Marketing Truths

Marketing builds brand recognition

 

Marketing builds relationships

 

Marketing connects you to the outside world where your clients are

 

Marketing is not optional. There is no no blanket solution, no one size fits all. You are unique and the way you engage and interact with your clients is also unique.

 

Marketing is about sending the right message to the right people so that they are compelled to take action to join your community of clients.

 

The key to effective marketing is to craft your message in a way that allows people to self-select so that when they see your message they think “YES! This is for me! I’ve been waiting for exactly this to come into my life!”

 

That’s why you can’t just throw spaghetti at the wall to see what works… you don’t have time for that.

 

You need a step-by-step guide to building a solid marketing plan that will help you generate the interest you need and get your clients across the line to becoming loyal long-term clients.


That's exactly what you get with Empowered Branding

We don’t mess about with quick and easy tips that are irrelevant to your business. We create a strong core to allow you to move forward and make progress with confidence. Just like you do for your clients.

The 10 week program kicks off on October 8th. Doors for enrollment are closing pretty soon. I would hate to see you miss out on the beginning of a new chapter for you and your business!

If you not sure... let's set up a virtual coffee and chat about whether this is the right step for you. Click on the link below and book a time that works :)

What Are You Telling Them?

"Help! I need to do more marketing!

How do I get more clients? How do I keep my clients?

There is a lot of people doing what I do. How do I stand out?" 

I hear this a ton from people in your shoes.

We don’t have a lot of time to convince people of the magic of pilates, of movement, of mindfulness. If there was, we would tell them about the principles of pilates and how it is a workout for the mind as well as the body. We would talk about all the different pieces of equipment. We would tell a story about how Joe was known for working out in his underwear, and perhaps how the original magic circle was inspired by the ring from a beer barrel. 

 

But, there isn’t always time for that.

 

Labels don’t help us either, because they don’t capture the essence of what makes every single one of us so unique.  

 

Describing HOW you do what you do, doesn't necessarily get people interested either. 

 

And, frankly, that's not what captures most people’s attention.

 

When people get really interested in what you do, it’s when they truly and deeply understand the value you give them. 

 

The value is in the change. The transformation they experience as a result of your services.

The before and after. 

 

These changes don’t need to be huge and dramatic. But, they do need to be specific. 

 

Many businesses fail to have a clear picture of this transformation. And, they don't know how to share this with their target clientele in a way that resonates and drives them to pick up the phone and book a session.

If you can get clear on this, it will change the how people see you and what they hope you can give them.


Do you want help shaping the perception of your business? Are you keen to learn how to get inside your clients shoes so you can speak to them in a way that really resonates? 

The Empowered Branding Program can help.

 

Or why not schedule a 20 minute (free & no obligation) virtual coffee and we can chat about whether this is the right step for you!

It's Pretty Awesome (That Thing You Do)

Running a Pilates Studio is different.

 

You are doing something amazing for your clients every single day. 

 

How amazing would it be if more people knew that you could help them feel great?

 

What if you were able to attract clients who really want more of what you do, and retain them to fill your schedule (and those of the other teachers in your studio)? 

 

Can you imagine how different your business (and your bottom line) would be?

 

I bet you’re thinking that sounds too good to be true. 

 

But, it’s not.

 

I won’t lie. It takes effort

 

Because it takes effort for change to happen. 

 

The effort doesn’t look like overwhelm, it looks like stepping out of your comfort zone, reflecting on your skills and talents, and learning new skills so that you can be in the best position to share your message with the world.

 

When you talk about your business with confidence and passion, amazing things happen. People start to take notice of you. You take control over where your business is heading.


 

If you want to be in that place. You need to check out Empowered Branding.

 

It’s a branding, marketing and sales course created just for boutique fitness businesses like yours. 

 

You’ll find out how to define your brand and express your brand.

 

You’ll find out how to market your business in a way that works for you. Cookie-cutter solutions don't work because I know that your business is different. 

