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Trying to keep myself from rambling on to becoming a long sales letter, I’ve decided to cheat just a little bit.

I’ve attached a couple of documents here that simply lay out, side by side, the benefits of each level of membership at the “new” Fitness Pro Travel website.  I know from the emails there are many of you that need no convincing after going through the video walk through tour, but I also know there are many that didn’t go through them at all.

This should make it quick, easy, and painless. 😉

Click Here for the Side-By-Side Comparison

There really is great benefit to anyone who utilizes the program with the new features. Even with the basic professional membership you have opportunities to promote yourself, network, share your working vacation experiences, generate income, and participate in the creation of content. I hope you’ll take the time to realize it.

The Run Down on the next 36 hours:

  • 9pm Eastern 2/10 – putting up down for maintenance sign at FPT
    Transferring domain and beginning transfer of all existing content
  • ~1pm Eastern 2/11 – take down maintenance sign and welcome you back to Fitness Pro Travel
  • 8pm Eastern 2/16 – the re-launch period will end along with the 40% off opportunity

Sounds pretty simple, but I am leaving out several steps that will have me up late and at it again early.

Bonuses – I believe you can link to the previous bonuses still in the below posts.  There are two excellent bonus items I have saved and will be providing to those who jump into the Business or Enterprise membership levels right of the bat during launch week. At retail they are nearly $100 in value.

  1. First is another series from CEO of EzineArticles.com Chris Knight on article marketing and avoiding mistakes
  2. Second is an extensive e-book by the CEO of True North Business Consulting, Attorney Cynthia Pasciuto, specifically for the fitness & sport professional on setting up, promoting, and operating an independent fitness business

These are valuable as stand alone items and both of these folks were very generous to offer them for this occasion.

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It is getting very close to the end of the new Fitness Pro Travel site feature series.  I do hope that if nothing else you have enjoyed the bonuses logo1provided along the way.

Along with some of the most important information being released today dealing with the Business of Fitness, I am stoked to present you with a couple more bonus items from two big time leaders in their areas of expertise… Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the launch information page to access those items.

I’m keeping the blog post fairly short as the content most of you have come by today to see can be found on a separate webpage. I’ll provide the link one more time near the bottom.

Many of your recommendations have been implemented, as it seems to be primarily tweaks to make it best fit your needs at this point. 30 Fitness Pro beta testers have been a big help as well.

Your emails have gotten me fired up and I really appreciate them. This is going to be a beneficial resource to the entire community and I do believe when word gets out there will be many more following your lead to gain access.

If you have an account there now, you will be considered one of the “Founding Members” and special pricing and bonuses are available to you during the launch period. Do consider acting sooner rather than later as certain features are capped as to the numbers that can participate. Read on with the information page for those details and stay tuned as we are only a couple days away!

Launch Info 3 – http://fitprobiz.com/launch-3.html

I’m very grateful to the entire community at Fitness Pro Travel. Your excitement for the revved up website definitely eases my fears of this huge endeavor.

If you haven’t seen the most recent “peak inside”, you’ll find that HERE

Chris McCombs

With the many new tools and features being built into our community, it will do everyone very little good unless we have opportunities to learn the “best practices” in using those tools. I’ve had to go through that learning curve… heck, I’m still in the learning curve.

One of the people who I have learned a bit from is Chris McCombs.  Chris is a Fitness Professional based in Orange County. He has utilized the internet as a powerful tool to grow his business exponentially.

I asked Chris if he’d spend a little time talking with me about his keys to blogging. I was ecstatic when he agreed to have it recorded.

You see, Chris is one of the best bloggers I know.  He not only displays his own style in his writing, but also takes advantages of many secrets to driving people to his blog as well as getting those people to stick around and act on his various programs.

You’ll pick up a lot in this conversation… Enjoy

Open Interview in Window Media Player (click on link to open in WMP)
OR (both will take couple minutes to load)
Download MP3 to listen on your computer (right click link & save to your computer)

And, when you are done, think of how this may tweak things in your current blog or how starting one may help you. I’d love to hear about it and look forward to reading your blog in the new Fitness Pro Travel site.

Here is the link to another “getting ready to re-launch the super cool fitness pro travel site” bonus on utilizing social media. This webinar was built for the insiders club several months ago and covers many of the social media sites and how to use them for your business.

I’ll be back in a couple days with more information on other tools, partner sites, and more bonus materials.

The growth of social media over the past two year continues to pick up speed. 30-60 thousand new members per day at face book speaks loudly. 400%+ growth of twitter screams for you to listen… Your customers are there and therefore you should be there.

Not always “selling” but simply making connections and letting the sales take care of themselves.

