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The 2008 Presidential Campaign is very different from any in the past, and it’s not only because of ethnicity and gender. 21st Century marketing techniques are being employed and many are taking notice… are you as a fitness professional taking notice?

What I’m talking about is the Obama Campaign and their tactics to reach potential voters. They have done the old school stumping to “get out the word”, but the have also embraced nearly every form of media to spread the message as well.  He has definately embraced new school marketing techniques and it apparently is making a difference.

Chris O’Brien of the IdeaLab commenting on what the news media can learn from the Obama Campaign – “That’s an important lesson that every newsroom should learn. During the past year of research for The Next Newsroom Project, we identified six principles that newsrooms should adopt. One of those calls for newsrooms to embrace all platforms. It’s not enough to simply say, “Hey, we want to be online first.” Instead, think about how to use all platforms equally: mobile, the Web, print, broadcast (radio and TV). And be ready to experiment with any new ones that come along, including video games.
It’s critical that a newsroom understand its community, where they are, the different ways the get news and information, and how they consume it in those different ways. …”

From total views to number of subscribers on You Choose ’08 (at youtube) — the presidential election channel that launched in March ’07 — Obama wins by a landslide.

The Obama campaign probably conducted the most prominent mobile efforts during this election cycle. Over the summer, users were invited to provide their mobile numbers on BarackObama.com in order to be among the “first to know” about Obama’s VP pick. Response to that effort was generally positive.

Both candidates are well-supported by organic [search] listings; overall, however, official Obama sites still generate six times more traffic than McCain’s do.

Facebook let loose its own 2008 Presidential Election application, with election news updates and debate groups. Through a partnership with ABC, the socnet’s youthful user base can follow reporters’ articles, videos, and blog posts from the campaign trail.

Facebook also began a “fans” page within the site about a year ago. Here is a list of the top fan pages:

Facebook Fan Page Number of fans
Barack Obama 2,197,833
Michael Phelps 1,625,018
Batman: The Dark Knight 921,322
Facebook 834,624
Coldplay 797,558
Windows Live Messenger 757,932
Adam Sandler 750,262
YouTube 729,349
Apple Students 699,099
Linkin Park 686,898

BTW – Our Fitness Pro Travel now has a Face Book Fan Page (as of yesterday) – Your Invited!

The take home message in all of this is that Barack Obama, in his bid for Presidency has used all tools available to “market” and reach out to his potential voters.

You, the fitness professional, need to do as Barack did and utilize the multiple platforms to market your message. Your potential prospects are changing in where they get their discission making information. Are you there with them?

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 Well, the first early notice I’ve sent on new happenings at the Fitness Pro Travel website went out yesterday morning to the News and Notice list. Within an hour of that notice I was contacted that we have another coming on line this week.
 
I don’t know that I’ll be putting out notice every time we get new properties & positions, but since I started it this morning figured I’d follow up on today’s happenings.
 
First, looks like a another property coming on line in Mexico and for that matter there are high hopes for a couple few more. No details on the final specialty positions requested, but it should be on the site later this week.
 
And, within two hours of getting notice of this new MX location…. Another call from an old friend came in.
 
Breezes Runaway Bay contacted us to add the position of Golf Professional to their requested pro list. This is the first golf position requested, so it is rather exciting.
 
If you know of a golf pro or two, your referral to create an account at fitness pro travel would be appreciated. We’ll have that position and specialty criteria posted later this week as well.
 
Now, I’ll be working to get those done asap… Fit Beach begins next week and there are several details to complete before heading back to Jamaica.
 
Busy week.

I am on a coaching mailing list for Ryan Lee. He’s a very well respected fitness industry internet marketer. Following is a portion of the email I received.

“… During the ride, as my kids were napping, my wife
was listening to a home-study course. She’s has
her Ph.D. in Psychology and bought a specialty
program for fun.

This program is features just one tiny chapter
on “marketing”.

And do you know what the first thing the program
covered in her marketing session?

If you guessed Internet marketing or referrals
or email marketing – you’d be wrong.

She talked about “Yellow Page Advertising”.

Can you remember the last time you did research
in the Yellow pages?

If you are marketing your products and services,
you need to be where the people are searching
for you — and that’s the Internet.

There are so many ways to market yourself on
the Internet.

Here are just a few…

-Article marketing
-Affiliate programs
-Video marketing
-Podcasting
-Pay per click advertising
-Joint ventures
-Social media (twitter, etc.)
-The list goes on and on…”

Ryan is correct in suggesting there are MANY new ways that clients search for you these days. If you are not on line, you should be. If you are not taking advantage of one or more of these inbound marketing features, you should be.

I know the confusion if you are just getting started and the fear of great expense when getting yourself set up, but there are many options of which many are free.

I am very excited for the new features that are coming to the Fitness Pro Travel site. The modern elements of internet marketing and social media are coming to a place that is familiar to most of this blogs readers.

