By Tyler Valencia, MS
When scrolling through social media, you are bombarded with “sponsored” or paid advertisements for a variety of businesses based off your search history. So how do you get to the point where your business is listed as a “sponsored” post? It’s no secret that paid advertising is one of the best tools to grow your business, but it’s important that you build a solid foundation before. You wouldn’t start someone on weighted back squats if they can’t perform a bodyweight squat, just like you wouldn’t pay for advertisements if you don’t have items for your foundational business set up. One of the better ways I’ve heard it put is marketing is like a fire, and paid advertising is like gasoline. You still have all the items that help build a fire, but paid advertising is something that makes the fire grow bigger.
A story that I always remember was when a company that we were partnering with wanted us to immediately start paid advertisements for a course they would profit from. I wasn’t opposed to this idea, but I didn’t think it was necessary to start with. A question this fellow business owner asked me was “how was I going to get people to the site?”. While this is a good question, if your foundational business items are squared away, worrying about consistent high traffic to your website shouldn’t be an issue.
A popular term used by online marketers is SEO (search engine optimization). According to Yoast, “it’s the practice of optimizing your web pages to make them reach a high position in the search results of Google or other search engines. SEO focuses on improving the ranking in the organic – a.k.a. non-paid search results. If you have a website and you want to get more traffic, it should be part of your marketing efforts.” Just how it is stated, these optimizing efforts are “organic” meaning you aren’t paying for it. In this blog post we will discuss three tips to make sure you complete before you start paying for advertisements through Facebook, Instagram, Google or any other platform.
1. Go through your website and make sure your pages are optimized.
This might be one of the more tedious jobs you will have to do for your website, but it’s important for the overall searchability of your website. The gist of this task is going page-by-page and making sure the header, description, image and initial text give search engines a good idea about what the page is about. A very bland way of putting it is that search engines have no idea about what your website or accompanying pages are about. Therefore, you’re trying to feed information to search engines so that they can better rank your website.
Companies like the aforementioned Yoast make plug-ins (assuming you’re using a WordPress-based website) that help you create titles and descriptions that are within a certain word count. Using a website site speed analyzer can help you see if any images are too large and need to be compressed. By rule of thumb, if you go to a page and you can see the image taking a couple seconds to load, it is generally too large and needs to be resized/compressed.
2. Set up all your social media channels.
This should be a no brainer by now but setting up your social media channels is FREE marketing. The steps you take in order to build quality posts will improve over time, but there are positive effects that can occur just by setting these channels up and putting your business information in. This is a common step that many businesses fail to master but can lead to organic leads.
A common question is “do paid advertisements get more leads than organic?” Of course it does. However, wouldn’t you want free leads for your business as well, and for your business to have a professional social media presence? There’s also the fact that most social media platforms want you to pay for advertising, so they limit your viewership, thus making paid advertising more of a necessity. Most small businesses have periods where they aren’t running paid advertisements, which is also another reason to have these organic pathways set up. During this time a potential customer might have seen a paid advertisement a couple weeks back and needed some time to make a decision. If your organic pathways are set up properly, the potential customer will be able to easily find your business through their preferred channel.
3. Set up a consistent social media schedule.
Building off the previous post, setting up a consistent social media schedule is a great organic pathway to gain leads. Using the “fire” example in the introduction, a consistent social media schedule is part of the building blocks that keep the marketing fire going. For the business owners that believe they “don’t have the time,” social media platforms now allow you to interlink them together so posting on all platforms is as easy as posting on just one. Not to mention, there are pages and pages of services that allow you to set a schedule up and will post for you once that date/time arrive.
Some interesting social media statistics to keep in mind:
- Online adults aged 18-34 are most likely going to follow a brand via social networking (95%). (Source: MarketingSherpa)
- 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. (Source: Ambassador)
- 63% of customers actually expect companies to offer customer service via their social media channels, and 90% of social media users have already used social media as a way to communicate with a brand or business. (Source: Smart Insights)
With these statistics in mind, it should be a no brainer that these resources should be utilized and invested in. Every business owner or personal trainer that is outside a traditional gym can tell you that every lead matters. Setting up a consistent social media schedule will help build your audience, and potentially lead to organic referrals which are gold for fitness professionals.
In this blog we focused on digital items that often require a set skill set. Are these tips out of the realm for someone who isn’t “tech savvy”? In my professional opinion, I believe anyone can perform these three items but the length of time they spend on them will vary. Resources such as YouTube have countless videos on these tips, and often you will find one that you can follow step-by-step. As a business owner or independent trainer, investing in learning these items can save you money that can hopefully be spent on higher paid advertising or even new equipment.
Tyler Valencia is the President of KIPS. While working for a Southern California online education company he started his first business, Time 2 Train Fitness which specialized in bootcamp and personal training. Time 2 Train Fitness went on to receive the distinction of 3X Best Bootcamp and 2X Best Personal Trainer with the Long Beach Press Telegram. Before founding KIPS, Tyler was the Vice President of the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT) & Smart Fitness.