Big plans for Sign Up process. We’re starting with Waivers!

Normally, we try to do one update per month.  Our developers decided to take some time off over Christmas so that kind of put a crimp in things.  We launched our last update a couple weeks ago.  We’ve been trying to catch up.  This is a single feature release, but the beginning of a set of Client Sign Up Flow enhancements that will come next.

Waiver Enhancements

If you are using the current waiver process, then you know that it was a very simple design.  Your client clicks on a link to the waiver to view it.  The system opens a new browser tab to do this.  That is a simple process, right?  Unfortunately, some users still get lost.  They don’t realize they are on a new tab and have a hard time getting back to the original flow.  Our new solution solves this issue.  You can paste your waiver content into Fitli and we will display it within the flow of the application in a clean and user friendly manner.  They read it and click close.  Done and on to the next step.  More to come in this general area.  For more info on how this works, check out the Waiver FAQ.

3 Months Free Promotion is ending 

Switch your subscription from Monthly to Annual before January 31, 2018 and get 3 Months Free.  Interested?  Send an email to support@fitli.com to get your questions answered or to request the change.

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first Product release of 2018!

It’s a new year and we have big plans for the product.  But, even the longest journey starts with a single step.  Enjoy the first update of the year!

Emergency Contact Info

We start off with a quick update to the contact info.  As with most of our updates, this was a popular request.  Now the client profile includes fields for Emergency Contact Info.  This includes the Contact Name, Relationship, and Phone Number.

Sales Report Update

Another request fulfilled.  We have added a new field to the exported sales report to include the name of the trainer on drop in purchased sessions.

Quick Booking

You know when you need to book somebody into multiple classes.  You click on the class, then find the customer and add them to the class.  Then you go find the next class and do it again.  Ouch!  That is now a thing of the past.  With the new Quick Booking feature, you can book your customer into future classes in about 5% of the time it took before.  Saving time, saves money!  Your customers can do this too so it should lead to increased bookings and quicker utilization of packages and sessions.

Check out our FAQ on how this works HERE.

3 Months Free Promotion

Switch your subscription from Monthly to Annual before January 31, 2018 and get 3 Months Free.  Interested?  Send an email to support@fitli.com to get your questions answered or to request the change.

How Your Gym Can Use Digital Marketing to Boost Membership

Small and independent gyms are under increasing pressure competing with large national brands and budget gyms, fitness apps and online personal trainers promising they can provide the same results at home. If this sounds like one of the challenges your business faces you can use digital marking to boost membership sales and improve retention.

In that past, the way gyms would attract more members was with paid advertising that included newspapers, local magazines, yellow pages, flyers, and mailers. Essentially, they would cast a wide net to reach the largest number of prospects possible. Nonetheless, the internet has decreased the effectiveness of these traditional methods. Today, when considering a product or service, the typical person will go online to do research. Therefore, your website, directory listings, social media profiles, online reviews, and other facts of internet life will all impact people’s decisions.

Why Digital Marketing Can Help Grow Gym Memberships

Through digital marketing, you can reach out to those most interested in joining a gym. Moreover, you can target your messaging to those who look like your ideal customers. Digital marketing can grow your brand awareness, identify you an authority, and make your gym the obvious choice. Would that be of benefit in your situation?

The first stage is identifying your target. This begins by knowing your ideal customers. Which groups are responsible for most of your business? Does your gym attract stay at home moms? Is most of your business coming from corporate types? Are they primarily looking to lose weight or are they more the fitness enthusiast type? Consider for a moment Planet Fitness. Their success relies on targeting those who want to lose weight, but are intimidated by what they think the inside of a regular gym looks like. Understand these four things about your members and potential members:

  • The demographics of your member groups
  • Your members’ fitness goals, needs, and motivations
  • What or who influences their decisions
  • How you can solve their fitness problems

Digital Marketing for Your Independent Gym

Once you know who you are going to talk to, you need to set up the channels of communication.

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Ensure your website adheres to SEO best practices, especially when it comes to Local SEO. This will help ensure your website ranks well within search results and will boost your organic/free website traffic.

2. Content Marketing – Consistently sharing valuable fitness information using a blog, social media profiles, email newsletters, and more can grow your reputation, draw traffic, attract more leads, and help will membership retention.

3. Inbound Marketing – Essentially, inbound marketing combines web design, content creation, social media, and other strategies into creating a sales funnel that gently guides your audience through the customer life-cycle, from target to active member.

4. Social Media Marketing – Using informative or entertaining posts, images, and videos, social media is an effective way to promote your business, distribute your content, and stay connected with your audience, customers, and fans.

5. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – Using paid advertising is a reliable and predictable way to attract visitors to your website. Whether you are using Google AdWords or Facebook’s native advertising, you pay for the traffic you receive.

6. Email Marketing – Many small and independent gyms effectively make use of opt-in email subscriptions and newsletters to communicate with prospects and their membership. When done right, this is this is one of the best ways to promote content, discounts, and events.

