Episode 243

How to Right Size Your Marketing Strategy with Pete

This topic purely came out of some coaching conversations Pete and I have been having recently with some Unicorn Society members and some challenges they are having, which is creating and executing a marketing strategy that is right-sized.

[00:00:00] Hello my friends. In today’s episode, I’m speaking with Pete and we have a great conversation about how to right size your marketing strategy. So if you’re feeling pulled in a million directions by trying 1,000,001 marketing strategies all at once, I think this conversation will be really useful for you to help prioritize where to put your time and effort for the best return.

So if that sounds like you keep on listening to my friends, it’s a great conversation.

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.

Hello fitness business [00:01:00] nerds. What’s up? Welcome to another episode of The Business for Unicorns podcast. I am back again here with Pete. Welcome, Pete. Hello? Hello. Hello. Happy summer to all our listeners. Happy summer. How’s your summer going so far? It turned into summer, like all at once. We were chatting off air about kids summer sports and.

Perform better conferences that are like a landmark in my summer schedule. I like to go to the Providence one every year, so I feel that coming down the pipe and summer’s here, it’s happening. It’s happening. Speaking of perform better, let’s we’ll do a quick shout out because I think Fisher’s gonna be at Perform Better in Chicago, which is July 20.

First through July 23rd. So if you all wanna come hang out with Mark Fisher, and I’m sure some other Unicorn Society members will be there, go get your tickets to the Perform Better Event in Chicago. It’s always a fantastic conference with great speakers, a great crowd, and. Come hang out with us. There’s a chance I might be going, it’s tentatively on my calendar, but Mark is definitely gonna be there and I think speaking.

So go check out, perform Better [00:02:00] Conference again, July 21st through the 23rd and you won’t be disappointed. It’s always a good continuing education event. Everyone I’ve ever been to, I’ve walked away with real tangible takeaways and a few new friends. It’s a great one. I know, Pete, that it’s the regular part of your year as well, and so I, I know we’re both big fans.

Yes. My favorite networking opportunity in the industry. It’s just the best concentration of like-minded people. So do it and tell them. Perform better. People say, Hey. Yeah, and wherever you’re listening below, comment down below and let us know if you’re planning on being there. And that way we can try and hook you up with Mark and other Unicorn Society members and say hi.

So I’ve into today’s topic, and this topic purely actually came out of some coaching conversations Pete and I have been having recently with some Unicorn Society members and some challenges they were having. Pete, you wanna tee up this challenge that you’ve been hearing a lot about? Yeah, I think maybe our Unicorn Society member’s biggest strength is also weakness in this case.

And the strength is that they’re all. World beating go-getters who want to have a plan of attack, [00:03:00] but they also want to be world class at everything when there just isn’t enough time to do that. And by that, in this circumstance, I’m talking about marketing calendars and lead gen objectives. And a couple times recently I’ve run into conversations where people say, you know what?

I’m just feeling not burned out, but a little overwhelmed. By the collection of initiatives that we have in place for lead gen. And so the lines in the water for creating awareness of the business. Yeah. And they wanna do it all at a world class level. And I need to help reset expectations, which is why I brought this topic to the table to get partially just to get your 2 cents.

Cause I want to hear how you tackle it in those conversations. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for teeing it up. I think it’s a great one. And I think the first thing I wanna say with is I think most of our listeners probably have the opposite problem, right? I’m guessing just from, from knowing people who, as they come into unicorn society, most of them just don’t have enough poles in the water when it comes to marketing.

They’re just, [00:04:00] just getting by, by some good word of mouth and positive reputation, which is not a bad thing. But most people we talk to don’t. Aren’t doing enough. But I think once you learn to, to get good at some marketing and you have a positive strategy, and hopefully you have good coaches like us, then you really are inspired to wanna do a lot and to be really good at it.

