Marketing

When FitPro Email Marketing Fails

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When FitPro Email Marketing Fails the results can be very funny, but bad for business.

This morning I received an email from someone representing a new app to help Fitness Professionals. Too bad the email was completely off.

This iOS app may be awesome for FitPros who are having a hard time tracking their clients. It is inexpensive and sounds robust, which is why I left a live link in this post. For a crazy busy trainer with too much too keep track of, this app may be the perfect solution.

But even if I used iOS, this email would have been enough to turn me off. Welcome to When FitPro Email Marketing Fails.

1. The Email

Hello Lippin,

I came across your profile at ideafit.com and found your website http://www.lyndalippin.com. I see that you are an experienced fitness professional.

For over a year, I and my team have been developing 52C -- a new online tool for Personal Trainers. Many great PTs like yourself have advised us and helped us make it a real time saver when it comes to collecting clients' progress data and planning workout sessions.

Now the app is ready: 52challenges.com

Would you like to test it out free for 14 days?

-- Best regards, xxx Patxxx, Content Manager

2. My Reply

Hi Patxxx,

I am somewhat confused by this email.

First, you address me as “Lippin”. which is why I addressed you as “Patxxx”. I assume last name only is how things go at 52challenges? Very military-like of you.

Second, if you looked at my website and my ideafit profile, you would see that I have no problems tracking clients. I am organized, have a great memory, and as a former philosophy professor I have a wonderful attention to detail.

Third, while your email sounds like you are making me a special 14 day free offer, I notice when I click the link that the 14 day trial is open to any fitness pro. So why bother emailing me directly and making this sound like a special offer?

I am not interested, and couldn’t even use your app as it is only for iOS and I don’t use apple portable devices.

So, thank you for giving me a laugh this morning and some fodder for my next blog post - FitPro Marketing Email Fail.

Best,

LL

3. The Marketing Lessons

The takeaway for marketers is pretty clear and starts with the basics of proofreading your form email before hitting send, and knowing your audience.

Presentation alone can turn a potential customer away. I can't say this often enough - make sure you take the time to proofread and edit.

You have one shot at this opening email. Make it a great one!

How to Define Value in the Pilates Business

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How to Define Value in the Pilates Business

Are your clients happy to pay you? Are you making enough money to meet your needs and wants? What is your "Wow" factor?

I am active in many Facebook groups devoted to Pilates and Fitness teaching and marketing. At least once a month someone asks about what successful teachers, trainers, or owners add to their businesses to make them more valuable in the eyes of potential clients and customers.

My answer is always the same.

You must be the Wow factor of your Pilates business. You must be the value!

This answer seems to bother people. I have been told that I am "ripping people off" by charging a lot for my services. I have been told that there is no way people would gladly pay that much for Pilates unless there is a bunch of stuff added to the offerings.

Other trainers and teachers always ask me what else I offer.

Surely there must be extra groups, emails, meetings? Surely I must offer gifts, bonuses, and other add-ons?

Nope!

I offer me.

And I spend time focusing on how I can make a better me, since I am the value that I offer to my clients.

You see, it is the client who defines value. Let me repeat, it is the client who defines value!

So I spend my money and time on taking great Pilates sessions, on learning from people who know at least as much, if not much more, than I do. I also spend time and money adding to my toolbox - kettlebells and TRX for more resistance training? I got that. Some simple neuroscience based MindMAP coaching? I can do that. Some Reiki to keep you calm and feeling better? No problem!

From my end I promise to be on time, to be responsible, to never harm anyone, and to continually strive to help my clients feel, function, and live better.

Not only do my clients feel, function, and live better, they are happy to pay for their sessions. Not once has anyone looked at me and said, "So Lynda, what else can you give me for this money?"

Not once!

Getting back to your situation, what is your client response? If they bargain, hem and haw, and otherwise show reluctance to pay for your services, that means they are not perceiving value.

That doesn't mean that you and your skills aren't valuable. But it does mean that your clients aren't seeing it.

How to define your value?

Look at things and services in your life where you are willing to pay more money. Better hotels, leather goods, wines, massage therapists, facials? Better medical care, grocery selection, dinner service?

Where you are willing to pay more? What differentiates that experience? What makes it better and more valuable, even though it is more expensive?

Now, apply that definition to yourself and your Pilates business.

Pilates Teachers - Mass or Micro Marketing?

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Pilates Teachers - Are You Mass or Micro Marketing?

If you have been following my Pilates marketing thoughts of late, you are probably aware that I am a proponent of Micro marketing.

Basically, I don't want to market to everybody.

Seth Godin's blog post today, Mass production and mass media, speaks directly to why.

Fifty years ago, producers and marketers got smart. They saw the miracle of mass marketing and they adopted it as their own. They amped up mass production and bet on the masses.

