Ultimate Success Secrets & Marketing for Personal Trainers
Have you ever wondered what the secrets to online business success for personal trainers are?
Especially when it comes down to online business setup and digital marketing for personal trainers and fitness coaches?
- Perhaps you have just recently completed your personal training certification and want to setup your personal training business.
- Or some of you may have already setup your business but are struggling to retain prospects let alone attract new ones.
- You could be currently training clients at a gym, but are looking for a way of freeing up your time while increasing your income and customer-base (yes it is possible!).
- Or maybe you are simply a complete novice to the fitness industry but are intrigued to hear the lowdown before deciding to take the leap into this new exciting industry?
Well, wherever you are on your personal training journey, this guide to business success and marketing for personal trainers will certainly help you to get started, if not inspire you.
Today, the fitness industry is becoming increasingly competitive; The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that fitness training will grow by at least 8 percent by 2024.
Therefore, to be a successful personal trainer in this competitive market it requires more than just a passion and qualification:
You need a bulletproof business strategy and a solid plan to stand out from the crowd.
The mission of this guide, is to take you, step-by-step, through a vast number of unique entrepreneurial tactics, inspirational campaign ideas and creative marketing tips, to help you on your way to becoming a successful professional personal trainer both on and offline.
What you must also recognize is the power of the online business model for your personal training business. When you incorporate the digital consumer into your business strategy, your scope multiplies. Not only will you be able to reach out to new local prospects where you operate as a personal trainer, but you can also branch out your personal training expertise online by offering services as online fitness coaching reaching to potential customers from all over the world. Additionally, investing in a presence on the web can also lead to further streams of income through selling workout plans, e-books, virtual online fitness trainer programs, and more. Who wouldn’t want to help more people, make more money and have more freedom? Can I have a ‘hell yeah’ if you would love the possibility of adding an extra $10,000+ to your passive income every month?
After reading this article, you will have the tools and techniques to hand ready to build or revamp your personal training business.
How to start a personal training business online:
While setting up or revamping your personal training business, you must take the time to plan for success by creating a personal training business plan. Or, if you are serious about keeping up with trends in the market and are ready to explore how to expand into the online side of your business, then you must also take the time to plan. After all, ‘failure to plan is planning to fail.’
However, before even thinking of creating your business plan for personal training, grab a scrap piece of paper to brainstorm some ideas. Start of by writing down everything that comes to mind when having a good think about the following three elements:
- Define your area of expertise
Before you even think of anything else, you need to determine your niche, especially if you want to be on top of the competition. Although it is often tempting in the early days, personal trainers struggle to prosper by being too general and taking on any client who applies for their services. This is detrimental to your success as a personal trainer as everybody has his or her own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to training. For example, someone who may be great at training a weight lifter for competitions may not be so good at training a long distance runner for an ultra-marathon. You need to recognize your skillset, be honest with yourself and only work with clients where you both achieve maximum benefit. Doing otherwise is not only unfair to the client, but it also gives you too many future headaches. Once you’ve identified a potential market, such as bodybuilding or weight loss, you need to then narrow down your audience even further. For example, new mums who want to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight, or busy accountants who want to build a set of abs.
- Define your ideal customers
Within the niche that you have chosen, you then need to define pockets of people who have specific frustrations, fears, motivations, interests, wants and desires. Make a list of these personality traits, characteristics and the demographics of your ideal customers. Create no more than three groups of clients that would benefit from your training style and expertise the most.
Defining your ideal buyer personas allows you to more easily create a set of workout templates to specifically meet their needs. This will save you time when assigning new clients, as you will already have a template ready to use.
- Determine your brand
The truth is, customers tend not to relate to generic businesses, but will put greater importance and trust into businesses that have a reputable brand. It is therefore so important to get your branding organised and finalised from the word go when starting out your business venture. Your company branding will help to build a memorable and profitable company, and not just a small business.
