Having recently decided to take her business off Facebook and Instagram platforms due to ethical concerns about Meta, the ownership company, Rima Alijew has had to find new ways to grow her Sydney based pilates studio, Trunk Studios.
With more and more companies, including outdoor apparel brand Patagonia, boycotting Instagram and Facebook, it’s become apparent that offline marketing is more important than ever.
“Leaving the Meta platforms doesn’t mean that we’ve been able to just take it easy and stop all of our marketing,” says Alijew, “we’ve had to ramp up our offline marketing game so we can keep up with our competitors while keeping in line with our values.”
Rima shares the 10 things she did to ensure her studio stayed at the top of the game.
Create a customer referral program
We give our current clients a nice discount if they refer new customers to us. In practice, this means that we offer our existing clients an account credit that can be used on their next purchase. The program gives our loyal clients the motivation to tell their family and friends about our studio and means that we are attracting people who are motivated to come by hearing inspirational stories from people they trust. To date, we have managed to acquire new members through our referral program.
Become an employee wellness hub
We are the go-to place for several local business employee wellness programs. Their staff receive a discount on our memberships and the business owners either pay for the passes or subsidise them. This works really well for us, the employer and the employees. The employer shows they care about the staff and are contributing to a healthy workplace, the employees enjoy our classes and improve their wellbeing, and we boost our business.
Partner with local businesses
Partnering with local businesses that align with our core values has helped us gain new local clients. We currently partner with a great little cafe nearby, where customers receive a dining discount at the cafe and a membership discount at our class.
Step up your e-news
Even though we are no longer on social media, we still do our weekly e-newsletter featuring health-related articles, updates about our studio and upcoming specials and information. Since leaving the Meta platforms, we’ve spent more time making sure these newsletters are top-notch. Combining promotional material with educational material and studio updates is a great way to engage your audience.
Improving Website SEO and page optimisation
Without social media, you’ll want to make sure you come up on the first page for google searches relating to your business. We routinely check out site speed, backlinks and anything that might affect our SEO.
Have a PR plan or hire a PR team
If you’re a business owner, you’re likely a specialist in your chosen field. This knowledge is highly sought after! Reach out to online and offline publications to write specialist articles or look local for local events to present at.
These could be local markets, wellness expos or other special events. If you’re unsure of where to start, reach out to an independent publicist or an agency. Currently, we are working with an agent who is taking care of all of our publicity.
Over service new clients
I have created clear internal processes for our staff to follow for contacting clients when they first try out our studio. We check in with them regularly to see how they enjoy their trial period and help out if they have questions.
I always make sure they feel looked after and welcomed by the staff. There is no exception to this rule. Sometimes they don’t convert, and if they don’t, you might receive helpful insight on things in the studio that may need changing.
Old school advertising
You’d be surprised how effective old school advertising like flyers, posters and billboards are. We have posters up in local cafes and display them at markets. I’m always in awe of how many people mention them as their referral source. Think of other businesses that your ideal customer visits and see if you can pop some posters nearby or hire a billboard in eyes view.
Clear process and top notch software
Set out clear processes for your staff to follow and ensure you have adequate software to help with client tracking and managing bookings. This will address any pain points and allows you to pull up data easily about attendee patterns, busy times and class sizes.
Excellent, warm customer service
This seems so basic, but I’m surprised how many businesses these days don’t seem to get it right. Don’t be afraid to chat to your clients about how they are enjoying your product or service. The same goes for email enquiries, be available and treat every enquiry as important.
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