The smart creators today are seeing the shift and doing precisely the opposite:

Produce for a micro market.

Market to a micro market.

When someone wants to know how big you can make (your audience, your market share, your volume), it might be worth pointing out that it's better to be important, to be in sync, to be the one that's hard to be replaced. And the only way to be important is to be relevant, focused and specific.

Yesterday I taught a one-off 90 minute Pilates private to a woman who found me on line. She travels between homes in Menorca, London, and Paris. She is older, with a rectocele (rectal hernia) that can be managed without surgery with proper exercise and positioning.

This is a specialty of mine and she found me via Google search. Without a question she booked her very expensive session. This is micro marketing in action - I have enough of a platform of free information out there that she was confident. Session was fabulous, she learned what to feel for and what to avoid. And now I will train her via Skype, try to find her good live trainers near each home, and see her annually in NY.

Let me repeat - she found me via free Google search for "Pilates exercise rectocele nyc" (I don't advertise at all), found a rectocele post I had written on Pilates Connections, looked at my blog and videos, and was confident enough to book an expensive session just to hear what I had to say. That's what quality free content does.

And I didn't even take a deposit from her (which would have been fine), because I knew she would be there. How did I know? Because people like her are my demographic. They are my regular clients. I speak to them.

That's Pilates Micro marketing.

Who do you speak to?

A Pilates Teacher's Guide to Raising Prices

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Here is the Pilates Teacher's Guide to Raising Prices in 2015.

In the wake of my last two blog posts, which have started some interesting and contentious discussions in the pilates teaching community, several pilates teachers have asked for some guidance in raising their rates in 2015.

Note that I am not suggesting that you have to, or should, raise your prices. But if you feel you need to, here are some ideas.

First, let me back up to my post on pricing. In that post I recommend that you look at some simple math before setting prices. The equation is:

I want to make X amount of money per year and would prefer to work Y number of hours per week, so I will need to make Z amount of money per hour/day/month.

In my example, if you want to make $120,000 per year and only work 20 hours per week, you will need to make $125/hour. Note that I don't say you should charge that, but that is the math.

It is my view that if we as Pilates teachers are not earning enough to thrive, then it will effect our teaching. We will be worried, possibly resentful at teaching a lot and still struggling, and it will bleed into our client interactions. This has happened to me and to my colleagues, which led to this raising prices discussion.

Now, if you didn't make that simple math calculation before you set your prices, or you did but it's been a few years and the numbers are different, you may need to raise your prices.

Do not raise prices without doing the math first! And make sure that your discounted packages cover your costs.

But how can you raise your prices without upsetting and possibly losing your existing people?

1. Raise prices on new clients first.

The first inroad you can make is to raise prices on new pilates clients, while allowing existing clients to stay at their current rate for a limited period. When I raised my rates last year, I started by charging new clients more for a month. So I notified people that new rates were going to be happening on 8/1. The new rates went into effect for new folks on 9/1, but current people had until 10/1. This made my current clients feel loved.

2. Offer a few packages at current prices to current clients.

The next step is to let your current clients know that even though your pilates prices will increase, they can purchase a few packages at the current price. In my practice, I offered current clients the ability to buy up to 30 sessions at current prices. This gave me a little extra cash and I didn't lose money, because it was not a sale. And my current clients still felt loved!

3. You may lose a few clients, but you will gain others.

I was lucky enough to only lose one client in my increase, but she was going through financial hardship anyway and would have stopped. Note that I did offer her a lower price, and this was her response,

"I will not bargain with you because you are too good and there are plenty of lower-priced teachers that are fine for me now. I feel lucky and spoiled to have had you for as long as I did. You are by far the best Pilates teacher I have ever been to."

I couldn't argue with that. I just said Thank You. And she still refers people to me!

[For more on why my clients feel like this, please see my post on serving your niche.]

At the end of the day, costs go up every year for all of us. Insurance, rent, groceries, taxes, and even public transportation go up. We need to pay our bills, have a little fun, save some money for fun and retirement, and thrive as Pilates teachers.

I am able to see some clients at a greatly reduced rate without worry or resentment, because the majority of them pay my full price. And I don't have to work like a Pilates automaton anymore, so I can have a life outside of the studio.

So take the leap! If you know your prices are too low to meet your needs, raise them! Just make sure your level of service and care matches your price.

Happy new year!

How Big Is Your Pilates Niche?

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The size of your Pilates Niche (or Fitness, Yoga, Travel...) is less important than how you serve them.

I woke up this morning to a timely e-mail from one of my marketing gurus, Seth Godin. Today's post is titled, "Is Your Niche Too Small?"

There's no such thing as a niche that's too small if the people care enough.

If you think you need a bigger market, you're actually saying that the market you already have doesn't need you/depend on you/talk about you enough.

