Category Archives: Marketing Ideas

Tell the world about your new cycling studio through off line and online marketing.

Don’t miss this low cost marketing opportunity

 

The MS150 was this past weekend and I’m happy to say we made it. One hundred and fifty miles, most of it sitting up front pulling our team. Amy and I have a new appreciation for what battling a continuous 20 mile an hour headwind feels like, over 70 miles – exhausting!

In past years, it was always our objective to get out as early as possible. Much of the first day is on paved railroad bike path, which can get pretty crowded. For some reason on Saturday the team decided to take a more leisurely time getting ready. Instead of our typical 6 AM start, we rolled out a little after 7:00. Not a good idea, especially when you tend to ride much faster than 80%-90% of everyone else on the ride. So we passed a lot of people and observed hundreds of bad bike fittings – some appearing to be incredibly inefficient and painful, which led to this idea…

Missed marketing opportunity for studio owners!

I’ve commented in the past how I see large charity cycling events as the perfect place to be promoting your Indoor Cycling studio. The MN event had over 3,500 participants and everyone is a potential customer. With over 100 Bike MS events scattered around the United States there’s bound to be one near you.

I appears that the MS Society accepts two types of sponsors; paid promotional partners and in-kind sponsors. If you have a very well-funded indoor cycling studio it may make sense for you to investigate sponsoring a rest stop or a booth at one of the and points. The other way to get yourself in front of the 3,500 cyclists is to provide an in-kind service of some type. The best example would be the bike shops that provide maintenance and repairs at each of the rest stops. At the end of day-one there are a number of massage therapists and chiropractors offering their services to tired, but grateful, participants.

“But I’m an Indoor Cycling Instructor John… I can’t fix bikes or massage tired muscles… what else could I do?”

Provide complementary bike fittings 🙂

Now this is just me thinking here, but if I owned a studio I’d look into providing complimentary bike fit services at the end of the first day. Trust me. there are hundreds and hundreds of clueless people, who would benefit dramatically in some simple adjustments to seat height. That might be all I would offer. If you found someone with a horribly wrong seat fore and aft position you may offer to change it or you may make some cleat adjustments. But with hundreds of potential fittings, I would be focused on quantity rather than quality. You may want to bring along a few turbo trainers to hold each bike while you check seat height. A few end wrenches, bicycle multitool and a small level + a few assistants to help would be all you need.

Your target would be the occasional rider. This event is probably the single largest ride they may ever do in their lifetime and they will appreciate any help that will improve their experience. Your service would not be directed toward the typical road bike rider who has the experience to recognize the importance of proper bike fit. You may want to set up a booth at registration with some simple signage explaining the service you provide. My guess is that you wouldn’t get a lot of takers until after that first 80 mile day 🙂

Think Burma Shave signage.

A series of inexpensive yard signs, positioned along the last 10 or 15 miles, with some clever verbiage that communicates how much more comfortable you would be properly fitted to your bicycle. You would have literally thousands of suffering people open to your promised relief. After all, they have tomorrow to think about… And many are dreading the thought of day two.

Leverage the event

The local TV stations love these active, feel-good events. Before I left for my class Monday morning, our local station ran a long segment about this past weekend’s event. Reporters loved to be tipped off about interesting things they can talk about. If you called and pitched them about the importance of proper bike fit and how it makes for a more enjoyable long distance ride, there’s a good chance they might bite on it. Your pitch is nothing about you or your studio, only about the service that you’re providing to others. TV reporters know the game and it’s natural for them to want to plug you and your studio in their report. With any luck you may end up on television and get the opportunity to invite tens of thousands of people to come and ride indoors with you!

 

Help your Instructors promote their individual classes with FourSquare

Use foursquare to market your spinning studio

I have also posted this article for ICI/PRO Members.

As a studio owner you’re limited to the time you have available for marketing. Why not ask your Instructors to help by promoting their individual classes using FourSquare?

Here’s how they can do it …
The other day a received a request from an ICI/PRO member to join FourSquare, the social media site where you can check in, so other people know where to find you. Like Yelp, FourSquare acts as a search engine to find where there friends are, in the hope to meet up with them. You can also leave and read reviews there. I hadn’t spent any time there so I decided to check it out to see what I could do with it to promote my class. At first I thought that only actual businesses could create a listing. Instead I discovered you can create a listing for anything that is an actual place, even if you don’t technically own or manage the facility. I saw listings for specific seat rows at a concert, events in a local park and even a listing for a specific airline flight to Europe – maybe they were interested in who they would be sitting next to for eight hours.
Here’s a link for my 5:45 AM Monday morning class that I created in about 5 minutes. Note: I created this listing without any help (or permission) from the club where I teach. You may want to review your Instructor’s listings once they are completed 🙂

 

Click to enlarge

It was very easy and here’s how you can create your listing (s) – there’s no reason not to create a listing for each of your classes.

  1. Signup with FourSquare using this link.
  2. Log in and search for your class in the search box.
  3. It will probably not show your listing – no problem 🙂
  4. Scroll down to the bottom and find: Don’t see the place you’re looking for? Add a new venue to foursquare
  5. In the name field I suggest; Your Name, Time/Date and the Key Words that describe your class.
  6. In the address field; Club Name and address.
  7. Then fill out the other fields – you may want to use the club’s phone number.
  8. Click save when completed.
  9. You will then see your new listing. Check that the marker on the map is in the correct place. If it’s not you can click and drag it to the proper location.

Now when anyone searches for a Spin class near Minnetonka, MN they will find:

Use FourSquare to promote your spinning class
Click to enlarge

While they are at it maybe one of your Instructors can create a business listing for you studio, if you don’t already have one. Don’t forget to claim it once it’s completed so you can add links and descriptions.

 

Are you using info@YOURDOMAIN.com? It might not be a good idea.

email for spinning studios

You see email addresses that begin with info@…com everywhere. You may use on on your site and at one time it made perfect sense. A potential client, looking for additional information about you studio, sends you an email info@YOURDOMAIN.com. You hope you will receive it so you can act on it.

Here’s where I see potential problem.

Spammers love taking YOURDOMAIN.com and just add info@ to the beginning, figuring every business has an info@ address. Email providers (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, etc..) fight hard to prevent these spam emails from ever reaching your inbox.  So you run the risk of never receiving it 🙁

Now if you are using info@YOURDOMAIN.com to send emails to your clients the same problem exists + you are potentially componding the problem (and looking like a spammer yourself) if you are sending emails to a large list.

How many times have you sent an email request to an impersonal info@ address and never received a reply back? Plenty I’m guessing. It can be frustrating to go through the effort and never get a reply.  If it happens enough times you may decide not to bother… and decide to skip your request or maybe find another company to do business with.

Here are my suggestions

  • Use a Contact Us link that offers a form where a client can include their Name, Email and a text field where they can enter a question of comment.
  • If you publish and email address, make it personal so the person contacting you know who they are contacting. Your studio business is all about community and connections. I always use john@indoorcycleinstructor.com so people feel free to contact me directly. I always respond to every email I receive. It may not be more that a simple “Thanks Linda” but everyone gets a reply. I frequently get responses like “wow, I didn’t expect to get a reply!” That’s how you begin building rapport with new customers.
  • If you have a blog be sure to have “Send an email whenever someone comments?”  set to yes and use your email address.

So what do you think?

Does this make sense?