What haven’t we covered yet that is important to you? If you would like to talk about how your gym can use digital marketing to boost membership, or a related topic, please contact us.

Sanjay Salomon of PYMNTS.com caught up with Fitli CEO and founder John Cline

When looking to shed a few extra pounds or get in shape for warmer weather, consumers can turn to personal trainers to help them meet their fitness goals, boost their endurance or raise the flexibility bar. Today, new solutions are helping fitness professionals gain more flexibility in scheduling sessions and accepting payments.

For the November Tracker’s feature story, PYMNTS caught up with Fitli CEO and founder John Cline about helping personal trainers and other fitness professionals accept payments, and the “chicken or egg” challenge of pitching a fitness marketplace to customers while simultaneously encouraging instructors to join the platform.

To read the story, visit PYMNTS.com here.

 

Kicking off November with a few product updates

We are making the rounds today with several random improvements that many have been asking for.  Onward and Upward.

Waiver – Click Required

For our more risk averse customers, we’ve made a small enhancement to the online waiver functionality.  As the title says, you now have the option to require that the client click on your waiver link in order to accept the waiver.  Nothing can guarantee they will read it, but at least you can go a step further and increase your legal protections.  This is probably the part where we should have a bunch of small print saying we are not lawyers and in no way assert that our product will protect you from lawsuits… yada yada…  Learn more here

User Role – Give them data

For most of you, the user roles we have previously provided work well enough.  But, not everybody is the same.  We’ve added a new role which includes ‘Reporting’ along with the Professional Full Access profile.  Knowledge is a powerful tool. Yield it wisely. 🙂

Package & Membership Deep Links

This is the first of probably many ‘deep links’ that we will be developing over the next several releases.  What is a deep link?  It’s a link that you can generate from Fitli that you can put on your website and take users directly to a specific page within the application.  The first one we are launching tonight will allow you to generate a link to either a list of all packages and memberships or a single package/membership.  This is useful if you’d like to promote you packages/memberships on your website and have a “buy” or “purchase” button which will take the user directly into the Fitli purchase flow for that item.  See a bit more on the help desk.

Customer Export

Yes.  You read right.  You can now click a button and get a full export of your customer list in CSV format.  This export will include all data that you have in the system about this customer from contact info to notes.  Use this file to load directly into your email program such as Mailchimp of Constant Contact to keep things in synch.  This one is kind of self explanatory, but if you want to read more, you can do it here.

Don’t forget. Save money with our new Annual Billing option

Many of you may still be on a Free Trial.  Others are on a Monthly Billing Plan.  We are introducing Annual pricing.  Of course, you save money by going Annual.  So, if you are pretty happy and expect to be with us a while, the Annual Plan may be a good option.  See the Annual Pricing options at the Pricing Section of the website. Then, if interested, just send a message to support@fitli.com to let us know you’d like to change.

Help – Easier than ever

We are always happy to answer your questions.  But, we are not available 100% of the time and we know that one or two of you like to figure things out for yourself.  You probably already know we have a help desk.  We keep mentioning it.  Now, you can get there directly from the Fitli app from the pull down menu in the top right on the web.  If you are super excited and can’t wait, go now and  Visit the Helpdesk!

New Look and Feel for Fitli

SEO in 2017: All About User Experience

Fitness and wellness site owners are often led to believe that SEO is just a matter of knowing the right tricks. Master those tricks, and Google will catapult your site to the top of their results. However, Google and other search engines have grown extremely adept at detecting any attempt to achieve artificially high rankings. In 2017 search engines penalize site owners for tricks like “keyword stuffing” and “link spam.” Sites with in-depth, original content and an exceptional user experience reap SEO rewards. This is great news for site owners in the fitness and wellness space, who would prefer to focus on member sign-ups, rather than ever-changing algorithms.

Rethinking keywords and backlinks

These are two areas that many site owners have been led to believe they must master in order to rank high in search results. Keywords and backlinks are still relevant today, but a lot has changed. In 2017, old assumptions about the importance of keywords and backlinks can easily lead to “keyword stuffing” and “link spam.” Considering that Google has fine-tuned its algorithms to recognize these practices, they will hurt your SEO more than help it.

Avoiding “keyword stuffing”

Site owners often hear that they need to stuff their content with keywords that potential customers are searching for on Google. For example, if you run a yoga studio in Santa Barbara, you may feel pressured to constantly repeat “Santa Barbara” and “yoga” on every page. You certainly want to include those keywords when relevant, but do so sparingly. If Google detects evidence of unnecessary usage of keywords, a practice known as “keyword stuffing,” they may penalize your site for it.

Google now tends to favor content containing a broader range of relevant keywords that often occur naturally within a rich, in-depth treatment of your topic.

Avoiding “link spam”

Site owners often feel pressured to get backlinks to their site by any means possible. Google has highly sophisticated ways of sniffing out sites that are generating backlinks not by merit, but by other means that Google considers “link spam.”

Of course, backlinks still matter. Search engines look for links clearly inspired by a genuine appreciation of your site’s great user experience and original content.