You might not need a bigger niche. You might only need to produce more value for those you already serve.

How does this apply to your business?

Well, I will use myself as an example. My niche is people aged 35-65 who are affluent, lead stressful lives, and experience pain and/or dysfunction. I work with hedge fund managers with back pain and bad posture, women with diastasis after having children, and high powered attorneys with scoliosis who need to be as functional as possible.

Because I charge a lot, my clientele is limited to those who can afford me. And since that means they can afford just about anyone, what kind of value do I offer to my niche that keeps them doing Pilates with me?

  1. I am consistently on time and ready to work with my client.
  2. I maintain focus on my client during the entire session, starting with, "How is your body today? How can I help you today?" and ending with, "Happy to help."
  3. I watch my clients move all hour, checking and correcting position so that he or she gets the most benefit from the exercises.
  4. I answer questions and explain why I am doing things a certain way, or in a certain order.
  5. I am more than happy to discuss what I am doing with medical professionals, so everyone can be comfortable and on the same page.
  6. I offer consistent and verifiable results! Less pain, better posture, smaller diastasis and hernia.
  7. Simply put, my clients FEEL BETTER and do better in life.

And really, if you can afford to, who wouldn't pay for that?

Do you serve your Pilates niche this way?

Would you?

Pilates & Fitness Teachers - Read ONLY If You Need Clients

I have been hearing from a lot of Pilates & Fitness Teachers and they are looking for new clients.

What if... attracting the Pilates & Fitness clients you want and need was not so difficult?

What if... small changes in how you present yourself, market yourself, and teach would make BIG changes in your schedule and income?

What if... you could work fewer hours and make more money while helping people more?

I believe that we are all capable of being busy, talented trainers who can help our clients transform.

I believe that the process of transformation starts with us, the pilates & fitness teachers. Once we see how easy and great we can be, we attract clients who want what we have to offer.

Which brings me to my next Marketing 101 workshop. Use Code "LLGift" at checkout (or mention if you call) and receive a free gift at the desk!

Expanding and Maintaining Your High End Client Base
Real Pilates, 177 Duane Street, NY, NY 10013, 212-625-0777
Wednesday, October 15, 3:00 – 4:30pm, $45
What do you as a trainer need to know about attracting great clients? In this workshop Lynda will share her secrets that keep her steadily busy in a city full of trainers who cost a lot less. Learn which skills are crucial, how to do more with less, and be adaptable while maintaining strong personal integrity.

Marketing 101 for Pilates, Fitness, Yoga Teachers - 17 Sept 2014

Marketing 101 for Pilates, Fitness, Yoga Teachers - a 3-part workshop series led by Lynda Lippin that will teach you how to increase your value in a very crowded marketplace.

Episode 1 - Teaching Out of Your Comfort Zone

Wednesday September 17, 3-4:30pm at Real Pilates, 177 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013

The pilates, fitness, and yoga markets have enjoyed unprecedented growth over the past decade, which is a wonderful thing!
But now, as trainers, we are facing more competition within our industry. And with clearer certification pathways, there are more certified trainers on the market now than ever.
  • How can you distinguish yourself in this crowded marketplace?
  • How can you make more money, increase your quality client base, and shine in your field?
  • Have you dreamed about working overseas?
  • Wonder what skill set you need to have to land a great job inside or outside of the US?
  • And finally, have you ever wondered how to attract and maintain steady, standing, high income clients?

Learn how in this 3 part Workshop series. Each month I will take on an important aspect of business and marketing for personal trainers, pilates, and yoga teachers.

I just received this email from Pilates Teacher Lenny Reisner, who took this workshop series in the Spring. Note that he didn't even have a website before taking the workshops.

Hi Lynda

Hope all is well with you.  I met my income goal for the first time and am only looking up.  I owe thanks to you for your guidance in those workshops.

Best Lenny

Would you like to meet your income goals? Be busier? Have better clients?

If this is your first time visiting Real Pilates, use code LLGIFT at checkout and you will receive a lovely welcome gift when you check in!

This month I discuss travel - teaching outside of your studio or gym, outside of your city, and even outside of your country!

As someone who taught at the A-list Parrot Cay resort for 4 years, and who recruits trainers for high-end spas overseas, I have some great insight into what they are looking for and how to build your skill set enough to join that league.

See you there!

Episode 1 - Teaching Out of Your Comfort Zone
Wednesday, September 17, 3:00 – 5:00pm
There is a lot of call for trainers who will travel. This travel can be domestic or international, and includes subbing in other studios or in hotels/resorts, making outcalls of any kind (to hotels, private homes, or to train an entire family), picking up traveling clients or short-term residents, and traveling with a client.  We will also discuss how to find overseas positions, including issues regarding work visas, relocation, temp work, and the dangers of “working fitness vacations”.