Discussion #4805

Marketing Basics

55 min - Discussion


Join Lesley Logan and Gia Calhoun as they talk about marketing basics that you can use to help grow your Pilates business. They will talk about common mistakes that they see in the industry and they offer guidance to help you make the right choice for your career.
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Nov 26, 2021
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(gentle music) Hi, everyone. Welcome to The Pilates Report today. We're going to be talking about marketing and everything to do with promoting your Pilates business. I'm here with Lesley Logan. She's the founder of Profitable Pilates and she leads a lot of business coaching with her group agency, so welcome, Lesley, and I'm so excited to have you here today.

Oh, thanks for having me. This is so fun. I can't wait to answer anyone's questions. Like there's no silly question. If you're watching this live, we definitely want to hear it, but I think you and I are excited to have a real candid conversation around this for all the teachers out there.

Yeah, definitely. And for anyone in the chat, please add your questions in there. We're going to be answering questions at the end. And if there's any that are relevant to what we're talking about too, I'll throw them in as well. But my first question for you, Lesley, is why do you think marketing is such a taboo topic for people?

It's really a scary word for so many professionals and a lot of us don't necessarily know how to go about it, but why do you think people are afraid of it? You know, I actually think there's probably several different studies that could be done on this. But the reality is, is that majority of teachers are women and I think a lot of women were raised to not brag about themselves and people think marketing is bragging or a form of bragging and it is a little bit. You're literally telling people how amazing you are at what you do. But if you, I mean, the problem is that like, if you don't tell people about that, someone else is going to tell them something that they think is going to solve their problem and then they're going to go buy that thing and really you are the person who could help them.

So I've been on a mission for a long time, just helping people understand, like marketing doesn't have to be scary. Marketing doesn't have to be weird. It doesn't have to be taboo. It also doesn't have to be like you like standing on a street corner like handing out flyers. It can be done in the way that feels comfortable to you.

Totally. So why is it so important that we make marketing a priority for our business? Okay, so simple. Like people find you because they know what you do. And if you only talk about what Pilates is, then you're doing a really good job helping Pilates get marketed, but if you actually market what you specifically do and the way you help people, then they're actually going to find you and that's the only way.

Like people aren't going to just tap you on the shoulder and go, "Hey, what do you do? I want to give you money." Like you have to actually tell them. So we have to get past this roadblock and this obstacle that it is scary or you're not good at it. Like, no one's good at anything when they start anything new anyway so you're going to probably be bad at it a little bit in the beginning, or maybe a lot. But the worst thing is that, you know, people don't hear it and they don't see it and the best thing is that they do and they're like, oh, and they ask you a question and then you get to have a conversation and you get to figure out what that is, but you know, my husband, Brad, he does a whole thing on 200 nos.

He's really big on getting rejected because it makes it less scary when you're marketing yourself to get to hear dead silence and to hear no. And also you get really good at figuring out what verbiage actually gets people's attention. So yeah. If you don't market yourself, how are you going to teach? That's totally true.

So in your experience, do you feel this is something people can do on their own or is this something that you should hire a team to do? What are the best practices for starting a marketing plan? Yeah, I mean I think everything starts with whatever your budget is or whatever, like we like to say in agency you either have time or you have money. So I don't recommend putting, throwing money at a problem with marketing until you've actually figured out organically what works. So even if you have a team and you have money, I highly recommend like playing with organic stuff to see what language actually gets people's attention.

What is actually getting people to come in, what questions you're getting, what the interaction is around your marketing. And then when you have good insights, good analytics on what does actually get traction and get people going, "Hey, yes, I want that." Then you can start to put money behind it. But you know, before you do that, you have to actually be really clear on what your goals are. So if you are a home studio owner and you just want to teach 15 hours a week, you may never have to spend a dollar on marketing. Like you might not even have to buy a business cards.

Like this could be, you should have a website. Absolutely, I've never not yet down on that one, but you may never actually have to grow that even when you get really good at marketing yourself and you have a studio with multiple teachers, multiple classes, there's a good chance you're going to have to spend some money on marketing at some point, but I still want you to focus on that organic marketing first. You can figure out what's going to go well. And then as far as the team goes, it can be something in house. It could be a front desk manager who's doing it for you that you've trained, or you can explore hiring agencies.

My experience is you better know what works already because if you think you can just give them money and they're going to be like awesome for you, it's not usually the case. Like they have other clients so you're going to want to have tested all the waters and all the things before you bring someone on. Totally makes sense. Sorry, in advance for any noise too, they are vacuuming outside my door and my dog doesn't like that. So now that you've created, you can hear her probably.

So now that you've created a plan for your organic strategy and you don't really have much of a budget, what do you think are the next steps for someone with still a small budget to kind of move forward with their marketing? Yeah, so great question. First, you need to be really clear on who you're trying to actually get the attention of, and that I want to make sure we say that here at the beginning. So I know you can teach everybody, but I want you to make sure that you're really understanding that the words that you use are going to attract people. So in general, I attract a lot of people around my age and maybe a little older because of just the language that I use, they actually understand those words, right?

