As a health and wellness professional, you need to create a solid marketing strategy to help you stand out in this highly competitive market. By now, you know that a great website is a must, but when budgeting for your website, don’t forget to include the cost of a professional photographer too. It may not seem like a necessary cost, but let us explain a few points…
Why you need a professional for your fitness photography:
There is no way to have a great website without great photos.
Think of it as your first chance to make a connection with your potential clients. Using custom photos of you and your team allows you to send the right message. Original photos give you control over your prospective client’s reaction. When someone comes to your website, you want them to feel inspired by what they see, which will motivate them to contact you. If they think, “that person really knows what they’re doing!” they are more likely to choose your business over others that offer similar services.
Stock photos seem like a great idea.
They are affordable (and even free sometimes) but they are generic, and won’t help you express what your brand is about. Website visitors know the difference between a stock photo and a photo that authentically represents a company. You want your viewers to get to know the real you and the people on your team, and see the services you offer. A professional photographer will know the best way to show off what you’re all about.
As the saying goes: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
The fact of the matter is that you won’t meet many of the potential clients that visit your website, your site has to do all the talking. If they see generic photos of stock models, they may not stick around long enough to find out about you. In fact, many visitors leave in less than 5 seconds! Yikes! That is not a long time to grab their attention! Make sure the first thing they see will pull them in and make them want to find out more about you and your business.
You are not a photographer!
You may have an amazing camera and think that it’s no big deal to create great photos. You are wrong. It’s possible to use a high-quality camera and take mediocre or even bad photos. Doesn’t it make you crazy when you see unqualified gym-goers taking on the role of a personal trainer without any education or experience? Not just anybody can do your job! People who want to become more fit and healthy benefit from your expertise, guidance, and experience – going out & buying the latest and greatest equipment is not going to cut it. The same thing goes for professionally trained photographers. They not only have the proper equipment and lighting tools, but they have the experience and skills to use that equipment to communicate your message.
The point is that if your photos look amateur, it makes you look like an amateur. If your photos look generic, it makes you look generic. We know that isn’t true, but potential clients only know what you show them with your marketing efforts.
You have worked to build your skill set and experience so that you can offer top-notch services. Now it is time to take your vision and create something eye-catching and authentic that will encourage prospective customers to choose you!
Call us today to discuss hiring a photographer who knows how to make you and your business look amazing. We will help you promote your fitness business in the best way possible.
At MyFitCoach, we spend our days helping others to build their fitness businesses and over the last few years, we have learned a lot about what traits are likely to make your business successful. Over the next several weeks we will be sharing a series about what we have found to be most important in establishing your fitness business. This week we will discuss social media for marketing.
This Week’s Topic: How to use Social Media to Market your Fitness Business
There is so much to learn about using social media for marketing and one blog post will not cover it all…but we will try to give you the basics so you can get started marketing your fitness business right away.
Do your research
If you have been following this series you have already narrowed your target market and now you can put that knowledge to use. Go online and read content that is currently attracting your audience. See where they are engaged. See what they are posting themselves. Join in the conversations to find out what matters to them. This will allow you to create content that they will value.
There are so many social media outlets available today and there will be even more in the future. Choose one or two different platforms and focus your efforts there. This is another opportunity to do research. What social media platforms are your ideal clients using? If they are active on snapchat, then don’t spend a lot of energy on twitter. Don’t worry about not reaching everyone…remember that it’s about the quality of interactions, not the quantity.
Each social media platforms and each has it’s own strengths, here are a few of the main players:
- Instagram is a very visual platform. If you have the photo skills (see some tips below) and are running a business that is based on aesthetics, this is the platform for you! As an example if you run a recipe blog or you work with figure competitors, posting photos of your recipes and clients would be a great way to bring attention to your business. Your eye catching photos are guaranteed to get lots of likes.
- Be aware that many followers do not read a lot on Instagram, this platform is less likely to start conversations.
- With the newer Instagram Stories, you are able to share your day or a conversation easily. This feature is similar to Snapchat and attracts the same younger crowd.
