In this episode, Liam talks about the value of a virtual assistant, marketing techniques, and steps to driving more traffic directly to your website and your gym.
“Stop thinking anything you do personally is free because it isn’t. It costs you money. It costs you time, which is a lot more expensive than money.“
Liam is a serial entrepreneur who runs Time Doctor and Staff.com, a time tracking and productivity software platform. He’s also an avid proponent of remote work and the concept of buying back your time.
Dan Uyemura: Welcome to The gymOS Podcast, helping fitness professionals become better business owners, one episode at a time. In today’s episode of The gymOS Podcast, I am in Atlanta. Why am I in Atlanta? I’m actually attending a mastermind for this group of software CEOs that I have referenced in the past. And man, in this hotel today, we’ve got hundreds of CEOs here, all doing exactly what we’re all trying to do, and that is solve problems in their businesses. That’s why this podcast is here. That’s why these CEOs are here. So I had this really intelligent idea. Why not bring some of these CEOs into the podcast, in person, right here in the hotel? And that’s what we’re doing. Tonight’s episode, we got Liam Martin from Time Doctor. Now Liam is a specialist in the remote work field, Time Doctor helps businesses like mine keep track of remote workers, but Liam’s girlfriend of six years also owns a chain of boutique fitness studios. I didn’t know that when I booked him to be on this podcast, but it comes out, so not only does Liam have this unique insight on how to manage personnel and these could be your coaches or it could be people that are offshore who are helping you manage your day, we will dive into the concept of virtual assistance, which I didn’t even think about for gyms, but now it makes total sense, but he also has this a really unique insight into how to market and brand a boutique gym, like yours. Liam actually gets into some really crazy SEO and local marketing concepts that honestly blew my mind when we were talking about it, so I hope you can make it all the way through this episode when he starts digging into that stuff because there’s some really valuable nuggets that he drops here. All right, guys, without further ado, we’re gonna let Liam and my podcast take it away.
Hey, what’s up, guys? Dan here. We’re doing some special podcasts this go around. I’m actually in Atlanta right now at a CEO mastermind with the mentor that I have. Like, I preach to all you guys, you should be spending your time and money learning from people who have already done it before, and I, myself, have a mentor as well and we’re basically in a hotel with a bunch of CEOs and executives from other SaaS companies, and so I figured, what the hell let’s bring the brightest and best minds right directly to you guys. You know this podcast is about bringing the ideas and methodologies from SaaS businesses right into your gym because you’re basically running a service as a service business, so everything that I’m learning here applies to you and all these people that I’m talking to here have knowledge that applies to you.
So today, we’ve got Liam here from Time Doctor, specializing in the remote work field, and you’re probably thinking, as a gym owner, what the fuck does remote work mean for me, it actually could mean a lot. And I’ve been rapping with Liam here for the last 30 minutes, talking about some of the concepts here and kind of mind blowing what we can do in this space. So with that, let Liam kinda introduce himself, and take it away…
Liam Martin: Yeah. Hello. My name is Liam, human being, more specifically Canadian human being. I actually am in Atlanta. I’ve been here for about 30 minutes, we’re drinking…
Dan Uyemura: Can you pronounce it?
Liam Martin: Glenmorangie…
Dan Uyemura: Scotch. We’re drinking scotch.
Liam Martin: Actually came in on, funnily enough, crazy trip. I got hit, my plane got hit by a de-icing machine. Yeah, and I had to actually get in a completely new plane, and I really hate not being on time for things. It’s like I try to respect people’s time as much as humanly possible. So I sent you a message, and I was like, I don’t know, I was in a plane accident. And I think I said, not plane crash, I realized I needed to choose my words very properly.
Dan Uyemura: I still read it. I read I’ve been in a plane accident, will be late. And I’m like how in the hell are you sending me a message after you’ve been in a plane accident?
Liam Martin: Yeah. No. So you know what? And here’s the cool thing, by the way, about remote work and running a distributed team. So Time Doctor has about 100 remote employees and 34 countries all over the world. I also have a really good virtual assistant. I’ve been working with her for the past 10 years, and here was the thing that was super cool. I have my plane accident, within seven minutes, I get a phone call from MJ. If MJ is listening to this, hopefully, she doesn’t ask for a raise. So MJ says, “Hey, I just got a push notification saying that your plane is delayed or there’s a mechanical failure. What’s up?” I explain the situation. She said, “Okay, I’ll call United.” Seven minutes later, she calls back. She says, “Hey, so you need to go to the Air Canada desk right now before everyone else, and there were literally like 84 people behind me.
Dan Uyemura: You’re shitting me.
Liam Martin: And I ran over to the Air Canada desk and they said, the customer service desk and they said, “Yeah, MJ set you up,” and boom, I was on another flight, and I got here it exactly the same time that I was supposed to come before because she just knows what she’s doing right, and we’re in sync like she’ll do things, last time I was actually at one of these events, I had not figured out my flight properly. I thought that I was leaving at 10am when in reality I was leaving at 10pm. I was having dinner with a few people and MJ calls me again and says, “So your phone says you’re in San Diego, but you’re supposed to be in San Francisco right now. Are you in San Diego or San Francisco?” I said, “I’m in San Diego,” and she said, “Oh, well, you’ve missed your flight,” and I was like, “What?” And you know, she obviously realized that I was a complete idiot, basically a 37 year old man child that just kind of knows where I need to be next. And in this case, I did not know where I needed to be next. So she said, “No problem. Go back to the hotel. I prebooked another place, another night with you, and I got you a flight out for 6am or 10am. Which one do you want?”
