“Eric and Daniel…I need your help. My Facebook ads stopped working and my leads are drying up. What can I do?”
It was another sad story of failed personal trainer lead generation.
The call was from someone we’ll call Noah, a composite character based on several of our clients. Noah runs a very successful gym. But the grind is taking its toll. It includes 14+ hour days and the occasional crisis (like a trainer quitting suddenly, taking clients with her.) Noah has the nagging sense he’s spending too much time being too reactive.
That’s why we suggest:
Noah loves his job and his clients. His transformation program works, and he has the testimonials to prove it.
Noah is changing lives and making a difference in the world. This is exactly what he’d hoped to do when he got into the fitness business twenty years ago.
But Noah’s been burning the candle at both ends for years. Now he’s preparing to add online coaching to his business. No wonder he was so concerned his Facebook ads stopped working.
I see a lot of this: fitness professionals put all their eggs in one basket to build their business. It’s often Facebook ads, but sometimes it’s Click Funnels, LeadPages, or a one-size-fits-all “system” or “blueprint.” Whatever platform or system they choose, they go all in.
And you know what?
Until it doesn’t.
As powerful as Facebook or another method can be, a single approach is just that: a single approach. And it is apt to change at any moment. Your perfectly crafted Facebook ad could stop working overnight due to a cranky Facebook employee who’s sick of seeing shirtless fitness ads.
Or you could post a workout video with copyright music and have your account suspended.
Remember, social media sites like Facebook are rented land.
Bottom line: on social media sites, you don’t “own” the relationship with your readers; the social media site does.
Remember when Facebook business pages were the big thing? No longer. These days you have to pay big bucks to get most of your content seen.
Similarly, remember when MySpace was huge and that dude Tom put himself in your top eight there as one of your friends?
Yeah, that completely changed, too, and MySpace became irrelevant.
Snapchat just got one-upped by Instagram Stories and now, that’s withering away.
See the trend?
When building an online training business, you can’t afford to become completely reliant on any one system. If it’s your only source of leads, you’ll be in big trouble when something changes.
So, what’s a better method?
Building and maintaining a highly engaged email list.
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Consider Sumo.com, formerly the email list building giant SumoMe. You have to supply your email address to move forward.
Consider The Personal Trainer Development Center website. Well, you can read the articles, but the first thing you see on the site?
Subscribe. And that builds the email list.
The first thing readers of your website or page should be able to do is sign-up to learn from you. If you’re not gathering emails, you’re missing out on a huge growth opportunity for your business.
Email provides you with the best way to get up close and personal with your audience and more importantly, own the lead. You’ll create a personal relationship by addressing their pain points. Use email to tell stories that solve your readers’ biggest problem. You’ll be rewarded with loyalty and sales.
How To Build An Email List
Here’s the step-by-step process we use with our Hybrid Business Coaching Clients.
Step One: Determine Your Ideal Client and His/Her Top Pain Point
Before you create anything, you need to determine the number one problem you’re going to solve. To do this, you need to understand your clients. This is where most trainers screw up.
To find your clients number one pain point, I recommend talking to your clients or sending out a quick survey to find their hopes, dreams, pain points, and fears.
Your goal is to solve your clients’ problems better than anyone else. This starts with knowing your readers/potential clients on a deep level.
To determine your ideal client, take out a piece of paper (yes, now) and write out the following as clearly as you can in their words.
-Interests: Sports, music, books, hobbies, movies
Hopes: What are their goals? What do they want to achieve?
Dreams: What happens once they’ve reached their goals? How is their life improved?
Pain Points: What challenges do they face? What is getting in the way of reaching the goal?
Fears: What could happen if they’re not successful? What is the cost of staying the same?
Goals: What is their number one fitness goal?
Take the time to get inside your ideal client’s head and understand truly motivates them. Your content should follow from that.
To learn more about determining your ideal client, read this.
Step Two: Validate Your Idea and Determine Your Message
Okay, you’ve determined your ideal client — or so you think! But is it really the right market for you? Unless you’re special snowflake, chances are someone else is already marketing to and reaching your ideal clients.
What will set you apart? What is your unique angle?
Don’t try to out-do John Romaniello at being John Romaniello, T-Nation at being T-Nation, or Steve Kamb at running Nerd Fitness. Sure, see how they work. But don’t copy.
Find where your market is, look at how your competition is marketing to them, and then create your own unique marketing message.
Step Three: Create The Solution
Now the fun begins: creating the solution to the problem you’ve identified. Your “ethical bribe” will solve the problem and you’ll supply it in exchange for their email. Your ethical bribe can come via webinar, video series, eBook, challenge, or eCourse.
A few pointers here:
Remember your customer research? Look at the most common goals and pain points of your clients. THIS is what you want to solve using their exact words.
Solve your client’s problem by using their language, not yours. Produce the content they want, not the content you want. If your clients talk about toning up and losing belly fat, so should you. Avoid “trainer-speak” like “maximizing fatty acid mobilization” or over-the-top ‘bro talk unless it’s your ideal audience.
Here are some actual titles of ethical bribes we’ve helped our Hybrid Business Coaching clients produce:
Lose Your Belly Fat
The Five Day Muscle Fix
Getting Past Busy
Strength by Nutrition: The Badass Guide to Getting Strong and Sexy
Here are three final tips:
Solve one problem. Your ethical bribe doesn’t need to be an encyclopedia on bodybuilding. Arnold already did that, so you probably won’t match it. Instead, just provide value and a solution to your client’s goal. When I first started, I tried to make every “giveaway” the best thing since sliced bread. And while you shouldn’t skimp on quality, keep it simple and solve one problem.
Get your ethical bribe professionally edited, make it look pretty, and make it attention-grabbing. Go on fiverr or Elance to get a cover and editing. Don’t try to do it yourself. You’re probably not that good and you’ll waste a ton of time you could spend getting to know your customers. If someone can do a better job faster than you, suck it up and pay them.
Make “signing up” the first option people see on your website or landing page. It should leap off the page by being prominent.
Here’s how we do it at Bach Performance.
Make it as easy as possible. The harder it is for someone to sign up, the less likely they are to sign up. Makes sense, right? So keep it simple.
Calendly does a good job at this.
We wean our business coaching clients away from over-reliance on a single marketing technique. We do tweak Facebook ads to get better results. But we also come up with new websites and new strategies focussed on building email lists.
Remember the process:
– Determine your ideal client.
– Find your audience’s pain point.
– Validate the market and create a unique message.
– Create the solution and make it easy to get it with a prominent opt-in
From there, keep the goal simple: get 100 email subscribers. Once you have 100, leads usually start flowing in. You’ll liberate yourself from the unpredictable Facebook Gods. You’ll build long-term relationships with the clients you most want to help.
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