For a retailer to benefit from using the Internet these days it takes more than launching a website or optimizing key words.
“It takes regular care and feeding … every single day,” said Buzz Truitt of Netsertive in a seminar at the Health & Fitness Business show sponsored by the Fitness Industry Dealers Association (FIDA), “just like making sure your store is well swept.”
FIDA used the show and the seminar on Sept. 15 to re-introduce itself to the fitness industry and renew its efforts as a group that will provide retailer education, networking, as well as other member benefits. A standing-room-only audience filled a small seminar area at the edge of the HFB show floor – with a lot of bike retailers filling chairs.
Truitt’s colleague at Netsertive, Robert Hartsfield, backed up the importance of online presence, noting that 97 percent of consumers today do research online before purchasing products of all kinds, even when the purchase is local.
The important thing is to target your online efforts in a way that attracts local consumers using specific tactics for searches as well as making sure your web pages are concise and easy to navigate, the two said.
Four steps to online “discovery,” per Truitt, are:
- Optimize your website
- Launch a search engine marketing campaign
- Improve your results
- Extend your relationship with social media
Social media as one step
Social media is a popular tool but it must be applied well. “It’s a tool,” Truitt said. “It’s an extraordinary tool if it’s used properly. It offers a tremendous amount of connectivity.”
Truitt said that paying for premium placements on Google can be helpful – if it’s done with an eye only on your region – because Americans read top to bottom, left to right – and that puts your listing at exactly the right place.
And, in keeping with the need for daily care, he said that website keywords should be adjusted several times a month to keep up with trends and how people are searching at that time.
“Your numbers could be lower, but your results will be higher,” he added. “You can make sure your business is getting an ‘unfair share.’”
In the end Truitt and Hartsfield were clear that retailers need to analyze how they are spending their media dollars since radio and TV may not be the best investment. And the beauty of the Internet is you can track the results.
“You have to know your return,” Truitt said. “Did it happen or did it not?”
According to FIDA’s management at the National Sporting Goods Association, the Health & Fitness Business show is the perfect opportunity to meet, greet and network with retailers. It planned to continue its relationship with the show and to provide retailer members with the help they need, said Bruce Hammond, NSGA marketing director and director of the FIDA sub-group. Future education at the shows may only be open to members as a benefit.
The FIDA group (www.fitnessdealers.org) had a preliminary networking meeting at the 2010 HFB show. However, in the months that followed there were a number of management retirements at NSGA (www.nsga.org), stalling the work. Hammond, who has been on board at NSGA since early 2011, is now heading up the effort. SNEWS was instrumental in helping to organize and advocate for the retailer group and remains a supporter of its mission. Click here to read a Sept. 29, 2010, SNEWS story, “Fitness Industry Dealers Association launches: Time to take part in the future.”
Advisory board members are: David Burrus, Fitness Gallery, Merriam, Kan.; Albert Kessler, HEST Fitness, Texas; David Kutler, Body Basics Fitness Equipment, Omaha, Neb.; Rodney Rice Jr., Fitness Expo, Metairie, La.; and Ron Wilkins, Wilkins Fitness, Charleston, N.C. SNEWS, as a supporter, has an ex-officio board position that is filled by editor-in-chief Therese Iknoian. Click here for more information about the advisory board.