If you are a younger teacher, you're gonna have different slang, different filter, different view lens on the world, and that's gonna attract someone else. So first you have to get really clear on that language and also who you're trying to reach. What problem do you solve? People buy things that solve a problem. And just going back to question number one, or question number two and like why it's so important, like you really are the only person who can do what you do the way that you do it.

You really do have a moral obligation to sell and market that to people because if they are in pain and you can solve that pain, it's actually really selfish of you to keep your mouth closed on that. So if you get really clear on the problem that you solve and the people who have that problem in your community, once you have that, then what you can do as far as a plan is first for free is super easy as to ask people in your phone, like you can go into your phone and go, oh, this person knows a lot of people like that. Oh, this person knows a lot of people like that and actually reach out to them and tell them, "Hey, here's what I do. Here's what I solve, who do you know who could use this?" And that's free, right? That's just your time.

Then once you have that going and you're also getting referrals on that, the next plan could possibly be doing some collaborations or some actual marketing things with other businesses that are local to you. That's really fun. I have an agency member who has had great success with really cute chalkboards that she puts up in all the different businesses in the same shopping center as her and she's getting tons of clients from that so that's a small budget. She had paid for one time and it's, and she's figured out the words that need to be on there that actually attract the clients to come. If we're talking like a lot of people want to talk about like Facebook advertising or Instagram advertising, again, that budget's very different.

That is not something I think most people who work just for themselves and they're the only teacher ever need to really cross that path, unless you have some sort of product or membership or something scalable that will actually get you a return on investment. If you're looking at like big studios, multiple studios with lots of classes that you could have a quantity of people, before you spend money on that budget, you definitely need to test your organic marketing and also test some lead magnets and get people going so that when you do spend money on something like that, you know it's going to work. Because once you start going past your, the people in your community who know you and trust you, it's going to cost you more to get those leads. So what I would say is dress really get focused on, like, I promise you free and organic and go a long way. And yes, asking strangers, or not stranger, that people who love you for help and connect you with people is scary.

Like they could say no, but that's the worst thing that's going to happen. Yeah, definitely. Another free resource that I see people posting on, I'm on Nextdoor app for my neighborhood and I see sometimes people will promote their classes or like start new classes for locals in the neighborhood on the Nextdoor app so it's another free resource that you can use. Nextdoor is amazing. You know, that is something, or like if you have local Facebook groups, local Facebook groups are really great, y'all for like, if you are someone who teaches pre and postnatal, like look at the local mom groups on Facebook, if they'll let you in.

They'll have rules around that, but if you can get known for being an expert, people are gonna come to you. That's just again, time, which you can dedicate and go, okay, this is my CMO day. This is my marketing hour. And you can go and be present in those groups. As far as like your posts on social media, which I'm sure people have questions about, here's the deal.

You're playing with an algorithm and if you are someone who is teaching locally, it is going to be always better to get the local coffee shop and the local doctors and chiropractors and other businesses to shout you from the rooftops. And then the social media can be a support for that. Too often I see people like go all in on their Instagram posts and then that's their marketing for the day, but you know, truly, if I look back some of my first clients ever in every endeavor have been people who knew me either through somebody or through like down the line, like, oh, I heard so-and-so is doing this right. So your connections and your network are going to be the best. Yeah, I've had the same experience for a lot of the jobs and different clients I've had.

It's all from word of mouth. I've never really had to market myself personally, but just from talking to people and finding out who needs what and how I can help. So I think you don't have to spend a lot of money on marketing yourself, I agree with that. Oh my God, even today with all the internet, tech, social media groups, everything, right, it's still people asking, "Hey, where did you get that shirt?" Even though that shirt's probably been in their Instagram ads, they're asking their friend, what's your favorite this, what's your favorite this? People really do want to have someone they know that something for them and so if you're like, I just moved to an area though, ladies, and no one knows me, then you're going to put yourself out there in a different way but you know a lot of people from where you were before and you can just say, "Hey, who do you know in this town that you can introduce me to, I'd love to have coffee with them.

I love to get to know them." And yes, it's very scary. I have, I know the years, a bunch of shy people in the room freaking out, that I just said that, but I promise you on the other side of this fear of rejection that you have is exactly the clients you want to be teaching and the business you want to have. So, you know, it's like worth the risk. Yeah, so I want to go back to target audience. So I know obviously like people who are like you are more likely to be drawn to you, but how else can you go about figuring out who your target market is?

Yeah, so, you know, a lot of people get a little confused on this, especially when niching down scares people because again, it's that fear of rejection. If I niche down too much and they reject me, then what do I do? My experience is when people are not saying yes to you, it's very little to do with you personally and it's everything to do with the messaging. Like you're just not using the right words that make them actually feel like you can help them. So first I would say if you don't have any clients and you're watching this, then the simplest thing is to think about what brought you into teaching, like even why did you start doing Pilates?

Like what was the reason why you went to your first class and what was the problem that Pilates solved for you? And then you can replicate that in your marketing and your messaging, because if that's why you came in, you know, the truth is we are the best qualified to serve the people we once were. And then it's really easy because you know who that person was. Like, I know one of my target audiences for like my podcast is like literally the girl who like didn't know that she was a perfectionist overachiever so I know what her problem is that our pain point is. I can like sit there and like, I can, I know what her fears were.

