Ronnie Coleman said it best: “Everyone wants to be a bodybuilder, but don’t anyone wanna lift the heavy ass weights!” That’s true for boot camps, too.
Everyone wants to start a fitness boot camp, but don’t anyone wanna do the marketing to make a six figure boot camp. Down below I have a video where I teach you the core foundation for marketing a fitness boot camp. Make sure to watch it. It’s great content that will give your boot camp business a big boost (that was a lot of B’s there).
Why are boot camps so much better than one-on-one personal training? let me tell you… Low start up costs, higher profit margins, small overhead, a bigger pool of clients to market too, and recent science has shown that group training (done right) actually produces better/faster results than one-on-one personal training.
Yes, boot camps are indeed the way to go if you want a fitness business where you can help the most amount of people with their fitness and weight loss goals while making higher profits and having more freedom in your schedule.
Starting a successful fitness boot camp means getting several things dialed in right from the get go, the biggest of which is your fitness boot camp marketing plan of attack.
In fact the #1 reason 85% of all fitness business owners fail at creating a successful business is because they operated under the assumption of, build it and they will come. When in reality it should be; build it, and market the hell out of it, deliver extraordinary service and they will come.
Let me just go on record and say that the #1 reason most personal training and boot camps fail is not becuase of the economy, the demographics or any other trivial circumstance like that. The #1 reason that most fitness businesses fail is becuase the trainers running them never rise above mediocrity in their boot camp marketing tactics, in the service they deliver, in the results they produce, and generally lack the professionalism required to create and sustain a multiple six figure producing business – which by the way is what a boot camp business is capable of doing.
Now before you continue reading this in-depth post on how to market a boot camp, please understand that if you don’t plan to up your game and take your business seriously, then you’re better off leaving the fitness industry and working somewhere else that requires less service skills and professionalism.
Boot Camp Marketing Fundamentals
The marketing principles that are used are not rocket science. But you should know some fundamental things about growing your fitness business and taking it to massive success. This video will give you a really good insight on foundational marketing for your fitness boot camp.
Before diving deeper into tactics, strategies and mindset for marketing a fitness boot camp, lets get one things clear….
While this has nothing to do with the marketing side, it should be assumed that you are an awesome trainer and know how to give people results and an experience that they couldn’t get else where. It should also go without saying that the best marketing tactics for your boot camp are usually free or low cost (things like word of mouth) which I will cover further in this post.
Before you consider any strategy, ask yourself this question: What’s factory installed for me? What I mean by that is, are you the kind of person who is outgoing and has no problems going out and talking to others? Or do you think you’d do better with boot camp marketing systems that have to do with less “people” interaction?
Okay then, first be sure to watch this video where I show you how to set up your boot camp, the square footage you need, and the order of lead generation you’ll want to deploy.
What is Less People Interaction Marketing?
Now I gotta be honest with you, if you choose less people marketing, then you better be good at doing computer based stuff like SEO, PPC, blog and website building and traffic getting… as well as Facebook ads and email list building just to name a few. Otherwise you’re going to have a hell of a time getting your boot camp off the ground.
I am not saying that this type of marketing is not successful. In fact if done right the less people marketing method can be very successful. The biggest factor in less people marketing is the amount of PRODUCTIVE time you have to spend in front of the computer and the skill you have at crafting written messages.
Written messages are not like messages that you deliver face to face. When marketing your fitness boot camp through methods that are less interactive the content you are delivering has to be higher quality, more compelling, and always selling (without being overly pushy). Today all successful boot camp marketing has search engine optimization built in. By that I mean having your site organically come up when people search for keywords like “fitness boot camp” “personal training” “fitness center” and a host of others keywords. If you are competing against gigantic global chains, their search engine optimization may be at a different level than yours is. It is important when considering the less people interaction options in marketing that you realize the high quality that will be required for you to successfully run a marketing campaign of this nature.
More People Interaction Marketing
That said, in my never to be humble opinion the best and most profitable fitness bootcamps out there are those that are doing both offline and online lead generation strategies.
So without further ado, lets delve into some killer boot camp marketing systems that have helped many of my private coaching clients and Fit Body Bootcamp owners take their camps from average to $10,000 to $20,000 per month in income. No, that’s not BS marketing fluff, those are REAL numbers…
Understand that boot camp marketing is something you do externally as well as internally in your business. What I mean is the best client getting strategies are referral generation based and reactivation based.
First, let’s talk referral generation… When a new boot camp client signs up be sure to set the expectations by saying something like this: “Mrs. Jones, as I help you get in the best shape possible and teach you how to tone and tighten your body, can I count on you to help me get what I want, which is more clients like yourself?”
Once you’ve done this, you’ve set the expectations that as long as you help your client get in shape, they will help you get more clients. Now you can activate your referral generation systems. Some of these referral generation systems are going to work better for you than others and it will be important to for you to decide which ones are the best for you.
