Marlow McShan, the owner of Marlow’s Fitness, attributes a big part of his business’s success to word of mouth on social media. And with his studio recently receiving Austin Monthly’s 2015 Best of Austin Readers’ Choice Award, we’d say he’s doing things right.
Marlow’s Facebook page is a mix of motivational posts, wellness advice, and community sharing. These are some examples of what Marlow shares:
McShan started out working as a fitness consultant and personal trainer before beginning his own business in 1991. Back then, there were only a few studios in town and the competition was scarce. In the past two decades, he’s seen the fitness industry boom. Today, things couldn’t be more different.
We sat down with McShan to talk all things social media marketing and pick his brain about life as a business owner. Here’s what he had to say:
OutboundEngine: How do you get the word out about what you’re doing?
Marlow McShan: On my page, I try to promote health before anything else. Facebook is a big part of that. When you’re out and about watching people on their phones, they’re looking at Facebook. You have to put stuff out there if you want people to see it. So that’s what I do. I also utilize my clients to help me facilitate those actions. I’ll ask them to post things and tag me or tag someone else.
Beyond social media, do you do other kinds of advertising?
It’s basically word of mouth. I’ve tried everything in the past — newspaper, magazine ads, television commercials. Nothing works like social media paired with the newsletters that OutboundEngine sends out. People I haven’t heard from in years will see my newsletter or a post about it and call me up to say, “Hey, I liked your article. I need to get focused on my health again.” The email campaigns and the social posts — that’s it.
What kind of response have you had from clients in regards to your marketing efforts?
They’re always pretty positive about it. I have a program going on right now called Marlow’s Movement. It’s a 16-week program I’ve run for nine years and it really does change people’s lives. Right now people are doing the program here in Austin and in Seattle, Washington. Through Facebook, people send messages to others giving words of encouragement without me having to say anything. A community has been built where everyone is excited about helping one another. I just had to let people know that they had a voice that they can use. A lot of times people don’t know what they can and can’t do on Facebook.
What’s the best way to follow up with a referral who comes in through social?
Most people will contact me on Facebook and I just respond back the same way that they reached out to me.
What advice do you have for someone just getting into the fitness industry?
Have a passion for what you do and want to make a difference. Otherwise, when things get tough, you might want to check out.
It’s not as glamorous as people believe it is. It’s a lot of work. I get up at 4:45 a.m.every morning, get to the gym by 5:30 a.m.and leave about 7:30 p.m. most nights. It takes time. And to do that, you better be doing something you enjoy or you’re going to hate what you’re doing.
I have a passion. I feel like my goal and job is to help people in terms of improving their health. What I’m doing I would do even if I wasn’t a trainer, so there’s not anything else I would be doing — that’s innate in me. You’ve got to have something like that where you truly believe and have a passion for what you’re doing.
What advice would you give a business owner who’s not using social media marketing?
Things are only moving forward. If you’re not online in 2016, you’re not here, especially a small business that’s based on referrals. I would highly recommend a company like OutboundEngine that can handle so many of the different aspects of online marketing and take that weight off your shoulders. Just let the professionals handle it.
For me, I’m a trainer; that’s what I do, and that’s what I like to do. All of the other stuff I don’t really like to do, so when I’m able to use OutboundEngine to write and send newsletters and help me with referral campaigns and reviews, it’s made simple for me. If you don’t know it, it’s too much of a learning curve to try and figure out. Focus on what you do well, do that and let someone else handle that other stuff.
Marlow McShan’s successful fitness business exemplifies the power of social media, which can connect you with your customers and prospects. The content you choose to share across these channels can lift you above the noise and help strengthen those connections, or it can leave you buried and irrelevant.
We want you to learn to take advantage of social media and all it has to offer. If you just don’t have the time to dedicate to doing it yourself, we’re always here to do it for you!