FPT Launch Info #2

The next generation of social media will provide greater opportunities and tools for business networking.  Because of this we have attempted to be at the front of that curve. By following the link to further information on what is coming with the “re-launch” of Fitness Pro Travel you will get your first look inside.

The features you will find, I believe, will be of great benefit to you as a fitness professional. You will find the tools to effectively network with a very large community of fitness and sport professionals inside.  You will also find the upgraded features for simply doing as we have all done at Fitness Pro Travel for the past 6 years, researching and selecting all-inclusive working vacation opportunities.

Head over to Re-LAUNCH INFORMATION PAGE 2 for details and get ready for the new site going live sometime next week.

PS – Be sure to follow through to the bottom to view the bonus webinar on using social media for business.

PPS – Also know that while the blog tool is shown to you today, tomorrow I will have completed a special interview with a leader in the blogging world and will post the recording here. It will include some great keys for you in operating your own blog AND why it is so essential to have one.

I’ve been involved the past few weeks doing some consulting on web development and internet marketing for a company that is not directly tied to the fitness industry. It’s been a lot of fun from my perspective since it’s a slight deviation from direct work with fitness professionals and their fitness business or the happenings in our other offerings (working vacations, fitness business, fitness camps).

As the bulk of that project is coming out of the development stage and going more into the traffic generation and conversion stage I thought I’d take a short breath and review any lessons learned thus far.

Lessons Learned from Ultimate Ice Wraps Development

  • Timing and Speed can be more important than perfection. – While we all want and should have a quality product or service, at times it is more important to get that offer out there than wait for perfection. It is a great tactic to launch a new offering along with an event. It adds to the excitement and anticipation. UIW has spent the first part of the weekend at the NSCA conference and the second half (until tomorrow) at the National Coaches Association conference. We decided to concentrate on the primary information and product pages and functionality. It worked out great as their booth visitors were able to follow up with their website  to see and learn about their products at the time of the conference rather than running into a “website under construction” sign. (We’ll be filling in those secondary pages this week.)
  • You must evaluate the costs vs. the customer benefits. – We put the UIW website in our G2 cart, which is the same cart we provide the working vacation programs for fitness pro travel on. This cart has many features that the pro travel community are not even aware of (yet). Quality features do not come cheap and the management had to take a good look at their business and evaluate the benefit of those many features to decide which would be beneficial to their customers while maintaining their budget. They made wise decisions as the pro travel community will utilize tools that the ice wrap community will not.
  • Use of social media and in-bound marketing is of benefit to an e-commerce site. – This took a little convincing as company management have not been involved in social media. We have developed a great marketing plan that will have them active in the social media settings as well as utilizing simple interactive tools such as a blog and article marketing within their own site. I may be jumping the gun just a bit on this topic for UIW as we are still setting up accounts for them, but I am confident that the long lasting benefits of utilizing social media will pay off great dividends to them.
  • Win-Win partnership situations kick ass. – I bring this obvious point up only because you will be hearing more about some of the opportunities that we are working with UIW on that may directly be of benefit to our fitness professionals. It will be a few weeks before it is sorted out, but partnerships are on the horizon… the simplest of which is up and running now. If you are familiar with affiliate programs and want to utilize some high quality ice wraps go create an account their now. More to follow.
  • When you’re green you are growing, but when you’re ripe you’re rotting. – I am well aware that I have much to learn from fitness to business to web design to internet marketing. I know just enough about each to be dangerous. Overall I believe this is a good thing in that as soon as any one of us thinks we’ve arrived at the finish line, the field passes us by. John, my programming partner has had great opportunity to remind me how much I don’t know about programming and taught me a few things along the way. The organization for site search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, and social media presence is ever evolving and definitely keeps me on my toes. I’m pretty sure I’ll remain green. 🙂

All in all this has been and continues to be a fun project and a learning project. There seems to always be something to learn when you are given the opportunity to interact, problem solve, and build with another.

I hope these points are reminders or even hot buttons for you. I’m sure there will be another list of “things I learned” as we go through the next chapter of Ultimate Ice Wraps development.

If you enjoy these insights, be sure to join our mailing list at Fit Pro Biz

FIT Launch – fitness video programming intro

This is a video that took about 10 minutes and $5 to make. We will use this or one of two other similar versions in all future FIT Launch online training videos.

It really was very simple. A lot easier than when I fight with my adobe movie editor.

Thought maybe you all would like to check into it also for your own uses. If you make something cool, be sure to send me a link to it.
http://animoto.com

I received an email from Pat Rigsby today that had his 10 fitness business trends for 2009. I would say that several of them are more than likely to take place and several have already begun. We’ve made changes to our local offerings because of these likelihoods, you may want to consider them carefully also… Check it out:

~~
Everyone seems to be making predictions for the new year so I’m jumping on the  bandwagon;)

Here are my Top 10 fitness industry predictions for 2009…

1. There will be more health club closings than
in any previous year.  They have a broken business
model and will suffer because of it.

