic designer e-mails the new flier to our webmaster for posting.

Radio Advertising. In our area, our demographic listens to our local radio station more reliably than they read our local newspaper, so we write and record a lot of commercials. We trade for some of our air time, reducing our bottom line and increasing our exposure.

Newspaper Columns and Ads. We write a biweekly newspaper column on general health and fitness. While we keep the information in the column fairly generic, if it is appropriate we will mention a service or product we specifically offer. Our newspaper advertising is done most often in the online version of our local publication (where readership is higher) or in a special pullout section like “Nevada County Women” where you receive an equal amount of editorial space to the advertisement you purchase.

Nonprofit Contributions. We often make in-kind donations of gift certificates for services that can be used in an auction or raffle at fundraising events. If we have a new service we are promoting at the time, we will specifically offer that particular service as a donation.

Lectures. Since our community is small, we find ourselves with the opportunity to lecture quite often. The groups who solicit our services range from support groups for multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease and diabetes to service groups like Soroptomist and Lions Clubs. Again, if we have a new service we are promoting at the time that might serve those participants, we will make a point of mentioning that particular service.

Business Friends. One benefit of living in a small town is that everybody knows everybody (well, that can be a bad thing, too!) and we capitalize on it. We leave fliers with our local bank, chiropractor, doctor and massage therapist as well as our favorite restaurants and clothing stores. We promote their businesses, so there is no reason they can’t promote ours—even if just to their own employees!

Scott Jackson and Barbi Jackson

Owners, Scott Jackson’s Real Life
Fitness Personal Training Studio

Nevada City, California

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