You dream about your business. Perhaps it’s in high-visibility premises full of state-of the-art equipment – and all paid for. The phone rings off the hook and your long list of regular clients sing your praises to everyone they know. A dedicated and well-paid staff attends to all the daily running of the business while you train a long list of appreciative, high paying clients.
So why hasn’t that happened?
It’s time to start flexing your fitness marketing muscles and discover ways to realize your dream. It will take time, but the more effectively you spend your marketing dollars, the greater the return you’ll get on your investment.
You Don’t Need an Olympic-Sized Budget
The most common response to the question of marketing is often “I don’t have much money”. That’s fine, because there are dozens of different ways you can get the word out about your personal training services without hemorrhaging large amounts of cash. Below we’re going to identify a number of ways to effective, low-cost personal trainer marketing.
What you will need is a plan. With any business, there will be a long line of ad reps who’ll contact you by phone or walk in, trying to convince you that spending your advertising dollars with them will be a wise decision.
Get the information but don’t sign anything until you know exactly how effective that ad will be for your business. Making rush decisions can be foolish and expensive.
Who is your Target Market?
Effective marketing requires knowing your target market intimately. Who do you want to work with? Overweight teenagers? Athletes? The elderly? Busy moms? All of these are specific markets that will require focused marketing techniques.
Once you have identified that market you will be able to think far more clearly. Trying to target all of the local population who need your services will only be confusing and far less effective.
If you love to work with teenagers you’ll have to think like them. You’ll have to adapt your training sessions to focus on exactly what they want, including the latest music they’re listening to, or they will lose interest. You will of course have to appeal to their parents too.
If you want to work with young moms, then you’ll have to find the most convenient hours for them – don’t try to run a class during the times they’re picking up the kids from school!
If you’re a one-man operation you’re going to have to work hard to attract clients and you’ll do it mainly with your personality and drive. You will be selling yourself, not your service. If people don’t like you, you’re unenthusiastic or unreliable, or you don’t give them the results they want, you’ll be sunk. You have to build personal relationships with everyone that comes to you for help and give something in return, including the opportunity for them to earn valuable rewards if they refer others.
Your aim should be for your clients to become your sales team. Word of mouth advertising is the cheapest and most effective way to attract business. Aim to attract and retain at least 20 people and your business will have the potential to grow rapidly because you’ll have hit the tipping point.
But how can you attract those first 20 clients? Easy.
1. Build a Word Press Site if you can’t afford a killer website
You need a website and if you can’t afford one then get one for free… or next to free. Building a blog or formatting a WordPress site so that it looks like a “real” website should only take a couple of days at the most – even if you’ve never done it before. Google is very friendly towards local businesses. List your business with Yahoo, Yelp, google places and google plus and other free local online business directories and you’ll soon start seeing results. You don’t have to do a lot to end up on the local search results. Get some good keyword rich content on the site and update it often and you’re there.
Make sure your site is smart-phone friendly. The amount of people accessing local businesses and services via their phones is growing exponentially. There’s a free WordPress plug-in that will do this for you.
Make the site attractive by adding some videos of you training clients, testimonials and before and after pictures, an opt in that makes an irresistible offer for a free ebook or fat loss report and compelling sales copy.
Offer a 21-Day rapid weight loss program, or a two-week belly fat busting program – whatever you know your target market will want more than anything else, and offer it at a reduced cost initially to help get their foot in the door.
If you understand your target market, you can promote your services more easily by finding out where they hang out and being there. School sporting events, grocery stores, church, Chambers of Commerce meetings and local small business groups – anywhere you can educate others, get your message across and get people onto your email list.
The harder you work at promoting your business, the better the returns will be.
3. Open Days
Have an open day at your premises once a month where anyone can come and experience the fun atmosphere, try out the equipment and speak to you one-on-one. Offer free seminars for diabetes control and prevention using exercise, for example, and publicize it by sending out a press release to local newspapers. You may never need to pay to advertise at all if the media picks us your release.
4. Get Email Addresses and Build a List
Have everyone who visits your facility or your website fill in a quick questionnaire and capture their email addresses. This is essential so you can continue to build relationships by offering useful information and sending out special offers. One of the simplest ways to capture email addresses from online visitors is to offer something free, such as an eBook, report, or free video.
Building an email list of potential clients costs next to nothing, and is an extremely effective way of reminding people you are always there to help them.
5. Use Social Media
Get people involved by building a FaceBook page for your business, use Pinterest and Twitter. Post your videos on YouTube. Add some signage to your vehicle – do whatever it takes to fix your name – your brand – firmly in people’s minds.
Fitness marketing on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t get creative.
Send out press releases and contact local newspapers and publications. A few minutes on a local TV news show could bring you hundreds of potential clients.
6. Treat Your Clients Well
It’s easy to schedule a Happy Birthday email for each client, active or not, and you could send them a special offer or freebie as a gift.
Send those who haven’t signed up an attractive special offer between Christmas and New Year’s Day, that’s when most people resolve to get fit and lose weight. If you use one of the top autoresponder services, all you’ll have to do is compose a short email and the service will do the heavy lifting – and you’ll get great results.
At the same time feature your “Biggest Loser of the Year” or best success story on your website too. Add a link to that feature in the email and the story will spur others to sign up – especially if you offer a killer introductory offer and possibly a substantial prize at the end of 12 months.
7. Use Your Competitions Weakness
You probably know others who are running similar businesses. Find out how they do it by signing up for their emails and newsletters. You may be able to identify areas where you can do better, or offer something unique that can put you ahead of your competition.
You dedicate time every day to keeping your body in shape. You know that if you stop you’ll soon end up looking like everyone else – it’s the same with your personal trainer marketing strategies. If you stop working on it…. You’ll soon lose it.
Set aside an hour every day to keep up with your FaceBook fans, write an article, answer blog comments or make a video for your site, and keep networking and educating until people you’ve never met recognize your face and your business name.
One final note… set aside a couple hours each week to increase your business knowledge. Study marketing, sales, referral generation and time management. Keep your tools sharp.