On Monetizing Your Blog
[The following is part three on what is turning out to be a five part series on blogging as a profession. CLICK HERE
to read part 1. CLICK HERE
to read part 2.]
Blogging frequently emits an alluring but somewhat artificial scent: A scent that naturally baits two brands of people.
The first brand is chiefly folks of the common store bought variety, plain as a bowl of corn flakes. Their gross desire for an easy opt-out of the human comedy is surpassed only by their colossal lack of true ambition. Quite simply, they hate to work, and so are lured into blogging by the fishy smells of the charlatans, the quacks, and the counterfeits.
If what I have just detailed describes you, even distantly, then I must encourage you to pass on. I am not capable of helping you.
Look, I’m not discouraging you or anything like that. There are many bloggers who rake a king’s ransom in the business of swindling. And if I have something to say to these jackals, it’s not to scorn them for sucking in the intellectually underprivileged—that, I leave to God. Rather, it’s to ridicule them for any and all lack of ingenuity in how they go about their business. Insofar as I can tell, the cheats, tricksters, and charlatans have been using the same old, horribly overworked devices since the dawn of this republic. All I’m saying, really, is that it’d be nice to see a quack with some freshness about him.
But here I go off at a tangent. Let us get back to where we were.
The second brand is that of the artist. This person is marked intrinsically by fire in perpetuum
. This is what keeps his blood boiling over, his legs on the trot—and his spirit pushing forward—stopping never at dead ends or dog shit. He understands that security is a false and limiting crutch, and seeks nothing of the sort. His appetite is whetted only for accomplishment.
The artist does not know it all—but has the proclivity to learn it all, to suck it in ad infinitum
. And his chief purpose is to contribute to a whole
greater than himself—if you’re a rationalist you may call it the cosmos—spiritualists would perhaps say it’s celestial—and hippies would probably call it life-force, or something like that. Truthfully it doesn’t matter what you call it, because the net effect is the same: The artist creates.
Are his actions largely money driven? The answer to various degrees is often yes. Sometimes this is in part, other times it is in whole. Either way, the artist is scarcely propelled by anything rooted in altruism. In form, this may appear to be the case, but in substance human essence remains predominantly self-interested. This means little, though, because the true artist—whatever his motives otherwise—invariably aims to create something that is good. And so he thoroughly intends to improve the earthly balance sheet—to strike the asset account with a hard debit.
What I have defined is the artist. But what I have redefined is the entrepreneur: The person who generates value. This is to say the person who helps persons.
If what I have just detailed describes you, then I can help. I can help you to get the word out about the value you create, and I can help you to make a fair return on it.
Our "One Page Business Plan"
Blogging would be the perfect job, save for the fact it’s still a job. It’s a full time gig. So it will beat you up, and, at times, kick you square in the nuts. These are lessons one must learn by hard experience, I suppose, but if you take this as true now it will save you a lot of pain later.
Now if there is one more lesson to be learned before we begin, let it be this: There is no good purpose to be served in promoting crap. Doing so—as any practiced marketer will tell you—only hastens the rate at which people find out you suck. To wit: You ought to be the absolute best at what you do before you start saying you’re any good.
Just something to keep in mind, that’s all.
Now rather than tell you what you should do, I’d like to show you what I do. That is, what I’ve done well, or what’s worked well for me. You may take whatever you’d like—and if you’d like to work closer with me on all this stuff, then I encourage you to investigate our Killing It With Ketllebells Certification
, where Som and I will help you to develop and implement your own marketing and business plan (online, offline, or both), and teach you how to run large group kettlebell bootcamps.
For ease, I will fill out a “one-page business plan”, answering the three following questions: 1. What Do I Sell (and How Much Do I Charge)?
2. Who Do I Sell It To?
3. How Do I Get The Word Out?
I’ll answer the first question now, and save the other two for a later post.
What Do We Sell and How Much Do We Charge?
This blog is a major marketing vehicle for both my online and offline businesses, if I may presume the two can be separated out.
I’ll start with what we do offline.
My Killing It With Kettlebells bootcamp business is run out of The Dragon Gym in Exton, PA. I have largely opted out of personal training as a service offering. Instead, I run six large group classes a week: Mondays and Wednesdays at 12pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm, and Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:30am.