Dan Uyemura: Wow.
Liam Martin: So, like that for me has actually created a couple interesting by products in my life, which is I can focus only on making money inside of the business like that has just that mental energy of like where do I need to go next. What do I need to book? It all happens through my phone, and it all happens to MJ. That’s something that’s very powerful. And once you get all of these pieces in place, this is what we do for everything inside of our business. So I have people that are responsible for every single component of the business. Everyone is answerable to a particular number, and we sink all this together with the remote work model which we’ll get into it throughout this podcast, but is really in my opinion, the single biggest thing that you can do to be able to number one make your company a lot more profitable whether you’re running a gym or anything else and then secondarily allows you to scale at a speed that really other people haven’t that run brick and mortar companies, they’re just not capable of this level of scale. That’s what we’re gonna get into.
Dan Uyemura: Yeah, and I’m pretty excited for that because I used to own a gym, and I know what it’s like to be inside these gyms, and I feel like a lot of gym owners feel like they’re wearing too many hats. Probably feel like they’re wearing dozens of hats, right, and that probably goes for many small SMB (small and medium sized businesses). Let’s say there’s a gym owner right now listening to this, and they’re thinking to themselves like, “Well, how can I afford an MJ?” Right? How can I? How can I start the process of unwinding all the hats I’m wearing and getting someone else helping me to do this stuff so it makes sense financially.
Liam Martin: Yeah, to give you context an MJ costs between $250-$1000 a month, realistically.
You can get someone that’s brand new like, let’s say, in the Philippines for about $250 a month, you’ll have to train them. To get someone who’s pretty good, that has a couple years experience, around $1000 US, and that’s just uncomparable to what you can get in the United States. Now, with that said, you can get someone from the Midwest, so you can get like a stay at home mom as an example for about $2000 US, and that’s also a really good option if you’re looking for someone, that is, that understands US culture, understands how to communicate, you know, in that way. But that’s still a significant cost savings, to anything that you would be doing in Chicago, New York, LA, San Francisco, you know, any city with more than a 1,000,000 people, you’re not gonna find that type of talent at that type of price.
Dan Uyemura: So what could an MJ do for a typical gym owner? Like, if they’re gonna drop, let’s just go big bucks and say, $1000 a month on hiring a top notch virtual assistant? What could MJ do for that gym owner right now? How could she earn her money back?
Liam Martin: Sure. So I think the biggest thing that you have to first look at is what does a gym owner do with their time and where is their time most profitably spent? And I’m gonna make an assumption because I’m not directly in the gym world. However, my partner of the last eight years, she runs a chain of mermaid schools which has the same exact kind of process called AquaMermaid. She teaches people how to swim in a pool with a mermaid tail, which is kind of weird, but it’s making money like stink. And, so you break down where she puts her time and, in reality, actually, where she can put her time that produces the highest ROI is working with customers fundamentally right. Getting someone in the door, giving them a demo of your gym, telling them “Hey, here are the things that we’re gonna do, we’re gonna set up a program, we’re gonna get you on the right track towards where you want to go. You’re currently going in this direction, and that’s not a very happy direction, you want to go in this direction”, and so everything else outside of that you can scale. So you have to figure out what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. This is one of the biggest things with entrepreneurs in general, and I bet you this attaches to gym owners as well. And this is like something really difficult for entrepreneurs to kind of get their head around. You’re not good at everything. And in reality, you’re actually probably pretty bad at most things, unfortunately, and that’s something that all of your employees will almost never tell you, which is super frustrating for you because you actually need a lot of that feedback to know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. I know what I’m good at, and I know what I’m not good at. And that self understanding is really gonna allow you to figure out, “well, where do I delegate? And then where do I not delegate?” Where’s that choke point for me? And what a lot of people don’t recognize is that you can actually delegate that at a lower cost then you would have ever thought.
Dan Uyemura: Yeah, I’m sure people right now don’t think that they can get someone who’s gonna rebook their flight. I mean that, to me, what she did for your flight today and in San Diego, is worth the money alone. I guess I’m a man child, too, I find myself in the same situation all the time, and I think I’m gonna invest in a VA here pretty soon as well.
Liam Martin: I can tell you some crazier stuff too. Like once we did this reorganization, she said, “Oh, you’re not flying through Washington, you’re flying through…Newark” and she said, “Hey, you’re going to be getting into a terminal in Newark. You’ve never been to A terminal in Newark. Here is how you get to C Terminal, which is the United Terminal in Newark.” That kind of attention to detail, you just can’t, that’s a certain type of person that you need to get and someone who has an extreme attention to detail, which is someone like MJ, but it’s absolutely possible, and it’s so much more cost effective than you would have recognized or understood.
Dan Uyemura: So let’s dive back into this concept of I’m a gym owner, I’m gonna get an MJ on my team, and this actually ties in right into what I’m preaching in this podcast, which is basically like focus on what you do best, but try and buy back your time, be a better business person. Buy back your time to focus on what you’re good at. And I guess the first step to that, like you mentioned, is being able to recognize what you’re not good at, right?