- Instagram doesn’t allow active links except for in your bio, so followers have to do some work to get to your website or blog post.
- Facebook is the single largest social media platform out there and it now attracts clients from older age brackets. If you are looking to attract clients in their 40’s and above, this is the platform to focus on.
- Facebook is more conversational. Because of the format, followers are more likely to see what you have written instead of just your photo like on Instagram. Also, if a follower comments on your post, their friends will see this activity bringing a lot of potential attention to your page.
- If you are looking to attract Millenials, Snapchat is the tool for you. As many younger individuals are moving away from the social media platforms that their parents are using such as Facebook.
- Snapchat allows you to really tell your story and shows the personality of your business (Instagram is now doing this as well)
- Be aware that each snap only stays live for 24 hours so if a potential client sees your information but doesn’t act, they won’t be able to access it again.
Be sure to stay active on your social media accounts. We know that it can be annoying to keep all of your notifications on, but you don’t want to miss an opportunity to connect with your followers. If someone sends you a message or comments on your post you want to respond quickly…this will start online conversations that will allow clients to connect with you.
Take good pictures.
This one seems pretty obvious, but if you scroll through any social media platform, you will see plenty of businesses that post poor quality images. You don’t need a fancy camera or any expensive tools, your smart phone will do the job. Here are a few tips on taking a good photo for social media:
- Use the rule of thirds – imagine your photo with vertical lines dividing it into thirds. You want the focus of your image to be mainly in the left or right third.
- Use natural lighting if possible – outdoors is great, but in your gym you may want to be near a window (not with the window directly behind the subject).
- Check the background – Do a quick scan of the background of your photo in advance. Make sure there is no excess clutter or extra people that will ruin your shot.
- Try multiple angles – try taking multiple photos from different angles to see which one looks best for your post. You may like one better than the rest, but you may also have a few great shots to turn into a collage.
- Use a photo editing app to add filters, wording, frames and more. A few of our favorites are Aviary, Pixlr and Canva. For just adding text we like InstaQuote and WordSwag (which also allows you to add your logo to each photo).
Don’t always sell
The goal of your social media accounts is to create relationships with your followers. You will not do this if you are constantly selling. Be sure to create content that simply gives your clients something of value. For example most of your posts should be motivational quotes, encouragement, exercise tips, workouts, etc. If you fill your social media accounts with sales, you will lose followers fast. A good rule to follow is that for every sales post you should share 3-4 non-sales posts.
If you want others to share your posts, you need to do the same. Find other resources that are not direct competitors, but that may also be valuable to your clients. For example, if you are personal trainer, find a few local health food stores or restaurants and share their recipes, sales and tips on your page. Your clients will love the information and the other businesses are more likely to share your posts.
Pay attention to which posts are working and which ones are not. What images are getting the most “likes” and which ones are sparking conversations? You want to mimic those. So many different factors can be at play: What time was it posted? Are there certain colors that are getting attention? What font did you use? Did you use specific hashtags? It may feel like it would be impossible to figure out what is attracting customers, but if you really focus, patterns will show up and you will start to see what is working best.
There is so much more to cover regarding social media for marketing, but this is a good place to start.
Have you successfully used any of the tips above? We’d love to hear about your experience…just leave us a comment below!
At MyFitCoach, we spend our days helping others to build their fitness businesses and over the last few years, we have learned a lot about what traits are likely to make your business successful. Over the next several weeks we will be sharing a series about what we have found to be most important in establishing your fitness business.
This Week’s Topic: Building Your Website
Building your website can feel like an overwhelming task. But if you invest the time to do it right the first time your efforts will be worth it. Depending on your needs, there are a ton of different website options. Do you need an ecommerce site to sell your products? Are you planning on blogging or vlogging to share your expertise? Would a simple static site to provide information about your services meet your needs? Do you plan on offering membership services and need a back-end system that can accommodate that?
Today’s article will be focusing on the basics. We will be writing a more in depth post that covers the details of ecommerce and membership websites that will add more functionality to your website in the near future…stay tuned!
