Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Grashkahmn are back to talk about the latest product they’ve been putting together during quarantine: The Buoy Project, a social media toolkit designed specifically for float centers.
Beyond just a shameless plug, the boys use the episode to explain the nature of the project and what they hope it can turn into in the future with the help of the industry.
Note: this episode mentions previously offered promotional pricing. For current pricing and information on membership visit The Buoy Project page.
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Ashkahn: Yeah. Hey everybody.
Graham: Hey, welcome to another episode of Occasional Solutions Podcast.
Ashkahn: Yep, this is a podcast where we occasionally have solutions. It’s the premise.
Graham: So, If that’s what you’re into, then you really came to the right place. Yeah, we’re about to take this puppy into overdrive.
Ashkahn: This is Ashkahn over here.
Graham: And I am Graham.
Ashkahn: It’s been a while.
Graham: It has. Hi, everybody. Yeah. Welcome back. It’s been a little bit.
Graham: It’s been a little bit. Also, since we’ve been running a float center in the normal way that we do.
Ashkahn: Yeah. I’ve just been napping for three months. I’m not even sure what’s happening out there.
Graham: Yeah, it’s been a crazy time. I know a lot of you are already reopened and some of you have been for weeks even. We just reopened.
Ashkahn: A few days ago.
Ashkahn: We’re still in our baby steps stage. Members are coming in and we haven’t really told normal humans that we’re open. We’re easing into it, dipping our toes.
Graham: Yeah, but it’s exciting. It’s really nice, actually, looking at the schedule and seeing people getting back in the tanks again. It’s important to feed the tanks. They get hungry.
Ashkahn: It’s intense. Every person who floats, there’s a lot of cleaning. It’s really serious.
Graham: If you’re one of our members out there, it’s not because you’re messy. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re just talking about the insane extra procedures that you have to do before actually cleaning down the inside walls of the tank between every person. We’re not even letting people sit in our lobby, but there’s still just so much to wipe down. Obviously, they think this is just what everyone’s been talking about on the Float Collective and the Float Tank Association and Art of the Float.
So we’re going to talk about something totally different. But yeah, that’s where we’re at. Also in the background, while all of this has been going on, we’ve been working on an exciting new project with Float Tank Solutions. And just trying to figure out different ways that we can actually help the industry, especially as people are just getting ready to reopen their centers or are already reopened.
Ashkahn: Yeah, mostly I think everybody’s realized that there’s a bunch to do right now. It’s really crazy. We were just reflecting earlier today about how this is the single biggest change to our operations that we’ve ever had to do in 10 years. In the entire history of running this company, we have never had to make such fundamental changes. And all of that comes with figuring out a million different things. You change a fundamental aspect of how your schedule works or how your cleaning works, and it cascades into all sorts of different decisions. And changing what you’re used to doing, retraining your staff to get used to the new things that you’re doing. We’ve been feeling the time crunch. We’re sure a lot of people have been feeling the time crunch.
I think it’s especially easy when stuff like this is happening to let your marketing side of things go down to a simmer and just sustain what you had. It just feels like a lower priority when you have actual, legitimate, operational stuff you’ve got to deal with. And we thought we could maybe help, doing stuff as a group and being able to have content that is a little bit more readily prepared and accessible might be something that is just genuinely helpful for float centers as they’re dealing with the crazy day-to-day of operating right now.
Graham: Yeah, so we started up something. We’re calling it the Buoy Project. Get it? Because it’s float related.
Graham: Because buoys.
Ashkahn: I get it, I get it.
Graham: And it’s saltwater too because usually you don’t have buoys in rivers as much. So it’s a really clever name first off. I’m just going to point that out for anyone listening out there.
Ashkahn: Buoy pro-
Graham: Buoy Project.
Ashkahn: It’s a funny word.
Graham: I know. It’s unfortunate, it looks better than it sounds. Buoys is a hard word to say, yeah.
Ashkahn: As long as you don’t say it. We’ll only say it one more time, every 30 seconds during this podcast.
Graham: Yeah, hold on, let me go grab my Worcestershire sauce and-
Ashkahn: We almost named it the Worcestershire project. We decided against it.
Graham: Yeah, buoy. So, we’re calling it the Buoy Project and basically the goal is just to get everyone this nice bank of marketing content that they don’t have to create every month. And to get you kind of 80% of the way there with some nice resources, that’ll fill up your social media and monthly newsletters, blog posts. An actual schedule for when to send all of this stuff out and really just do all of those things that everyone should be doing for marketing but usually doesn’t. We don’t send out a monthly email newsletter with Float On, even though I know that we should probably be doing that for best practices. So in the best of times, this stuff is hard to maintain. And like Ashkahn was saying, especially now, it’s very much our goal to just save float center owners that needed time either so they can spend it working on other more important aspects of their business or just take a little breather and hop in to float themselves.
Ashkahn: So yeah, basically, we wanted to do something that would be sustainable for people. So as opposed to some sort of one-time packet or even more abstract advice. Actually just focusing on creating the base for good content for people to have. Some of which is just absolutely ready to go, slap it out there, are the ones that are available to be customized. Basically just kind of giving a good foundation to the content side of content marketing that you want to do at your float center to have a nice established base of staying in front of people, being in people’s minds, getting customers coming in, all those sort of marketing fundamentals.