And again, as you said, Pete, that’s a great problem to have, but it also. Can me fucking stressful to really feel like I have to be good at referral marketing. I have to be good at email marketing. I have to be good at Google ads. I have to be good at Facebook and Instagram ads, and maybe TikTok now. And also I have to do local partnerships with chiropractors and PTs, and I also have to like, I could keep going and so that’s a lot.

To have to do all at the same time, and it’s a lot to wanna get good at. Yeah. So in your conversations with folks when you were talking to them, what did you all, what kind of solutions did you all come up with? My first advice is typically to think like a marketing generalist, but as far as how you [00:05:00] manage your calendar, act like a niche owning specialist and by then it’s okay to set up systems that.

Run themselves on autopilot. Yeah. And then pour yourself into one big initiative at a time. So I, in my coaching calls, I’ll typically say, Hey, how many lines do you have in the water right now? How many avenues are you driving leads through that you’re like tracking KPI against? And they might say anywhere from, we’ll say four to seven.

And I’ll say, okay, which one’s eating up the most of your time? Or which one are you putting the most resources toward? And usually they’ll say, I try and stay pretty balanced here. And my feedback is I would rather dive deep into one specific category of lead generation at a time while the rest run themselves on autopilot, and I periodically take the temperature and see how they’re performing.

Then try and be great at all of them because then you’re just. You’re superficially touching a [00:06:00] bunch of buckets and never really giving the attention to any of them individually. So for example, right now, John and I have agreed that during this quarter he’s gonna chase. Growth in our high school and college population for athletes, and I’m only gonna think about strength camps, which is our adult group fitness population, and then 90 minutes of my calendar each week that I have set aside.

So I have 60 minutes on Mondays for a marketing initiative that I’m focused on, and then I have 30 minutes before my office hours for unicorn siding on Thursdays, where it’s 60 minutes on Monday. Lay down what I’m trying to accomplish for the week. Thursday is my like accountability to myself. Check in on what type of responses I’ve got.

Engagement with the initiative. Mm-hmm. And it’s all I think about. And so it’s funny, I find my wife’s annoyed. I’ll come home and she’ll be like, how’s your day? And I’ll be like, I got a new strength camper today. And she’ll be like, and no, I don’t care. And I’ll say, sorry, that’s what this quarter’s about.

That’s what I’m chasing. Yes. I’m into this. That’s what I’m doing. So you better get on board. Cause this is the thing. And it [00:07:00] doesn’t mean that we’re not driving organic social content and we’re not keeping relationships warm with our word of mouth network. We’re doing all these things, but as far as deliberate practice goes, I’ve got one initiative at a time that I’m really thinking about and focusing on.

I know that’s a little, that’s not my quick answer, but it’s an answer. No, but I think that’s a really good one, right? Which is, yeah, you can have some polls in the water, but you don’t have to be constantly, I’m using this fishing analogy, even though I don’t even like fishing. I think it’s a good one because just because you have all these poles in water doesn’t mean your hands need to be on each pole at all times.

Yeah, it’s okay to, my grandfather was a fisherman. I remember like at the beach or in a boat, there’s stands for the poles and you just go put it in there and it just watches itself. You go run back to the pole when it starts to wiggle. But you don’t have to keep your hands on it at all times. I think it’s a good analogy for this, right?

Because the things I think are evergreen, you need to always have, right, are your social media needs to have a presence, right? Doesn’t mean you to be posting five times a day on every [00:08:00] platform, but it needs to have a presence. So that might be on autopilot, but you need a system for that to generate some content.

So it shows that your business is still alive at the very least. I think you need to have an evergreen or some sort of low barrier offer that’s always available, that’s present on your website, that’s maybe pushed in your email marketing that you know, maybe social media is pushing a little bit. If you don’t have any paid ads, you still need to have some place where people to try before they buy.

I think you need to be doing some emails, even if you’re only doing one email a week to your whole list. That’s a way to keep. Past members, current members, people who have an unconverted leads this way to keep them engaged. Like I think these are some of the basics that we have to always have, but hopefully you have systems in place so those don’t require a lot of babysitting.