So that's really fun. If you have clients, what I would say is look at all your clients and which one would you like hands down duplicate 100 over. You're like, if I had this person every hour of every day, I'd be like, this is amazing. Then you can like look at what were their problems? What are their pain points?

What are their psychographics? What do they like? What do they eat? This is really important. Like where did they get their coffee?

Who do they get their information from? That's going to be really helpful. If that, if you're like, I don't have anyone, I duplicate that's okay, you're not alone. There's a lot of people who are like, oh, this person's really, this is still only seven minutes. What about them don't you like and what would be the opposite of that?

And then that could be a way that you'll start your target audience messaging. And then here's what you're going to know. It is going to be a work in progress, just like your Pilates practice. So you're going to have a general draft and then the more you start talking about what you do to that ideal person, that ideal human being, you will start to get better at it because you'll start to get questions and or comments, or, oh, that's really interesting, can I do this? And you'll start to really actually get to take it from a draft to something that's a little bit more living organism and actually seems more real and you'll have more details that help you out.

That's great advice. I love iterating on that process too, so that it's always a work in progress and it's never going to be complete because there's always more people out there. So I think that's wonderful advice. So going back to social media, I know there's a difference between organic social media and paid social media. Can you talk about the differences between the two and what are the advantages and disadvantages of both?

Yeah, so organic social media is just like when you post it's whoever whoever's already following you will potentially see it. I'm going to help me out a little bit. The last I checked, 1% of your followers will see a post and if it goes viral, that's 4%. So that's not super awesome, but you know, hashtags, which aren't like as big as they were, they're still helpful. It's like added bells and whistles that can get you seen by more people through like the explore pages and Instagram does want to suggest people to others, so you could be that person to others.

What I will say is you can boost organic posts to being seen if you put your location in there because Instagram is going to make sure that it shows your post to other followers in your location and also to followers you engage with meaning if they write a comment, don't just like it, write a comment back because if you guys, if you and the followers are actually having conversations in the comments, your posts are going to come up in their feed more often. So you could really boost your impressions and your organic traffic of your social media. What is really great on social media, whether it's Instagram, Facebook, any of others is if you write posts that are kind of like an F yeah, sorry, like, whew, like those are the easier to share. People want to share things that sound like something they would already say so those are also good posts. So like if you just post about yourself doing an exercise, yes, that could be shared, but it's less likely to be shared by your ideal client, unless your ideal client's a teacher.

And we can talk more about that later. But so you want to shareable content actually helps get the word out for you more. So like, think about tweets, right? Like things that it could be are very quotable. You can also take quotes from other people, make sure you credit them, please, but you can do that if you're like I'm not that quote worthy, Lesley.

Okay, you have amazing things to say, I'm sure, but if you're doubting yourself, like you can take a Brunette quote or you can take a Maya Angelo quote and put those other people will share it and that will at least get people familiar with your name or at least engaging with the post. So that is organic. That means it's free. It takes your time to post it and then it's shown to your followers and maybe some additional people based on shares and explore page. Paid, this is where people put money behind it.

This is where you're doing ad spend. This is where it gets freaking complicated. I don't recommend you do this about actually taking a course on it. If you need a recommendation, we actually are actually putting together, we have an amazing guy who's really, really awesome. He's one of the best out there.

And he is doing, he did, are you ready for Facebook ads course for us. But the basic is if you don't have blog posts content, if you don't have video content, like free content that is already out there that you could put ad money behind, this is, you've seen these ads. You might even seen my ads where like I'm just doing single leg stretch on the mat. We spend money on that, right, for you to see that, why? Because it's not selling you anything, it's just getting to engage.

And then if you engage with that ad, we can go down the funnel of ads. When it comes to ads, though, you're going to need to know things like pixels, and you're going to have to have a plan and a funnel on an email list. So before you put money behind ads, make sure that you're already blogging. You already have really good SEO attraction that you do have an email list and a place to send people. I don't recommend ad spend for like private sessions or even like group classes just because the amount of money you have to spend, it's highly unlikely you're going to see a return on investment and a bit.

But again, if you go back to the beginning of this talk when I was talking about really working on your organic posts and getting the messaging really good and seeing what's converting, then you can start to put ad spend behind that. Please don't ever, ever, ever don't do it boost a post. Don't you dare. There is every Facebook marketing person will tell you not to do this. You're basically just giving them the money because you actually can't ever retarget the person that engaged with that ad.

So every time Instagram and Facebook say, "this is performing 80% better than other posts," you can say, "that's awesome, thank you so much for letting me know." You really want to have an actual targeted campaign so that you can re target the people that you paid to engage with that ad. Yeah, that totally makes sense and I've done our Facebook ads for a hot second and it went way over my head. It was not for me, lot of analytics, so if you're not willing to go into a deep dive of numbers and just there's a lot to it. So the organic group is not as to be. Yeah, it works just as well, especially if you're a smaller business.

Definitely if you're smaller, I'm so sorry. And also like, if you're like a one-woman show, a one human show or even a one small studio, even with multiple teachers, the likelihood of you needing that, you know, again, it's I know it's scary. I know it's hard to tell the coffee shop across the street you want to collaborate with them. I promise you that's free. And or maybe it costs a little bit of like of pain employee time to like spread the word, but like, honestly, you're going to get way more ROI on that than boosting a post about your, you know, free intro series on Saturday.

