How to Increase the Online Visibility of Your Fitness Business
We live in a world where life is increasingly lived online. We search for information online, we find services online, we spend money online. The internet has assumed such a central position in our lives that as a business owner, you can’t get around it. If you ignore online visibility, it’ll be at the expense of your brand recognition, image, your customer base and in the end, your revenue.
The Goals of Online Visibility
This is why people need to be able to find you on the internet, though that isn’t the only thing. Going online just because the competition is doing it, is a common mistake. It’s much more important to determine for yourself why you want to be found and what your goals are. For example, there are opportunities to:
1 Establish yourself as an authority in your field
2 Considerably improve your business’ brand recognition
3 Increase your reach in terms of prospective clients
Besides that, it’s important to link performance indicators to your goals. Do your activities indeed lead to more visits to your website, people spending longer amounts of time on your pages, more applications for trial classes, etc.
Strategy to Increase Online Visibility
After you’re clear on why you’re increasing your online efforts, the next step is to create a clear strategy. What tools will you use to reach your goals? What’s the timeline concerning the implementation of said tools? Should these tools amplify each other across various media channels, and if so, how?
As far as online marketing tools are concerned, the options are nigh-infinite. It’s up to you to research which tools you think would work best to reach the goals for your business.
Proper Tools and Implementation
The foundation of your online visibility strategy is always your website. This is where people gather the most information about your business. Make sure the website has a professional and contemporary look and feel. You can only make a first impression once, so make it count. A quick tip if you’re a small (or one-man) business: use a company-related email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) instead of a Hotmail or Gmail account.
Once you have that in place, the goal of your online visibility efforts is to employ as many relevant tools as possible to generate additional traffic to your website. A couple of tools are particularly useful for this.
Choose the right channels
One thing to keep in mind is to focus your efforts on the social media channels where your (potential) clients are actually active. This can be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Google+, etc. Spend some time researching, before you spend a lot of effort on a channel where no potential clients are active.
The effects of social media
By being active on the right social media networks, you can achieve more than just additional traffic to your website. Social media are the ideal places to build a community around your business, to turn people into fans, to stimulate interaction and (eventually) create a sense of commitment with and between your ‘fans’.
Only when someone has become a fan of what you do, the subject of ‘social sharing’ becomes relevant. This is when your clients / fans increase the range of your communication on their own accord. Online mouth-to-mouth advertising is a very powerful tool. We at Virtuagym recognize that, which is why we made it possible for your clients to share branded social rapports of their workouts.
Boost your range
On social media such as Facebook it’s quite easy to reach your target audience without them being a fan of your business. This is made possible by social ads, where you set a budget, and determine a target audience. It’s a cost-efficient way to reach your target audience and potential clients in an approachable manner – they will see your messages in your timeline as suggested posts.
SEO is Search Engine Optimization. People who aren’t familiar with your business or industry, will often use Google to look for information. Therefore, it’s essential that you can easily be found via search engines and through the relevant keywords. So, the first step is to determine through which keywords you want to be found, and develop your strategy from there. If you want more tips on ranking high in Google, read these 15 marketing tips for personal trainers and gyms.
- Make sure your website structure is technically sound and get as many references as possible from clients and/or partners in the form of a link to your own website. To make sure your website is structurally sound, you could use the guidelines of websites such as SEO Moz, or you could hire an expert to do it for you.
- Besides the technical side, there’s the content side. Google values fresh and relevant content, which shows your website is alive and kicking. For that reason you should publish regular articles about a subject in your professional field and make it easy for people to share these articles. If people share your articles, make sure you include a link to your own website for additional referrals. The more pages organically link to your website, the more your website’s authority will grow in Google’s rankings.
When writing content, it’s important to respond to trends and current events, because these are often heavily searched for. Publish articles about relevant events before and after they happen, for example. That way people can orient themselves before the event, and read a review afterwards. Every article you write increases your online visibility. Make sure you write about things you want to be found on, so Google can link your website between various subjects.
It works like this: when you write something about nutrition and reaching your personal goals, this generates a lot of traffic, and this page is shared a lot by readers, your authority rises in the eyes of Google, and people can more easily find your website for the keyword nutrition and fitness.
SEA is short for Search Engine Advertising and makes sure you can advertise in Google (and other search engines) to temporarily increase your visibility. This can be particularly useful if you have a temporary offer or event and you need to generate more traffic during this period. A tool that makes this possible is Google Adwords.
One of the most powerful media channels at this moment is Youtube. People follow various channels, use Youtube to gather information, and are easily persuaded to share videos if the content is indeed ‘likeable’. If you want to actively use Youtube, again it’s important to start with a clear strategy, based on clear goals.
Of course, you can distribute these videos through your website, blogs and other social media channels for extra effect. Particularly Instagram (because of the hashtags) and Facebook are suited for this purpose.
When all tools have been implemented it’s extremely important to keep track of how your chosen tools are performing and how they can be optimized. Google Analytics is the go-to tool for this purpose, because you can easily set up performance indicators per tool and immediately see if expectations are met.
The possibilities to increase online visibility are legion, so determine from the get-go what you want to accomplish and how you want to reach your goals. Otherwise you’ll end up with dispersed and ineffective marketing activities. It’s important to choose the right marketing tools. This is why I would advise you to use the following step-by-step plan:
- Determine goals and performance indicators
- Determine strategy
- Implement and execute your campaign
- Measure via Google Analytics
- Optimize your methods