Online search activity rose thirty-nine percent last year to hit an all-time high of 5.7 billion searches, according to Nielsen Netratings, the global leader in Internet market research. Studies have also discovered that searchers are using the Internet as their global and local “yellow pages”. Whether they are searching for the latest movie times, a good Moroccan restaurant, a nearby health spa or a fitness center in their city, fewer and fewer people are picking up the big yellow book and spending fifteen minutes trying to find your listing.Instead, they have a permanently-connected broadband link to Google, Yahoo, MSN or their favorite local search portal, and within seconds they have typed in something like “Denver health spa” or “North Seattle chiropractor,” received thousands or millions of results, and scanned the first few until one catches their eye.Many business owners in the health and fitness industry think it is good enough to put up a web site and print the URL on their business card. They have no idea that thousands or millions of other web sites are competing for the same terms (usually product/service+location) or that, without being properly optimized, their web site is destined to sit in the darkest corners of cyberspace. If the purpose of the site is to act as an online brochure, sort of a convenience for those who already know about your business, then it doesn’t need to rank high on the search engines.However, if your web site is meant to bring in sales, leads, news clients, members… what good is it doing way back on page 55 of Google for your best search terms? If you run a fitness center, shouldn’t you be on the first page (or at least the first few pages) for “Your City Fitness Center” or “Your City Gym”? The same goes for all local businesses, from chiropractors to martial arts schools and health spas.But it doesn’t have to be local either. What if you manufacture fitness equipment, or produce a health supplement and want to market your products nationwide or globally? The same principal applies – either you compete for those key terms or you sit back in the corner and throw money away on hosting and web site design, never to obtain a positive return on investment.Now that you know “something” needs to be done, let’s discuss what that “something” is. It goes by the name Search Engine Optimization – SEO, for short. Search engine optimization is a mixture of Internet marketing, web site design, copywriting, PR, coding and other factors with the solitary goal of getting your web site to show up better on search engines for a certain group of keywords and phrases.Professional search engine optimizers study the algorithms patented by major search engines to determine how each determines how to rank a web site. Google alone looks at over 200 factors when choosing where to place a web site on its result page for a search! Lucky for you there are firms out there dedicated to staying on top of the latest SEO strategies. Just be sure to choose the right one, because not all search engine optimizers are created equal.
Health and fitness product creators have a habit of working by themselves. This is not unusual, and may be partly due to the fact that many of them get their start offline working directly with their clients to help them meet their health and fitness goals. But eventually it dawns on the product creator that they may be able to significantly expand their business by taking their product online and reaching out to the huge consumer base that it represents.It is usually at this point that they get a bit of a shock and discover that working online is a whole lot different than working offline. Instead of the one-on-one interaction that they are used to dealing with when meeting with their clients, now they are broadcasting into the void and often finding that the void is not responding. The internet, they discover, can be a lonely place for a health and fitness marketer.Whereas offline they may have built up a client base that trusts them, when they go online they are effectively starting over from scratch. Now they have to prove their worth all over again, one customer at a time. For many, it is enough to drive them offline again. The thought of having to master article writing, web site building, and the art of site monetization are enough to make one wonder whether it is all worth the effort.But it need not be as difficult to pull off as you might imagine. Not if you can find the right people to help guide you. Perhaps even the right people to take some of the work off your hands in exchange for a piece of the pie. Sure, you can pay people to do the work for you if you can afford it. But many cannot afford to go that route, and instead they look more closely at the idea of joint ventures. The joint venture, or JV, is a collaboration of two or more parties who share the workload of a project, preferring to concentrate on just that part of the work that they are able to do more easily, either because they have the experience, or because they have the natural talent for the work.The joint venture can achieve what the work of a single party cannot achieve on its own.So, if you are an exercise video producer who has no trouble creating good exercise videos, but you are terrible when it comes to putting together a website that can actually convince people to buy the videos, then a joint venture might be the way forward. You might think that you can simply outsource the design work, but the reality is that if you work with someone who has experience in the niche that you are selling to, your likelihood of success will be a good deal higher.This means that you may want to try to team up with someone in the same exercise niche as yourself, but who might be marketing a completely different product – exercise clothing, for example, or an information product that relates to losing weight through the same exercises that appear in your own videos. If the other party already knows how to build a web site and get clients, but they have never had any experience producing video, then a joint venture between the two of you might make sense. You can each achieve something that neither party might have succeeded with alone.This is the idea behind Carolyn Hansen’s joint venture membership database for vendors in the health and fitness industry. If you would like to learn more about joint ventures in this area, and get to know other health and fitness professionals, get yourself across to Carolyn’s site and join up today. Admission is free.
Have you heard about the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association) Passport? Read on to find out all about the industry’s largest reciprocal-access guest program covering health and fitness clubs in over 50 countries. The way it works, if you travel a distance of 50 miles or above away from your home and if your gym is a member of the IHRSA program you will be allowed access to over 3000 health clubs in over 50 countries.You will have a sticker on your gym membership card that identifies you as a member of the IHRSA. Some of the health clubs charge a reduced guest fee for passport members, while others waive the fee entirely. You can always call to find out before visiting the club.Given below is the kind of information that will be useful when you travel and need to use the health and fitness clubs.o When you plan to visit a club in the area you are travelling in you will have to have with you your health and fitness club membership ID with the IHRSA sticker or a picture ID and the passport sticker or a passport ID card and picture ID. The only way you can get passport ID is through one of the participating clubs because IHRSA does not issue ID material to individuals.
o When you plan to travel you can always go online to healthclubs.com and find participating health and fitness clubs in the area you plan to visit.
o Your IHRSA passport is program is valid internationally and you have over 3000 health and fitness clubs in over 50 countries that are participating in the program and that you can visit. It would appear that no matter where you go in the world you are sure to find a participating outlet.
o Your IHRSA passport program is meant for short term use at the health and fitness clubs and long term stay will depend on the club in question’s policies and procedures.
o When you relocate you cannot transfer your membership to another passport club, this program provides only guest privileges at the participating health and fitness clubs.
o Your club has to give you the passport ID card and sticker; it is not available anywhere else.To summarize the IHRSA Passport Program:
o Not all IHRSA clubs participate in the passport program; it is entirely up to the health and fitness clubs to participate or not.
o Only IHRSA club members can participate in the passport program.
o Your IHRSA Passport is valid only at clubs 50 miles and above away from your club.
o As a guest at another club you should respect the rules and regulations of that club in terms of fees, timings, visitation frequency, etc.
o You may have to pay a guest fee depending on the club’s rules; some clubs don’t charge a guest fee.
o Your IHRSA passport is valid at health and fitness clubs overseas; you can check the website for countries and locations.