Exactly. Do you find that social media in general is effective for marketing for studios or do you find that the like collaboration with the local shop to be way more effective? (Lesley laughing) It's a loaded question. It's a loaded question. Here's what I'll say as someone who does do ads.

I never did ads for my Pilates sessions, like private semi-private classes ever, and anything in person, I never did ads. I don't see a reason to do that again for solo teachers or even small studios, I really don't. Now, if you are primarily a class-based studio where you're talking like 10 plus people per class, multiple classes a day, then that might be a pathway to success for you. To me, ad spend on things that are more scalable is worth it so this is like if you've got the memberships or you've got some sort of online library, anything that like, you're not going to be capped on how many people can be in there, that I wouldn't mind you spending, you know, a social media advertising on, but, or social, but like social media in general, just going back to like, just in general, let's go organic, gosh, I think collaborating with your local peeps is going to be way faster. Here's the thing.

Before the pandemic, it was seven to 17 touch points before someone would click on you. What does that mean? That means you're like someone had to see an ad seven to 17 times before they'd click on it. So let's just say you're not doing ads. Let's just say you're doing a post.

That means you have to show up in someone's feed seven to 17 times based on an algorithm. You can't be, right, for them to click on you. Well, if they're not following you, that's not going to happen. So that's why they want you to spend the ad money. But so organically now you have to get someone to literally go, oh yeah, I'm gonna follow this person.

Then you have to hope that you show up in their feed seven to 17 times before they're like, Hey, let me see what else this person does. But when you do things locally, collaboratively, when you get things on a referral basis, like literally someone's like, "Hey, you should talk to my friend Gia. She's an amazing Pilates teacher." You skip all those touch points. Boom, like that is going to be so much better. So if you are someone who hates social media, I'm giving you full permission, unless you have some sort of dream to have some sort of scalable online platform, membership thing, you can 100% enjoy social media for your friends and family, and really tap into local community events and get all your clients that way.

I've seen it done time and time again, it really does work. That's awesome. I think the other alternative for people who really use social media as maybe being like an influencer or something, that's not, doesn't have to do with their teaching and it's more being a personality. So that's the other side of social media that we won't necessarily get into today. But can't do today, but, yeah, you're so correct.

And like, you can totally like teach 10, 12 hours a week and that's one thing and you can do that and get your local peeps refer new clients. And then you can be on social media as an influencer and you can make money doing that. I've seen it happen. You can also just like take a break, chill out. Not work so much.

Exactly. So I want to move into common mistakes that you see people make. I know we've had some conversations over the years about different things we've seen, but what are mistakes that you've seen studio owners or individual teachers making on marketing? Oh, let's see. I can make the list.

But truthfully, like just marketing Pilates, 10 sessions you'll feel different. 27 sessions you'll look different. 30 sessions you'll have a whole new body. It's like, no one knows what that means. They don't actually know what Pilates is.

They don't have to spell it. So what you actually have to do is talk about what people will get after they worked with you. What's the promised land. What does it look like on the other side of their goal? That's what they want to hear and that's going to differentiate you.

So then another common mistake is trying to get people in on discounts. Again, if they don't know what you do, it doesn't matter how cheap you are. So I think you could save yourself a lot of pain and also make a lot more money by not doing discount marketing and just actually marketing what you do, do how you do help people. Making your marketing to general. You know that, or it's not going to speak to someone.

People want to feel seen. Look at social media. It's just look at me, look at me, look at me and people just wanting to feel seen. So if in your marketing, you can actually describe not just how they want to feel, but then like the actual problem they have and then all the pain points that come with it, you know, let's say someone has got lower back pain. Well, that's the main problem.

But like, what does having lower back pain cause them to do? Not chase after their children. Probably not take jobs with long commutes. Avoid going out with friends 'cause they're in pain. Not going out on hikes, not seeing the beautiful nature, right?

So if you can list those things in your marketing, people are going to be like, oh my God, that she gets me. He gets me, they get me. So that is going to be better than just general blanket marketing for everybody. And using specific words that they would use for things. A big thing that I see that we, you know, we need to talk about more, but I see too often, I just see teachers marketing to each other.

And unless your ideal target audience is teachers and it can be, that's totally fine if it is. But too often, I see that. And then here's what I don't, this is what the problem is. So many teachers won't market themselves on social media because they're so worried what other teachers are gonna say about them. If they're not your target audience, block and bless because it doesn't matter what they're gonna say about you.

Like it doesn't, you're not actually trying to get them to say you're good enough. No, that's totally true and yeah, unless you're doing workshops and that's what you're trying to do, like teachers are not going to be signing up for to be your clients. Like they might pop into a class here and there if they're visiting, but generally you want non-teachers because that market's much bigger than the actual teacher market too. It's so huge. And you know, even though I've spent the last, like how many years now, we're at eight years when we were telling people to charge their worth, even though there's an eight years doing this, the non-teachers have the most money.