By picking out a signature look, and applying it across all aspects of your business, you create a uniformity that consumers can find appealing. Once you have decided on the logo design, theme and fonts for your branding, make sure you use it across all of your fitness presence to make your image look and feel consistent. Even the task of simply finalising a colour scheme for your brand can greatly impact your image; so make sure you are confident with all aspects of your final decision.
Your personal brand is what makes you unique when trying to stand out from competitors. Therefore take the time to think about what your unique selling proposition is based on your own life story or personality traits. Think about the look and feel of your brand when it is put in front of your ideal customers.
Finding names for a personal training business
Another task when determining your brand is finding names for a personal training business. Make sure you properly research your brand name before registering your business and ordering your marketing materials. Rather than choosing fancy business names for personal training, you can:
- Use your personal name and build a personal brand around your business.
- Find alternatives to “Personal Training” such as “Fitness”, “Health”, “Muscle”, “Endurance”, etc. to feature your specialized training.
- Choose a personal trainer name based on your location or your surroundings
- Read this great article for further inspiration and ideas on finding good personal trainer business names
Before making your concluding decision on the personal training names for business, it is important to carry out some final checks online. The following tools will help you during your search for personal training business names:
- Domain checker – choosing brand name based on URL availability
- Social media username checker – check if the brand name is available on social media platforms*
- Business name generator – discover new brand name ideas based around a key word or name
*Please note: when choosing an instagram name, for example, you may need to try using an under scroll ‘_’ or a full stop ‘.’ within the spaces of your brand name if it has been shown as taken. For example, the brand ‘Vibrant Yogini’ is able to use the handle ‘vibrantyogini’ on most social platforms. However on Instagram, they have had to use the handle ‘vibrant_yogini.’ This also applies when choosing a twitter name, and any other social media platform.
Personal training business plans
Once you have defined the above three elements during the business planning stage, you are then ready to create or update your personal training business plan. A business plan will help you turn your ideas into a business. The process of creating personal training business plans is often more important than the final document because it helps you define how every aspect of your business is going work.
Most personal training business plans on the Internet are based on the outdated traditional business setup. To help you plan for success in the 21st century and beyond, I have created a modern personal training business plan sample template for you to use instead.
To get hold of your copy, simply email me using the contact form at the end of this email, then download, print off and fill in both your personal training business plan pdf & the starting a personal training business checklist.
The “starting a personal training business checklist” that I have included for you can be used to keep track of your progress while setting up your personal training business.
Once you have created your business plan, go through it and start asking yourself questions, such as: Which tasks can I complete on my own? Where might I need help? Quite often, the marketing and accounting sides of a business are outsourced to specialists. Not only does this save you time, but also you will gain expert ideas and strategies that would have taken you a long time to figure out for yourself.
If you are still trying to decide what type of business model to adopt for your personal training business, the following article may help you:
Five Networking Tips For Business Success
Whether you are working online or offline, networking is king. The more you build your network, the more you will grow your personal brand.
When consumers are talking about your business, they are taking over the work of building your brand for you, for free. This won’t obviously happen automatically by itself, and you will need to put a bit of groundwork in beforehand. The key then, is to begin with creating client-business connections that will lead to positive word-of-mouth feedback.
Think about the last time you chose to use a product or service that was recommended to you by a friend, colleague or family member?
1) Attend networking events
Attending networking events will help you to gain a reputation as a knowledgeable personal trainer. You may pick up speaking opportunities at events and partnership opportunities, as well as advice on how to run the business side of your company. You might also get access to funding and investment, and boost your confidence at the same time.
2) Make alliances with the mavens in your area
Find out who the mavens are in your local area, i.e. the information specialists who we rely on to connect us with new information. For example, doctors can refer patients to you. Estate agents can suggest your services to new house buyers to the area, especially if you team up with by offering a monetary gift card for your training services to all new house buyers in the area.
3) Use social media to build a community and new connections
The ability to connect and communicate directly with a target audience on social media allows brands to build a solid fan base and grow their community easily. This provides plenty of networking opportunities to connect to new customers, as well as helping to nurture the relationship with current fans and followers. I will discuss social media for personal trainers later in this article.
