With the tremendous growth of the health and fitness industry over the past few years, choosing to become a personal trainer can be an extremely lucrative career path. But when bills are on the horizon and you still don’t have your first paying client, many newcomers can feel discouraged and give up too soon.
Many new personal trainers make the mistake of assuming that once you’ve earned your personal training certification, clients will start pouring in. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Without an effective marketing plan, no one’s going to know about your services, no matter how great you are.
Luckily, there are a ton of effective marketing strategies you can implement today so you can start landing clients and establish yourself as an authority in the field.
Here are 25 effective personal training marketing strategies that can help jump-start your career.
1) Write for Industry Blogs to Increase Authority
A great personal training marketing strategy to showcase your expertise in the health and fitness space is to write for reputable media outlets. Make a list of various websites and magazines in the industry and reach out to the person in charge of content. Then, pitch them your idea for an article to post on their website.
When someone comes across your article, you’re automatically seen as a fitness authority and readers who resonate with you will turn into paying clients.
2) Build an Email List
In the marketing world, there’s a saying, “the money is in the list.” As a personal trainer, building your email list can end up being your number one client acquisition asset.
To start building your email list: Create a simple freebie and give it to people online in exchange for their email address. This can be done by creating a simple “squeeze page” where people will opt-in to your email list to receive your free product.
You don’t have to spend too much time creating your freebie. A simple checklist showing the do’s and don'ts of exercise or an eBook about how to create an effective workout plan is more than enough.
3) Send Frequent Emails
Email is the most personal medium that exists and will help you stay top of mind with your prospects.
Reports have shown that consumers prefer email over social media for brand communication, and readers are much more inclined to work with you when they see you offering your services over email.
Many personal trainers make the mistake of not maintaining a consistent email schedule. When done correctly, you can send frequent emails that readers will look forward to reading. Consider crafting an email marketing strategy that provides value and establishes a connection instead of sending out promotional emails every time.
4) Engage with Clients on Social Media
Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, starting (and continuing) the conversation with people who interact with you on social media is crucial.
Engaging with clients on social media will help demonstrate your expertise in the fitness field, which can turn readers into long-term clients. Answer any questions they have and try to provide as much value as possible in every conversation.
5) Ask for Referrals the Right Way
Your current clients are most likely busy and will forget to recommend your services if there’s no incentive. Instead of simply asking clients to refer you to one of their friends or family, consider making your referral strategy mutually beneficial.
A great way to do this is by offering a free session or giving them a valuable article in exchange for a referral. This way, both you and the client will benefit from the referral. For example, you can give clients for free the eBook you normally charge people for as an incentive. Or, consider offering them a workout plan they can follow in exchange for a referral. This way, they can keep working toward their fitness goals even when you’re not around.
6) Utilize Cross-Referrals
There are tons of other health and fitness professionals that don’t necessarily work with exercise or workout programs.
Reach out to other professionals in the space such as chiropractors, nutritionists, physical therapists, or massage therapists and ask them if they have any clients who are looking for personal training services. More often than not, they have at least one client who they’d be more than happy to refer to you.
7) Create a Hyper-Focused Niche
A great way to stand out in the personal training industry is by narrowing down your niche and catering to a laser-targeted audience.
For example, if you’re proficient in helping elderly adults build muscle with home workouts, consider making this your core service as a personal trainer. Not only will you become an authority faster, but you’ll have clients reaching out to you because your services are exactly what they need.
8) Build a Great Community That Provides Value
Social media allows you to build a community of raving fans who share similar values as you. A successful personal trainer brings their clients together and builds upon each other’s energy.
Creating a Facebook Group is a great place to start. Encourage your clients to interact with each other to celebrate successes, and you can even consider hosting meetups every so often to build a closer relationship with your clients.
9) Establish Loyal Clients
Word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways to get more clients, so it’s important that you establish a strong connection with each and every one of your clients.
Being passionate and friendly and helping people reach their goals will help you develop a stronger bond, turning one-time sessions into long-term clients.
10) Apply to Every Personal Training Directory
Do a simple Google search and you’ll find that there are tons of personal training directory listings to help you get more exposure and allow your services to be seen by more people.
Not all directories will accept your listing, so it may take a little more effort. Just like most marketing strategies, it’s a numbers game, and the more directories you sign up for, the higher the chances are that you get accepted to them.
11) Add Testimonials to Your Website
When people are browsing around for personal training services, they’ll often look at reviews from past clients. Make it a habit to ask for a written or video review from each and every one of your clients to post on your website.
Prospects who land on your website and see these testimonials will see that others have had a good experience working with you and will be more inclined to sign up for your services.
12) Give Out Business Cards and Brochures
Pass out pamphlets and business cards that describe your services and how you can help clients reach their health and fitness goals. Reach out to other health and wellness businesses, such as health food stores, chiropractic offices, or yoga studios, and ask them if they can place a stack of your business cards somewhere in their store.