Hopefully the system is running such that you don’t have to give a, doesn’t take you a lot of mental energy or time to do those things so you can spend time on one really good campaign per month. Yep. Like one special effort per month, and I think for [00:09:00] many of our listeners and many of our Unicorn center members who are really wearing all the hats, right?

They might have a team, but really they’re the person doing a lot of the marketing and the sales all by themselves. That’s pretty much all one person can handle. Yes, keeping those other things afloat, all the evergreen stuff. Having one campaign every month, maybe that is something special, something unique.

That does really require your individual attention and expertise. And often that’s a campaign like getting a campaign to get past members back this month. Or a campaign to really drive referrals in a unique way, like a compte competition or challenge or it’s, it’s actually really doubling down and running a new Facebook or Instagram campaign if you haven’t before, or brand new one if you’ve been doing it right.

So, yeah, I think I’m right with you and that I think that you can have some evergreen stuff on the horizon, which takes a while to build. You might not have all of those right away. And then really focus your efforts on one, maybe two things per month. That’s the most people can do, because. The thing I see people get hung up on the [00:10:00] most is the reason why marketing is so stressful.

The reason why it’s hard to have more than one pole in the water at the time is that they didn’t do a good job planning. So they’re fucking making it up as they go. So they wake up one Monday morning like, what am I gonna do to get people in the door this week? Of course, that’s stressful, right? Like most of the time at M F F, we’re planning weeks, if not months in advance for the kinds of campaigns we’re gonna build and develop.

And at this point we have a little bit of a team, so we have the capacity to do that, but I think when you’re smaller and you’re just army of one, that’s even more of a reason for you to plan in advance and get ahead of it so you can take some time to really build quality materials. Build quality funnels.

Yeah, that was not my short answer either, but that’s what I have to say. But I, I couldn’t agree with you more on this kind of appreciating the difference between proactive and reactive campaign creation. If I hear one more person say to me, I. What if I did a summer program for youth athletes and I’m like, are you kidding me?

I had to commit to [00:11:00] my kids entire summer. It was the middle of June, it was like February 10th, and my wife was in panic mode. Cuz we might not get the second week of August or something in some camp schedule. Yeah. And people need to understand that parents operate on a different. Scheduling cadence and that, and they don’t have any choice.

Mm-hmm. They have to keep up with each other to make sure there’s room in all of these activities. And so this is a way of saying anything that you plan in a reactionary format cuz you’re like, oh, I saw someone on the internet said this thing’s killing it for them. I’m gonna launch it tomorrow Is destined to fail.

Yeah. And then you’re gonna question, you’re gonna assume that it’s like product error and not user error. Yeah, the strategy didn’t work. It’s like, no, you said you took no time to plan that. I’ll tell you the perfect example of this Keeler, cause I’m just gonna own it cause I’m an idiot. I went to your event, I watched BPM give a lecture on Snatched and I went home and immediately launched a six week transformation challenge at csp.

We’re gonna announce it and roll it out in seven to 10 days and it’s gonna be amazing [00:12:00] cause BPM had us fired up and. I think we got six or seven people to sign up for something that had a capacity of 25. Yeah, and instead of being honest with ourselves and being like, Hey, maybe a lead time of more than 1.5 weeks is what it takes to really spread the word on this.

Now we were like, that didn’t work. What’s the next thing? And mm-hmm. It could have worked. I could be running like a wonderfully successful transformation challenge that runs like Snatch does at your place a decade plus later. But I quit on it quickly. Because it wasn’t me that messed up. It’s a system that doesn’t work.

And this applies to how we think about our marketing because I was looking for shortcuts and it didn’t pay off. Yep. Yeah. It’s a really good example of one because yeah, as you mentioned, we’re doing snatch for almost 12 years now and, and we start our sales campaigns for this program. Usually, I think it’s somewhere, I think it’s somewhere around six weeks before the program starts, [00:13:00] and this is something that’s well known in our community and with our members.