Liam Martin: Right. Well, one of the biggest assumptions and, and you hit the nail on the head, buying back your time. No one puts a price on their time, and this is super important. So, like, you’re a gym owner, you’re like, “Oh, well, I don’t really cost…” I have this problem too, how much is this podcast costing me to be on if I were to delegate one of my executives to do this podcast. That’s what you need to think about, right? You need to think about, “Okay, Well, if my CRO, who’s also at this event too, comes and does this podcast. I know how much that CRO makes, so if that CRO sits down with you for two hours, what is the ROI on that podcast?” And you need to start thinking like that immediately. You need to stop thinking that anything that you do personally is free because it isn’t. It costs you money. It costs you time, actually, which is a lot more expensive than money. So where could you deploy your time and how could you deploy it effectively? And we talked about this before. I could bet you that almost all gym owners, if you were to create, like a venn diagram of the top 1% of Facebook marketers and gym owners, those two circles would never meet. There would be a small…there’s like three guys that are pretty good at Facebook ads that have their own gyms. So then, okay, you kind of boil that down, you say to yourself, “Well, and what’s the next step? Is it just completely forget about this? Or is it hire an agency or, you know, is it taken internally?” What we’ve done is we’ve taken it internally, and we recognize that actually having someone who let’s say you pay a cheaper wage, someone that lives in Southeast Asia as an example, or Eastern Europe, and you pay that person less than what you would pay someone in San Francisco or Los Angeles or New York or you pay them a lot less than an agency because an agency is gonna charge a significant margin or something like that. You say, “Okay, I’m gonna give you a small salary, and your job is to go through all of these trainings and to learn Facebook ads, and then within a month, your job is to spend $1000 on Facebook ads and figure out what the ROI is. And let’s say we’ve paid this person $1000 a month, so our costs right now are $2000 in. You can’t get a good agency, a good Facebook agency for $2000 a month.
Dan Uyemura: Trust me, I know this one, guys.
Liam Martin: Right. So you I could guarantee you if you have a $2000, if you have $2000 in cash, it’s much better to go Route A, which is training someone and getting someone completely committed to your mission, as opposed to an agency where you are client number 72 on their list.
Dan Uyemura: So let’s talk about that then. In order for that to be successful, a gym owner is gonna have to have a process defined, right? That’s another recurring theme in this podcast. You have to figure out your process. And not only do I have to have the process defined, it can’t be on a whiteboard in your gym because this person could be in Croatia or something, right? How would you recommend, so let’s say I’m a gym owner and I don’t know jack about Facebook marketing except all the things I see online from the gurus, how do I go from not really knowing much about Facebook marketing to creating a process that is repeatable for somebody who’s half the world away, who can execute that with excellency?
Liam Martin: Let’s actually jump a little bit over to SEO because I know that forwards and backwards, I’ve been doing it for the past 10 years. I can get super granular for you and tell you exactly what you need to do on this podcast. You won’t need any other training other than that, but I can point you to some. So, if you have, let’s say you’re, you want to start an SEO campaign, which stands for search engine optimization, which is basically getting people to go to your website. I don’t know of a gym right now that doesn’t have a website.
Dan Uyemura: So to back it up for gym owners, what this might be if you don’t know is like if someone comes into your someone from your region opens up a browser like I want to get in shape, they’re gonna type in certain words to find this…
Liam Martin: “Atlanta gym.”
Dan Uyemura: Yep. Or lose weight…but you’re in Atlanta, so it’s gonna target that.
Liam Martin: Right. If you’re in Atlanta and you’re a gym owner, you wanna own “Atlanta gym,” “Atlanta lose weight,” “Atlanta workout.” You want to own all of those keywords. Whoever does own those keywords owns the market instantly. Right? But how do you get on there? Well, it’s actually not too complicated. Google has these variables that it measures, and it actually has a secret algorithm that no one really knows. So it’s like there’s, like, four guys that know the entire algorithm completely at Google and they’re sworn to secrecy, and the reason why actually is there’s no patents for any of the Google algorithms because if they gave out the patents, then someone could backward engineering, right?
Dan Uyemura: They’d have to release how they do it.
