Shay Knows Fast Fitness (to Go)
Notice a theme the last few months as we discussed meal planning, tacos and cake pops? Sort of a lot of food, right? I think that is a pretty good insight into my mind to be honest. But as I started to think of a March profile, I decided we needed to counter all of this food with some movement. That led me to talk to Shay de Silva, owner of Fast Fitness to Go. I have been watching Shay for a while. Not only is her business a really smart one (full body workouts designed for the traveler to do in hotels), but she is a savvy cookie (there I go, back onto food.)
Fitness is traditionally such an offline business. Your business though is focused online. Did you start online or move from an offline or gym presence online?
Actually I started as a project manager. I found myself traveling all the time. I had always been into fitness and I didn’t have the time to do the exercise I wanted. I was tired and cranky and started looking for exercise videos I could do in my hotel room. I found a few but not many and I burned through what was out there quickly and was back to the drawing board. That was then I started doing my own workouts on paper and took a plan with me before I left on trips. It just grew from there. I got certified as a personal trainer and started the business.
In my last bunch of interviews, it is clear from my selection that I have tended to bias toward social media presence. What I love about you is that you have a strong online presence and are involved in social media but it doesn’t seem to be an obsession. You are there, you certainly comment enough that people know you are around, but it doesn’t seem to be a primary focus. Is that a fair statement?
That is a fair statement. I am trying to up my game on social media. In particular, recently I have really been increasing my presence on Pinterest because I have heard from a lot of people that that is a focus for people who are interested in fitness. But, it has not been a focus until perhaps this past month.
What are the things you are doing right now to build up Fast Fitness to Go’s social media presence?
In general, I have been starting small. In the past I have found that I will get very into social media for a bit and then I will go through a period where I won’t touch it. So more recently I have been trying to do just a bit but not burn out. What I have been trying recently is spending ten minutes a day on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. For each channel I spend the first five minutes putting out my own original content and the second five minutes commenting on other people’s content. I haven’t been so consistent with Pinterest but that has really been working on Facebook and Twitter. I am getting some real quality interaction. On Twitter, I have been focusing my attention on media people and fitness bloggers who might be willing to give me some press some day. On Facebook, I have been interacting with people who have similar markets and with potential clients or current customers. I am doing a lot with scheduling tools on social media to spread out my messages. One thing I have heard from customers is they love to see random messages from me during the day telling them to take a break and stretch or do some jumping jacks. I don’t need to be sitting at my computer to send that out.
I am very interested to hear about your email marketing strategies. I assume that is more your bread and butter. From your website I can tell that you are using it as list building tool since you have a strong offer to sign up for your newsletter. Has that been successful for you?
Absolutely! That has worked really well for me. I would say that the offer on my site has actually been my biggest source of new opt ins for my list and eventually paying customers. When someone first signs up to for the offer, first they get a full length workout video. Then over the next ten days they get four additional emails that will give them extra tips on staying in shape while traveling and will give them some shorter videos that focus on different parts of the body. After the 10 days, they go on my standard email list and get my weekly newsletter.
What are other ways that you are building your email list?
The website opt in is definitely the largest driver. In addition, on Facebook I have an opt in on my company page so people can sign up that way.
Are you doing any other online marketing such as Google Adwords or other online tools?
I have played with Google AdWords but haven’t had much luck. Honestly, I don’t think I set it up well. In the last few weeks I have been playing with a new App I got called Market Samuri. You type your likely key words into the app and it tells you other websites that use those keywords and so who your likely competition is. The results have been really interesting. The only problem is that it can really suck you in when you start to play with it. I go in to check something out and realize I have been there for hours.I have also done Facebook ads. They have worked really well for me. Promoted posts didn’t do much for me but the actual Facebook ads that appear on the right side of the interface and take people to my website have worked well. I do get a lot of opt ins from those.
Any other kinds of online marketing?
I have done some on Linked In but they are really expensive! It was about $5 a click to advertise with them.
Have you played on LinkedIn with group involvement? Either by posting to existing groups or creating your own to get the word out?
I have done some posting on groups. It has been mixed. Sometimes it is worth it, other times not so much. It is really time consuming though. You just have to pick where you want to spend your time.
I definitely run into you in some more traditional networking places. I have always found that it is difficult to get people to cross over from offline to online (or from online to offline for that matter). Have you found that to be the case?
I usually do a lot of follow up. So, if I meet someone off line, I follow up with an email and send them a link to one of my videos so they can see what I offer. That seems to help.
Has in person networking been a successful customer acquisition strategy?
It has been a good source of people for me. You have to be careful. Not all networking events are created equally. Here in DC I have found that you can spend your whole life networking and not all events are good. If I am careful and find my right audience, then networking can be very beneficial.
What advice do you have for someone that is just starting out in an online business?
The email list is the biggest thing. Almost no one will buy the first time that they come to your website, and they may never come back unless you remind them of who you are. If you don’t have their email address, you have lost them for good. I think having a good website is really important. That wasn’t something that I thought in the beginning but I have found from clients that I talk to that they really put a lot of value on my having a professional attractive website. Don’t cheap out on the website. When you go to a website and it looks like it is cobbled together, are you really going to hand over your credit card? Are you really going to want to be a customer?
Want to learn more about Shay and Fast Fitness to Go? Check out Shay’s website, her Facebook page, her YouTube channel, or her Twitter page.