Creating Fitness Business Alliances As Part of Your Boot Camp Marketing Plan

Fitness Boot Camp Marketing deals with acquiring new clients, and it can be an exhausting job. But what if I informed you that there was a single technique that could be considered as close to a shortcut towards gaining several new clients as a marketing professional could ever hope for? And as a major bonus, it probably a means that it is several times cheaper than the bulk of the other elements needed in a boot camp marketing campaign.

This concept is called “strategic alliances” and it is centered on the pretense that you are able to establish a special relationship with the many other local businesses that will benefit all involved. This means you can take proper advantage of all the time and money that can be spent acquiring new clients and, in exchange, you provide them to do the same with you.

There are a great many ways you can achieve this and step one deals with acquiring a list of local businesses that deliver the kind of clients you would prefer, but are not direct competitors with you. Those that work in the fitness, health, wellness or personal training professions realize this means other business that provide service to customers that want to improve their overall health and appearance will be willing to invest money to make the end result occurs. For example, you could compile a definitive list of local health food stores, beauty salons, public accountants, spas, cosmetic surgeons, or massage therapists. It is possible to procure this list of businesses by simply opening up your local yellow pages, contacting your chamber of commerce, or even the better business bureau:

Dear (Business Owner),

I would like to offer you a means of getting several new customers at no expense to your business. I am a respected (chiropractor/ fitness professional/ martial arts instructor) in the local area and am currently developing a promotion that I believe will greatly benefit your business as a result.

All you need to do to get involved is to send me a special offer that I can provide to clients. You could offer them a half-off deal or other such promotional offer. It really can be anything that will entice others to try your service. I’ll offer a special like this to someone at my business or other local businesses.

I will contact you at (day and time) to discuss this matter further with you. And do not worry. I’m absolutely not soliciting advertising. I just think this arrangement would be mutually beneficial to all involved. (End)

Because there is a great benefit to such a venture and so little cost associated with it, there will typically be a very high percentage of business owners that will respond to such an offer. You should put all these offers in a notebook along with a short description of what the business is all about in addition to offer. Such booklets can be employed to print up in a fairly cheap method for just about any copy and print place. (This is a huge boom for boot camp fitness marketing pros!) On the cover, the booklet should clearly promote the positives of the total value of the promotions inside. When you send enough offers out to enough business, it may turn out to be fairly easy for the promotions to be valued at over $1000.

Give a few these booklets to all of the participating businesses and inform the proprietors that they can purchase more if they so choose. Just be sure the price covers the cost of printing. Now all participating businesses, including your own, will work with a powerful promotional tool. Your print ads can even say something like “All new clients get $1000 in discounts and special offers from businesses in your neighborhood”.”

Plus, every time a participating business procures a new customer and is given the booklet, the ability to land a potentially lifelong customer is possible.

How to Build Better Business Alliances

Judging by the popularity of instant message programs, chat
rooms, and discussion forums, it would seem logical to
conclude that people enjoy interacting with one another in
an almost anonymous, virtual environment. Although people
enjoy the anonymity they still crave attention and
relationships with other people. Sometimes, the internet is
so impersonal, and cold that getting a nice email from an
actual person that doesn’t want your money is almost
exciting.

People especially enjoy interacting with those of similar
interests. Why not use this to the advantage of your
business? Internet marketers don’t usually have anybody in
their lives that shares the same passion. And, as a whole,
Internet marketers are very passionate about what they do
and love discussing it with others who share that same
passion. By creating friendships with other online
marketers in your niche you open yourself up to a world of
possibilities.

The ability to build an alliance with someone powerful and
successful in your field is literally priceless. A lot of
businesses survive on their contacts alone. With a good
contact you open up to joint ventures, exchange of
information and ideas. Affiliate partnerships, market
research, years of experience, links to your site These
friendly contacts, all which are call “alliances,” can
provide you with the leverage that you need, not only to
learn quickly, but to market your product to large
audiences of people fast.

Having an alliance is many times better than just proposing
a joint venture to someone for several reasons. First, a
joint venture proposal to someone you don’t know will be
treated with so much skepticism that your chances are slim
to none. Whereas getting a JV proposal from a trusted
contact whom you have been exchanging emails with regularly
for a couple weeks will get much more consideration.
Building up a friendly alliance with someone online is a
lot like making friends in the real world. People don’t
like to be badgered, they don’t like know it alls, they
don’t like back-stabbers, they don’t like needy people, and
they don’t like it if you follow them around and use up
their time.

