Episode 279

How Much Time Should You Spend on Marketing? with Kilo’s Mateo Lopez

In this episode, co-founder of Kilo, Mateo Lopez shares how he thinks about marketing and where you should spend your time as a gym owner.

[00:00:00] Hello, my friends back on the podcast. Today is Mateo Lopez, co founder of Kilo. Always great to have Mateo on the podcast. And today he’s dropping a ton of knowledge bombs and really helpful tips about the age old question. How much time do you as a gym owner need to be spending on marketing? So if you’re struggling to find the time to spend on marketing, and when you have the time, you’re not sure how to spend it.
This is a great episode for you. So keep on listening.
Welcome to the business for unicorns podcast, where we help gym owners unleash the full potential of their business. I’m your host, Michael Keeler. Join me each week for actionable advice, expert insights, and the inside scoop on what it really takes to level up your gym. Get ready to unlock your potential.
And become a real unicorn in the fitness industry. Let’s begin.[00:01:00]
Hello, fitness business nerds. What’s up? Welcome to another episode of the Business for Unicorns podcast. And today I’m super stoked to have, um, the man, the myth, the legend back on the podcast again, who I’m the number one fan of. It’s Mateo Lopez from Kilo. Hello, my friend. Hello, I’m a number one fan of yours, so it goes both directions.
I think it’s a love fest. Yeah. Yeah. For those of you who didn’t hear Matteo on the previous podcast, he is the co founder of Kilo, a man who wears many hats over there in the Kiloverse and also has your own podcast. Do you want to tell people about the podcast that you all do? Yes, so my business partner, John and I, and also sometimes Mark.
Yeah, Mark comes on it too, and they’ve all, John Franklin’s been on the podcast, on this podcast as well, so you all know him, but they get together and do gym chats. Yes, Gym World Worldwide, and yeah, we’ve been interviewing, it’s, the show has evolved. It started off as like a kind of a news, an irreverent fitness business news show, [00:02:00] and has since evolved into more of a classical interview format.
And we’ve been interviewing a lot of successful gym owners, not just in our neck of the woods, but also in yours. We’ve had plenty of BFU people on there, and it’s been really great to just learn from different people from different corners of the fitness industry and how. They make money because a lot of people struggle with that, making money in this business.
It’s been really cool. It’s true. It’s a great podcast. So friends, if you’re looking for another podcast to listen to that’s spot on with great takeaways, great content about Jim, go check it out. Jim world worldwide. And I have a very important disclaimer to start this podcast with, which is I have a new puppy and he’s, you might hear him in the background.
I’m not sure if it’s going to come through or not. It sounds like he’s being tortured. I promise he’s not. He’s just not in my, he’s just learning, he’s just learning to be alone. You know, some of us need help and sometimes we all need that lesson. I think he needs to learn that daddy does a podcast and he can’t be at my feet all every hour of the day.[00:03:00]
And he hates it. So if you hear the sounds of a tortured puppy, just know that he’s happy and safe and just a little sad in his learning. Discomfort having said that Mateo, the thing I want to talk about today and pick your brain about is, I, I think one of the number one challenges our unicorn setting members have around marketing.
And it actually almost has nothing to do with marketing itself. The number one challenge I see them have is figuring out how, what to spend their time on. When it comes to marketing, how to consistently make time to do marketing. And I think I mentioned before we started recording, we have some members who are still pretty small and doing it all themselves, and they’re the marketer and they’re the advertiser and they’re the, everything they’re making the content, editing the content, posting content, following up with the leads.
We people on the other end of the spectrum. who need to make time to develop the relationship with external people, agencies, virtual assistants, other people who are maybe doing a lot of the work for them, but it still requires their time to keep the ball rolling, develop the strategies, [00:04:00] all that. And so I know this is a big, this is a big pool to swim in this topic of like, how much time does a gym owner need to make on marketing?
And when they make the time, what the hell did they spend it on given the fact that people can be in so many different places. So let’s just start with just like throwing the ball in the water and say, where do you start with that topic? How do you think about? Even when you’re a gem owner, spending time on marketing.
