Fitness Professional Online Radio Show 006: Answered Questions
Welcome to the Fitness Professional Online Radio Show where you get access to fitness industry news, tips and insights from professionals around the world. Visit us at FitnessProfessionalOnline.com and now, your host, Doug Holt.
Hello everyone and welcome to Fitness Professional Online Radio Show. I’m your host, Doug Holt and I’m happy to be with you here today. Today, we’re going to cover a lot of questions that have come in via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or email account as well as the phone line. Before we get to those, make sure you go to the website at FitnessProfessionalOnline.com. We just released our new September issue, lot of great stuff in there. If you’re interested in contributing, please let us know. I’d be happy to get you the information that we have for that and our Editorial Team will get back to you as soon as possible. We have gotten a lot of request from authors and fitness professionals as well as doctors, chiropractors and nutritionists and we appreciate that, a lot of great content coming out.
We’re releasing new content every week as well as our feature issue each month on the 1st. September is I think is a great issue, some great features and really good departments. That maybe I’m a little biased because I wrote one of the features that was approved. So, thank you to the Editorial Team for giving me a shot at that. Lots of great events coming up and if you listened to our last episode, you know also that Doug Balzarini has got an event coming up in October. So again, I’m going to encourage you all to come out and see that one. And next week, we’ll be talking about some more events on a radio show, just to keep you posted.
Without further adieu of course, we want to get to the questions that, you (the listeners) have submitted to us and to also thank you for those iTune ratings because iTune ratings help us get found by other professionals in the industry like yourself. And we appreciate your honest reviews and if there’s anything that we can do better, of course let us know. So, the question that is coming in now that I have for us is from Lynn via LinkedIn. She sent it via her LinkedIn account. And Lynn asks, “I’m new to the fitness field though I’ve been working out most of my life. Do you have any suggestions for me?”
Well Lynn, that’s a pretty broad question but let me try to do the best I can with that. Entering the fitness field and working with clients is and exactly like working with yourself. Obviously, you have the dedication to-do-it yourself and that’s great and you know your body. What we really recommend is finding a mentor or series of mentors, somebody that’s been in the industry, helping out others and has been successful at doing so. Well, that’s key — shadowing and turning and finding somebody that’s kind of “been there than that” in the trenches. They can help you out is probably the best thing that I’ve seen for fitness professionals and something I did myself when I first started out quite a bit. This will allow you to see the different ways people interact with different personalities, different client’s needs, and injuries rather than just theoretical practices you’ll find in a textbook, video or even a workshop.
Attending events is also critical, I think. The IDEA conference is a big one, club industry. There’s a bunch of them out there, I’m not even going to try to list the top 20, let alone all of them. But attending those events and linking up with other fitness professionals is also critical. The events themselves but it’s really the networking and seeing the fitness professionals that are also going out to these events and kind of getting in touch with them and establishing a network. It’s something that’s I found anyway earlier on my career and I hear quite a bit. It’s something that’s paramount for a lot of people. It’s kind of the turning point.
Joining a mastermind group is also a good idea. If you can find a mastermind group especially if you can’t make the events, online training, gain the books. Basically, getting as much information and contacts as you possibly can to help you get in the industry and asking questions. As soon as you’ve think you figure it out, that’s the dangerous spot. But you know, you’ll hear this from a lot of people, I think I heard Mike Boyle talk about this before who’s somebody I really respect, “As soon as you know it all, that’s the problem.” The more you know, the less you know. And the industry is always evolving, as Science comes out, we get more information. So Lynn, post something on the mastermind group if you’re in there. If not on the forum or even our Facebook page and if you have questions, we will be happy connected with somebody.
This question comes from Tyler who’s actually in our golden circle mastermind group. Well, Tyler wrote in and asked, “I’ve owned a small training studio for ten years and have had problems with keeping my staff motivated. My client book is solid but getting them up to par is tough, any thoughts?” Well Tyler, you and I have talked about this a little bit online and via the mastermind group. I mean, the reason I wrote the feature article on “Client Acquisition” was for this question. It’s hard. Being a technician and being a great trainer is one thing but managing a staff as your business grows to something that is totally different and I’ve had problems with this early on when I started one of my studios and it can really be difficult.
