Get More Clients Without Spending Money on Advertising

This week’s blog post comes from a guest blogger and Personal Trainer Tyler Spraul! I love it because I am a big fan of not spending your hard earned dollars on marketing. And, below he not only gives you 4 tips on what to do he also gives you actions to take to make it work! Cannot wait to hear how these work for you. Take it away Tyler!


In this article, I’m going to show you some simple ways to get new customers without having to pay for advertising.

It’s all too common for a fitness business owner to take one chance at getting someone to sign up, and then never try again. It’s like we don’t want to offend people or come off as “salesy,” but the truth is that we are doing potential clients a disservice if what we have to offer will truly make their lives better!

It’s easy to dig into the things you enjoy the most about your business, like learning how to be a better coach and connect with clients, or continuing education to expand your toolset, or spending that quality hands-on time with your clients. But sometimes this fun stuff comes at the expense of the not-so-exciting portions of your business, like building efficient systems, implementing processes that are easy for new hires to follow, spreading the word about your business through marketing, and more.  

When it comes time to grow and scale your business, it’s the not-so-exciting things that make or break your chances of success, so you can’t afford to ignore them.

Call them habits or systems — whatever you’d like — implementing just one of the following tactics on a regular basis will help grow your business consistently over time.

1.  Find something to give away before you ask for anything from potential customers.

People love free stuff! Offer something your ideal customer can’t resist before they have to give you anything. To keep this simple, you can offer a “free sample” type of session on a regular basis.

This session would provide a low barrier of entry for potential customers to meet you and see what you have to offer.

It also provides an easy way for your current clients to invite their friends. They don’t have to think about selling their friends on your service but can simply invite them to give it a test run themselves, totally obligation-free.

ACTION STEP:

Offer a FREE sample class or two every week on a day that fits your schedule. To keep it really simple, you can start with once a month.

2. Make it easy for existing clients to promote you.

What if your favorite clients went out of their way to hunt down more potential clients for you? What if they were excited to do it? This can be a huge win if you have never gone out of your way to ask for referrals.

You may even want to go as far as incentivizing those referrals.

ACTION STEP:

Part 1: Make sure clients know the best way to refer their friends to you.

Do they just need to give you the correct contact information so you can reach out?

If not, where should they send potential referrals?

    • To your email or mailing list?
    • To your website?
    • To your once-a-week class that’s 100% free?

Wherever it is, make sure that you communicate it clearly and it’s as simple as possible for your clients!

Part 2 (optional): Figure out a sustainable way to reward your clients who refer customers.

You can position it as a fun monthly contest or challenge to see who can refer the most new customers.

You can then offer prizes and rewards to your top referrers. You can announce your winners each month or once per year.

If you just want to keep it super simple, that’s no problem. You can offer a discounted month or class voucher for each new customer a current member refers.

3. Make the most of your existing lists with a regular “ask.”

Your lists can be any social media channel, email newsletter, physical mailing list, etc.

Wherever you’re providing value through your content, you need to be consistent with your “ask.”

You must have a clear call to action (CTA) that prompts your ideal customer to get out of his or her routine and come do business with you.
Before we get too carried away, we don’t want to make the mistake of using these tools to only sell all the time.

80% of your content should be helpful material to enhance your customers’ lives. Then once you’ve provided value consistently, you can point them to your specific calls to action.

Example: If you post 5 days a week on Instagram, one of those posts should be a CTA, while the others should be adding value, sharing client successes, etc.

What makes a good call to action? I was hoping you’d ask!


A good CTA:

  • Only asks for one clear action. Don’t ask for a comment, and a share, and a like, and a text message to friends and loved ones.

  • Provides the exact steps needed to take action. “Enter your email below.” “Call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx to book your appointment.” “Click this link to book your spot in our FREE Saturday session: [LINK]”

  • Gives a reason to take action now instead of later. “Our first 3 reservations each month receive a free water bottle.” “Book today, and we’ll include a free session voucher.” Don’t abuse this one, though. If you have a deadline, stick to it, and don’t make up pretend deadlines for the sake of having one.

ACTION STEP:

Brainstorm 5-10 CTAs you can plug into regularly scheduled programming for social media, emails, etc. Make sure each one checks all the boxes for the requirements above.

4. Follow up, follow up, follow up!

Now that you’re giving value before asking for anything, incentivizing referrals, and moving people to take action with clear CTAs, it’s time to create a regular follow-up system.

How many times have you had a hot prospect get cold feet and duck out of a commitment, only to never see them again? You know your service would increase their quality of life, but it just didn’t work out the first time.

