When I opened my first studio about 4 ½ years ago, I chose a location that was amazingly perfect for the two groups of clients I was trying to attract. Clients literally did the marketing for us by referring friends and we were constantly seeing new faces in classes throughout the day. And the business grew. It was amazing. But this was not typical and certainly did not include any type of business plan to generate predictable, solid leads.
Fast forward to when I opened my second studio and right before it opened, I got really sick—like couldn’t leave the house because I had shingles on my face. It was not amazing.
Because I was struggling to simply take care of my basic needs (thankfully I had some amazing friends who brought me meals every day), I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to execute a lead-generation campaign and … the studio did amazing. No, actually the opposite. We really struggled building our client base. I’ve since redeemed myself and will share how I created a way to bring in steady, predictable leads to both of my studios.
Are you skeptical? If you are, that’s cool. I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say that if you are skeptical, you haven’t been tracking your existing marketing campaigns. Am I correct? It’s ok. But, you need to start tracking–like today.
First Things First, Start Tracking Your Marketing Campaigns
Before we jump into things, it’s important to discuss the concept of tracking your marketing campaigns. First, ask yourself: Where do I get my clients from? Newspaper or magazine ads, Facebook, Instagram, ads on Facebook and Instagram, referrals, walk-ins? Make a list and try to give a percentage to each source.
Second, ask yourself: Am I currently paying money to advertise and I haven’t received any clients from that campaign? If the answer is yes, then stop spending that money. Cancel the ad or whatever it is. It’s not working. If you’re not sure if you are gaining leads from a campaign, start tracking and see what you find out.
I used to have an advertisement in a local monthly magazine. At first, it was great and probably brought in close to 30 new clients over the course of two months (not too shabby), but after a while, it didn’t work and nobody mentioned that’s where they had heard about us. So, I don’t run that ad anymore.
Find Out What Does Work to Reach New Clients
Now that you have eliminated any marketing campaigns that aren’t working for you, you’ve freed up some money to redirect towards the things that do actually work to drive new leads to your business. Now ask yourself: What’s working to bring new clients to my business? Should I do more of that? Or should I investigate something new?
I have discovered that there are really only 2 marketing initiatives that work to bring new clients to my studios: client referrals and Facebook ads. Client referrals are great because you’re pretty much acquiring a lead for free and that lead almost always (like 90-95% of the time) buys our introductory offer, which is the $99 New Client Special. That’s like tastes great and less filling! It’s a no brainer—keep those client referrals coming all day long.
So how do you encourage client referrals? Below are all the ways that my studios encourage clients to bring their friends and family in to take class.
- Referral Fees: Offer a small amount of money for existing clients who bring in friends. We offer $10 in store credit to any client who brings in a friend who purchases the $99 New Client Special. If you could acquire a new client for $10, or 10% of what they just spent, would you? That’s a pretty reasonable Cost to Acquire a Customer (CAC).
- Free Class to Client Friends: Offer a free class to the client’s friends. I am a firm believer in not offering first class free—it doesn’t provide any incentive for people to buy packages and continue taking class and it devalues the service to zero. If any of my clients are reading this, sorry, free just doesn’t work—it’s something that has been proven time and again at both studios. Anytime we offer free classes or some kind of Open House with free class, those people taking advantage of the event pretty much never make a purchase—they are unqualified leads that just want something for free. But … a friend of an existing client with a membership? That is a qualified lead. This friend has heard how great class is, how great the studio is, how clean it is, how friendly everyone is, how great the workout is and most importantly has seen how great their friend looks now that she’s been taking class. Offering them a free class simply provides no excuse for them not to come to the studio and then purchase the introductory offer because they already understand the value of the service provided. The CAC here is essentially $0. You’ve already scheduled the class and the other existing clients taking that class are covering the cost of the teacher, electricity, music etc. It doesn’t cost you anything to offer this free class to a client’s friend.
- Sell Gift Cards: Offer gift cards to encourage gifting your service. This is pretty simple. Clients can buy their friends a gift card and introduce them to the studio. Again, CAC is $0 or the nominal fee for each plastic or paper gift card/certificate.
- Sell Friend-Centered Promotions: Offer a promotion to encourage clients to purchase for their friends or the friends to purchase for themselves. Again, pretty simple. At key times during the year—think Holiday, or Summer, when it’s a little slower—we offer a special promotion (3 classes for $33) designed to bring client friends into the studio to try class. If you spent any money advertising this promotion your CAC would be the ad spend divided by number of people purchasing—or if you just emailed your list CAC would be $0. So again, CAC is likely pretty low.
Awesome, right? Sure. This is all great. At most, you’re spending 10% of the purchase to acquire a new client and these leads are qualified, meaning they have a high likelihood of purchasing.
The only problem is—we’re leaving out thousands if not tens of thousands of potential new clients by only focusing on client friends and referrals. What if the person has never heard of my business? How do I reach them?
Fast Lane Leads vs. Slow Lane Leads
I hope you’re getting excited reading this because what lies below pretty much blew my mind when I first implemented it. And it’s totally changed the way I look at marketing and spending my advertising budget.
