The decision to work with a personal trainer is, well, personal! And many people are sold based on recommendations from friends.
Because of this, most personal trainers rely on word of mouth marketing to grow their fitness business. Honestly, it’s one of the best forms of marketing because it’s free and requires minimal effort! As long as you provide great services to existing clients, new prospects are already convinced before even talking to you.
But, there’s one glaring issue with word of mouth marketing. It is slow. It takes time for a new client to become your fan and bring you new prospects. And you want to grow your fitness business fast, right?
So what can you do?
It’s time to get serious about marketing your fitness business.
But there is no one silver bullet when it comes to personal trainer marketing. It’s much more involved than running the occasional Facebook ads or distributing flyers at your gym.
Marketing is a multi-step process that involves strategy, consistency, and effort over time. Marketing helps you find your ideal client and convert them into a paying customer so that you can grow your fitness business.
In this article we will break down this process step by step, so that you can start marketing your personal training business and get more clients fast!
Table of contents:
- Step 1: Find the right niche to maximize ROI on your marketing efforts.
- Step 2: Find your uniqueness factor to stand out from the competition.
- Step 3: Attract leads and open an ongoing communication channel.
- Step 4: Nurture leads to establish authority, build trust, and remove any objections.
- Step 5: Convert leads into paying clients with a killer offer.
Find the right niche to maximize ROI on your marketing efforts.
All marketing efforts take time and money. The best way to make sure that you are making the most of these precious resources is to only market to a segment that will give you the highest ROI on your marketing efforts a.k.a. Your Niche . So the first step is to nail down your personal training niche and tailor all of your marketing content to that target audience.
A common misconception is that niching down limits you. This is not true. In fact, nailing down your fitness niche can help you increase the ROI (return on investment) you get from your marketing, resulting in faster growth for your business.
If you haven’t narrowed down your niche for your personal training business, here are some tips to help:
1. Think about who your happiest clients are ; these are the people that understand the value of your service, have worked with you the longest, and are eager to share their positive experience. Are they busy women looking to lose weight? Or are they seniors looking to gain more strength and mobility? Which client have you been able to bring the best results?
2. Make sure your niche is the right size . So when thinking about your happiest clients (and not-so-happy clients), you may have a few segments come to mind. The important next step is making sure that those segments are the right size. For example, targeting “people that want to get in shape” might be a bit too broad. Whereas, “people with rotator cuff injuries” might be a little too narrow.
You’ve got to find the sweet spot, where the market is large enough to meet your revenue goals, but not so big that you aren’t able to tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.
3. Pick a niche that matches your passion and your skills. Lastly, an incredibly important part of niching down is making sure you are qualified to work within your niche and that you actually enjoy doing so. This part is especially vital because it determines how you will excel in your business and build your reputation. The passion for what you do will come in handy when things get tough, and your expertise/experience in a certain area makes you more qualified than others to serve your particular niche.
Once you know your niche, you will be more equipped to specify your “ideal client.” Your ideal client is the person within your niche that you will tailor all your marketing content to. When thinking about your ideal client, the more detailed you get, the better. List out their values, likes, dislikes, challenges, hobbies, etc. Keep in mind as we move forward that all your marketing will be targeted toward this ideal client within your most profitable niche.
Find your uniqueness factor to stand out from the competition.
With approximately 340,000 certified personal trainers in the US alone, it can be a challenge to stand out. So to successfully market your business, you need to tell your prospects why you are a better choice than your competitors.
Something generic like “we have the best customer service” won’t work. Why, you might ask? Because everyone is saying the same thing and no one can prove it.
You need to figure out what you do differently that brings provable results and share those results in your marketing , again and again!
So how to find your uniqueness factor?
- Find your real competitors. Your real competition is the business your clients will choose if you didn’t exist. It could be another personal trainer or even a big box gym.
- Think about how you do things differently than your competitors. Remember, you will want to focus on what you do well, not what you think someone else does poorly.
- Consider how your way of doing things lets you provide different benefits to your clients. Let some of your happiest existing clients inspire you.
Some more tips: Remember that everyone judges expertise differently, so you will want to think about your ideal clients, their problems, and how you solve them. You can’t be everyone’s solution. Also, try not to overcomplicate your brand, you may have spent years in body building competitions, but that might not mean anything to the beginner clients that are simply looking to lose weight.
Your differentiators are what you will use for your marketing. Understand the solution you offer and convey that solution often.
Attract leads and open an ongoing communication channel.
When most people hear about your business for the first time, they won’t be ready to buy from you. When people land on your website, they might be interested, but they will probably still have a lot of questions about your business.
There are two really important aspects of marketing your fitness business:
Not only do you need to draw leads in, you also need to keep them around! This means moving them from the awareness stage at the very beginning of your sales funnel all the way to the conversion stage where they know and trust you and are therefore willing to buy from you. To do this, you need to maintain an open line of communication with your leads.
