Start Today! Non-techie content strategy using free tools that brings in 5-10 leads daily (Interview with Melanie Morissette)

Highlights from the interview

[09:26] – How to get Fitness leads using quick, easy and simple methods 

[18:27] – How to attract and respond to clients on Social Media

[26:18] – How Melanie attracts emails subscribers 

[37:07] – Simple tools (that you have!) to start recording videos today 

 

About our Guest

Today’s guest is Melanie Morissette. She’s a longtime personal trainer who has slowly made her way online. 

Recently with the lockdown, she revamped her online fitness business with regular videos, a free opt-in video product. And now she is releasing a paid video product and a future subscription service. She still trains regular clients offline, but she also has online clients. And now she will have this subscription, informational product revenue stream. 

Melanie teaches in many modalities from Zumba, Pilates, and Yoga, but she has a strong niche for training seniors with things like chair yoga. 

If you check out her website, abstractfitness.ca and her Facebook page, you’ll notice she has tons of video recipes, contents, and blogs. But what’s interesting about Melanie is that she doesn’t consider herself a techie at all. From her robust online presence, she has proven that with free cheap tools, software, and basic video editing skills, you can have an amazing online fitness business with a strong stream of leads.

 

Edited transcription of Fitness Business Secrets Podcast, Episode 30

Kristy: I’m super excited today because we’re talking to Melanie Morissette about how she started her online fitness business. If you go to her website, she has so much incredible content there. She claims she’s just starting now, but I think what she’s done looks amazing. 

If you want to go to her website, it’s abstractfitness.ca. We’re going to talk about how she’s getting started, what her plans are, her business model, and what kind of leads she’s seen from all the content she’s producing.

How are you doing today, Melanie? 

Melanie: I’m good, and yourself? 

Kristy: Awesome. You’re in Canada, right? 

Melanie: I am. 

Kristy: You have a great accent. I’ve always wished I had a fun accent. What made you decide to start creating all of this content? When did you start creating all of this online fitness content?

 

Quick Easy Fitness Leads Using Hashtags

[09:26] Melanie: It’s been probably over a year, so before the lockdown. I made short videos that were less than a minute, and that’s the way you attract people. I post that on Facebook and Instagram, and that’s the way people find me. The hashtags also work very well. 

Kristy: How do you use the hashtag? Tell me how it works for you. 

Melanie: For example, I’m going to say personal trainer, Coronavirus, or online training. You need to be specific and people are gonna find you like that. 

Kristy: That’s mainly through Instagram that the hashtags work well, right?

Melanie: Yeah. I use them on Instagram, but you can also use hashtags on Facebook. Every time you post a video, there’s room for I think five or six hashtags depending on how long they are. So, use that space. 

Kristy: Oh wow. For the hashtags Facebook,– and I am new to sell out of Facebook marketing– do people search hashtags in the Facebook search?

Melanie: For Facebook, I’m not sure, but I know they search them on Instagram, 

Kristy: Do you get anybody who finds you through Facebook hashtags? 

Melanie: That’s a good question. They can send you an email to your Facebook page, but I never asked, “Did you find me with the hashtag?” I will ask them next time. 

Kristy: Maybe it helps with your search in Facebook in general because your posts are related, but it’s always tricky. So, Facebook and Instagram are working for you. Are there any other websites that are working for you?

Simple Lead Formula to Get People to Her Website

Melanie: I use YouTube a lot for longer videos to get known globally.

I use Youtube to post quality videos with beautiful thumbnails. It helps. You’re going to have better clicks if you put effort on the YouTube channel. So, you need to develop your YouTube channel. 

I use Youtube to post quality videos with beautiful thumbnails. It helps. You’re going to have better clicks if you put effort on the YouTube channel. So, you need to develop your YouTube channel.

Kristy: I like that. You mentioned you started off with short clips, so that sounds like Instagram. What type of content did you put on Instagram?

Melanie: Well, everything that is related to fitness. It’s my world and I love it. Sometimes it’s a glutes workout or abs workout. They work a lot. I make short clips for that. 

When you go on YouTube, you’re going to create the entire workout. For example, for glutes, “Here are five exercises to lift your butt.” You’re going to get clicks because of that. 

Kristy: Do you clip up each exercise into that 60 second clip? Then, do you send them to YouTube? How do you do that? 

