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Maxed Out Ep. 2: Stop Being Everything To Everyone

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Welcome to the Maxed Out podcast, where we speak with amazing studio owners, marketers, and ancillary services to discuss fitness, business, marketing, and mindset. With over six years of marketing experience, Maggie Benson has helped countless brick and mortar businesses dramatically increase revenues through strategic digital marketing. Now she’s combining her passion about health and marketing to help fitness studios around the world grow and prosper.

So today I wanted to talk about this problem that I see regardless of industry within small businesses who essentially are bootstrapping themselves, which is trying to be everything for everyone. Now I understand the psychology behind it. When you’re first starting out, you really just want revenues. You need to have overhead, you have studio space to pay for, and you just need to pay the bills, and so you kind of take every opportunity and try to create programs and classes for everyone. And I get that. I totally, totally do.

But here’s the problem with that. When you want to be everything for anyone, for everyone, you end up being nothing to no one. So you end up blending in the crowd, considering that most of us hear about new businesses, new studios, through social media nowadays, whether it’s a friend commenting about it, or it’s an ad, or it shows up in a local community group, whatever it is, they usually hear about you, or driving by, through social media or they might be searching as well. So let’s say you’re in a bigger city and they’re searching for a yoga studio near you. If you are blending in with the crowd, if your marketing and your messaging is generic, you will end up being passed by.

So there’s a big difference between saying, “We are a yoga studio for moms looking to get back into things after they have given birth.” versus, “We are a yoga studio for everything.” So there’s a couple of different ways that you can determine your messaging and it ultimately comes down to knowing who you’re targeting. And if you look at some of the best franchises, fitness franchises, out there, this is what they do. What compels a business to become a franchise is that they are able to create a reproducible system that targets a niche within the communities, and then they go after that.

So they know their who, they know what they stand for, they know how to inspire and excite, which I’ll talk more about that throughout all these episodes, which is inspiring and exciting people. And they’ve carved a corner for themselves into the marketplace. So examples can be, think of Curves. Curves, the first thing you think of with Curves is, “It’s the place my mom goes.” If you’re listening to this, you’re going to be an adult yourself. So your mom’s going to be anywhere from like 50s, 60s and even 70s, and that was the marketplace that they carved out for themselves. There were women out there who were intimidated by the gym, but they wanted to be fit, but they didn’t want to be a master of fitness. They didn’t want to hire a personal trainer. They just wanted a system where they can go and work out for 30 minutes and be done. And that’s what Curves did. And they created their own, designed their own equipment in order to achieve the fitness result, without having to train women, older women, on how to use weight machines and lift and all that kind of stuff. They created their own niche. They carved the corner out for themselves.

CrossFit, same thing. CrossFit went after there was a need and desire for already fit and active individuals to be challenged. So it was originally based, this is my understanding, correct me if I’m wrong, original understanding it was based off of the Marine Corps, and their primary target, especially the people I know who attend, are first responders, individuals who were looking for a challenge and to be pushed in a community setting without having to hire a personal trainer. And the community around CrossFit is very strong. Many people have said it becomes their family. And that is actually a key business tactic in terms of creating the success of CrossFit.

Moksha yoga is another one. They created a 60 minute reproducible class that is essentially the same class every single time, but people loved it. And there was a lot of strategy into how they created the class and how they created their programs, but they carved their niche by being specific, in this case, not necessarily their who, but ultimately their who was the foundation, but how. So they identified their who and then figured out a solution for the how.

So when it comes to your marketing, you have to figure out your who before you can do anything else. Because if you don’t know your who even the pronouns that you use in your messaging will be wrong. So you need to be knowing your who in order to do everything else. If you know your who, you can still know what platforms to market on. If you’re targeting men, being on Instagram is probably not your best bet. And I only say that because men gravitate towards Twitter, they like the, I want to say battle, but the discussion that happens on Twitter. So that’s where you would want to be. Whereas if you are targeting moms, a great place to be for moms is Pinterest because they’re looking for all sorts of stuff to do with their kids, whether it’s how to decorate the rooms… Ask me how I know? Recipes or everything like that. So then you need to be on Pinterest. Knowing your who determines everything else. It is the foundation, but it’s what everybody skips. So that’s why I’m talking about it as episode number one, because it’s super important. Everyone skips it. I’m going to talk about it and rant about it.