It is recommended contacting someone for the first time via
a short email. Compliment their site, explain who you are,
and then ask them a simple question that wouldn’t
compromise their business. This way, you won’t use up too
much of their time but your inquiry demands a response.
When they email you back, follow a similar format but offer
more information about yourself. Write a longer email. Try
to keep a volley going back and forth and after a while see
if they have an IM name. Infuse your emails with your
personality and become curious about them, their
motivations, and their life. Before long, you will have a
friendly business contact with someone that could pay off
in infinite ways.

Getting business alliances to promote your product Before
seeking to ask a business alliance for any favors, such as
blasting your ad their list. You must already have a
powerful, proven sales process in place before you seek
their counsel and/or assistance. Do not become overzealous
and assume that someone has the same belief and passion for
your product as you do. All too often we become prideful
and think that our product is the best when, in fact,
others do not share the same appreciation. If you are
seeking to have someone with a big list send out an
advertisement for you product you would have to be careful
in how you went about it.

Someone with a big list and a successful business is, most
likely, busy. They probably get hundreds of emails a day.
Unless your proposal is credible and attractive to them it
will not get consideration. The majority of people and
especially entrepreneurs are cautious by nature. They will
not undertake a joint venture unless you can prove that you
can make them money, that you are reliable, and that your
product will not tarnish their reputation. Make sure that
you don’t waste their time. Don’t insult them with a hyped
up sales pitch about how much money they can make if they
sell your product. If you are trying to get them to mail
something to their list about your product include
statistics, documentation, and, if possible, your actual
product.

Find an ad that pulls extremely well, through testing. Know
the conversion ratio and have everything documented. Let
them know that you are legitimate and that you are selling
a high quality product. Nobody wants to get involved with
someone who is going to tarnish their reputation. Give them
specific, documented conversion statistics from similar
advertising campaigns Make sure and state what is in it for
them. Are they going to get a share of your backend
profits? Are you going to sell their product to your list?
Tell them that promotions for your product have been going
well.

Tell them that your particular ad converts at a specific
ratio. Tell them that you think they should give it a shot.
You do, of course, want to be sure that what you are
recommending will turn out to be profitable for them.
Otherwise, they won’t ever work with you again. And don’t
just pop this sales pitch out of no where or the person
will feel used. It might be a good idea only to mention the
idea and then if they sound interested fill them in with
the details.

You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter on
your web site as long as the byline is included and the
article is included in it’s entirety. I also ask that you
activate any html links found in the article and in the
byline

Copyright 2005

Finding the Right Alliances to Double Sales

Today’s business climate requires more sales with less effort and less employees. Finding the right strategic business alliance can double sales. Picking the wrong partners costs you money, time and revenue. The wrong alliance partnerships is like eating chocolate-covered jalapenos, they start out sweet and bite you in the end.

Strategic alliances are the conscious collaboration of individuals and/or companies to mutually grow. All parties involved must make an effort for the success of the relationship. Passive relationships seldom bear fruit. Focus on those that you can manage and trust to ensure growth. Spending time creating the right alliance relationships that matches your customers pays tremendous dividends.

The first step in finding a key alliance is understanding your current and potential customers. Can you answer all of these questions about your customers or prospects?

 

  • What industry do they serve?
  • Where in the world do they sell their products?
  • How big is the company (Revenue & Employees)?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What are their psychographics (values)?
  • What are their Products and/or Services?
  • What problems do you solve for your customers?
  • How easy are they to do business with?
  • Does your customer sell someone else’s products?
  • Who are their suppliers?
  • Who else sells to them?
  • What community activities do they belong to or participate in?
  • How do they buy your product (direct, indirect, as part of another product)?
  • Why did your customer choose you over the competition?
  • Who are their ideal customers (answer these questions for their customers)?

Knowing your customers is instrumental for keeping them happy and finding more. An alliance comes from three different arenas: Customers’ Community, Industry Catalysts and Distribution Channels. Using an Alliance Compass can direct sales to your customers, your true north.