It’s not like they’re hearing about it for the first time, many people, but because we do a lot of people per round that we need to have a lot of spots to fill. And so, We start telling people and teasing it and selling it. We have an early bird period, literally six weeks before the thing starts, which means we started planning it eight to 10 weeks before cuz we need to be ready for the sales period.

And that’s maybe an extreme version. I don’t think everything we sell needs a six to eight week prep, but it just is good example of if you really want to get the word out and do a lot of sales, it takes a lot of prep. It takes a lot of prep even for some, something you’ve done again and again and again.

And this point we’ve done in snatched with thousands and thousands of people and we still take that long to sell it each round. And so I think that it’s a really good example. I had a really good example on your behalf of reflecting on, oh, you know what? I wasn’t honest with myself about the fact that it wasn’t, uh, it wasn’t the strategy error.

It was, it was a planning error and. It. It’s something that’s common here in unicorn society because one of the [00:14:00] great things about what we do is we share our wins, right? So be it on the Facebook group, or we shout people out at retreats or things like that. And the community’s so eager to share their wins, which is super cool.

I did this thing, yeah, it created 30 grand in revenue. I’m gonna do it annually. And everyone’s, oh, teach me more. And people step right up to the plate and they’re like, yes. So this is how I did it. And everyone in our community is, that’s part of my marketing strategy now. And I needed to work Yeah.

Yesterday like it did for Cassie and you’re like, I, it can work in q4. Yeah. Let’s build toward q4. Totally. But the problem is we’re seeing a lot of successes. And everybody wants to replicate it all at once, and I can’t even finish the planning stage for replicating someone else’s before the next one.

Talks about the next thing that worked for them, and suddenly I’m just a confused, disorganized mess of marketing initiatives. And so I’m trying to get everybody to pump the brakes on rolling out all 10 things they learned [00:15:00] at the retreat in Vegas. Let’s just pick a thing. Yeah. Let’s be great at a things the next 90 days.

Instead of Mark told me I need to write a me an email every single day for the next calendar year, and he does it and he’s killing it. I’m gonna be Mark now. And it’s No, mark wasn’t saying that. Yeah, he was just telling you. Yeah. And Mark. Yeah. And Mark will be the first to tell you that for years that was, Him and I, to be fair, mostly him.

Then he would go to all these conferences or read these books and he’d come back to the team and every time he left for a conference team, oh my gosh, marks didn’t come back with a million ideas and he’d want to implement right away all the new things. He’d say, wait, stop, and he would drive the team crazy.

It wasn’t until we got into a planning cycle using. E os or Entrepreneur Operating System, which we now use a version of that in unicorn society called the Frameworks for Unicorns. But anyway, it was a planning cycle that stopped us from being reactive like that. It was saying like, no, once a quarter we’re gonna create our strategy for the next quarter, and until the next quarter comes, there’s no more strategy.

That is the strategy. We can [00:16:00] change the tactics a little bit and pivot if things aren’t working, but it, and that’s a piece. Honestly, this happened. On a call today and a call yesterday I had with a member. Was that they had all these ideas and all these things they were doing, but it was not driven by a strategy.

So the one thing that planning in advance helps you do is be strategic. It’s aside, what is the play playbook I’m going to run that I think will get me results instead of. Trying shit every day until you find something that works. You gotta start with a real strategy, and that’s something you can’t do if you’re winging it.

You can’t do it in the moment. It takes a, it takes a moment to step back and plan. Yeah. What’s the old quote? And plans don’t work, but planning does, or something along those lines. Yeah, that’s it. Yeah. Plans almost never turn out as the way you’re thinking, but the process of planning will almost always pay off, and, and that’s just always true for me.

I just, I don’t have, I can think of very few exam exceptions to that rule, and I think with marketing it’s just doubly true because these days, To do any kind of [00:17:00] marketing requires like so many steps. Even if you’re doing like local grassroots marketing, we have a lot of unicorns and members who do a lot of events like planning, what do they call, speed camps or combines, or they’re planning local like barbecue workouts or charity events.