So where do you start? Okay. You know I’ve beaten this to the bush. If you haven’t, go back and re-listen if you don’t get the message. Where do you start? How do you figure out your who? Go through your current clients, your current customers, who are your favorites? Who do you love working with? Write them down, get a piece of paper, or digital. I’m a digital girl. Open up a Google doc, and describe them. Don’t just describe their gender and what they look like. But describe their life. Are they middle class family? Are they maybe a lower class? Actually, I hate the word class, lower income. What geographical areas in your community do they live in? What pages on Facebook or Instagram do they follow? What magazines do they read? What TV shows do they watch? Are they employed? If they are employed, where do they work? What kind of employment are they doing? What are their daily average daily life like? Do they work 9:00 to 5:00 or are they a shift worker? Really, really important decisions and information to know.

Now everyone’s going to hate me when I say this. Once you kind of figure out who this perfect person is, go find them and actually talk to them. Ask them why they like you. I know that’s big and scary, but that’s called market research. You go and you find your customers and the people who already know, like, and trust you and love you and ask them why they love you, and write those things down.

Very few people do it, because it’s a bit intimidating. But that’s how you have to figure out your who. You have to figure out, and not just gender, you got to get deep into their psychology. What motivates them? What actually makes them get out of bed and say, “I am going to attend yoga today. I am going to go to a spin class today.” What is their motivations? What are their timelines, schedules like? What’s stopping them from attending? I know mine is calendar. I’m a mom. There’s always something going on. Carving out that time.

Limitations. I have a fitness studio who had before COVID, she targeted moms. She specifically targeted moms with kids under school age, and had classes that would start right after school would start. So school would start at 8:30 and her classes would start at 9:00. So who attends? The moms who still have young kids at home, have some kids in elementary school, and want to go work out. And so what did she do? She was actually coincidentally, also a licensed early childhood educator. And she brought someone in for babysitting and the parents were there. So always check you local laws on this. But it was a huge hit. Since COVID hit those time slots have plummeted because she can’t provide childcare because of the COVID regulations and rules. But she figured out who she was targeting and then provided the solution and it brought in revenues. So really, really important to know your who.

Once you know your who, and I kind of just touched on this, you have to talk about, you figure out, “Okay, so I know who I’m working with. How do I help transform their lives?” And there’s actually five levels of, I’ll call it psychology, that I look at when it comes to crafting messaging and the transformation that a business provides to their audience. So the first one is what did they have before and what do they have after? And by have means like before, if it’s fitness, a common example is before they have an extra rubber tire around their waist, and afterwards they don’t. How do they feel before is number two. So before they started attending your classes, they feel sluggish, low energy, tired, exhausted, and afterwards they feel upbeat, happier, happier with themselves, but happier because of all those positive endorphins going through their body.

Number three is their average day. What does their average day look like before and what does their average day look like after? You can tie this into, in this case to how they feel. So the average day before is they feel sluggish and they’re kind of dragging their feet throughout the day. But after, after say three weeks of attending classes, they have more energy, and they’re getting more done, and they feel better about themselves because they’re taking care of themselves. They’re filling up their inner gas tank first.

Number four is status, and status can be depends on your avatar how important it is. Some avatars in geographical areas, status is more important. I live in BC. So status can be very important in more affluent areas than not, but status can be, “Before I am less than. I am a crappy mom. I can’t keep things together.” And after they started attending classes, their status is, “I got this.”

And then the last one, which is a bit more challenging is greater good. So sometimes this doesn’t apply, but in terms of greater good, the after effect can be, “I am a better person and a better mother and a better contributor to my community because I’m taking care of myself first. And I can do more for my community.” Whereas before they can’t, because they’re actually, we all know this, if you’re working out, you actually gain energy, not lose energy, even though you expel energy during the class itself.

So those are the five steps. So you have to figure out your “who”, write it all down, do some market research, and then you have to figure out and write down what transformation does my classes go through in order to, when people attend my classes for say three weeks versus before. I do have worksheets for this. I will put it up on the blog that will go along with this podcast. So you can find that at, to find the episode transcripts and everything like that, and sit down and actually think about it because as I keep doing these episodes, I’m going to be delving deeper and deeper and deeper into foundational marketing, but then also tactical marketing. And it will come back to this episode.

So hopefully you found that enjoyable. Hit me up on Instagram at You can send me a DM there if you have any comments, questions, or concerns. I hope you have a wonderful day. And it is in November in British Columbia and we are scheduled to get some snow tonight. So hurray, for us. I’m actually excited to hit the slopes, but we will talk to you next week.

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