Do you say, “Oh well!” and give up all hope of getting them signed up?

No way!

Your follow-up system will help you make the most of the people who already know about your business and have expressed an interest, but aren’t currently paying members.

ACTION STEP:

We are going to separate these follow-ups into 2 categories:

For leads who expressed interest recently

To follow up: Call them within 2 days of their most recent contact.
If you don’t hear from them within a week, try again. For the first month, follow up once per week.

Once they’re on your “1 Month+” list, give them a call once per month until they sign up or request that you stop calling.

Previous customers and any others you haven’t heard from in a long time

Determine the best way for you to make a personal follow-up with these people who already know about you but haven’t gotten on board just yet.

Keep it simple! It can be as easy as a Facebook message, but the key is to keep it personal. Check in with them, let them know you’ve been thinking about them, and ask how they’re doing.

We don’t want to just copy and paste a sales message with a link here — that’s not what I’m saying at all.

Whether it’s a phone call, handwritten note or postcard, or even just a Facebook message, following up while staying polite and persistent will keep you on the radar and let your potential clients know you care.

So, now that we’ve gotten through the list of these action ideas and examples, it’s time for a call to action of your own!

Pick one of these ideas right now (start small), and set aside 1 hour to work on it this week. Make sure to block off the time on your calendar!

Leave a comment below with the action you have planned. I’ll read every one!

 

Tyler Spraul is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and the Head Trainer at Exercise.com. He played college soccer, then coached the men’s soccer team for five years at Columbia International University, overseeing all aspects of strength and conditioning. Over the years, his focus has shifted from performance first to moving well and getting stronger without injury. He loves helping people and encourages them to practice mindfulness. The little things matter, and consistency is key!


Big thanks to Tyler for sharing these tips and actions you can take! I second Tyler leave a comment below telling us what action you will take this week.

xx~LL 

 

How to Write a Newsletter That Your Clients Actually Want to Read

You know you have to write them, you know you hate to do it and No, email is not dead! Actually, quite the opposite. When people give you their email they are giving you direct access to THEM. You don’t have to play the algorithm game and wonder if your clients saw that you have a new class, workshop or event. But, what to write? And, how do you get them to click on YOUR email as they go through their inbox? Well, this week’s guest blogger Pilates instructor, Podcaster, and business savvy lady Nikki Naab-Levy is here with words of wisdom you must read!


Something I hear frequently from fellow Pilates teachers is “I haaa-aaate writing my newsletter. I never know what to write about and I always feel like I’m pestering my clients when I do it!”

If you feel like this, you’re not alone.

We become Pilates teachers, because we want to teach movement, not because we want to write newsletters. However, when done well, your newsletter is an opportunity to inspire and educate your clients outside of their sessions, deepen your relationship with potential customers, and build your business.

Also, with the right mindset and approach, it might even be fun.

Here are some tips for writing your newsletter:

  1. When choosing a topic, consider your client’s perspective: If you’re ever stuck on what to write about, it helps to put yourself in your client’s shoes and consider what they are struggling with and what they look to you for help with.

Some good questions to ask yourself include:

What questions do my clients ask me all the time? What are they struggling with?

What is something that I teach all the time that my clients don’t know, which gives them big results?

What is a simple exercise or tip that I could teach my clients, which would give them a quick win with a problem that they are trying to solve?

If you brainstorm a list with answers to these questions, it’s likely that you’ll see some themes emerge. Each of these topics or themes could make great newsletter content. For example, if many of your clients tell you “I LOVE how I feel after our session, but I don’t have equipment at home! What can I do instead?” you could write a newsletter with three exercises your clients can do at home to feel great in between sessions.

If you get stuck, don’t forget it never hurts to ask your clients what they’d like to know more about. Most people are happy to share!

  1. Write about things that light you up: If you’re bored with the topic you’re writing about, your readers will be able to feel it. However, if you pick a topic that you’re genuinely excited to share, your enthusiasm will come through and your clients will be excited to read it too.

Don’t believe me? Think about it in the context of normal life. If you asked your friend if you should try a new vegetarian restaurant and she told you, “Yeah, I guess. They have a lot of vegetable dishes and vegetables are good for you” you wouldn’t want to go there. However, if she told you, “OMG. This place is amazing! The food comes out looking like a work of art, tastes as good as it looks, AND it’s healthy,” you’d be all about it.

  1. Be yourself! Your clients come to you for your knowledge, personality, and teaching style. They don’t come to you, because you can teach them the hundred, which they could figure out from a YouTube video.

The same principle applies to your newsletter. The people on your list are following you because they like your unique voice. This means that your newsletter doesn’t need to read like a 2,000-word research paper on rotator cuff function.