Melanie: So, I’m going to prepare my workout. Before I start being sweaty, I’m going to use my phone and just record a little clip of the exercise. Then, I’m going to use iMovie to crop and prepare the short videos that I’m going to post on Instagram and Facebook.

So, every time I post on Instagram, I’m going to copy what I post and send it to Facebook.   

Kristy: In Instagram, you can’t put links, so you just post the video. On Facebook, when you post the clip, do you send them to your website or to YouTube?

Melanie: Both. What I do on Instagram, you can add your handle, so you can bring them to your bio. For me, my website is linked in my bio. So, I send my people to my website and that’s where you have more clicks. 

I just modify a little bit of the description on Facebook to bring them exactly where I want them to be. Usually, it’s on my website because all my YouTube videos are on my website. So, I much prefer having traffic on my website than on YouTube. That doesn’t bring me much. 

Kristy: That makes sense. So, you’re going to send people to your website where they can find out about you, and hopefully request or buy a program.

I want to go back to Instagram because I know that’s where you said you started doing less than 60 second video clips. When you first started that maybe about a year ago, how many messages did you get per week?

Melanie: Just today, I got three. 

Kristy: Oh, okay. Today you got three. 

Melanie: Yeah, I had three, and yesterday I had one. So, it depends. It’s demanding, so you just need to choose. A lot of them want you to be an ambassador. I haven’t accepted anybody yet because I need to like their products. I’m not going to purchase something from their stores at full price.

I’m sorry. If you want me to support you, we need to have a deal that works for both of us. So, it comes with time. You just need to find your person to connect with.  

Melanie’s Corona Virus Business Model 

Kristy: Let’s talk about right now. You mentioned today, you got three messages. Is your goal to do any online training or do you just want traffic so that they’ll buy your digital products that you’ll release soon?

Melanie: Both. Because of the virus, I think we’re going to need to do both. So, I’m going to keep teaching my classes because that’s good revenue for me and my people are waiting for me.

On the other side, when it’s going to be quieter, I can focus more on my online business and try to be creative and rare. We need to find something to be unique. 

Kristy: For your training, when you said your classes, do you mean your in-person classes or do you train anybody online? 

Melanie: I do both right now, but I teach classes.  I have my own classes as well, so there’s Osteofit that is for seniors, and I have my Aquafit as well.

Kristy: Great. How about your online training? Are you doing one-on-one virtual training with clients? 

Melanie: Yeah. I have another client tomorrow. It’s nice outside, so people are now going outside, but I still have clients.

Can You Make Money Off of These Ambassador Programs?

Kristy: Let’s say Instagram is a way people find trainers and you’re open to any new clients for offline training in person or online training. About how many interests of those do you get every week? 

Melanie: Not very much. It’s mostly ambassadors requests that we have. 

Kristy: I see. For the ambassador program, have any of them come across that seemed like something you could actually make money off of. 

Melanie: Not yet. That’s why I haven’t accepted anybody. I much prefer using Facebook than Instagram because there’s less junk like that where people are not asking you to sell their stuff.

Kristy: For any of the ambassador programs, I’m not familiar because no one has reached out to me to sell their stuff. Are they saying you’re going to get a commission? How are they trying to incentivize you to actually want to help them? 

Melanie: I don’t know. I haven’t accepted anybody yet. Usually, it’s going to be clothes. I love following fitness influencers. This girl on Instagram, she has over a million followers, so she gets dressed. Companies are sending her clothes to represent themselves, which is good.

Just before the virus, I was about to accept an offer from a company in New York. They wanted me to buy their clothes at 30% and to represent them.

So, it depends on the deal. You need to check the deal and discuss with them.

 

How to Get and Respond to Clients on Facebook

[18:27] Kristy: So, you prefer Facebook. How do you get new leads there? How do you think people find you and start messaging you? How many messages do you get on Facebook?

Melanie: It’s the content. People are going to look at your content. They’re going to stop on your page if they are interested.

So, put a lot of content on your Facebook page, or even on your personal profile. What I put on my Facebook page is also on my personal page. That’s the way you’re going to get people to communicate with you. 

They’re going to ask you a question about your business. “Hey, I’m interested in your online program. How much does it cost?” 

