If you ask someone, “what does it take to become a successful personal trainer”, they’ll often tell you that you need strong fitness knowledge, a wide range of skills, good communication and lots of energy.
The one key element that often gets missed when discussing how to build a successful career in fitness is the ability to market yourself. After all, what good is it to have all those other attributes if you don’t actually get any clients.
If you choose to work with a franchise or for a fitness company, then often they’ll help you build a list of clients, or you’ll at least leverage off their marketing efforts when people come in to train at your gym.
But if you want to establish your own personal training business, then a well-thought-out marketing plan is critical to achieving this. It’s not only important in regards to how you get found by prospective clients, but it’s also vital to creating a solid base of loyal, returning customers.
How do you go about it? It’s not easy, and takes a lot of consideration, planning and execution. The good news is, we’re here to help you with these following marketing tips:
Define Your Brand
There are millions of personal trainers around the world, so how do you stand out? Why would someone choose to train with you? It’s about having a key point of difference, something that sets you apart from the rest. Typically, this would mean either specialising in a particular area of fitness training, or targeting a specific group in society, as we’ll discuss in the next point.
The other key element to your business is your brand, from your business name to your logo and colours, right through to your website and social media pages. How will people view your brand? Does it represent you and your business? Is it relatable? Your branding is the first thing people will see about you, and it’s critical to make a strong first impression. Bold colours, clear fonts, catchy names and taglines, and a visually appealing logo is what’s required.
Identify Your Ideal Audience
If you target everyone, you may end up with no one. That sounds silly, but it’s often the case when you don’t establish a target market that you can own. Unless you’re well-connected and have clients lined up already, or have lots of money to throw into a widespread marketing budget, you often need to narrow your focus to a particular group.
That might be stay-at-home mums, school-aged students, semi-professional or amateur athletes or the elderly. Or perhaps you live in or want to target a small rural town, giving you a narrower audience. Whatever this group is, by targeting a smaller demographic to target, it often produces better results across your marketing channels.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve your brand and your audience, it’s time to market yourself. So where do you begin? The very first step is to build a website so that people can find out more about you. It doesn’t have to be fancy, in fact, it might only be one page. And that’s fine, as long as you have all the relevant information, including what services you provide, a brief history about you and the business, images and videos of you and your clients, reviews and recommendations and most importantly, contact details so people can get in touch with you.
Once you have a website and a URL, you’ll want to be found on Google, which is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comes in. It’s far too technical and complex to explain in this blog, so you can visit this guide for more information.
What we will mention in regards to SEO, is the need for a Google My Business (GMB) page, which is how locals can find you when searching for personal trainers in your area. By showing up in map listings and search results, people nearby will be able to see information about your business and get in contact with you straight away. Note: you need a physical location in order to create a GMB page.
From a paid marketing perspective, you could invest in Google Ads, however this is often a costly exercise that doesn’t guarantee results. The same can be said for Facebook and LinkedIn Ads as well, as you often have to compete against major fitness companies for market share.
What you should do is build social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, What’s App and more, in order to connect with prospective and current clients on a more personal level. You can share updates about the business and any blog articles you write (which is highly recommended), and build a loyal fan base online. Plus, people will be able to share your page with friends and family to recommend you amongst their own community.
Marketing your business is not just limited to online, you should also look at offline channels such as local newspapers/magazines, printing business cards and handing them out to people, amongst a whole lot of other creative ideas. You could even get personalised business tops or polos, or your branding displayed on your car so you advertise everywhere you drive. You’re only limited by your imagination (and budget).
Measure And Optimise Your Campaign
Your marketing strategy should not be a set-and-forget approach. It’s important to analyse your results, see what’s working and what’s not so that your efforts (and importantly, your investments) are directed in the right areas.
In order to achieve this, you’ll need to keep track of how people found you, so that you can focus on the channels that bring in the most amount of business and potentially pull back on areas that working as well.
You can determine how often to review your marketing strategy, but we suggest you don’t leave it longer than a couple of months in between reviews, so that you keep things fresh and get an accurate picture of how things are tracking.
Grow A Loyal Community
Now that everything is running smoothly, you can utilise your most effective form of marketing, your clients. The best way to reach more people is by getting your clients to talk about you to their friends and family. You can encourage them to do so by asking them for testimonials for your website, or for Google Reviews so people can read about your customers’ experiences when researching you.
Social media is another great platform to share your work with your clients. Take photos and videos and post them to Facebook and Instagram to both show and tell people about your business. What’s important is to recognise the opportunity to capture these moments, and with technology these days, it’s simple. For example, straight after a session, video your clients for 10-15 seconds on your phone and then post it online straight away.
Any successful business – small or large – has implemented an effective marketing plan to get to where they are. Having the talent, skills and knowledge will only get you so far. Marketing and selling yourself is a critical step to develop a long list of clients and to grow your business.
Hopefully these marketing tips help you understand what’s required to establish a successful personal training business!