I think it is fair to say that the fitness industry has been hit really hard during the pandemic. Gyms have been closed for months here in Ontario, Canada and we haven’t been able to stay open for more than 3 months at a time, despite having some of the most strict safety measures.
The pandemic forced many service-based business to modify their services and adapt them to the online world. As a social media manager, and the head of marketing for a personal training business, this has been a year full of challenges.
What makes a challenge worth it? The successes the come from it. Here are some of the successful moments from the pandemic.
Dance Studio Doubles Brand Awareness in Less Than a Year
As the world went into lockdown, the normal foot-traffic and in-person events came to a grinding halt. In August, 2020, I was hired to provide consulting services to a dance studio in Ottawa. They had created a number of new online services, but weren’t getting the marketing help from the Franchisor.
When I started they had 181 followers on Instagram and just over 600 likes on their Facebook page. Here’s where they are at now:
How did they achieve this?
- We created a consistent posting schedule. One of the dance instructors would post Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I would post Tuesday and Thursday. Every day had a theme, which creates a collection of content that followers can count on.
- We also cleaned up the branding across platforms. Ensuring the profile images were not pixelated, there were useful Instagram highlights, and the images and videos had consistent filters and colour schemes.
- I also suggested that they run free workshops using Facebook events to increase awareness and interest in their online group dance classes. By creating an event, we could also use some promotional money to promote that event and get more responses.
- In the early days I also suggested running brand awareness campaigns. These typically included their most popular post and just a few dollars a day to get their Facebook and Instagram page in front of more people.
As you can see from the data above, the combination of these strategies has doubled the following on both their Facebook and their Instagram page. We continue to see growth across both platforms and I’ll work closely with the owner to keep this up.
Are you looking for social media management or consulting services? Book a free, 30-minute discovery call. I’d love to chat with you about your goals and how I can help you achieve them.
Dance Studio Sees Massive Increase in Website Visitors from Social Media
Social media is a great tool to connect with new clients and create an engaged community online. But it can also be a great way to get more website visitors. As business owners you know the importance of having a website. It is yours, you own the content on it and it is the place get more leads into your sales funnel/flywheel.
For the dance studio, I wanted to make sure we didn’t just create a social media following. I wanted to make sure that we were using social media as a way to get more people to their brand new website. The more visitors to the website, the more authority it builds, which is great for SEO.
Here are the results:
Some key strategies:
- Social media ads have definitely played an important role in getting more eyes on the website. For the ads that promoted specific services and products, I always used the Google campaign link creator so ensure that all social media ad clicks would be attributed to social media.
- Using the website link space on Instagram and Facebook is so important. Whenever we have a new promotion, service or announcement, I always advise the owner to use a powerful CTA that gets the audience to click through their website.
- I encouraged the owner to write 1-2 blog articles per week. These articles are typically business updates and articles to accompany their weekly “Technique Thursday” videos that are shared to their social media channels. Blogs are a powerful tool for SEO and studies show that posting at least 2x/week to your blog and increase your organic website traffic.
We will continue to adapt our strategies and pay attention to the data as the situation changes during the pandemic. When the dance studio is able to open again, we will have to shift our strategy and listen to the audience and clients to ensure our social media strategy continues to provide value, increase brand awareness and drive more leads to the website.
Personal Training Studio Adapts to the Online Market
My day job is working for a personal training business located in Ottawa. They have 6 personal training studios across the city, strategically located in busy business and high-foot-traffic areas.
When the pandemic hit it meant that everyone who used to walk by the location on their way to work or school, were no longer there.
So, like many fitness businesses, we adapted. Sessions moved online and we started to look at how we could keep our trainers and the business top of mind for our clients.
Here are a few key stats from the pandemic:
Our weekly newsletter became a hub for content and value-creation for our clients. We wanted to create a place that would connect them and let them know that we still care and value their business. Our open rates averaged ~40% mark, and CTR was always above 4%.
Online Personal Training Stats
We had to move our services online, but we also knew that the whole market would be shifting online. We created specific training packages that were slightly less expensive than our in-studio packages. We’ve also recently created a brand new format of personal training online, Personal Training with Friends, which gives clients access to a personal trainer for $20/session and they get to train with 2 of their friends! This brings back to community and social element of personal training.
During lockdowns, all of our social media marketing was pointing towards our online personal training services. We would share information, answer questions and listen to what the clients were saying online to ensure we provided the best service possible for them.
By including more calls to action and intentionally using our social media channels to drive traffic to our website, we more than double our social traffic to our website:
Lead Generation in Lockdowns
I have to talk about lead generation before I finish this article. This is a crucial part of any fitness business. You need the consult requests and trial offers to be coming in in order to continue growing your business.
Because lockdowns have closed our brick and mortar locations and people are continuing to move out of the city-centers (where most of our locations are), we had to make sure our digital marketing was on point. This means creating content that brings people to the website organically, having the right ads and making sure our social media is optimized for lead generation.
This was the greatest area of growth and learning for me as an individual and the head of marketing. I couldn’t just see the website, social media and online advertising as their own entities. I had to find ways to make sure that our keywords were present on the website and social media. As I looked at the traffic insights from google analytics and social media insights, I learned more about the types of people who were asking for consult requests. This information was then passed on to our SEO team who runs the ads for us.
By making sure all of our digital marketing efforts were working together, we actually saw a slight increase in consult requests during the lockdowns, than we saw the previous year. Here are those stats:
I’d be lying if I told you this was a smooth and simple process. I have had to create systems for myself and the company to make sure that our digital marketing strategy is analyzed and adapted on a regular basis. Seeing social, email, inbound and paid digital marketing as 1 integrative system has taken to adjust to, but it has paid off.
One of the greatest lessons from this past year has been that adaptability and empathy are crucial. The expectations from the public change from day to day, the English language continues to evolve and our responsibility to provide an inclusive service has never been more important.
Empathy and adaptability have been the main drivers of all of the strategies used. If you market with compassion and open-mindedness, your business can never fail.
If you’re curious about how social media and inbound marketing can help you achieve your business goals, book a free 30-minute call. I’d love to chat with you about your goals and how I can help you achieve them.