Before I share the special sauce, we need to review 2 concepts.
- I have no idea who said this, but I’ve read it in a few books and articles written by Mike Dillard and Russell Brunson—when they cited it they didn’t know where it came from either. But here goes … Nobody wants to buy a drill. They want to make a hole. So, you shouldn’t advertise drills. You should advertise how to make a hole. You need to sell the end product or RESULT. Any light bulbs going on? Any hamsters spinning on that wheel? If you’re in the fitness industry, this is such a critical concept, it’s not even funny.
- We also need to define the “fast lane” client and the “slow lane” client. Fast Lane leads are the ones we talked about above—friend referrals. They’ve heard of your business and are ready to buy. They already understand the value and will purchase immediately because they understand the result your product or service will give them. Remember, they saw their friend get stronger or look better and more fit from taking class, so they’re ready to buy right away.
Slow Lane leads are not ready to buy. In fact, they probably don’t even know your business exists. If they do know you exist, they don’t understand the value of your product or service. Maybe they don’t care about working out, or they think walking is a better workout, or they get childcare at the Y—doesn’t matter, they’re not sold on you. But … that doesn’t mean they won’t buy in the future. How could you introduce your business to those Slow Lane Leads? How could you get them to buy from you?
Using Facebook Ads to Reach Slow Lane Leads
You can use Facebook ads to reach Fast Lane Leads, but Facebook ads are the ideal way to reach Slow Lane Leads—at least that’s what I’ve learned. So how do you do it? How do you create a Facebook ad to reach Slow Lane leads? Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Free Offer: You need a free offer that will have value to Slow Lane leads. This is not a necessarily a free class—these people are unqualified (as of now) and a free class won’t always work to teach them about your business. You need something that will “wow” them and make them think, “Huh, if this business is willing to give this away to me for free, what will I get when I make an actual purchase? That must be f*cking amazing!” Trust me, you have something to give away already, or you can easily make something and will “wow” these leads. Obtaining the free offer is dependent on this Slow Lane lead giving you their email address. How else are you going to reach out to them after they click on your ad? This is how you are going to grow your email list and convert these Slow Lane leads to purchase.
- Facebook Ad: Next, you need to write your ad. The more simple the ad, the better. Make it clear. Choose one action and make that action clear—you want these Slow Lane leads to click on your ad and download your free offer. Tell them to do this in clear, concise language.
- Targeted Audience: Now, you must find your targeted audience. If you have a killer offer and a clear ad, but don’t advertise to the right group, you won’t have any clicks and you won’t get any leads. Where to start? How about your existing client base? Do they have any over-arching common interests? Did you know that Facebook can create duplicate audiences? You can take your existing client base and Facebook can find people similar to that list—pretty cool. Or maybe you just target those who have liked your Facebook page and their friends (I mean, we already know friends are more apt to buy).
- Split Test the Ad: You’ve figured out your offer, created your ad, found the audience and you’re ready to go. Split testing the ad is an important step because, well, you just don’t really know this audience, right? After all, they haven’t bought from you and don’t know much about your business. You don’t know what makes them tick. You’ll want to run a few different ads with different pictures or different copy. Maybe try testing the ad with different audiences and see which gets the best results. These tests should just be small buys—I did about $10 a day for 1 week. After you try a few things, you’ll start to see some patterns or success with one ad or one audience. Then you can adjust or go full throttle and increase your ad spend. I actually spent about 3 weeks split testing and learned some valuable information along the way. I tried 2 different offers, several different audiences and about 8 different ads.
What were my results after completing these 4 steps? After only running about 2 ½ weeks, my ad has over a 40% conversion. That means 40% of all the people clicking on it have submitted their email address and downloaded my free offer. That’s pretty f*cking awesome and means my offer is resonating with my audience. So far, from those leads we’ve had approximately 24% purchase our $99 New Client Special, which is also a great conversion. You have to remember, however, that these leads are Slow Lane leads, so many aren’t going to purchase right away. You will likely have to reach out to them or email them multiple times to reach a sale. You’ll need to create compelling and informative email content to educate these leads on why your business, product or service is something they should buy. It’s harder to earn these Slow Lane lead sales because you have to sell them on the RESULT of your product or service and most importantly, earn their trust. Slow Lane leads are not quick to make decisions or give something a try unless they trust the result.
So, there you go. You now know the secret to successfully generate steady leads to your business. Below are a few resources you can check out to create your Facebook Lead Generation Campaign. I used all of them to create mine. If you’d like more information, give me a shout with a message or comment. Follow the blog by submitting your email and I’ll send you more detailed information on how I created my ads.
Next week, I’ll talk about to-do lists and multi-tasking.
Until then, stay on your toes!
AdEspresso: This tool makes ad creation easy. You can also make several versions of your ads for your split testing.
Click Funnels: The video on the first page of this site is totally stupid. Don’t let that fool you. Once you understand what a sales funnel is, you’ll wonder how you ever functioned without one.
Magnetic Sponsoring: How to Attract Endless New Leads And Distributors To You Automatically, Mike Dillard: This book was originally written for those in the network marketing business, but it’s applicable to every business. Read it. That’s all.