Profitable Webinar Marketing for Fitness Businesses w/ AJ Rivera | #006
Learning is not a one-way process. You need to open yourselves up to what others can offer to you and find some wisdom from them. AJ Rivera knows this to be true. When he started out his fitness business, he only saw the real growth when he began learning from different mentors and coaches. This gave him the idea to do the same for other struggling entrepreneurs out there. He began coaching other people and started his fitness webinar. He offers great programs that help people marry fitness and webinar marketing at the same time, helping them scale their business. AJ also shares the different webinar methods and unique strategies they use to market his products and services, giving entrepreneurs some fresh insights and takes on how to reach that great conversion rate on their own.
Profitable Webinar Marketing for Fitness Businesses w/ AJ Rivera
I’m excited about having our guest, AJ Rivera. He is in the fitness professional space where he coaches other fitness professionals on how to build profitable fitness businesses. I reached out to him because AJ is absolutely crushing it with webinars right now. In our interview, we learned about how he is using a unique strategy to use webinars and live streams to market his products and services.
He also shares a cool strategy for how he’s getting 30 times return on his ad spend for his webinar marketing efforts. I want you to focus in and listen to his unique strategy for what he’s using webinars for, because you’re going to learn a lot of great information and great tips that he’s doing that not a whole lot of other people are doing with webinar marketing.
AJ, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I’m super pumped up to be here.
For anyone who doesn’t know AJ, why don’t you give us a little bit of a brief introduction about yourself? Give us some background.
I grew up in Chicago land. I was wanting to be in business. I was wanting to be an entrepreneur. I found myself needing a part time job in college right out of high school. I decided to become a personal trainer as a part time job. It started to grow. I had more and more clients coming in and before I knew it, I had my own business there. I was like, “I better go all in with this.” Through a few years, I opened two studios and made all the mistakes basically every business owner makes. I had a huge ego, I think I still do, but I’m working on it now at least.
I’m aware of it, but I had a huge ego and I don’t want to ask for help. I instead made every single mistake and then I still ask for help anyway and learn from people smarter than me. After working with different mentors and coaches, I was able to finally get my business successful to the point where each studio was making $20,000 to $30,000 per month. The years before I sold my gyms, which was in 2015, they were doing half a million and that’s total growth. It was pretty cool.
In February of 2016, there’s the business side that always excited me about personal training and so I was like, I want to start giving back and helping other people the way my mentors helped me, the way I’ve been able to see my managers and there was a girl who we brought her into the gym and she had never seen a personal trainer and by the end of it she ended up buying a studio. I love seeing that growth in people and the potential that we have hidden within ourselves. I started coaching other people and I was super honest about it.
When I started I was like, “This is what I’ve learned from working with other people. It worked for me. I don’t know if it’s going to work for you and we’ll see,” and it works for other people too. A couple of months later I went all in with this coaching stuff and sold my gyms to the managers who want to open gyms anyway. Instead of opening location three and four, I sold them one and two and I’ve been helping people with their fitness businesses ever since. It’s pretty awesome.
I love hearing those types of stories. We were talking about the types of programs that you’re selling now. I want to shift now and talk about how you’re helping your current clients and how you’re now coaching other fitness professionals and how you’re using webinars to bring those people in. Talk about your program first, talk about what you offer them, and then we’ll get into the webinar side.
Our core program is an eight-week coaching program with me and my team. We have a team of three coaches. We have a bunch of coaches, but three main coaches and a few tech people and support people, mindset coaches, things like that. We take them through the three biggest things that I believe are not taught in any personal training certification to my knowledge. Trainings are designed to teach you how to do curls correctly and lose body fat, not how to run a fitness business. We take them through sales, which is a lot of times the biggest struggle with trainers in my experience. Personal trainers love to train people. They don’t have to sell people things. It’s a huge mental block too. Sometimes they feel guilty asking for money. One of the big things we tell them all when they start is like, “If you go out of business, you can help zero people.” That’s the truth.
We have to get their mindset okay about selling. We teach them marketing. We teach them basic lead generation using Facebook advertisement. We show them organic referral methods that work well also. With some of my private clients, we do teach them some webinars as well. I’ll be excited to talk to you more about that because I always want to learn from the masters like you. The last thing is if you chose the systems, if they need to scale their business and scale out of it. Before I had sold my businesses, I essentially scaled myself out of it to the point where it was running itself.
The only thing I did was running my own ads which had I known there were so many ads managers in the world, I would have outsourced that and I would have literally existed. That’s the last thing we teach people. How to scale themselves out of the business not so that they can be lazy and sit on the beach, but more so that they can take a holiday or “My mom’s sick, I want to go visit her for a month,” and things like that. A lot of the trainers and business owners in general are like, “I love my job, I don’t want to leave.” I’m like, “That’s great but what if you have to? What if something comes up?” Those are the things we teach them in our eight-week and then our private clients, we teach them more advanced things like webinars, going online, and all that fun stuff.
