On Instagram, a string of hearts is a good thing: It means people took the time to double-tap and like your content. That’s engagement, and it’s important. A like is better than nothing, but a comment is even better still. Comments mean people stopped scrolling and took the time to write something, ask a question, offer a compliment, and so on. They didn’t just give you a high five in passing. They stopped to say, “Wow. I really like what you did.”
That said, likes and comments are the singles and doubles of Instagram, to use a baseball analogy. Profile visits can be considered triples, and website clicks are home runs. A profile visit means you did enough to make someone want to learn more about your business. A website click means you moved a person to get off Instagram and get onto one of your properties, where you can educate, inspire, help and ultimately earn clients or customers.
Not to be overlooked: shares and saves. Both are good. A share means a person thinks a friend would be interested in what you have to say, and the sharer is helping you get the post in front of a potentially interested party. A save means a person wants to spend more time with your content later on. It might mean someone is interested but rushed or it might mean a person wants to revisit your content. Either way, you’re winning.
All of this insight is available to Instagram business accounts, but it’s very easy to miss it when you’re watching a string of hearts pop up in your notifications.
Here are actual stats from three posts a gym made in January 2019:
The second and third photos were big hits for this account and generated far more likes than an average post, which receives about 50 likes per post.
So which post was the most successful? You might say Photo 3, which was a creative riff on a popular challenge. The post lacked a call to action and wasn’t designed to do anything in particular. Photo 1 and Photo 2 did have calls to action. The former directed people to a YouTube video, and the latter asked people to book a free consultation. Here are the actual engagement stats for each one, and it should be noted that half of all comments were written by the original poster as responses to organic comments:
Photo 1, which had the fewest likes and comments, had a huge number of actions, including 27 clicks that directed the viewer off Instagram and into a branded YouTube video designed to establish expertise.
Photo 2 didn’t have any website clicks—which was the desired outcome—yet the post was shared 16 times. A bit more info: the post featured seniors working out, and 16 people decided a friend needed to see it. This recommendation carries a lot of weight, and in this case it’s hoped that younger viewers of the original post sent it to parents who might need the services featured. Without being able to pinpoint the exact result of the shares, it’s certain that the post reached a warmer audience by virtue of the share.
Photo 3 had a landslide of likes and a decent number of profile visits, but viewers didn’t do anything else. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: They still looked at branding and read more about a business. But a profile visit is far less valuable than a website click.
In short, insight is essential on Instagram. To access your insights, ensure your account is set to “business.” You can do this through the settings menu. To access collected insights, go to your home page, then click “insights” in the menu found in the upper right corner. To access insights for individual posts, click on your post, then click “view insights,” which can be found directly under the photo or video.
Hopefully this short exercise motivates you to look beyond likes and take a closer look at your Instagram data. You’ll find valuable information there, and you can use it to determine which posts to boost, what sort of content to create, and how certain content motivates people to interact with our business.
“My clients would never pay $250 for a gym membership!”
Well, they’ll pay $250 for something. What?
If you asked, “What’s the worst way to price my service?” I’d give you one of these answers:
Copy everyone else, and then drop your price by $5
Take the average of everyone selling “CrossFit” in your area
Guess at “what feels right”
Decide what you can afford to pay, and charge that.
I know, because I’ve done all four of them. Here’s why they’re wrong:
1 + 2: other local CrossFit gyms probably have no idea how to price their service, so they did the same thing. Every new generation of gyms in your town now sells an identical service for $5 less per month. Guess what will happen two years from now? Yep: someone will do what you’re doing for less.
3 + 4: you’ll guess wrong. We all project our budget onto our clients. When we’re in the Founder phase, we have less money than our clients do. Stop projecting your own poverty and fear onto everyone else; it stinks!
The right way to set your rates is mathematical: you calculate your desired income and your projected expenses. Then you figure out how much money you need to break even. You should be able to reach breakeven on 50 clients or less; 30 is better. At 150 clients, you should be paying yourself and at least one solid coach.
“But…30 clients?!? I’d have to charge $250 per month! No one will ever pay that, when every gym around me charges $95!”
Maybe you’re right. Flip the script: instead of asking, “What will people pay for CrossFit?” ask, “What service can I sell that’s worth $250 per month?”
Maybe that’s a 1:1 package. Maybe that’s a small-group session. Maybe that’s a nutrition + group plan.
Sell it, and LIVE UP TO IT. Deliver $250 in value every single month. Signal value in everything you do: look professional, speak professionally, and give them exactly what they’re buying.
It’s probably something that no one nearby is selling. Don’t be surprised. If every gym understood value and its relationship to price, the average CrossFit gym would be charging more than their 2010 rates, not less.
If you utilize paid digital advertising, chances are you are rapidly adding people to your newsletter list.