They actually have the money to spend on your sessions and they can come multiple times a week. They have the friends who they can refer to you. So, I mean also everyone, like why not create workshops for the client, like yoga studios do this all the time. And I don't see, I don't know why Pilates teachers aren't creating workshops that benefit a client and that could actually bring other people in to test you out. So, and then other common mistakes, I would just say real quick, like when you introduce yourself, you say, which is maybe rarely these days, but like let's say you're out and about, and someone's like, "oh, hi, I'm so-and-so." And you're like, "oh, hi, I'm Lesley Logan," and you just end it there, period.

No, you actually need to say like, "oh, hi, I'm Lesley Logan, I teach Pilates to pre and postnatal women down the street." I know that sounds weird. That's like, oh my God, you would say it like that. I don't teach pre and postnatal, that's just what came out, but that's what I would say. So I was some of, one of my favorite clients. You might even be watching this now cause she's been on other ones before.

She's a teacher because we know one of my target audiences for a long time in LA was I taught a lot of teachers. And I was in, I had this rule that if I had a late cancel and I already had done Pilates that day, then I would walk around the neighborhood and I would just get to know the other business owners. And honestly, I didn't need any more clients, but I really do believe in community and I do believe supporting local businesses so I went to this new shop that opened up and I was wandering around and I saw what I thought the store was and I asked her her name and I said, welcome to the neighborhood and then I introduced myself. I said I'm Lesley Logan, I teach a lot of Pilates instructors down the street. And she, and I hear this woman go, Lesley Logan.

And I look over and she's like, I've been wanting to take a session from you. And right then and there I got her phone number. So that's another key step in marketing is get their information. You don't have to give them a card anymore. You can just say, "Hey, what's your information?

I'll contact you." And then she had a session. She was a client of mine every single week for three years. So, you know, get out in the neighborhood. That's amazing, I love that story. And yes, getting phone numbers, emails, like that's actually a lot of what marketing is just like getting that touch point so that you can market to them directly because newsletters are a great way to stay in touch too.

Oh my God, y'all email is not dead. Don't let anyone tell you that, anyone who is telling you that is trying to sell you on their social media tool of some kind. Here is the deal. Instagram and Facebook went down for a whole day, a couple weeks ago, right? Guess who made their money?

Guess who didn't, I was like, this is glorious. I don't have to do anything on there today. And we had a challenge going on that we use social media for and I literally just emailed everyone and said, "Hey, don't worry. You'll do your check-in twice tomorrow. It's not you it's them and enjoy a day of not having to be on social." But get their information instead of you just giving them yours because otherwise you have to wait for them to remember you, but if you get their information, yes, you can have them on your newsletter list. Please follow the rules, privacy policies in your state or history.

But you can, you also, you know, again, seven to 17 touch points. Maybe they just met you and they're like, oh, that's awesome and they're going on a trip. But if they're getting your emails, then you stay top of mind. And I had this one client who had my phone number. He was an actor in LA and he traveled all over, but he would use my newsletter to let me know that he was going to be in town.

He's go, "I'm gonna be in town next week. What do you have on these days?" And I was like, oh my God, I'll text you. But stayed top of mind, because I got those emails. So I want to go into the languaging of marketing because I sometimes see companies, not even just Pilates companies, but just in general, they'll kind of bash their competitors and use kind of negative languaging and I always find that as a turnoff and it usually draws me toward their competitors because I want to say like, why are they bashing on so much, something must be good there that they're talking about them. So what do you find to be the best practice for just your language and your copy and your market, like print copy?

Yeah, I think first of all, you should be focusing most of your efforts on your differentiating values, what makes you better. Excuse me now it's my dog's turn to bark. What makes you better than them? And you don't have to even mention who they is. But just like, what is it?

So like if you are a private-based studio and you have a class-based studio on the street, you can actually talk about all the benefits of having a private session without ever mentioning that classes are not good. So that's like, I would really focus on like what actually makes you different and market that first. Look, I've studied with different marketers and it is okay for you if you want to call out something bad, like call out another competitor, I would go really big. Like if you're going to go negative on something, like it's okay if you want to go negative on the Pelotons or like the Beach Body, like they're big and their other CrossFit they're used to it and also it's not a person, it's like a big thing, that being said, make sure that your have been very clear on how awesome you are before you ever bring in their name to anything because otherwise you just sound like a jerk. You just sound like a negative Nancy and like, sorry to the Nancys out there.

You just don't sound fun. I don't want to work with you just like you said, it's like a total turnoff. So if you are, if you just keep hearing people going, "oh, I'm just gonna get my Peloton workout." Then what you can say is like, you know, you might think that your Peloton Pilates is gonna like be all that you need, but here's why having in-person or like in real time live eyes on your body works. So you can call it out, but you don't actually have to say like I'm better than them and here's, you know, so I would just focus on make a list of all the things that make you different from your competitors locally, because that's pretty much who's going to find you first. So I was, my Pilates studio was one of 18 within less than two mile radius.

And if you went to three miles, it was like, is insane as you know it's LA and there's like one on every corner. So I knew, you know, when people would stop me as I was walking into my studio, they go, "oh, are you Lagree?" And I said, "oh no, I think you want the studio across the street." And I said, "I, you know, I just, I teach in a small studio upstairs, private-based." And they were like, and they said, "oh, tell me more about it." So I said, "well, this is why I like to teach people in one or two person sessions. Here's what you get out of it, here's this." And they said how much? And I told him how much, but now in that moment they're like, "oh, that's so expensive." Well, that person is a price shopping person. Not going to be for me.

