The most common New Year’s resolution is health and fitness-related. After the filling festive period, most people are looking to drop the pounds and get in shape for the coming year.
We all know that there is a specific spike of traffic when a new year starts. Motivation is high, people are ready with sweat towels pumping to work toward healthier lifestyles. It goes without saying: this is a huge opportunity to lock in recurring customers.
Stats tell us that only 8% of people stick to their resolution and it’s your job (The Gym Business Owner) to try and change this for the great good!!
The optimal time to lock in this clientele is now, during the new year…As come mid-February, the dust has settled and most people are back to their old habits.
While those drop-off numbers may be disappointing, don’t let them discourage you. This is your chance to do something different and reel in all the newbies looking for help! Once a great way to lock in new customers is with your own Gym App.
One thing that is going from strength to strength is the use of user-friendly technology. Most people are going the tech way. Investing in your own gym app or gym software for your business can be a great investment to market yourself and also make your services much convenient to people. Identify what your clients are looking for and offer it in your own software.
Don’t give your clients a chance to quit in 2019 and hold them accountable 24/7! Not just while they are on the gym floor!
Richard Branson the founder of Virgin, famously said ‘the business branding that will thrive in the coming years are the ones that have a purpose beyond the profit’. Your businesses brand is like your reputation and if executed correctly can be your most important asset. Your brand can sell to your customers piggybacked off this factor alone. A well-defined brand encapsulates all aspects of the business and is closely connected to consumer needs. Brand Strategy goes far beyond a logo or a tagline and exceeds the demand of perfect execution, Brand Strategy is a plan that defines long-term goals that can be achieved with the evolution of a successful brand.
Your brand is not just the stuff that you say aloud, its the unspoken, intangible stuff. Think about the feeling that separates a powerhouse brand from the mediocre. Branding is more of an art and less of a science. But, by following these points you can take the steps in the right direction you will be able to capture a piece of the branding magic for your business.
This point should be fairly obvious but is where so many businesses fail. Marrying what your brand promises to what your brand actually is, is vital for how your consumers will perceive your business. Make sure everything your business does, everything it puts its brand on is with intention. Never do anything to half the capacity and expect it to reflect positively on your brand. Be 100%.
Consistency goes beyond using your branding across all mediums in the same way. Consistency also relates to avoiding talking about things which do not relate or enhance your brand. Even the simplest things such as posting a blog need to ensure that the message aligns with your branding and nothing is random or it could confuse your audience.
To avoid sending out the wrong message it is beneficial to create a style guide. This style guide can encompass everything from your imagery, tone of voice and colour scheme. Checking off against your style guide before posting any content can help you and your employees understand the message you would like to portray and your positioning.
Westpac Australia displays brand consistency through their Instagram page. Westpac posts a diverse range of content, but nothing diverges outside of their branding. Everything they post is consistent and it creates a good flow for their audience.
What sets a strong brand which resonates with its audience apart from the forgettable. It’s emotion, it’s personality, it’s the ability for a brand to relate to its audience. People are not robots, they are not always rational.
Why do customers pay double the price for Coca-Cola when home brand Cola is on the shelf below it? There is an emotional voice in their head somewhere saying ‘Buy Coca-Cola’. Megabrands such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds are masters of emotional triggers which strengthen their audiences relationships. Both brands place emphasis on the emotional experience that their consumer will receive from their products than the actual product itself. Think about Coca-Cola ads, always friends laughing together and smiling. What about every-time you drive past a McDonalds and see the playground, doesn’t that remind you of birthday parties you shared with your closest friends and family. Think about adding emotion and relating experiences to your products next time you are creating a marketing campaign.
The brands that will see the most success and longevity are the brands which are flexible and able to adjust freely to their environment. This sounds simple, but when you’re creating or building your brand it should be considered. Branding which focus on the latest fads and are birthed from a trend are good for short-term returns. But, brands which are going to stand the test of times are the ones which are not attached to situations such as these. Making your brand functional and relevant is essential. Making your brand relate directly to your products or services can be a mistake should things change or expand in the future, think of Virgin.
The sense of belonging to something bigger than just a product. The feeling of self and identifying with a brand for social or economic reasons. This one should be fairly obvious. Imagine, you are walking down the street you notice people passing you listening to their iPhones through white headphones. This PR stunt is no accident, Apple designed this aspect of their product to invoke a sense of community for those participating, and a fear of missing out to those who do not yet own an Apple iPhone.
Community goes beyond product recognition.
This point is related more to keeping tabs on what your competitors are doing and what angle they are taking to attract the audience which you share. Observing how other businesses are using their brand and to what success they are having.
Let’s clear the air here about what is a Marketing Plan. No, you don’t need the Executive Summary, unless you are applying for financing, sponsorship or a business partner. But YES! You do need to have an applicable Marketing Plan with smart, realistic objectives. Why? Well if it isn’t obvious, your business needs direction, goals, and accountability of everything around you. This will help you understand your business more, which will flow on to your customers understanding of your brand. Having a clear marketing plan will help see you:
Below are some Marketing Plan elements that you will need to consider implementing into your business. Remember, the more detail that you put in, the clearer that picture will become.