4) Hangout where your ideal customer does
During the business setup stage, you defined who your target market is. Now its time to get your investigator hat on! Find out where your ideal customers spend their time. Go to these places yourself at every opportunity you get and start your networking to promote your services. If you’re training athletes, for example, find out where else they might be getting coaching. Get your name out in front of where your clients are by leaving a set of business cards in these places, are there advertising pin boards? Reception desks? Coffee tables you can leave them on? This tactic costs time, but zero money and is a blessing when you are starting out and have lots of time but not a lot of money.
5) Always keep a set of personal training business cards with you
One of the key offline marketing tools for your personal training business is having a set of business cards made up and printed ready to give out or show to your potential customers. Personal training business cards are NOT DEAD and are still used as a successful method to boost word of mouth advertising.
Even if people prefer to take a photo of the card to store on their phone, it is important that you have one created in the first place. Business cards help clients know you exist. The more creative and professional, the more likely people are to show interest.
It is vital that you stay prepared by having a few business cards in your purse or wallet; ready for making connections wherever you go. Whether you are at your child’s football game, attending the local farmer’s market or visiting the local spa, always be prepared to meet potential clients.
Personal training business cards ideas – 1: A great tactic is to write down an expiry date on your business card ready to hand out to new clients. As you pass the card over, you can tell them they get their first sessions at a discounted rate, or even offer it for half the usual time but for free. The expiry date for this deal creates a sense of urgency.
Personal training business cards ideas – 2: Another great tactic is to have a workout plan drawn on the back of your business card. Prospects are more likely to keep hold of the card for its usefulness, and hey presto you may be the first memorable name that comes to their mind in conversation about fitness. Check out these ideas on Pinterest for inspiration.
Consider other offline marketing collateral
As well as business cards, you may decide to get a brochure of your services printed to hand out to your target audience. For more information and advice on this, check out this guide on writing brochures that generate sales leads.
How to design your personal training business cards
One of the most cost-effective websites that I have been using for the last three years is Fiverr.com (affiliate link here). As the name suggests, you can source a vendor to do a task for you for a minimum of $5 USD.
It is important to that you spend time to search through all the vendors to find the most suitable designer. This is where I personally get specific. I would much sooner find a designer whose work looks similar to the type of style I am after. I also always choose a designer who has a minimum of 4.5 out of 5 stars with at least 10 written reviews.
Next, I contact my top five picks to get a feel for each of them before deciding on the vendor. I find that this method works well for me as I can then judge them on the following aspects:
- How fast they are able to communicate back with me.
- Their level of English.
- If I can barter a price or get extras thrown in.
If you haven’t already got a logo designed for your brand, you may decide to choose a designer who is able to create a logo design to your liking as well as a business card. This way you can easily ask for a discounted package deal.
Before you speak to the designer, you need to make a few important decisions about what you want to have on your business cards. To help you, here are five features you should make sure you have on your business card design:
- Your full name and business name if different.
- Branding: Your logo, tagline, colour scheme and font style/s.
- Your contact details – be specific here! For example, if you prefer using Whatsapp for communicating with clients, then put the whatsapp logo next to your number instead of a phone symbol.
- Your photo – place a head shot of yourself on the card so that you start to become familiar to potential clients and easily recognisable.
- Your website URL –this is explored in choosing a business name, so if you have skipped this section then please refer to it.
Once the designer has sent you the first draft, take a moment to think that when someone looks at your business card, would they have an idea of what your business is about and what service you offer? Don’t be shy on asking the designer for as many revisions as you need in order to make sure you are 100% happy with the final design.
Seven Advertising Campaign Ideas For Personal Trainers To Attract More Prospects
Now that you have a business plan, a brand and a set of business cards, it is time to start thinking creatively about ways to attract and secure your ideal customers. You must think about creating campaigns and deals that are hard to refuse. To help you, I have made a list of some of my most favorite and successful tried-and-tested campaign ideas.