She didn't even try me out. She has no idea. So I focus on what makes me unique. Those don't solve her problem. So she wants whatever she is looking for for whatever she wants to pay and that's okay.

It doesn't mean I have to change my prices. It does mean you have to change who I am. She's not the right person for me. So, you know, I would look at all the people who you're competitive with, look at what they're offering and then what you offer that's different, so maybe, you know, there's three other studios in your town that also offer small group classes, but what about yours? How few people are in your small group compared to theirs?

So we, most, you could say most people offer group classes that are seven plus people, but at our studio, our small groups only have three. And here's why that's good for you. So you don't actually have to name the names. You can actually just do your research and then, and then say why it's better and who it's better for and get really good at that. The other thing you can do is like looking at what you offer, make a list of all the things they could be doing besides choosing you and then you can talk about why those things won't work, but you don't have to actually name the name of, please don't name the name of the studio or the teacher, just generalize them.

Other teachers or other studios may do this. Here's why that's not going to work for you. That's fine. That's fine with me. But putting their actual name is like, you're just asking for people who like gossipy crap like that to be your clients.

And like, if that's what you want, that's fine, but I don't want that. No, exactly. I'm going to open it up to questions from anyone attending. If you have them, you can just add them to the chat. But I wanted to go back to, you had mentioned earlier, why you shouldn't discount your prices as like a marketing tactic.

Can you talk more about that? And also maybe like some of the deals that I'll see people doing, like Groupon, Living Social, all of those types of like, they're kind of marketing, but also not really. It's like, there's research on how bad like Groupon and all those things are for businesses. Like they literally ruin businesses. So, and if they, if their businesses survive, their Yelp account and reviews did not because you just don't have control.

Like if 50 people click on that Groupon and you're a small studio of three teachers, you're not going to be able to actually get all those people in and the time that they want, and then they're going to be upset about it and their experience is going to be great and they're going to write a nasty review about it. So, but that being said, okay, if you are a brand new studio and there is one of those things in your area and you are wanting to use it as marketing, you can do your research. I have seen decent ones work where they limited the amount of people that could sign up for it. They made it that the least discounted possible and they made it on like one thing so it was more of like just spreading the word that they were there more than like they didn't actually want anyone to buy it. But let's talk about discounting yourself as not a form of marketing, no one is looking for Pilates on sale near me.

When they go into Google, they're not typing Pilates on sale near me or cheap Pilates near me. They're not. They're typing, if they know what Pilates is, they're typing in Pilates near me, Pilates in this town. So just so you know, right there, like best Pilates or you know, exercises for lower back pain. That's what they're typing.

So you have to, when you're doing marketing, you actually have to get in the head of the person you're trying to get to find you and think of what questions are they asking Google. They're not asking for that. The other reason is that I don't like discounts as a form of marketing is you're not actually marketing what you're good at, your marketing and how cheap you could be. And like, you probably, you will get some people who are like, oh yeah, but they might've just said yes to you anyways. And so I'm not saying you don't offer like an intro pack or whatever, there's different reasons for doing different things and I'm happy to dive into that.

In coaching we do it all the time, but when it comes to your marketing, I would really not worry about the prices don't even have to be in the marketing. Just tell them how good they're going to feel. Tell them how you understand their pain points. Talk about other clients you've had and the transformation, oh my God, best, best marketing you can do if you're going to do social is transformation stories. These are different than testimonials.

This is like, so-and-so used to look like this or feel like this, or have this thing. Like I had a client who's a, on my classes whose shoulders were forward 'cause she's a doctor and she's like leaning over people all the time. And so I gave her the arm series on the barrel. She did it day for three weeks, she took another picture of herself and her shoulders were back, so we had this before and after of her posture. And I said, this is Darlene.

This is why she came to me. This is what exercise I gave her. This is what she is doing now. And this is what she's able to do. People are like, "oh my God, that woman looks like me." I want to work with you.

So transformations for us are great marketing. But my, oh, we're having a discount on our classes this weekend, that's not going to get you new clients, that's going to get your old clients to buy classes on discount, which is fine, but then call it a loyalty sale. Don't use the membership drive or something. No, that's wonderful. Vanessa has a question.

Are there any specific pointers or tips for those of us still teaching online? Yeah, I mean, here's the deal, even though you're online and anyone could take from you, you, I promise you, if you dive locally, you're going to get way more clients because they are going to love that you love the same smoothie place. They're going to love hearing they went to the same salad, like whatever place. There's a connection there that they can trust. So for example, I was looking for a breath work certification.

I've been doing a lot of research and I was calling a lot of places and I got on a sales call with this girl. And she said, where do you live? And I said, "oh, I just moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles." She was like, "oh my God, do you miss the smoothies at Erewhon?" And I was like, "yeah, I do miss those $20 smoothies." I would, it was like a treat to myself. Guess what? I ended up listening to her whole sales pitch, her whole call, I'm in that program now.