Yeah. So I think the first caveat there is if you’re asking me about how to organize your time, I’m not the best and a very disorganized person and I don’t have good time management skills. So I think that’s the first thing. The second thing is I also. Think that you don’t have to spend any time on marketing if you don’t want to, you just have to make sure someone else in your business is right.
So if your perfect day is just organizing bumper plates over and optimizing your equipment space, you can do that as long as you have effectively outsourced and delegated [00:05:00] the other big roles and jobs at your gym. Like marketing, like making sales, like making conversations with prospects. Right. I think that’s kind of thing.
Number one. Can I just pause for a second and tell you and say, I’m just so glad you started there because I really, I have a wish for all the gym owners of the world. And you know who you are listening. I wish more of you would be honest with yourself about the fact that you just want to be a coach all day.
Like you do want to be coaching with the clients and writing programs, organizing the bumper plates, right. And you actually are. Just super turned off by the idea of being in front of a computer and learning to do Google ads. And I think most of you should outsource it when you can. So I’m glad that you started with that context.
Cause I think more people I think should give themselves permission to be that person. Yeah, a hundred percent. And now having said that, if you are not there yet, if you’re just starting out or your gym is struggling a bit, you don’t have as many resources or team members at your disposal, you are going to have to.
Uh, get your hands dirty a bit and [00:06:00] so I think in terms of where you should be spending your time and how much of your time you should be spending on Marketing or marketing related activities. It does depend on where you are in your Entrepreneurial journey the same way depends on your how did you hear that?
Yeah So just like with your clients, right Hey, what should my clients be working on? It depends on where they are in their fitness journey. Some are beginners, some are more intermediate, some are more advanced. It depends on where you are in your entrepreneurial journey and your gym owner journeys. There are, having talked with a lot of gym owners over the last year on the podcast, there are some people with some pretty sophisticated Operations, right?
For sure. Personal friends of ours, Dan Trank and Kyle Fields at the Fort in NYC. They spend a lot of money, not just on ads, but also on equipment to create content on editors. They have a really robust and sophisticated content machine over there. Yep. Cassie Day. Yep. One of your, yes, she has [00:07:00] also a very robust content calendar that she’s very methodical about managing and creating.
And she has, she is involved in that content creation process of scheduling photo shoots, uh, scheduling posts. And then she is also when people engage with her content that she’s created. She has her staff members DMing and reaching out to people who are interacting with that content, starting those conversations, getting them in the gym.
You can have a pretty, so if you are at that place, your operation can look that way, but also if that’s not you, it can be as simple as just standing out in the grocery store of the strip mall that your gym is in and handing out flyers. Because I think at the end of the day, the thing that you should be spending your most time on, or at least.
The metrics should be focusing on the most is conversations, right? Starting conversations with strangers. It’s like the whole, that’s it. John, my, my buddy, my compatriot, he says, and he probably didn’t coin this, but converse more conversations equals more conversions. So that really [00:08:00] is the key, right?
Marketing is just. Getting on top of a mountain and like screaming into the void. I have 5 foot longs pay attention to me. And then see people like, Oh, that seems pretty like a good deal. And then, great. Let me start a conversation with you. Let me lead you into my place to get a sandwich, right? It’s that’s all it really is.
It’s just bouncing up and down and making a lot of noise to get some attention. So that you can start a conversation with someone. Yeah. And there are lots of opportunities to have those conversations. And again, it just depends on where you’re at. Yeah. I love that. Let’s continue to stay on this end of the spectrum.
Whereas people are newer to their own in the gym or newer to focusing on marketing. And we know there’s many gyms who open for a few years and don’t really do a ton of marketing because they’re just growing by word of mouth. I think one of your gyms and certainly MFF has. Was like that for many years.
And, but it’s going to become a point where you do have to focus on the place you start, I think is a great place to recommend, which is someone needs to make content and whether that content is flyers for the grocery store or social media content videos, someone needs [00:09:00] to do that. And starting by having a calendar where you are in advance, setting aside time to do that work.
