The rules of digital branding are constantly evolving. What was fresh and effective about your website last year may be a big turnoff for users today.

These five tips can help you figure out how to make your site more user-friendly, focus on your brand message and, most importantly, get more clients in your classes.

“One of the not-to-dos we often find when we are redoing a site is that they have way too much information on their site,” said Kevin Breedlove, president of Breedlove Creative Inc.

Something simple like how to sign up for a class can become difficult if your site is selling too many things at once. Avoid too many call to action buttons, since they dilutes the power of the core message you want to get across. Directing users to check out your blog, sign up for a newsletter, shop your online boutique and sign up for a class can be really confusing.

Your social media icons are calls to action, too. While it’s important to make it easy for users to follow you, the social buttons can add to the clutter. Keep in mind that while social media is great for building relationships with clients and keeping them engaged with your studio, it should really be used to drive users to your website, where they will take an action, such as buying a class package.

The key is striking a balance. You want to ensure users can quickly access the necessary information, like contact info, directions and class schedule!

Seattle’s CorePower Yoga’s homepage is as simple as it gets. The page features little more than an inspiring image and a menu of large buttons directing users toward four ways they can immediately get offline and get into their yoga studios.

“Realize that people are not just looking at your site on the type of screen you are looking at it on,” said Breedlove. “Users will be accessing your site from all types of devices, especially within the active lifestyle sector. With our active lifestyle clients, we find 50% of all traffic to their site is coming from mobile users. ”

According to Breedlove, that’s when simplifying the content really matters. Lithe, a Philadelphia-based studio and origin of the Cardio-Cheer-Sculpting technique, uses simple image tiles with large text on the home page, which makes it easy for mobile users to read and navigate on a small screen.

“Make sure everything you put on your site is intentional,” said Breedlove.  “And there is always a way to take a specific action from any page. You want to have one really strong call to action and match that call to action to the content you have on the page.”

If you want someone to sign up to attend a studio event, you may want to put that link prominently on a photo gallery from past events or a call to sign up for the newsletter on the blog page.  

On the YogaWorks’ website, their tagline, “For Everybody,” is demonstrated with their navigation menu. With links to “Locations,” “New to Yoga” and “Classes” displayed prominently, the studio can better direct the user to an appropriate call to action based on their interest. For example, by clicking “New to Yoga,” users are taken to a page that explains the benefits of yoga and the YogaWorks approach for clients of any skill level. One call to action on this page takes users who aren’t completely convinced to a page with more details about what they can expect from a class. The other call to action takes users who are ready to register directly to a class search page.

While it sounds simple, this branding tenet is very difficult to do while keeping tips 1, 2 and 3 in mind.

You have to make it clear to users what your brand stands for and what they can expect when they go to your studio. Does your brand value an adventurous spirit or a disciplined approach toward fitness? It is important to boil your brand description down to one sentence or less, and then base all the copy and images you use on that sentence.

Patagonia, a designer and retailer of outdoor clothing and gear, makes it very clear from a user’s first click that this brand does the outdoors with a sense of humor, but is very committed to conservation and environmental issues.  

Show, don’t tell is a marketing best practice for the ages. While the concept is far from new, your resources to make this happen improve and increase all the time. Ask your regular clients and die-hard fans to send you snapshots before, during or after a workout at your studio. If you have branded apparel or gear, ask clients to take pictures while wearing it out and about. Profile these clients on your blog page.

Barry’s Bootcamp devotes a section of their blog to client success stories. If users can see how your brand fits into real people’s lives, it will increase the chances that the users can picture themselves taking class with your studio.

If you want to learn more about best practices for building and communicating your brand message, please join us on Wednesday, October 14 at 2 pm.  Kevin Breedlove and Nate More of Breedlove Creative will host a free webinar for ClassPass Partners. Register here to attend!