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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.

Advertisements

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

  • Twitter – 422% growth in 12 months (2.3m monthly visitors)
  • Facebook – 100% growth in 12 months (38m monthly visitors)
  • LinkedIn – 146% growth in 12 mnths (10.8m monthly visitors)
  • MySpace – Flat growth (61.3m unique visitors)
  • http://mashable.com/2008/09/16/twitter-traffic-growth/

I’ve talked here in the past about the many uses of online networking. I had stayed away from Twitter specifically, only because I couldn’t imagine that anyone would be that interested in the multiple updates and happenings of my life or even the business functions we provide on the frequent basis that Twitter seems to call for… Well I have several friends and colleagues who are on it now and the peer pressure is getting to me. http://twitter.com/fitlaunch

I encourage you to come find me and teach me, learn with me, or try something new. I will be sharing the Twitter account with my wife Amy (who is the much more intelligent Fitness Professional of the partnership) so you will see blips directed at friends, enthusiasts, and professionals. We can split those functions into separate accounts in the future if the business functions and uses of Twitter become so great that  you all want that stuff out separate from the gibberish of our daily lives.

Twitter (Twitter.com) is like an e-mail that enables you to create and connect to what are referred to as your twitter tribes or raving fans. In the case of your business marketing it can be your prospect list, customers, business builders or leaders in the industry.

The cool thing is that Twitter also allows you to connect directly to your twitter community via their mobile phone.
So how can you use this tool to build your social contact or business?

  • 1. Send messages about upcoming events to your organization.
  • 2. Let prospects know about new announcements about your opportunity.
  • 3. Let customers know about new product developments.
  • 4. Reach out to industry leader’s, network and expand your sphere of influence.
  • 5. Strengthen your bond with your team.

LinkedIn, Ecademy, Ryze, Social median, Twitter, Plurk, Blogging, Posting, Tweeting, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Forums, soon to be Fitness Pro Travel and more – there’s a whole new world of Internet Marketing out there and if you’re not taking part, you could be missing out.

Find Me http://twitter.com/fitlaunch

I have posted in the past on the significant benefits available to the Fit Pro through networking. (https://fitprobiz.wordpress.com/2008/06/18/social-networking-and-fitness-pro-travel/) The internet has provided many opportunities for enjoying the social media benefits, that’s a major reason why it will be incorporated in the FPT upgrades.

Another location where you can take advantage of social networking is at LinkedIn.com.  This site has powerful features, many of which you may notice are strangely similar to what will be appearing in the enhanced FPT site (only enriched and more specific to the Fit Pro industry). There are several levels to their membership, starting with free as well. I invite you to check it out, connect accounts with mine, and join the fitness professional “Group” when there.

Here is a link to my LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/fitpro

Once you create an account you can join the Fit Pro group at: http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/84079/3428F336F255

Reading again through the Dosh Dosh blog today, I see the topic of social networking (web 2.0). Knowing that this subject is becoming near and dear to my hear, and hopefully yours as well (more on this later), I’d like to highlight some key points.

According to a recent study of 2 million people and 8 million phone calls over one year, researchers discovered that the cause of persistent relationships is reciprocity – returning a friend’s call. The more often you call each other, the longer your relationship.

The results of this study showed that the strongest building of meaningful relationships developed from the reciprocity (returning of the calls). The value of this relationship building process can and should be utilized in the world of web 2.0 “social netwroking” and social networking should be utilized in your fitness professional life.

If you haven’t jumped in the game yet with myspace, twitter, facebook, linkedin, you tube, plurk, or another of the hundreds of social networking sites… you need to. Not only do these vehicles of communication increase the quantity of interactions, but according to the study those with a greater quantity of communication in relationships did not lose out and actually had a greater depth and quality in their relationships. There is incredible power in this with greater relationships, marketing, knowledge, and reach through social networking.

I’m happy to say that we (Fit Launch & Fit Bodies) are attempting to not be too much behind the curve on this very subject. Change is in the wind on the fitness pro travel website. We’ve been discussing several additions, upgrades, and changes to the site over the past couple months. Some we have integrated in the backend that you may not readily notice (ie. photo’s are now automatically resized for you) others (addition of travel insurance options, changes to faq information) are more easily noticed. We have many more items under consideration and several more in the works. We want this site to be useful to you in multiple ways while still maintaining the core working vacation opportunities.

We’ll be talking about this more so start collecting your ideas now! Tell us what you want within that site. How can we make the community better? What related services would help you in your business and career? What features would help you on your working vacations? Do you have a need for classified adds, products, education, self promotion, etc, etc, etc.? We have well over 5000 fitness professionals actively using our system… feel free to turn this into an open brainstorming session. If you’re not comfortable with comments here you can provide your input at info@fitnessprotravel.com

We certainly don’t have the financial resources of the big social networking sites listed above, but I believe we can learn from their’s and others businesses to make this site useful to each of us in many ways.

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