So, now you're a qualified personal trainer it's time to go out and win some clients. Building a successful personal training brand isn’t a science, with everything in life, hard work, a bit of luck and persistence are required. However, that isn't to say that certain marketing plans, methods and tactics can't be employed to really give your personal training business a good head start.
Often, we see new personal trainers jump, head first, into the life of a personal trainer without really considering the bigger picture.
Fuelled by social media, these guys and girls expect big bucks and a diary bursting at the seams with client session. Sorry to burst that bubble, but unless you get VERY lucky, it just doesn’t work like that.
Building a successful training business takes time and patience and a well thought out marketing strategy.
With a sound marketing strategy and a well thought out process as to how you will market yourself, you will give yourself the best chance to promote your business to the widest possible audience and maximise your chance of growth.
Below we highlight some of the strategies and marketing tips we think you should employ to promote your fitness business and market yourself to maximise your chances of success.
It all starts with a smile
Never underestimate the power of a good smile when looking to build a new client relationship. When working the gym floor, consider how you come across to potential clients as first impressions are everything.
By being friendly, approachable and helpful, you will immediately be building relationships. A successful personal training business always starts with relationship building.
As soon as you step onto the gym floor market yourself, make a good impression, don’t hard sell, offer some tips (without forcing them on gym users) and you will be remembered when those gym users want a personal trainer.
Don’t fear free or discounted sessions
It might seem counter intuitive to offer free sessions when you are trying to make a living out of personal training. But actually, ‘try before you buy’ is a very effective marketing strategy.
You only need to offer a 30-minute personal training session, but if it impresses and/inspires those you work with it could turn into a great way of getting new clients.
A short, free one-to-one session or small group session, will allow you to show off your knowledge, help promote yourself and will significantly contribute to how you build your personal training business.
Take group exercise classes
What better way to promote your training business to a mass audience than to deliver an exercise class to a room full of eager fitness fans. No seriously, group exercise has come a long way since the 80's.
A HIIT class, boot camps, mobility class, circuit training, spin…There are plenty of classes and environments you could be teaching in.
This fitness networking will help build your reputation, get people talking about you; word of mouth marketing is still a great marketing strategy.
Group sessions will put you in front of lots of potential personal training clients. Get it right and you might find yourself dealing with lots of enquiries.
Offer online coaching
A big part of the personal training industry appears to be heading towards the online coaching model. This isn’t heralding the death of the gym based personal trainer, but it is becoming increasing popular.
This fitness trend isn't going away and as business owners you should be looking to tap into this growth area.
While some might argue that zero contact time between client and coach, beyond an initial phone, skype or email consultation is a bad thing, there are potential clients who are very comfortable in a gym environment but just want a programme from a personal trainer.
We would always recommend that a complete newbie train with a personal trainer in a gym environment, but for those with a decent understanding of training who might be time poor, the online coaching method might be best.
By offering online fitness training and structured training plans delivered via email, you a can reach out to a greater base of potential personal training clients.
Find local partners
One easy way to promote yourself and your personal training business and reach more personal training clients is cross promotion.
Working with another company that works in a similar space is a great way to tap into a wider network. It's an extremely effective marketing strategy and one you should absolutely pursue.
A local nutritionist or physiotherapist are examples of good partners. Nutritionists could offer discounted nutrition plans if you refer them to your personal training clients.
A physiotherapist could send their clients to you for post treatment training and you could send your clients to the physio for treatment.
Through cross promotion, you will each be entering a mutually beneficial relationship, which could see a steady stream of new personal training clients.
For your personal training business to grow, you will want potential clients to see you as an authority on fitness and training. One way to show authority is to write for recognised publications and blogs. By submitting your articles and having them posted on blogs and news sites, you improve your credibility. You can send out an email to existing clients every time a guest post goes live to keep your current personal training clients up to date.
You can also place links on your personal trainer website for potential clients to see and you can use them in marketing campaigns. Don't forget to harness the power of social media as well. Spread the word across your channels and get as many eyes on your articles as possible.
Get on social media
This is an obvious one and you are most likely already plugging away at it, but if you’re not get on it. We would recommend focussing on a couple social media channels first and gradually introducing others as you build more content.
A good place to start is Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Shareable links, instant feedback, huge audiences, platforms that lend themselves to video, a wealth of news stories that you can share…these are great tools to promote yourself and your training business.
If you use social media to promote the industry, your interest in it and your blog contributions/client success stories you will be tapping into a massive and engaged fitness audience.
Get smart and set up business accounts so that you can run targeted ads and see what sort of reach and interest you are receiving. One tip from us, avoid hard selling on social media. Sell the journey, sell the process, show results and knowledge, but never hard sell.
Market yourself in local businesses
Try and anticipate where your potential clients are going to spend a lot of time; coffee shops and cafés, health shops, juice bars, barber/stylist, physio therapy waiting rooms.
Create some flyers or business cards (neither of which are difficult or expensive) and leave them where potential clients might see them. This is free advertising and very easy marketing idea to execute, so shouldn’t be overlooked.
Create a dedicated private Facebook group
What better way to get your community talking and inspiring each other than a space for them to safely and privately talk to one another. This won’t directly help promote your business, but it may well help maintain good client relationships
Having a space for current and former clients to stay connected and talk about their health and fitness journeys will keep you in mind for the long term, which will go a long way signing former clients to new sessions.
Bring a Friend session
Let your existing clients bring a friend in to one of their personal training sessions. This is a great tactic for meeting potential clients. Friends like to train together. Your client has probably spoken to friends about how great your sessions are together. By encouraging your client to bring a friend along to a session, you can blow them away with an amazing session.
Share your fitness knowledge with the friend, make some suggestions for form and training and you might just bag yourself a new personal training client. Guess what it can work with family too!
Never stop learning
What's the secret to becoming more valuable as a personal trainer? CPDs.
We say it all the time; as a personal trainer you should be looking to learn continue your education and growth with additional courses. Put yourself in the client’s shoes; would you rather train with a personal trainer who has learnt many skills by attending lots of courses, or with a personal trainer who has their basic qualification and not much else?
Additional knowledge beyond your personal training course will enable you to work with the widest range of clients possible, good times!
A successful personal trainer should always be looking to grow their fitness business. By taking CPD courses you can start specialising and begin to carve a niche for yourself. Diabetes and obesity management, children’s fitness, ante/postnatal training. Get qualified and you can offer something to the broadest client base.
Other personal trainer marketing ideas -
- Assign homework to personal training clients - They will feel more engaged, you will stay in mind and they feel like you have gone out of your way to add extra value
- Business Cards - Old school, but still valuable. They are fairly cheap and easy to make and can be easily distributed to protentional clients, current clients to share with friends and can be left with local business owners to distribute on your behalf.
Developing an effective marketing strategy for your personal training business doesn't have to be overly complex, but it does have to be reasonably well thought out.
Identify what you want to achieve with your fitness business, develop your marketing ideas, make sure your marketing campaigns are targeted and practical (you can't reach out to everyone).
Leverage your current clients to reach potential clients, speak with local business and develop a strong network for referrals. Manage your social media presence and most of all, work hard at it and watch your business grow.
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