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Pilates Mentors: Q&A with Marguerite Ogle

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By Anne Samoilov

Welcome to the second installment of my Pilates Mentors series. I’m passionate about supporting my fellow Pilates instructors and passing on the nuggets of advice that I receive from my own Pilates mentors. I am so excited to share with you my conversation with Marguerite Ogle. Marguerite is best known for her work on About.com as the Pilates Guide. She has built an extremely thorough site which provides information for Pilates students as well as instructors.

Anne: Do you primarily teach Pilates for your business income? Does your writing supplement your income?

Marguerite: I have taught Pilates for my main business income, but I don’t right now. I taught in Santa Fe, N.M., at a resort and at the College of Sante Fe, as well as seeing clients at my home studio. Now I have multiple income streams that I am working with. My Pilates website takes a lot of energy—more than is apparent to the reader—but I am also a natural wellness counselor. I incorporate Pilates into my wellness work, but at the moment I don’t teach Pilates as exercise classes, except online (which is quite a lot as it turns out). I also do some small business marketing consulting. I will be completing my master’s degree in holistic nutrition this spring at which time I will be able to teach more, and look toward advancing my own Pilates training, so I’m looking forward to that.

Anne: It’s interesting how your career has morphed from teaching into other more wellness-related areas. I don’t think it’s immediately apparent that so much can happen just from deciding to become a Pilates teacher. It’s a first step in many cases and can lead to some unexpected opportunities. Do you have training in marketing online? Or did you just learn it as you went along?

Marguerite: I spent a long time as the director of marketing for an herbal products company. My web work grew out of that. I managed the development of a large e-commerce website for the company. It was sink or swim. There was nobody to teach me. I had to just get out there and learn what I needed to know. I made some mistakes, like dumping huge amounts of money into Google AdWords, but we did very well overall. I was also doing newsletters, print ad campaigns, trade shows and other publicity materials, all of which had to be coordinated. 

About.com gives us training, which has been extremely helpful to me. Before that, I subscribed to a number of e-newsletters on online marketing which I found helpful. Believe it or not, I like this guy the best: Web Marketing Today

Anne: I’m so glad that I’m not the only Pilates geek out there. I think it’s crucial to self-educate in this area since a lot of powerful marketing is happening online. Do you have any advice for someone starting to develop the work they do online?

Marguerite: I do. I think you have to be very clear about what you want your readers to do as a result of being on your site or blog. It’s one thing to do your marketing, and another to have the final destination set up so that you get the financial outcome you want. I would suggest not leaving it to the reader to get inspired by a blog or article and search you out further. If you want clients to work with you personally or come to your studio, make that obvious. If you want to sell products on your site, make that easy. It’s like, what do you want people to track back to? If you are establishing yourself as a helpful authority, what is your reader’s next step?

We do have a strong social network of Pilates people online, and I find the Pilates community very mutually supportive. I would encourage anyone developing their work online to be part of at least one of the social networking venues such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. We share a lot of great information and ideas that way. We also meet each other and connect up—interviews like this, for example! But I want to add a caveat, which is that you have to be careful how you spend your online energy. Sometimes I see people cultivating a lot of online presence, but it’s not clear to what end. If what you really want is warm bodies in your studio, most of your online efforts might be better directed at promoting your studio through local online venues rather than trying to appeal to a national or international audience.

Also, on my site, keyword research is super important so that we know what people are out there looking for. I guarantee you I would be writing technical content that only a few die-hards would read if keyword research didn’t keep me in check!

Anne: I definitely have realized the importance of keyword research. The proof is in the analytics and what your readers are searching for. Even though it’s nice to just put up whatever you are personally interested in, it’s not about you. You need to serve your clients and readers and provide them with the information/solutions they are looking for.

Thank you for your candid advice about building your Pilates business online. The more we all know about this, the more we will realize we can serve our clients and soon-to-be clients much better!

To find out more about Marguerite, please visit Pilates.About.com

Anne Samoilov is a Pilates instructor and wellness coach who teaches women how to achieve their fitness and weight-loss goals using Simple, Daily, Consistent Steps. She is also the creator of an upcoming 6-week total-wellness program called “Having it all without Losing your Mind.” Anne’s free email newsletter, The Quick Byte, provides weekly healthy living tips on how to eat cleaner, move more, and how Pilates combines it all to get you there faster! 

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Why We Need Pilates Mentors

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