We’ve all felt that pressure to elevate a business to the next level. Maybe your family is growing, or you’re ready to establish your personal brand as a passive income stream. Whatever the reason, you know you’re taking on a big challenge to take it to the next level.
As a fitness business owner, you already understand how to help people achieve their fitness goals. Now you need to start leveraging your brand to start building your passive income stream
Trading Your Time for Money
It’s hard to build a clientele. Maybe you were out promoting the new gym you sank your savings into, or you’ve built a schedule around high-paying personal training clients. When you charge for a service that you personally provide, you are trading your precious time in exchange for money. That may be great for a while, but eventually your business will demand that you scale or stagnate. That’s just the way consumers spend.
To see your profits increase, you’ll need to sell products that customers can order automatically so that you can make money in your sleep.
Protein Powder as a Product
Protein powder and pre-workout are the most popular fitness supplements available. Everyone can use them and see benefits almost immediately. It’s an easy value-add for any fitness brand, but you still need to know your stuff when it comes to protein formulas.
There are too many types of protein formulas to count, but you need to start with one. It’s tempting to try to offer a range of powders for all your possible customers, but it’s a mistake.
Your first product should be for a specific customer. You need to focus in on one audience with one specific need, and create a product that blows them away. Put your name all over it and watch them reorder month after month.
Validate Your Audience
The first step to validating your audience is to hone in on what they really want. It’s not enough to know that they already buy protein powder. Your job is to know every detail of their decision making process, from how often they buy to what flavors they like. The best way to do that is by talking with your audience specifically about what they like about their protein.
The best metric to judge whether your product is successful is the number of sales. That seems obvious, but many business owners get sidetracked by metrics like social media engagement. Focus on growing your business through a predictable sales process.
At the beginning, that looks like quick experiments to learn what products will be most successful. Put up a page on your website to sell a certain flavor, then run ads to see how many sales you can get. Don’t spend more than $50 on social media advertisements per test. Add another product page, create new ads, and quickly iterate on your test to determine which product is more popular. Keep doing this for each possible product until you have determined the product in highest demand.
Your next calculation is the cost per sale. After picking your best product, slowly scale up advertising to determine exactly how much you have to spend to get a lead and ultimately a sale. Calculate your profit against the additional cost per sale, and decide whether you need to raise the price
- Are there cheaper ways you can get sales?
- Will your audience accept a higher price?
Sell, Sell, Sell
If you’ve tested your product-market fit and you’re happy with the margins, then it’s time to crank up the sales efforts. Your sales strategy should grow and adapt with your business, which should always be improving. Let’s go over some of the common sales channels you can use.
Your fitness clients are the most likely people to purchase your products because they know you and they personally trust you. Protein is another opportunity to bring them value and help them reach their fitness goals.
An online sales funnel is critical to turning your business into a passive income stream. An online sales funnel can be broken into the following steps.
- Lead Capture
Let’s break these down into their most important parts.
Traffic is all of the people that visit your website. There are an infinite number of ways to convince people to visit your website only limited by your creativity. As a fitness business owner, you should already be directing your customers to your website for scheduling or promotional content. When someone types in your website name into their browser it is called direct traffic.
Clicks to your website from an email will also show up as direct traffic in your analytics platform, which is why it’s important that you understand how to track email traffic.
Email is a powerful sales tool, and it can drive revenue in your business. You need to leverage email in a way that meets your customers needs and exceeds their expectations. All links should use UTM parameters so that your analytics accurately displays how many people are visiting your site from each medium.
Any ecommerce business will have some amount of online advertising. It’s a complex world with many avenues, including PPC, SEM, and display advertising, but we will focus on Social Media.
You likely already have a social media following, either personally or on your business page. If you don’t already have a business social media account, stop what you are doing and go create one. It doesn’t matter if you are a personal trainer that works directly with clients, you still need a business page separate from your personal account. There are many good reasons for this, but the main one is that you need a business page to run ads.
There are many different social media websites out there, so let’s discuss the pros and cons of the big ones.
Facebook is the elephant in the room and should not be ignored. They have hundreds of millions of active users and almost everyone you know has an account. It is cheap to advertise and easy to publish content. There may be some situations where other social media accounts are more worth your time, but overall Facebook is a great first platform for ecommerce.
Fitness is a visual business. Clients are attracted to success stories with obvious aesthetic improvement. Instagram is an incredibly popular medium to promote fitness products. It’s owned by Facebook, which means you can push ads to both platforms at the same time. Instagram is a great fit for any fitness business, which means you need to put in the work to create great visual content.
Pinterest has a strong female audience, and it’s core users are hungry for relevant and aesthetically pleasing content. If you run a business catered towards women who use social media, Pinterest can bring regular website visitors. Pinterest is designed to help users discover new content that they will enjoy, so your brand has tremendous opportunity to reach people who would never find your business otherwise.