Step 1 – Create a List of Features You Want for your Website
The first step to building your website is to create a list of your needs. If you start building a website and find out that it doesn’t offer the functionality that you need down the road, you will either have to settle for less than you want, or you will have to start again. And neither of those options are very fun.
Once you have a list, you will be able to find the right platform to meet your needs.
Step 2 – Choosing a Website Domain Name
In the ideal world, your website name would be YourBusinessName.com. If that is available you should buy it now…do not wait as domain names get snatched up quickly! Even if you are not ready to build your website right now, you should buy and hold onto the domain name.
If YourBusinessName.com is not available, here are some tips for choosing a good domain name:
- Choose a name that is easy to remember. For obvious reasons you want your website name to be easily recalled by potential clients
- Make it easy to spell. If you choose words that are difficult to spell, you may lose clients who misspell your domain name and end up on another site.
- Ensure that it easy to say. This will allow your clients to easily share your website address with their friends verbally.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens. Potential website visitors may not know if you spelled out the number or not. Do not use the numbers 2 or 4 to replace the words “to” or “for.” This is almost guaranteed to confuse clients. One exception to this is if there is a number in your business name. If this is the case, we recommend that you purchase the domain name using numbers and also with the numbers spelled out to ensure that no matter how a client enters the address it will get them to your site.
- Use key words that you want to be recognized for. This will help clients associate you with your area of expertise and also help with search engine results.
- If you are just starting out, look for a name that is available across all social media as well. This way your clients can easily find you on multiple platforms. If you can find a name that is available across multiple social media sites, be sure to create accounts with those names ASAP.
- The ideal extension is .com but if that is not available, .co and .net are also commonly used.
If you are struggling to come up with ideas, contact us and we will brainstorm with you to find just the right domain name for your fitness business.
Step 3 – Choosing a host
Choosing a website hosting service can be a little confusing if you have never navigated this before, but it’s not as complicated as you may think. Website hosting is simply a service where the company provides you with the technologies necessary to have your website accessible via the internet. They store your website on a server that allows your clients to type in your domain name and reach your site.
When choosing a service provider, there are a few things that you want to look for to make sure you will get what you need from the hosting service.
- Make sure the provider gives you access to the cPanel. The cPanel is your hosting account’s control panel and allows you to edit your hosting files, see your website’s statistics and more.
- Look for hosting services that offer “one click” installation for WordPress or the content management system that you are using (more on that below).
We have worked with several different companies and recommend Blue Host or www.Atariahost.com. Both companies have great customer service, their Panel is easy to use, they allow room to grow (for example: upgrading to a designated server as your business grows) and their prices are reasonable.
Step 4 – Choosing a Content Management System (CMS)
Now is the time to pull out the list that you created in Step 1. You should look for a content management system that meets all of the needs on your list. It is also a good idea to look for a platform that will allow you to grow; if you are not selling any product now but you think you may in the future, be sure to choose a platform that will allow you to add eCommerce functionality so you don’t have to start over when that time comes.
Most content management systems offer a variety of pre-existing templates for you to choose from. Take a look through the options before deciding what CMS to use, be sure that there is a template option that you like.
We have tried quite a few content management systems, but our favorite is WordPress which is what we use for most of our coaches’ sites.
Here are a few of the features that make WordPress our go-to content management system.
- They offer thousands of different themes so there is something for everyone.
- Affordable prices
- Plenty of plug-ins to accommodate the needs of your site: integrating social media, scheduling tools, opt-in services, search engine optimization and more
- Can integrate eCommerce functionality
- Easy to navigate back-end for adding content and updating websites
A few other content management and website development systems to look into are:
Make sure that you do your research and choose a system that meets your needs from step 1. If you are feeling overwhelmed and want some help building your website, let us know and we will be glad to help you out. When we are building your website you can be sure you will get a great site with professional content and all the functionality you need. Contact us for a free consultation today!
Leave a comment below if you have any questions about building your website.
Keep Pursuing Your Greatness!