When you set up as a personal trainer you will need to market your business. But where should you start? You may have all the qualifications you need to offer personal training or run a gym, but most people who start a business have little experience of marketing and are working to a limited budget.
A marketing plan is a good place to start, as it will help you set out your priorities, where to spend any budget and which marketing activities can bring in revenue without costing the earth.
What do I put in my marketing plan?
You may already have some of the information you need in your business plan (see our blog: Starting Your Personal Training Business – Writing a Business Plan).
This will include:
- Setting out a mission statement
- Outlining your goals
- Establishing your USP (unique selling point) and target market
- Finding any gaps in the market
- Identifying who your competitors are
You should then set out your marketing strategy and how you plan to monitor the success of your marketing activities. For example, if you send out an email newsletter, you can monitor how many people open it, how many click through to view your services and whether any of them follow up by contacting you and converting to customers.
Create an online presence
Online activity is a quick and easy way to promote your business, for example:
- Website – a simple page is fine to start with, setting out what you offer and your qualifications and approach
- Blog – use your knowledge to create a blog with useful articles on health and fitness
- Facebook page/Twitter Feed – keep it professional and aimed at clients
- Instagram – a great way to show visual results, from images to video
- LinkedIn – a good place to post advice and links to professional articles
Don’t forget, people buy from people – and this is especially true in the case of services like personal training – so develop a professional but approachable online identity.
Should I start a newsletter?
Newsletters can be a good way to stay in touch with clients or attract new ones (see our blog: Personal Training – Newsletter Promotion).
However, bear in mind that if you send your newsletter out by email, only a small percentage of people are likely to open it, so you will need to balance this with the time it takes to put the newsletter together.
What about printed material?
There’s no point paying for a glossy brochure if you have a limited budget and are not aiming at the very top end of the market.
However, printing a batch of flyers announcing your new business with an introductory offer can bring a good return on investment. There are also companies that will door drop flyers to carefully targeted post codes to suit your demographic.
If you’re working through a gym, you could ask permission to distribute flyers and put up a poster advertising your services.
Shop around, as print is a competitive field. Some printers also offer design, and it can save you money to get several printing jobs done at once, eg flyers and business cards.
With any printed material, make sure you get a second person to read it through for spelling and grammatical errors before it goes to print.
Is paid advertising worth the outlay?
Marketing pioneer John Wanamaker famously said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
If you want to go down the route of paid advertising, make sure you analyse the results. Whether you’re putting an ad in a magazine or boosting a post on Facebook, include a special offer and you can monitor how many people take this up.
How do I get free publicity?
A press release to local newspapers and magazines can sometimes bring results, especially if there’s a good story behind your start-up business. Perhaps you have overcome adversity in some way, are targeting a neglected market (older people, those recovering from injuries) or are bringing a derelict building back into use by converting it into a gym.
Word of mouth
Finally, don’t underestimate the impact of word of mouth. Ask your friends, family and colleagues to talk about and share information on your new business. Chat to people you meet about what you do. Investigate local networking groups – you may have to pay to join some of them but there are usually free events too.
Ask your existing clients for a testimonial – a short quote that can be used on printed material and online.
As there are so many options for marketing your business, you might find it helpful to try two or three to start with and monitor their success compared with the cost – in money and your time.