The referral generation systems that I have found to be most successful include things like sending out monthly hand written thank you cards. A hand written card goes a long way. It is so rare that any business takes the time to thank their clients these days. The fact that you are doing this, and it is hand written will fly from the lips of your client to the ears of their friends and families… your potential clients.
Running referral generation contests, and posting positive and pump up messages to your client’s Facebook wall is crucial. Your client’s friends are going to see these messages. It is likely that your client has already told them what a great trainer you are. This will reinforce that idea. When your client asks your friend to tag along and try out a class, they will already have experienced your training style vicariously through Facebook. They are hooked and they haven’t even met you.
Giving out $100 gift cards for your clients to pass along to others to come and try out some training sessions is another cash pulling goodie. This program is great because it gets people in your door. It makes them come and try your class. We already know what a killer trainer you are. Shouldn’t everyone get to experience it? Once they have had a taste of how hard you can make them work, it will be easy for them to sign up and commit.
Now there’s another killer way to use the $100 gift cards to get more clients. Every school in town is trying to raise funds for their sports programs. so give the cards to the school and have them send the kids out in the community to sell the $100 gift cards door to door. They can sell the $100 card for $20 and the school can keep all of the money. HOWEVER they are going to give you the contact into (name, email, phone number) of the person who bought the gift card so that you can reach out to them and get them into your program.
It’s like having a sales force out there getting you leads who are ready to buy.
Now, for reactivation, do things that show your former clients that you REALLY value them. This is your time to shine as a good trainer. It is good to keep information about your clients on file. This information can come in handy when doing reactivation. Whenever someone decides to leave training you should find out why. When reactivating you can use this information to demonstrate how you have listened to the concerns of the client and wanted to follow up with them.
If they quit for financial reasons then perhaps you can sway them back with a financial promotion. For example, send out a direct mail letter where you offer them a really killer deal like the 21 Day Rapid Fat Loss program for $21 bucks. Or you invite your former clients to take a free week of boot camp which includes personalized meal plans, and measurements. You can do this with direct mail, email, and phone calls. Your best results will come from using all three forms of communications.
If your client quit because they wanted to test out a new trainer the reactivation message will be quite different than one that quit for financial reasons. This is true of the other reasons that people have decided to stop attending your bootcamp. The important thing is to track the reasons that they gave you for quitting and to craft the reactivation message to meet their needs. A reactivation attempt with the right promotion for the client’s needs is going to be much more successful than a reactivation that is far from close.
Boot Strap Boot Camp Marketing
Boot strap boot camp marketing is probably my most favorite client getting strategy because it involves more creativity and less money out of your pocket. This includes lead box marketing, penetrating the prospect and client list of local businesses who serve your ideal population, Facebook viral marketing tactics where you’d take a picture at your boot camp and tag all your clients in it on Facebook.
One coaching client of mine recently went out and put 50 lead boxes into local businesses, his results from just this one boot camp marketing system was out of this world. In the first 30 days alone he got 326 leads. Let’s assume that half these leads are crap lead, that still leaves him with over 150 people to sell to and to add to his email list.
His script for getting lead boxes into local businesses was actually simple. It went something like this: “Hi, my name is John and I’m the owner of Fit Body Boot Camp down the street and I wanted to stop by and introduce myself to you. I have an email list of clients and prospects who I think would be interested in learning more about what you sell. Would you mind if I told my list about your business? Is there a special offer I can make for them? I also wanted to invite you and a friend to come out to my boot camp and try out my 21 day rapid fat loss program for free, and if you’re happy with the fast results you get then maybe you can tell your customers about me or maybe even host one of my ‘win a free month’ raffle boxes.”
Now, he didn’t get his lead boxes into the first 50 businesses that we spoke with. In fact he spoke with nearly 100 businesses, so you could say he had a rejection rate of 50%. But, perseverance paid off.
Human Billboard Marketing
Keeping the theme of low cost, no cost boot camp marketing tactics, I want to introduce you to the human billboard marketing system. This is something that was first created by my good pal Steve Hochman. The idea is brilliant in its simplicity.
Get local people of influence to train at your boot camp for free. Who are local people of influence? This may vary from town to town. The ideal person is someone who has access to a large population of people and the ability to get those people to mimic their behavior. Basically you want the trendsetters of your community to be training at your establishment for free.
Teach and encourage the human billboards to refer their circle of influence to you and be your walking talking billboard. This actually becomes a condition of their free training. It is important that you set this expectation up front. There needs to be a consistent referral coming in from this human billboard or they may no longer be eligible for their free training.
Now the best part about this system is that when you’re starting a new boot camp, you’re going to have a pretty empty camp unless you have 20-30 human billboards whom are not only spreading the buzz about you, but also making your boot camp look alive and full of energy.
Recently we created the human billboard 2.0 method where you actually make money and get human billboard into your camp. This is by far one of the top three boot camp marketing systems you should deploy if you’re just starting out.