Pricing for our bootcamps ranges from $149-199/month depending on the level of membership.
We also host multiple workshops and seminars throughout the year. [ I suppose now would be as good a time as any to shamelessly plug Strength Fest
Pricing for workshops and seminars ranges anywhere from $99-999 depending on the event.
Lastly, we offer our Killing It With Kettlebells Instructor Level Certification
and Fitness Business Development Program. This is where Som and I teach you how to teach large group kettlebell bootcamps. We also show you the ins and outs of our kettlebell business, and help you to create and implement your own business and marketing plan. We limit the group to 12 candidates. This is not a beginner kettlebell course
. This is a course for those who are interested in learning to coach large group kettlebell classes, and for those who are already in, or are seriously considering opening their own fitness business
. In short, we help you to do what you love and make good money doing it
This is our most expensive offering, but I’ve heard it’s really worth it. If you think you might be a good candidate for this certification, email me at PatFlynn@ChroniclesOfStrength.com
with the subject line of “KIWK” and I will send you a series of questions for you to answer so that we may figure that out. We can even get on the phone and chat about it, if you’d like. No obligation. Promise.
Pricing for our Killing It with Kettlebells Certification ranges from $997-1997 depending on when you register.
There are a few other things I do offline, but those are my major profit centers. So let us move now to what I do online.
Our online business is a mix of bigger ticket items, lower end entry points, and continuity programs. We’ll start with the latter. The Chronicles of Strength Inner Circle
and the Chronicles of Strength Print newsletter is my current continuity program—that is, this is a program where membership is billed monthly. The Chronicles of Strength Inner Circle
includes a full print newsletter
mailed out to members every month. This is quite frankly my best work. I put more time into that newsletter than I do anything else, and I love doing it.
Additionally, members of the Inner Circle get private email coaching access to me, coaching call-in days with me, monthly training webinars, monthly recipes, monthly workouts, programming, you name it. The Inner Circle members are my best and most loyal customers, so I do everything I can to help them succeed—to provide them with value far above and beyond what they pay to be a member each month. As an entrepreneur or business owner, your aim should always be to exceed all expectations. Unless of course your aim to run a mediocre business.
Pricing for my Inner Circle members ranges from $19-39/month depending on the level of membership and whether or not they live inside North America (postage is a killer).
*If you are not yet an Inner Circle member, I’d love it if you tried it out for a month. You can cancel anytime, so there’s no risk when you sign up
On the lower end of the pricing spectrum there mostly sits a selection of eBooks and ePrograms. The Birth of a Hero Vol 2
stands tall at the top of the charts, sells like ice in Hell.
These range from $27-99 depending on the product.
The bigger ticket items include private coaching with either Som or me (we offer both business and fitness coaching), training webinars, and specialized programs.
The pricing for these ranges from $299-699.
If you are interested in private coaching and would like to know more about what we can help you with, email me at PatFlynn@chroniclesofstrength.com
with the subject line of “coaching”.
Effectively, that is the sum of it all. Effectively enough, anyways. PS
- If you have any questions about any of this, please post them in the comment section
. I'm here to help.
The Century - 100 Rep Bodyweight Workout
The Century, so entitled by its lofty rep composition, is a proficiency exam courtesy of the elusive Paul Wade, author of Convict Conditioning.
Assuming I made no misinterpretations, the task is as follows:
40 x squat
30 x push up
20 x hanging knee raise
10 x pull up
40 x squat
30 x knee push up
20 x hanging knee raise
10 x australian pull up
I think I passed. Som did pretty good too, but I think he may have missed a rep on the squats. That's OK, though, because he's ninja.
Kettlebell Workout of the Week:
Episode 69 - The Big Four
Thanks to my buddy Christa for riffing this one out to Pantera and making it look pretty.
Rock out as many rounds as you can in 15 min.
Will You Answer Me This? Please?
So as many of you know I have a primal fitness book coming out through Wiley. I know I've been a bit scanty on the details, but that will change soon. Promise.
Anyways, I wanted to get your feedback on something. Got a minute?
If I could answer any one fitness question for you in this book, what would it be?
Please post your feedback in the comment section. I don't care how relevant you think it is, I just want to hear from you.
