How to target your message to your ideal customers for high conversions! (Part 2) (Interview with Louise Clancy)

Highlights from the interview

[08:28] – How she only spends £50 or around $62 USD on FB ads and gets 20-50 opt ins from one ad! How does she do that?

[12:36] – She gives us more detailed wording on how she targets her pilates customers and she answers the question “can you target more than one customer type”

[17:38] – How she does sales & keeps her conversions high even when her trial clients only interacts with her remote trainer – that’s right Louise is not there on site!

[23:19] – We talk more in depth about creating a customer avatar and how it can be different depending on where you are


About our Guest

From quitting her corporate job, to starting her own fitness business, and now coaching other fitness business owners

Today, we’re talking to Louise Clancy, a Pilates business owner in the UK.

This is the second part of my interview with her. If you haven’t listened to the first part, you should definitely check it out because it has tons of info of how to start your own multi-location, low-cost Pilates business.

What’s amazing about Louise is that she went from quitting her corporate job, telling her husband that she quit her job and starting a new pilates business from scratch to growing her business to over 200 members and now she coaches other fitness business owners how to grow their business just like her.

You’ll really enjoy the second part of this interview.


Edited transcription of Fitness Business Secrets Podcast, Episode 21

How she only spends £50 or around $62 USD on FB Ads and gets 20-50 opt ins from one ad! How does she do that?

[08:28] Kristy: You mentioned most people are coming in from your Facebook posts or ads. Are most of it paid Facebook ads or are these mostly posts? What type of ads do you use?

Louise: Lovely question. I do a lot of content on my Facebook page, and I have quite a big following on the Facebook page as well. But, if I’m wanting to really bring in new members, I will do a paid Facebook post. 

I would usually spend about £50 on a Facebook ad, and that would bring me in probably about 30 and 50 what I call opt-ins, these are people who are interested that click on the link and put in their name and email address. Then, we’ve got them on the database. 

From that, I’d probably get about 20 to 25 who would book in for a free taster class. Out of that 20 to 25, maybe between 15 to 20 would actually turn up for that free taster class.

Our conversion rates are pretty good. We would be converting probably about 90% of those. Let’s say we’ve converted 18 people on our lowest membership, so that would make us £665 out of spending £50 on Facebook. 

Our conversion rates are pretty good. We would be converting probably about 90% of those. Let’s say we’ve converted 18 people on our lowest membership, so that would make us £665 out of spending £50 on Facebook. 

Kristy: Wow. That is amazing. Who does your ads? That is way better than any ad I’ve done on Facebook. 

Louise: I do the ads. I did outsource them to a Facebook guru. You know what? I did a better job, so I took it back. I’m not paying you to do a worse job than me. 

I do something I call ‘rinse and repeat.’ I use the same ad over and over again because I know it works. So, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

Kristy: I used to pay a couple hundred dollars a month to a guy, who’s not even in the US, to set up the Facebook Ads. What would happen is it would become too redundant. I don’t know if it’s because we were a studio in one specific location and it became tiring. 

I think it’s the same concept that it just wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t convert anymore. Just to give you some crazy insight of what we were paying. If I got a lead for less than $3, I was excited, but we would pay up to $6, $7, or even $12 for one lead who we don’t even know would come in.

It was always nice to get a sale. If they did convert and they did pay it in full, let’s say we got $800 from them, it felt worth it, but it was really hard to calculate. If they weren’t paid in full and they were monthly, then you don’t know if they’re actually gonna pay for 12 months. 

Let’s say I spent $800 for the month, plus another $400 to really get that back. These numbers are incredible. It might depend on the area, but this is cool.

Louise: Yeah. I think it may well depend on the area. I think it also depends on the words that you use. Are you talking to your ideal clients? What is in that ad? Is that jumping out of the page at your ideal client? They’re reading those headlines and going, “Yeah. That’s me. They’re offering me a free opportunity to come and try this. Fantastic.”

Actually setting up the audience on Facebook to make sure it’s going to your ideal client. We’re getting into the nitty-gritties of Facebook a little bit, and I’m by no means an expert on Facebook.

I’m a long way off that, but I know how to set up your audience, make sure that it’s targeting the villages that I want to target, the age groups that are interested, what these people are searching for on Facebook already, and a little bit more. So, you’re really getting that person that you want to work with.


She gives us more detailed wording on how she targets her pilates customers and she answers the question “can you target more than one customer type?”

[12:36] Kristy: That brings me to my next question. It could be that the wording could’ve been wrong because I did not have the time to sit down and maybe that was my mistake.

Regarding just targeting in general, how do you speak to your audience? How do you know who they are?

Louise: I know that my audience’s age is between 30 and 60, that they’ve got aches and pains in their body, and they really want to move more freely. They would like to do their daily activities without pain. They might want to do the gardening, play with their grandchildren, or run around and play football with their children without pain.

