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If your social media strategy consists of hoping that some of your followers become customers, then you need to re-think it. Lynsey Fraser explains how to create a highly targeted leads funnel.

Lead generation and referrals are vital to the survival of any health club, training studio or fitness business – no matter how big or small. People come and go, change jobs, relocate, and have unexpected financial commitments take precedence over their health, so having an ongoing pipeline of leads is vital for success.

Most fitness businesses use social media to some degree, but without really making the most of its potential. Gaining Likes for posts and hoping that some of them are from prospects who might one day decide to use your business is not a strategy. A targeted approach can help you turn those followers into actual business.

Creating a leads funnel

There’s more to lead generation than just paid posts or sponsored ads. Users of social media – which is most of us, and certainly most of your potential customers – are getting more discerning, and we need to offer more value. One way of doing this is by creating a ‘value exchange’ whereby prospective customers provide their details in exchange for something of value to them. We create this value through clever use of our content, such as useful information, tips and training ideas.

One of the best ways to do this is to start funnelling your prospective leads using a series of social media posts and adverts in a sequence called a ‘lead funnel’. A lead funnel is a way of building a relationship with your potential clients and offering them some valuable content (such as a free ebook, trial session, or ‘how to’ video) and then retargeting the people who showed interest in your piece of content with another offer or value exchange. You start to funnel the most interested people by retargeting and offering value before you hit them with an advert. This process allows you to focus your attention on your warmest leads.

So what would a Facebook lead funnel campaign look like for a business like yours? Here’s an example of using social media to help generate leads for a member event or a function hosted at your club or facility.

Stage 1. Sow the seeds with content (6 to 8 weeks out)

Six to eight weeks before this event start delivering content based around the subject. If you are hosting an evening at a Physiotherapy clinic, you could post shareable content about great core exercises for people with chronic back pain.

You’re starting to plant the seeds before even offering a workshop. An example would be a simple post saying ‘Hey, this is a great exercise to do if you spend your whole day sitting down’, accompanied by the video content. This helps build trust in your knowledge and isn’t salesy or pushy – you are offering value to your potential customers. You may want to boost this piece of content with a small amount of money to increase its reach or create a series of similar videos and release them over a few weeks before the event.

Stage 2. Start promoting the event (4 weeks out)

Four weeks before the event, start promoting it in an email, make flyers for your club, SMS all of your members and make sure it’s shared across all social media channels. Now you can re-target the audience of everyone that has watched your previous videos relating to the same topic, and boost your event to these people. Because they have already shown an interest in your business, they are considered ‘warm leads’ as they are more likely to be interested in the event.

In the run-up to your event, use content again to create teaser videos, a little taster of what to expect at the event. Whet people’s appetite and entice them to want to find out more.

Stage 3. Host – and make the most of – the event

On the day or night of the event take some great photos, video snippets and video testimonials from those attending, and don’t forget to collect attendees’ details, as these are highly engaged members and prospects. It is helpful to have a special offer, such as a free future PT session or posture assessment, to encourage those attending to sign up or join on the night.

After the event you want to capture the interest of people who didn’t attend the event or signup and, again, start to funnel them. Use content from the event, like a short video of the talk or offer, and post it on your social channels, boosting it for extra reach if your budget allows. Again, you can retarget the people who watched the video with a special offer similar to the one you offered on the night of the event.

Here’s how this social media lead funnels process could be used for a boutique PT studio specialising in posture and corrective exercise.

Top of funnel – Share a series of videos on how sitting at a desk affects the body. These could either be shared content from another source, or filmed by the PT studio using a smartphone. The videos are posted to Facebook and boosted to the local area of the studio, targeting professional people who are likely to spend much of their day sitting down.

Mid level funnel – Details about the audience of people who have watched these videos is collected. The studio plans to host a free evening talk on ‘Back Pain and Sitting’ and promotes this event to people who have watched the videos.

Bottom of funnel – The studio hosts the event and films part of the talk. During the event a free postural assessment and two weeks membership are offered for free to all in attendance.

The day after the event, the studio targets the warm audience of people who watched their previous videos with an offer ‘Missed us last night? Call us now and join with 2 weeks free!’ Notice that although it’s a great offer, it has less value than the offer on the night. This way the people who attended feel they got the best value and won’t be upset if they see an ad for this ‘lesser’ deal on Facebook.

And so, back into the funnel… A bite-sized and engaging part of the filmed talk from the event can be posted on Facebook to start creating another funnel for the next planned event, ‘Missed our postural talk in September? Our next talk, in November, is on the best running shoes for knee pain’. This process can be repeated again and again, so customers are not being bombarded with adverts, but instead are offered some value, and getting pre-qualified (by viewing the video), before you attempt to hook them with an offer.

Content is a massive key to creating funnels and is something you can be doing constantly to generate interest in your club, your product or service in a very subtle and very authentic way, without being too pushy.

When you have an engaged social media following you are positioning your fitness business for greater success when it comes to generating quality leads that can funnel down into new customers.

Using Facebook lead adverts

Another way to generate leads through Facebook is to use lead generation adverts. These automatically collect a person’s name, phone number and email address, and you can also specify a number of additional aspects, such as gender, employment and location.

When your prospective customer clicks on your ad, offer them something in return for their e-mail address, such as a free trial, postural assessment, nutrition plan or an eBook with five great smoothie recipes, whatever showcases your business. The key here is to make the offer directly related to the service you provide: by doing so you will attract only people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, and who therefore have the potential to become paying customers.

The best thing about using lead generation adverts on Facebook is that leads don’t actually have to type in any of their details. All your prospective customer has to do is look at the advert and click ‘agree’ to submit their details. You will automatically get the lead generated into an Excel spreadsheet downloadable from your Facebook Ad Manager page, or you can even have it linked to your own customer management system.

If you use MailChimp or Salesforce to manage leads, you can link this directly to your Facebook platform. Every time somebody clicks on the advert and consents to submitting their details, it will be added straight into your system, making it both a fairly cost-effective and efficient method of generating leads.

Remember to use social media channels in all of your referral and lead generation campaigns. It’s a great way of creating awareness and connecting with your audience, but it’s not everything – your knowledge, customer service and ability to convert those lead with a refined sales process are all key to keeping your business firing.

Lynsey Fraser is the Director of FloSocial, a social media training agency for small businesses. Lynsey has an extensive background in the fitness industry in education and content development and now brings these skills to FloSocial to educate and upskill people on the power of digital and social marketing.

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