Now, there are plenty of ways to attract ideal clients and open up an ongoing communication channel (or channels). Let’s talk about two of the most popular strategies personal trainers can use and the many different methods within them.
1. Attract ideal clients with social media.
One really popular way of attracting and communicating with ideal clients is through social media. And since over 3.6 billion people worldwide are actively using social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and more, it’s highly likely that your ideal clients are hanging out there.
Social media can be a great way to reach a lot of people quickly and can help you grow your business to new levels. Social media helps ideal clients find you, then helps you maintain a dialogue with them. These platforms allow for a lot of interaction with your leads and countless ways to communicate with them.
To use social media to attract leads, start thinking of your different social media outlets like search engines. Your ideal clients go to their accounts looking for information, and even use the search bar for shopping and finding services in their area. The first step in attracting clients through social media is making your accounts easy to find. Do this by creating professional (not personal) pages and filling them out completely with all your details. Think about what people are searching for online and optimize your social media pages accordingly.
From there, each social media platform has unique ways that you can open communication channels with your audience. Instagram is a great tool because of how many options it has for sharing content. We have an Ultimate Guide to Instagram Marketing that can help you get started.
More social media marketing tips?
- Don’t let the fact that there are many different platforms overwhelm you. Focus on building your following on one or two sites to start. Think about what your ideal client is most likely to use and go all in there. As you grow (and are able to outsource) you can begin to expand to other platforms.
- Your profile photos should draw people to your page. Choose eye catching colors and a clear image of you.
- Think of social media like a community. Focus on building a community of ideal clients and interact with them often.
2. Build an email list of ideal clients.
Another powerful way to communicate with leads and move them further down the sales funnel is email marketing. Though it takes a little time, email marketing actually has some of the best ROI $36 for every $1 spent to be exact!
We have an Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing that you can check out here, but let’s briefly touch on the first steps you need to take to utilize this method of communication.
Email marketing is all about building an email list of ideal clients and sending them emails that keep them engaged and informed. These email touchpoints help them get to know you and prime them to buy from you.
The most common way to start collecting email addresses is by creating a lead magnet. This is a piece of valuable content that you give away for free in exchange for someone’s email address. Lead magnets need to solve an issue that your ideal client has. For example, if your ideal clients are busy moms that want to lose weight, they would happily provide their email in exchange for a lead magnet like “5 Quick and Easy Recipes that are Actually Good for You.”
Distribute your lead magnets across various in-person and online platforms to build your email list. Your email list will grow and you will have an ongoing and open communication channel with ideal clients that you have total ownership and control of. This is crucial when it comes to the next step of nurturing those leads…
Nurture leads to establish authority, build trust, and remove any objections.
So your leads have decided to follow you and maybe even joined your email list… That’s great! You’re one big step closer to making a sale. But they aren’t buying from you just yet. Here are some reasons why:
- They aren’t sure if you are an expert that can solve their problem.
- They aren’t sure if you are the best choice among all the choices available.
- They aren’t sure if they are going to have a good time working with you.
- They aren’t sure if personal training will give them their desired results.
- And so on…
That’s ok, though, because you can use your open communication channels to build trust, establish your expertise, and remove these common objections and concerns. You have to nurture your relationships with these would-be clients and make them comfortable buying from you!
You do this with the right content.
We talked about opening communication channels with social media and email. Now let’s talk a little bit about the kind of content that can keep people around and push them further down your sales funnel.
Showcase your identity and build the like factor
When communicating with clients, of course, a good bit of your content will be fitness related. But when it comes to nurturing the relationship you have with leads, it’s also important to share other pieces of your personality that aren’t necessarily fitness based. This helps you to connect with your ideal clients in a deeper way and build that “like” factor.
We all have multiple identities and pieces of our personality that we attach to. You may identify with being a mom, a dog lover, a traveler, etc. We are drawn to people that have similar identities. Think about what parts of your personality you might share with your ideal clients and share 1-2 of those traits with your followers online — in addition to your fitness content.
Some examples of this kind of content:
- A Instagram post of you on vacation
- A TikTok video of walking your dog
- A Facebook post sharing the new song you can’t stop listening to
- An antidote about your family in your email newsletter
Deliver value with educational and how-to content
Value, value, value. Valuable content is what’s going to make your social media posts popular and your emails irresistible to open. As a personal trainer, you have a lot of knowledge that people want to know. Deliver value by sharing some of this knowledge through educational or how-to content. This will convince your ideal clients that you are an expert that can solve their problems.