There may be some prizes for the most thoughtful answers...
The Ultimate How To:
Put on a TON of Muscle
Not Get Fat
and Live Life Like a "God-King" Guide
Can YOU Get BIG with Kettlebells?!?
The answer is undoubtedly yes.
But remember, the kettlebell is simply a tool. What matters is how you utilize that tool, and the truth is that folks just aren't realizing the full potential of double kettlebell training for it's ability to tack on lean, dense, and functional muscle mass. The Prometheus Protocol has outlined exactly everything that you need to do in order to tack on 20lbs or more of rock hard muscle mass in 90 days or less. No more confusion. No BS. Just what works for serious muscle hypertrophy in the least amount of time possible.
You Will Find:
- The 3 most critical errors that folks make when trying to put on muscle mass, how they are drastically hindering your progress, and what you can do to correct them.
- The 5 holy commandments that you MUST follow in order to put on the absolute most amount of clean, dense, functional muscle mass in the least amount of time possible, and with the least amount of effort required.
- The entire Prometheus Protocol training regimen designed to tack 20lbs or more of rock hard muscle mass onto your frame in 90 days or less.
- Exactly how and when to eat in order to put on an outrageous amount of clean muscle mass with minimum fat gain. (NOTE: It is highly probably that you will find this approach quite unconventional, yet ridiculously effective)
Learn How To:
- Utilize the FOUR Weapons of MASS CONSTRUCTION
(The Deadlift, The Double Kettlebell Front Squat, The Weighted Dip, and The Double Kettlebell Clean and Press) to add twenty pounds or more of functional muscle mass in 90 days or less.
- Implement a "tactical fast" in order to stimulate an optimum hormonal response conducive for SERIOUS muscle construction with zero fat gain.
- Truly live the life of a "god-king", because bigger, in this case, is certainly better!
Invest in the Prometheus Protocol Today and
Pay What You Want!
The God-King Bundle Package
Say WHAT?!? How is the "bundle package" less than the "non-bundle-package"? What sort of trickery is this???Behold! The Ultimate God-King Bundle Package for only $1.97. Trickery? Absolutely Not!Rather this is an incentive for all of you to try out our SuperHero Development Program for FREE for the first entire month!
That alone is a super freaking value, yours free of course when you invest in the God-King Bundle Package!If the first month free of the SuperHero Development Program (which you can cancel at ANY time) and the entire Prometheus Protocol aren't enough to have you investing immediately into the God-King Bungle Package, these other FREE bonuses included within the God-King Bundle Package will surely do the trick!
- FREE BONUS #1: Instructional video report series explaining the Prometheus Protocol, the Bare Minimum Principle, the Ninety Day Prometheus Protocol Challenge, and the five Holy Commandments that you must follow in order to tack on the most amount of muscle mass possible!
- FREE Bonus #2: Our Metabolic Reset Accountability Journal (a $14.95 value) in order for you to log everything you that put into your mouth to ensure that you consume an adequate amount of calories to put on the maximum amount of muscle mass. Remember "what get's measured, gets managed".
- Free Bonus #3: A Chance to win your very own, highly valued, exceptionally rare, Chronicles of Strength T-Shirt! (We will select 5 winners at random to receive this incredibly esteemed and priceless garment.) - For a glimpse, you can catch me wearing the Chronicles T-Shirt HERE
YES, Pat, I want to invest in the
God-King Bundle Package Today!
GIVE IT TO ME NOW!!
The Prometheus Protocol
- The entire Prometheus Protocol eBook laying out exactly what you need to do in order to tack on 20lbs or more of functional muscle mass in 90 days or less.
- Instructional video report series explaining the Prometheus Protocol, the Bare Minimum Principle, the Ninety Day Prometheus Protocol Challenge, and the five Holy Commandments that you must follow in order to tack on the most amount of muscle mass possible!
YES! Give me the Prometheus Protocol RIGHT NOW!