Liam Martin: Exactly. So no one knows how anything is cooked, which is very interesting. There’s a ton of stories connected to like people trying to figure out how Google works, and a lot of people study it all the time. Right, because there’s a trillions of dollars inside of understanding how to basically get your website to the top of Google. But very simplistically, all that you have to do is write out a website, put information on your website that’s connected to Atlanta gym as an example, and there’s a whole bunch of keywords connected to that, so I would include the word Atlanta and I would include the word gym. And then once you have all of that content written, the next step is to actually go out and to get what are called back links, which are basically other websites that are linking to your website. Let’s call that Atlantagym.com. So if you have more backlinks than anyone else in Atlanta that runs a gym you end up winning the entire gang if you actually want to check out an active example of this, go to aquamermaid.com. I’ve been doing this exact playbook for my girlfriend the last eight years, and we’ve opened up 20 locations. If you type in “Mermaid Montreal,” “Mermaid Toronto,” “Mermaid Dallas,” “Mermaid Austin,” her website pops up as the first website. She dominates that particular niche, and that’s where she makes all of her money. Now let’s get into actually how you do this and I’ll tell you the infrastructure of actually the way that AquaMermaid does it, which is very cost effective. It’s not, it’s not expensive. It’ll probably cost us, boy, at this point, it costs us about $3000 a month, but we started with $500 per month, so we hired a search engine optimization manager. So there’s like one guy that basically has a couple years experience in how to do backlinks, and we’ve been, I have one for my own company, and then I went out and I found this person for AquaMermaid. If you go onto platforms like Upwork or Freelancer.com, Dribbble.com, FlexJobs, Remotive, We Work Remotely, type all of these things in these are all job boards, specifically for remote workers, and you can put up a job posting, and you just put up a job posting saying, I’m looking for an SEO manager, someone who has experience linking or building and ranking websites, particularly in the gym industry. Take a look at the people. They’ll tell you what they’ve ranked, and it’s relatively easy. A way to check this all, by the way, is to use a tool called a Ahrefs, and we use it. It’s pretty expensive, but I think they give you, like, a 14 day trial which you can implement for the actual test. So once you have this person, basically, then what that person does is they optimize your website so they put in the right key words like “Atlanta gym.” Some of the other things that you can do is put in stuff like I don’t even know, like “Atlanta gym CrossFit,” let’s say you wanted to run for something like that, or connected keywords. So you could write a blog, you could write what are called blog posts, which is basically a whole bunch of content connected to a particular subject. You could write something like “How Atlanta’s CrossFit craze is blowing up,” and then you would rank number one for Atlanta CrossFit because you’d have that piece of content written that would rank you for that particular keyword. Then all you need to do is, this SEO Manager, which we use for AquaMermaid, she goes out and she links back to those particular pages. That’s it.
Dan Uyemura: So how does she link, does she request other websites to link to it or?
Liam Martin: Yeah, So what she’ll do, as I take a drink here, is she goes out and she says all right, we just recently ranked number 1 for, giving away all of the insider track on the mermaid game, but we ranked number one for silicone mermaid tails. There’s this weird little niche inside of the mermaid world. Which, by the way, how much do you think the mermaid space is worth?
Dan Uyemura: Oh, man, I would have said zero before today.
Liam Martin: I know the exact number.
Dan Uyemura: Give it to us.
Liam Martin: $350 million in turnover per year.
Dan Uyemura: $350 million dollars.
Liam Martin: For the mermaid tails, which are the vast majority of the industry. The silicone mermaid tails, which are the higher end component of that industry, about 5%. And then, my girlfriend’s mermaid schools, which are, she’s the leader in that market, but it’s about a 10 to $15 million a year market. It’s very interesting to see these little niches.
Dan Uyemura: So you know, to divert real quick, you know, it’s interesting what I immediately thought when you start talking about Mermaid SEO like, that’s kind of easy to rank for because it’s a unique key phrase, right?
Liam Martin: For sure.
Dan Uyemura: But there’s something to be learned in that…if you pick, if you pick something that’s unique, you automatically kind of stand out right, and it makes it easier for business to be seen as long as you put the market around it. The interest around it, right?
Liam Martin: Let’s say you wanted to really, and I wouldn’t use something like Zumba because it’s already copyrighted and probably they would come after you, but let’s say there was some type of term, and let’s use Mermaid because it’s just a good example, but don’t steal her keywords, obviously, let’s say you wanted to rank for like, “Mermaid Atlanta.” There is not a location in Atlanta right now. You could probably do it right now, very quickly and easily until she moves in and she competes against you, and what we’ve actually ended up seeing is there’s a lot of these little like small mermaid kind of schools that are in these different cities, but because they don’t have their SEO game on lock, we come in and within a week we’ve been on eight different local news, you know, 6 o’clock shows and they all have websites, all of those websites link to The Atlanta Mermaid url, basically the page for Atlanta Mermaid School’s on AquaMermaid.com. This is literally what’s building you those links from, by the way, Google sees different websites as a more authoritative store source than other websites, so something like the local news channel is a very authority of source for that local city. So if the Atlanta Six o’clock news links to the AquaMermaid website, and it’s like AquaMermaid.com/Atlanta, you’re gonna rank for Atlanta mermaid school instantaneously. So this is what you literally need to do is to go out and to get those links. But then it goes down to you as an individual gym owner should you be managing the leads that are coming into your gym or should you be going out and talking and trying to hustle these backlinks? And what I’m saying is the backlinks could be hustled through someone that’s remote, through this SEO manager.
Dan Uyemura: And they’re probably better at it than you are. Right?
Liam Martin: Way better. They have a process, they have a system.
Dan Uyemura: Yeah. Okay, cool. So that kind of brings us back full circle to the remote work thing. I think honestly, like I could probably have you on two or three more podcasts to talk about all the stuff, you know? I think the local marketing angle is huge. We’ve been messing around with it, we do websites for our clients. We were messing around with local marketing and SEO stuff, and we’ve just been juicing people right to the top because no gyms know how to do SEO. But let’s go back. Let’s go back to that. So, I mean, there’s a few things you brought up like writing blog content, this is in the SEO front, to get clustering keywords, you talked about the SEO backlinking work, all this stuff I don’t want my gym owners to do because they’re gonna spend 18 times longer than they should know. They’re gonna produce none of the results. So how can they find, like, you already mentioned a bunch of sites to find people, like again, the problem point here is we’re going to convince gym owners that it is worth investing money to have someone specialize in doing these things for them because money’s tight in a lot of gym’s right? How, like, I guess I’m gonna keep going back to this question, like, what is the ROI if I hire an SEO person for my gym, can that person really make a dent for a local business?