Is a great way to start thinking about organizing your time, just a calendar of here’s my theme for the week. I’m gonna do three posts and three stories or here’s my theme for the month. I’m gonna go to this grocery store and then this footlocker and then this, whatever the strategy is. I think having a calendar where you are dedicating and committing yourself to time, spend on it as a priority.
That’s a great place to start regardless of what the strategy is. Yeah, 100%. I want to come back to that. I think we took one step back in that. Let’s say you have no money and no time to lose anything, right? Let’s say you have absolutely nothing at your disposal. Most of you started your gym. I’m guessing because you had a private book of clients that you were personal training.
And then you wanted to take the dive, right? You want to like, I want to expand my own space to my own thing, right? So you have a group of existing clients. I think you should be having as many conversations as you can with those people. Because if [00:10:00] you talk to your existing clients consistently in an organized way, right?
Like a check in, athlete check in, or goal setting session, or review. Every once in a while, you’ll be like, Hey, how’s it going? I saw in our session the other day you PR’d your whatever or you were able to, your low back pain says it doesn’t hurt as much. Like, how’s it going? Oh my God, it’s amazing. Great.
Is there anyone else in your life who could benefit from this thing too? Yep. That unlocks a new conversation with a new stranger. Totally. So those are ways in which you’re putting in the reps of just, Practicing talking to new people, right? Ask your existing base and see if there’s anyone else in their life that you can start a new conversation.
That’s kind of step number one. Yeah, I think that’s it. The lowest hanging fruit is always your existing clients, always referrals. And then once you have enough past clients, the past clients are the next rung on the low hanging fruit ladder, right? Of getting people back and restarting those conversations.
Yeah. Exactly. So that’s like thing number one is exhaust your existing group of people who are [00:11:00] immediately in your vicinity. Then, as you said, your alumni, right, that’s another list of people you can re engage and start conversations with. And then once you’ve exhausted that, and you’ll never really exhaust that goes on forever.
But once you’ve done that
step, right, then it’s as you were saying, creating content and. It just be like, it’s, and I think what you were saying with the calendar thing, consistency, I think is the most important part and it doesn’t have to be that polished. It’s literally just, is there someone alive at the gym? Are there lights on, you know what I mean?
That is proof of life. That’s a great start. Yeah. Yes. Show proof of life. Show that you exist. Show that people are going to your gym and engaging with your service and with you. That’s just step number one. And if you do want to be a little more intentional with it, right, there’s this kind of idea with the, and you don’t know where to start, right?
You don’t, okay. I want to [00:12:00] post every Monday and Thursday or whatever, but you don’t know exactly what to do. Right. Cassie talked about this on our podcast. You can’t just wait for. Inspiration strike. Right? And so what you can do is this thing. I, you know, this is not, I think this exists is not my idea. I heard it from John.
John probably heard from someone. There’s a hub and spoke kind of idea of creating content, right? Where you can, you take a long piece of content. And you break it up into little tiny pieces and tape have different spins on it. And that is a way in which you can batch it and produce content in a more efficient way.
And I guess my, the way I would start it for people just starting out is what’s the thing that you can talk about for an hour. There’s probably one thing you’re really passionate about in the fitness world that you can talk about for at least an hour straight. Maybe it’s how diet culture is really toxic and you’re passionate about.
Why it’s toxic and why your approach to fitness is better, or maybe it’s about why [00:13:00] trap bar deadlifts are the only thing anyone should ever do and no other movement should be done. And if you can talk about it for an hour, then just talk about it for an hour. In whatever medium or format you prefer, right?
You can write for an hour about it, or you can sit in front of a webcam or your phone and talk about it for an hour, or you can just record it and talk about it for an hour. And then you can break those little sections up. And boom, that’s if you can, if you it’s six, if 61 minute posts about that topic that you just talked about for an hour, another way to approach it is if you do have a hot take or something you’re passionate about, you can format it.
I’ve observed this interesting thing about people who do CrossFit. I’ve observed that they all are weird. And, or whatever it is. Or they’re all really strong. Or they’re all really fit. Or they’re all throwing up all the time. I don’t know. Whatever it is. Or, it can be a story. I tried CrossFit and my life was changed.