So whether you’re doing that or you’re doing like digital ad campaigns, Both those things take a lot of frigging time to plan. So if you’re gonna do a big day long event where you get a bunch of people into a park or into your, into your parking lot, and you wanna generate 20, 30, 50 leads in a day from that event, I know you’re planning for three or four months in advance to make that successful.

Like you just have to give people a heads up if you wanna get a brand new bodies into your space. So anyway, all that to say, I think we both aligned to here that our ultimate suggestion for how to figure out how many poles to have in the water is, is it’s okay to not do it all at once. But you gotta plan and pick the thing that is the best use of your time and energy and be really strategic [00:18:00] about how and what you’re gonna do to drive leads into the business.

Cuz if you’re flailing around, you’re gonna stay exhausted forever. Yeah. I said to that kind of fellow gym owner earlier today, I don’t want you to do. 10, give 10 initiatives, 10% of your time. I want you to give nine of ’em, 5% and put 55% into one that you see the most opportunity in. Yeah, and I think that was the moment that it landed and he could fully appreciate what I was getting at.

Yeah. Cause I think the other thing that we hear all the time, this goes back to what you shared, which was, oh, I tried fill in the blank strategy. It didn’t work for me. I tried Google ads. It didn’t do anything for me. I tried. I tried asking my clients for referrals. It didn’t work for me. Okay. Walk me through, what did you do and.

Nine and a half times out of 10. It was a short term, half-assed, poorly thought out. And I say this with love, poorly thought out strategy that they did on a whim because they heard that they should. And so they tried it and it [00:19:00] didn’t work. And saying, okay, let’s slow down here. Let’s slow down, let’s revisit it, see if we can’t try that again with a little bit more intention, maybe a, some new strateg, some new tactics.

And the thing is, most strategies can work for most people if you learn to execute them well. Right. It’s just a matter of you need to take the time to learn how that works for your avatar in your market with your brand, and that’s gonna take a learning curve for everyone. There’s no, I don’t know. I know very few strategies when it comes to marketing where everyone can do the strategy and tomorrow everyone is guaranteed leads.

I don’t know. If we had the magic wand, we’d both be billionaires, right? But there’s no magic wand. It takes a period of trial and error. It takes a period of learning. There’s a learning curve, and there’s no way to beat the curve. Yeah, I think it was Hormo. I heard on a podcast recently say, take what’s working and you should be doing 10 x of that.

Yes, that’s it. Everyone dabbles in so many things that they don’t actually invest enough time to get good at any one of them. And [00:20:00] yeah, that’s 100%. I agree with that. Yeah. All right. I feel like we, we did this topic justice. I feel like there’s some good thoughts there. Listeners, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the number of marketing things you’re doing, which I probably think is probably not all of you, many of you probably should do more marketing things, but for those of you who have been in the game long enough that you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by it, hopefully this was helpful.

Hopefully we’ve given you permission today to not focus on all of it all at once, but give the majority of your effort to one solid thing that you can do really well and get good at. I love that. Anything else you wanna say to close us out today, Pete? Go sign up for Perform Better Chicago or Providence and if you go to Providence, make sure to come say hello.

Cuz I always go down with Eric when he’s lecturing. It’s like our annual pilgrimage where we ride down together. It’s the only time we sit in a car and talk strategy every year. And I would love to meet podcast listeners who are not doing business with us, just to catch up and hear what they think about the podcast since we put so many of ’em out these days.

Yeah, I love that. And as a reminder, listener Chicago Perform Better is [00:21:00] July 21st, the 23rd, and Providence Rhode Island is August 25th to the 27th. Go get your tickets now and comment down below wherever you’re listening to the podcast. If you’re coming, let us know or just email us michael bi unicorns.com, peter bi accords.com.

Let us know, she’ll be there and we’ll hang out. Awesome. Thanks for a great chat Pete listeners, if you enjoyed this, leave us a review anywhere you listen and we’ll see you on the next one. Have a good day. Awesome.