Liam Martin: So first off, it really, also you gotta ask yourself how long you gonna run this, own this gym because I know there’s a lot of acquisitions that end up happening in the gym world. And if you own a gym for more than five years, actually, if you own any business for more than five years, my general answer to you is SEO is the way to do it. If you’re gonna own a gym for a year or two years, you’re going to do better on Facebook ads, right. You’re gonna do, and there’s Instagram ads and there’s sirens in the background and all that kind of stuff that are happening, but generally, you’re going to get Facebook, Instagram, SEO, you know, email campaigns reaching out to local people in the city, all of these different funnels that you can implement, but at the end of the day, SEO. If you rank for “Atlanta gym,” once you’re up there, it’s super hard for people to knock you out. So if you’re gonna own it for more than five years, absolutely go that route. Now this SEO guy, getting back to the AquaMermaid example, we end up hiring her, and then we say, “Okay, you need to identify all of the press sources for the city of Atlanta, and you need to identify at minimum 200 different sources before we even actually think about entering the market.” And it’s not just the 6 o’clock news, it’s the local blogger, right? The local blogger that just blogged about Atlanta. So let’s say you’re doing a CrossFit gym as an example, and maybe we won’t call it that but like a CrossFit but by name, type of gym. What I would do is I would get your SEO person and I would say reach out to all of the Instagram girls that are currently in the city of Atlanta and give them a free booty power course and get them to come to the gym and post on Instagram, and then also, hopefully, if they have blog’s, write a blog post about it. We do mommy bloggers, mommy bloggers are nuts for mermaids schools because they get their four year old to jump in the pool with them, and they take photos for Instagram and they do a blog post about the actual experience. And then it’s a backlink back to our website, which is the long term dividend, and then it’s that Instagram post which gives you that quick little pop.
Dan Uyemura: That short hit. Yeah, so let’s actually talk about that because that’s a really interesting concept to me. In marketing, there’s the long play and the short play, and I do think like any Facebook posts you make any Instagram post you make, TikTok, blah, blah. Those are all the short plays like you get someone’s attention now and it’s just off their feed and gone forever, kind of, but there was this concept that I was reading about today. It’s about if you set up your marketing to do long term dividends, long term compounding interests, if you think of it that way, it’s actually huge. And for most, if not all, of the gym’s on PushPress are interested in a long game, they’re not in this to, like, buy, build and flip necessarily. So how, talk to that like, how can you set up some marketing efforts that will return investment forever? Because in our space, everyone’s just focused on, like Facebook ads, you know, like immediate instagram posts.
Liam Martin: So I call that renting. You’re renting traffic. You’re not buying it right? You’re not owning it. So like you spend $5000 a month on Facebook ads, let’s say you have a profitable funnel. We’ll talk about the story that I had before, so we invested 1/4 of a $1,000,000 very early on in Time Doctor’s career inside of Facebook likes. So there were these Facebook pages, public Facebook pages, and you could buy likes at a fraction of the cost of actually getting someone on your email list.
Dan Uyemura: I remember those days.
Liam Martin: Yeah, and it was awesome because you could put up a post and 40% of those 250,000, no we had 100,000 people, cost us $250,000. 40,000 of those people would see the post, and would actually interact with it and would drive traffic. Amazing, right. And then one day, Facebook decided to make a change. They changed their algorithm, and then 10% of our list saw the posts. And then next month it was 2% and in the month after that, it was 1% and we spent 1/4 of a $1,000,000 on an asset that’s now junk. It sits there. I mean, it looks cool on our website that we have hundreds of thousands of people on our Facebook page, but it’s in essence, useless. However, what has produced a fantastic return in the same amount of time has been our rankings, so we rank for things like timesheet templates. You know, if you’re looking for time tracking software, you’re probably starting your journey with a timesheet template. We will give you the most definitive set of all the spreadsheets, which are branded Time Doctor in the bottom left hand corner. You can use it. We literally have made it like, super useful and valuable for people to come in and use it. There are people that have been using our time sheets for years and have never moved on to another product. But when you’re ready to move on, you always recognize you’ve got that brand impression of Time Doctor, and you’re ready to move on it and buy the product. And again, this connects to long term business versus short term.
Dan Uyemura: Right. Exactly. Fuck, I had something I wanted to say, but I forgot now…I think the scotch is getting me.
Liam Martin: I know I have the same problem, but that’s okay. I can keep talking. Basically, when you look at the fundamentals of how you effectively execute on this strategy, I can give you just some, like, hard core stats, every backlink that we get to our website, on average for our linking team, so we have about 28 people on the SEO team right now, and don’t let that number scare you, you can start with one person. The average backlink costs us $36 to acquire through that team. If you go to an agency, there are these SEO agencies, and if you’re looking at SEO right now, you’ve probably dealt with them, usually they’re like $300-$500 per backlink, and that’s actually a good price, like that’s the market rate, but they need to be able to deploy their margin inside of what they’re doing to be able to make money. So we have just taken the process directly and $36 for us, it’s like were, in essence, printing money. Right now, if anyone can actually work within our operational procedures for our linking team, we hire them instantly because we know we’ve got the playbook to have them to execute on this particular strategy.
Dan Uyemura: So let’s talk about backlinks real quick because I want to make sure gym owners don’t make a mistake or maybe it’s okay. Are all backlinks created equal?