They ask you that question, and you need to come back to them the same day. Don’t wait for two days, or else it’s too late. You lost them. If you got the email in an hour, try to answer quickly. You need to keep your people in the loop. 

Kristy: So, you’re not yet sure exactly how they’re finding your Facebook page. It could be your YouTube channel. Then, they go to your website and they find you on Facebook because they figure that’s a way to message you.

Melanie: Even Google. I know Google search works well because the more content you put on your website, the more Google is going to find you. 

Kristy: Right. It’s good because you link back to your website, so that creates a lot of credible points in their mind that your website is good. On Facebook, how many messages do you get per week inquiring about personal training services of some sort?

Melanie: It’s about 5 to 10 messages a day. 

Kristy: Oh, wow. These are people who want to either work with you virtually for their training or in person? 

Melanie: Both. So, I have local clients because I always write my location, and I have some people online as well.

Kristy: How many online clients do you have? 

Melanie: I have five this week. 

Kristy: Do they work with you once or twice a week? 

Melanie: Mostly one or twice. 

Kristy: Do you do half hour sessions or one hour sessions?

Melanie: I do both. For some people, it’s enough to do 30 minutes.

For my seniors, I try to keep it around 30 minutes. They’re tired. It’s rare that I can do an hour with them and even keep their attention.

Tomorrow I have a client that’s going to be an hour. 

Kristy: How many offline clients have you gotten from your content online? Is that how people find you?

Melanie: Yeah. That’s one way they find me. They’re going to send a Facebook message or even an email. 

What she focuses on to grow her youtube channel at 1 subscriber a day!

Kristy: Got it. I’m curious about your YouTube because it sounds like you got really excited. You’re getting a lot of views there. When did you start posting videos on YouTube? 

Melanie: I’ve been doing it for awhile, but not consistently.

With the lockdown, I now have time to develop all of that and create longer videos. This is what I’ve been doing. So, creating quality videos with catchy titles and a beautiful thumbnail that is going to invite people to check. 

With the lockdown, I now have time to develop all of that and create longer videos. This is what I’ve been doing. So, creating quality videos with catchy titles and a beautiful thumbnail that is going to invite people to check.

Kristy: So, I’m taking notes and imagining people who are thinking they want to put it down. The title is important. A thumbnail. Then, you said quality. I was just wondering. When you say quality, what does that look like for you?

Melanie: Well, your camera has to be stable. Your image has to be bright. The sound should be good as well. There’s construction right outside of my window right here, so I had to cancel all my videos that I had created that day because of the background noise and everything. 

You need to be careful with that because if you’re doing yoga and people hear the background noise, they’re going to just stop. They are not going to continue doing the practice with you.

Kristy: So, you have some tips that you use for getting YouTube views. What have you seen from YouTube? Do you get messages from people saying they found you on YouTube?

Melanie: Yeah. Every day, I have at least one new subscriber. It takes time. Even yesterday, I had two new subscribers. It’s one at a time. It also works with the content. 

Kristy: For the subscribers, that’s great to even get one or two a day. Are you able to talk to them or reach out to them? 

Melanie: Nope. If they comment on a Youtube video, you can communicate with them, which is good to do that.

But, for subscribers, I haven’t found a way to communicate with them to say, “Thank you for subscribing to my channel.” 

I haven’t yet. Maybe I should go on YouTube and ask them to tell me how to do it. 

Kristy: I don’t think you can. You’re saying you can see the people who like your video. Do you message them? 

Melanie: No. That’s the thing. I’m going to answer them when they comment on the video. 

Kristy: I see. When they comment, do you respond and get any leads from there? 

Melanie: You have to answer them just like you’re answering your emails. That’s the way you’re going to keep your people.

Kristy: So, you’re going to respond to comments on your YouTube. 

Melanie: On Youtube, there’s a way to get the notification when you have a new subscriber or a new message as well. So, I check that out, and answer right away. It doesn’t have to be long. “Thank you for liking my video.” Just answer back and keep them in the loop.

Kristy: So, we have your Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, and you’re posting  content there. What type of products are you selling or do you plan to sell online? 

Melanie: Right now, I have created a free seven day fitness challenge. That’s different from the videos that are already on YouTube. It gives a chance for people to try a little bit of everything that I’ve created from HIIT, yoga, pilates, and Zumba. So, this is for people to choose what they like. 

