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Solving the Digital Marketing Puzzle

In our last blog, Marketing is a Must (regardless of boom or bust), we covered connections, finding clients and conveying your message.  In our FREE Workshop, Creating Your Marketing Message, we will help you create a message that encourages engagement and better relationships with your customers.  

Today, we are going to talk about your online presence.

  • Are you maximizing your Online Presence?
  • What Digital Marketing Strategies Work?
  • What Platforms fit your Strategy?

With the constant evolution of the internet, it is important to understand where to prioritize your focus to make the most efficient use of your time.  We are going to look into where you should primarily spend your time to maximize your visibility to prospective clients.

Let’s focus on the top 3.

  • Website
  • Google / Search Engine
  • Social Media Platforms

Maximizing Your Online Presence

Consider that algorithms can change overnight.  Algorithms are the rules that drive an action such as a search response to certain words or the determination of what ads a user may see.

For example –

  • Google used to prioritize search by a key word alone but now searching by phrase is more popular. Each change to a search algorithm is a change in Google’s underlying code.
  • Blogs have a “sweet spot” for word count, but that “sweet spot” has changed from 750 words to just under 2000 words.

So how do you stay on top of these changes?  We created this blog to help you do just that! Being part of 3rd Level Consulting’s business family will help you keep your finger on the pulse without having to become a master marketer yourself. Click HERE for membership info.  Spoiler alert, the key to maintaining your online presence is performing multiple actions to cover changes in algorithms and to  invest in your digital assets. Focusing on the two areas that are the most under your control, your website & email list are the best place to start.

Having a website that clearly (and efficiently) conveys your message and is up-to-date is critical.  If you aren’t creating engagement within 10 seconds, your client may move on.  Gaining and maintaining interest will allow you the opportunity to build a relationship.

The technical side of your site is also important. Make sure all page links are accurate and active.  Your layout needs to be easy to navigate from any device that your customers use.  With over 75% accessing the internet via mobile devices, make sure that functionality is in place.  In our FREE Workshop, Creating Your Marketing Message, we will cover some of the top items required in a website layout and review how to provide a clear message to those who land on your page.

When thinking about search engines, most immediately think of Google.  Do you say “did you Google that”?  However, checking other search engines like Bing and even ratings plaforms like Yelp is an excellent idea.  Not only should you know what someone will see when searching for your business (or even you personally), but you must know how to oversee those that have a management feature.  Search engines prioritize current material and specific key words and phrases.  Tools such as

Google Business Profile Manager & Google Analytics  should be used to keep your information up-to-date and to track performance.  3rd Level Members have access to personalized recommendations & assistance during their weekly sessions.  To learn more about membership options, CLICK HERE.

Social Media comes in many forms that continue to evolve and change.  Because so many platforms exist, we are going to review the platforms that are currently mainstream and discuss how to determine where you should provide content (later in this blog).  In the meantime, consider the following; what messages do your social media pages portray, how frequently do you share content, and what is your current engagement from your followers.

Digital Marketing Strategies & More

Similar to the number of options for social media, the options for Digital Marketing are pretty much unlimited.  The key is determining what works for you and how to  implement a successful strategy effectively from both a cost and time perspective.

When considering digital marketing, focus on engagement and leads.  One item that can be used in multiple locations including your website and across social channels is a lead magnet.

A lead magnet is a product or service that is provided in

exchange for contact information of a potential client. 

Lead magnets can be pdf documents, free online courses, free events, webinars, free activities or more.  Be creative!  In the Children’s Activity Center industry, every company should have at least one digital lead magnet per major participant segment and several that can be used at live events.

For live event lead magnets, make sure to have a ‘give away’ that provides a to connect and gather contact information from potential clients.  Remember to always follow the legal rules regarding permission to contact!  An example is specifying that you WILL use their information for marketing purposes.  Also, make sure to know the laws regarding text messaging and contacting via a mobile device.  Rules vary by geographic location so always check the rules specific to your area.  Always include segmentation in your forms. Your digital lead magnet should collect similar information and can be used on your website, on social channels, in online advertising and could even be a handout at live events.

Make sure to have information regarding employment at events as well.  You never know where you’ll find that next amazing coach or office manager!  Events can be used to recruit new students AND new staff. 

Live Event Opportunities

  • Family Night
  • Open House
  • Community Fun Fair
  • Fairs, Expos or Trade Shows
  • School Carnivals / Fun Runs

Live Event Giveaways, Prizes, Swag Ideas*

*always with your company contact info on them

  • Free Obstacle Course with contact info on waiver
    • Receive a Ribbon with Business Info at end of course
    • Receive handouts with Birthday Party coupon
  • Spin the Prize Wheel by entering contact info
    • Water Bottles
    • Carabiner or Clip
  • Drop Box to Enter to Win a Larger Prize
    • Birthday Party
    • Open Gym Pass(es)
    • Event Passes
  • Carnival Style Games with Prizes
    • Frisbees
    • Squishy Items
    • Lunch Box
  • “Make a Medal” where the children design their own medal to take home
    • Provide handouts (from digital examples below)

Digital Lead Magnet Examples

  • PDFs / Downloadables
    • 5 ways that Gymnastics will help your child with [fill in the blank]
    • 5 reasons that every toddler should be in swim class
  • Videos
    • 5 ways you can help your child with flexibility at home
    • 5 things every parent should know about properly falling
    • 5 minute video of [fill in the blank – class, party, etc.]
    • Top Trampoline Safety Tips
    • Swimming Safety Do’s and Don’ts

Remember, attention spans continue to get shorter and shorter.  The design of your lead magnet is crucial for keeping the attention of the potential client.  Documents should be professionally done, (thanks, Canva). Use bullets so the reader can scan easily to identify items of interest. Engage the reader with colors and pictures. If you aren’t sure what colors to use, members can check out (Branding – Psychology of Colors) in the 3rd Level Member Resource Library.  Not a member, click HERE to see what membership best fits your needs. Videos need to grab the attention and engage viewers quickly so they remain watching.  Provide an introduction with highlights of what they will gain by watching the entire video.