So, client acquisition, sitting down with your staff and showing them how to do it is really a big benefit for you. It’s something that’s worth taking the time to do and going through. I wrote an article on a piece on the Four Steps to Client Acquisition and it’s really brief where it goes over some of the basics. But what I recommend you to do is get your staff the book, Book Yourself Solid. Sit down with them, go through the exercises in that book for about maybe a month or two-month period. Also, motivating your staff and encouraging them as a leader to get out there and help more people. Find what motivates them. Find their “Why” As Erin Desharnais wrote in the Simon Sinek piece in our feature couple of months ago. Finding the “Why” is really critical and really critical from us fitness professionals and trainers.
And when doing the staff, you really have to be the leader. Have compassion for them and have their best interest in mind is by far the most important aspect. If you love them and treat like they are your family, they’re going to love you back. And that’s really what it is. It’s hard running a business, at least it can be hard and most people find that to be difficult and could be a thankless job but really connecting with your staff and spending some time with them and making them part of your family, and helping develop them is critical. Everybody likes to feel that they are developing and learning more and so really, invest that time with your staff. And Tyler, if you have any questions, there are a couple of people, Rick and Cinder in particular in the golden circle that love to connect you with. They’ve really done a great job with the leadership aspect of that and motivating their team towards not quite sales but at least client acquisition aspects.
Jaime left us a message on our phone line at (805) 500-6893 and said, “Hi guys, I love what you’re doing. I’m glad the radio show is back in the air,” we are too. “I run a club in Florida and I have taken over the marketing, what shoud I know all about SEO?” Well, SEO is going to be the same for a fitness professional, a club owner as it is for in the other business. Everybody talks about Google. Of course Google had the today Panda Update, a little while ago which freaks people out. More importantly is the Penguin Update that just happened through Google. Google is always changing and they’re always trying to find a way to get rid of the so called it “Black Hat Marketing” techniques that had been utilized out there. These are people that are kind of backing the system and basically cheating the system.
Unfortunately, during that time period, what I’ve read or millions of people got who’d actually doing or where called a “White Hat” or legitimate link systems were also kicked off to Google rankings. You want to find yourself in the top ten, that’s the first page of Google; those tend to be clicked on the most by far. Something you can do is just start off with quality links and quality content on your website. If you can get on other websites, local Chamber of Commerce linking back to you as well as local newsletters in your community, that would be great. One thing that we do is we have our staff and our fitness professionals write a little bit. So, it’s informative information for our clients and the community and that always links back to our website and we keep that on our website which helps our SEO.
We’ve been able to remain number one and number two in our industry in Santa Barbara but it’s always about providing quality content and that’s really what the Penguin Update is. They’re really trying to get away from these backlinks systems and these farm houses especially in Indiana overseas where you just have a bunch of links that are put on blogs, forums, and other websites that just link back to your site with a keyword. So, for your club and I’m not going to mention your club’s name on here but I’ll just say it’s Florida Club. Well, what’s happening is people are outsourcing these to farms in India. When I say “farms” these are just big office buildings and they’re going out and creating thousands a day to link back to the site, I might say, a Florida Club and it can be on any forum, anywhere.
In fact, on the Fitness Professional Online forum, we battle these spammers on a daily basis. We actually have someone who spends about an hour a day just deleting the people who’ve gotten through our security measures. So, it’s a pretty serious. Russia, India, Philippines and China seem to be the biggest countries that are out there right now doing the spamming. And so, this Penguin Update kind of give them a slap and send people back that were doing this and wipe them off of Google. So, you actually can’t find some of these sites that were doing it on there. I believe there’s JCPenney, I think got hit with this a couple of years ago with the Panda Update but Google actually kicked them off at the Google Search Rankings because they were paying and farming it out to a company in India to create these backlinks system forum. It’s club or marketing techniques but Google doesn’t like it and you don’t want to mess with Google or Yahoo or Bing or any other big guys.
Another thing you can do is obviously get an SEO consultant or do it yourself. Product that I used for our clients is called “Market Samurai,” I didn’t named it but Market Samurai is excellent. It takes a while to learn. You can get a free 30-day trial and actually see what your backlink system is to make sure that it’s good and it figures the target ratio. They actually tell you the target ratio you should have, that’s the number of backlinks that have their branded targeted or generic backlinks and what they believe the Penguin Update is looking for, top increase that. But more importantly, with Market Samurai, what you can do which I think is really cool is find out for your keywords.