- Automated fitness challenges online
Create a set of adverts on social media which directs customers to a landing page on your personal training website. Once a customer signs up, email automation should be in place to give away your freebie. Whether this is a months worth of workout plans where you send them free fitness coaching online everyday such as a workout routine and healthy meal plan, as well as advice and follow up emails to encourage them to stick to it. At the end of the email automation period, you can setup a final email with a hard-to-refuse offer to get in-touch for paid in-person personal training sessions. By initially giving away free advice, you are able to build trust with the customer and authority for yourself, which can boost conversions significantly.
- Partner package deals
Offer your customers the option to add a workout accountability partner to their personal training sessions. This will work especially well for customers who you haven’t heard from in a while. You can also use this tactic to offer potential customers the option to double up as a team to divide the cost of a personal training session between the two. Emphasize in advertising collateral that a workout partner is a surefire way to help people stick to their fitness program while lowering the total cost. By offering a versatile method of personal training, you will become accessible to families, couples and more.
- Seasonal programs
A great way to get prospective clients to pay attention to you is to offer special seasonal programs such as to lose a dress size within a specific time-frame for a formal event such as a wedding or Christmas ball, or even just to get beach-body-ready for a summer holiday. You can automate the send out of these offers to run monthly or seasonally throughout the year, along with special discount codes. Remind people that they can take advantage of short, uniquely priced programs, and who knows, they may end up converting into regulars.
- Pop-up clinic
Partner up with a local business where you specify a date and time that you are available to assess what prospects need to work on most as well as helping them to learn to do specific exercises properly. For private pop-up clinics, offer discount to those who take part on their first personal training session. For public pop-up clinics, offer discount to those who share the event on social media.
- The ‘everybody wins’ contest
Setup a double-reward referral program where you offer a small prize to anyone who brings you a paying customer. The prize can be a water bottle, sweat bands, low-cost event tickets, anything that you think your target market are likely to enjoy. Don’t stop there! You then enter them into a larger monthly or bi-monthly draw for a grander prize. This gives your customers even more incentive to bring potential clients your way.
- Send a pitch to local radio station
Think creatively for an idea that would work on a local radio station. For example, you can co-host and discuss all things fitness, asking listeners to phone in during a weekly timeslot on the show. The most important aspect is that people get to know you and your personality. This will help also define you as the local fitness expert. You can also offer a competition to win a free personal training session that will be given at the end of the 6-8 week feature. This is a great way to promote your business to a new audience.
- Focus on client relationships not mass marketing
The key is to avoid the one-time clients who are only looking for a one-off freebie. Instead, you need to cultivate a long-term relationship with a new prospect. A great way of doing that is by offering a special deal, only for beginners. Rather than offer a free session, you can offer the first five sessions at half price, and the option to buy another five at a 15% off. Over the course of those sessions, your client will get a taste of your personal training skills, and you’ll become a part of their routine. Before you know it, you have secured a new long-term client.
For even more ideas, check out the following articles:
Online Marketing Tips And Tactics
Nowadays, as a personal trainer, having an online presence will be one of the greatest assets for your business. Not only can you advertise to more potential clients than traditional methods, but adopting online strategies for your business also opens the gateway to allow you to setup additional passive income streams, such as becoming a fitness coach online.
According to the Worldwide Survey Of Fitness Trends for 2018, a growing number of personal trainers and other health and fitness professionals are now adopting wellness coaching and its principled techniques of behavior change into their client’s exercise sessions both on and offline.
When breaking into the online market, you must make every effort to persuade clients to want train with you. It is often easier said than done, especially when first starting out. However, I have made the mountain of a task a lot easier for you to succeed at with my three-step process outlined below.
The three key elements to online success for personal trainers:
Therefore, online marketing for personal trainers is absolutely essential. In order to succeed online, you will need to take into account the following online marketing tactics;
- You must convince customers of the benefits of using personal training services.
Remember, while you may be sold on the benefits of hiring a personal trainer, your potential customers may not be. You must answer the common questions that skeptical prospects may be asking such as:
“Do I really need a personal trainer?”
“Are personal trainers really worth it?”