Then, what I’m doing right now is I’m creating packages. So, I want to do a 10 day chair yoga, and I have a one hour non-stop Zumba as well. This is all what I’m working on and it takes time because it’s one video at a time. 

These people can purchase the calendar, and all the videos are attached to Youtube. They just need to click on the link in the calendar, and it sends right away. So, they don’t have to search for the workout they’re going to do. 

 

How Melanie Attracts Emails Subscribers

[26:18] Kristy: We had another guest who did a calendar and that did well for her. Are you selling the calendar?

Melanie: Not yet. I’m still on my free seven days fitness challenge. 

Kristy: Okay. So, regarding the free seven day for free fitness challenge, is that what you entice them with to enter their email?

Melanie: Yes. It sends to their emails, but at the bottom, I say, “Now that you have completed the seven days, it’s time to purchase your 14-day, 21-day, or your full month fitness challenge.”

I’m already working on the next calendar.

Kristy: I see. 

Melanie: That’s the thing.

We need to try because we have no clue what’s going to work. We keep what works. If it doesn’t work, try to do something else. 

We need to try because we have no clue what’s going to work. We keep what works. If it doesn’t work, try to do something else.

Kristy: All right. So, you have a calendar and you give out a free seven day program. What does that look like? Are there emails? Is there just a document? What do they get?

Melanie: It’s a calendar for seven days or the full month. It’s the shape of a calendar. There’s the name of the workout with the link and at the bottom of the calendar, I always put my contact in case they have questions or comments. Then, I invite them to purchase another one.

We put the link right there so that people don’t have to type it. They just click there and it brings them to something else. It’s great.

Kristy: So, you send them a PDF with a link to the purchase page. But, you don’t have the products they can purchase yet. You are going to release them in a couple of weeks.

Melanie: No. It’s available right now. I just created it a few days ago. I don’t have anybody that has purchased the 14 day, 21 day, or one month challenge yet, but I have people who are trying the seven days. 

I use Mailchimp. So, I sent the link. It’s even on my YouTube channel.

Even people from China or wherever, they can go on YouTube and see the free 7-day fitness challenge. They click on that, and it brings them to the Mailchimp link that brings them to your website. It’s a lot of links. 

Kristy: Right. So, they click on the link in the YouTube channel. Regarding the opt-in that I think is connected to your MailChimp that sends people the seven day challenge, is that embedded on your website or is it just the page? Does it link to your website with the opt-in on your website? I see that you have a subscribe button on your website. Is that the one? 

Melanie: No. That’s different. So, if people want to have my seven day challenge, they need to subscribe. I need to have their first name and email, and then they’re going to get the calendar right in their email. 

How Melanie Converts Free Email Subscribers to Paying Customers

Kristy: So, then it’s some type of landing page where they opt in. Then, they get this wonderful calendar with a link to possibly purchase a longer term program. Each of the seven days in the program links to a YouTube video, right? 

Melanie: Correct. For now, I’m working on something else. For the 10 days I’m working on, it’s going to be with another platform. YouTube is good for storing the videos, but when you get a lot of subscribers or when you’re getting popular, you get ads right in the middle of a yoga class. It’s very annoying for people. 

So, I’m working on something else right now. There’s Vimeo. You need to purchase every month the quantity of data you want to use, but at least it’s safe and there’s no ads. 

Kristy: I think you can even sign up for a membership website where you can then link your videos to the membership site, so that when you log, people have to actually log in to access it.

Melanie: Yes. That’s it. You’re going to need to provide a password, but that’s okay. You provide it in the email that it’s going to be shipped with. 

Kristy: Good. So, your funnel is to send them to the purchase page. How much are you selling your longer term programs for? 

Melanie: It’s $29.99 for the full month. I said on my website that it’s less than $2 a day for a workout, and it’s way less than joining a gym. Well, here in Canada anyway. 

Melanie’s Plan for Recurring Subscription Revenue

Kristy: Yeah. So, it’s less than $2. So, you’re recording those videos and you’re going to try to put the paid program on a more private website. So, it’s not like anyone can access it. That’s great. 

Do you plan on doing any subscription business models so that you can get recurring revenue?  

Melanie: What do you mean? Give me an example. 