13) Focus on Your Professional Image
Your presentation online and offline should maintain a professional look to show others you are a legitimate personal trainer. The fitness space isn’t a “suit and tie” industry but avoid wearing tacky gym gear such as cutoff sleeves and backward hats.
Your professional image should also carry into the online space. When you’re taking headshots for your website or during videos, try looking as sharp as possible. Prospects will see you as more authoritative and trustworthy, inspiring them to want to work with you.
14) Offer Package Pricing
Offering discounts on packages such as “buy 4 sessions, get 1 free” is a great way to utilize your existing client base and encourage them to work with you long-term. It’s much easier to sell to clients you’re already working with compared to prospects who are still on the fence.
15) Partner With Other Health Businesses
There are tons of different local health businesses you can leverage to help market your services. For example, you can check out your local coffee shop, yoga studio, or nutritional supplement store and pitch them a partnership deal.
You can either work on a mutually beneficial relationship where you recommend their product or service while they do the same for you or, consider giving them a percentage for every referral they send over.
16) Use New Fitness Tech and Encourage Clients to Use It
Fitness technology is growing rapidly in 2019. From smartwatches to new workout equipment, people are becoming more interested in finding personal trainers who can craft workout plans based around new tech.
Invite prospects to try out new workout gear to get them interested in working with you. Or, for your existing clients, adapt your exercise plan to cater to their technology such as smartwatches. This gives them even more of a reason to stay with you as a long-term client.
17) Brand Your Personal Training Approach
Branding your specific exercise strategy is a great way to separate yourself from the hundreds of other personal trainers competing for clients.
Instead of giving them a simple “weight loss workout,” consider putting a twist on it, making a name for it, and promoting it as your own specialized exercise program. Not only does it sound more appealing to your clients, but it’s much easier for them to remember a unique name which leads to more referrals from friends and family.
18) Offer a Free Class
If you’re struggling to get clients and time is on your side, offering free trials is a great way to start getting people interested in your services. This will help get the ball rolling with referrals as well as testimonials for prospects who are on the fence.
19) Teach in a Group Setting
Training group classes can create a great community atmosphere and gives you the opportunity to market yourself to a larger audience instead of relying on one-to-one interactions. Reach out to gyms in your area and ask them if they have any openings to host a group session. Then, you can market your services to the entire class at the end of the session.
20) Start a Facebook Business or Fan Page
A Facebook fan page is a great platform to share educational posts with your clients and prove your expertise. Creating your own valuable content and interacting with your fans is a great way to increase exposure to your services.
Develop a content calendar and consistently provide entertaining, inspiring, and informational posts to your fans. This will help you stay top-of-mind, so when prospects are ready to start working with a personal trainer, you’ll be the first person they think of.
21) Create Your Own Personal Trainer App
There are various personal trainer apps that allow you to brand them as your own. Through your app, your clients can message you directly, browse your library of workouts, and use it as a central hub for your personal training services. This makes it fun and easy for clients to work with you while, at the same time, keeping you more organized.
22) Develop a Consistent Content Marketing Strategy
Writing and publishing content on your own website is one of the most effective ways to bring clients in. You can then promote your articles using paid advertising or share it on your social channels to increase the amount of traffic and visitors who see your articles.
This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise in the industry, which builds trust and credibility to your services.
23) Go to Local Meetups and Events
With the rise in social media, it’s important to not forget about personal connections! Search for meetups in your area that are in the health and fitness space and make it a regular habit to attend these events to develop relationships with future clients. Or, you can hold an event to speak on a topic related to your personal training services and, at the end, offer to book people for a session.
24) Create Facebook Ads for Client Acquisition
Facebook ads are all the rave these days and for good reason. If you have some spending money for advertising, you can target the exact demographic you’re looking to work with and promote your personal training services to them. This is a great way to start increasing your brand awareness and getting your offer in front of the right prospects.
25) Be Yourself and Show Your True Personality
Last but not least, being yourself is perhaps one of the best ways to magnetize prospects to your services. People resonate with others who open up to their audience and make genuine connections. Not only will you attract your dream clients, but it’s also much easier to maintain a consistent posting schedule on social media when you aren’t trying to sugarcoat everything.
Getting Clients as a Personal Trainer Requires a Proper Marketing Strategy
Whether you’re just starting out as a personal trainer trying to land your first client or you’re a seasoned veteran looking to take their business to the next level, marketing should be a top priority.
The need for personal trainers is growing steadily and there’s no signs of it slowing down any time soon. But with the increase in demand, competition for personal training clients is inevitable.
No matter how great your services are, without a marketing plan set in place, getting your name out there in the sea of personal trainers can feel close to impossible.
By choosing a few of the personal training marketing ideas in this article and spending some time every day putting them into action, you’ll be on the right track toward landing more clients for your personal training business!