Like any busy mom of 3, Tammy Uyeda has a crazy schedule. But unlike most, she has also just launched a fitness app to the top of the iTunes charts! In this interview Tammy shares how to build a brand:
- The pre-launch strategy that got her to #1 on iTunes Canada within 17 days
- 3 most effective marketing platforms (HINT: 2 of them are social media)
- Her top tips for moms just starting out online
- A peek into her life juggling it all as a busy wife & mom of 3
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Making The Time
Saira: Give us a picture of a recent weekday in your family.
Tammy: Whether I am working from home on FitSpark or working outside of the home as a physical therapist, each day’s work revolves around our kids’ schedules. After dropping the kids at school, I either head to the clinic to help people with my skills as a physical therapist, or return home to put 5 solid hours into work on FitSpark.
Now that I am past the development part of the app, my work from home primarily consists of email, planning sessions, social media posting, shooting and editing videos for posts, Skype meetings, and something I make a point of continuing – self-development via online seminars and podcasts.
I also ensure that I take 30 to 60 minutes out to either go for a run and/or workout at home, or occasionally, hit the gym for variety and inspiration if I have a little more time in my day.
After-school activity generally consists of me and my awesome husband turning into chauffeurs and cheerleaders – shuttling kids to sport activities including a precisely crafted schedule of soccer, judo, swimming and/or basketball/volleyball. After school time is full on kid time and until they hit the sack – it is all about family time!
Once our kids are in bed, however, I am back on the computer to complete online seminars, check on service emails for FitSpark, review stats, and make my to-do list for the next day.
Saira: You used your experience as a physical therapist & certified fitness instructor to create a fitness app for the iPhone,/iPad (and Android devices!). How much time & money did you invest in this project?
Tammy: Just as with any new brick-and-mortar business, there were significant start-up costs to my virtual business with FitSpark. In researching app development companies to help me bring FitSpark to life, I quickly realized that given the size and scope of my project with hundreds of video and audio integrations and the complexity of what I wanted to do, I would need to go off-shore to be able to afford to take this on.
The company I work with has been super at sharing their time and expertise, but if I could, I would always recommend trying to go local before overseas for practical reasons and overall comfort. Elance is where I found them and am happy to advocate for use of that website as I have used it for various projects and smaller products with great success. I also have used Fiverr with good result and happily can refer people to that.
App development was a lot more than I knew I was getting myself into and it should not be taken lightly as there are costs (both monetarily and time-wise) that I did not anticipate despite my research. Not for the faint of heart!
It has been a very intense, steep learning curve as I knew absolutely nothing about the app world, online world, or business world prior to starting this project just over a year ago. It is crazy cool for me that a mom, physical therapist, and group fitness instructor from a smaller city in Canada can produce a viable fitness app in this day and age!
Saira: Congratulations on your app hitting #1 in Canadian iTunes within 17 days!! How did you get the word out before your product launch?
Tammy: Pre-launch: During the time that FitSpark was in development, I focused on building a targeted audience on Instagram and then Facebook. I posted workouts similar to those that would be in FitSpark and grew my audience as we moved towards launch. I also have a free 5-Day HIIT Workout Challenge which allowed me to start building my email list a few months before we launched.
Through both of these channels, I was able to have a targeted audience that we were able to blitz when FitSpark was finally launched. These were my early adopters and are still some of my biggest supporters!
Launch: I did a soft launch with the Android version of FitSpark to Google Play Store on December 20, 2014 then opened all social media channels and email lists for the iTunes App Store launch of FitSpark on December 30, 2014. We hit #1 for iPad Top Paid Health and Fitness App in Canada within 17 days of launch!
Saira: What marketing avenues have been most effective?
Tammy: Three main avenues have been most effective to date:
- Instagram: My Instagram account @tinkam has grown rapidly to over 11,700 followers and they are a very targeted audience. By this I mean, I post primarily exercise videos similar to those in FitSpark, so when FitSpark launched there was a natural draw for followers to it as it gives them more of what they have already “liked”.
- Facebook: Again, I post primarily exercise videos that I produce showing workouts similar to those in FitSpark. I also share posts from other pages or the internet that provide my followers with quick recipe tips, life hacks, health and wellness news, etc.
- Good old regular media (e.g. TV appearances). Two television features were very successful in driving FitSpark up the app charts. I am trying to become more comfortable with speaking in front of a camera! I hope this will get easier soon!
Saira: Who takes and edits your awesome Instagram pictures (videos)? Do they use any online photo editing tools?
Tammy: Thanks! So glad you like my Instagram videos! I am still a solopreneur so it is just me, my camera, and tripod on video shoots, and me and my Mac to edit them! I try to find scenic backgrounds to shoot against so that viewers can be transported out of their lives for 15 seconds and see fitness in a positive, bright, and inspiring light! So glad you like them – that means a lot to me as every video has great thought put into it!
Saira: What social media platforms are the most effective for growing your business?
Tammy: Instagram and Facebook are my two main platforms that I see having the most impact between FitSpark and consumers. Twitter has been helpful for B2B connections. I do, however, plan to expand my YouTube and Pinterest presence as these are both platforms that have more longevity that the other media cannot offer.
Saira: What is your best social media tip or tool?
Tammy: Be yourself and let your personality shine through! There are so many out there doing the similar things, but only you can bring your uniqueness to the world! Even though it may have already been “done” before, your unique flavour is what will draw people to you and with the billions of people online these days, the audience is always eager to get to know another personality!
Aside from that, there are a plethora of podcasts that share amazing information on social media marketing with tones of valuable information on tips and tools that are beyond what this newbie can share with you! Social Media Examiner and Amy Porterfield are my go-to channels!
Saira: What would you say is your most valuable resource (maybe an app or a tool or a website)?
Tammy: Without a doubt, I’d have to say Chalene Johnson’s Marketing Impact Academy. I would not have known where to start or how to manage basic marketing or social media without it! Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know more about it or if it is right for you! Chalene walks students step by step through each social media and lays the foundation for a solid foothold online these days!
Contact me for details about Marketing Impact Academy! It really does give you everything you need in one if you want to set up a presence in social media – whether you are a total newbie, as I was, or already have some experience online. I can’t recommend this course enough!
Words of Advice
Saira: In hindsight, what is one thing you would have done differently or one lesson that you learned?
Tammy: Set realistic goals! Time management and prioritizing is something that I am continuing to work on. As a solopreneur/mompreneur, you have to wear all of the hats and many times I feel frustrated that I can’t get it all done NOW! Set priorities and REALISTIC goals to ensure that I feel successful and accomplished rather than disorganized and defeated each day.
Saira: What advice would you give other moms who are just starting out in the online world?
Tammy: Make connections quickly with those who have experience in the direction you are taking. Getting the advice and mentorship of others who have done it before you is invaluable so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. By sharing in the process, there are a lot more cheerleaders and supporters along the way who will not only be there to help you if you stumble, but also share in your successes when you succeed.
Find Tammy Online
You can find out more about Tammy & Fitspark here:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.fitspark.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fitsparkapp
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/tinkam
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/tammyuyeda and https://twitter.com/myfitspark
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