You love your customers and clients. Helping them reach their fitness and wellness goals is why you went into business. There is only one problem. You NEED more of them!
66% of small businesses say their biggest challenge is getting new customers. 61% of small business owners use social media for selling. LinkedIn is a great way to improve your image and increase your sales. Here are some statistics that illustrate how decision-makers view LinkedIn.
- #1 Social Selling Tool as identified by sales professionals
- 2 in 3 small business owners see LinkedIn as a lead source
- 3 in 4 small business owners view it as enhancing credibility
Personal trainers, life coaches and wellness professionals all see the need for a strong social media presence, but they lack training in branding and social selling. You’re not alone. Research shows that 70% of sales professionals lack training on how to make social media work for them as an effective digital marketing tool.
As a fitness coach for example, training involves getting in there and doing things hands on, not sitting in a classroom learning dry theory. Same with mastering social selling on Linkedin: only the basic goals are much faster and easier to attain!
This article gives you 10 actionable steps to leverage LinkedIn to build your business as fitness or wellness expert and generate leads that convert to new customers. Samples are included if the wordsmith in you has writer’s block.
- Eye-catching top of the profile- 94% of small business owners use social media for selling. When prospective customers click on a LinkedIn profile, you want it to convey the right image. Here are a few important points.
Headline– Just like a short, punchy headline gets you to click on an article you want a short description that lets people know why they need to read. LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to create a headline. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, here are a few suggestions.
For fitness coaches
- Expert Personal Trainer
- Fitness Rock Star
- From fat to fit (if you’re feeling adventurous)
When crafting your headline think of and add your 2 most important, relevant and descriptive keywords.
Picture– Here is a simple stat. Profiles with pictures have a 40% Inmail response rate. Make sure you have a picture that fits your audience. Whether you coach wellness-focused individuals or people who need help with fitness goals, use a headshot. There is something about seeing a person’s face that elicits a positive response. Above all else…
Selfies often have people gazing off to one side, not looking straight ahead. They are often taken in places where the lighting is not flattering and with equipment that does not produce a high-resolution image. We won’t even get into the people who take selfies with their dogs (remember, you’re not a vet). Your picture must always convey a straightforward, professional image.
Contact information– Offer clear directions on how to get in touch with you. Make sure you have one phone number and email address. Don’t give people too many choices. Also customize your LinkedIn URL to your name. This action allows people to easily search for you.
These steps set the tone for a professional profile.
- A Summary that Sells- Small business owners, including coaches, sometimes turn a summary into a biography. Don’t! An ideal summary follows a 3X3 format (3 paragraphs, no more than 3 sentences each) with less than 150 words. Feel free to use the template below.
Paragraph #1– An introduction of your service
Paragraph #2– 3-5 services that you can offer to prospects
Paragraph #3– A call to action that encourages readers to contact you right now
Reminder: Bullets from Word do not paste into LinkedIn. Go to the insert tab, click on symbol, and select ones to highlight specific points. You will have to copy and paste them from a Word document.
- Optimize the Rest of Your Profile- Many people have only a brief summary of their experience. Build a more attractive profile by…
- Completing it! A surprising number of profiles lack even basic information about career history and relevant certifications.
- Using keywords. If you’re in the fitness field, make sure you incorporate phrases like personal trainer, personal training, and fitness specialist in throughout your profile. When people conduct searches, you want to have the terms they use in your profile.
- Getting client recommendations. Succinct written recommendations from prior paying customers strongly influence buying decisions. These statements say to prospects, “Don’t take my word that you’ll get your money’s worth, take the word of these 20 people.”
- Selecting skills and getting endorsements. In addition to recommendations, make sure you choose relevant skills to showcase. Make sure to ask happy customers from the past to endorse for Coaching and other skills.
- Including professional development and industry awards / honors. The point of a profile is to showcase your expertise.
Bonus Tip: Ask someone to proof your profile. Grammar, spelling, and formatting errors distract from a profile’s impact.
- Prospecting for New Customers- Now that you have a complete profile, reach out to new prospects. LinkedIn Advanced Search allows small business owners to reach their target market, but you have to answer one question. Who comprises my target market?
