Are you a newer personal trainer in your first 6 months of business? Then you're probably struggling with marketing? Do you feel like your business just can’t take off and everything is a bit stale? This short guide on getting started with your fitness marketing can help.
In it we’ll talk about some of the free and paid steps you can take in your personal training business to build an audience, generate leads and turn those leads in to clients.
Step 1 - Stop Looking for a Magic Pill
Wow, I just jumped straight in there with the deep stuff, eh?
Personal trainers are pretty well informed when it comes to the science of weight loss. So it stands to reason I’d see a lot of trainers preaching to their clients about how there’s no such thing as a magic pill for fat loss.
And I do see it… every… day.
It’s like an uphill battle, right?
You present the evidence to your client, make a solid argument and even back it up with scientific research, and your client still comes back three days later with “will this supplement help me lose weight?”
Kill me now.
Well, you’re going to hate me for saying this but that’s exactly how a lot of trainers look when it comes to their marketing. Constantly on the lookout for the next growth hack. That one strategy that will skyrocket their marketing efforts and have clients kicking the door down.
And I don’t blame them. Fitness marketing is hard. Really hard. Personal trainers aren’t marketers but let’s be real, they have a business to run. If that business doesn’t run, it’s Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It’s the same problem in two different contexts. And that’s because both the trainer and the client are in scarcity mode within their respective contexts.
The client wants weight loss with the least amount of time, money or effort invested because they don’t understand the basic principles. The trainer wants more clients in very much the same way.
The irony here is that both the client and trainer need exactly the same thing.
Drop the magic pill idea and put in consistent work over a long period of time.
Let’s talk about some ways to get that consistency ball rolling for you.
Step 2 - Your Existing Audience
If you’re as willing to drop the idea of a magic pill as much as you wish your clients were, the next step in this fitness marketing guide is finding the low hanging fruit.
The low hanging fruit are the easy pickings. Potential clients who are all around you and you just didn’t know it.
These potential clients may be relatives, friends or friends of friends and you’re almost guaranteed to have some within your existing social networks.
So reach out to them.
The quickest way to do that is to just ask. Create a spreadsheet of everyone you know and the best contact details you have for them and get in touch.
Yeah, that’s right. You’re going to talk to people… on the phone… like it’s 1990.
**Gasp** “But what would I say?!”
You tell them:
I’ve started a fitness business, I want to help as many people as possible get healthy and feel great and the first group of people I want to help are the people I know. Are you looking for help with your fitness or health?”
You’ll either get a yes or a no.
When making them an offer, you have a couple of options.
Use your spreadsheet to mark down who’s a yes, who’s a no and who’s a maybe. Be sure to follow up with the “maybe’s”.
Now, time to scale that up using the powers of social media.
Using the same format as the incredibly uncomfortable phone call you just had, ya know, because nobody makes calls anymore, use your personal Facebook profile to reach out to people in your existing audience.
When using a medium like Facebook, it’s more effective if you’re more specific:
I’ve started a fitness business for new moms, I want to help as many moms as possible get back to their pre baby weight and the first group of people I want to help are the people I know. Are you looking for or do you know someone who needs help with their post natal fitness?”
While this strategy seems pretty easy on paper, reaching out to people seems to be one of the most challenging marketing strategies in an increasingly introverted digital world.
No matter how difficult you find this strategy, it should be on your list of to-do’s forever because the size of your audience will always be increasing, which we'll move on to now.
Step 3 - Building an Audience
Networking is the number one unwritten source of business success.
Who you know is what you know and knowing your clients, the way they talk and the way they think will have a massive impact on how you communicate with them in a sales conversation and within your fitness marketing efforts.
In your first 6 months of operation, building your audience is one of the best ways to get more eyes on your business and have more meaningful conversations with potential clients.
It will be the foundation of your free and paid marketing strategies in the future.
Because a paid ad to an audience of people who already know you is significantly cheaper and more effective than an ad to a cold audience.
How does one build an audience you ask?
Simply put, make yourself useful by doing the following:
In other words, just be a nice human being… consistently.
Step 4 - Setup Your Free Fitness Marketing Systems
Money is often tight within the first 6 months of any business and I’m a big believer in not spending if you don’t have to. Not even on your fitness website design and I'm a website designer!
Lucky for you, I’ve been in the game long enough to know that you don’t have to spend in the first 6 months at all and you can still make a success of it with free fitness marketing strategies. Here are some I prepared earlier.
A Facebook business page
Although Facebook reach is down, especially on business pages, it’s still handy to have one. Even if it’s just to look professional and use as a base for any future paid advertisements. We're still getting some insane growth from consistent posting on Facebook pages.
A Facebook group
Groups are probably the best way to make more intimate connections with potential clients. When you post in a group everyone gets a notification and the transition from stranger to friend is massively reduced if that person is already a member of your group. Get one set up and invite people in ASAP.
Managed Website client, Aidan is getting huge engagement from his group.
A free blogging platform like Medium
In an ideal world you blog would be on your website, but you don’t need a website yet so a free platform like Medium is a great way to get your thoughts and ideas across to people. Also, you can repurpose those blogs for your site later if you wanted to.
A Google My Business page
If you train local clients then a Google My Business page is the best free way to make your business visible to people searching for your services in search engines. Your Google My Business page is going to be acting as a website for a while so make sure it’s as comprehensive as possible and you haven’t missed a detail.
Sure, it’s heaving with Instagram models who promote terrible advice and build businesses based on their looks and whoever will sponsor them that month, but Instagram is also full of your ideal clients who, when they see the right message, your message, will become a member of your audience.
Twitter is still going strong. In fact, your clients are probably on Twitter and you should be too. Create a profile, be active, be useful and don’t forget to share your thoughts and ideas.
You could probably come up with a few different keywords like:
Get creative with it and let me know how it goes.
All of these systems have their pros and cons and some marketers will tell you that you should stick to one and master it.
While I do agree with that, you might not know which platform is the best for you right now and let’s face it, if you’re in your first 6 months of business, you probably have a little bit of spare time.
Step 5 - Consistency
We’re back to this again. I know I mentioned consistency in Step 1. It’s how you help your clients get results and it’s how you’ll succeed in marketing your fitness business in the first 6 months.
Success in business is a mindset. I know it sounds cliche. As cliche as personal trainers who are preaching it to their clients, but it’s so true.
It requires patience. Patience that you won’t feel you have right now because you’ll be constantly worried about where your next client is coming from.
But with patience comes consistency.
If you can be patient enough to stick to the core principles, you won’t get distracted by shiny objects. You’ll be able to step back and take an objective view of the “growth hack” the guy stood next to the rented Lamborghini is promising will make you 6 figures in 6 months.
No offence to this guy...
Much in the same way that clients get persuaded by the celebrity selling a vegetable powder that made her a size 6 only 6 months after her baby was born, when in reality it was a simple calorie deficit and consistent training schedule that got her results.
People, including trainers, don’t “fall” for these tricks. Their current mindset just allows them to believe the impossible and conveniently ignore the basic principles we know to be true.
Probably because if you pay a mentor, you have someone to blame if it doesn’t work.
If you preach consistency to your clients, then it’s about time you started preaching it to yourself too.
Follow these basic fitness marketing principles for your first 6 months and even though things might seem slow and you’ll feel like you should be doing more, the connections you make will help you in years to come.
Did I Miss Anything?
What did you do in your first 6 months that got you a steady stream of leads for your personal training business? Did I miss anything out? Let me know in the comments.
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