So like, so just know like the local, that local knowness, those shared experiences are going to be better. So I would say local and then what will end up happening is your members will know other people that the people attending your online stuff, they'll know people and invite them to have a referral reward program or something like that to bring people into your classes. That is, again, going back to word of mouth marketing is gonna be way better, even for online. That's great. Sharon asks any advice about competing with Pilates chains like Club Pilates and how you differentiate?

She says she has three Club Pilates in her area. Yeah, well, welcome to the club. Here's the deal y'all, I love my peeps at Club Pilates. I have lots of teachers who I coach who work for them. I teach a lot of them and I can see why it can be frustrating if you're a small business to have them in your neighborhood and fear them, like totally fear them.

But I think what you should do is say thank you for marketing Pilates. Here's how I'm different. So if you have 12 reformers chairs and springboards, then you have to figure out, okay, then I'm not that different there, but where am I different? My experience, you likely don't have that many pieces of equipment and that your group classes are actually much smaller. And so what I have actually had a lot of people do, SEO group classes is going to go really well, but if you have under eight people in a class, it's a small group to me.

So you should actually talk about the benefits of working in a small group and also like maybe are even smaller. Maybe they're like three or four people, now we're in a semi-private group class and like why is that better? And so instead of saying their name on your website, because you're just going to help them out, you're going to say, you know, a lot of people end up starting out in group Pilates classes. Here's why a small group class or semi-private or private session might be better for you, and list all the benefits. The other thing is like, just think of it, you can also think of them as a gateway drug.

They're going to get people in because they're doing a really good job marketing Pilates. And so then now you've got people looking up Pilates near you and so you should have a website. That's a great way to compete with them. And also blog posts that answer the questions that people are asking and then the internet and then talk about how you actually solve their pain points and problems. They're not going to stop growing.

They're all there, but they're not actually hurting you as much as you are letting them. Spending time, this is where I get all my little pedestal, I love you all, but seriously, spending time thinking that the other business is actually what's hurting you is wasting your time and that's what's hurting you. So you actually have to look at their marketing, look who they're marketing to, go to their class, take one, and really see who they're attracting. I bet you it's different than who you're trying to attract. And then your marketing can make sure your marketing looks different than them.

Don't market come to Pilates market like con like tired of your commute, feel better, walk taller, like whatever they need to hear, who are you trying to like, who you're trying to work with. And yeah, their studio might be across the street from you and that might suck. That's scary, that's hard. But you know, people get lost all the time and they might walk into your studio instead. That happens all the time.

So true. You talked about SEO a little bit and just blogs. Can you explain what SEO is for people who might not know and how you can improve that? Oh, y'all are going to get so excited about this. SEO equals search engine optimization and it's basically like taking your website and making it the 24/7 assistant marketing person that you may not feel you have the ability to hire right now and like winning.

So here's the deal, search engines. that's Google, I don't know if people use Yahoo, Bing, things like that, Safari, those are tools people use to get information from the internet, right? So they go into the search engine of their choice and here's what has to happen. Every search engine is competing to give that the search user the best answer and the quickest. So, because if they do, then people keep coming back to their search engine and also they can start showing them more ads 'cause that's how search engines make money. So search engines have these things called spiders and they crawl your website and they're crawling your website all the time and when your website, so if you built your website and then you never do anything to it again, it's okay, you're not alone, but basically it looks like your website is old and closed.

So how you update your search engine optimization, how you actually make your website work for you is by updating it on a consistent basis. Consistent doesn't mean every day. It doesn't mean every week. It means like a heartbeat. Now my friend who is like the best search engine person in the world, we freaking love him, he would tell you that like daily, 1900 word blog posts is the best way to go.

But he even himself, he does one every three weeks. If you can write a blog post every week, I know, oh my God, you're really like, but I'm not a writer, then get me every other week. I need you to be consistent with it. That's going to update your website. A blog post should be an answer to a question that your target audience is asking a search engine.

And then what's going to happen is the spiders are gonna read it and then someone asks a question and if they pull you up into the search engine, right, search results, excuse me, and they click on you and then they spend time reading it, boom, your score just went up. And now they're like, wow, this person's website's really great. Let's make sure we give her to more people. Let's give her to more people. Let's give her to more people.

So that is going to be like, that is organic free marketing, blog posts, people spending time on your site and then they're when they're spending time on your site, they're like, you know, bopping around and then maybe there's a, pop-up like, "Hey, do you have you suffer from X, Y, and Z here, I have this lead magnet for you," which is like a freebie. You've seen these all the time. Pilates many times is a two-week trial. So then you can get them on your email list and you can start to warm them up to come in for a session. But at the very least search engine optimization is just that the making sure your website is becoming the answer to people's questions they asked you internet in your area and that is marketing.

Yeah blogs can be so helpful too. I actually think that's how I got my job here 'cause I used to have a blog about Pilates and I would talk about my favorite stretches and the benefits of it. Like I'd throw in stuff about me, just stuff I liked about Pilates, but then I'd kind of throw in the benefits of whatever it was I was talking about to kind of make it more relevant to more people and I found it got like quite a bit of traffic, even though I didn't actually do much marketing and knowing who I was, but it helps even in once a month. Yeah, you can and that's just that you can do once a month if you're like, oh my God, what do I blog about? Okay, write down the top.