If you write the way that you talk about your work in real life, not only will your newsletter be more fun to read (and write!), but your personality will shine through. This can help you attract more ideal clients because if they like what you have to share in your newsletter, they might decide that you would be great to work with in real life too.

  1. Consider alternative forms of media: Not all newsletters require lengthy text.

If you don’t enjoy writing, ask yourself what form of media would be more fun to communicate through? If you’re more comfortable with video, maybe try sharing an idea or an exercise that way and then including a link to the video as your primary newsletter content.

If you feel comfortable talking, you could do a voice recording, like a podcast. There is now voice recording software and apps that make this easy to do. If you’re visually oriented, you could create a gorgeous image in Canva and include a bulleted list of tips for an exercise or a simple recipe.

  1. Repurpose content you’ve already created: If you’re stuck on what to create there is a good chance you already have something finished that would make stellar newsletter content.

Is there a juicy blog post you recently wrote? You can copy that text and email it to your list. Was there a video that you posted on social media that got a lot of positive feedback? You can write a short paragraph about it, include a link, and your newsletter is done. Not only does this save time for you, but it helps the people on your list see the amazing content you’re putting out, which they might have missed if they weren’t on social media the day you shared it.

  1. Include a call to action: When you send a newsletter, ask yourself, “What do I want people to do with this information?” It could be something sales related like, “Want more ways to improve posture? Book yourself an introductory private,” but it doesn’t have to be.

A call to action could be as simple as “try this exercise the next time you feel stiff” or “Find this helpful? Share it with a friend who could also use this info!”

And on that note, if you try one of these strategies, we’d love to hear how it goes. You can let us know in the comments section below.

 ——————————————————————————————————————–

Nikki Naab-Levy is a Pilates teacher and massage therapist for people who aren’t zen, hate green juice, and are allergic to words like self-love (but kinda need it). She has over a decade of experience helping people build strength, improve mobility, and overcome injury.

Nikki holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and a B.S. in Journalism from Ohio University and is a Master Trainer for the Balanced Body Bodhi Suspension System. Her fitness wisdom has been featured in Greatist, Girls Gone Strong, The Balanced Body blog, and Men’s Fitness.  

When she’s not teaching a sneaky hard Pilates class, you can find her hiking in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Kc, freelance fitness writing, and chain-drinking Americanos. For practical fitness advice + workouts that don’t hurt, visit her website NaabLevy.com or check out her podcast Moving Well on iTunes or Stitcher.

Check her out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Linkedin!

How to Attract More Men to Pilates

It’s only ironic to those of us in the Pilates industry that the originator of Pilates was a man, who created ‘Contrology’ for men and then it became THE workout that women love and men who are are not in the know don’t think twice about. The truth is Pilates is great for anybody, women, and men! But, one of the questions I am often asked by instructors and studio owners is how to attract more men to their Pilates studios.

For decades celebrities have been sharing their love of Pilates and that gets Pilates everywhere attention and press. And, while we teachers knew that it’s not just great for women it is amazing for men too. There wasn’t a lot of men touting its benefits.

Until recently!

For several years now many athletes have been sharing their love for Pilates as the reason they perform better! Check out these seven NFL players sharing the reasons Pilates is integral to their performance. Of course, even earlier than this article there were other pro athletes talking about Pilates being the secret weapon. And as more and more men share the benefits of Pilates more non-pro athletes are starting to look at adding Pilates to their repertoire.

But, how can you attract them to your studio? How do you get the men in your community to take your classes? And do you have to change the way you teach? All these questions and more will be answered when my client Michael Myers (you know him on IG as Michael Myers Fit). Join me live to answer your questions. Until then here are some things you can do today to help you gain more male clients.

1) What’s your Copy Say? I spend a lot of time on teachers and studios websites and the constant thing I see is benefits of Pilates that are more attractive to women than most men. Or, there is the story about being a dancer and using Pilates to rehab from injury. None of these things are wrong by the way. It’s your website and your story and you should share how it resonates with you. But, if I’m a healthy male and I see “long, lean muscles” I may not be running to your class. Consider adding blog posts and benefits your Pilates provides to potential clients. You can even have a male read it and see if it would entice him to click “book now.”

2) Men only Classes: If you already have a few male clients have a “gentlemen’s class” and let them invite the friends. The music you play, props you use and cues you give can be tailored to just them. Real Pilates in NYC has a men’s only class and Carrie Pages has a men’s only class at her studio. They are easy to market because you are speaking to a specific demographic. Which is always better than trying to talk to everyone!