 

This is an online program with 1:1 coaching and you get to meet and learn alongside other studio owners who are just like you.

I want to help you find success

If you are keen to find out more - lets set up a virtual coffee and we can talk through whether this is a good fit for you. I will tell you straight. That's a promise.

Enrollment is open now.

Program begins October 8th. 

Empowered Branding Program - Enrollment Open!

Imagine if:

  • You could teach as much as you like
  • You knew exactly what to say to new clients to get them through the door AND what to say to keep them coming back (without feeling like a slimy salesperson)
  • You were completely confident in your ability to market yourself and your business

Empowered Branding is designed to help you clarify, articulate and broadcast your value to attract and retain those clients you REALLY want in your business.

Enrollment is now open!

Empowered Branding is a proven combination of learning materials, discovery worksheets, personal coaching, tools and group discussion designed for your professional growth (with a sprinkle of accountability and tons of unwavering support thrown in for good measure).

 

The 10 week program kicks off on October 8th.

We cover:

Module 1: The Exchange - where value lies.

>> Understand the real value you deliver to your clients and why passion alone is not enough to create a thriving business.

 

Module 2: Distinguish Yourself - uncover what makes you unique

>> Define your core strengths and exactly what you should be highlighting to your clients and community.

 

Module 3: A Different Perspective - understand how clients see you

>> Identify why clients seek you out and what they need from you so that you can build a relationship that keeps them coming back.

 

Module 4: Engage At Your Best - authentically communicate the value you provide

>> Build a marketing plan that broadcasts your value and shares exactly what you want everyone to know about you.

 

You get directed worksheets to challenge you to think differently about your business. You are encouraged to submit your worksheets so that I can offer you personal feedback (and challenge you further - if you like that kind of thing ;)

 

And, I know you've got more to talk about when it comes to your business, so you get 2 x 1:1 personal coaching sessions (I call them Power Sessions, because… they ARE that effective!)

 

On top of that, there are regular office hour sessions where we discuss, share and learn from your co-participants. I’ve witnessed the huge value that comes from a community who hold similar interests, motivations and dreams and I want that for you too.

 

Interested?

I want to make sure this is the right move for you and your business. How about we set up a virtual coffee date to chat and let answer your questions. Sound good? Book a time that works by clicking the button below:

Your Brand Is Your Super Power

Dove, Patagonia, Starbucks and Walgreens. All brands with values that you know and recognize.

Yes, they may be big businesses with deep pockets and expensive advertising campaigns. But, as a small business owner, you actually have a head start in creating a purposeful brand.

 

And that head start is you.

 

You have a story, a reason for being. With this comes authenticity and credibility. And then there’s your vision for how the world should be. It’s this vision that draws others in, and keeps them loyal. They have a vision too. And, as human beings we naturally seek out others who have similar values.

 

With an carefully designed brand, you are well positioned to attract and retain the clients you want

 

These 3 simple steps will help.

  1. Know Your Value. What is it that you really do? What are you especially good at?
  2. Know Your Purpose. The first step to building your brand is getting clear about the kind of brand you want to build. What do you want to be known for? What is your reason for being?
  3. Know Your Tone. The way you engage and share your message will drive how you are perceived and the type of relationship you have with your clients.

 

In my 10 week group program, Empowered Branding, you are guided through materials and worksheets to help you get really clear about your brand. And then, we work together to help make sure you know exactly how to use what you have uncovered in a marketing plan designed specifically for your business.

 

The materials are online so that you can complete them at your own pace at a time that is convenient for you.

You also get 2 x 1:1 coaching sessions (my infamous Power Sessions!) where we can talk about ANYTHING related to your business.

And, because I believe we weren’t meant to do this alone, you’ll get office hour calls with other participants to share, learn and discuss.

