When you are just getting started with marketing your personal trainer business online it can be a bit tough. For the first couple of months it might feel like absolutely nothing is happening.
You’ve put up this beautiful website, but nobody seems to be visiting it, even though you’re putting up really good content. Your social accounts are up, but you only have a handful of followers. You’ve started putting up your local listings, but you’re waiting forever and a day for Google to send the verification postcard.
It can feel downright discouraging, especially if you’ve really grasped just how much business there is out there if you could just get your webpage in front of people.
This is the point where some business owners start to try to think about how they can use shortcuts to move the whole process along a little faster. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts–though there is no shortage of people who will take your money and run after advising you to engage in some sort of underhanded search engine optimization tactic. Sadly, they aren’t the ones who are going to get hurt when Google figures you out and slaps you with a penalty.
However, there is a way to get an initial traffic “boost” while you’re waiting for your more natural, free traffic methods to start kicking in.
Pay Per Click ads show up in the “sponsored results” section of the search results. On Google, those are listed at the top of the page and at the bottom of the page, in a blue box. Here are the top-of-page results for “San Francisco personal trainer.”
As you can see, very few actual personal trainers are using this type of advertising. This could be an advantage for you, because it’s often very effective to “zig” when others “zag.”
Now, some people let their eye skip right over these results. But other people do pay attention to them, and click on them. The ones that do generally do so because they are ready to buy. They know they’re clicking on an ad. They just don’t care, because they are hoping to put their money down on a product or service that they’ve already researched.
That’s not to say that every click will be productive or helpful. You only pay when someone clicks, but clicking is not buying. So you have to make sure that you aren’t paying too much for a click. That’s where things can get a little bit tricky.
Fortunately, you aren’t going for the most expensive keywords around. The most expensive keywords are national, big niche keywords like “personal trainer.” A long-tail, localized keyword like “San Francisco personal trainer” is going to cost considerably less. You also get some control over the cost per click because you “bid” on a keyword when you set your budget. The more you bid, the more your site shows up.
Even with a solid bid and a localized keyword PPC can get expensive fast. Therefore you don’t want to rely on it for very long. It’s not going to get you as much business that real search engine visibility will give you. It would be tempting to think that you could just pay for PPC and get lots of business, but that’s not what happens.
However, if you set aside the money and the budget to use PPC for just 6 months you could give yourself a considerable traffic boost and grow your following while you’re waiting for the free traffic to show up. This way, you are still getting some business, rather than waiting for the phone to ring and getting discouraged because it’s taking a bit of time.
Once you are getting the natural, free traffic then you simply discontinue the PPC program. It has diminishing returns over time as your local marketing, social media, and blogging efforts take off.
Think of it as one tool in a bigger, broader toolbox. Remember, a really good marketing plan requires you to take advantage of a mix of tools so that you can reach all kinds of different people.
This site will give you a nice tutorial on current practices.
PPC often leads to a “landing page,” which is like a gateway to your actual site, one that gives you an opportunity to capture some leads. Next week I’ll spend some time on landing pages so that you can understand how to design one and how they help you.