Step One: Your Marketing Message
Your “message” is what you communicate to your existing and future clients, and this can sometimes have an impact on what your clients say about you. The areas to improve in your message are your brand, your sales and marketing materials, and your values.
Your brand is your company identity in the eyes of your clients.
Branding is a big topic, so for now, it’s important to know that you can and should improve your brand. However, once you have a good brand message, you should stick to it. If you change all the time, the “branding effect” will be greatly reduced.
Further, make sure that all your marketing materials include your brand – as it will become your business identity and will be what is conveyed when people spread the word about you.
So what is your brand?
Your Sales and Marketing Materials
Your sales and marketing materials include any form of communication that your clients or potential clients may see. You’re thinking business cards and websites, but this also includes sales scripts, t-shirts, lead boxes, and anything else that spreads the word about you.
While getting “viral” is bigger than your sales materials, at some point your potential client, even if driven by word of mouth, will come in contact with these materials.
The more “right” you get these materials the better, of course.
Continually improve the effectiveness of these messages by focusing on the changes that are the easiest and/or have the most impact.
Your “values” are what you stand for as a business. I mean, what you really stand for. There are a great many fitness businesses that profess that they stand for a great number of noble things, but their actions prove otherwise.
Whatever your values are, they will most definitely be communicated to your clients either intentionally or unintentionally.
In fact, the unintentional communication, that is, the kind of communication that occurs by just being who you are, is perhaps the most significant. So what are your values?
Step Two: Quality of Service
At its core, this is what your business is. You exchange your training for your clients’ money.
The greater the value you give to your clients in exchange for what they give you, the more likely they are to be delighted, and that delight translates into your business going viral.
But that’s only part of the picture.
Giving someone high value for their dollar is a great start, but may not be enough to get people to talk about you. To do that, you need to be so excellent that you are buzzworthy, or, to put it simply, worth talking about.
Go beyond what they ask for when they become a client.
Be something so amazingly great that people will slap themselves and say. “Wow!”
Have you ever done business with someone that was “so damn good” you had to tell someone about it?
You should continually strive to improve, but remember there are times you need to stop making big changes and focus on small tweaks that most people won’t notice. At that point your services will have become such an integral part of your message that they should not be publicly changed.
Constantly improve your training knowledge and the quality of your programming, but remember that clients also want a consistent experience – especially if it works.
Step Three: Client Experience
Some businesses make themselves buzzworthy with just the power of the client experience they provide. Domino’s Pizza, for example, did this by being the fastest pizza delivery in the world. Not great pizza – but that wasn’t their brand.
If you are excellent in both your quality of service and client experience, you are well on your way to going viral.
Here are some ways you should be constantly improving your client cxperience:
- Shorten Your Client’s Path Between Their Problems and Solutions – Get them results faster than everyone else.
- Make the Process of Doing Business with You as Easy as Possible – Use EFT, answer the phone quickly, reply to emails in a timely fashion, and treat people the way you’d want to be treated.
- Treat Your Clients with Respect – Respect their time, their effort, and everything else about them. Remember that they trusted you in what is typically an insecure time for them.
- Make it More Than a Workout – They can get workouts at Curves, Bally’s, and any number of other places. You need to provide atmosphere, energy, motivation and a genuine sense of caring.
Step Four: Referrals
Referrals can be broken down into two categories:
Inspired referrals are the viral payoff we’re discussing here– the kind that comes from giving your client an extraordinary experience.
Incentivized referrals come from JV’s, contests, rewards, etc. Inspired referrals will come by addressing the other 3 viral key areas of improvement. In fact, a great business that excels at those three areas alone can build a great client base founded on going viral.
Incentivized referrals, however, give your business a great boost too, especially as you’re still positioning yourself as the expert in your community at a very low cost. But in general, you can’t expect to build a business solely from incentivized referrals.
Unfortunately, most of the talk about referral marketing only focuses on incentivized referrals and the short-lived fireworks they can provide. Don’t get caught up in the hype and think that those alone will carry you.
So remember, focus on your message, extraordinary service, and the client experience.
Once you are in a process of gradually improving those things, then add in incentivized referral programs in any of the following ways:
- Point of Sale Referrals
- Gift Certificates / Gift Cards
Just remember that when you “bribe” your clients (let’s be honest, that’s what you’re doing here), you can create a rather unsavory dynamic between your clients and their friends. Take care with how you do this. Most people do this in a sort of “pitchy” way. That is to be avoided. Try to make these programs fun – and try not to make the client feel pressured.
So that’s it – follow these 4 steps and start taking your business viral!
By Pat Rigsby
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