Kristy: Yeah. So, if you were owning a gym and people were coming to your gym every month, then they’re recurring, so you have recurring revenue.

Melanie: Yeah. That’s my goal. That’s why I’m working on the next calendar. That’s the thing. If you like it, you can purchase a second.

One of my goals is I want to send them two new videos a week for a membership, and I’m thinking it’s going to be probably the same amount of $30 or $35. It’s not fixed yet. 

So, every Sunday, they’re going to get the two videos to work on for a week. 

Kristy: Cool. So, you’re going to move into subscription. You’re going to do two new videos a week, and they’ll hopefully continue to subscribe. Would it be okay if we talked about your senior clients and how you work with them?

Targeting Seniors Online with Niche Specialty Programs

Kristy: I’m curious. I know you do chair yoga and stuff. Have you seen any potential to communicate with your senior clients online? 

Melanie: It’s a challenge because a lot of them don’t have computers. So, of course, I cannot communicate with them. Especially right now, there’s no communication between us. 

But, with people I do have communication with, I send emails and call them one by one as well. The rest is going to be from YouTube. I’m going to get people from there, and it can also be the kids signing up their parents to communicate with me. 

Kristy: Okay. It sounds like with your senior clients, it’s hard to connect with them. Do they still sign up for your online personal training or some type of online program with you?

Melanie: Yeah. It’s mostly chair yoga for now. 

Kristy: All right. I know you mentioned you’re doing a chair yoga video program, which sounds really interesting. A lot of seniors may not leave the house as much and they’re probably quarantined a lot more. So, that’s interesting.

How are you planning to sell that video program? Is that going to be a calendar also?

Melanie: Yeah, but I’m going to work per day, so it’s going to be day 1 and so on. So, they can do it whenever they want. It’s only 30 minutes long, so I don’t want to do a seven day calendar. I don’t want them to feel restricted. They can do it whenever they want, and it’s 10 days. 

Kristy: Just so I understand correctly, your chair yoga video program is 10 days. Is it every day that they do a 30 minute chair yoga session? 

Melanie: If they want. They don’t have to do it every day. They can do it two or three times a week. 

Kristy: So, it’s basically like they have the opportunity to buy 10 videos of chair yoga that they can kind of pace as they want. 

Melanie: Yeah. And, it’s not on YouTube. 

Kristy: Do you see any opportunity specific for chair yoga or seniors? I would imagine a lot more people are going after the younger crowd online. 

Melanie: What do you mean? If the younger crowd is going to do chair yoga? 

Chair Yoga…a Surprise Hit!

Kristy: Is there a reason why you decided to go after the senior clients online? Do you see any opportunities where you feel like less people are going after them or is it just because that’s what you do?

Melanie: Well, I specialize for seniors and there are programs that are missing for them. I’m doing HIIT right now in bootcamp on YouTube, but it’s not working as well as when I put the seniors program on YouTube video. Right away, I knew that I needed to work more on senior stuff.

If people want to go and look, there’s an old video from a few years ago that has so many views. I did a flash mob with my seniors who live in independent living. So, we do exercise in a chair, but it’s so cute. People love it. 

I need to do that even more because people are curious. People love it. They love the energy that seniors have. They move on the music, so they love it. 

Kristy: So, you’re saying that your chair yoga videos on YouTube are actually getting more views than your HIIT and bootcamp classes.

Melanie: Yeah. 

Kristy: Nice. So, that kind of inspired you to want to do a whole video series dedicated to seniors. 

Melanie: Yeah.

 

Simple Tools (that you have!) to Start Recording Videos Today

[37:07] Kristy: Awesome. That sounds really interesting. I’m impressed with how much blog posts and videos you have and it does take a lot of time to create content. Regarding your content process, do you have any tips to create content quickly?

Melanie: We all have a smartphone. Use that and film. It doesn’t have to be long. You found me and I have content of less than one minute. So, use your phone. I don’t have a tripod. I just use my bottle of water. I put my phone, and make sure you put it horizontally. I made that mistake once. 

Just record. Then, you need to edit your video and post it. It’s super easy. It doesn’t take that long and you get better at it. 

Just record. Then, you need to edit your video and post it. It’s super easy. It doesn’t take that long and you get better at it.

