The 14 Days of Year End Actions to Launch 2017

 In Marketing

Did 2016 Exceed Your Expectations?

You set your projections for the year. You now look back and think, what did I do? How did it go? Did I exceed, met, or fall short of those projections?

This last two weeks of the year can feel very different depending on how your assessment goes.

There are steps you can still take to stay in the game even while you’re assessing, planning, and creating strategy for this coming year launch.

Try to avoid using this year as a discounting fest unless all your services and products are digital. Or unless they’re large groups and you’re already committed with your time. Giving away more and more to get less and less ultimately will paint you into a corner.

Making a lot of money, having a lot of clients, and working around the clock is not a truly satisfying life. If you’re loving the flexibility of training as most trainers do, you have to draw boundaries about when you will work and be willing to give up some of that flexibility and create a revenue model that allows you the freedom to have the life you want in addition to work in a passion you have.

As long as you’re willing to tolerate a schedule that starts early and ends late with average pay and complain about it as if there was nothing you could do, you get to keep it.

When you see that you can be either the problem or the solution you can make a change.

There are changing models of fitness business. Consumers are taking them. People subscribe to streaming video programs online. So even if you have a brick and mortar Main street business, to compete and complete what you do, shouldn’t you also be offering something similar?

Why limit yourself and your growth to what you’ve always done?

Online courses, coaching programs, virtual delivery as well as live delivery, are growing in popularity. Particularly if a consumer’s needs aren’t being met elsewhere, online options appeal. No matter how conveniently located or big or new your facility might be, if you don’t meet the customer where they are with what they want, online is simply to easy and comfortable for them to take advantage of.

What can you do in the next 14 days… assuming that you’ve already done your market research, and you know your customer better than anyone else. You know every target customer you’ve developed programs for and you’ve started with the customer not the props or toys you’ll use or the space you have to fill at a certain time…. here is what I would focus on in the next 14 days:

1. Schedule your emails now through Jan 15. You already know that you have programs launching. Those emails should already be scheduled to go promoting with increasing urgency, call to action, to a specific target audience per program.

2. Look at your emails and make absolute sure that you have a mixture of transactional emails, relationship emails, and promotional emails. The error most fitness centers make, that provide a huge advantage for those who don’t, is every email is promotional. The only reason they email is to promote. Every email promotes. Now and increasingly going forward, fitness businesses that do this and provide no value or content, will turn customers off at a faster rate than they sell anything.

You already have evidence that this is or is not working. What is your open rate? If you’ve segmented your lists, and you’re sending valuable content relative to the list, your open rate should be MUCH higher than any “average” for industry. They, after all, opted in. They should know there is something they want inside every email.

So many fitness centers email once a week. Unless that is, they have a cash flow problem or aren’t at quota. Then they email and email about the sale or discount – because it’s the only thing they feel good about sending. When you only email once a week, your emails throw in the kitchen sink …. an article and then a slew of promotions. Sending one email to a large list once a week targets no one on the list. It’s impersonal and untargeted.

3. Create better offers. You still have time to tweak programs you already have and bundle them in a way that makes it easy and complete. The problem with a lot of programs never quite “full” is that the offer was just not attractive.

There are certain truths about humans and the way persuasiveness works. We love a “deal” especially if we already want the outcome. If you add bonuses, and a sense of urgency, a limited time or limited number of spots makes it that much more irresistible.

If you’re just setting a price, laying it flat on a flyer, and that’s the “offer,” you’re missing a huge opportunity.

4. Keep asking. Send emails that let people know the offer expires at midnight. Send them at 8pm with 4 hours left. People are busy. Stop thinking you’re bothering them. You might not be that important and they could have other things on their mind. In reality they probably haven’t seen the first three emails or opened them.

5. Start sending more emails after someone buys. This is rare in fitness. Most fitness professionals don’t talk much to buyers. The very people paying the bills for them don’t get emails about how to use what they bought.

Do you send a thank you? Do you offer an upsell for something that makes consuming what they bought easier? For fitness centers that’s something like towel service or child care. For your personal training business, it might be a set of tubing for travel use, or a digital exercise library access, a membership site for recipes, or a few private sessions upgrade along with a group program. If you ask you will find a percentage of people say yes. More to the bottom line.

6. Set a follow up campaign for previous buyers. Call them if they’re few. Email them if they’re many. But your previous buyers are obvious repeat customers. If you’re not asking them and talking to them regularly, someone else is.

7. Take advantage of free marketing that brings you organic traffic. If you’re not using video in YouTube, and on Facebook, why not? You don’t like free traffic? You don’t like connecting with your audience? You don’t like creating rapport doing what you love to do and teaching what you love to teach?

Start.

8. Do interviews. If you want to network more and open doors for working with a certain population, start interviewing them. Do you want to work with CEOs? Realtors? Bankers? Set up a series of interviews about how fitness supports what they do. It will be your foot-in-the door to people you never would have been able to contact or reach otherwise.

When you’re in front of them the rapport and connection may lead to either them or an introduction to someone else. Always end with, who else is in a similar position that I should talk to for this series?

Use these for a blog series, articles, or podcasts.

9. Open when you’re usually closed. Whether you do a charity class and invite donations from your attendees in exchange for the free class, or you match their donations, do something that gives you great PR, allows you and the community to give back while doing something good for themselves, and is something you can talk about on all your social sites.

10. Reflect. Take half a day and record all the things you did, didn’t do and what you wish you’d had in place to make business flow better this past year. The answers to what you should be doing right now will be in there.

11. Ask. Ask for help. Most fitness professionals I speak with are working into a success problem. Training and training with no time to create ways to get more freedom from the hours and hours. They’re in demand and won’t give up some of those hours to grow into more revenue for less time. You can’t cover all the bases at once.

12. Put numbers on paper. What is your revenue goal for the month, the quarter, the half year and year? What programs and how many people will have to be in them to make that work. Few pros actually do this. If you’re just going to work hard and committed but you don’t know what you’re committed to it’s hard to reach it.

13. Know your why. Maybe it’s just to pay the bills. Maybe it’s get out of debt. Maybe it’s leave a legacy now that you’re already earning, saving and secure. Who is it for and why is it important? If you don’t have that “why” it gets hard… and you’ll struggle most getting through without a real reason.

14. Plan your fun for 2017. Along with all the business, programming, schedule your small vacations, your breaks from work and your disconnecting time.