How Many "Likes" Do You Need?

How many “friends” do you need to make a living?
What’s your profit margin on “views”?

Facebook is a fun toy that really does have practical business applications. For generating interest and communicating with people, it’s the most effective online platform the world has ever seen.

But Facebook’s real mission is to keep you on Facebook. It can be a useful business tool…but it can also distract you into “ego traps”: likes, shares and views. Here’s what they mean, and how to avoid the traps.
First, a bit on who’s actually paying attention.

In the Two-Brain Marketing Course, we teach three stages of audience interest:

1. Informed (very warm, ready to sign up) – they’ve decided to do CrossFit, and are just comparing gyms
2. Aware (warm, but not hot) – know they “need to do something” and are actively seeking a solution to their problem (like weight loss)
3. Oblivious (cold) – don’t even know they have a problem; aren’t looking for a solution.
This is important to understand, because your messages on Facebook reach all of these audiences at once.
For example:
You post a before/after picture in a blog post about your nutrition challenge.
1. Informed: “That’s cool. This gym has nutrition challenges.”
2. Aware: “Looks like I can lose weight through nutrition challenges. Add that to my list of options.”
3. Oblivious: “Girl in a bikini!”
People in each audience might hit “like”, or even share your post, but for far different reasons.
The point is that we really have no idea who’s hitting the “like” button. If your picture receives fanfare from 100 people, it’s entirely possible that none of them will become a new client. It would be nice to have an algorithm that says, “If 100 people hit ‘like’, one of them will sign up.” But that’s not true; there’s no linear progression at all.

What Really Matters: Conversions

A conversion is when someone signs up for your service. With money.
A conversion isn’t a “page like.”
A conversion isn’t even a “free trial.”
A conversion is a purchase.
A “view” means they’re slow at scrolling their finger on the screen.
Again, there’s no linear relationship between a person sharing your post and signing up for your service.
How do we get people to conversion? We start with the people closest to converting.

First, former clients. How can you reach them? Probably a phone call or email. This is a very warm audience, because they’ve purchased from you before. Re-engaging former clients is a top priority for gyms in the Two-Brain family. It’s so effective that when we give a gym owner an email to use, and they don’t bring anyone back, we know there’s something wrong in the gym.
Second, people who have done a NSI or consultation but didn’t sign up. They were ready to go, but something stopped them. How do you reach them? Consistent messages about how your service will solve their problem. You can trail them to their coffee shop every day, or put a sign in their yard…or send them love letters through email.
Third, people on your email list. These folks are paying attention, and have indicated their attention by taking action (signing up for something). They’re waiting for you to say the right thing. Luckily, they’ll let you say a lot of “not-quite-right” things first. Some industry surveys in other services (like martial arts) show the biggest conversion rate on the 22nd email. Let that one sink in. Email warms up a cold audience; the colder they are, the more emails they’ll need to get from you.
If they’re not on your email list, they probably haven’t done much to indicate their interest. But let’s say they’ve hit “like” or “follow” on your page–that’s a sign they have at least a passing, minimal interest in you. Our audience engagement is already getting colder here, but you warm people up through constant conversation. That’s easier through email, because everyone gets the email. On Facebook, only 10% of your page audience will see your posts at any given time, and never the same 10%. So your top priority with people who like your page should be to get them onto your email list.
If they’re not followers of your Facebook page—at a bare minimum—they probably don’t count as a future client at all. And if they’re not on your email list, you’re going to have to do a LOT of work to warm them up before they convert. The early adopters—“Hey, CrossFit looks awesome, take my money!” are gone. Now you need to show people how you’re going to solve their problem.
If you share the Before/After pics from above, and get 100 “likes”, here’s how it might break down:

55 – Your current clients who know the woman in the pic
10 – Her family (if you’ve tagged it properly).
5 – Your coaches.
3 – Your mom. (She has secret accounts. She told me about them.)
1 – Your fourth-grade teacher. (A ‘like’ is the new gold star.)
2 – Former clients who have moved away.
4 – Candidates running for office.
17 – Other gym owners who are ‘liking’ your Facebook play.
1 – Person who has been thinking about your service. She won’t see your next 9 posts, by the way—unless you get her on your email list.
That list is an over-dramatization, of course: it’s a guess. But here’s the kicker: it’s just as likely to be true as false. Go ahead: hover over the ‘like’ button on your last post, and track who’s paying attention.
OK, what about ads?
Following the Informed/Aware/Oblivious model, our sales and marketing priority should be:

-Current and former clients
-Not-quite-conversions (they came in for a NSI but didn’t sign up)
-People on your email list
-People who like your page. At this point, the audience is cooling off; you have better options.
-Lookalike audience of people on your mailing list – maybe someone who also likes Garth Brooks music, long walks on the beach, the CrossFit Games and vampire romance might also like your service and be ready to sign up. But again, you have other priorities.
-Lookalikes of people who like your page – you’re really reaching here.
-Demographic targeting – you might as well drop flyers out of a helicopter. The odds are better, because you’ll only drop the flyers over the neighborhoods where your best clients live. Right?

How Do I Get Leads? 

Most CrossFit gym owners don’t actually need leads. What they need is conversions: to move the people on their email list toward a consultation or intake meeting or NSI. Of course, it’s a lot easier to run an ad and get 400 more followers on your FB page than to actually convert any of them, so that’s what many marketing companies sell. Unfortunately, it’s really easy to convince us that “likes = $” because we really want to believe it.
Is it possible to entice a cold lead into your gym for a free trial? Yes, it is—at least, it’s possible to get someone from your “aware” audience into the gym for something.

Companies selling a six-week challenge have proven successful by putting a novel fitness “challenge” in front of thousands of colder leads in different markets. People signing up for the challenge are “aware” that they need exercise, and are enticed by novelty. But most haven’t previously indicated interest in CrossFit. And the marketing plan doesn’t attract warm leads: it simply fires a lot of bullets until someone gets hit.

The gym owner might be successful in warming the lead up to CrossFit and converting them during the challenge (our data shows this used to happen 38% of the time, best-case, but this seems to be dropping as leads get ‘colder’).
When I was 13, I visited Paris. Part of the tour involved spending an evening at the Notre Dame Cathedral. I met people from all around the world; my friends from home were with me in the tour group. I took pictures of myself in front of gargoyles and went away happy.
But I didn’t convert to Catholicism.
I was there for the tour. I wanted to say, “I did CrossFit”—uh, “I did Notre Dame.” I was an oblivious audience. I was a teenage boy on a trip with his friends.
Skip ahead to 2016, when I embarked on a 12-month journey to finally “figure out Facebook.” I traveled extensively, took expensive courses, and took top experts to lunch. And what I learned comes down to this:
The “trick” to Facebook is that we’re all just a bunch of humans on there.
The “magic” to Facebook marketing is understanding what people actually want…not what headline will make them want something different.
The real truth to Facebook marketing is that there isn’t a trick. It’s practicing, trial and error, and scaling. It’s a lot of patience, like learning the air squat over and over for weeks, and then finally adding a barbell.
After building the massive course, I offered it for sale…for a day. Hundreds of hours of work in recording and testing, tens of thousands of dollars spent learning… and I didn’t want to teach anyone the secrets without the context of RampUp. Now I give the course away for free in our Growth Stage.

And here’s one more funny little story:
After all these months on Facebook, I was earning a good ROI. But I also learned that I hated doing Facebook marketing. I decided to hire someone else to scale my working ads.

But first I decided to take a month off, and just write love letters to my email list. No boosted posts on Facebook, zero ads, $0 spend. My blogs auto-post to their respective pages, but that’s it—most didn’t even have pictures or headlines. I averaged 4-7 likes per blog post (you can go check for yourself on the Two-Brain and Catalyst Facebook pages).
But I wrote my Informed audience a love letter almost every single day. It wasn’t “marketing”—it was always about something I needed to tell them. Like this post: I’m compelled to tell you the truth. I can’t not write this post, because I see so many affiliates wasting time and other resources.
The results? A $6k revenue spike in August at my gym. Best August ever, in fact, and I’ve been open for 12 years as Catalyst. Some of the “new members” were actually members a decade ago. All of them referred to one email or another. And at Two-Brain…well, we keep selling out our RampUp spots.
Facebook seems sexy because it strokes your ego with “likes” and “shares” and “views”. It’s designed that way. But it’s a siren song: focus on the people closest to you. Tell them what you need them to know. You’ll like the results.
PS – it’s okay to share this post. But it’s okay if you don’t.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.