I use that in my ads. Sometimes I put a little bit of my own experience in there as well. It says something like, “I get it. I’ve been there before as well. Without pilates, I wouldn’t be able to run around with my six year old daughter or get out on the beach and go surfing with her. With pilates, it keeps me strong and supple. I can really enjoy those experiences because that’s something that you don’t get back.”

That relates to who I’m wanting to work with, and they go, “Well, it’s worked for her.”

Kristy: You put a video of yourself talking about it and you’re the face of the company. 

Louise: Sometimes I do a video, either just a video or a Facebook live. Sometimes it’s just simply text and a picture of my actual class because it’s really important that people can see other people like them in the class. 

When you choose a picture on Facebook and it’s of this perfect person who is so super fit and you can see their six pack and whatever, if I put something like that on, that would completely freak my ideal client out because that’s not there and that’s actually not who they want to be.

I actually put a picture of my clients with their permission. Obviously, I don’t just randomly take pictures and throw it on social media. They have signed something to say they’re okay with that. I use real people so they can see what the experience is going to be like when they come to class. 

Kristy: That’s really interesting. Just in case somebody says, “I have a similar client and I’m not sure. I want to figure it out myself because my studio might be pilates and yoga or something.”

How would somebody figure out their ideal client so clearly as you seem to have pinned it down?

Louise: A lot of people ask me, “Can you have more than one ideal client?” 

Yes, you can. However, choose one first and just focus on that until you get it right. Once you’ve got that right and you’ve got that person coming in and your classes or studio are filled, then you can go to the next one.

For me, I then went, “I’m going to do another ideal client because I want to run some four week pilates beginner courses.” My ideal client’s a little different for those beginner courses. 

So, I talked to that ideal client and they said, “I’m feeling nervous about trying pilates. I’ve wanted to start for a while, but I’m scared of walking into a class where everyone knows what they’re doing.” That’s a slightly different ideal client.

You can have a lot of them, but start with one and get that absolutely right first before just going, “I’m going to have five ideal clients.” You’ll get overwhelmed and you won’t do it well. Choose one and do it well first, and talk to them. 

If you’re already working with someone who you think, “I want more people like you,” talk to them and ask them, “What makes you come to my pilates yoga fitness class? How did you feel before you came along? How did you feel when you first did your class? How did you feel afterwards?”

These things are really good to use as testimonials as well. So, if you’ve got a social media page, use a little video of one of your current clients sharing what they’ve got out of participating in your class. 

That’s so powerful because people see somebody real and someone like them. And, they go, “They’ve done it. I can do it too.” 

Kristy: That’s a great idea how to get a great testimonial or Facebook ad or post. I like how you focus on how they feel because that can be a very moving ad for people versus what was before and after.

Louise: Feelings and emotions. That’s what compels someone to come to you because they feel like you understand them. It’s really incredible.

Kristy: You’ve been coaching a lot fitness studio owners and I’ve probably seen a trend. What would you say are the five biggest mistakes you see pilates studio owners make when trying to grow their business?

The number one thing that your ideal client wants to know is how you can fix or solve their problem. That is the biggest thing.

Louise: I see them trying to target everybody. “Come to pilates. It’s for all levels.” No, it’s not. 

“Here is my class time table pilates at 6:00AM on a Monday morning. Pilates at 7:00 PM on a Tuesday night.” It’s not describing the problem that you are there to solve for your client. 

The number one thing that your ideal client wants to know is how you can fix or solve their problem. That is the biggest thing.

If you can’t communicate that as a studio owner, you’re not going to bring the right type of clients in. The clients who are going to stay. You want to be able to communicate how you are the person that can solve their problem. 


How she does sales & keeps her conversions high even when her trial clients only interacts with her remote trainer — that’s right Louise is not there on site!

[17:38] Kristy: How about the selling side? We’ve talked a lot about creating that ad that talks to them. Let’s say they come in and they liked the class, but still everybody’s afraid to part with their money and make a commitment.

You have these instructors. What do you tell them to say to help them close the client? Is it different from the normal sales pitch or strategy?

Louise: It is. After that person has participated in their free taster class or session, my instructor would go up to them and say, “Hi! Which exercise did you enjoy the most?” Because that’s an open ended question. It’s not, “Did you enjoy the class?” 

It’s like, “Which exercise felt the best one for you or did you enjoy the most?” It opens up that conversation really easily.

Often, I would try and get another current paying member or client to come and join the conversation and they’d say, “I loved that exercise when I first started and I’ve been doing it now for a while, and this is how I feel.” That’s really powerful as well. 