2. Health clubs will be eliminating the independent
trainer and taking the training in-house to try to
add revenue.

3. Most one-on-one only fitness pros will struggle.
Relying on such a small segment of the population
(the affluent) is risky with a turbulent economy and
the possibility of increased taxes on the wealthy.
If this is your main offering as a trainer you will want
to check out a program called “Clients are Everywhere.”

4. Low overhead facilities will thrive. Trainers &
coaches will trend toward places like Pam MacElree
& Jason Brown’s facility or Zach Even-Esh’s and
Away from the high end studio.

5. Non-traditional training like kettlebell training,
strongman training, band training and other out
of the ordinary methods will gain even more
popularity due to social media making more and
more people aware.

6. Trainers who don’t niche or have a hook will be
left behind.  With the explosion of social media, trends
travel faster than ever before and people are much more
able to find exactly what they’re looking for instead of settling for less.  If a mom wants help specifically
for her, finding a program like Holly’s Fit Yummy Mummy is
easier than ever before so no more settling for the crappy trainer at Gold’s.

7. Trainers will pass health clubs as a preferred
corporate fitness solution. By combining better results,
better service and more convenience trainers will be
able to better serve businesses’ fitness needs.

8. More trainers than ever before will run their
business like a business.  This is an easy one…this
has happened every year that I’ve been in the industry.
Each year trainers are becoming more and more interested
in improving their business education. The changing
economy will only accelerate that. In fact, I’d bet that
more trainers will start retirement planning in 2009 than
in the previous 3 years combined.

9. Youth fitness will once again be the fastest growing
segment of the fitness industry.  Every business mag from
Entrepreneur to Inc. has talked about one of the best
markets to be in is the youth / teen market.  Parents will ALWAYS invest in their kids.

10. Fitness bootcamps will continue to grow are a rapid
pace. The stars are aligned for this one.  The economy
will lead people to try to get more bang for their fitness buck.  Trainers are becoming more business savvy.
Clubs are moving independent trainers out. I predict a
250% increase in the number of fitness bootcamps
worldwide in 2009.

That’s it.  My 10 predictions.  I’m confident enough in these that I’m willing to adjust our businesses accordingly.  Give them some thought and decide if you should do the same.
~~

In fairness to Pat for his thought and effort into compiling this list take a moment to check out some of his offerings at Fitness Consulting Group. Rumor has it he will be opening new slots in his bootcamp blueprint program in the near future. I’ll let you know if I hear. My experience of seeing him in the social media setting is that he’s not only experienced, but also an honest trainer and business coach, so do check them out.

Personal Trainers, there are a number of business and marketing programs available to you. Barry Lovelace has a new one that you can learn more about by going to “Clients are Everywhere“.

Have other trends you see coming? Add them to the comments.

Group fitness, yoga and sport coaches are often left out of these conversations, but many of the same influences will be effecting you. What do you see coming your way in 2009?

TweetIt from HubSpot

Now that I have office computers functioning again along with the websites and their emails I thought I’d take an hour or two today to look into another area of social media that I have been reluctant to spend much time on. Many of the internet marketers that have my ear have been pushing for involvement in social bookmarking for your business and I thought I’d finally check it out. Social bookmarking as it turns out is rather simple to do (especially if you make the simple and worthwhile step to a firefox browser) and can be useful and beneficial to your business.

Bookmarking as we all know, is something that you click on your own computer to keep track of useful websites. It works great for just you.

Social bookmarking uses a website platform to do the same task, but with a few advantages.

  1. You can access the list of links from any computer
  2. You can share the list of sites you find of value
  3. You can create at least one link that will come back to your own web site
  4. You can view the links to websites that others have found of value

In the end it looks like this will be a valuable yet simple tool. I encourage you to take a look at Del.icio.us, Reddit, Digg, or one of the other bookmarking sites. Give it a shot for it’s usefulness as well as another avenue to potentially generate traffic back to your offerings.

Following is a very short and very simple video I found that shows you how to set yourself up an account and utilize this type of website. Hope you find it as useful as I did.

Outbound Marketing is the “push” style marketing used for many years to reach potential clients.  Inbound Marketing, on the other hand, is the art of utilizing social media opportunities to encourage potential clients to come find you. It is the opposing “pull” style of marketing.

Monitor, interact, and influence your athletic or fitness prospects in social media settings and draw them back to your arena (website) with a trusted, transparent, “friendship” bond.

Consumers are extremely savvy these days and with the many tools the internet provides, they have many locations to gather information on you and/or your company. Pushing your sales message is easily discarded and ignored.  Allowing them to know you and your business through social media will build trust through transparency and encourage them to call on you when they or their connections need your product or service.