3) Your Cueing: As teachers, it is easy to get in the habit of using the same imagery to describe exercises we teach often. But, some cues are fairly gendered specific. “Lift your heels like you’re standing in a high heel,” “curl where your bra strap is,” “pelvic floor” to just name a few are all cues that might make your male client, even on a subconscious level, feel like you’re not the right teacher, or worse that Pilates is not right for them. What I have found great about teaching men is that you can often say the thing you want them to do and then they will do it (I’ll explain this more when I’m joined with Michael).

4) Keep them Moving: This is actually something I believe for all healthy clients. Pilates is not always pretty and it’s not perfect. Keep them moving, safe and focus on the connections, not the ideal. They have their whole life to “get it.”

Look, it’s nothing new that Pilates is great for men and for women. And, men may not be your ideal client and that is ok! But, if you are looking to attract more men to your studio do some self-reflection. What do your website and studio say about you? Then, how do you communicate what you want your clients to do when they are working with you? These are simple things you can start with today.

If you’re looking for more join me and Michael for an hour-long conversation on attracting, challenging and retaining male clients for your Pilates business.

Got tips you want to share with our readers? Post them in the comments below!

The more people who fall in love with Pilates the better it is for all of us teachers.

xx~LL

PS read more about why Michael Myers does Pilates here.

Pilates: Your Elevator Pitch & Why It’s Important

How do you describe what it is that you do? I’m sure you’ve been in a conversation that goes similarly to this “What do you do? I’m a Pilates Instructor! I’ve heard of Pilates, but I haven’t done it. What is it?” And you say what? To fill your schedule, increase your income and reach your Pilates business goals you need a business and marketing strategy. A Pilates elevator pitch is a great thesis for these strategies.

I was at a Pilates conference, and there were about thirty Pilates instructors waiting for the elevators. This hotel guest asked a teacher next to him “are you all here for the same thing?” She said, “yes, we are here for a Pilates convention.” Which of course prompted the “I’ve heard of Pilates. But what is it?” And that’s when she froze. I don’t blame her. There are so many teachers standing around, listening to her every word. Many who had been teaching for decades and everyone was listening to this conversation. She gave him a reasonably general not very attractive description of what Pilates is.

It was then that I realized the problem is not that people haven’t heard about Pilates is that they don’t know what Pilates is. And while many would argue with me that because Pilates instructors cannot agree on what Pilates is the public cannot agree on what Pilates is. I don’t think that is the issue. At all. Because the public doesn’t know that teachers do not always agree on what is Pilates. The public doesn’t know what Pilates is because we teachers are not explaining what Pilates is to us, with us and how it helps them in our individual markets.

For you to attract more clients, to fill your classes and studio you don’t need the Pilates community to agree with what Pilates is.  You need to know what Pilates is in your studio. What do clients who come to your Pilates classes and sessions love, hate and benefit from? What is it that you do for your students? Or, what is it that you want to do for your students? You need a Pilates Elevator Pitch.

These answers are the basis for my next webinar! If you want to be excited when you look at your schedule, inspired by your students, attracting clients who value you and what you do then this webinar is integral to creating that business. If you find yourself wondering how to get the person who is walking by your studio or on your website to say YASS, book me tomorrow and here’s my credit card for a ten pack then you need to elevate yourself as the person, and studio clients are attracted to.

This is not a webinar requiring you to ride elevators or talk to strangers after (although I hope you feel more confident when those situations come up). This is not a webinar about being on social media more (after all many times you’re just talking to more Pilates instructors). This webinar is about elevating your value, your uniqueness and giving you the tools and helping you articulate in your own words what Pilates is with YOU! Why you are the teacher for their needs (which will also help them realize if you are not the person for them).

It’s time to focus on promoting the benefits of doing Pilates with you; it’s time to elevate what you do for your clients and future clients.

It’s time for YOU Elevated!

What things do you wish the potential clients in your area knew about you and your Pilates?

Why do you want to teach?

How are you unique in what you do and how you do it? Side note: this doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. We are all unique humans. How you teach the same exercises I teach is unique to you. What are those differentiating qualities?

Are these answers on your website, in blog posts, in how you describe what you do when you are at a party or in line for coffee? These answers plus a few more we will discuss in the webinar will help you create your own personal elevator pitch that will help you market and promote your Pilates business without selling yourself in a way that feels uncomfortable.

xx~LL

PS click here to register for your spot for the next webinar. We will be breaking down how to show off YOU and elevate how you build the business that you desire. One hour life workshop and replay good for one week.