Kristy: Tell me about the tools you use, because this is very inspiring for people who feel like they need to have that perfect camera and all the software. I think that you really keep it limited to, to tools that anyone can use. 

What camera or phone do you use to record? What types of softwares do you use?

Melanie: I still have my old iPhone 6S, so I don’t record with voice anymore because the voice is cutting or whatever. I cannot figure it out. So, I use my iPad to record my videos. I have a camcorder as well that I sometimes use. 

But, if you have a smartphone for short videos, I use my iPhone because this is what I carry all the time everywhere. It’s easy. 

Then, to edit the videos, because I have an iPhone, I use iMovie. It’s so easy to use and it’s quick. You can crop and edit the videos right from the edit button. If I just want to put a quick video instead of a line of three different videos, I’m just going to do that and post.

Kristy: You mentioned that for your online business, you use MailChimp. Do you pay for that? 

Melanie: No. 

Kristy: Okay. I think there’s a certain number of subscribers. and then it’s free. Is it 500? I don’t remember.

Melanie: Oh, I didn’t know that. No, I’m still not there. 

Kristy: Oh, they’re going to go after you. They’re waiting for you to get more customers. 

Melanie: I know I have 400 something, but I’m not at 500 yet.

Kristy: Well, I don’t think it’s too much.

Melanie: I’ll know pretty soon. 

Setting Up your Website

Kristy: What do you use for your website?

Melanie: I have the WordPress. 

(Kristy’s note is that WordPress is free, and there are many free templates.  You will need a hosting company can only cost $3-$10/mo, and also it’s advisable to get a security support for it also.)

Kristy: Did you just get a template or did you have to have someone who helped you?

Melanie: Somebody built it for me in 2013. Since then, I’ve been putting content on them. It can be video, blogs, or posts. Every day, I had to do a little something.

Kristy: How much did you pay for someone to help you set up your website? 

Melanie: I don’t know. I had a feeling it was $3,000. I’m not sure. It’s been too many years, but that’s the number that comes to me. 

Kristy: Okay. So, you have your WordPress site. For people who are getting familiar, WordPress in itself is free. So, to maintain it and to use their platform, it’s free just to set it up. You can either get a template or you can have someone help you. If you customize it, it’s more.

How to Publishing Private Videos Easily & Cheaply

Kristy: You’re going to use Vimeo. How much are you paying for Vimeo?

Melanie: I just use the small one for now. The first option. I don’t remember. I can check, but it’s not free. I think it’s $9.99 a month. 

Kristy: So, you only have to pay, let’s say $10, maybe $20, depending on how many videos you have. Are you going to set up a special website where they pay to access your videos, or you just are using a special membership site?

Melanie: No. It’s going to be right on my website. I’m going to create a new page, and I’m going to put that there. I want to try Patreon. I need to search more about it, so it’s on my to-do list. 

Kristy: Okay. In WordPress, you can do a password protected site, so that’s one easy way. I definitely would recommend for you to look into some membership sites. 

I can send you some because there’s some membership sites where it’s not that hard to set up and it’s pretty inexpensive. Then, you can charge them on the site and it’s a little bit more. It has a better flow, so you don’t have to connect a bunch of things. So, there’s some good sites. 

Melanie: I would love that. 

Kristy: Well, that sounds like a really good setup. So, we covered your chair yoga and how you plan to see your future for your online videos and your programs.

Do you hope to mainly do online in the future or you’re always going to have offline and online programs? 

Melanie: No. I like my people. I like one-on-one, and I’m not a home buddy. This is new for all of us. I have a hard time being home. I love it for now. It’s a nice vacation, but I need to be outside. I’m a people person, so I like being with my people. 

Kristy: Okay. So, you’re still going to do offline in-person, and you’re going to continue to expand your online programming. Well, this sounds amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk about your exciting business that you’re growing.

Your content is amazing, so keep that up. We’ll definitely have to check in how your launch goes because I know you have some programs coming out too.

If anybody wants to reach out to you, how can they reach you?

Melanie Morissette

Facebook: Melanie Morissette
Facebook Page: Abs-Tract Fitness
Website: Abstract Fitness CA

 

Melanie: Yes. Thank you so much, Kristy.

Kristy: Okay. Thanks. Take care.

Melanie: Bye.

 

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