Graham: Yeah, but tons of subliminal messaging too. If you put out our content consistently, your customers are really going to love floating and they won’t even know why. So we got that angle covered.
Ashkahn: We have some tracks you can play in the tank, really mess with their brains.
Graham: But yeah, so it’s a monthly subscription product. And basically it’s just every month we’ll be delivering 10 plus float-centric social media posts that are actually really well designed. Lots of illustrations by our graphic designer, Kathryn, you’re probably familiar with her stuff because she makes Float Tank Solutions and everything we do look really good. Some of the best performing posts from Float On and just from other float centers around the world as well. So kind of vetted in real life float centers and just other things like semi-dank memes. I don’t actually know what that means. But I’ve been told by my team, specifically to emphasize that they’re not full dank, these are semi-dank memes that we’re providing. And just valuable news with kind of different takes on it that are coming out too, and good commentary. So, 10 or more posts that should just be some of the best posts like well-planned content that you can put out as kind of the foundation for all of your social media presence.
Ashkahn: And then in addition to that, a written out newsletter for you to actually release on a monthly basis. That will also have some kind of designed images within it and allow you to use it as a pre-formatted thing with suggestions for how you might want to customize it with the stuff that’s actually more relevant to maybe your local community maybe more specific about your exact float center, allowing you to templatize it a bit to still maintain some of your own personal character and branding. But kind of feeding that sort of industry content that is exciting and happening all the time, research, and tips for floaters that we found particularly useful for sharing with our customers here at Float On.
Graham: Yeah, fun facts, like interesting float trivia that is kind of interesting to pick up. And then of course, just being able to customize that with calls to action, to book a float straight from your newsletter and just kind of stay in front of people’s eyes is the idea. And yeah, again, it’s designed to be kind of 70% of the way there, 80% of the way there for fully designed with that room for you to customize it. And all of the sections in there, you can cut out. So if you didn’t like the float fact, you can replace it with your own obviously, or just eliminate it. Another thing, it’ll be linking over to a blog post, which is something else that we’ll be providing.
So kind of have a little blog teaser in the newsletter. And then every month we’ll also be sending out 500 to 750 word blog posts that’s really geared towards your customers. So, things like different topics, floating while pregnant, topics geared specifically towards athletes. Even things like interviews with different float scientists about different research that’s coming out. So, things that hopefully your customers will actually be really excited to read and kind of keep abreast on every month.
Ashkahn: And we’ll be releasing those with the actual pre-formatted HTML in place. So hopefully for a lot of you, it should be actually just a kind of cut and paste. To be able to put that onto your website and you don’t even have to do the kind of making it look good part of it.
Graham: We’ll be including images too, just to kind of flash it out so it’s not a wall of text. So, you’ll get the blog post plus images every month. And yeah, the overall pricing for all of this is $225 per month. In doing this, we were trying to make it so it was really accessible to everyone out there. And that’s more than we pay even just for the images that we’re creating for the blog posts and those are taking about 10 to 12 hours usually to put together, plus all of the time going into social media content and original illustrations for those, plus the newsletter that you can send out. So hopefully it’s just saving so much more time than that $225 per month.
Ashkahn: Again, I think the kind of idea of this is that it’s a sustainable thing going forward. You have this kind of base to your marketing from month-to-month that you can build on top of. So, we really wanted people to not just have this be a one month thing that they use, but just allow this to actually kind of take a chunk of work off your plate permanently. So with a kind of updated content monthly. For people who are willing to commit to a year, it’s a much more affordable deal because that is really where we think the value of this is. It’s like, “Hey, just build this into kind of your structure for how you operate your marketing and allow this to kind of be one of those pillars for you.”
Graham: Yeah, for sure. So, for people who are willing to say, “Yeah, I’ll stick with this for 12 months,” that goes down to just $150 per month for the content.
Ashkahn: You can pay monthly. You don’t have to pay for the whole year upfront or anything.
Graham: Yeah. So it’s still just charged per month. And then on top of that, just because times are crazy and people are reopening and this is really launched for a way to help raise up the entire industry, we’re doing half off of that. So it’s just $75 per month for this first year, for anyone who commits to the year.
Ashkahn: Wow, it’s such a good price!
Graham: Yeah. We are giving the best price.
Ashkahn: You’d have to be crazy to not take that.
Graham: Is that the float industry saying that?
Ashkahn: There are just people here that are spontaneously commenting on what a good deal that is.
Graham: And it is. And it’s probably lower than we even need to go, but this should just be accessible to everyone. And we really do hope for existing centers out there that this is something that everyone can take advantage of. And then on top of that, for people who do kind of get that year commitment level at the $75 per month, we’re also just releasing a giant content archive that we had of past Float On posts, and posts from other centers that were kind of top performing from across the country and even across the world. A bunch of backlog of cool illustrations that Kathryn has done for us over the years, both for different holidays and just nice generic kind of float illustrations that people could immediately post when they get it.
