When 12-year-old Sandy Slade saw a lady put on a show spinning and dribbling basketballs, she decided that’s what she wanted to do: Bring joy to people by spinning basketballs.
Sandy followed through on her dream, and gained notoriety for her spinning, eventually going on the David Letterman show, performing as Halle Berry’s stunt double in a basketball scene, and performing for the Chicago Bulls and other NBA teams.
She began educating PE teachers, and eventually developed the Skillastics method, a unique game that can engage up to a hundred children into organized physical fun. Sandy had a thriving business doing what she loved.
Then, sales to school PE programs stagnated and Sandy realized she needed to start targeting afterschool programs. Creating the product—clear, step-by-step instruction manuals—was relatively easy. But Sandy knew she also had to change how she did sales and marketing, moving away from the conference and workshop model that had been successful in the past.
“And that's actually when I brought in Daniel from the Built By Love Agency. I explained to him we were having a problem trying to figure out how to explain our product in a way that people are going to understand. And he was like, ‘We're going to create a customer journey through Keap.’"
Sandy learned how email marketing works and how to create a customer journey through emails and videos that took prospects step-by-step through the story of the product and how it could help them.
She admits being nervous about it at first. “I didn’t want to do it because it was unknown and I didn’t understand it. I thought a newsletter every now and then was fine. But I saw what other companies were doing and wanted to do something professional like that, so I got help from Daniel and he explained it and took care of the implementation.”
And it made a difference. A big difference.
“We really started getting in front of people much more consistently than we ever had and we saw the difference in our sales. After we released our new website and started our marketing strategy through Keap, we grew 33%. ... within three months of releasing that, which was absolutely amazing.”
Now, Sandy is a big believer in marketing automation.
“When you've got email automation, it makes all the difference in the world.”
In early 2020, before the pandemic hit, Skillastics’ sales were up 83% over the same time the previous year. With the company’s busiest time of year, March through June, right around the corner, the future looked bright.
“We were on track to have our best year yet, and it was because we had that consistency of being in front of our customers. We could always see an uptick in sales whenever an email went out.”
Then COVID hit, and sales plummeted.
“We sell a product that allows large groups of children to be active together at one time. That does not work in a pandemic. That does not work when schools are closed, after-school programs are closed. I mean it was just crickets. It was an extremely scary time.”
So Sandy did what she always does: Listen to customers. They asked her to record a 30-day virtual physical activity that they could give to students online.
It was such a success that customers asked for more. Sandy saw an opportunity to help her peer network of other fitness experts—teachers of martial arts, mindfulness, yoga, pilates, etc.—move to a virtual business model during the pandemic.
Sandy offered them a partnership: They created their own 30-day virtual programs and Sandy used her email list and Keap software to spread the word and sell the programs.
The partnership made a world of difference to Sandy and her collaborators.
“It has completely changed our business around. During a pandemic year, we are having our best year ever. And it's just incredible that from absolute panic and wondering if I was going to be able to keep the business afloat to now having our best year yet... It's just quite remarkable.”
Not only did Sandy find community support with other fitness experts, she also found support for her business by using Keap.“Being able to click on support and actually talk to somebody right away is unbelievable. Because any place else that I go in terms of any other platforms that I'm using, it takes forever to talk to somebody... they'll get back to you in a couple of days.”
By taking advantage of Keap’s hands-on customer support and working with her Keap certified partner, Sandy always has experts to turn to when she has a goal for her business and wants help implementing it.
Sandy’s experiences have made her a big believer in reaching out for help.
“If you want to start your own business, I say, go for it. Take calculated risks and reach out to professionals you can trust.”