Why You Should Blog or Vlog For Your Pilates Business

You are doing all the things to market your Pilates business. You have business cards, flyers, a website and maybe even some social media profiles. But, how are you showing up as the expert in your area? See, when clients are Googling for help in hitting their goals or needs when they land on your sites how do they get to know who you are, what you offer and if you’re the right teacher for them? Adding a Pilates business blog or vlog is a great marketing strategy to becoming known and attracting your ideal client.

First, let’s talk a little about why a blog or vlog help your site and your business strategy:

  • Updates your website for better SEO
  • Offers information that attracts ideal clients to your Pilates business
  • Provides advice for those looking to add Pilates to their repertoire
  • Allows future clients to connect with you before coming into your studio

What should your Pilates business blog and vlog talk about?

  • Pilates with you
  •  Your client’s testimonials
  • Benefits of a consistent Pilates Practice
  • Your favorite exercises
  • What the first-time session with you is like
  • What your classes are like
  • Letters to your future client

Where do you post your Pilates blog or vlog?

  • On your website (to update your website page for SEO)
  • Share on your social channels
  • Put in your client newsletter so they can share with their friends
  • Vlogs can also be shared on your Youtube channel

Use these tips to help your Pilates business marketing strategy

  • Be consistent- pick a set time each week or month to post
  • Be Unique- instead of writing or talking on a video about what Pilates is talk about what Pilates is with you.
  • Be yourself- Who are you as an instructor? Who is your ideal client? What do you want people to do after reading your blog or watching your vlog?
  • Be specific- If you are trying to talk to everyone you will end up talking to no one.

Clients who find you via your online Pilates business marketing (website, social media) and schedule a session are already 60% ready to commit to Pilates with you because they feel as if they know you. Make it easier for more people to walk into your Pilates business by showing them how you are the Pilates teacher for them.

For more Pilates business strategies on blogging and vlogging for your Pilates business as well as how to make sure your ideal client sees it join me for our online Pilates business webinar November 16th 12 pm pst (replay for one week). Click here for more details and to sign up.

It’s time your ideal clients find you and for your website to be working hard for you so you can enjoy doing what you love to do: Teach Pilates!

xx~LL 

How to Direct Your Clients to YOU!

You’ve got your Pilates website, your facebook page, your Instagram handle, and you’re posting and liking and following, and your phone and inbox are silent. No new clients are coming through your social channels. Sure, teachers and friends are loving what you’re doing. But, their love isn’t putting money in your bank account and bodies on your reformers. So, what’s happening? What is the disconnect? Are you doing it all wrong?

Continue reading

Is Your Pilates Website the Best Employee You Have?

When was the last time today that you used the internet? Now take a minute to think about the assumption in that question… We use the internet all day, every day. Whether that be through our laptop, desktop, television or emails on our phones, we’re online. And if we’re online, you can bet your clients are online too. I’d say this is a pretty obvious conclusion – considering our own email, Facebook and Amazon habits – and we already know that our businesses need to be online too, right? Don’t they say that your website can be making you money while you sleep? Well, I certainly want that, but how does that happen? What does a website need to be (or do) for it to work around the clock? Continue reading

SEO! What is it and do you need it?

So, what is SEO? Do you know what SEO stands for? Is it something you need to worry about? How can you tell if you have it? Is it a test you need to take? Is it a job position in a major company? What the freaking heck is SEO? Continue reading

Pilates Website Tips from Web Developers

Websites, SEO, Google, Mobile Friendly (Responsive), Coding, and then Social Media! If each of those words are enough to make you want to dive back into your studio, put your head down, and just teach… I get it. Coding, web, and tech stuff can be overwhelming. However, stick with me here! If you set yourself up correctly online, the sky is the limit on what your website can do for you. As Michael Brandt from StripedRhino, one of the web developers I interviewed this week, said, “Your website is your 24/7 employee!” Continue reading

How to Spring Clean your Pilates Studio: Online Presence (Wk 4 of 4)

Can you control your online presence? What Google Sees? Well, Google is like a real “Mother”. You know, the Mom-that-knew-the-rules-you-broke-before-you-came-home type of mom (or maybe that was just mine). Yep, that’s Google and every other search engine out there, but Google seems to be the biggest necessary beast of them all. So, can you control what Google picks up? Continue reading

How to Spring Clean your Pilates Studio: Your SEO (Wk 3 of 4)

Are you Googleable? Yes, it’s a word! Go ahead you can double check me. According to Ubrandictionary.com it means “something that is able to be searched on google” or “your ability to be searched on Google”. If ever you wanted to be anything it’s to be “Googleable”. So, are you? Continue reading