The Prometheus Protocol 90 Day Challenge
Your mission, should you choose to accept it,
is to tack on the absolute most amount of clean muscle mass possible over the next ninety days following the Prometheus Protocol.Here are the rules, if you wish to compete for a shot at glory, fame, and a lifetime subscription to our SuperHero Development Program
along with a host of other goodies (listed below).1. Email me directly at HardstyleKettlebells@yahoo.com with the subject line of "Prometheus Challenge"
. Tell me your name and that you want to be a part of this challenge.2. Give me yo pics and yo stats - Not just taking anyone's "word" for it. You'll need to get into your skivvies and take some before pics.
One profile pic (that's from the side) and one frontal pic (thats from...well, the front). Sure, you can flex... don't be shy.... I will also need your current height and weight. If you have any questions about this, please make them known in the email.3. You must email my by Friday, April 13th to be eligible. As the official challenge will begin on Monday, April 16th.What the Winner Gets:
Why YOU Should Take the 90-Day Prometheus Challenge:Aside from the host of potential goodies that you can win, taking on this challenge will help you to commit towards success!
- A lifetime subscription to our SuperHero Development Program
- Our ENTIRE eBook collection
- The highly esteemed and incredibly rare Chronicles of Strength T-Shirt
- Free publicity! An entire blog post dedicated entirely to the winner and his/her success story, a link back to his/her site. Fame, glory, and life as a god-king!
Telling someone else that you are going to do something will suddenly and drastically amplify your motivation and level of commitment, do not underestimate the power of this when it comes to achieving your goals! We have put this challenge together for YOU
, and to ensure that you do put on the absolute most amount of muscle mass in the least amount of time possible
, so please take FULL advantage of this opportunity. Accountability is a rare thing these days, and we are offering it to you for FREE.Let the games begin!Please post any questions, comments, or concerns you may have in the comment section below. Or just leave some love :D
T-L Junction Whats Yer Function
Here's a two minute mobility drill used to assess/improve T-spine mobility and stability at your t-l junction. Enjoy and post any questions below!
Why do customers make purchases?
Well it really ain’t no riddle man… Customers make purchases in order to satisfy needs.
And as I said in my previous self-promotion post
; all that customers are really looking for are solutions. People have problems (seems like we have more and more problems everyday!). And people want solutions. If you are able to offer an effective solution to a problem, then you are already ahead of the curve. But offer any old solution is not always enough, as you must offer the most appropriate solution for your customer. And that is why it is incredibly important for you to know your customer, so that way you may position your product/service as the most appropriate solution for them. Let’s quickly analyze the steps involved in a customers purchase making decision
1. A problem arises
2. The search for a solution begins
3. Possible solutions are evaluated
4. A decision is made and a purchase takes place
Now let’s put all that mumbo jumbo into some context.
Say your twenty-two years old, a recent college grad, and are just starting what seems to be a very exciting and promising career as a bigwig accountant at some bozo firm. You are out celebrating with your friends one night, and you meet a really smoking hot girl. You may not be the best looking candidate at the bar, after all you are an accountant (I’m an accounting major so I’m allowed to crack such jokes), but after you elaborate on your prestigious Ivy League education and great potential for future earnings, she decides to give you a chance. Things work out and you two get hitched. Now falling into one of the many clichés of marriage, it doesn’t take too long for both you and your wife to physically let yourselves go. It’s about six months after your wedding date, and you’ve both have acquired at least 10-15lbs of extra lovin.
A problem has arrived. The problem is a horizontally gifted (Yes, I coined that term) marriage.
You and your wife have recognized this to be a problem, as it impedes on your long-term goal to spend many, many happy years together. So you set off to search for possible solutions.
Your wife suggests hiring a personal trainer for the both of you, while you think that just joining a health club will do the trick. You two discuss your findings and decide that a third possible solution exists and that would be to both join the health club and hire a personal trainer there.
So after evaluating your options, you two decide to opt for the third solution of both joining the health club and hiring a personal trainer.
So what factors led to this decision? Why is it that this couple decided to make the decision that they did, while other potential couples may have just as likely chosen any of the other alternatives? There are many, many factors that play into a customers purchase making decisions. Everything from social class, to culture, personalities, believes, attitudes, peers, and even occupation all play a role in a customers purchase making decisions.