 

Interested in learning more? Next round kicks off October 8th (registration is now open and numbers are strictly limited). You can find out more here or book a virtual coffee date and we can chat :) 

Learn From A Fellow Studio Owner

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This is the first in a series of articles where I ask successful wellness professionals to reflect on their experience of running a business in the boutique fitness world. I hope you are inspired by their journey, their insight and how unique each business really is!

Lisa Jones is a studio owner in NYC (www.LisaJonesPilates.com) who has been a part of the Pilates and fitness world for over 20 years. She is also a certified health coach and offers her clients a very personalized program to help them achieve well-being. In the questions below, she shares insight into the risks she took along the way, her wisdom on how she finds balance and how she has built her business her way. Enjoy the read!

When did you start your business?

I began training private clients in their homes my first year of teaching, and soon after began renting private studio space by the hour, as well, in addition to working full time at studio and gym jobs.  I did this for nine years, gradually bringing my private client business to the point where it made more sense—financially and professionally--to leave my job and rent my own space.  This was in 2009, at the height of the financial crisis, so I was able to negotiate good prices on my rent and pilates equipment.  It was a risk to venture out on my own during this time, but I felt confident that the strength of my client base and reputation would carry me further than relying on an employer.  Thankfully, I was right, and was booked to capacity by the end of my first year in business.

Lisa Jones

www.LisaJonesPilates.com

Where are you located?

I have a beautiful private studio in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan.  

How many hours/week do you teach?

Currently between 28-35 hours per week, but I have had periods where I have taught 40+ client hours per week.  My ideal is 28 hours per week.  And I make sure to take at least two consecutive weeks off each year to recharge.

How many teachers teach in your studio?

It’s just me.  The majority of my clientele are high-level professionals, creatives, and celebrities, and they appreciate the privacy.  I feel that offering a truly private studio is an important part of my business identity—there is definitely a market for this kind of service!---but it does make it difficult to grow the business in a way that keeps everybody happy, myself included. 

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt as a business owner?

That the time spent outside of your business can be the most valuable investment in your business.  It took me a while to get comfortable with leaving the studio and not focusing solely on training clients.  Once I was able to let go of the numbers, so to speak, I was able to spend time and energy on professional development and networking, extended vacation time, and pursuing hobbies and interests that had fallen by the wayside.  This shift towards balance enhanced me both personally and professionally, and enabled me to bring more energy and ideas to my business, teaching, and client relationships.  

Biggest challenge to date?

The building my studio is housed in was recently sold to developers, and all of us current tenants must relocate our businesses.  Facing the current NYC real estate market, taking on the incredibly time-consuming task of finding a new space, and leaving the space I have put so much time, energy, and love into, is both heartbreaking and exhausting.  This is definitely the greatest professional challenge I have faced as a pilates instructor/studio owner.  

What do you love most about what you do?

I love my clients.  They are interesting, intelligent, accomplished people who bring a lot of focus and effort towards our sessions.  It’s a joy to teach and engage with them each day.  Some days are better than others, of course, but overall I feel incredibly lucky to work with the people I do.

What skills or actions are most important to running your business successfully?

Customer service and client relationships are the most important aspects of my business.  I am a strong teacher, but I am very aware that my clients are here for more than a great workout:  they enjoy the personal attention, the ambience of the studio, and my personality as well.  Staying organized and on top of every detail is an important behind-the-scenes part of my job.  My systems are very simple, freeing me to put most of my time and energy into working with clients.  

What is in your future?

First I have to find a new home for the studio.  It’s difficult for me to see beyond this challenge right now.  But when I do get glimpses of the future, I see perhaps opening and staffing a more commercial studio or two and transitioning into the role of studio owner, keeping my private studio as an office and place to train my VIP clients, but perhaps taking that down to three days a week.  I would like to increase revenue and gradually decrease the amount of hours I spend working.

Top tip for those looking to start a business like yours?