So, Florida club might probably, we use that as an example again, would probably be the one for you. Looking at where your competition is. So who are the top ten that come out in Google, Bing or Yahoo for Florida Club and then you can actually engineer their link system which is really cool. Who were they linking too? Often that you can find out that they don’t have a strategy and once you done that for a little while, you can see what their strategy might be for their marketing club. And my best guess is what you probably want to do is copy it and beat their system and find out what it is they are doing. Are they farming it out to a consultant company? Are they doing it in-house? I mean that’s really interesting. But what is coming down to you over and over again were seeing is you can provide quality content for the people that are coming to your website and your community. That’s what Google trying to do, pick up and move towards the top and increase its relevancy.
So, I hope that helps, Jaime. Get Market Samurai, it’s really worth. It’s a free 30-day trial. I’ll put a link in the show and notes for it. And if you’re having other questions specifically about SEO, throw it in the forum on a marketing page and I’ll try to get to it. And I think, there are a couple of people that are on the forum regularly checking it and they’ll get to it as well. Moving on, we have David from New York called. He also left a message on our line at (805) 500-6893, you guys are all welcome to do that as well. And he asked, “How do I setup an email marketing account? I have no idea where to start.”
This is pretty common and actually for you David is pretty easy. Email marketing is still the bread and butter of marketing that’s out there. If you can increase your email list, you can actually do a very effective marketing campaign to not only clients but potential clients that are interested in your products or services. So, some of the basics or some of the big people that go for, if you have Google, you can use MailChimp. You can use regardless and that’s always free for 2,000 emails. So, if you have more than 2,000, you will pay but MailChimp I believe for everybody is always free for 2,000 or less and that’s a great way to start. I like the MailChimp interface, as well as the analytics it provides.
Another great ones is Constant Contact, Constant Contact links with a lot of the systems and has a good API. We have iContact, AWeber is very popular with internet marketers or internet businesses that want to setup auto emails to also targeted quite a bit because they do have an affiliate program but those are some basic ways to start. And I don’t recommend sending emails directly from your own email account. So, if it’s email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or whatever it is. I don’t recommend doing that. I recommend using one this third party services like MailChimp, the better spam filters. People can unsubscribe, subscribe whenever they want to and allows them a little bit more control. I know myself I subscribe to a ton of newsletters, don’t get a chance to read them all but I do like having the ability to manage my preferences on how frequently I get them.
Once you’ve actually got on there and this MailChimp is the example for this for you, David. Once you get on to a MailChimp account or any other one, they have templates that are on there for you that you can use. So, it could be a straight text email that you can send out after you’ve uploaded your contacts and they also have great tutorials of course or you can use one of the templates actually has pictures and images in there. And most of them have a database of pictures that you can utilize or upload your own. And you want to make the emails as personal as possible, unless you’re doing a mass product that you’re sending to a lot of people which I’m guessing you’re not based on this question. You want to make it as personal as possible so people get a chance to know you, your products and services and I highly recommend following the 80-20 rule, that’s 80% content only 20% promotion.
In fact, there’s marketers that are out there that I follow that do a 100% content and no promotion with the idea that people come back to their website and find them to purchase their services at a later time. But again, I talked the 80-20 rule and that’s what I teach and that’s what I recommend. And again, I love MailChimp. Nothing wrong with constant contact, I’ve use that, before I’ve used AWeber. I haven’t used iContact but I know a lot of people that do. And there’s a lot of other ones that are out there. If you have any more specific questions, feel free to drop me a line again, David and I’ll help you out with that and we’ll get you setup.
Erick from Canada sent us a Facebook message saying, “I love the site.” Thank you, Erick. Thank you for all the hard work you guys are putting into raising the bar in the industry. I’d like to contribute but I’ve been told in the past that I should get a PR company to help me out, any suggestions on which company to use?” Well again Erick, thank you for the acknowledgement on the site. We’re putting a lot of work into that, the team here — Darcy, Viju, Erin, Carol and myself really been working hard on that. So, thank you. PR company, you don’t need a PR company to contribute to our site for sure and certainly not to get a lot of publications there out there.
A lot of big names in the industry do have PR companies behind them and that’s a big help to them because it does allow them to kind of get in to let’s say, the book publishing industry or different magazines or constantly having contacts in there. For something like shape Men’s Fitness, some of the bigger ones that are known at there but you don’t need a PR company. I’ve been in shaped myself in Men’s Fitness and it’s a matter of fact contacting them or them contacting you based on some other sites or things you’ve done in the industry. Public speaking are huge things. Highly recommended whenever you can deliver quality content and of course practice doing that is always good.