Liam Martin: No. So there’s a ranking system for them, there’s two definitions: Domain authority and Domain ranking. So if you type those into Google, DA checker or DR checker, you’ll get the same thing and you can put any website. Time Doctor has a domain rating of 78, I believe.
Dan Uyemura: Oh you beat us.
Liam Martin: It’s out of 100 points.
Dan Uyemura: Ours is 73.
Liam Martin: So I love competition, yes, I love it whenever we beat somebody else. We probably share no backlinks, after this call or after this podcast, we should definitely share a couple backlinks. But if you are a more powerful website. So like Google would be 100 right? A website that just started is a zero or one or probably realistically, a five, and it goes up exponentially. So it’s 10 times harder to get a 70 than it is to get a 60 it’s 10 times harder to get an 80 than it is to get a 70. So don’t be scared if you start your website and you’ve checked it on one of these things, you have, like a 28. That’s totally cool. But then what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna actually look at all of the backlinks, and there’s a lot of open source tools that you can use to be able to do this. But basically the more backlinks you have, the bigger your website becomes, the more powerful that domain authority becomes, and then you have a really big advantage for when you post that next article on your website. So right now, AquaMermaid, which is the set of Mermaid schools, if we publish an article on mermaid tails, Google is going to give us the benefit of the doubt, and that’s actually like almost like a snowball issue where it’s like we’ve built so many backlinks connected to mermaiding, if we write yet another article on mermaiding, Google will be like, “Oh, well, we’re going to give this this website a little bit of traffic,” and then what it does is it tests two major factors which are super important: click through rate and time on site. So the click through rate is how many times people click on your article versus the other 10 articles that are on the first page of Google, which is called the SER page, the search engine results page, and then when you click on it, it’s then measuring how long you’re on that particular website, the longer you’re on the website, the higher your rankings. The higher your click through rate, the higher your rankings.
Dan Uyemura: Because Google’s assuming it’s relevant, you’re clicking and that it’s engaging, what you’re reading.
Liam Martin: The thing that a lot of people, once you get this in your head, it makes perfect sense, Google’s customer is the searcher, it’s not the person that buys advertising on Google, that’s just a result, because what they want is for you as a searcher to get what you want. So that’s why you’ll see these new things that are horrific for people like me, but it’s called the zero spot on Google, which is, if you type in a question, they’ll usually just give you the answer as a snippet inside of a website, and that’s been really bad for us because people don’t even go to our website, they just look at the snippet there, like “Okay, that’s the answer.” How tall is Donald Trump? He is this tall. Yeah. Okay. I don’t need to go to the website to actually get you into my funnel, which is bad for me, but really good for Google because it’s good for the searcher, because they got what they want, and they’ll come back to Google constantly. So you need to be able to optimize for all of those things basically, and that means building websites that are valuable to your customer. So, like, a friend of mine runs something in this niche called Nerd Fitness, my buddy Steve.
Dan Uyemura: Oh nice! Get me a backlink from him, please. ::laughter::
Liam Martin: Yes, Steve seems pretty awesome, and I’ve known Steve for 10 years. And the way that, and Steve, by the way, this is kind of another side, but it’s definitely cool for gym owners, I’m in Vegas three years ago, we’re in a really expensive, expensive nightclub that Steve got because I don’t know why he got this, and then he turns to me and he says, “So this SEO thing, maybe I should do some of it.” And I said, “Yeah, well, I think your website is pretty powerful,” and then we looked it up on my phone, visiting Ahrefs, and he was ranked number one for “paleo diet.”
Dan Uyemura: Wow, more than (Mark) Sisson.
Liam Martin: It was insane. And I was like, how much traffic are you getting to this website, you know, through this keyword, and we looked it up and he was getting, like, a couple 100,000 clicks a month for “paleo diet.” And he said, “Yeah, I don’t really know one how it goes up and how it goes down, but like, it looks like it’s for number one today.” And I said, “You’re not paying attention to this stuff?” He said “No, I don’t really, that’s not my not my job.” Long story short, I actually ended up getting him an SEO manager and making sure that he was taking care of that side of the business. But the reason why he was so good at ranking for these things, which is an interesting thing, which is a useful thing for general gym owners to understand, Steve writes the definitive article on the paleo diet, so he writes really good content.
Dan Uyemura: It’s all about value.
Liam Martin: It’s all about, can you actually, so Google has a very clear understanding of what it wants, it wants you as of the searcher to have a really good experience. So an example that might be counterintuitive for a lot of Atlanta gym owners but could be super powerful from an SEO perspective would be to write the most definitive article on the different gyms in Atlanta, and of course, you’re gonna put yourself as the first one.
Dan Uyemura: And that’s counterintuitive because you’re gonna be mentioning all your competition somewhere in there.
Liam Martin: All your competition and you’re going to make really, you’re gonna have photos of the gyms, you’re going to see what are the advantages of one gym versus another gym and all these other types of things, but here’s the cool thing that’s gonna happen, if you write the most definitive article and you truly believe it’s the most definitive article. Google is gonna reward you for that, and you’re gonna get a couple backlinks because we’re gonna talk about…
Dan Uyemura: You’ll probably get a lot of backlinks if you write that.