It can be helpful to decide four main “content pillars’‘ that you use to take your ideal client from point A to point B. Here’s an example of four pillars you might see on a fitness page:
Once you have your pillars, you’ll break them down even further to generate your actual content ideas. Here’s what one of the pillars from above might look like broken down:
- Foam rolling
- Form cues
Doing this for each pillar will give you 25-30 subtopics to talk about online. That’s a lot of content! These educational topics can help you build your authority so that followers see you as a go-to source for all things fitness, making them much more likely to work with you when they’re ready to hire a personal trainer.
Tackle client objections
As we mentioned before, many of the leads that show up on your website aren’t quite _ready _to buy from you just yet. In your online content, call out some of those objections directly and explain why a potential client should sign up for your program, buy a personal training session, or whatever other action you’d like them to take next.
Here are some common objections you might tackle in your content:
- Personal training isn’t worth the money.
- You have to have a lot of money to work with personal trainers.
- It’s going to take a long time to see results from personal training.
- I can get the same results just going to the gym
You know that these objections aren’t true, so use your communication channels to turn doubtful prospects into bought-in believers.
Bust some common myths
This can help you establish yourself as an expert in this fitness industry and build trust with your audience. This trust is vital for turning those prospects into paying customers. Here are some examples of some common fitness myths:
- Cardio is all you need to lose weight.
- You have to avoid fatty food at all costs.
- Lifting weights will make you bulky.
Just like handling client objections, tackle these myths head on with your content.
Success stories and social proof
Nothing is more powerful than social proof. Share the amazing results that other clients have gotten through working with you.
If your leads have been on the fence, hearing these success stories just may be the thing that pushes them toward working with you. You want to show your leads that these kinds of results are possible, and make them start imagining how their life could look if they work with you.
Nurturing your leads through ongoing communication takes patience, consistency, and strategy. This helps you build your brand and get your ideal clients to trust you. The content you share helps establish your expertise, and can make people feel like they know you on a personal level. This makes them much more likely to buy from you, which brings us to our final step…
Convert leads into paying clients with a killer offer.
Alright, you’ve opened a communication channel, connected with ideal clients, and convinced them that you know you’re stuff. It’s time to close the deal with a killer offer.
Now, if you really want to generate a profitable business, your offer will need to be a little more than a standard personal training package. Get creative and come up with multiple products and offers that meet the needs of your ideal clients.
We recommend using online personal training in addition to in-person training to convert people that aren’t a great fit for the traditional personal training models. Online personal training allows you to target larger markets and scale much more quickly than traditional personal training. It can also help you retain clients longer and build out a bigger product bank to make more money per client.
Not to be confused with virtual personal training, online personal training involves training personal training clients with resources like educational videos and group training programs, by using training software and other online tools.
Our online personal training platform, TrainerFu, also allows you to go beyond just offering workouts to clients. Within the app, you can build your program with 360 degree fitness by adding in resources like nutrition, habit coaching, recipe guides, community support and more.
Once you’ve decided how to shape your offer, you will use the communication channels you’ve been building to share it with your ideal clients. About 20% of your content in emails and on social media should be sales content, where you directly ask for a sale from your audience.
Offer emails and social media posts should Include a clear call to action (CTA) that tells leads how to work with you and what step they need to take next. This might be to sign up for your program, to schedule a consultation, or buy now. Consider creating a sense of urgency by offering a limited time discount or letting your audience know that there are limited spots available.
If you’ve done the work of nurturing relationships with clients and honing in on your killer offer, your leads will be happy to buy from you! This, of course, is the final and most important stage of your sales funnel and the ultimate goal of all your marketing efforts.
Ready to get started?
Instagram, email, referrals… oh my. It can all feel a little overwhelming right?
The important thing is to work on a strategy, measure your results, and know that you can make adjustments as you go. A true marketing strategy utilizes various channels of communication, and makes them all work together to grow a business.
Your marketing efforts will push leads down your sales funnel and should cover all of the key phases: attract, nurture, offer. Here’s a couple of examples of what this might look like in action:
Facebook ad → lead magnet → email sequence → unique offer → sale
Optimized Instagram bio → engaging content → free session → sale
As you can imagine, there are many paths down a sales funnel and many ways to use marketing to generate actual sales. Start easy before trying complex marketing tactics, and remember to always keep your ideal client in mind when formulating your strategy.
It isn’t easy to grow a wildly successful fitness marketing business, but you have what it takes. Building a personal training business that you’re proud of can be done with the right marketing strategy and the right online tools, like TrainerFu. Doing what you love, and making great money while doing it? Now that sounds like a worthwhile pursuit!
More resources to help you grow your fitness business:
- How to Build Your Online Personal Trainer Website
- How to Build a Personal Training Website that Generates Sales
- The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Marketing for Personal Trainers
- Fitness Email Marketing: The Ultimate Guide
- How to Get More Personal Training Client Referrals