Our latest blog covers some of the ways that a personal trainer or fitness instructor can attract new clients.
A newly qualified personal trainer can find it quite daunting seeking out clients and even a long-serving fitness professional may not feel comfortable approaching people randomly in the gym.
As with any other business, personal training is all about making contacts. Equally, it will help to have a marketing and sales strategy, rather than simply setting up in business and hoping customers will flock to you.
Before you start, you need to decide what sort of customer you want to target. Are you looking to work with affluent professionals or elite sports people who are less concerned about cost and more about results? Or do you want to hold regular classes for all, which attract large numbers at low prices? If you’d like to work with several different groups, you may need to market yourself in several different ways.
Define your USP
This may be your qualifications, experience or specialist areas you’ve worked in, such as weight loss or rehabilitation.
The price is right
Many people starting out in business charge too little for the time they put in and the expertise they offer, which can encourage others to undervalue their services. Find out the going rate for one-to-one personal training sessions and classes in your area and base your fees on the benefits to your clients rather than trying to put a price on your own time.
Discount packages can bring in new customers and encourage clients to work with you over several sessions, which will better allow them to see the long-term benefits of personal training. It will also allow you to plan a structured periodisation programme, which will bring better results for the client, motivate them to attend training sessions and show that you are putting some thought into their personal fitness development.
Free personal training sessions
Offering a free assessment or consultation, for example BMI checks or body fat and composition tests, will allow you to benchmark a potential client’s fitness levels, identify their goals and explain the benefits of your personal training services.
Market your services
Marketing can be achieved through online activities or printed material. Both have their positives and drawbacks and are best used in tandem.
Create a website – Every business today needs a website, whether it’s to attract potential clients online or to show your professionalism to those you meet who want to find out more about your personal training services. Once you have decided on your business name and domain name, you can start by using an online template and then develop your website, adding images, video and content over time, including blogs and testimonials.
Include your contact details clearly on the home page and make sure your website is simple, clean and easy to navigate.
Your copy should explain the benefits of your services to the client. Put yourself in their shoes: if you were looking for a personal trainer, what information would you want to know first?
An essential part of any marketing strategy today, social media allows you to:
- Communicate directly with potential clients
- Get your message out in your own words
- Conduct market research, quickly and easily
- Encourage clients to promote what you do
Many businesses worry about the time social media activities will take, but ignoring social media is like turning down a free advert in a newspaper because you can’t set aside the time to write the copy for it.
Twitter – allows you to post offers or insights on personal training, to chat with potential customers and to add links to fitness-related news stories.
LinkedIn – gives you a professional face, shows your expertise and helps direct potential customers to your website, especially if you include the relevant key words in your profile.
Facebook – gives you a forum for relevant discussions and allows clients to post messages about the benefits of your personal training services.
There are other useful sites – if you are unsure about using social media for business, it’s worth talking to a social media specialist, who can get you started and give you advice.
Brochures and flyers
Professional printed material doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Brochures and flyers can be left at local gyms, sports centres, community centres, churches and other venues. They can also be delivered door to door, distributed with a magazine or handed out to people you meet.
Distribute your flyers where your target audience will see them. If it’s elite athletes, it’s better to leaflet sports facilities than drop flyers door to door.
Key things to remember:
- Choose a striking image
- Come up with a memorable marketing message/strap line that shows the benefits for the client
- Include any qualifications or skills that make you stand out
- Include a special offer on presentation of the brochure – this will also help you to measure its impact
- Add a call to action at the end
- Read through the copy carefully before it goes to print – you don’t want spelling mistakes or errors in your prices and contact details
Word of mouth/testimonials/referrals
Once you’re established, word of mouth, testimonials and referrals from satisfied customers will help you win new clients. A few lines on the benefits they have seen from working with you can have a lot of impact.
If you’re starting out as a personal trainer, you could always offer a few free sessions to clients in order to build up testimonials for your marketing flyers or website.
Offer a referral service, such as refer a friend in return for a free session, to give your client an incentive to mention your services to others.
Establish strategic partnerships
Partnering with large companies, hotels, community centres and other venues can bring benefits for both sides. Staff will value companies that offer free or discounted personal training sessions or fitness classes and the business will benefit from happier, healthier, more productive staff, who are less likely to take time off because of illness or injury.
Use the personal touch
If you get a lead, give them a call. Working with a fitness instructor is a very personal decision and it will give you a chance to build up a rapport. They will appreciate the personal touch and it will give them a chance to ask any questions they may have.