How much is your program?
Our eight-week right now is normally $8,000. Sometimes we’ll give people a fast action bonus, but that’s going to go up in March because we are basically revamping the program to answer any possible question you can have for any specific scenario. We gave people the actionable stuff that they need, but sometimes people have specific questions and they get coaching calls so we can sort it. What I want to do is create literally a resource that any question and fitness you could ever have for your specific situation will be answered. It’s like a flow chart that makes sense. I don’t know how much it will go up, my guess would be it will go up by $2,000 minimum. We sell it for about $8,000 right now.
You’re using webinars for the most part to attract new coaching clients. Tell us about what does the systems look like to get new clients in using your webinars. You’re using automated webinars currently.
We use a lot of different methods. We use live webinars, automated webinars, actual live stream webinars, and we use video sales letter as well. We started with the video sales letter but started shifting more to the webinar because you get more leads then for cheaper and it qualifies them a little bit more. If somebody is going to spend 40 minutes to an hour to two hours with you, depending on how long you do your Webinar, they’re going to invest in what you’re doing. Our close rates are higher on people who attended webinars versus people who go to VSL. Even if our booking is high, it doesn’t matter if we have a lot of appointments if they’re not closing. We run webinar that takes them inside a $22,000 per month fitness business and it’s actually not mine, it’s one of my clients.
We showed them the three steps or secrets, if you’re in to Russell Brunson stuff. The three secrets of what they need, but there really are three things that they need to know and that way they leave with some actionable advices at least on what not to do. At the end, we offer the invitation for them to jump on a coaching call with us, pending that they’re the right fit for it. That’s what that process looks like. I don’t know if that’s enough detail for the webinars or do you really wanted me to get into it but that’s what it looks like for right now.
You said you do a combination of live and automated webinars. How long is your typical webinar? How long does that normally go for?
It’s an hour I would say. We planned it. I originally planned it and I would love your counsel on this. We originally planned it on 45 minutes because I have a super short attention span. I’m like, “If I go on a webinar and it’s taken an hour and a half, I don’t know if I would stay on that webinar.” My thought process was, “I am my ideal client.” I used to be a struggling gym owner with not that much time who isn’t there in patience. I tried to make it 45 minutes. I found that as I went through the perfect webinar system and try to make it something of value that covered all the points, it typically went about an hour to even an hour and fifteen sometimes because we answer people’s questions and stuff too. I interact with them in their lives.
What I’ve found is educators are some of the most difficult people to sell because we want to teach so much. We want to try and cram all of our knowledge into a 45-minute to an hour-long presentation. I’ve found that an hour to an hour and a half is the sweet spot. With my auto webinars that I’ve done for coaching style, just to clarify, if you’re questioning if you’re selling directly on the webinar, he’s actually scheduling an appointment. That’s the call to action at the end of his webinar, he’s telling them to hop on a call with either his sales team or himself and then they’re going to pitch them on the $6,000 to $8,000 program on the webinar.
I’ve always found the shorter the better if you’re doing an automated webinar to an application to call. I did one that was about 45 minutes long and that converted pretty well into strategy sessions. I didn’t retarget with a VSL, which I don’t mean to let the cat out of the bag, but that’s where I want to go next. You said you were doing VSLs and webinars. Let’s go there now because you had an interesting strategy that I wanted you to elaborate. How are you incorporating VSLs and webinars?
When we decided to run live webinars, which is one to four times a month, depending on if we do them live or automated or if we do them via live stream or via WebinarJam or whatever. A lot of times we use our VSL for cold traffic, but we’ll shut it down and focus all our energy on the webinar for cold traffic and some retargeted traffic. What we’ll do is anybody who registered for the webinar, regardless of whether or not they attended, we will retarget them to our VSL afterwards.
There are two completely different trainings. They’re not even similar except for my voice and my story in the beginning is the same, the entire training is new information. It allows people who maybe went through the webinar or registered and didn’t intend to have another point of contact with us through a VSL and if there’s somebody who’s not going to show up on our webinar, a VSL is probably better suited for them anyways because it’s shorter. It’s fifteen minutes of their time versus an hour to an hour and a half.
Even if the people who did watch were still like, “I think AJ might be a Nigerian prince and he’s going to steal my money,” it allows them to say, “He’s real. Here’s another thing.” It reaffirms what they’re doing and that worked well. I made that on the day because I don’t want to undershoot it. We’ll get 25 plus strategy sessions booked in on those days from both the webinar and the VSL when we get a lot of people who attended our webinar, registered and jumped off and then they come watch our VSL later and they’re like, “I’m in, let’s do this.” Our close rate is insanely higher for us than normal.