And even if you have not been running paid ads or if you’ve been less aggressive on that front, you should still be adding people to your list every day through your website, organic search and through the content you put out.
As your list grows however, you’re going to have people who become inactive – people who have stopped opening your emails or who haven’t taken acton with you. You’ll also, of course, have another subgroup of people who used to be members but are no longer your clients for whatever reason.
What can you do with this segment or sub group of inactive subscribers? What steps can you take to get them to re-engage with your business? Click to watch to find out!
When can a shortcut help us, and when can it hurt us? Here’s a four-question test.
We all need marketing now. For the first time, gym owners have access to marketing that works–at least, in the short-term. That’s a huge problem solved. But the next problem to solve is, “How do I pick the marketing that will benefit my business in the long-term? How do I know the difference between a strategy and a shortcut?”
Because we all know that some shortcuts can actually hurt us. We’re fitness coaches, after all, and we spend part of every day telling our clients to stay away from 800-calorie diets and Slim-Quick shakes and pyramid schemes for supplements.
At TwoBrain, we want you to attract clients one at a time; form a personal coaching relationship with them; and keep them for a decade. We use Affinity Marketing, content marketing and high-level Facebook marketing to do that (and it’s all in the Incubator). The other option is to run challenges of 30-40 people at a time through your gym using cut-and-paste Facebook ads. The first is powerful; the latter is a powerful shortcut.
I try not to quote Seth Godin more than once per year, but his podcast today featured a great framework for determining which shortcuts can help and which can hurt. When he’s presented with (or finds) a new strategy for growth, Godin asks these four questions:
Is it repeatable? Can I keep doing this for a long time, or is it a crash diet?
Is it non-harmful? What are the downstream effects on our culture?
Is it additive? Will it improve over time?
Can it survive the crowd? Does it have to be a secret?
Let’s hold group challenge marketing up to Godin’s four questions:
Is it repeatable? Yes…for a few rounds, anyway. But anyone who’s run a large group six-week challenge will tell you that it’s pretty exhausting. Imagine running the CrossFit Open every six weeks, and trying to bring the energy every time while explaining the air squat to a few dozen beginners. Big group challenges are fun the first time (I enjoyed the first New-You Challenge we ran at Catalyst two years ago.) But the challenge class times inconvenienced my best members. My coaches got worn out. And the new group took a lot of energy to manage…and then left.
Is it non-harmful? At first, running a big group challenge seems like a positive: new potential members, and a little revenue spike. But more and more gyms are telling us they’re losing their BEST members when they run big group challenges. Their seed clients get less attention; they’re inconvenienced; and they’re often paying more for less service than the new kids get. In addition, if you’re offering bait-and-switch challenges, you’re poisoning your well of potential future clients.
Is it additive (will it improve over time)? Unfortunately, lead quality tends to go down over time, and ad costs go up. When you run challenges over and over–especially the same group challenge–its value decreases every time you run it.
Can it survive the crowd? When multiple gyms run the same ad campaigns in the same city, the problem compounds: ad costs go up quickly, and lead quality decreases, because the best applicants have already done the program. They’re looking for the next thing.
Now, let’s ask the same four questions about marketing to one person at a time, which is what we teach. For background:
Affinity marketing is in-person relationship marketing, referrals and “help first” conversations.
Content marketing is building a foundation of trust and slowly nurturing each potential client toward registration.
And the Facebook Marketing taught in the Incubator is personal “journeys”–sometimes we even call them challenges, but they’re not group challenges. For example, a person might see the ad, do a No-Sweat Intro, and have a six-week challenge designed for them; but their challenge is different from the next person’s, and leads to a long-term relationship with the gym.
Holding this type of marketing up to Godin’s four filters:
Is it repeatable? Yes, you can have conversations forever. You can run ads forever with a lower ad spend, because your’e not counting on one big “splash” of revenue every 2-3 months. And since you’re just adding jet fuel to your normal process, you’re not going to put your staff through the meat grinder; you’re just speeding up your regular process.
Is it non-harmful? Yes, because every new client goes through your typical intake process, and gets introduced to other members when they’re ready. That means you can still keep your primary focus on existing clients instead of ignoring them. And you can get new clients without tricking them.
Is it additive? Yes. As you get better at conversations, you’ll convince more people to join your gym. You’ll also become better at conversions as you do more in a 1:1 setting. And since you’re not running the same ads as every other gym in town, you’ll get better at judging what works, and spend money on only those.
Can it survive the crowd? Yes. We have several cities in which TwoBrain gyms are operating in cooperation instead of competition. They’re meeting different people, running different ads, and still becoming very successful.
There are shortcuts to profitability. Marketing can be one. But big-group challenge marketing is potentially harmful to the long-term success of your business.