SEO in 2017 is about user experience

While keywords and backlinks will always carry some weight, the center of gravity in SEO is content quality and user experience. This is welcome news for businesses owners, especially in the fitness and wellness space. Rather than trying to master keyword-density or generate backlinks, focus on in-depth fitness and wellness content and an intuitive experience. After all, in 2017 search engines are trying to think like their users. Use of mobile devices for browsing continues to grow so search engines reward mobile-friendly sites. Search engine users don’t want to wait for pages to load, so sites with fast-loading times get rewarded. Search engines reward fresh, original, in-depth treatments of topics.

Have a look at Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and SEO Starter Guide for their latest recommendations.

A new outlook

Overall, an SEO plan primarily focused on keyword-density and backlink-count is not a viable option. In 2017 Google penalizes sites with abnormally high concentrations of narrow keywords or loads of questionable backlinks. Sites with a great user experience are rewarded. It’s time to turn your focus on what truly makes users happy: fast-loading, mobile-friendly sites with intuitive functionality and fresh, original, in-depth content.

Contact us to learn more about SEO in 2017.

Small Business Startup Tools

You’ve decided to take the plunge and start a small business. You are officially a small business startup! You’re about to learn things you never knew you didn’t know. Every day a new challenge awaits you. It may be a marketing issue or a product issue. Maybe it’s operations or customer service related? It might be accounting or tax related. You never know.  Unfortunately, you can’t just send your issue over to the appropriate department… because you are the department. You are all the departments. So you need help. You’re in luck. Today, more than ever before, there are tools and applications for everything. At Fitli, we use or have used at least 20 different online tools and applications to run our business. Here are a few of my favorites:

Read more

6 Strategies to Increase Traffic to Your Small Business Website

According to a study from Forbes, 9 out of 10 consumers go online when they’re looking for products or services—and of these, about 90% never go past the first page of search results.  That means achieving a high ranking in search results for your small business website is critical to your success.  The question is how do you best achieve that? What you can do, right now, to improve your rankings in Google and other search engines?

Hubspot recommends these 6 strategies you can use today to improve your search engine rankings to increase website traffic, grow your small business and boost your sales:

1.  Build a Professional-Looking Small Business Website

Your website is the face of your small business. It’s the first thing customers and prospective customers see. It’s how they evaluate whether they can trust your company and the products and services you offer.  If your website looks amateurish or it’s buggy, customers will conclude that you don’t know what you’re doing. They will assume your website is a reflection of your products and services.

For the technically proficient, you can certainly create your own website using one of the several CMS tools on the market.  If not, you can partner with a strong marketing agency or freelancer.  You can find freelancers and agencies in your area using online tools like Upwork or Freelancer.

2.  Optimize Your Small Business Website

Search engines like Google use algorithms to find the highest quality content that matches the keywords people type.  There are several proactive steps you can take to make sure your website appears high in search engine rankings when people type in keywords related to your business.  Search Engine Journal summarizes some of the most important of these, like identifying targeted keywords, creating useful content, and building high-quality backlinks to your site.

3.  Create a Blog

Publishing a blog with useful content is a great way to improve your site’s SEO. It also helps to build trust in your brand.  According to Hubspot, businesses which blog 16 or more times a month get on average 3.5 times more website traffic than those which don’t.  Make sure your targeted keywords are weaved organically into your blog posts. Also make sure your content answers questions your customers have. It should help them make smart consumer choices.

4.  Have a Consistent and Compelling Brand

Branding is a hot topic.  For some, branding is about logos, taglines and color schemes.  For others, it’s about the promises you make to your customers, and the extent to which you keep those promises. In the end, branding is really about is how people perceive your business.  As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon describes it, branding is “what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”  To get started, check out Hubspot’s “How to Brand Your Business on a Budget,” with useful tips on creating buyer personas, developing an identity and voice, and making customer service a top priority.

5.  Embrace Email Marketing

Email marketing remains among the most effective tools small business owners can use to connect with customers and boost sales.  In fact, according to a 2013 report from the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing yields on average a 4,300% return on investment for large and small businesses in the United States.  You can expand your email database by giving prospective customers incentives (like valuable content) to provide their contact information by filling out forms on your website.  Once you have your email database in place, send customers information they can use on a regular basis, perhaps through a weekly or monthly newsletter.  Email marketing will increase traffic to your website, and that helps improve your SEO.

6.  Get Active on Social Media

Engaging customers on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is one of the best ways for small businesses to increase traffic to their websites.   You can get started by creating a Facebook business page which includes your location and business hours.   You should also create a Twitter account and learn how to use Instagram for your small business,  Finally, you need to learn how to get positive customer reviews on sites like Yelp.

Conclusion

According to Neil Patel writing for Forbes, 90% of small business startups fail.  The ones which succeed find innovative ways to make sure customers can find their products and services online.  One of the best ways to do that is by joining an online marketplace.  To learn more about the ways our online marketplace will get your business online and mobile in minutes—and make it easy for your customers to interact with your business, contact us today.