How long is your VSL normally?
We have a couple for different markets. There are lots of different sub-industries within fitness. There’s personal training, there’s CrossFit, there’s mixed martial arts, there is yoga. Our longest one is 30 minutes just because we couldn’t make it shorter. It’s barely even a VSL, it’s more like a short webinar. They’re typically fifteen minutes.
You’re having people register for your webinar and then after the webinar takes place, you retarget them with this VSL, which is giving them the call to action. It doesn’t even matter whether they attended or whether they didn’t attend, everybody gets retargeted to this VSL after you do the webinar. They’ve got this call to action that’s in front of them saying, “Hop on a call with us. We want to help you scale your fitness business and we’re the people to help you do it.”
That’s what we did. It was really an accident that we came across it. We’re medium smart, but we’re like, “Let’s keep the VSL running towards the retargeted traffic since they’re already there.” We saw this crazy spike on the day we did the webinar. We’ve got in to do this all the time now.
If you don’t mind sharing some numbers, let’s say we’re doing that webinar and VSL funnel, how much would you have to spend to get an application? What was your cost per application?
On the days that we obviously ran the webinar from RBS, our costs dropped drastically because so many of them were retargeted. We would get applications on our VSL for as low as $30, depending on which webinar. From the webinar, we generally would get applications for about $50 to $100. It depends on the day of the week we chose, how well I did and if we had technical difficulties, but anywhere from $50 to $100 per application.
$50 to $100, I would take that all day every day. We typically shoot for about $150 cost per application. When we’re doing an automated webinar, I’ll shoot for about $150 and if I’m above that then I know I need to re-tweak something. Maybe it’s my ads, maybe it’s messaging or whatever.
My ads manager is a freaking genius on those days because he’s like, “Look at our cheaper cost per app today.”
How many of those would turn into sales? What would be the close percentage?
When we typically run cold VSL traffic, our conversion was at 10%, which is great but we close maybe one in four and that’s just lead. That’s including no shows which we’re pretty satisfied. One in four with cold traffic is great, but of our webinar VSL combo, our close rate is generally 50% or higher for a $6,000 to $8,000 offer, depending on who they are, what their fit is, if they sign up today or if they think about it for a month. If they think about it, we’ll probably never talk to them again.
Let’s be conservative. It’s going to cost them $100 to generate an application. You said you close 50% of them from the webinar. It was costing you $200 to get a $6,000 sale.
That’s why we have lots of people and probably going to have more after this podcast ripping off our funnel.
Those are some stellar numbers. Let’s talk about live stream. Live streams are very hot right now with webinars like Facebook Live. Periscope was big about a year ago and Facebook live crushed it. Talk about what you’re doing now with live streams.
I love live streaming. My StrengthsFinder, my second most important thing is significance. I love being in front of the camera, but we decided to try live stream in webinar because we got this whole fancy setup here. We have Luria Petrucci and David Foster from Live Streaming Pros come down and set us up and coached us through how to have a legit set up where you could put graphics in and you can run webinars via live stream. I was like, “We have this stuff, it’s going to cost us no money, let’s try to run one and see what happens.” We live streamed almost every day during the week. We will interview different experts and we got you on.
We have a lot of different smart people on to share their knowledge. We have entrepreneurs, authors, consultants, coaches, fitness professionals, and things like that. We’re like, “Let’s use this thing for a webinar and see how that converts.” We start with maybe one email blast. We said, “We’re going do this live stream webinar in a couple of days, register on a business page of that right here.” We didn’t spend any money on this campaign at all. We thought, “Worst case scenario, we can always download the video and use that as an auto webinar. It’ll be fine.” We created an event. We had 100 people interested in it, which meant they’re going to get these notifications to work as an automatic email responder except it’s even more immediate because it’ll ding on their phone.
I personally don’t have my phone ring every time an email comes in because my wife would leave me. We sent that out and we said, “Register for the event here.” Ten minutes before the event, we set a little countdown timer and it was just me sitting here. I was literally right here in this space and I was like, “We’re going to get started soon” and I would slide like “The webinar is starting soon, please share.” We shared it into the event, we shared it into my personal page, shared it into my free group, and then I had random people shared it too, which is awesome. I think we have twenty shares, which for me was very satisfactory considering we didn’t promo it that hard.
