Inbound marketing, in its entirety, is new to the fitness industry. Some clubs already practice some of the elements of inbound marketing. They have their general checklist of items they feel they need to check off to have a good presence online. But without an overall structure to all aspects of online marketing and an excellent analysis tool (like HubSpot) you’re just guessing.
To take the guesswork out of marketing your fitness club online, you decide to explore hiring an inbound agency to handle your online marketing strategies. You hear the agency out, and everything they’re telling you seems logical. You think to yourself, “Man, this is going to fix all our problems. Screw the mailers. We have inbound!”
To work effectively with your inbound agency you have to rely on someone at your club to keep them up-to-date with what is happening on a daily basis.
An inbound foundation needs to be built to start obtaining consistency and predictability in leads. A constant flow of standard services such as blogs, landing pages, calls-to-action, newsletters, etc. need to be written and implemented on and off your website. It also requires that individually customized promotions get placed on and off of your website to keep leads flowing after the foundation is built. To work effectively with your inbound agency you have to rely on someone at your club to keep them up-to-date with what is happening on a daily basis.
In the past, you probably paid marketing companies by writing them a check, telling them what ad to run, and then just wait for them to get the work done. Inbound agencies don’t work this way. If you hire an inbound agency, you MUST treat them as a partner and not a vendor, as you would any other company creating ads for your club. Inbound is an extremely granular and personalized service that only works when the agency knows as much as they can about your club. It’s important to give them a full arsenal of tools so they can do as much as they can bring you as many online leads as possible.
Here are 10 1/2 Things you can do to Help your Inbound Agency get Significant Results for your Club:
1. Make Your Agency Part of Your Team
If you discuss marketing with your team at the club, you should include your inbound agency in the conversation so they can create the online content necessary to close the loop in the lead generating process. For example: if you send a mailer to homes in your area with a special promotion you should tell your inbound agency about the offer you are sending out. By doing this, your agency can create corresponding landing pages for anyone that goes online to take advantage of the offer they receive in the mail. Always tell your inbound agency what you are doing on and offline.
2. Communicate Regularly
You should talk to your agency at least once a week. It’s important to work effectively with your inbound agency, keep them up to date with promotions you have going on in the club and to ensure that you and your agency are always on the same page.
3. Understand the Purpose of HubSpot
HubSpot is the tool that is used to measure the success of ALL of your inbound marketing tactics. It takes many tactics, combines them into campaigns and measures the effectiveness of those campaigns. What makes HubSpot unique is that you get all statistics in one handy dandy box that presents the numbers. You can accomplish what HubSpot does by using many other software platforms, but they don’t work conjunctively, and it would be much more costly to measure your online marketing campaigns.
4. Understand ALL of the Services Included Under the Inbound Marketing Umbrella
There is a sincere learning curve to understanding inbound marketing. Your agency can be instrumental in helping you gain knowledge of inbound so that you can begin to structure your thinking and advertising strategies around inbound tactics.
5. Use Your Agency for Consulting Purposes
Before you decide particular tactic are best for your club, you should bounce ideas off of your inbound agency. There are thousands of online services that tout themselves as great services that can provide an influx of leads. But if your agency is doing one thing, the last thing you should go and do is pay for another service that conflicts with what they are doing. Not only can this cause you to overspend, but you could also be canceling out your agency’s effectiveness, as well. Always consult with your inbound agency on whether or not a third party solution is a good move to gather more leads.
6. Consider Your Agency a Partner and Not a Vendor
You probably are used to writing a check for any advertising tactics you’ve used in the past as if you’re paying a vendor. You write the check, they go to work, and you hope for results. Inbound is different. Hiring an inbound agency is like hiring a team of professionals that should be considered your partners in business. Work effectively with your inbound agency and consider them your marketing team in the office next door. You don’t just write checks to your partners you bounce ideas off of them, strategize with them, and you discuss your goals in great detail with them.
7. Don’t Compare Results From Month-to-Month
There is a misconception that when you hire an inbound agency your leads will continue to go up month after month. Obviously, in the fitness industry, January is almost always the best month of the year. Comparing February to January is sure to cause heartbreak year after year. You should always compare February this year to February last year to determine the consistency of growth from year to year.
8. Practice Patience
Inbound marketing is effective in generating leads for your club in the short term but mostly in the long term. Inbound marketing is about long-term growth and stability of your fitness club it should not be considered a quick fix; this is why you should consider your agency to be a partner and not a vendor.
9. Keep Realistic Expectations
It would be amazing if your results could just keep going up and up month after month. The Internet is always upping the ante on what has to be done to promote your club. Growth and stability for your club are the goals over time. Expecting every month to top the previous month does not happen in any industry, much less the fitness industry.
10. Be Consistent and Persistent
You are ultimately in control of your marketing. If you need something promoted your agency is just a phone call or email away.
10 1/2. Hire a Sales Team That Specializes in Closing Leads
A real sales team that has the tools necessary to follow-up on all inbound leads is much better than a team of order takers.