For our site, for Fitness Professional Online, our mission statement was to give a voice to fitness professionals around the world and with our unique rating system, where you can actually rate the articles you read on a five star basis. The articles that have higher ratings actually rise at the top. So, the cream rises to the top so to speak. So, we’re giving everybody a voice, everybody gets a chance because there’s a lot of people out there that can’t afford a PR company or may have props, don’t happen to live in New York or LA or Miami and there’s maybe not a good PR person in that area to help them out. Now, of course with the event that so much online technology, you can’t remote into a PR company. But unless you have a product that you’re really trying to push or a plant agenda or something you’re trying to do, I would say, hold off in a PR company.
Now, if you haven’t been publish so far, work on some online sites, there are some great resources. If you’re trying to target other fitness professionals or share your knowledge, we’d love to hear from you and talk to you and submit some of your content to our editorial team and eventually if that gets approved, you can actually submit content on your own to the site and with our whole editorial process, you want to talk to Darcy for that and it’s email@example.com. I mean, if you’re trying to get some of the big print, media publications, often they use the same writers you’ll notice or you use somebody that is touting a particular product and a lot of that has to do with the marketing companies that are out there but you can also contact them. And there’s nothing wrong or just shoot an email or just pick up the phone and make a call and that’s a great start.
But again, if you want to get your information out to the industry, send it to us. As long as it is not promotional, we don’t publish promotional content but it’s a content that you truly wanted to just get your name out there and start writing and sharing with other people and helping to grow the industry, then we’d love to hear from you. The last one that we’re going to go over today is Vince. He called also and left a message in our line at (805) 500-6893 and asks, “Thanks for the advice in the forum. I found a number of websites. I have info on me them and not all of it is accurate. Is there a way I could control what’s posted in the internet?”
Well Vince, there’s a lot of way you can go about this. I’m going to assume that the information posted about you in the internet is fitness related because you called in but you can’t control what’s posted on the internet. But what you can do and this is kind of a tip that everybody should be doing just listening to this is Google has a thing called Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a really cool system. So, when we monitor for example Doug Holt. Anytime somebody posts Doug Holt on the internet, I get a Google Alert. It was an email that comes to and I do it for once a week and it gives me a summary of all the times my name is appearing on the internet. And this is only websites that are crawled. There are other websites that this won’t pop up on like Facebook and some of the other ones that are set to “nocrawl” or “nofollow” links.
But mostly might that be say, a local newspaper or a magazine comes out I supposed to on the internet or republished, I get a summary every time my name pops-up. Now, I can’t control what’s set on those but there’s a misinformation in, it does happen quite a bit. I can contact them and have to ask that to correct that. And I’ve never had a problem with anybody correcting information that was either misquoted, mis-stated whether it be I said or something about our business or even use my name when actually, I had no affiliation within. It should had been somebody else getting the credit for it. So, Google Alerts are great. You can also set Google Alerts for your business and I run Santa Barbara Fitness Magazine, we’ll do that for that as well, as well as Conditioning Specialists and a few other ventures we have. And we’re just always monitoring those to see what’s going. Companies have been doing this for a long time.
If you want to invest a lot more money into it, there are products like Vocus. They are out there in the industry, not in our industry but are out there on the market. They are much more robust and therefore more expensive. Google Alerts is free which fits in everybody’s budget. But Vocus have much more robust system to monitor your brand. But it sounds to me Vince like what you’re looking for is just simply setting up Google Alert. Make sure you put quotes around your name and I’m not going to list your last name here. Put quotes around your name so it only picks up your exact name and any variations of your name that you might be known by. I know you have a nickname and you might want to use that but maybe you want to also use your business. And I’m guessing that’s a big point from what you’re going for here. It’s to find out what’s being said by you and your business and monitoring that and making those corrections. I hope that helps, Vince. And all of you that called in and I wasn’t able to get to, I apologize. But I’ve sent to emails to everybody already. We’ll get to those maybe in the next show or hopefully, privately.
That wraps it up for us here at Fitness Professional Online Radio Show. Big thanks to Darcy, Erin, Viju, Carol and of course RJ, our audio engineer putting this all together and making me sound hopefully a little better than I do. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week. Please go online to FitnessProfessionalOnline.com. Sign-up for our newsletters so you get the updates. We have a lot more information in our newsletters to help you out than we are able to put on the radio show. Make it a great week.
Thank you for listening to the Fitness Professional Online Radio Show. You can share your thoughts and join the discussion on this episode by going through our website or on Facebook.com/FitProOnline. Let us know what you’d like to hear on future shows and please feel free to contact us via e-mail or give us a call at (805) 500-6893. We look forward to hearing from you.