When I first set up JPilates it was not the instructor training, writing of Pilates manuals or the creation of workshops that worried me, as I had done this for years at the Pilates Institute, it was the website creation, marketing and branding, domain purchasing and so on which completely bewildered and flummoxed me. I began to receive emails from companies about SEO and for a small fee (generally in the £1000s!) they would ensure greater traffic to my website. I have colleagues who spend large amounts on website designers and SEO companies each month and I began to panic about what I needed to do. Luckily for me I had some great friends who I had trained in Pilates who came to the rescue! We all know the days of printing flyers and doing letterbox drops are long gone, although I strongly believe that word of mouth is still incredibly important. When a client is looking for an instructor in their area they will just google Pilates in their area then investigate the information on your website often forming an opinion about you and your classes from this. So whether we like it or not, creating a user-friendly, informative, functional website is an integral part of your business development.
Clare, JPilates Events & Marketing Manager, has some excellent tips to help you create your website:
- Be consistent: from choosing your company name to the font for your website, it is essential that you keep this consistent throughout your branding. This includes the style of writing, choice of colours and company logo. You want to make sure that every web page is consistent with the same font and style. You want to develop a uniformed approach that represents you and that also feeds into all methods of communications, whether this is online or offline.
- Integrate social media: Facebook and Twitter, or Tweetbook as it’s known in the industry, are now an essential part of your marketing and branding strategy. These social media platforms have now become the main place not only to network but also develop that ‘word of mouth’ element. Having the social media buttons available on every page of the website is a great way for you and your clients to share information and promote your business.
- Use accessible language: The average time people spend on a webpage is between 10 – 20 seconds therefore making your website accessible to everyone is the first step in generating business. People don’t want to spend hours searching for the information or deciphering anatomical jargon. They want to see who you are, what you do and how they can contact you to book a session.
- Add some personality: When people are looking to start Pilates, they are also looking for an instructor that they can have a connection with and enjoy their class. By letting your own personality shine through will let your soon to be clients get a feel for you, your style of teaching and how you conduct your class etc. Add pictures and videos if possible so that they can get a true sense of your sessions and approach to Pilates.
- Unique Selling Point (USP): So there are another 10 different potential Pilates instructors in your area, so you need to ask yourself what makes you special? What is that something else that you have to offer? What is your unique selling point? This could be anything from your level of qualification, your experience with a specific client base, your continual quest for learning; maybe you offer a specialist class such as lower back care or pre & post pregnancy Pilates. Whatever your strength, make sure people know about it!
And above all KEEP IT SIMPLE and keep it up to date. If your classes have changed location, make sure that the website is the first thing that you update with the new information.
Oh and one last VERY important pointer: Make sure that you TEST TEST TEST your website before it goes live - get feedback from friends and family before letting the website go live for public consumption, check, check and check again.
And remember your passion and enthusiasm for Pilates will already help you to promote yourself and build up a client base.
Image from blog.gpcom.com