Be careful to only train the type of person you actually enjoy.  You will be spending a lot of time with these people, in close quarters, with few (if any) distractions.  They will demand all of your energy, attention, and focus...which is easy to give to people whose company you genuinely enjoy!  Remember that there is a very fine line between sharing yourself and stealing focus.  With a private studio, it is always about your clients, never about you.  Clients will most likely be super-loyal and sing your praises to everyone they know, and they will appreciate what you offer them.  But you must be OK with being the smallest person in the room. :)

Make The Most Of The Summer Slowdown

It’s official we are entering the “summer slowdown”. It’s pretty standard for attendance to decline over the next couple of months as clients are traveling and schedules change.

 

But there is no reason for it to be dull! Oh no!

 

There are tons of ways that you can continue to build your business during this time.

 

Here are a few ideas:

 

1. Do a mid-year review. Take stock of where you are and where you want to go. What needs to change? This article can help guide you.

2. Get creative with promotions. It’s a great time to run some short-term promotions for the clients that stick around and could even bring some new people through the door. Think about extending the timing on your intro offer pricing or test out a new auto-pay option.

3. Review the systems inside your business. Does your website need an upgrade? Have a studio manual that is in desperate need of an update? Are your emails saying what you want them to say? Use your free time to get these tasks done.

4. Switch it up! Be proactive about managing your schedule and think about what your clients will be able to do during the summer months. Are their schedules different because school is out? Perhaps they can come to an early or a later session. Can you offer some kids friendly classes? What about classes outside?

5. Get ahead on your marketing. It’s not always easy to come up with ideas for what you want to share, and I know it’s the first thing that gets pushed aside when you are busy. So now is the perfect time to plan your promotions, messaging and content for the remainder of the year. Collect great pictures, create some templates and schedule ahead!

6. Run a challenge. A 30-day class challenge is a great way to get those clients who are still active to come to the studio more often. Can you do something similar in your studio?

7. Update your brand. Maybe it needs a little make-over? Perhaps its been a while since you spent time on your brand. As your business evolves, you get more clarity over the clients you are trying to reach and what exactly you want to tell them. If it is time for a review - let’s talk. Check out my online program Empowered Branding (pre-register your interest here or reply to this email). It takes you through a comprehensive branding exercise and shows you how you can share your message with the world!

8. (This  one is compulsory!) Invest in yourself. This is the perfect time to take time out and recharge your batteries in whatever way you need.

 

Have a fantastic summer!

 

Plan Your Next Move

We are half way through 2017. Hundreds of working hours and over 180 days have passed since you started the year with big dreams and big goals.

I know from experience that things change. Perhaps your priorities are different from what they were 6 months ago.

This is totally normal.

Although you might have chosen a different path, you still have a vision for your business.

Now’s the time to check in.

I know if studio owners get to this time of year and don’t take the time to get clear on their goals, then the rest of the year goes by in a blur and the opportunity to make real progress stalls.

Start here.

Look Back
Start by reflecting on the past 6 months. Month by month, what have you achieved? I encourage you to use real data from your scheduling system or book-keeping software to help. 

Look at revenue
What were your revenue numbers for each month? That’s the top line sales numbers before any costs or expenses.

What happened each month?
What were you doing each month to make that money? Did you take on new clients (again - check your data) or did you run a new promotion?

With the numbers in front of you, it’s easier to see clearly the patterns.

Once you’re comfortable with your numbers, let’s compare where you are today with where you expected to be.

  • Are you where you thought you would be? 
  • Ahead? 
  • Behind? 
  • What is different?
  • What has worked well so far this year?
  • What has not worked so well?

We know that challenges come along, but so do opportunities. This is the time to reflect on both. Celebrate your achievements and make a plan to work around (or through) the challenges. 

Let's focus on the future. What is your goal for the next 6 months? Most businesses have a revenue goal, some have other goals, like opening a new location, or making a new hire, or starting a new project. 

Write down your goal.

Now, focus in on the action you will take to get you there.

When will you take that action?

You might need to keep doing more of the same. If something worked before, it will probably work again.

Perhaps you are planning to do something differently, something new.

Regardless, you’ll want to map out a plan. Month by month or even week by week.