The overall Marketing Strategy is achieved by small steps set to achieve your goals. Without a clear plan, everything can become overwhelming from all the noise.
Launching a new product every Marketing Objective conforms to SMART. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely decisions. This is a great framework when creating your Marketing Objectives as they give you further direction and identify what you actually need to achieve. Ask yourself where you want your business to go? Common SMART objectives could be:
How does your Marketing Plan support your business goals? Your Marketing Strategy outlines what you want to do/ be known for and your Marketing Plan shows how you are going to get there.
When planning your Marketing Time Frame you need to account for two different periods. The short-term (> 6 months) and the long-term (12 months +). Outlining exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it is perhaps the most important part of implementing your Marketing Plan. Having that level of accountability will ensure you stay on track with your activities.
An easy way to divide up your Marketing Time Frame to make sure that every fine detail is achieved is by breaking down each big objectives into a series of small tasks. Using a spreadsheet to clearly display your time frame is a good way to keep a visual on your objectives
Remember, money sitting in the bank in business, is money which is not making you money. Consider investing in Marketing activities which can get your word out there and bring you in more sales. Unfortunately, most Small Businesses have finite resources to draw on, which is why introducing a budget is necessary to break down what you can afford. If you are responsible for the overall business budget and especially the Marketing activity then you need to know what funds are available to spend.
Always be objective with your spend and things that you have no experience with you will need to allocate an additional 25% for. It is better to have more money available than less, especially in a small business environment.
I would recommend setting your budget up in an Excel Spreadsheet of Google Sheets. This way you can record your budget and your actual spend.
As a small business, you certainly have a lot on your plate. Juggling your limited resources while still keeping the show on the road can be overwhelming for anyone to manage. Sometimes, things such as branding can take a backseat in the greater scheme of the business. This is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make in marketing. Overlooking your brand will cost you in the long run, but being consistent and directional from the start will increase the value of your business.
You what! Believe it or not, I have met businesses who function without a brand. And a brand goes further than having some colors that you use frequently and a logo. A brand goes beyond the call of duty. Its the context, the content, the tonality, the personality. Think about brands such as Coca-Cola, their iconic red and white, their imagery which encapsulates happy experiences, their advertisements that remind you of summer and drinking a Coke with your friends after a swim on the beach. Not understanding the power of the brand is costing you. If you want to form relationships with your customers then branding is a good start. Read our guide on how to be a brand marketing expert to learn how to get started.
Ok! So you have a brand but you and your employees do not really know how it is applied. When you look through your posts, your proposals, your websites, even the way that you communicate with your customers you begin to realise there is no real consistency. You stamp your logo on every photo you post but you begin to realise they are all different sizes and in different positions. When speaking to your customers you are using language which is not reflective of your brand. You are creating content which doesn’t really relate to your business. There is so much noise in the marketplace, in your industry. There should not be noise in your brand! You need to be consistent. Read our blog on how to build brand guidelines. Or alternatively, outsource this task to a marketing agency who can analyse your market and come up with the right brand for your industry.
This point is so important! In all my experience working in marketing with small businesses, I quickly realised that so many businesses are still falling into the mass marketing trap. For example, a sock company would argue, well everyone who wears shoes needs to wear socks, so therefore my market is everyone who wears shoes. WRONG! You cannot market like this anymore and expect to get anywhere. There is too much noise out there and you need to refine your audience if you want to make sales. Failing to identify your ideal customer will cost you time and money. If you are casting a net too wide and with lots of holes you can’t really expect to catch anything.
Take a look at the biggest powerhouse brands in the world. Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s. All these brands are actually very refined. Small Businesses can learn valuable lessons from those who came before. While it can be tempting to add more variables than you really need, clean and simple elements will build the foundations. Remember when you are communicating with your audience, each time you introduce a new element into your branding that is something that needs to stick around. You do not want to confuse your audience with too many variables.
Now we’ve talked about being too complicated. The second pitfall is being too vague, or as I like to call it wishy-washy. Your brand is neither here nor there, it doesn’t seem to stand for anything, in fact, it’s trying to be like everyone else. Chances are you have seen repetitive elements before and found yourself confused between two businesses who were sporting the same branding. Be careful and make sure you do not go in the complete opposite direction and develop brand guidelines that do not relate to your company. The time to be innovative, bold and daring is now.
Now that you have built your brand, it is one of your strongest marketing assets. But the work does not stop here. Now you need to police your brand and make sure the application is according to your brand’s guidelines. I always used to hate when a neighboring business would want to feature our brand in their content. Because I would always have to look at how they applied our brand and shudder. Of course, it is good for your brand to feature in other businesses marketing efforts because it will help develop your recognition. But make sure you take care of your brand like you would a living thing. Do not be afraid to speak up and say your brand has been applied incorrectly and you are happy to give suggestions on how to properly execute this from here.