You will hear more on this in the coming weeks and I look forward to helping you use these new community tools to push your business to a new level. Many details will be provided to you and opportunities for joining into a coaching club. Those numbers will be limited, so if you feel that coaching is in your future, make it known so that you can be on the front of that notification process.

Currently on of the best and fastest growing new tools out there is Twitter. Because I swiped Ryan’s email copy I must give him props and suggest you hook up with him there. Ryan Lee on Twitter.  Check out his other programs HERE. You can also find me out there. Tom Bomar on Twitter.

I have a link for you today and it goes from this blog to another blog. This guy, Chris McCombs, I don’t know personally, but have read some of his fitness marketing materials and taken other classes from the same people he has. My impression is that he knows his stuff and is worth checking out.

His post may resonate more with some of you than others, but I’m willing to bet to some extent it does with all. It’s a little kick in the a** with some great thoughts on the perspective of a fitness business owner… any business owner.

Check it out

Here’s a little FYI for you and/or your clients & students.

BodyHealth.com and Dave Scott, renowned coach and 6-time Ironman Champion, jointly announce a drawing where one winner will receive a case of Master Amino Acid Pattern (MAP) and a weekend of personalized triathlon training with Dave Scott in his hometown of Boulder, CO. Ten runners-up will each win a bottle of MAP, a TIMEX watch, a pair of LOOK socks, and a Dave Scott Nutritional DVD.

This drawing is for anyone wanting to take on the challenge of racing in a triathlon and wanting to learn from The Man. Dave will work one-on-one with the winner on each discipline – correcting biomechanics and advising technical changes. He will provide direction on seasonal training cycles, sport-specific strength training, exercises to prevent injuries, peaking for races, improving transition time, tapering, nutrition and being more mentally prepared for your race and more.

The main winner and the 10 runners-up will be announced online on the Dave Scott at www.davescottinc.com and at http://www.bodyhealth.com/drawing on March 12, 2009. The winner will be contacted for scheduling of the 2009 personal training weekend with Dave. You can sign up at the Body Health website.

** Because one of those sponsors offers similar products to ours, and I’d hate to have you looking for any of those items elsewhere… We’ve put together a promo coupon code that will run beyond Christmas and to the second most important birthday (mine). That’s January 28th, 2009. (I accept birthday cards and gift cards 🙂

Enter the coupon code “competition” on any order of $25 or more and you will get a $10 discount at Healthy Gatherings on checkout.

About a month ago we talked in this blog about the way in which bootcamps have been implemented by trainers. It was also mentioned that this offering has been dominated by personal trainers, when that does not necessarily have to be the case.

“bootcamp” can be many different things

Aren’t you group fitness professionals trained to work with groups?

With the economy taking a big ole dump on all of us, I often think about how other fitness professionals are handling it. What plan are they putting in place to retain and secure new clients? How are they going to make their services more cost effective to their clients and not devalue themselves?

As disposable income becomes tighter and tighter, the $45-$100 per training session is a tougher sell. Adapting to the situation is key for the professional. Those who do not come up with cost effective solutions will lose their clients, current and future, to those trainers who do adapt.

The group training and session (bootcamp type) classes are one answer that we utilized. It is far more cost

effective to the consumer, actually easier for the fitness professional to implement, and ultimately more profitable for the fitness professional as well.

Group fitness and personal trainers and yoga instructors and athletic coaches all need to consider utilizing this style of programming. Without making this or a similar adaptations, you are jeopardizing you current and future client base.

If you are unsure on how to go about getting a program started in your area there are several options for help out there. Several training programs exist. Some I’ve checked on and think are great and others… well not so great in my opinion.

We are working on putting together a simple video solution that will get you through the fundamentals of operating session programs in your community. They can be operated in or out of a facility and even if you’ve always worked for a club you will be given an easy template for developing this entrepreneurial endeavor.

The upside is huge and with the economy… necessary.

So, if you’d be interested in this program let me know. I’m not certain of all the details we will implement into the program, but I do know there will be some element of interaction. A book or video training does you no good if you don’t have avenues for getting questions answered.

The group size will be limited to facilitate the interaction. It will be a first come situation and if you express your interest now before it’s offered, you’ll be given the first shot at getting in.

It’s not that crazy hard. If you’re intimidated because you see other trainers have already started don’t be. You’ll develop a system, work the system, and prosper along with your many new clients.

… stay tuned.

Methods for spreading your professional news, events and information to current and potential clients has changed immensely over the past 8 years. Within the fitness industry, just like every other industry, technology, the internet, and social media has changed the the way we must market ourselves and our services.

  • Old School – send ads, information and materials out to the potential customer – Outbound
  • New School – utilize new technologies (social media) to draw people into your message – Inbound

While the Outbound marketing techniques can still be effective, the consumer/client has many options/tools for shutting you off before you get to first base.  They may use tivo to pass by commercials, caller id allows them to screen the calls, direct mail and insert advertising are physically easily tossed, and simple pop up blockers to steer away from a web based pitch. You are losing the marketing control as they have more tools to help with their marketing control.