If you think about your goals in terms of action, you will always be moving forward on your projects.


Do you need some help to get clear on where you should focus for the second half of 2017?

 

Why not book a Power Session with me and we can strategize together. You can find out more and book online here.

The One Thing You Need To Grow Your Business

There was a time when you doubled your client list overnight.

We all did it. When we went from 1 client to 2 clients. 

Then shortly after you grew your client list from 2 clients to 4. From 4 to 8…. and 8 to…?

Then maybe you got a bigger space, hired an instructor (or two, or three!) and bought some more equipment. 

You chose to build your business and invest in resources. You chose to take that path. You made that decision. Because you saw it in your future.

Making any decision, from what color to use on your website, to what packages to offer can be difficult.

When I see small business owners struggling it’s often because they are having a hard time making decisions. They want to grow but they don’t want to change anything. They want to make more money but they don’t want to work harder.

Building the business you want, means you know what to say yes to and what to say NO to. If you are resisting making decisions then you are resisting success.

That’s why strategy is so important. 

When you have a strategy laid out, you know what you need, and what you need to do, to succeed. 

You know what has to happen.

Because, you’ve thought it through. 

Strategy guides your decisions. It helps you make choices. It helps you become more proactive in your business vs reactive to everyday events.

Making a choice to take your business in a particular direction is strategic.

It doesn’t work every time. But, you have a better chance at success if you act with intentional decision making.

The more focused you are on where you want to be, the more efficient your business will become and the easier it will be to make decisions about where to spend money and where to save money. (Just like it was when you chose to buy that new piece of equipment.)

You had a vision then. You need a vision now. 

Write it. Draw it. Talk about it. What ever way works for you. 

If you want some help getting some direction for your business, deciding pricing plans or building marketings strategies, let’s set up a power session and work on it together :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business Chat: Retention Facts

In recent weeks, I’ve been talking a ton about how to make businesses more durable and self-sufficient. Marketing to get new clients doesn’t always pay off immediately so where else can you focus?

I’ve been talking a lot about retention. Retention is all about keeping clients in your business.

Do you know the average monthly attendance rate for your business? It's a number that is useful to track and easy to find. Just take your total visits per month and divide by the total unique client for the same month. (In MIndBodyOnline, both of these numbers can be found in attendance analysis. Let me know if you want more direction - I have a cheat sheet!).

Any client that comes less than 4x each month is a low-user. While they are certainly getting something out of your sessions, it’s possible they are not getting all of the benefits of a more regular user. The goal is to make your clients more frequent users. 

More visits = more revenue = happy business owner.

How? 

Because we are talking about human behavior here, we have to dig a little deeper to understand what drives retention in your business.

Fact 1: Clients come back when they get results
- How can you help your clients get the results they want?
- How can you make your clients aware of the results they are getting?

Fact 2: People will find excuses ;)
- How can you make it as easy as possible to give access to the results they want?
- Can you be more convenient? More fun? More efficient?
Of course, not everyone can afford to take multiple sessions each week, but perhaps you could offer a more reasonably priced option for them - classes, or duets, or open gym time.
Perhaps you could encourage them to workout outside your studio at home with a plan you have created for them. Listen and observe your clients and try something different...

Fact 3: Help them trust you
- Are you clear about the commitment that is needed to make the progress they want? Is 1 x week enough?
- Can you show them that you care about their progress?
- Can you help them to stay on track by being more supportive?

 
The concern with low-user clients is that they may ultimately cease to visit your studio because they aren’t experiencing the real value of what you offer. Don’t let them go! If you can make your clients sticky, you will increase the retention level within your business. 

If you are a numbers geek too, check out your annual retention. This shows the number of clients who stay in your business from one year to the next. Can be quite interesting! 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you handle these challenges. Go to the Facebook group here and let me know!

Finally, if you know you should be watching your numbers but aren’t sure what to look for let’s set up a Power Session, and I will take you through it.