Get Started with Marketing
If you have a lifestyle business (health, therapies, fitness, counselling, coaching, travel, pets etc), you have a major advantage when it comes to marketing! There are literally hundreds of ways you can promote your products and services to the public. Interacting with potential clients should also be easy. This type of business generally does very well on social media when compared with typical “B2B” businesses. Here’s a list of 5 suggestions for marketing your lifetstyle business.
Set up a blog
No matter how many social networks and forums you belong to, your website/blog should always be your “base camp” on the web. And you absolutely must have a self-hosted site, i.e. you need to own your domain name. Don’t be tempted to use “free” web building tools. They may well be easy to use, but you don’t have full control.
I strongly recommend buying a domain name and web hosting package. By all means shop around because there are scores of offers available, but ideally you should choose a UK-based company – if anything should go wrong, you don’t want to be faced with an overseas call centre (imagine the costs!). Personally, I have been very happy with Vidahost. Make sure your chosen package includes at least one database so you are able to install WordPress (see below)
I recommend using WordPress to build your website/blog. There are 2 “flavours” of WordPress – wordpress.com and wordpress.org. The former is not self-hosted, so your web address will be xxxxxx.wordpress.com – the latter is the preferred choice, as it’s open source software that you install on your self-hosted domain. Installation is usually very straightforward via a one-click process from your site control panel.
A common concern amongst people I speak to is “what to blog about”. You might like to read my previous post about this. Lifestyle businesses are in the fortunate position of having a huge treasure trove of information readily available on the web – all you need to do is make use of Google Alerts and Google Reader and you need never be short of topics to blog about! (TIP – you don’t always have to blog about your own business!)
Start a Facebook Page
Almost 1 billion people worldwide use Facebook. That’s around 1/7 of the world’s population. In the UK, almost half the population are on Facebook. What does this mean? It means that a large proportion of your customers and clients spend time on the world’s largest social network, so why wouldn’t you want your business to have a presence there? But don’t make the mistake of using Facebook as the sole online platform for your lifestyle business. Facebook may not be around for ever (I know, very unlikely it will close down any time soon) – you don’t own Facebook whereas you do own your self-hosted blog. I’ve previously written about Facebook Pages and why you need one for your business. (NB all pages now use the Timeline format – see Mari Smith’s article for a summary)
Join Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups are probably less widely used than Pages, but they can be absolute gems! Groups are an ideal way for like-minded people to debate and discuss various topics. There are various different privacy settings for Groups:
- Secret: Only members see the group, who’s in it and what members post
- Closed: Anyone can see the group and who’s in it. Only members see posts
- Open (public): Anyone can see the group, who’s in it and what members post
You can’t join a Group as a Page, or tag a Page in a group, but you can tag other members of the group. Groups are not primarily for promoting your business, although some do exist just for this. These tend to be less useful as most of the posts get ignored!
The layout of a Group is different from a Page – there is no cover image, but a strip of group members’ profile images. This is probably the easiest way to tell that you’re in a Group rather than a Page!
If you’re in a lifestyle or health-related business, you’ll be able to find literally hundreds of groups related to your business niche – why not go ahead and join a few? You will learn a lot and who knows, you could meet a few potential collaborators.
Establish your presence on Pinterest
I’ve previously written about Pinterest, the “latest and greatest” social network. It has been growing very rapidly since the last quarter of 2011. Being a visual network of online pinboards, it lends itself very well to any business with visual products or videos. Do you have pictures of your products? Videos of your therapy treatments? Then get pinning!
However, you do need a strategy – Pinterest wasn’t originally meant to be a marketing channel but has become one due to the massive traffic it refers. Remember to keep within the spirit of Pinterest – always aim to pin from the image’s original source, or if you repin an image, check to make sure it does link back to the original. Don’t pin images from Google or Facebook! Remember you can include prices on your products simply by typing “£5.00” or whatever the price is, into the text field. Comment on and like images – Pinterest is still a social network!
Link your updates to topical news
This is always a good tactic – and what better opportunity than this year? We’ve already had the Diamond Jubilee, and the 2012 Olympics are imminent…… If you’re a lifestyle or health related business, just think of all the possibilities for blog topics, related to “winning”, “be the best”, “going for gold” etc. What others can you think of? Just remember to abide by the guidelines for using the Olympic logo and you’ll be up and running!
Later in the year, think about topics around “back to school, “Halloween”, and the dreaded C-word……..
Do you have any tips for marketing a lifestyle business? Let me know in the comments!
Need help understanding blog setup or social media marketing? I love working with lifestyle businesses, so go ahead, take the first step! Contact me on 01777 249075 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org