On your mark

Something happened a few months ago.

We opened the gym in January with about 24 people.

Now, six months later? Well over 50 and quickly approaching 60. We doubled in size in 6 months.

I got asked this question yesterday by one of our athletes: “How aggressively are you marketing your business?”

She asked me because she the amount of faces she’s seeing coming through the door begged such a question.

I immediately thought to myself: Wow, how Aggressive? Uhh…come to think of it… not very aggressive at all actually.

In the seconds after she asked me this question I fumbled to respond because I felt like I had to give her an answer that explained the droves of people. You know, a kind of response that showed this phenomena was exactly what I had planned. Kind of like when you hook shot a crumpled TPS report at the office from 50ft away and some astounded onlooker asks  how you did that? And although you’re more surpised than they are, you veil it with an aloof shrug as if you’d made the shot a 1000 times before and utter over your shoulder as you walk, no, strut away, “I used to ball people up in college”

I told her that our primary marketing efforts were through SEO. I optimized pages on the site for localized keywords and waited for google to do the rest. Beyond that, word of mouth. And…. um..  No, Yea, thats about it.

No print advertisement, no sales office, no cold calling. Actually not really any money is spent on advertising at all.

She gave an amicable nod and said “Well, I think it’s really cool what you’re doing here.” and walked away.

Honestly, my response hardly justifies or explains doubling in size in a few months. But her response does. She said she thought what we had going at the gym was really cool. She meant it. I could tell.

In fact, I can tell in almost everyone we train. They are truly jazzed about the gym, smiley-faced enthusiastic and athletic as hell. They think Heyday is awesome sometimes getting obsessed with coming here.

Why? Because we are soooo awesome?

No. Although I would love to believe that. I think what is responsible for our rapid growth is our own doing but almost unintentional.

We brag. Not about us, but about them. The athletes. We take pictures, post them on the site, write about them in posts, give them shout outs on facebook. We’re like the annoying soccer mom driving the Dodge Caravan adorned with “My Child is on the Honor Roll at Dayton Elementary” bumper sticker. Ya, we’re those people.

We are constantly celebrating the accomplishments and milestones of the people we Train. As a result we get a stream of new people that borders on “Holy crap we have a waiting list”

Want to get customers to Rave about you? Rave about them. Single them out, highlight them for others to see, and show. Express something that says you’re lucky to have them.

Customers then become something that borders on disciple.

We were constantly posting pictures and youtube videos of athletes, capturing their feats of strength in various media and talking about their personal records in articles posts and without realizing it, our phones were ringing.

Why? Because the athletes we talked about started linking to us on their Facebook pages. They would give unsolicited testimonials in their status updates. All of the sudden, our gym was getting publicized to these tiny niches consisting of the athlete’s facebook friends. 200-500 people would learn about us repeatedly without us ever doing or paying a thing.

They talked about it everywhere they went. Screw asking someone to bring referrals. Get a woman to do her first pullup and she WILL NOT stop talking about it. Or a guy to deadlift 300lbs or nail a muscle-up and make no mistake they will find every opportunity to bring it up in conversation.

People want recognition, in the case of fitness they need to be reminded of what they’ve accomplished and how far they’ve come.

In the case of other businesses it’s important that people want their 15 minutes. Give them a bit of quasi-fame by pointing them out in whatever way is available to you and they will not forget you especially when it matters most; when they or someone they know needs someone like you again.

So turn your Site (or facebook page or primary medium) to a digital Refrigerator door where your people can relive the days their A+ assignments were posted for all to see and be ready to call for back-up when the phones ring.