Liam Martin: We’re gonna get a lot of backlinks, but hopefully also too you get your SEO manager that’s gonna be able to juice it, right? It’s gonna be very easy for your SEO manager to sell to other people because they’re gonna email other people and say, “Hey, we wrote this article, we think it’s the definitive article in this space. We know that you wrote this other article on Atlanta gyms, and we’d love to talk to you about how we could collaborate and work together on getting the word out about our article.” So let’s say you end up ranking to the number one of Google for that, and let’s say 90% of your traffic ends up going out to one of your competitors, here’s what’s cool about multi-touch marketing, you just pixeled their entire list, right. So I get 3000 people a month that are checking out Atlanta gyms that have typed in the keyword “Atlanta gyms” and have clicked on my article.
Dan Uyemura: And even though they’re going to your competitors, you have a piece of them.
Liam Martin: You have a piece because here’s the beauty of it, you’re going to set up a Facebook ads and you’re going to specifically set up retargeting inside of Facebook and Instagram, and you’re going to communicate to that customer touching on their, I call it their secret fear, so when I think about marketing, particularly in something like when I was doing a tutoring company, gym industry, anything like that, it’s the secret fear, so it’s what you think about it 3 o’clock in the morning, it’s what keeps you up at night. It’s usually connects to sex, weight or money. Those are the three major points and gyms, it’s weight, right?
Dan Uyemura: Or sex.
Liam Martin: Or sex, too? Yeah, the weight connects to the sex. I don’t know so much the money, but maybe.
Dan Uyemura: Yeah maybe if you’re like the alpha type…
Liam Martin: Yeah, you want to be the Dan Bilzerian guy, you don’t want to be the guy that’s 40 pounds overweight, and you know doesn’t really have the stuff together, so you can start retargeting them and you can run ads that are really, you know, getting into that secret fear, like I know that you’re trying to figure out how to get back in shape, click here to get a free trial on, you know, get a free plan on how to get back to where you need to go. Something like that, just off the top of my head, I’m sure the gym owners actually know this. There’s probably someone else he could bring on that could really break down, like the ad copy components of how to write really good copy, you should have someone like that, by the way, on the podcast I think that would be amazing. So you write that ad copy, and then you have those people slowly cook over a month, right? And I don’t know the average amount of time that someone takes before they make a decision on which gym they want to be part of, if they’ve made that decision, but if they’ve typed in keywords like “Atlanta gym,” they’re definitely thinking about it. They’re an active lead, right? You want to be able to interact with, to buy that lead from Google probably costs 20-50x what it is to do it through SEO, just to kind of give you context, that’s the average industry standards. So if you buy a “click” what they call it, someone types in “Atlanta gym” their ad is at the very top. I’m sure if we typed it in right now into Google, there’d be like three or four ads, you click on one of those ads and then you’re inside of that person’s funnel, but most people now know that those are ads for the keyword “Atlanta gym” and they immediately go by those, and they go to the first organic result, and that’s the trusted source, which is going to be for you, here are the top, and don’t call it top 10 because everyone doesn’t top 10 “Atlanta gyms,” do the top 47 Atlanta gyms, like do the most definitive article, put some real time into it.
Dan Uyemura: Like every single gym.
Liam Martin: Every single gym because that’s the source that you want, right? Like if I’m a searcher, think of, think psychologically, what do I want to actually consume? Well, if there’s the top 10 gyms and then this top 47 gyms, I’m gonna click on the top 47 gym, right? That’s the one that I’m gonna check out. You go and consume that content, and then you bring them back through retargeting.
Dan Uyemura: So I like to leave our listeners with something very definitive to do, and this is less actually a to do item as opposed to a mindshift, and to me, this is one of the biggest mind shifts I’ve had when writing content, I used always right content directly for my end users, right? But what’s more powerful for our gyms to do is to write content that is shareable by people in your demographic, right? For instance, the concept of writing top 47 gyms in your city makes no sense because you’re thinking like I’m gonna drive the 98% of the people away from my gym to another gym, but you are putting them in your funnel, and guess what else happens, like all the local people around might be sharing this, “Hey, check out this post on Facebook.” You might be thinking about joining a gym click here, you know, check out this post.
Liam Martin: Your competitors might actually share it for you.
Dan Uyemura: Yeah, which puts them, if you’re facebook pixeling and Google pixeling, you know, if you’re using retargeting, which will be another topic for another day, you’re putting them in your funnel, so it’s like you could be literally driving traffic to a competitor gym, but getting that person into your funnel that you can actually start talking to, which is huge, because you would’ve missed him otherwise, completely.
Liam Martin: Yeah, I think it boils down to likeSEO is really a value game as opposed to a conversion game. So the way that you get a customer is by who can produce the most value for the searcher, as opposed to who can actually like close the deal. So if I immediately like, I immediately trust people particularly in the agency because I deal with a lot of agencies a lot, that look at what I’m doing and say, “Ah I can’t help you, but here’s someone else that can.”
Dan Uyemura: So we just published the podcast today from a sales guy and he talks about it’s called “Staying on the No,” where you’re just basically looking for reasons why we can’t work together as opposed to selling somebody on why you have to work together.
Liam Martin: I mean, I immediately trust those people because it means they’re not desperate,
Dan Uyemura: They’re trustworthy.