“Difference in working out alone vs. personal trainer”
Your online marketing content must help persuade clients that they DO need a personal trainer, that personal trainers ARE definitely worth the cost in time and money, AND that it is more beneficial to work with a personal trainer than by yourself.
What’s more, building your business online means that you can tap into a new type of clientele who would prefer your online services rather than your in-person training. Nowadays, automation tools allow you to create an automated set of scheduled emails as soon as someone has signed up through your sales funnel. On your landing page, you can convince prospects by outlining the benefits of online training. For example:
- The client can complete their training plan from anywhere – great for those who find gyms intimidating.
- Online training is much more cost effective for the client than in-person training.
- Agreeing on a date and time is no longer an issue. Automation means the client can get on with the plan whenever suits them, rather than trying to find a timeslot with you.
- You must make sure that everybody knows you are a personal trainer.
Online marketing techniques will help you to increase your customer reach and get you in front of potential prospects. You can:
- Use optimal SEO tactics to get your website and content seen by heading towards the top of the first page in Google rankings for popular search terms.
- Utilize the power of social media by staying active on the different channels. Build a loyal following. The more active followers you get, the more business will roll in. Make sure that you put every effort in to cultivate a community.
- Get listed on the most popular online directories to maximize website referrals.
- Implement an eye-catching and attention-grabbing advertising campaign with a sales funnel to promote your personal brand and to build your email list.
- Leverage the use of social influencers who can recommend you to their large online following.
A personal trainer marketing service can help you get your name out there and do all the dirty work of seeking out contacts and promoting your personal trainer services, while you focus on what you do best: training!
- You must become the expert in your field.
Content is king when wanting to stand out against your competition online.
Therefore you must be sure to build authority by consistently creating and providing high quality rich content to convert website visitors into leads. Your online content needs to be powerful and engaging to grab your potential client’s attention within the first five seconds. This allows you to impress potential customers and can earn you a loyal following.
Sometimes, when starting out, it may be worth coaching a few family members, friends or strangers for free so that you can use their training programs, before and after images, and testimonials to create fresh content for your brand.
Many online fitness trainers fail to grab the attention from their ideal customers with their content. This is because they are too busy trying to impress their hero’s with their in-depth scientific knowledge about fitness. Rather than trying to seek approval from your online fitness idols, you should be busy serving your target audience. The subject, formatting, tone and language should be catered towards the people you want to help.
Fitness Marketing For Personal Trainers Using Social Media
Generally, all personal trainers should setup a Facebook and an Instagram account. Therefore I will be purely focusing on these two social media platforms in this section.
Facebook for Personal Trainers
Facebook is an excellent way of setting up and monitoring fitness group challenges for your clients to get involved in. However, with the latest algorithm, posts from business pages are no longer being favoured in users’ newsfeed. You may have already noticed a drop in engagement and visibility for your posts. This is because the average reach of a Facebook post is now only 7% (at best) of your existing audience. To overcome this, you now have two options to get your posts seen:
Boosting is the same as paid advertising. The benefits of this method is that it allows you create a custom audience based on your ideal client’s age, geography, interests, and any other commonalities you find between your ideal clients.
There are a few pointers you should following when setting it up:
- The optimal target audience should result in being about 10,000 people. Anything smaller than that would result in the advertising engine displaying ads outside of your target demographics to meet the spending quote.
- A good rule of thumb is to spend about $50 per boosted post. This will help ensure that the quality of your post is good enough to garner the results you’re looking for.
If you don’t have the budget to be spending on Facebook’s advertising fees, a great alternative is to get your clients’ permission to tag them in photos of life at your fitness studio.
This will give your post a better chance to be shown in the newsfeeds of your client’s friend’s for free!
The easiest way to do this is to connect both your business Instagram and Facebook accounts together.
Once you have published your images on Instagram, you can then tag yourself, your team, and your clients in the posts from Instagram after they are syndicated to Facebook.
Learn more about how to build an engaged community here.
Instagram for Personal Trainers
Instagram is a platform to primarily show lifestyle images of your business. Therefore allow your authenticity to shine thorough and stick with this philosophy on a daily basis.