Think strategically. Who needs my coaching services? Will they pay me what I think is a fair rate? If you’re in the fitness field, you want to identify people in your local area; unless of course your offer online fitness or wellness services. You also need to find people with the disposable income who have a business reason to create an impression of fitness. Search for people with titles such as…
- Vice President of Sales
Skype enables fitness professionals to seek clients beyond their local area. However, they also must focus on people that can and will pay for in-person personal or group coaching or training. If research and gut instinct tell you that those prospects are mid-career professionals, search the following titles:
- Supply Chain Managers
- General Managers
- Finance Directors
Once you have a prospect list, make sure you take these two steps:
- Do not hit the “Connect” button via LinkedIn Search, go to their profile
- Send a concise, (less than 300 characters) personalized message
Example (for a fitness coach):
“As an entrepreneur, you need to make every minute count. Learn about my customized fitness programs to get the most out of your workout.”
- Turn social connections into business connections- Social selling is related to old-fashioned networking. As a businessperson, you need to carve out time for networking, and LinkedIn is a tool to enhance it.
Ask every warm lead you meet outside of LinkedIn to connect with you. Every time you talk about your business (at a conference, an event, at the local library) make sure you’re asking to connect via LinkedIn. If they showed genuine interest, connecting will allow you to keep in touch.
Remember, get a good quantity of connections too. People see the number of connections you have when they pull up your profile page. If you have a low number like 20, potential customers might wonder how valuable you are as a coach. Like it or not, people sometimes make very superficial judgments.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow alumni, former colleagues, and family members to connect with you. It is important to get 100 connections and have a long-term goal of 500+ connections.
Interesting stat to motivate you: A warm lead is 4X as likely to convert to a sale as a cold lead.
- Send a Thank You Message- Good manners never go out of style. If someone accepts your request to connect, follow-up with a thank you note. Hold back from putting on the hard sell here.
The only reference to your business should be the URL to your website. In the digital era, it’s still important to maintain a person touch.
- Join Relevant Groups- LinkedIn groups help personal coaches in many ways.
#1- They enhance credibility. If a prospect needs to find a career coach, and you are a member of groups such as Resume Writers and Job Search Help for Introverts, it creates an impression that you stay abreast of industry trends.
#2- It allows you to gain insights from others in your field. You never want your business to get stale.
#3- You can join groups that complement your business. Career coaches know that people in the same industry are often competitors. If a fitness coach wants to target small business owners, he should join groups that attract entrepreneurs.
There are so many LinkedIn groups it can be hard to know where to start. Ask this question. What groups do your best customers and ideal prospects belong to? Follow these steps.
- Survey their profiles
- Find commonalities
- Check group discussion quality
- Join those groups!
Again make sure to budget your time wisely. If membership in a particular group fails to produce results, don’t be afraid to change your focus.
- Stay in Touch- Follow through and keeping your name visible are critical for business building. Two specific tools help you keep in touch with connections.
LinkedIn Connected is an app that notifies you when it’s a special occasion. A person really appreciates it when you take the time to acknowledge his birthday or say “Congrats” about the new job.
LinkedIn also offers the ability to customize reminders. You can select whether a connection needs weekly or monthly reminders. Excellent follow up is key to establishing and maintaining a professional image.
- Develop long-term relationships with ease- As this article mentioned earlier: people in coaching fields thrive on their relationships with customers. Increasingly, people use social media for learning. You can quickly share information with connections on LinkedIn.
Fitness and wellness professionals might share these items:
- Short videos
- Case Studies
Incorporate sharing material into your follow up strategy for leads.
- Publish (don’t perish) on LinkedIn- Writing posts is a great way to establish credibility on LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s analysis showed that 49% of members used social media for learning. It’s a way for coaches to share their unique insights with an audience of potential customers.
When you author content, it creates an image that you are a leader in your field. For personal coaches, who are their brand, publishing is important for success. You, of course, want to make the most of your time.
Research shows that the most read posts on LinkedIn share these common characteristics:
- Are easy to read– literally at a junior high school level
- Not too long– 1900-2000 words are ideal
- Have 5 headings that break the article into digestible sections
- Present images (8 being optimum) but not video
- Get likes to help the post become visible to 2nd degree connections
- Titles that are statements not questions
- Titles with 49 characters or less
- Are published on Thursday
- Have “neutral” content; avoid being too positive or negative
Make sure to reference any publications on your profile. You want to get the maximum results from content writing efforts.
Social selling is not strange or hard. Think of it as an extension of the relationship selling that is necessary to grow a coaching business. LinkedIn developed a social site that offers credibility, context, connection, and community for business people.
Keep in mind, the ultimate goal is to turn an online brand and leads into offline sales.
Sometimes the leads will see you on LinkedIn and call you directly. Other times, you need to seek out leads.
With a lead conversion rate much higher than Twitter of Facebook, LinkedIn is a site where you really need to focus your branding and digital marketing efforts.