Inbound marketing options are many. Actually, it’s amazing at the number of options. Primarily we accomplish this drawing of people in via Blog, SEO (search engine optimization), and Social Media.

Each of these has multiple methods for “pulling” people into your message. There are companies and individuals who make careers out of specializing in any one of these inbound areas. I am not one of them, but I have spent some time absorbing some of their techniques through research, networking, and educational programs.

While SEO is a continually changing specialty it is a design issue for the most part. Blogs will draw people in but are also influenced by SEO and technical networking. Now on the other hand, social media you can have a great influence, when done correctly. You can elicit this influence without significant technical skill or marketing expertise.

Heck, look at Tila Tequila (I think)… whatever her name was. She was the most befriended person/account in myspace. She may have used her personal assets to help her along the way, but without a significant marketing background she was able to utilize social networking skills which later developed into multiple revenue streams and even getting her own t.v. show. Her reach was to millions of people with a simple click of a mouse.

Here are a few tips you can utilize that will help you in building your social media presence. These are generic to the majority (ie facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc.). Do realize that each of these does have it’s own idiosyncrasies that should be considered and taken advantage of.

  1. Set up your accounts – Yes, that is plural, I’m suggesting you create accounts at multiple sites, and it does start with actually setting them up.
  2. Personalize your accounts – Whether all business or all personal or combination. Start with a photo and build. This is a little nerve racking if you, like I, were born a few years before the myspace generation. It is necessary though if you want to be trusted and followed by others.
  3. Connect with others – Personal friends, colleagues, classmates, and clients. This is the starting point. Using various site search features your next step is to find individuals or conversations that are in your industry. Join in and make new friends. Think cocktail party or back yard BBQ.
  4. Engage in the conversation – This is often your give to others. They will be pulled into your message by your useful or interesting input. That personalized account is what they will come back to for your details. This is the pull of inbound marketing.
  5. Law of RECIPROCITY – When we engage it is a piece of our GIVE. When we give to others, they will generally want to or will feel they should give back. This makes sense when we look at it with our students or clients. We provide better customer services (give) than the next guy, and often that client wants to give back by sticking with you or actually practicing your advice. Give first and opportunities for message broadcasts will later.

Inbound Marketing is effective, can have a huge reach, and can even be viral (if you are not familiar with it, viral with a message in social media is a very good thing). Additionally, your kids may be able to give you the majority of the social media marketing advice necessary to get you started. If you have to dig in and spend the day (it won’t take longer than that) to learn it yourself, not a big deal. Most all are free or have free options.

If you are new to using these types of social media websites or still have no idea how to do it, why to do it, when to do it, etc. I’d love to hear your reasons. If you throw me some specifics I’ll address them in future blogs or interview someone who knows more than I to share with this group.

Till then – In Health

A new short video has been posted to the “my account” page for all Fitness Pro Travel members.

One of the requests from our summer surveys on what we could do to make the site more useful overall to the fitness professional, included more easy access information for utilizing the site.

Near the end of summer we added the “Tom & Suzelle” interview (you can access this through the faq page) and this new video will go through a couple options you have for performing searches on the site.

Yep, I know it’s fuzzy, but I think you will be able to follow along.

I read a number of blogs on fitness, business administration, and marketing. I continually head out to different seminars or partake in a webinar or two each month. These keep me informed, but also have helped me realize that there are many out there who are much sharper than I in their respective fields.

So, how do I get by???

This small realization leads me to pass on a few pieces of advice:

  1. Learn from people and business outside your own – the reflection time afterward often shows you how their experiences, programs and business models relate specifically to your own.
  2. Take advantage of partnerships, again with business from within and businesses from without your industry. Joint venturing may create the sharing of profits from a great idea, but it will also increase your reach and make yourself known to a wider audiance.
  3. You must take action! We can attend conference after conference, webinar after webinar, and learn a ton. We can have multiple ideas for reaching new clients. But, unless we take some kind of action, they will never have a chance to know about any of it.

As an already educated and certified fitness professional, I’m going to suggest you go backwards on the above list. Start with point 3. You are already seen as an expert in the eyes of the public and they need to know and benefit from your expertise. Let them know you are there. Actively work the club, actively communicate with local businesses, actively attend and participate in community groups, actively utilize the web and the many vehicles therein to share the benefits you can provide…. Are you catching the theme here yet. It’s all simple small ways to market yourself.

Take action and watch your reach grow and business proper.

Just wanted to let you all know I now have a page displaying the advisory team. This is a diverse group from within the fitness industry. They all have great experience and act as a huge asset to us in developing and evaluating programs.

You can view them at either of our primary sites:

Take a look, follow the links to their sites, I’m certain you will see the reasons they are part of the team and the benefits this can bring to our programs.

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