My goal with this post is to help you understand what it is that you need to look at in order to understand your customer. Because it is through understanding and knowing your customers that you will best be able to satisfy their wants and needs. And if you are able to effectively and consistently satisfy a customers wants and needs, then that customer will become quite loyal to you…assuming they are a good customer (Yes there is a such thing as a good and bad customer, but that topic is for another post.)
So, to be a truly effective marketer it is crucial for you to understand how and why customers make their purchase decisions.
What I am going to share with you today is what I have learned through my years of formal marketing education, but much more importantly, what I have learned through my own experiences. On the topic of marketing I have read many great books, been to many lectures/seminars, but nothing takes the place of all the failures and successes that I’ve experienced on my own. Each and every failure is a learning experience.
Keep in mind, that while on the surface I am in the field of strength, conditioning, and personal wellness; behind the scenes I am very much a marketer. It surprises many people when I tell them that my major is not exercise science or physiology, but rather a dual major in finance and accounting.
Another fact you may or may not have known about me is that for over two years, I worked seasonally as a car salesman (and quite an effective one if I may toot my own horn…get it?) for the top Chevrolet dealership in Wisconsin. During my time there, I learned some of the most brutally effective selling and marketing techniques there are to know. And while I made a killing selling cars, it simply was not my passion, and if you know me, then you know I am adamant about chasing after what you love in life, not what writes you the biggest check.
Anyways, enough about me, let’s get down to it. So what is it exactly that influences a customers purchase decisions the most?
As far as influences go, there are two types: internal, and external.
If you wish to truly be able to satisfy your customer’s needs(and I think you do), then you must
understand your customer. And in order to understand your customer, you must
understand what influences their decision making process.
So now let’s dissect the internal and external influences that are most likely to affect a customers purchasing decisions. Internal Influences: Perception:
Perception is how we consciously and subconsciously process information. It is how we view the world around us. But it is also how we view ourselves. Self-perception plays a large role in customer purchase decisions.
Each and every personal has a “perceptual filter” that is unique to them. In order to effectively influence a customers purchase decision, you as a marketer, must learn how to position yourself in such a way so that you are filtered appropriately through a customer’s perception. The simplest way to do this is to make it very known how your product/service will provide a solution to your customer’s problems. Education
: A person’s knowledge undoubtedly influences their purchasing decisions. Knowledge is the sum of all the education and experience owned by a person. As a marketer, the key to obtaining new customers and retaining old ones is getting people to be open minded and to accept new information about your product. This can often be a tricky task, and again is why proper positioning is critical. Self-Construction
: Also known as self-concept or self-perception; this is how people assess themselves. It includes an assessment of their personality, physical attributes, lifestyle, hobbies, skills, talents, etc. People often make purchases to support their self-construction, and will rarely; if ever make a purchase that contradicts their self-perception (How often do you see a vegan at a butcher shop?). As a marketer, if you can see how a customer perceives himself or herself, then you will have a great advantage if you are able to position your product/service in a manner that supports their self-concept. Motivation
: Motivation is a huge
internal influence when it comes to a customers purchase decision-making process. If somebody is motivated to achieve something, they will often encounter a problem along the way, and will seek solutions in order to accomplish what it is they are set out to do. For example, say you are motivated to get fit. Great! That’s fantastic! Now what? Well, you need some sort of a solution. You could join a health club, invest in a personal trainer, purchase a kettlebell, etc. There are a variety of possible solutions, and depending on your level of motivation, some may be more enticing than others. However, do not confuse motivation with involvement, which is about how much effort a customer puts into making a decision. Again, as a marketer, you will have a greater advantage if you can find out what is motivating your customers. Role in society
: A customer often makes purchases to support their perceived role in society. A person’s roles may also vary, as their role in their personal life may be quite different than their role in the workplace. Figure out what role your customer plays and figure out how your product/service can be of a benefit to it. External Influences:
: No external influence has as much of a profound impact on a person’s purchasing decisions than their culture. People often share beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. And that is exactly what culture is; the shared behavior between the members of a society. If you want to know your customer, then it would be a considerably wise decision to first try and understand their culture. Social Class
: This may be financial, educational, or occupational. Depending on what social class a potential customer belongs to, will greatly influence their purchase decisions. It makes sense doesn’t it? A vagrant, living under the I-95 overpass, will probably not be making a Lamborghini purchase decision anytime soon. Social/professional groups
: Similar to culture but on a smaller scale. These are the groups that people often feel the need to associate, or even disassociate themselves with. Understanding the group(s) that your customer belongs to crucial for a marketer’s success.