Liam Martin: I just got told no by somebody, we’re trying to put together a book and like, this guy is the guy that writes, that launches New York Times Bestsellers. And, you know, he looked at what we’re doing and we wanted to do a book on remote work and all this kind of stuff and he kind of came to the conclusion, he’s like, I don’t think we really work well together. I don’t think it would be a good fit.
Dan Uyemura: Now you want more than ever.
Liam Martin: I want to give him so much of my money, right? Like I literally emailed him back, and I’m trying to convince him that he made the wrong decision.
Dan Uyemura: Right. That sales tactic, like level 10,000 right?
Liam Martin: Right. It’s so good because, like, let’s say you have a gym, and it’s like, this is the definitive gym for the space, right? If you wanna, I have a lot of lower back pain, I actually ended up getting in Austin, Texas, my friend Stacy is a fantastic powerlifter, and she was my squat coach for a while, and I remember she was just too busy to actually keep working with me, and I was like, what can I give you to be able to keep working together? Because you’re just doing so many fantastic things for my back, right? My back pain is basically gone, you know, thanks to Stacy, those are the types of people that, like, she knows what she can do, she knows that she’s where she is in the world, I call it the portfolio technique, like I am good at these things, here is my portfolio, I’m gonna open it up for you and the things that I’m not good at, I can send you to someone because I’m not desperate I know what I’m really good at, and I know what I can deliver, and I know that I’m making good money at what I’m doing. If you communicate that through your SEO, Google will reward you because that’s what people really want to click on. That’s what people want to interact with. They want to interact with people that are actually real that are providing valuable content in the space.
Dan Uyemura: Right. All right, we will wrap it up with that. Thank you so much for your time and all of the knowledge you’ve just dropped. Literally, I think we can do a couple more podcasts with all the stuff that you’ve got going on in your head. We didn’t even get into the remote work stuff as much as I wanted to, honestly.
Liam Martin: I know…that’s fine.
Dan Uyemura: So we will have to reconnect on that. Given that you’ve done, like, 400 podcasts in a year or something, I think you have time in your schedule, maybe?
Liam Martin: Quite possibly. Let’s see how this one goes, if you guys like it. Why don’t you share this podcast all around the Internet and then depending upon how that goes, maybe I come back for another episode.
Dan Uyemura: You’re doing my job for me. I love it. Yeah. Alright, guys. Yeah so check it out, end of another episode. The gymOS Podcast, always here to try and deliver high value to our gym owners, whether you’re a PushPress client or not, transitioning this fitness industry, ownership into better business owners. I totally butchered that, but I’m gonna blame the scotch. It happens. All right, So until next time, keep grinding and I’ll catch you guys later.
Ka-chow! What do you think? Was that good or what? I mean, honestly, I’m so blessed to be, you know what I take that back. I’m not blessed. I made this conscious decision to be in this group, and I made the conscious decision because I realized I needed to learn a lot, and there’s a lot of people to learn from. So if you feel like you’re in that boat, like this, me meeting all of these really smart CEOs of software companies is not by accident, it’s by design because I put myself in that situation. And if you feel like you’re not around the right people that are gonna help you get to where you want to be, then you need to figure that out and put yourself in that situation.
What’s cool is like, I think I think the normal path or a lot of gym owners is they just put themselves around other gym owners and a lot of there’s a lot of groupthink. What’s cool about this group that I’m in is we are all are coming from different industries and backgrounds and experiences, and we all have different ways of doing things and the groupthink is a lot less here. So there’s a lot of collaborative learning, and it’s not a bunch of people from the same business channels. I honestly can’t think of another place that this is replicated. I’m gonna go to work for you guys and try and figure that out like what type of groups you guys can join, where you can get this type of insight and knowledge from, not necessarily from gym owners, but other service owners. So this would be people like restaurateur, maybe people who own different modalities of finished, like gymnastics or rock climbing gyms and trampoline parks, coffee shop owners, stuff like that would be really good insight for you guys to start to understand how, like customers see businesses and how they get retention and customers and how something like a coffee shop does to get a customer to come back day after day might be something that you could deploy in your gym to make your customers come back day after day. What I’m saying is there’s a ton of concepts that are out there that are just waiting for you to pluck them, and we need to put them in front of you, and that’s what we’re trying to do here.
So hopefully you enjoyed that episode with Liam, I personally was just struck by a lot of the things that he said in that conversation, stuff that I think I can use in PushPress and you can use in your gym. And hopefully we can deploy in PushPress for our clients to use in their gym, see how that works. So anyway, if you got some value out of this podcast, I would really, really appreciate it if you hit the like button or the follow button or the subscribe button or whatever button you can because the more people that like these episodes and the more people that are subscribing, you’re basically telling all their algorithms out there that this is important to you, which will put it in front of more gym owners, and the end of the day, the mission of this podcast and the mission of everything we’re doing here is to help gym owners. So help us in that quest if you think that we’re providing some value to you and you think that this is something that will help you in the long run, short term, midterm, whatever term, give us a like, give us a subscribe, you know, write some feedback and let us know how we’re doing. We love it.
All right, guys, thank you so much for tuning in and making it all the way to the end. I appreciate it. One of these days I might drop a special offer or give you guys a $5 gift card. I don’t know. I got some crazy ideas burning in my head right now, and maybe if you make it this far in every podcast. I’ll do that. So thank you. Until next time. Keep grinding. Keep fighting the good fight. Get out there and make your gym kick some ass today and I’ll talk to you later. Peace.
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