Or, I tried… [00:14:00] Unicorn fitness and this happened or my client did right and that or a contrarian take I was like saying that before I use yeah, everyone says ice baths are awesome I think they’re not, I’ve seen you try a few recently. Yes. Yes. Unfortunately, I think there’s more in my future, right? So there’s, there’s lots of ways in which you can just have an angle on this one thing that you know, you’re really passionate about.
I love that for a few reasons. One is because everyone has something that they really are passionate about or have, what’s the phrase? Like a bee in their bonnet about that they can just talk about for a long time. And most of the time, it’s a thing that’s related often in some way to how you want to be impactful in your life.
It’s related to how you want to impact your clients or your community that you’re building. And, and they can probably talk about it for a very long time. And so, that’s such an easy way to create content that’s already in you. This is the thing you already want to talk about at dinner parties. Yes. And complain about to your friends or your…
And the other thing that I love so much [00:15:00] about that strategy is that it helps people start to think about the kind of reputation they want to have. Right. Because the thing that you’re consistently talk about is the thing you’re going to be known for. And so as a gym, what is the thing you’re going to be talking about?
Is it about back pain? Is it going to be the best CrossFit out on the planet or the best or the anti CrossFit or the, you know, what is the thing that you want to be known for in your community? And then Talk about that. I love that. Talk for an hour and then you have 61 minute clips or you have, you have a podcast and you also have some videos and you also have a transcribe and it’s a blog and it’s 10, 20 emails and it’s, and that’s such an, it’s an easy way to get content out there about things you care about.
And so then once you do have it, now you have little like 60 little threads, right? Instagram threads or whatever, like. Then you start posting and you create a calendar, as you said, and when you’re going to post this stuff, schedule it. And then once people start interacting with it, maybe they like a post, maybe they comment.
If you have stuff where you’re tagging your members, right? If you’re tagging your members, other people [00:16:00] are going to see. What your members are doing. Oh my gosh. Sally down the street just did this crazy trap bar deadlift. That’s weird. Like you can then start conversations with those people. Right. And again, that’s the goal is just starting more conversations.
So you’re putting out content with the goal of starting more conversations with strangers so that you can, um. Show them your goods, indoctrinate them into your awesome thing, and hopefully bring them in and sell them, right? So that’s, that is the goal. You can do that by just simply DMing anyone who likes your post, DMing anyone who comments.
That is another kind of easy way, not easy, but a low cost way. I’m starting new conversations and time efficient, right? And if the whole question we’re trying to answer today, it’s like how much time do you need to spend and how can you do it as efficiently as possible? Yeah. We’re going to spend some time talking to current clients, trying to get referrals consistently.
You’re going to try and restart conversations with past clients who’ve left, then you’re going to create some content you’re going to put out. So people know you exist and show signs [00:17:00] of life in your gym, show what you’re passionate about or pissed about. And if you do that in this kind of hub and smoke model hub and spoke model where you’re creating long content, that’s Getting cut up.
That’s very efficient. One hour of your time can be a month worth of content. I’m eager to spend time either hiring people or yourself editing that 60 minutes down, but most of you, even if you’re starting your gym, you have money to afford some Fiverr help or some upwork or help, right? And that’s a good way to leverage those dollars to get farther faster when you’re running solo or running super lean as a small team.
So maybe let’s just get where the rubber meets the road. Can you just talk a little bit about. And I know this is, we’re going to be making this up, but I think I’m going to give us both permission to make this up is what kind of time are we talking about if you’re just a few years into running your gym and you’re just doing the three things we just talked about talking, trying to get referrals, trying to get past members back when they leave, creating some content that’s either in person live content or digital content, and you’re really Doing most of that [00:18:00] yourself.
How are we talking about, and again, we’re spitballing here. We talk, I’m guessing that’s at least two or three hours consistently every single week of like dedicated focused time. Would you agree? Like I’m spitballing here, but I’m trying to give people like some sense of the kind of commitment I think this takes.