There you have it. Not all that complicated right? Well, it’s easier said than done, as actually prying out such information can be quite tedious. But stay tuned; I will have another post up soon enough some of the most effective techniques for squeezing information out of potential customers.
Ok cool. See ya then. Now go ponder what you’ve learned over a few sets of double snatch to press.
- Pat Flynn RKC
How to be an Effective and Shameless Self Promoter
By: Pat Flynn RKC
Chronicles of Strength
The truth is, that nobody really wants to promote you. Sorry Charlie. That is not unless you’ve been successfully promoted before. A sick paradox I know.
So if you want it, you have to get it done yourself.
With all the tools available today, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be promoting yourself; under the assumption that you know what you’re talking about. Because nothing is more annoying than wasting your time listening to someone promote themselves as something they are not.
So where do you start? How do you get the ball of shameless self-promotion rolling?
I’m going to put this to you as delicately as I can.
This will not be easy. More than likely you will fail, and fail more than once. But remember, in order to succeed, you must first start tallying up your failures. So expect, and accommodate for failures, as they will surely occur. But what I can offer to you, are the best tips, tricks, and knowledge that I have available to me about self-promotion.
I first launched my website back in 2008 under the address AbleBodiedKettlebells.com, and I eventually changed it to ChroniclesOfStrength.com. I have had many failures, but I have also had many, many successes.
So let’s get started. The first step you have to take in order to be a successful self promoter is to:
1. Create a marketing plan
Let’s first WASH up on your marketing skills.
The first step in developing a proper marketing plan is to evaluate the situation. Situation analysis can be dirty, tedious work, which is why we need some SOAP.
S – subjective
O – Objective
A – Assessment of Task
P – Plan of action.
The acronym soap is used to help you analyze your current situation. The first letter in soap is S (really!), which stands for subjective. Subjective means YOUR viewpoint. How do you feel about the situation? What are YOUR feelings and expectations? This is obviously bound to be a biased opinion, but that’s OK! Just because it’s biased does not mean it is entirely wrong! But realize there is a fine line between being biased and naïve.
For example, say you want to start your own system of strength and conditioning, using a tool that nobody else has ever heard of before…let’s call it…the Powerbell for the sake of simplicity and relativity. Now let’s pretend that you developed the powerbell and a full system of strength and conditioning around the Powerbell through years of experimentation in your grandmothers basement, so you know exactly what it is capable of. Your opinion on it may be that you feel it is the greatest, most effective fitness tool to ever grace the face of mother earth. That would be a subjective viewpoint. Biased? Perhaps. Wrong? Maybe, Maybe not. Either way, the subjective analysis is critical.
The next letter is O, which stands for objective. This is the neutral point of view, or the outsiders perspective. As unbiased and as fair as you can get. This can often be difficult for you to develop on your own. So you may want to ask a stranger, or that wierd distant uncle of yours that you haven’t talked to in 12 years.
We all know that every family has a weird uncle, so let’s pretend we ask him. Say you haul your Powerbell over to your uncles house the next time he hosts Thanksgiving dinner, and you ask him what he thinks of it. Hopefully, he will be unbiased, regardless to the fact that you are related, and give you an honest objective analysis. He may say something like while powerbell seems like it may be an effective tool, it may not the end-all-be-all fitness implement. He might also tell you that the obscure and intimidating look of the powerbell might turn some customers off. Now you have an objective viewpoint. Now your uncle is sedentary, fat, and still has his mullet form 1986. But does that make his viewpoint wrong?I Maybe. Maybe not. The point of obtaining/developing an objective viewpoint is so that you may analyze the situation from an alternate perspective. Hopefully an objective point of view will help to point out things that you might never have noticed before, whether they are positive or negative aspects.
Great, so you have a subjective and objective analysis of the situation. Now what?