Video is the new king of content, and YouTube is the king of video. The great part of having a video content production process is that you can repurpose content for other platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It’s the most engaging form of content you can make and also the most time-consuming. Unless you are already a well-established business, the cost of outsourcing video production is prohibitive. Instead, use video production tools like Wistia and Animoto to quickly iterate on new content. Use live video as another form of marketing, and always try to re-purpose content on multiple platforms.
Sales are your most important metric for measuring your ecommerce success. All of your efforts should be ultimately leading new prospects down the sales funnel to a conversion. Part of that process is collecting potential leads for remarketing. This stage of the funnel is called lead capture. The tactic is to entice people who aren’t quite ready to buy into giving up their email address in exchange for a free offer. That can be a downloadable workout schedule, a free workout video, or just a chance to win something.
Just like any other part of your business, it’s important to understand how your audience thinks and what they expect to see while browsing your website. Adding huge pop-ups or display advertisements might turn off some customers, while others won’t mind. You need to weigh how much value each intrusive element adds to your business versus how much customers like the experience.
Remember that your business model is all about honing in your customers’ most pressing needs and desires. Your website should enable that process and gently lead them right to what they want the most. If you are clearly communicating what they want, then they will jump through hoops to get what they are searching for. On the other hand, if your website is confusing or unclear, even a minor annoyance can cause a bored visitor to leave without telling you about their business or a way to contact them. Be entertaining and be honest, and people will let you contact them again.
The most important stage of the online sales journey is making the purchase. Your shopping cart should be simple and fast, especially on mobile devices. There are too many online shopping cart platforms to count, and those can all be researched extensively elsewhere. The big competitive edge you can get over your customers in this area is to add extensive site tracking.
Google Tag Manager allows you to add intelligent tracking all over your site and send that data to Google Analytics. Don’t miss out on this incredibly powerful tool, as it can tell you a lot. Use it to measure:
- What buttons people click
- How far people scroll on a page
- How long they watch a YouTube video
- Where they go on your site
Your website is like a fishing net, and finicky customers are slipping through the holes back into the ocean of ecommerce. That’s why you need tracking to tell you when Shopping Carts are abandoned, and where people are dropping off of the website.
Think purchase is the last step in your customer journey? Think again. Whether someone makes a purchase or leaves empty handed, your goal is still to bring them back to the site and turn them into a brand loyal customer. Retargeting sends ads after a person has visited your website on other websites.
Retargeting works using website code called pixels. Pixels are small snippets that you put on every page of your website. The reason they are called pixels is because a graphic 1 pixel by 1 pixel is placed on the page, and every time it is loaded it fires back to another server to send information about whoever loaded the page.
These days most ecommerce sites have multiple pixels firing on every page. This page has a Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Facebook Pixel. Other websites have many more than that. The reason you need more pixels is all about which ad networks you want to use. The more places you want to place your supplement ads, the more pixels you will need
Pixels are easy to install, just copy and paste the code into your page. The details will vary based on which platform you are using.
Once everything is in place your marketing engine should be running like a well-oiled machine. Your highest priority at this stage is to make sure that you have thorough tracking on every part of the website. You should have tracking on everything your clients click on as they step through the buying process.
Your measure of success is the conversion rate by marketing channel. Track where everyone is coming from to get to your website, and then compare how many become paying customers by each marketing channel. This will give you a good idea of where your money is most effective. The most common platform to get tracking up and running isGoogle Analytics.
Tracking also means knowing your customers by name and learning their buying patterns. Your CRM is key to understanding the long-term value of a customer. You should understand the needs of your customers well enough that you can recommend an upsell or re-order before they even think to ask.
Once you have all of your metrics reporting on what products people are buying, you need to decide what your best products are. Learn which flavors sell the best, and what flavors people are requesting. Your strongest offer will be a big breadwinner for your business, so you want to double down your efforts to make that product as successful as possible.
That means if your pumpkin spice latte whey is selling twice as fast as your other protein powders, you need to shift advertising dollars to focus on that product. Having a product in high demand allows you to worry less about sales and more about maximizing your advertising ROI.
Let’s consider a scenario where you are spending $800 per month an advertising split between 3 products. That’s a little over $250 per month per product in ad spend, and your total sales are $1600. That’s fine, but break down the problem further. 2 of your products are accounting for $800 in sales, while the third product is accounting for half of all revenue. Just by shifting ad spend you can double your advertisements on the high performer, resulting in a $400 ad spend on your main product and $200 each for your other products. The end result is your revenue makes a 50% jump to $2400 just by shifting advertising budget.
In addition to making your best products smash hits, you need to understand why other products are performing poorly. If a product isn’t selling like you think it should, do some digging to find out why. Ask customers what they don’t like about the product, and what they would like to see instead. Going the extra mile is how you beat your competitors and make products people love.
Don't Be Afraid To Be Wrong
The last point is something we all know as entrepreneurs, but always have to be reminded of: don’t be afraid to be wrong. If you don’t understand something about your product or your audience’s’ needs, you’ll only be embarrassed when you have to ask for more information. If you continue to offer a shoddy product or an incomplete value to your customers, then you will be embarrassed every single day. Plan for failure as a growth mechanism and you’ll keep getting bigger.