In terms of the creation part. Yeah. It doesn’t have to take that much. Let’s say you say like a few hours every week, five hours every week, whatever it is, but the part that. Will take more time and should because it’s the most valuable time you could be spending is on the conversations that this content generates right on the prospects or the leads that this stuff generates reaching out consistently and communicating with people who are engaging with your content or a paid ad, especially a paid ad, right?
That is where your focus needs to be. And. While you can get your list of new prospects and call them all and check them off the list pretty efficiently That [00:19:00] part’s not the hard part. The hard part to me is being available Yeah Right if someone opts in or someone likes a post or if someone sees your ad and clicks on it or whatever You or someone needs to be available to reach out to them right away, right?
Yep Yeah, that is the stuff that it makes a meaningful difference. There’s tons of studies that we could link to in the show notes about why being the first response, being the first to respond is critical in closing that person and consistency, right? There are plenty of studies that show sometimes it takes the ninth outreach attempt.
There’s someone to actually engage with you and book that free thing or the consult or whatever it is. And most people, most businesses give up after the first one, after the third one. Right. So it’s the reaching out, reaching out consistently and yeah, not letting your leads go cold. That’s the piece. I’m so glad you brought that up Matteo, because you’re right.
I was taking the approach to this conversation. [00:20:00] Let’s talk about just. Putting stuff out there, but you’re right. That actually isn’t the most time consuming part that actually, if you can be efficient using some of the things you’ve talked about here, like you can do that in a few hours, two or three hours per week, and it’s the creating content and the ads, et cetera.
You’re right. That I think what they really also want to be thinking about in this conversation is once you put that stuff out into the world, are you available to talk to those people? Are you able to have meaningful follow up, multiple rounds of follow up, consistent every day follow up? Given that, you might spend two or three hours a week making content, but it’s probably like an hour a day at least.
Someone has to be available to do that follow up. Ideally more, right? And over time, more and more people get involved in lead follow up on your team. And you can hopefully cover most of the days for people to be immediately available. Uh, until then. I think having a little time every day to make sure you’re moving the ball forward with each conversation you started is really critical.
And where you brought, we started [00:21:00] the conversation off of, you don’t have to do any of this stuff. It’s true. You can outsource it or whatever, but I do think it is important for you for any new pro and this goes for any new process at your gym that you’re standardizing, right? You should be the one going through the reps the first few times, not few, those first few rounds or whatever it is, you should be the one going through it.
So you get an understand of what success looks like and what, basically what you’re looking for out of this new process and setting expectations. You should be going through this, refining the process and getting a sense of how it should be done before handing it off. You may not be the best closer, but you should be going through it to say, okay, well, at least I can identify.
What would make this better? So I can find the right person for this job. Yes. And you won’t really know that unless you tried a few times. Okay. I’m not great on video. Maybe, but I now see after watching myself, I’m a little stiff. I’m a little awkward. I can find the person I think in my staff or in [00:22:00] my whatever group here that can be the one who will be the.
Creating the TikToks or whatever it is. You know what I’m saying? So yeah, and lead nurture, it sucks. It was really, it’s the worst. It’s an everyday thing you have to touch. It’s a grind, especially because you can have the best ad agency in the world running the Google ads, the SEO, the Facebook ads for your business.
But if they give you a hundred leads a day. In a magical world, right? Like you still need to call them. Yeah. You still need to follow up. Maybe you have the resources to hire a phone agent, a call center for yourself. But again, great. But then you have to make sure that they’re taking advantage of. The inbound traffic that you’re spending money for on.
And so, yeah, again, you’re only going to know that if you go through it a few times, I think that’s such a, I’m saying a few, it’s a lot of times, a lot of times I’ll say this, that I’ll do a yes. And to that, cause I think that many of you listening are, are engaged enough and want to be engaged enough in all aspects of your business that you should [00:23:00] learn hands on in a hands on way, what your standards are.
Like what you think good work looks like in most areas of your business. I will say, I do think that this is a yes. And I think there’s probably a handful of people listening or gym members that I know who are just so not interested in being good at lead followup or sales. You should just find someone who is.
You should hire a consultant or a part time person or someone who’s coming with batteries included so that you don’t have to be the one to figure it out on your own because you just hate it so much that you’re never going to be in that spot where you’re helpful at determining what good work looks like because you’re just mad about it the whole time.
