This Running Coach’s Secret to Building an Engaged Community

When Jill Angie, running coach and founder of Not Your Average Runner, first hit the pavement, her primary goal was to get fit.

As she struggled with maintaining her newfound hobby over the next couple of years, she had an epiphany that would forever change not only her perspective on running, but her career and life as well.


It was the moment when Jill realized running was more than a way to exercise. It was a way to boost her confidence, strength and happiness.

Flash-forward a few years (and a triathlon medal, personal training certificate and two books) later, Jill now uses Not Your Average Runner as a platform to encourage other women to start running – despite their hesitations and fears.

To get her message out there, Jill relies on a few essentials: her website, Facebook group and email marketing. And by using all three together, she’s been able to grow her community tenfold.

The moment email marketing “clicked”

While Jill initially dabbled in email marketing as a way to keep in touch with her personal training clients, she admits that she didn’t quite understand its full potential for her business.

It wasn’t until Jill wrote her first running book, Running with Curves, and offered a free downloadable training plan (which moved people onto her email list) that she realized the power of email marketing.

“The more I heard from people, the more it clicked to me that this is a way that I could grow my business way beyond what I could ever do with my personal training studio,” Jill says.

And it was history from there: She began to see the power of email marketing as it allowed her to connect with new audiences, filled with people all over the country.

Now, Jill uses email as a channel for encouraging her clients to pursue their running goals. And she shares a variety of content, including automated emails to prepare clients for their strategy sessions.

Jill also uses email to share stories of challenges she’s faced, and how she overcomes them.

“The content I send out that really resonates with people frequently tells a personal story of a challenge I’ve gone through, and how I solved it,” Jill says. “I think that’s because they look to me as the expert, and see the expert still struggles and goes through similar things, but has a way to get past it – that’s very empowering.”

With email, Jill discovered the possibilities of connecting with people (despite their geographical location). To nurture that community, she then decided to create a Facebook group.

The risk that was worth the reward: Facebook ads

For Jill, her Facebook group is an essential part of her business. The social platform allows her to not only connect with existing and potential clients, but also to learn more about her audience and their struggles and goals.

To drive traffic to her Facebook group, Jill takes two approaches.

Jill will regularly reach out to those who read her book and sign up for the free training plan. Once they subscribe to her AWeber email list, she sends them an invitation to join her Facebook group.

The second way she drives traffic is through Facebook ads.

While Jill was hesitant to get started with paid ads, there was no turning back once she realized the value of being able to access Facebook’s user database.

“Before I launched my first Facebook ad, I don’t think I understood how powerful it was going to be,” Jill says. “Even though it wasn’t that much money, I didn’t understand the power of accessing Facebook’s data for pennies. After that, it was a no-brainer and I started increasing my spend.”

After testing the waters with a couple of small investments, Jill felt confident enough to start increasing her spend. According to her, it simply made sense. “My investment is maybe $15 a day, that brings me about 20 people a day. I’m getting quite a bit of revenue from a bit of investing.”

Another benefit of using Facebook ads was the access to its user database. “You can be so specific and target the exact person you want to work with. Gender, age, income level, education level; you can target all of this for a pretty small investment,” Jill says. “You can’t reach that type of potential client base in a magazine. Facebook will serve your ideal ad to the right kind of person.”

And since sending the right message to the right person at the right time is so important to every entrepreneur marketing their business, this information becomes priceless.

How Jill runs Facebook ads

Jill has different types of Facebook ads, which are used for different campaigns and target audiences.

In one ad, she promotes her free training plan (which is also found at the end of her book). Once a user clicks through the ad, they’ll end up on the landing page for the incentive (the training plan). The moment someone signs up for it, they get added to her AWeber list.

Jill also uses Facebook ads to drive traffic to a webpage where visitors can set up a running strategy session. To boost her success, she creates specific Facebook user segments to ensure she’s targeting individuals who are more likely to set up a session.

While these clients aren’t automatically added to Jill’s email list, they have the option to subscribe when they sign up for a consultation.

While those two types of ads are the backbone of her strategy, Jill will also boost high-performing blog posts to drive people back to her website. There visitors will be presented with additional calls-to-action to sign up for her training plan.

Ready to try Facebook ads?

Jill’s approach to email marketing and Facebook ads is just one of the many ways you can use both to grow your audience.

If you’re thinking about trying Facebook advertising, now’s the time to do it. Even if you’re unsure about getting started, Jill advises that it’s worth giving it a try.

If you’re interested in getting started with Facebook ads, use this checklist to help you get started!

Are you already using Facebook ads to complement to your email marketing strategy? Tell us about it in the comments!

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9 Comments

  1. Bahçelievler Buderus Servisi

    9/10/2016 2:22 am

    Oh.. Tanks.

  2. Ike Paz

    9/15/2016 8:46 pm

    i loved this story because it’s straight forward..

    You didn’t have a email marketer or an ads expert talk, no you had a person who runs business explain what she does to get more leads..

    beautiful piece.

    Thanks

  3. Monica Montesa

    9/16/2016 9:05 am

    Hi Ike,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article! We love being able to share our customers’ stories.

    Best,
    Monica

  4. Steve

    9/15/2016 11:10 pm

    I have always done well with facebook ads when I use a call to action like a start date, limited spaces and free trial.

  5. Monica Montesa

    9/16/2016 9:12 am

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for sharing! Facebook ads are quite versatile. 🙂

    Best,
    Monica

  6. David Adrian Thomas, Esq., M.C.I.H.T.

    9/16/2016 8:50 am

    I’ve been using FaceBook ads to find an optimum phrasing for a service I offer by AWeber email autoresponder as I specialise in coaching suicide avoidance and prevention to people with the autism spectrum disorder Asperger’s Syndrome – so I set up Facebook business page called Surviving Autism and boosted in for a week – then one called Surviving Asperger’s and boosted it for a week also – and the analytics came back telling me Surviving Asperger’s attracting the most clicks – so I then thought ‘I wonder how a page called Surviving Depression would do, so I made a page called that, and boosted it, and it attracted more clicks than Surviving Autism and Surviving Asperger’s did altogether, by a huge margin – that’s because a vastly greater number of people in the world suffer from depression than from aspergers and autism – so I’ve started making a new list on AWeber called Surviving Depression with a 7 steps in 7 days legacy set of emails to see how that performs – boosting a page is very inexpensive and you can target its audience quite precisely – I love the system

  7. Monica Montesa

    9/16/2016 9:14 am

    Hi David,

    That’s such an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing that – I love hearing about the ways in which people are changing the world!

    Best,
    Monica

  8. Alexandro Vidigal

    9/17/2016 7:17 pm

    Hi, thanks for all.
    I have a doubt.
    I don´t have my stuff to offer to my subscribers for download. I´m building it yet.
    So, I’d like to know if should I use facebook adds already, or if it´s not time yet because is far from my launch?
    Thanks for all
    Regards

  9. Dave Gonynor

    9/20/2016 3:18 pm

    Hi Monica:

    Great article Monica. Perhaps Jill is doing this but she can also leverage Facebook’s ad pixel. As Jill drives traffic from Aweber to landing pages on her website she can create audiences that have viewed selected pages or blog posts for targeting later using Facebook ads.

    Another effective technique is to use Aweber to email a coupon offer with Facebook’s ad pixel on the coupon. As people click to view the coupon you can use the Facebook ad pixel to create custom audiences. Great for target marketing and lowering the cost of your advertising.

    Dave Gonynor
    CEO, That’s Biz