I had a consult a few weeks ago with a Pilates Studio owner – who was frustrated with her website. She was paying for maintenance and hosting (which I believe is a fancy way of saying her contractor was making some profit by charging her for managing her hosting). I’ll go into that in another blog in the next couple of weeks. However the one thing I noticed about her website as I was reading it — is that it was written in the special language of Pilates instructors. My friend Carey wrote a blog about the Pilates language, and as I evaluate websites — I see some that are written in such technical Pilates language (Joe-speak) that for someone who has never been introduced to Pilates — it’s probably like reading something in French or German! Think about the USA Today. Why do so many people love the USA Today newspaper? Because USA Today is known for synthesizing news down to easy-to-read-and-comprehend stories.
Here’s some examples of what I found on this Pilates Studio website:
- This website talked about the equipment manufacturer of her reformers. Very few potential clients know the difference between Balanced Body, Basi or Arcus equipment. Potential clients (couch potatoes) want to know what the equipment will do for them, and they want to know that they can achieve results on the equipment (i.e. that beginners can use the equipment and get results).
- The description of the Tower – said it was a space saving piece of equipment. Really? Do couch potatoes care if you save space? When I was a couch potato (not so long ago) the part of the tower I cared about was the roll down bar and springs, that helped me do rollups when I couldn’t do them on my own. Likewise, the description of an Arc said it was a contemporary version of a spine corrector. I know what that means because I’m a regular at Pilates, but the couch potato in me sees some kind of a modern day corset! That’s not even close!
- There were multiple mentions of spinal extension and spinal flexion. As a couch potato I tend to blame my issues on my trips to the refrigerator and being overweight — I never thought about my spine or my posture until I started to practice Pilates.
It all comes down to a basic principle of marketing. You have to reach your target client, in language they understand. If they are watching the Young and the Restless and the Price is Right every day — then they’re probably not going to relate to a “healthy spine”, a “rock hard core” or how Pilates can help with injury prevention. I can’t speak for all couch potatoes – but I can tell you my experience. I lost a bunch of weight, then work & life (and possibly my motivation) got in the way so I couldn’t do aerobics 5-6 times per week. I gained weight back, had more life issues and spent 3 years without going to a gym. I had taken a few Pilates sessions on the reformer when i was thinner to do some toning – and I knew the equipment would help me do things that my body wouldn’t do by itself. So when I saw a Pilates studio across the street from a sports bar we were going into one night – I filed that in my head for future use. It took their complimentary session to get me to walk in the door — but once I walked in, and my friends and family started noticing that I was less stressed, moving without being creaky, and basically — being in a better mood — then I started to go regularly and learn the “Pilates” language.
While your website can’t be written totally in “couch-potato”, (you still need Pilates credibility), it needs to be written in terms couch potatoes can understand, and you need to tell those same couch potatoes what Pilates can do for them! They probably don’t care about doing candlestick on the Cadillac — but they do care if they have less back pain or creakiness! From now until the end of July — if you’d like an evaluation of your website to see if it’s “couch-potato friendly” — just email me — and I’ll do it for free!
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