The next thing to do is to assess the task at hand (letter A). What is it that must be done? If your task is to market and eventually sell/distribute the Powerbell, then you must assess all that must be done in order to do so. This step can be quite discouraging, as a deep assessment will reveal that you will most likely encounter more work and pitfalls than initially expected. This is the step that separates the people who really want it, from the people that kind of want it. You have to be completely honest with yourself. Assess everything that must go into completing the task, such as investments of capital, time, risk/reward, etc. This is not an easy task, and surely as you progress, you will constantly have to reassess. This step is perpetual, but also crucial to your success and coming to terms with the reality of the situation.
Finally, the last letter in SOAP is P, which stands for plan of action or plan of execution. This is how you will set out to accomplish the task that you have previously assessed. Again, this step is also perpetual and flexible, but without proper planning, then you will fail, there is no doubt about that.
So what is planning?
People seemed to often get confused when they try to understand what planning really entails. Planning is not just scribbling some nonsensical agenda onto a piece of loose-leaf paper, hoping you will someday get around to it.
“Planning is a deliberate process with the goal of understanding current circumstances to prepare for future events”
Got it? Good.
But wait! Bad news!
Unfortunately, nobody is willing to help you out…not even your rich grandmother. You have been turned down again and again and again by just about everyone. You have no money and no support from your friends or family. But wait you do have is intrinsic motivation, and you will not let rejection get you down.!No way! You will persist, and you will succeed!
So what now?
Well, if nobody else is willing to do it, you must promote yourself!
Here is what you need to know in order to become an effective, and shameless self-promoter.
1. Build awareness – This is the most crucial component of promotion, whether you are self-promoted or not. If nobody knows who you are, then nothing else matters. You can’t try and sell yourself, if nobody knows you exist! You have to get your name out there, and let people know who you are, what you do, and why they should care! Now building awareness is not just about getting your name out there, but also making sure that the customers interpret the information about you in exactly the way you want them to. Most on this will be discussed once we get into positioning.
The vagrants guide to building awareness
Oh you poor vagabond your broke aren’t you? Don’t worry, I’ve been there. I was there for a while. But this doesn’t have to stop you. Where there is a will there is a way.
Here are a couple of my few favorite methods of building awareness, which require almost no cash disbursements whatsoever.
I. Social Media – facebook, twitter, tumblr, bebo, myspace, flickr, linked in, the list goes on and on and on! All of these social media sites are sources of free advertising if you know how to use them correctly. If you are connected to me on any of these websites, then you already know how much I pollute them with content. Notice I said pollute with content, not spam! Will I pump tons of content out on these sites daily; it is still valuable content none-the-less. The next section on creating value will go more into detail about how important it is to release valuable content in order to retain good customers and followers.
II. Youtube – All you need to get yourself on youtube is a half-decent video camera. I personally use a flip video, it cost me only about $100 bucks and the quality is awesome! Youtube is a great way to pump out valuable content and to build awareness. Again, you will understand more about creating “valuable” content in the next section. Here is a link to my youtube channel so that you have an idea of what I’m talking about: Chronicles Of Strength Youtube Channel
III. Blogging – If you don’t already have a blog. Get one now! Tons of free blogging sites out there. This is how you can start to establish your credibility. Post stuff of value for your readers, whatever that may be is on you! Then pump your blog through the social media channels. I will write another blog soon, about how to be an effective blogger (kind of funny isn’t it)!
IV. Forums – the internet is really just a big popularity contest. So get involved in as many places as you can, and make as many friends as you can. Forums are a great way to let people know who you are and what you are about!
V. Other’s websites – Don’t be selfish about your self promotion. Reciprocity goes a long ways. If you visit other peoples websites, and get involved there in a positive manner, they will likely return the favor Establish as many solid relationships as you can, and try to get links to your site on other people’s websites and blogs. Link backs help substantially with SEO(search engine optimization), so get as many as you can!
VI. Email – One of the best things you can do for yourself is get your customers and followers email. From there you can send them updates, newsletters, exclusive content, etc. How do you obtain emails, or more specifically, the emails of your target market? The answer to that is discussed in further detail in my upcoming ebook, where I reveal the secrets of developing a good squeeze page, so stay tuned for that!
2. Create Value – This is all about retention. Getting people to keep coming back to you, because you have established a sense of value.
So how do you create value?
Create a solution.
