Four Keys to Starting Inbound Marketing on the Right Foot

Before you get started on your inbound marketing plan, you’ll want to get all of your proverbial ‘ducks in a row’, so things get off to a smooth start. You’re about to make a significant investment in this new marketing methodology, so why not make sure everything is ready to go. Here are four keys to making sure you get started without a hitch:

Your Sales Team

starting-inbound-marketing.jpgThere is an art to selling that not everyone occupying a sales role in your club can master. Are your sales people “Closers” or “Order Takers?” A Closer is someone who can successfully engage a prospect in a conversation, uncover their goals, plans, challenges, and timeline. A Closer can articulate the value proposition of your club, overcome sales objections, and persuade people to join your club. On the other hand, an Order Taker is a person that waits for someone to come along asking to join your club. They answer the basic questions a prospective member asks and gladly accepts their credit card to sign them up. One of these types of sales reps will be far more productive than the other. Can you guess which one that will be?

Let’s put things in perspective: A Closer can do the job of an Order Taker. However, an Order Taker cannot do the job of a Closer. To be successful with inbound marketing, or any business for that matter, your sales people need to be at the top of their game day in and day out. They need to be organized, tenacious, fearless, and persuasive. Most importantly, they need to be able to close deals. Which type of sales person do you have in your club?

Total Buy-In From Your Management Team

As your club has grown over the years, you’ve needed to hire a management team that shares your vision. Obviously, you want what’s best for your club. Do all of your managers still share your vision? Are they committed to helping you reach the growth goals you’ve set for your club? Do they agree on the strategies necessary to achieve those goals?

Unfortunately, most fitness clubs are still practicing old school tactics that just aren’t producing the same results as they once did. Not only does there need to be an update to newer marketing strategies, but there also needs to be an update to the thought process of how to promote the club. Managers that have a limited understanding of how the Internet works are finding it increasingly difficult to embrace the newer technologies available in marketing. Business evolves over time, and to stay relevant and competitive; your business must evolve as well. 

You need your management team to be forward-thinking and innovative. They need to be willing to think outside-of-the-box, and willing to learn new things. You need them to embrace this type of marketing wholeheartedly for what it truly is: the best possible marketing program for your fitness club. Without having the commitment, cooperation, and total buy-in from your management team, you won’t get the results you’re looking to achieve. 

Realize That Your Current Marketing Plan Isn’t Working

Are you happy with your current marketing program? Is it producing the results you want? Is your annual revenue growing at an acceptable rate year over year, or is your growth stagnant? All too often, clubs continue running the same promotions month after month and year after year because its what they’ve always done. Even though their marketing plan isn’t working anymore, they’re not sure what else to do. 

Many clubs think the solution is to upgrade their website, adding some additional bells and whistles hoping that will do the trick. But unfortunately, a brand new, shiny website alone won’t bring you very many additional leads. You have to find ways to promote it. Building a new website without promoting it is like having a huge billboard advertisement sitting in the sand dunes out in the middle of the desert. Who’s going to see it? However, when you promote your website, that’s like having a billboard advertisement sitting right next to the busiest freeway in town; now everyone sees it.

Commit To Realistic Expectations

While inbound marketing is the best plan to grow your club now and into the future, it’s important to have realistic expectations from the very beginning. Just like fine wine, the results will get better over time. Inbound marketing is about the long-term, strategic growth of your fitness club. It’s about establishing your dominance on search engines, increasing your club’s online visibility, attracting prospective members to your website, writing remarkable content that will cause people to interact with you, and demonstrating that you are a thought leader in everything related to fitness in your community. First, you put a plan in place; then you work the plan relentlessly.

Additionally, it’s important to set realistic growth goals for your club. How much would you like to grow over the next 12, 24, 36 months? Saying you’d like to double the size of your club every year is probably unrealistic. Have you ever done that successfully in the past? Ten to fifteen percent of consistent annual growth is a much better goal. That’s probably not only doable but could even be considered on the conservative side in many markets throughout the country. 

A good inbound agency will likely want to underpromise and over-deliver results. Set realistic expectations by shooting for the moon, instead of the stars. That way when you see the leads start pouring in, you’ll be walking on cloud nine.

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