Personal training is a business. As trainers, we know it is about more than just coming up with kick-butt workouts and being a good motivator. Trainers have to market and sell themselves, something many people are not comfortable with!
When I started personal training 8 years ago in a big gym, making sales seemed to be more important than actually getting client results. I began to wonder if training was right for me, as I was not very comfortable cold calling and hard selling.
Over the years I have found that promoting my business, using creative marketing strategies, and keeping my integrity results in far more quality leads and makes the job much more enjoyable!
Below are 21 tips to promote your personal training business without being all "sales-y."
1. Smile and Say "Hello" to Everyone
Just saying "Hi!" can make an excellent first impression!
As a trainer, you're building several professional relationships, especially with your clients. To build them successfully, you need to be friendly and approachable. A simple, "Hi, how are you?" can make a wonderful impression and start to build your reputation as a good trainer. You will also help clients open up and feel comfortable with you.
It seems so simple, but if you appear stand off-ish, no one is going to want to work with you.
2. Offer Monthly Emails with Tips and Tricks
Offer monthly emails with tips and tricks to gym members, clients, and Facebook fans to start growing your email list. Having potential clients' email addresses allows you to check in with them now and then, stay relevant in their minds, and promote any new program or sale you have going on. Mailchimp is a free email marketing service.
This post by The Nectar Collective offers a great tutorial on how to use Mailchimp and start sending e-newsletters.
3. Offer Discounted or Free Mini Sessions
Sampling sessions are great, but watch out for "tire kickers."
Offering discounted or free mini-sessions can be a way for potential clients to get to know you and what you can offer them. If your session impresses, you could have several new clients.
You may not want to give away an hour long session, especially if those who participate turn out to be tire kickers. Instead, you could offer a shorter, free introductory session, a trial group session, or a longer, discounted session.
4. Host a Fitness or Healthy Living Challenge
Hosting a fitness challenge can help you connect with the local community you are located in by meeting new people face-to-face. Some of the best marketing a personal trainer can do is through word-of-mouth and personal interactions.
These challenges could be a weekend bootcamp, or jog-a-thon type event. You could raise money for a local charity in the process to influence more people to come. Another example could be an obstacle course or race. The winner's reward could include something they can redeem at your business.
5. Offer a Free Class or Teach Group Exercise Classes
Training group classes can create an atmosphere of community and unification that many clients may enjoy training in. It will also increase your income per hour dramatically. Group classes can be extremely helpful if there are popular hours clients like to train.
Here are some ideas for a group exercise class:
6. Create a 6 or 8 Week Program
Creating a program can market your business to a specific niche. Although you are targeting a narrow audience, chances are many people within that audience will find your program useful. These programs can also promote passive income for your business Here are some examples: 8 week Women's Strength Training Program, 6 week Power Program for Golfers, 6 week Kids' Sports Clinic.
Contact a local golf course, community college, youth sports association, a company, and ask if they would allow you to offer the program to their members/employees.
7. Send Handwritten "Thank You" Notes
Think of the last time you received a handwritten note, whether it was for a birthday, holiday, or just to say thank you. How did you feel? Pretty good, huh? And it likely made you feel appreciative for whoever sent you such a note. A client's reaction to a handwritten note will be quite similar.
Whether you send one for a birthday, holiday, or just because, the power of handwritten notes will not be lost on your clients. You don't have to send them all the time, or else they may seem insincere, but at appropriate times to keep your trainer-client relationship stalwart.
8. Get Creative With Your Business Cards
Business cards help clients know you exist. The more creative and professional, the more likely people are to show interest.
You can find many designers on Etsy.com who can put something together for a reasonable price. Some Etsy shops may print the cards themselves or you can buy the design and then print through a company like Vistaprint.
9. Drop off Business Cards or Flyers At Local Businesses
Think about where your potential clients may hang out: coffee shops, health food stores, or physical therapy waiting rooms. In essence, this is free advertising (with the exception of the cost of business cards) and will increase brand awareness. You can create great flyers (or even info-graphics and social media images) on Canva.com. There is a free service or you can pay for the upgraded service.
10. Update Your Email Signature
Updating your email signature is a way to add credibility to your name and brand. Clients and other businesses will be more willing to work with you this added aspect of professionalism. Include your business, certifications, website, and social media links.
