Social media can be great fun but if you are using it for your fitness or sports business and are spending time and money on it, then you want to see some return on your investment.
In the past lead generation was all about cold calling, mass mailings or adding a number to an ad in the paper. But nowadays people have become less receptive to traditional marketing and sales tactics and have embraced social media in huge numbers which is why you need to understand how to use social media to your advantage.
But first let’s get some understanding on the basics so we are all on the same page…
What is a lead?
For this blog, I am defining a lead as someone who lets you know they MAY be interested in buying what you have to sell. They have done more than followed you on Instagram or shared your Facebook post, they have opened up a direct line of communication with you by giving you their name and other details.
They have taken some direct action such as signing up to your newsletter, filling in a form on your web site or sending you an email. While they haven’t bought anything yet, there may be a 50% or more chance they will at a later date.
What is lead generation?
This is the process of converting people into sales leads. You haven’t actually sold them a membership or a PT pack yet but maybe they have visited your web site or social media network and submitted their contact details. With this information, you can nurture them to the stage where they are more than likely to purchase from you.
The Buyer’s Journey
Think of the buyer’s journey as a relationship – you start off as strangers, get to know each other, go on a few dates, get serious and then move in together, marry or just make the commitment to be with each other for the long term.
The Buyers Journey is the exactly the same concept – so let’s break it down step by step:
From Strangers to Visitors
Make sure you look the part
The first thing you do in the dating world, is to make sure you present yourself well, you are nicely groomed and looking your best.
Whether you set up a profile on Tinder or are looking to meet someone at the local pub, you want to make sure you present yourself so a potential partner would find your attractive.
It is exactly the same for your business – the first thing people will look at is your social media profiles or your web site so make sure both look professional, use great images, are up to date and contain enough details so people know who you are and what you offer.
How easy are you to find?
Unless people know you exist they are not going to use you so you need to make sure your target audience is aware of your business, the services you provide and why they should use you.
So in the dating world you may walk up to someone in a bar and start to talk to them or you do a search on RSVP to see who is the best match for what you are looking for.
To do this through social media, you could use Google Adwords and SEO strategies so you are easily found when people are actively looking for you.
From visitors to leads
Think of this stage as when you like the look of someone and now you would like to get their number and ask them out on a first date so you can get to know them better.
In social media, this is a crucial part – people know about you but how do you get them interested in you so they provide you with their details?
There are two main ways to do this on social media – through your existing social media networks or through social media advertising.
Great content through your social media channels
Content underpins all of your lead generation efforts, including social ads, contests and campaigns. All your content must be entertaining, interesting or educational. This reflects the essence of your business. This is such an important way for people to decide whether they want to get to know you better.
Show you care
Along with great content, there are some other tips to use to get more engagement from your fans and followers:
- Always use videos or images with your posts
- Respond promptly to any questions
- Ask questions and feedback from your fans
- Tag people
- Use hashtags (especially in Instagram and Twitter)
- Use the social media “live” options to broadcast live videos to your audience (a great way for your fans to get to know you better)
Show that you care about them and what they are thinking and they will show more interest in you – just like in the real world.
Social Media Ads
In 2016 Facebook earned $26.9 billion from social advertisers so it is obvious this is a highly effective way to acquire leads.
Paid ads on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media advertising platforms can complement your organic social by enabling you to really focus on your target audience.
With your ads you could offer a free eBook or a blog in exchange for their contacts details. Or get them to sign up for a newsletter. Whatever the offer is, the promise must be high quality content as this is a reflection of you and impacts people’s perception of your business.
Two important success drivers of ads are an effective landing page and a strong call to action. Your landing page should be focused on driving the visitor to perform a desired action, such as downloading an ebook or registering for an event.
To help you with this, Facebook recently launched lead ads to make it easier for you to give people a quick and secure way to sign up to receive information from you such as newsletters, content and offers. You create a lead form within Facebook which is already populated with the person’s name and email – the easier you make it for people to sign up, the greater chance the person will submit their details to you.
Campaigns and contests
Cutting through all the activities on a social media channel to get your message heard and your content shared is one of the biggest challenges everyone faces. Social campaigns and contests are one of the best ways to engage with your audience and generate leads – after all, everyone loves a freebie or the chance to win a prize.
Contests, when done well, can attract a lot of interest and people generally love to share good deals or opportunities to win things with their networks. Often, you can set up contests in such a way that people must submit their details to you or they need to perform an action on social media to qualify or earn extra entries such as tweeting about the contest, following you on Instagram, or using a campaign hashtag in tweets.
Of course you are always going to get the “tyre kickers” – those people who have no intention of buying anything from you and just want some free stuff or the chance to win something. You need to qualify these people and identify those who are serious about buying from you one day.
Ready to commit?
On average, 50 percent of leads are not yet ready to buy – often people may take a while longer and need more nurturing before they are ready to use your services.
Like in a relationship, there is interest, the signs are good but they are not quite ready to commit. You want to be sure this is the right person to take the relationship to a more serious level.
It is the same with social media, sure the signs are good, they may have downloaded your ebook or subscribed to your email newsletter, but they are going to have to part with a bit of money for your service so they need to feel like they are making the right decision.
As in a relationship, it is all about getting to know the person better and understanding what their needs are. So use social media to engage with your leads on a deeper level so they get to know you better and have a better understanding of how you can help them – for example:
- Maintaining brand awareness so they don’t forget you – such as sending them a regular newsletter
- Targeting them with special offers through online ads such as joining by a certain date to receive a discount
- Generating trust and brand affinity success stories and reviews
- Educating leads about your products or services such as through blogs and articles
- Don’t forget traditional marketing such as direct mail and text messages – and maybe even give them a call to make it extra personal and to show you care.
Keep showing them attention, make them feel special, demonstrate you value them and that may be enough for them to finally take the plunge and make that commitment to you.
From a lead to a paying customer
Well now things get serious – this is no short term fling, this is a long term relationship so you need to make sure you keep your members and clients happy. As well as providing them with a great product and wonderful customer service, you can use social media to maintain loyalty including:
- Conducting regular surveys to see where they are happy and what areas could be improved
- Have a VIP Facebook page for your special clients
- Monitor any feedback they give and promptly answer any questions they may have
- Continue to keep in regular correspondence such as through emails, newsletters or inviting them to special events
- Make them feel special whenever you interact with them
The final step – from a client to an ambassador
Now this is the sign of a very successful relationship – the client is so happy with you, they tell all their friends and family about you. When someone from their work asks about using a personal trainer or joining a gym, you are the first person they recommend. They basically sell your business for you and this is a lot cheaper and more effective than if you did it yourself.
This is when you go beyond the call of duty – you cherish and delight them – you exceed their expectations, never take them for granted and make them feel like they are the most special person in the world.
So as you can see, to get the most from your social media it will take more than just an ad or two. Like a relationship it is a long term commitment where you take the person from being a complete stranger to the love of your life.