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Today, we bring you a guest post from Jo Stevenson of, who worked with a fitness brand to develop a marketing strategy based on selling ideas, not products.

Have you ever thought about what actually needs to happen before a person will buy from you?

Think about this for a moment. When a person first becomes aware of your brand, here's what you're faced with:

  • They don't know you.
  • They don't like you.
  • They don't trust you.
  • They have no frame of reference for the value you provide.
  • Chances are, they don't know anyone who has purchased from you.
  • They're looking for any reason to disqualify you, so they can move on to the next contender.

To put it lightly, this is a lot of adversity to deal with.

If you assumed that prospects hold a neutral feeling towards your business, it's actually worse than that—you're starting off in the red.

Related: Standing out in the busy world of wellness brands

To counter-balance this, you need a marketing strategy that has so much value built in, it appears to increase conversions magically.

In this article, I'll share a strategy that I've used with a fitness company. This strategy helped us overcome all the adversity described above and deliver ~50% conversion rates each time we followed this process.

Let's dive in.

Case study: How we achieved a 48% conversion rate

A while back, I worked for a fitness company that sold functional training certification courses to physical trainers. These courses help PTs build valuable skills that will differentiate them within a highly competitive industry.

We offered several courses ranging from $199 to $699, but the one we really wanted to drive was our flagship course—weighing in at a hefty $2,500, it was quite a substantial investment for our audience.

Needless to say, we had to overcome a serious amount of fear, doubt and skepticism when presenting our product.

Idea: Small steps lead to big sales

Robert Cialdini called this concept commitment and consistency, which basically states that a person who has committed to an idea is much more likely to take actions that are in accordance with that idea.

This is the key concept behind the steps we included in our strategy.

Step 1: Create a low front-end offer

This is an entry-level offer that is low-cost but carries a high perceived value. This is the "small step" part of the process and the first commitment.

We were already great at delivering instructional training, so naturally, we decided to offer a half-day training event where we could teach PTs about functional training concepts, movements, and step-by-step instructions on how to train clients with their lifts.

Initially, we offered this event for $45. (Later, we decided to raise the price to $97.)

Key takeaways

We needed to create an offer that:

  1. was easily affordable, even for PTs who were highly price-sensitive.
  2. provided value that was instantly recognizable as a good deal.
  3. disqualified people who would likely never commit to a higher-priced product.
  4. generated customer leads who demonstrated an interest in investing in themselves.

Step 2: Promote it to a targeted audience

We had our front-end offer, so now it was time to get eyeballs on it. We exclusively used Facebook ads for this, but there are plenty of other options.

For our campaign, we only targeted physical trainers in relevant geographical areas.

Key takeaways

Target people who already "get it."

Given the specific nature of our training event, this offer would only be magnetic to trainers with a pre-existing interest in functional training.

A PT who either isn't aware of functional training or has no interest in it would likely not click on the ad, so we began disqualifying early in the process.

Step 3: Set up a smart conversion funnel

Whenever someone clicked on our ad, that Facebook traffic went to a ClickFunnels landing page. This specialized landing page:

  1. explained the skills they would learn at the event.
  2. featured an order form (powered by Stripe payments) to reserve their spot.
  3. collected their name and phone number so we could send them the event details, including a reminder text the day before.

We only accepted 20 people at a time. Why? Because we knew from our training courses that hosting more than 20 people at a time would reduce the quality of the training and—ultimately—hurt future conversions.

Key takeaways

Ask leads for a commitment (e.g. money).

The best customer is one who has bought from you before. Because we asked them to put money down, these leads were now personally invested. This has been shown to increase conversions, and it certainly did for us.

Asking for a purchase—even a small one—is great for weeding out time-wasters. If someone isn't willing to commit $45, it's highly unlikely they're going to commit $2,500.

Step 4: Educate your audience & deliver on your promise

At the event, we educated and trained the attendees on the basics of functional movement and how to deliver this training to their clients.

Key takeaways

At the event, we spent 90% of the time delivering top-quality education and training. This training also followed an overarching theme that positioned our flagship training as a necessary investment toward success as a physical trainer.

We gave everyone an overview of the five main disciplines that make up our flagship course. At the same time, attendees learned specific lifts and training concepts they could use in their business.

Now that we had educated everyone on the various methods we'd promised to cover, it was time to tie it all together with a presentation.

Step 5: Give a killer presentation

After the event, we presented our flagship course with a special offer to encourage enrollment at the event. The presentation was made up of three parts:

  1. Storytelling — One of the owners shared their story of growing from a struggling PT to one with a thriving business.
  2. Product pitch — We introduced the course and showed how it can help PTs build a successful business.
  3. Limited time offer — By introducing urgency, attendees were more likely to register right away.

Key takeaways

Don't sell products; sell an exciting idea.

Going back to the concept of commitment and consistency, signing up for our flagship course represented their second commitment.

But, our goal was not just to sell a $2,500 course. For attendees, the course was simply a means to an end: building a thriving career as a physical trainer.

So, here's how we incorporated that idea into our presentation.

At the end of the training, one of the company owners shared his personal PT story:

  • How he struggled and felt embarrassed with how little he was making for his family — empathizing with the same situation many attendees were still in.
  • How he invested in himself and learned from the best — setting up the idea of investing in training courses.
  • How he turned what he learned into a system that he used to grow his business — offering tangible proof that the idea was successful.
  • How PTs can use the same system to build their businesses — including the special offer for our flagship course.
  • The main idea was that our training courses have a strong track record of helping PTs achieve more success. We outlined the course and revealed the special offer for those who ordered that day.

    The results? At the end of our presentation, nearly 50% of attendees converted to clients.

    What did we learn?

    • If you're selling a high-priced solution, work in a low front-end offer to help leads overcome their objections.
    • Create a process that disqualifies time-wasters and leaves you with a small set of golden opportunities.
    • Deliver on your brand's promises.
    • Sell ideas, not just products.

    Launch your own print & digital marketing campaigns with the help of Lucidpress, your brand marketing portal.

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    Author Bio

    Jo Stevenson is the marketing strategist for, an SMS marketing platform that empowers sales people and businesses to attract highly qualified leads and grow revenue using SMS technology.