Remember, everyone is more engaged when they hear a story they relate to. Using personalization and segmentation will allow for better response to the lead magnets. You want them to feel like you are talking to THEM!  For example, if your program spans from toddlers to teens, perhaps the lead magnet has a selection where the potential customers can choose the item they are interested in receiving in exchange for their contact info so you aren’t sending a teen parent toddler information or vice versa.

Now that you have these great lead magnets, put your plan in place to use them in person, in emails, on your website and in social media updates.

Social Media – What Platform(s) should I Use?

Now that you have ideas on lead magnets, how and where should you use them?  Let’s take a look at some of the most popular social channels and how people are using them.

82% of North Americans are on Social Media

for on average 144 minutes PER DAY!

Source: SproutSocial

It is clear that the bulk of your customers are spending signicant time on social media. Numbers are very similar across all developed countries so that alone spells out how you can provide your message to a large portion of your client base.

Let’s take a look at the users by channel:

Channel Users Main Demo


% Female % Male Daily Usage


Facebook 2.9B 25-34 43% 57% 33
Instagram 2B 25-34 48% 52% 29
TikTok 1B 10-19 61% 39% 89
Twitter 211M 18-29 38% 62% 31
LinkedIn 810M 25-34 48% 52% N/A
Pinterest 431M 50-64 78% 22% 14
SnapChat 319M 15-25 54% 45% 25
YouTube 2B 15-35 46% 54% 30

Source: SproutSocial

Although Facebook is the most mature channel with slowing growth, it still maintains the largest usership and is increasing by 23M users per year.  Instagram has tripled in the last 3 years, and TikTok continues to mature and is working toward building beyond the under 18 audience.  The thing to keep in mind is that Gen Z (our customers of the future), will have grown up with TikTok as their primary social channel!

Here are some quick tips by channel for engagement and users:

  • Facebook
    • Largest engagement on video
    • Average Age of user fits the “parent” demographic
  • Instagram
    • Largest engagement on image carousel
    • Easy to manage both Facebook & Instagram from Meta Business Suite
  • TikTok
    • Young demographic so more potential students than parents may see
  • Twitter
    • Among the highest income social users
    • May not fit the CAC demographic
  • LinkedIn
    • Top channel for B2B
    • High income level user
  • Pinterest
    • Top channel for product search investigation
    • Most mature audience and largely female

Tools exist to manage all social channels together, but keep in mind the platforms look for human enagement so they will make an effort to prioritize human posts over bots or posts from apps.  Apps like Hootsuite are convenient, but using the actual channel posting tools like Meta Business Suite (formerly Facebook Manager) generally yields better engagement.

What works for one may not for another as certain channels may resonate with you due to your strengths and comfort level. Focus on the areas where you are comfortable and have the skill set for engagement.

Pay attention to your metrics and analytics tools.  Learn from the tools and adapt your frequency and timing for peak engagement.  For example, IG has gone from a recommendation of 7 to 14-21 posts per week just to be viewed by your target audience.  Many channels will provide engagement rates by time and type of post.  Meta even recommends optimal times based on engagement of prior posts.

As always, if you are using content including current students or families, get proper permissions prior to posting anything public.

In order to be most effective with your digital (and all marketing), remember the following:

  • Choose your channels wisely as we only have so many hours in the day and so much money and time to invest.
  • Make sure your message is clear, concise and delivered effectively. If you want to refine your message, join  3rd Level’s FREE Workshop, Creating Your Marketing Message hosted by the 3LC Marketing Team.
  • Track your Successes (& Failures). You’ll grow stronger and smarter by tracking, analyzing and learning from both your wins and losses.
  • Be Creative (or get creative ideas). Being creative includes research and collaboration like we do during our our 3rd Level Member, weekly open office hour #ThriveThursdays.  Interested in joining?  Click HERE for more info.
  • Hire an Expert. Keeping current with the marketing landscape is time consuming and can get complicated.  Investing in expert assistance will make your marketing journey more successful and a lot more fun!

Meet The Contributors

The contributors have successfully served children’s activity centers, gymnastics gyms, dance studios, cheer gyms and swim schools worldwide for 35+ years.

Christie Copeland
Christie CopelandConsultant / Speaker
Christie is a business development expert. She is a former gym owner and corporate analyst and owns Champions Choice Consulting.
Barbara Anne May
Barbara Anne MayCCO / Co-Owner
Barbara Anne’s vast industry experience and commitment to help our clients achieve their goals makes her an invaluable asset.
Frank Sahlein
Frank SahleinCEO / Founder
Frank’s inspirational leadership and creative innovation repeatedly takes our team, our clients and many industries to the next level.
author avatar
Barbara Anne May
3rd Level Co-Owner & Communications