Then, you can say, “I’m so pleased you came today and you’ve enjoyed that exercise. Shall we go through some little options we’ve got so you can come and continue with us? Would that be okay to just share those with you?”

And, they go, “Yeah, that’d be good.” Because you’re just sharing with them. 

I have a piece of paper which only gives two options at that point, my gold membership or my platinum membership. On that piece of paper lists the benefits that they’re going to get from both those memberships. 

So, you’re going to relieve your aches and stiffness with the gold membership. You can choose five classes a month at any of our locations. Then, under that is a tiny little paragraph of a success story. A picture of a member, and what he or she has got out of their gold membership. 

That works really nicely. Then, I share that and I say, “Which one talks to you? Which one’s going to fit in with your life best?” They can’t say yes or no. They’ve got to choose one or the other and they’ll say, “Oh. The gold membership.”

I’ll say, “Great. That’s the one most of our members are on and it works really well. We’ve even got a full money-back guarantee for the first month. If you come to all your classes and you decide we’re a load of rubbish and it doesn’t help, we just give you your money back.”

And, they’re like, “Wow.”

I said, “So, it’s a no brainer. Should we get you started?” We then fill out the form and take the payment. 

With the money-back guarantee, I was really scared about it at first because I’m like, “Everyone’s going to ask for their money back.” 

I don’t think I’ve ever had one person come back to me after a month and go, “It didn’t work. It was rubbish.”

For your clients, it’s peace of mind and it’s showing your confidence that you can solve their problem. 

Kristy:  Did you ever have the issue where it’s not that they don’t like it, they just don’t come? They’re just like, “I never came because I’m too busy. Can I have my money back?”

Louise: Yes, but in the terms and conditions on the money-back guarantee, it states that they must come to each of their classes for the first month. You protect yourself that way with your terms and conditions. 

I just ask for a month because I say to them, “This is not about locking you in. This is about getting you the results and this is the best way to do it.

Kristy: What about your general cancellation policy? A lot of gyms have some type of contract, maybe a discount with the contract. How is yours set up? 

Louise: I just ask for a month because I say to them, “This is not about locking you in. This is about getting you the results and this is the best way to do it. But, if at any point you decide it’s not for you, we just ask for one month because that’s the way we like to work.” And, they’re comfortable with that.

A lot of them sort of steer clear of gyms because they don’t want to be locked in for a year. I could go down the road of locking them in for a year, but it doesn’t feel in alignment with me. I just don’t like it. 

The system that we have, this is just the way we work it. It’s absolutely fine. It works. They feel comfortable. I feel comfortable.

Kristy: How many cancellations do you get in a month? 

Louise: On a not so good month, I usually get between a maximum of 10. Then, I’d be bringing in on average 20 new members a month. That’s an average. 

I could look at all my months and even on a bad month, I might have 10 cancellations, but I’ve brought in 11 new clients. I’d say, “I’m one up or I’m status quo.” I’m pretty happy with that. 

Kristy: Where you are right now, 200 is a really great number and not having to have that retail overhead with utilities or maintenance. What is your goal? Does that mean you could possibly add on 75 and increase your membership by a hundred every year? 

Louise: I definitely could. Right now, I’m sitting pretty much at status quo, purely because I’m focusing more on my coaching business right now. I’m happy for the pilates business to tick over where it is at the moment. It works beautifully. It pays me a good income. I can pay my instructors.

Yes. If I went ahead and put another big effort in, I could grow it to that. Perhaps, I will again in the future, but I’m focusing more on that coaching business right now. There’s only one of me.

Kristy: I think your daughter still demands a lot of your time. You have this coaching business now. Do you mainly coach pilates studios?

Louise: Yes. It’s interesting, I can get people who’ve maybe qualified and want to start their business, but don’t really know where to start. That’s always really great to work with because we can start from scratch the right way, or I can get someone with an established studio.

I’ve got someone right now in France who has an established business but has really been struggling to bring in the clients. We’re working with her to make sure that she does get those clients in. Right now, we’re really been working on her ideal client and packages.

You can work from all perspectives. I’ve got a lovely coaching client right now. She works in pole fitness, so pole dancing as fitness. That’s really interesting. She’s working with women who want to get their confidence with their bodies. At that time, I was really curious because I feel like it’s really hard getting women. They mentioned the bodies and the pole dance she’s working on. 


We talk more in depth about creating a customer avatar and how it can be different depending on where you are

[23:19] Kristy: I’m just curious because I feel like just getting the leads is what’s really hard. You mentioned the pilates studio in France is working on packages. I’m not sure if you said sales or if you were referring to packages on the avatar.

Louise: Yeah. We’re working on her ideal client or avatar, and then actually getting them into their free taster and what she’s offering them, her packages of how many classes that they wish to come to in a month. 