If you know where your customers live, and how they interact with their communities (communities can be local or global industry communities), you can meet them there. The on-line communities are now being referred to as Tribes. Just like the face-to-face networking groups, on-line networking does take work.

Working with community organizations can be trying and require work. You cannot just pay your monthly and expect customers to just show up. Volunteer for committees, and get your face known. Your cost to join these groups will be your time. With work, communities can be alliance partner to grow your business.

For example, a local business owner wanted to meet the presidents of small businesses. He joined a local chamber of commerce. Then he promptly volunteered for the committee to judge the small business of the year. His time as a volunteer lead to meeting all the up and coming business owners in the community. His customers live in the community and he received an introduction to them. His chamber was his alliance partner.

From your research on your prospects, you know who else calls on them. These people become your Industry Catalysts and informal sales ambassadors. Using Industry Catalysts, you use the power of others that already have the trust of your customers. Finding these companies for collaboration is easy. If you are active in your customers’ communities, you will meet influential Industry Catalysts.

To find other catalysts, ask your current customers:

 

  • What other products do they use?
  • Who else sells product to them?
  • Are your products/services used with another product (complementary)?
  • Can you work with your competitors – co-opetition?

 

Your catalysts partners may share in your revenue as an affiliate. As they are giving you business you would not have received otherwise, this is usually acceptable. Similarly, some collaborations maybe just “scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back” business trading. For example, CPA’s or bankers may not be able to take a referral fee, and therefore you need to give them business in exchange.

One client in the high technology field uses IT (information technology) providers to recommend their products to small business owners. You can find the IT support company for a business owner just by asking, “If you computer breaks, who are you going to call?” The IT provider has the trust of the business owner, and could recommend your products. These IT providers now are the industry catalyst for our client.

The most complex form of alliance partnership is Distribution Channels. The key here is to understand how your customer wants to buy your product. If you want to enter this type of alliance, be prepared for contractual relationships and partner management issues. Properly constructed and managed, using Distribution Channels can drastically expand your revenue. Examples include resellers, dealers, joint ventures or OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers). Not only does this apply to the sales side of the business, but setting up joint ventures for R&D can expand your product lines. These relationships cannot be entered into lightly as they take time and effort to make them succeed.

Picking the right alliance partners starts with understanding your customers. Then you know the best way to get to them. Your customers and marketplace determines the type of alliance you want to create.

After you have chosen the correct partners, you have to spend time and effort in managing the relationship to ensure it is a success for both parties. This article has addressed the hunting for the alliance, and doesn’t start to cover the farming of the relationship.

Once the relationship starts, an alliance life cycle plan helps establish how you work with the identified partners. Strategic alliances are not for the shortsighted or the faint of heart. The relationship takes work, but the pay off can be immense. Making a conscious effort to create the right partnerships at the very start can double, triple or even quadruple your sales revenue. You want to avoid eating the chocolate-covered jalapenos associated with bad partnerships.

What is an Alliance and Why Consider One?

A business alliance is a formal association of two or more business parties to further their common interests, presumably over the long term. As such, these alliances take many forms with varying degrees of complexity and difficulty.

In its simplest form, an alliance can be described as a buy/sell arrangement. On a more complex level, a long term relationship and alliance may result from an effort to co-develop or share technology, or a through technology licensing agreement. Even more complex in nature are partnerships and joint ventures. Joint ventures typically achieve the ultimate level of complexity, particularly when the global aspect of business is introduced and especially if the parties to the alliance are from different countries and different cultures.

Unfortunately, there are too many examples of alliances formed between business entities that were predicated upon the premise that “everyone else in the industry is doing it, so it must be the right course of action.” Others have been formed based upon the whim of upper-level management with no real analysis as to whether an alliance was necessary.

In almost all cases where inadequate planning supersedes the formation of the alliance, the likelihood of success is infinitesimal and the likelihood of failure is practically assured. In contrast, when properly developed and formed, joint ventures represent an opportunity to leverage expertise from each party, thereby creating a more powerful and a more competitive entity than one based on an extension of one of the party’s existing resource base. This becomes even more critical in today’s global business environment wherein the right alliance partner can provide local market knowledge, legal expertise, knowledge of local business practices, local customs, etc.