Instagram stories is a powerful way of showing ‘behind the scenes’ footage of your work, as well as allowing clients and prospects to get to know you. If you do a great job of this, more potential clients will want the chance to work with you as they will feel like they already know you as a human, not just somebody hidden behind a screen.
Again, this works for Facebook stories too.
Another great tactic is to create short videos for your Instagram feed. To give you a bit of inspiration, here are some ideas of videos you can create:
- Instructional videos
- Client testimonials
- New client introductions
- Events or competitions
Personal Training Program Design Platform
Last but not least, there is an excellent personal training design platform you can use to create many different workout programs for your clients.
If you are a trainer who spends too much time writing programs then this is perfect for you!
Private and semi-private personal training is great but it can have some limitations:
- Time – there are only so many hours in the day that you can train.
- Cost – there could be a financial barrier for many of your potential customers.
- Staff – if you don’t have the staff you would only be able to see so many clients per day.
The design platform will help you to quickly design professional looking programs to send to clients using the many different templates and done-for-you exercise videos.
The creator, Fred Zellor, explains why he decided to invent the platform:
When I finally decided to go out on my own and start my own fitness facility, one of the major challenges I faced was the lack of TIME. It was very difficult to train for 8-12 hours per day, manage the business and then do 2-3 hours more of programming. This did not even include all the administrative work as well.Quite honestly, I was often behind when it came to designing programs, which forced me to make up some of my workouts on the spot and decreased results for my clients, slowly diminishing my level of professionalism.
The complete product set includes the following:
- Expert Program Design Software: The software is in an MS Excel workbook that is very neat and easy to use. It is compatible with any type of computer. A Google sheets version is also included!
- Expert Program Design Seminar: The nuts and bolts of designing fitness programs in a 45-minute video with slideshow presentation.
- Understanding Periodization E-Book: How to structure your programs with 1-day through 5-day options including options for unlimited session package programs
- Understanding Regressions E-Book: Understand good starting points for all major movement patterns and regressions for the most common exercises.
- 5 Dynamic Warm-Up Templates: enhance the performance of your clients
- Complete Dynamic Warm-Up E-Book: Learn strategies to upgrade your warm-ups
- Elite Coaching EBook: Learn 31 different strategies to take your coaching to a higher level.
- Video library of over 320 exercise videos: awesome for training your staff, not too technical but to the point. They are divided up into different movements so that they are easy to find. Everything is covered,.
- 11 x large group workout templates: All you have to do is create your warm-up and workouts by selecting the exercises with the easy to use dropdown list boxes.
All of these products together are valued at over £1000 GBP. However, as a special promotional offer, you can currently purchase the entire set for £111 GBP / $149 USD
Be prepared to work extremely hard during the early days of starting an online personal training business. This is especially relevant if you are transitioning from being a purely offline personal trainer, to then branching out to offer online fitness coaching services on the Internet.
Before you create your business marketing plan, it will be useful to check out the following articles:
>> Business Startup Consulting – 6 Common Marketing Mistakes To Avoid
>> 8 Of The Latest Digital Marketing Advantages
Creating high quality online content takes a lot of time and effort! Even for simply posting workout tips and inspiration for other fitness fanatics. It is therefore a smart business move to hire the services of an online marketing consultant who can take much of the weight from your shoulders when trying to build an online presence, especially while still maintaining a relatively full client load in the gym. Just like the fitness industry, the online marketing industry is constantly evolving. Therefore hiring a marketing consultant will give you peace of mind that your marketing efforts are kept inline with the latest trends, as well as being able to up-level your business to not only create more income streams, but to grow your audience and client base too.
To setup an initial consultation by phone, please fill in the following contact form:
In your message, please also include the following:
- Your full name and business name
- A brief overview of your:
- current marketing activity
- desired business goal
- target market and industry
- If available, any budget range and specific timescales.
Reasons to register:
- Exclusive special offers and discounts
- Additional industry marketing news updates for fitness, health and wellness businesses.