The Association of Fitness Studios 2016 Marketing Best Practices Research Report found that 57 percent of studio and gym owners operate without any sort of marketing plan. This is just an indication of how things look in one sector, but the lessons learned about how to do your marketing apply across all industries.
What business owners don’t realise is following a strategy doesn't only offer a much higher chance of reaching sales goals. It can also cut down drastically on the time and effort required to manage their marketing activities. Trying to market your product without having a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve will have you running around in circles. So, how to create a marketing plan if you are not a marketing expert? Follow these simples rules and things will get a lot easier!
1 Find the right customers
Golden rule of communication in any context: know your audience and tailor your message. This step requires some time investment at the beginning, but it will help you cut down enormously on spend, time and effort in the long run. Any good marketing strategy should start with identifying your potential customers. We call these "buyer personas" and they're great for getting customers into your sales funnel. You can start by considering your current customers: what is the main reason they chose your products? How old are they? What motivates them? Which types of channels are they using to find information, and what content are they most likely to respond to? Keep an eye out for our upcoming article which will take you through targeting effectively and building a buyer persona.
|Buyer personas are an effective way of targeting the right people and pulling them into your sales funnel.|
2 Use the right channels
If you have done your research, you'll have a clear idea of how your potential customers find information about products. You can use these insights to inform your marketing planning. If your audience is young/your product is visual, you may want to prioritise platforms like Instagram. A B2B (business to business) company cannot afford to overlook LinkedIn. If you are targeting an older demographic, you may consider print material as well as being online…. You get the gist. Be careful however: this does not mean it is a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket! Being active across channels is important.
3 Plan ahead
Being active on social media can have a huge impact on aspects of your business ranging from customer relations to SEO (search engine optimisation). Thing is, it’s a lot harder to be posting regularly and consistently when you have to think about each post day by day. Having an “editorial plan” (also called a content calendar) helps enormously. Start by choosing types of content your customers are likely to respond to, and start populating your social media calendar. You can work around specific events, or popular topics.
Take out some time when is convenient and schedule posts across channels for the entire week. Congratulations, your life has just become a breeze! One catch: you can’t set it up and then forget about social media altogether. Keep monitoring reach and engagement to make sure your content is as good as it can be. Don't forget to interact with customers as soon as they contact you.
|Using a calendar is an easy way to keep track of what you're doing with your social media.|
4 Choose the right content
Visibility is a good thing, but it’s not enough on its own. If the content you are making visible is not relevant, it will do nothing to attract people to your business. Once again, your buyer persona will come to the rescue here: if you know who your potential customer is, you can cater for their needs and interests. Any piece of content you produce or pick needs to be both relevant and appealing to your audience if you want it to benefit your business.
5 Keep monitoring!
As mentioned before, get feedback from the environment and act accordingly. If a piece of content that seemed perfect is not proving all that popular, you need to replace it with something else asap. If you are getting a lot of engagement on social media but not that many conversions, you are probably using the wrong type of content. Conversely, knowing what type of content or what channel is working best for you gives you a good indication on how to move forward.
|We're not saying you have to be vigilant 24/7 like this Gargoyle on Notre-Dame Cathedral. But keeping track of your marketing performance will make you aware of what works so that you can improve continually|
Having a good marketing strategy is essential for any business owner. Incessantly pushing your product is not enough; you need to make sure your message reaches the right people and gets a conversation started. Having a solid (aka based on real data) marketing strategy in place and sticking to it is what will ultimately allow you to achieve your goals.