HubSpot is a company that has several tools and informational pieces to help you to enhance your inbound marketing efforts. You can check out one of their promotional videos below – enjoy.

I encourage you to attempt to join this webinar, which is brought to you by HubSpot… They finally realized we are officially in a recession. This does greatly effect large and small businesses within the fitness industry. HubSpot is a group I listen to a great deal when it comes to learning innovative techniques and trends for 21st century marketing tactics. Let me know if you make it and your thoughts.

Marketing in a Recession

December 5, 2008
12-1PM EST (GMT -5)

Marketing in a Recession

Register Now

In a recession, marketing budgets are often the first to get slashed. For many that means cutting programs, cutting spending, cutting staff in order to make it through the economic downturn. But marketing in a recession isn’t about marketing LESS, it’s about marketing BETTER, SMARTER. This webinar will share techniques for marketing more efficiently and effectively, particularly on a tight budget.

Topics include:

  • Strategy for marketing in a recession
  • Tips for getting the most out of a tight marketing budget
  • Inbound marketing techniques to generate leads efficiently and inexpensively

Space is limited so reserve your seat now.

Register for Free Webinar

Mentioned a few days back that there are several social media sites I’m involved with, if for no other reason than to check out features that may be beneficial to our Fitness Pro Travel community.

So, part of that fine research includes participating in a community that is being lead by Dax Moy. He’s a fitness professional out of Australia, whom I can tell has had some marketing experience and is trying to take advantage of social media benefits.

The VERY nice thing about Dax is that he seems to still care deeply about the client and not just the dollar. I’ve been through several marketing programs, online and offline, and I can’t help to feel a little dirty from time to time as money tends to be the only motivator for many marketers (not all). That’s not always best for the client/customer and I don’t think it’s good for the fitness professional as well.

Here is a video that Dax posted on his blog that is inspirational and speaks to our motivation and our principles. It was made in conjunction with a products he is involved with, of which I know nothing about. You can check it out if you like, but the video is just under 4 minutes and stands fine by itself.

togetherSo, myself and the majority of the online business/marketing community have been singing the praises of social media for the past many months. I think for the most part it is rightfully so. But, I’ve been sensing this overwhelming feeling of overload lately.

That overload was made apparent today when I received two diffent invites to two different “fitness professional” social media websites. Wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that I am aware of at least 5 other “internet’s biggest fitness professional’s community” sites already.  And, of course in the name of research I have an account at each. UHG!

I like the idea of taking advantage of technology to essentially “network” with like minded people. There is much power in it and that is one of the main reasons you will see this ability at the Fitness Pro Travel site in the very near future.  There are now multiple turn-key ready to go platforms available to begin a membership or social networkings website, which in turn has led to a 2008 onslaught of thousands of these member sites.

With so many coming into the market there will certainly be winners and losers. The measuring stick will not be the number of accounts in each community, but the number of active accounts.

Remember the Junior High dance when the walls were lined with kids, but the dance floor was empty. There were many more bodies there than at the local small club with an occupancy of no more the 100. But at that

School dances had some benefits

School dances had some benefits

 bar you generally find an active group socializing and taking advantage of the music and the dance floor. Maybe it was the addition of booze, but the point remains. 🙂

The winners in the niche specific online social networking game will be those who possess and include the features that provide their audiance multiple reasons for joining in and participating. The is most like the smaller group in the happening bar rather than a Junior High Dance.

Finally, those winners will be the ones who can best adapt to the desires of the community. They must accept that in this new online social world they are actually just facilitators for those who become the leaders in that community.  Website leadership will be best displayed by those who are willing to pass leadership to the community (Tribe, as Seth Godin would say) and realize they are more in the role of facilitator.

My suggestions for you:

  1. Continue to try out multiple social networking sites, both industry specific and general. Learn of the various features of each and then migrate to those who are in line with your wants and needs AND seem to listen to the community for direction.  Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed as you can always pull back and pay attention to only your most pertinent ones.
  2. If you are looking to diversify you business and want to offer membership or community online programs, realize that the best leadership in this new world may be the ability to get out of the way and facilitate. There is much to it as we have discussed in the insiders club, so do your homework if this is your goal.
  3. Lastly, feel free to bring your comments, opinions, frustrations, and desires back to the table as we open up the social media at FPT in the near future. I can EASILY admit I don’t know it all and would love to hear from the community and play the role of facilitator.

Social media tools will not be going away, although I do believe we’ll be coming up on a sorting of those sites before long. It’s time to start getting excited about the features we are adding at FPT that include social media. If you want to rally your current student/client/athletic group into a social media or membersite checkout the resources HERE or contact me to get info on the next time we run a program on getting these systems started.

Your Health & Business Success
Tom

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