She’s got a brand new class that she wants to fill. She’s bringing in some clients for a free taster class sometime next week. So, we’ve been working together on that as well. 

Kristy: What is the main thing that you usually introduce? Let’s just take this example of your client in France. Was her avatar very different from yours because of location since you’re both pilates studios?

Louise: Her avatar is really different. She is working with expats who are living in France, but from the UK originally and trying to target them. She’s also targeting exhausted mothers as well, so that just needs some time for them. 

It was actually quite different. You just have to dig deep and really understand who these people are, the types of words they use to describe the kinds of problems they’re having, and why they need your help.  

Kristy: So, it’s about location and a little business specific on who your avatar is. I know you mentioned it’s good to ask them what their pain point is. How do you find out who your avatar is? Is it just asking them and taking notes? Do you do surveys?

Louise: I’ve generally just asked them and taken notes. I don’t think I’ve ever done a survey. Your clients just come and chat to you. They describe what’s going on in their body and what they’re struggling with. Even afterwards, I’ll just jot some things down in terms of exactly what they’ve said and the words that they’ve used.

I’ve given some templates that she can use, even in terms of asking for a testimonial. You don’t just email a client and say, “Hi! It’s Louise here. Can you give me a testimonial? Thanks. Bye.”

You actually have four questions. “What was your experience? What were you experiencing before you came to my pilates class? How was your experience in the pilates class? Did you have any reservations about coming along? What was your one best thing that you got out of that class?”

You just say really simple answers. Even if I was videoing them, like I did a little interview with them or something, I’d still ask those four questions because it gives them a focus. They answer the questions that you want answered. 

Kristy: Thank you for breaking down those questions. I think that will help a lot of people. This is much better and we can’t expect the customer to set up what they like about it. It makes a lot of sense. 

So, you’re taking notes and talking to them. I think any studio owner can do this and is probably already doing this. Then, maybe there’s this worksheet. When you ask for a recommendation or what you liked about it, you set it up in those four questions.

What is it that this worksheet does? Are there any specific questions that make a difference between one person converting their notes to the right message and one person converting it to the wrong message?

Louise: What you want to think about with your ideal client is first of all, what is the problem that they have? So, you think about, “The problem that they have is they’re a stressed out mother. They don’t give themselves enough time in the week to relax and have something for them.”

Then, you can think about it and go, “If they don’t do something about this now, how will their life be in one year’s time?”

If they do start working with you now, what will they get? What will their life be like in one year’s time? Then, you’re going into the benefits. You’re taking them from pain to pleasure. 

Kristy: Yeah. That’s brilliant. I love that a lot. It’s actually very simple. It’s not like it’s going to take six hours to fill out this worksheet.

Louise: Business shouldn’t be complicated. I think it’s just us, the human race, that make it complicated because we love to do that. It’s part of our mindset that it must be really difficult. It’s actually really simple.

Kristy: Absolutely. Well, Louise, this has been wonderful. Do you have any last tips that you would want to share to a pilates studio owner that’s just wondering if they’re going to be able to figure out how to grow their clients?

It might be providing for your family, giving a better life for your daughter, maybe taking them on a great holiday. Remember your big motivation because on the really tough days, that’s what gets you through, gets you up, and keeps you going.

Louise: I think one more big thing is remembering why you’re doing it. Why do you want to have a successful pilates studio or fitness business? What difference would it make in your own life to have this successful business?

Because when the times get tough and we all have days where you just want to go, “It’s too hard. I don’t want to do this,” you have to remember that your big motivation is why you want to do it. 

It might be providing for your family, giving a better life for your daughter, maybe taking them on a great holiday. Remember your big motivation because on the really tough days, that’s what gets you through, gets you up, and keeps you going.

Kristy: That’s a beautiful way to recap and just bring home to why we’re all in the fitness industry.

Thank you so much. I think we learned so much regarding finding your ideal avatar, how to do a multi location pilates studio with low overhead, and how to figure out our ideal client. 

I just couldn’t thank you enough and I bet our listeners learned so much. If a listener wanted to reach out to you and get in touch with you, how could they do that?

Louise: That’d be great. I’ve got an email and it’s probably the best way. My email address is hello@louiseclancy.com. They’d be really welcome to pop me an email there, or you can find me on Facebook. 

My Facebook page is Louise Clancy Pilates or Louise Clancy Grow Your Health Fitness Wellness Business. So, I’ve got two pages there and they can easily find me on those.  

Kristy: Louise is full of so much great information. She’ll always help you if you have any questions. We’re all in this together. I’ll definitely have her contact info on the website.

Stay connected with Louise! Check out her social media below!

Louise Clancy

Facebook: Louise Clancy Pilates
Website: Louise Clancy

Kristy: Thanks again for taking the time. It’s been marvelous.

Louise: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

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