I was expecting that 100 people interested. I was like, “Twenty people are going to show up,” it’s going to be like a normal webinar, twenty people, 20%, 30% show rate. Twenty people showed up, but we have over 100 people on our live stream webinars showed up. A lot of people were warm or hot traffic from our list or who follows our daily show or whatever. When they jumped on the phone, the close rates were much higher.
We booked in tons of applications, that day we have closed $20,000 in sales from that webinar, that’s not including calls we had on Friday or Saturday after, plus the audience that was built. Even people who don’t sign up are like, “I have a lot of trust with AJ now.” I highly recommend people to do it right now. We ran it as a boosted ad too for 24 hours to get people a chance to jump in afterwards, after we’d already made money on it and we know it will work. We’re going to do one again this week and I’ll circle back with you and tell you how it goes.
One of the things that I love about the live streams and doing Facebook Live is, and I do believe that this is the future moving forward, it’s now incorporating your webinars. We all know sales presentations are so effective for numerous reasons, but now they become social and people can share it. Just like you said it was happening. You had twenty people share your event, I don’t know if you get this with your Facebook Live, because I haven’t tested it all that much, but I’d be interested to see what your reach was of that presentation, that live stream.
With twenty people sharing it, that’s my reality. Now, people see other people sharing it and they see people commenting and the social proof is unbelievable. I’m going to be testing it coming up to the next couple of weeks. I don’t know how I’m going to be testing it, but I know that I need to do it because it’s the future of sales presentations and webinars.
More or less about webinars, I would agree with you. Our reach share was 8,000 on that video and that’s not including views, reaches are usually less than views. I still see people comments who attended actually and I still get people who comments on that video. I’m going to probably tear it down now. We did the same formula or we gave them a bonus for sticking around afterwards. We had 4,000 views and we had 7,000 people reach and this was basically all organic. I threw up $20 at it after the fact, just to help it reach more people but it works.
There’s so much that I learned from our conversation. For the people out there, there’s a couple of things that I want you to take away from this interview. First of all, figure out how to incorporate social with your presentations because social proof is the single most important thing for a buying decision and for a conversion to happen. Chet Holmes, I read this in his book the Ultimate Sales Machine, when he would start cold calling, he would call up a prospect and say, “Would you like to buy this product? Just to let you know, your competitor’s down the street, I’m about to make the same offer to him.” He basically pits them against each other.
This whole aspect of social proof is so important when it comes to making a buying decision. I love what you were doing with the Facebook live streams and I also love what you’re doing with retargeting with another method of conversion with your auto webinars. Anybody who is registering for a webinar, regardless if they attended or didn’t attend, you set up a Facebook remarketing campaign and gave them a different piece of content to consume and with the same call to action, which I think is brilliant as well because a lot of people get hung up on saying, “How many different ways can I show them this one piece of content?”
Whereas you took it and said, “How many different types of content can I give to this one person?” which I think is the better question to ask because people consume in many different ways, whether it’s a podcast like audio, whether it’s webinar or VSL. Why don’t you let the audience know where they can find you or where they can connect with you?
Check out my stuff at AJ-Rivera.com, that’s my website. You can also go to my Facebook page, Facebook.com/AJRiveraOfficial. That’s probably the best way to connect with me. We’re on Facebook pretty often and we have our live show on there as well and it all links back to our website.
I learned a ton and I learned a wealth of knowledge. I know that my audience learned a ton as well. AJ, thank you for sharing your wisdom with my crew and I’m looking forward to seeing your progress. I’m looking forward to seeing what else is happening with what you’re doing with webinars in the future. Pay attention to see what the trends are going on and make sure that if you do see what’s happening in a couple months down the road, make sure you pinpoint AJ. He’s the one who’s leading the charge.
Thank you so much, Joel. I appreciate you having me on here.
Thank you, everyone. We’ll see you on the next episode. Thanks so much for being here. We hope you enjoyed this episode and we look forward to giving you the next one. You can also follow and watch the behind the scenes look at how I’m personally launching a brand new six and seven-figure product from scratch at SoldWithWebinars.com/TV. If you’d like to come and hang out with other fellow experts, join our Facebook Group at SoldWithWebinars.com/Experts. Join us next time and I’ll see you there.
About AJ Rivera
My name is AJ Rivera.
I’m the Founder of a company called FitPro Hero™ the #1 Paid Media Agency on the planet helping FitPros never worry about leads again.
We’ve been featured on Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Barbell Shrugged, Success Magazine, CNBC, and a few other places.
Go to FitProHero.com to check it out.
You’ll catch me talking about business, self awareness, philosophy, and occasionally debating my wife on a myriad of topics.
If you’re looking for “hacks” you’re in the wrong place.
If you’re wondering what really goes on in the life of a Founder running a multi-million dollar company, then welcome. I’m excited to have you.