11. Start a Facebook Business/Fan Page
This will allow many of your clients to recommend you to their friends on social media. Social media is an amazing tool for all personal trainers and can drastically improve the numbers of your clientele.
Create a content calendar to ensure you post a good mix of engaging information, not just promote your own business. You may find this post about starting and promoting a Facebook page helpful!
Here's Scott Rawcliffe's tip for promoting your business on social media:
Don't spend all your time marketing your paid programs on social, spend at least 50% instead sharing content that helps your prospect get results in advance. This will make you stand out from the masses on facebook in 2016. Click to Tweet
12. Use Video
Video is shown to be the most engaging kind of posts on Facebook. Upload videos of exercises and workouts and post them to FB and Youtube. Building your YouTube library is a great resource that you can use to send videos to clients or potential clients.
Picture this: you are talking to a potential client about how to squat properly. You offer to email them a great demo video you put together on how to squat. Not only do they think you went above and beyond, but they have the opportunity to see how knowledgeable you are and even like your Facebook page since it is in your email signature! Also, you now have their email address and can follow up with them. And when they're ready for a trainer, you will be their go-to man or woman.
13. Get on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the place to be for any profession, and personal trainers are certainly included. Join groups in your area. Make connections, introduce yourself and your business without selling anything. Fill out your profile page as completely as possible (feel free to brag about yourself a little), so that clients will see you as professional and reliable.
Here's how you can make the most of marketing on LinkedIn:
14. Pick Another Social Media Platform to Use
Pick a popular platform like Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. Then find other local bloggers and business owners in your area and follow them on social media. I think Twitter is the easiest to maintain and you can link it to your Facebook page so every time you post to FB it will also post to Twitter. Twitter is also a great way to stay informed on what is going on in your community and easily share other people's content.
Here's a pretty good article on how to get started on Twitter, from from Michael Hyatt: The Beginner's Guide To Twitter.
15. Write Guest Posts
Guest posting for a blog or recognized publication is one of the best ways to bring awareness to your business. It also gives you solid credibility and legitimacy. These articles will show off your knowledge and readers will see you as an authority. In turn, you will grown your own online audience and gain more leads.
16. Send a Pitch to Local Radio or a TV Station
Radio talk shows are great ways to market yourself!
If you have an idea for a great fitness show, whether for TV or radio, pitch it. If there is a willing provider, this would be an excellent boost to your business. You will likely improve your online audience and will start discussion among the public about your business. Your talk show can cover any aspect of fitness, but the most important aspect is that people get to know you and your personality.
17. Partner With a Local Nutritionist
Some people may think that partnering with your competition isn't wise. But there are several benefits you can gain when you work together with someone like a nutritionist.
You can create an online healthy living workshop or webinar together. The nutritionist will market to his or her customers and you will market to yours. It's a great way to share potential clients and get emails!
18. Offer Online Coaching or Consulting
This is a great solution for clients who always cancel or can only work out at certain times. You could have a package where clients meet with you in person once or twice a month while staying accountable through online coaching the rest of the month.
Or you can offer a completely online coaching or training program for clients who need accountability and support or just live far away but want to work with you. Here is where those exercise videos you created will really come in handy. By going online, you open up your market to a much wider range of people, allowing you to do a lot more business.
19. Offer an Affiliate Program
By offering an affiliate program, you are allowing someone else to market your products and services. People who promote your business receive the great incentive of either your services for free or a percentage of commission for the sale. The purpose is to strengthen your online presence, provide you with more clients, and make money when they sell what you offer.
20. Networking at Chamber of Commerce Meetings
The Chamber of Commerce is the perfect place to make connections with the top businesses in your area. If you can make connections and build professional relationships, you will legitimize your business within your area. Collect business cards and hand yours out, or offer Chamber members a free training session.
21. Start a Fitness Networking Group
Start a fitness networking group in your community or join one. This is a great way to meet other entrepreneurs in your field. If you refer your clients to a massage therapist or nutritionist, they will refer their clients to you. Social media is a great way to do this, such as Facebook groups. It's a win-win.
And if you want all of these tips in one easy place, check out this infographic. Feel free to embed it on your website!
How do you promote your personal training business? Share your tips below!