What people have are problems. And what people are looking for, are solutions to problems. I discuss this much more in depth in my upcoming ebook, but I’ll give you the short version to get you started.
Do not think about selling yourself or a product. Rather think about selling a solution. If you are a fitness expert, then your customers may have a variety of problems, such as being overweight, weak, in poor health, etc. What you have to do, is offer effective solutions to these problems for them. The key word being effective. Nobody will come back if your solution doesn’t work…well then it really isn’t even a solution is it? Why do people keep buying advil? Because it is a solution, although a temporary one, to their pain. Why do people buy electric drills? Because they have a problem…they need holes, and the drill provides holes. You see, when somebody buys a drill, they aren’t really buying a drill are they? They are buying holes!
So find out what your customers problems are, and offer them a solution in order to create value.
Here are a few ways that I have created value to my followers:
Youtube Video Tutorials and sample workouts: In Depth Kettlebell Two Hand Swing Tutorial
Free Daily Workouts: Workout of the Day
Free Ebook on Metabolic Conditioning: Free Metabolic Conditioning Ebook
Training Logs and General Advice: RKC Training Log - Strength and Power Training
All of the above have created a sense of value to my followers. They return to my site because I have offered them solutions to their problems, and in turn, they have become good, loyal customers.
That leads us to my next point.
3. Maintain the “good” customersReality check. The customer is NOT always right. There are good customers, and here are bad customers. Believe me when I say, especially as personal trainer and fitness guru, that you absolutely DO NOT want to work with everybody that wants to work with you. There will be people that are simply not worth your time or effort, regardless of the size of their check book.
I will not get too deep into what makes up bad customers, but it’s not like they are hard to find. Constant complainers, people who don’t pay or never pay on time, trolls, and customers that spread poor word of mouth.
The sad truth is, is that as a professional, and somebody who is claiming to be an expert at something (which I’m assuming you are since you wish to self-promote), then you will always have critics. Whenever you take a clear, solid stance on anything, there will always be people there to challenge and criticize you. DO NOT let this get you down! Rather, let It inspire you, because it is an indicator that you have been drawing attention to yourself. Remember that the biggest threat will always have a target on your back.
There are two methods for which I handle critics and trolls.
1. If their claim is substantial then I may dignify with comment. I will do what is necessary to back my claims, abut should I be wrong, I will admit it. Do not be stubborn if you have been proven wrong on something! Instead, thank the person (assuming the have informed you in a polite enough manner) and correct yourself. Learn from it and move on!
Now what about the good customers?
Hopefully you should all know the 80/20 rule by now. That rule states that 80 percent of your profits will come from 20% of your customers.
Good customers are invaluable, and you must retain them at all costs.
I buy a lot of my supplements at a local GNC. Now the funny thing is, I can get everything I get there, for at least half the price somewhere else or online. But I keep going back to GNC, because the first time I went there, the owner treated me right. Customer service goes a long way, especially when it comes to establishing customer loyalty.
Here are a few tips to be a customer service pro.
1. Encourage customers to accept new/more information about your service/product. This can be done through incentives (free ebook anyone?) or other sorts of special promotions targeted only for your loyal customers. Make them feel appreciated, and take care of them accordingly.
2. When somebody asks you something, answer them! I am adamant about getting back to people asap. I am constantly replying to emails, comments, phone calls, etc. This way the customer knows that they are a priority to you, and they will appreciate you for that. Remember, reciprocity my friends! Quid pro quo.
3. Know and understand your customer! Know their needs, their wants, their social class, their sex, culter, heritage, etc. The more you know about the people who are interested in you, the easier It will be for you to provide them with a solution. There are many tools out there to track such statistics, and some of them are even free, so you have no excuse to not be digging up as much information about your customers as possible.
Keep your good customers happy at all costs.
So there you have it. I will have another post relatively soon going more into detail about some of the finer points of guerilla marketing, but for now, its your turn! I would love to hear everybody else’s innovative, guerilla marketing like tactics. Post what has and hasn’t worked for you in the comment section! Post any questions as well. But one last thought…
Remember, that beyond anything else, nothing can take the place of persistence. Not talent, intelligence, or luck. If you want to succeed, you must be persistent. Trudge through the hard times, and eventually you will emerge victorious…
or die trying…