And I think that’s a small, relatively small percentage. I’m being a little cynical, but I know them. I hear, I know who you are out there. And I think if those few of you just find someone who has some sales experience, find someone who has some lead followups and closing experience. And let them guide you.
Let them be the one who helps you decide what your standards are at your gym. ’cause you just might never have a good attitude about, that’s okay, you’re good at other things, , [00:24:00] but someone has to lay down the law. . That’s totally solid. There are certainly things that I like. Okay, I know this is important, but I just, I refuse to learn this.
It’s true. I refuse. It’s true finance, right? Like, I don’t know. Gym owner is probably gonna get. Good at being at their bookkeeping before they probably shouldn’t just go hire a bookkeeper, just hire an accountant, right? Like you don’t need to get good at that at first. Just find someone who is and pay them when you can.
And I think there’s plenty of people in your community, clients of yours who have sales experience, right? Neighbors find someone that’s cheap. You can barter with at first, if you really just don’t want to do it yourself, but then do create standards or have a great roadmap. Playbook, whatever you want to call it for how the work gets done that you understand so you can hold people accountable to doing it well, and that’s just critical.
If you want to keep owning a gym or you can find a mentor or advisor, maybe it’s like someone at BFU who will help you figure out what the SOPs are. We’ll just give you the playbooks and, but even in our work, this material from working [00:25:00] with as long as you have, right, you the playbook, but then we’re going to help you right size it for you.
So even we’re not giving you, I don’t think there’s actually a such thing most of the time is. Done for you content. I think there’s started for you content and we have mountains and mountains of started for you content that helps you get farther, faster. Um, we could keep doing this all day, but I’m going to force us to start wrapping it up because we’re already 26 minutes in and I feel like there’s so much more we could cover, but I think this is super helpful if you had to recap some of the things that you hope are takeaways for our listeners.
Or what are, what is, what’s a few? More conversations equals more conversions, and that is the goal of any kind of marketing effort. It is to generate more conversations. So if you’re trying to figure out where to spend your most, spend your time or what metric to focus on the most, it’s starting conversations.
And then the second thing is, once you get an opportunity to start one, follow through. Communicate consistently. And there’s an art to that, right? It’s say you see someone like [00:26:00] your post, you slide into their DMs and you say, Hey, I saw you liked the post. Why are you interested? Or we do this and that at the gym.
If they don’t respond. Okay. Let him sit for a second. Yeah, so you want, you don’t wanna be, you don’t wanna be hounding him. I’m not trying to get a restraining order, but should have some kind. But maybe after a couple days, Hey, just wanna see if you saw my thing or whatever. Or here’s another post you might be interested in, or, Hey, here’s an ebook, whatever.
There is an art to that. And we can like a come combine back on. We can talk about that. Yes. That’d later on. But our next episode together, yes. Conversations with more conversions. Once you have an opportunity to start a conversation, be consistent and yeah, if you. If you don’t like marketing, if you don’t like sales, if you don’t like calling leads nonstop, you don’t have to do it, but it has to get done.
It’s probably the most important work you could be focusing on, especially if you’re starting out. You don’t have, you cannot afford to not let a lead go cold when you’re starting out. When you’re going through a downturn where you’re struggling to get new clients, you cannot afford to not [00:27:00] follow up on someone who opted in your website or who liked to post.
Or a referral that your, your member just mentioned in passing as they were leaving, right? You have to be following up with those potential leads, those prospects and taking advantage of them so that you can survive long enough to outsource the stuff that you don’t want to do. So that’s, I think that’s the, Said my friend, great summary.
It’s like you’re an expert or something, but friends, I hope you found this valuable. I always learn something every time you’re on this podcast, Matteo, and today is no exception. And thanks for being here. And listeners, if you want more Matteo action, you want to go listen to their podcast, Jim world worldwide.
Sometimes you’ll see a Mark Fisher on it, but you also know John Franklin, co founder of Kilo also on it, podcast guests. So go check them out. And thanks again for a great conversation, Matteo. Thanks for having me. Yeah.