Let's just say, let's write down the top 20 questions you're asked ever about Pilates, top 20 questions. And each one of those is a blog post. There you go. So like that question can be the title and I promise you the more you start doing it, the easier it's going to get, the less scary it gets, like, what's the worst that's gonna happen. People don't read it.

You're not going to die. It's going to be okay. But if the best case is that it attracts people to you. I got some of the best clients because of blog posts. So, you know.

Yeah, just as Lesley mentioned earlier with the quotes, just make sure if you use pictures, you give credit or you use stock images so that you're not stealing from other people because that could be a huge red flag for- Definitely, if you're going to use pictures, do a photo shoot, take some pictures of yourself, take some pictures of teaching your friends. Like if you can use your own pictures with even better. 'Cause we've had people go, you used this photo and it was like, well, first of all, it was on our like stock website. It was like, like our trial website. We didn't even have that public and also like a free thing.

So get your own photos. It's going to be great. Yeah, we have one more question from Saline. Do you recommend having a website when you have a home studio? Yeah, 100%.

How are people going to find you? Look, home studios, I don't recommend that your address is on there, but you can have, you can get, at least you can get like your neighborhood on there. Like, so for example, I live in McNeil. It's a very famous neighborhood in Las Vegas. So I could put that down and I could, my business address is just down the road so at least the zip code is the same so I'm so up on Google maps and that would be fine.

But yeah, I mean, you know, like obviously what I would say for home studios is please also make sure that if it's a stranger, who's not coming by a referral that there's like some sort of call in place, like video 15 minute assessment that you do for free to just vet them and then, you know, before you give out your information of where you live, but yeah, every single person watching this, I don't care what you do, I'm going to tell you you need a website. If you're not on the internet, people can't find you. I don't care how big social media is. Every single one of those platforms is going to disappear someday. We're all going to be on a different, 10 years from now it's gonna be like Instagram what?

Like it's like MySpace. I don't even know what my login was for that. So just, yeah got to have something that you own, you own an email list, you own your website. You don't own your Instagram followers, period. Yeah and your Instagram could get hacked.

That happened to us a little while ago and you never know if you're going to get it back and then you'd have to start over. We luckily did, but you never know what could happen. That's so scary. No, you don't. Or they can decide that you violated some arbitrary rule.

My mom got kicked off of Facebook because she violated some random rule just by sharing someone's comedy posts and she lost all of her pictures, all of her followers, all of her friends. And she had to start all over on Instagram. And then, you know, we finally got her back on Facebook with a different last name. Wow. I don't think there's any more questions from the people attending, but my last question to you is do you have any additional tips or last words that you want to give to our attendees?

Yeah, so y'all small business Saturday is this Saturday. Everyone is talking about how Christmas gifts are going to be delayed this holiday season. They don't need to be, you exist. What you do is really valuable, right? And it solves people's problems.

And if you collaborated with like maybe the coffee shop across the street, or maybe the clothing shop next door, maybe people can buy a gift basket with candles and a Pilates gift certificate, things like that. So you could promote small business Saturday and some awesome gifts that people could buy their friends that are unique and won't get stuck out of barge in Long Beach, you know, or wherever you are in the world. So I highly recommend doing that. And then also like, please, please, please remember, like, you really do have this special gift that you are doing. Like we are not, you know, like I think about my friend who's an amazing eyebrow specialist, right?

That's what she's known for. In reality, is she solving problems by fixing people's eyebrows? Maybe, maybe how they feel about themselves. Maybe somebody had like an accident and needs some cosmetic procedure but like the reality is, is like, it's also not necessary, but like Pilates actually like really does change people's lives. It makes people stand taller.

It makes people feel better. It makes her digestion better. It makes them excited to talk to other people, makes them feel really proud of themselves. And it takes you out of pain. I mean, some of you are like one of our agency members is working with a stroke person who can now lift up a spoon because of Pilates, like that is a life-changing thing.

It's amazing. It's amazing. If you don't tell people the problems that you solve and how awesome you are at it, brag a little, you don't change people's lives. And then literally, like, they're just sitting there wondering what's going to solve their problems. So please, please, please be the answer to the problem that they solve and be unapologetic about that because like we're so lucky we get to do what we do and it's actually quite selfish of you to not share that to the world.

So anyways, that's my spiel. I hope everyone feels loved. Oh, I love that. Thank you so much, Lesley. Thank you for being here and thank you everyone else for being here too and if you can take one thing, it's just to make sure that you actually market yourself and put yourself out there so people can find you and so you can share all the amazing things that you're doing with the community.

Thank you again for everyone for being here and we'll see you next time, bye. (gentle music)


Thank you Lesley! This was very helpful. I was actually thinking about investing in social media ads before listening to this, and changed my mind now😉
Esin Parker phew glad we caught ya in time! Never do FB ads without proper guidance. No boosting babe! xx
Caroline Close
This was such an enjoyable and engaging discussion. As a home based studio owner  who mainly teaches private/semi-private sessions, I had recently been feeling overwhelmed by trying to grow my social media presence and 'keep up' with what bigger gyms and studios nearby are doing. I had fallen into the trap of watching what others were doing and forgetting about what makes my studio unique. The reminders about focusing on this were very much appreciated. Thanks Lesley and Gia! x

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