And that archive will just be growing over time, too, with all of the kind of campaigns that we’re releasing. And we’ll be throwing in some special content too, that doesn’t make it into the monthly campaign. So, that’s not available at the just pay as you go monthly level, but at that kind of year commitment level, everyone else will get access to this cool back archive that we’ve been slowly growing over the years.
Ashkahn: So hopefully that is, again, just something to do a lot of heavy lifting for you. The goal of this is not to be a silver bullet for your business. I just don’t think that’s really our marketing philosophy in general. There is not this one crazy marketing trick that’s going to double your customers every month.
Graham: Yeah, right. There’s no silver bullet. There’s just a bunch of lead bullets.
Ashkahn: Yeah. And that’s what we found, at least with all the different business ventures that we’ve done, is that success and building customers and increasing revenue and everything that you want to do is a series of small, good decisions that keep building up on top of each other. Not one moment of genius or anything like that. It’s just continuous solid stuff. You’re just putting good content out there, making good decisions, using it well. It’s all that little stuff that adds together that forms the basis of your image and your brand and how you’re communicating with the world and ultimately the stuff that’s going to lead to more people discovering you and wanting to come and float.
Graham: So yeah, if you want to learn more about the project, you can go to floattanksolutions.com/buoy, that’s B-U-O-Y. Floattanksolutions.com/buoy. And you can actually see some of the sample materials that we’ve thrown up there too. What the blog post might look like and actual sample social media posts of the kind of material we’ll be putting out. So, definitely go check it out.
Yeah. Hopefully this is honestly just helpful to everyone out there and to float centers everywhere. We designed this just by starting to make a bunch of phone calls around the float centers and just have conversations with people while they were closed. And talk about what their biggest needs are, what would really help them when they opened it back up. So, we didn’t really design this in a vacuum. All of this is because this is what people have been telling us they kind of need. So, along those lines, if there’s anything else that we can add to this or anything that you want to see that would really help out, definitely let us know. And hopefully we can make that a part of this project too. And we already have a few other little additions we’ve been adding on, things like negotiating some bulk discounts. So, obviously some discounts on Float Tank Solutions material, discount with Art of the Float. You’ll get 10% off of their kind of highest tier of other great content that they release.
And yeah, some other ones that are coming your way. We’re trying to negotiate with some bigger kind of a bulk providers of common float materials. But obviously that takes a little bit longer because they’re big companies. So yeah. And other stuff too. If we get enough subscribers then we can actually support more endeavors. We have some fun stuff planned in addition to the usual stuff like the industry report and tank comparison chart, which we update every year. So yeah, you can read more about that at floattanksolutions.com/buoy. But, I guess just know that although this is the base, it’s not where the project ends.
Ashkahn: Yeah. We’re excited to see where it goes and respond as people tell us what is useful and what we can do more of that will be more useful.
Graham: We’re really all about being super useful over here.
Ashkahn: We’re on useful solutions podcast.
Graham: The occasional useful solutions.
Ashkahn: Occasionally useful people podcast. That’s, what you’re listening to you.
Graham: Yeah. Hopefully we’ll hear from you soon. Thanks for tuning in.
Graham: And good luck with everyone reopening out there. I know this is a completely insane time. Again, we’re doing what we can to hope and it’s … Sorry, to hope, to help. And I know it’s just going to be insane out there anyways. So, good luck, stay safe everyone.
Graham: And yeah, we’ll talk to you sometime, occasionally in the future as well.
Ashkahn: You’ll know, we’ll put the Occasional Solution Podcast light into the sky and you’ll know an episode is coming.
Graham: Pick up the big red phone and they’ll just listen to it on the phone, I guess, for 10 minutes. All right, everyone.
Graham: As we always say…
Ashkahn: Keep your turkeys gobbled.
Graham: …and keep your shoes on the right feet.
Ashkahn: Till next time.
Recent Podcast Episodes
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The boys talk about logistical considerations, the built-in advantages to adding on to an existing practice, as well as how nice it is to have a meatball sandwich after chilling out in a sensory reduced environment for an hour (Ashkahn has a serious one-track mind).
Graham and Ashkahn round out the end of the year by talking about all the naughty and nice things about having business partners.
It’s a shorter compilation today, which gives you plenty of time to talk to your own business partners about what you think about them!
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In every service business, there’s a running joke that someone likes that’s usually somehting along the lines of “this job would be great if it weren’t for all the customers!” (*cue laugh track and uproarious applause*), well, the boys have not shied away from talking about the difficult sides of running a shop like ours. We’ve got episodes about handling negative Yelp reviews, customers too intoxicated to float, and even what to do when it’s time to 86 a problematic client.
You can tell this episode was recorded a little while ago, really close to after we all got back from the Conference. The boys are a little tired today, but they still have lots to talk about.
Grashkahmn share their initial reactions to the Conference now that it’s being run by the industry as a non-profit. This is a nice episode especially if you’re looking for some insights on their behind-the-scenes perspective on this big industry event and how it has changed this year.
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