Did you know that the Health & Fitness Industry is one of the largest producers of revenue online and off? From pots, to lotions, to pills and fitness equipment, it looks everywhere you look the focus is on health, beauty and fitness.
If you are a health and fitness professional, this news can be good and bad. The good news is that there is plenty of money within the industry for everyone to take their share. The unfortunate side is that everyone is taking their share and some are getting more of the profits than others. As a health and fitness professional, it is imperative that you stand out in the crowd.
In hours of cornering your piece of the market, you've posted your business card on gym bulletin boards, you've hounded all your friends, and you can not go anywhere without mentioning your skills and services. That's a great start, but soon you find yourself with expired resources and you're telling the same people (friends and family) about your service and you are not really extending your reach.
So, what next? What makes some health and fitness professionals successful doing what they love while others spend all their time doing what they hate (trying competently to market one's self).
Exposure is the key to success in just about any industry, but in an industry as lucrative and flooded with opportunities and opportunists, it is extremely important to get more exposure than your competition.
In chances of getting more exposure, you've posted your business card on gym bulletin boards, you've hounded all your friends, and you can not go anywhere without mentioning your skills and services. That's a great start, but soon you find yourself with exhausted resources and you're telling the same people (friends and family) about your services and you are not really extending your reach.
The cyclic nature of marketing can be overwhelming. Think of a tornado's vortex. If you are close to the bottom of the funnel, your "circles or cycles" are much shorter, too fast to keep up with, and you end up doing more damage than good.
If you are at the top of the tornado's vortex your cycle is much longer, smoother and easier to manage. Best of all, you reap all the rewards of those doing all the working work at the bottom, as houses and cars and everything else comes easily your way.
So how do you move UP the vortex and reap all the rewards of those doing all the work?
Many of the largest players in the industry do this through strong marketing campaigns and costly marketing. Vying for the same ad space as the larger industry leader is futile as their pockets are much bigger and can ALWAYS spend more than you can for exposure. In fact, the more you spend competitive with the bigger fish, the more they appreciate your efforts, because you are acting like the bottom of the vortex … doing damage to your own checkbook and overall business model, while the industry giants at the Top scoop up all the potential clients you excited.
While spending money on advertising is one of the best things you can do for your business, many small business owners do not have the cash flow to continuously market their products or services. So, you end up spending a few hundred or a few thousands on a short lived marketing campaigns that leave you discouraged and broke. As soon as your marketing starts to work for you, you run out of cash to continue the efforts. What a bummer!
Again, you are getting the crowd (customers and clients) buzzing and interested in your product or service. But just when they are ready to purchase, they look for your ad in the most recent newspaper or periodical and you are no longer there. Your ad expired and you do not have the cash to renew, even if clients are interested and waiting to purchase from you.
So, that person who picks up the local paper ends up going with the company that purchases its ad space year round. You did the work, they got the reward. This will not work for very long at all.
So how do you turn it around? How do you make it so others are doing the work and you are reaping the benefits?
Online marketing and advertising are a good choice, as the prices are much lower than print or TV advertising and if your web site process orders, your clients are always one click away from purchasing your product or service.
Remember, when purchasing ad campaigns, stay within your budget. Make sure you can afford to pay for 6 months to a year or it might not be worth the return on investment. Just as in the traditional advertising scenario above, if you let your ad campaign run out, you stand to LOSE money, while others who leave their campaigns active reap the rewards.
Return on investment is the most important thing to consider as a small business owner whether in the health and fitness industry or any other. That's why it's IMPERATIVE that you operate within your means. This means that if you do not have the cash flow to advertise on a web site, newspaper or TV spot for more than six months, you might want to try a grass roots approach to your marketing campaign.
In hours of saving money and starting your grass roots campaign, you've posted your business card on gym bulletin boards, you've hounded all your friends, and you can not go anywhere without mentioning your skills and services. That's a great start, but soon you find yourself with exhausted resources and you're telling the same people (friends and family) about your services and you are not really extending your reach.
That's right; We've come full circle once again. Will it ever end?
To stop the cycle, you MUST MAKE CHANGE. I suggest you start your own gorilla / grassroots marketing campaign.
Here's my short list of effective gorilla marketing campaigns:
1. Post your product or service on free sites like http://www.craigslist.org
(Make sure to post appropriately, or you will be removed from their site)
2. Post your PROFILE on FREE niche web sites like http://www.exercisefriends.com
(The more active you are on the site, the more exposure you receive)
3. Be active on forums and comment boards. Become a leader by example.
Helping others on FREE forums and message boards can really help to increase your visibility and credibility (again be sure to post according to web site rules).
Craigslist.org has a broad range of forums and exercisefriends.com has one of the largest & most active health and fitness forums on the web.
4. If you have the time to write … you can quickly become an "expert" in your industry by writing e-zines and e-books. Http://www.ezinearticles.com is a GREAT place to submit your work, as well as exercisefriends.com.
What ever you do, what ever you decide, make sure that your marketing efforts do not go wasted. Make sure that any advertisement campaigns that you purchase are AFFORDABLE to you. Just because Gold's Gym is advertising in a particular spot, does not mean that you can. While you may be able to afford a one time ad placement or a short run campaign, it will be very difficult to compete dollar for dollar with them.
So beat them with your time, energy, personal knowledge and experience.