Here’s how this boot camp marketing strategy works:
Call and email everyone you know and let them know that you are starting a fitness boot camp and are looking for people who want to be human billboards for you. Basically, you’re looking for people who will get in great shape and then tell others about you.
Then let them know that as a human billboard they will not have to pay full price, in fact all they will pay is $50 per month – which is about 70% savings. However, they will need to pay for six months up front.
Your goal here is to get 15-30 human billboards. So let’s go middle of the road and assume that you got 20 paid human billboards. At $300 each, that puts $6,000 in your pocket right away. Not too shabby, right?
Like I said earlier, the key to creating a killer boot camp marketing funnel is to have multiple poles in the water at all time. This is one of the most important features of successfully marketing your bootcamp business. You need to have promotions running all over the place. You should have human billboards, referral generation programs, Facebook contests, reactivation incentives, and other give away promotions going on at all times.
If you have these promotional contests running all the time it is going to do two things for your bootcamp.
1. You will achieve your desired number of clients much faster than if you had chosen to go with only one form of marketing.
2. You will be able to replace those clients lost through attrition with new clients, or by reactivating older clients.
Ok now it is time to discuss the boring part about marketing. Organizing your marketing materials is so important to running a successful marketing strategy. It will help you keep track of all of the different elements that you have going on with your marketing campaigns. Here are a few things that you may want to document:
In your organized information you should have an on hand list of promotions that you can use at any time. This is going to save you from having to think up an idea on the spot. It is important to track when each promotion started and the response rate that it had. Knowing the length of time the promotion ran for before it became a stale promotion will let you know how long you have before you need to swap out the promotion for another.
Just like keeping track of response rate and run time you also need to keep track of which promotions didn’t work. If you notice that promotion A never works it is time to throw it in the garbage and brainstorm another promotion that will generate leads successfully. Your bootcamp will not become a success by running promotions that don’t work
The platforms that you choose to run your promotions through are almost as important as the promotions themselves when marketing a bootcamp business. Some platforms are going to work better for certain forms of promotions. For example if you have raffled off a 21 Day Rapid Fat Loss promotion you could notify the winners, and all clients of the contest results through a tagged post on Facebook. This type of notification is a form of viral marketing itself. It would be much more effective than say posting the results on a corkboard at your location. Doing notifications through Facebook is a smart and easy way to get your name available to all of your client’s friends.
Choosing the right platform to launch your marketing strategy from is another one of the marketing strategies that will make your bootcamp better and more successful than any other. Documenting and tracking platform success is going to give you a leg up in the marketing of your bootcamp business.
By the way, here’s a video from Steve Hochman where he teaches you the “Boot Camp Success Formula”. It’s packed with lots of killer new content…
Managing your leads is a key part of organizing your marketing material. When you have just gotten 350 leads from boxes around town it is important that you know how to utilize those leads. If you let the leads sit dormant for 6 months they have become useless.
How you organize your leads is entirely up to you. It depends a lot on how your brain operates. If you are a computer person then you should utilize programs that do a lot of the sorting for you like Excel. If you hate the thought of sitting in front of a computer for longer than necessary, a hardcopy binder may be better suited to your personality.
Remember part of organizing is choosing what is factory installed for you. If it isn’t something that you see yourself doing day in and day out to manage your leads; don’t do it. One thing is for sure you MUST accurately deal with the leads you have generated or all of that effort gone to collect them is a waste.
Let’s face reality. No one on the planet likes to be told “no” multiple times. I know that I hate it.
Just say yes already and let’s do this.
But it isn’t always that simple. Some leads are going to need some more coaxing or additional incentives. This is where tracking your negative responses is going to give you an edge. While your competition throws away this information you are going to use it to learn how to better connect the first time with future leads.
Keep track of what converts a “no” to a “yes” as well. Remember a good rebuttal to a “no” is almost better than offering an additional incentive. Either way keeping track of what works, what doesn’t and why someone said no will let you learn faster what will get the client to say yes and commit to that yearlong training commitment.
Where should I focus my energy?
There is a lot of information that I have just dumped onto your lap and you may be wondering where you should start. If you need to prioritize your marketing strategies, there are four rules that you should follow:
1. Focus on low cost and not cost clients getting systems first
2. Making compelling and irresistible offers in all your marketing
3. Test, track and tweak your boot camp marketing campaigns until you get the best possible results
4. Look for areas in your boot camp that you may be leaving money on the table with. For example; if your client is focused on weight loss maybe you can offer or refer out to nutrition consulting or offer them grocery store tours for an additional fee.
At the end of the day, all marketing and the success of your boot camp marketing success boils down to two things:
The relationships you have with your clients, prospects, local businesses and community.
The systems that you create, discover, learn, and ruthlessly deploy.
Bedros Keuilian is a boot camp marketing expert and is known as the hidden genius behind many of the most successful six and seven figure earning fitness trainers worldwide. Learn more about his client coaching program and his boot camp marketing products on this page.
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