Only too often, we imagine personal trainers as the big, muscle-bound type with inflated muscles, popping steroids and protein pills to butch up…

Reality is another story: a personal trainer is in the wellness business, using his or her specific knowledge and skill sets to motivate their client, support them physically and emotionally and help them achieve their fitness goals.

A personal fitness instructor is there to guide their clients toward self-fulfilment and helps them accomplish what they set out to do.

Come to think of it, you could do with a few clients to guide and help, couldn’t you? Having clients is a basic requirement when starting a personal training business.

Superprof’s mini-guide to establishing yourself as a home fitness trainer is here to help you with the marketing strategies and networking tactics to help you establish a client base get your new business on its feet.

Simple Tips to Improve Your Marketing Strategy and Grow Your Business as a Fitness Instructor

Learning the fitness business doesn’t always equip you to promote yourself and set up advertising strategies. But if you want to grow your business, you will have to learn to:

  • Use SEO tools to dominate Google searches.
  • Choose partners (associations, gyms or companies) who share your values
  • Set up referral programmes
  • Use promotions and special prices to encourage fidelity
  • Make your relationship with your clients an ongoing one
  • Find the right platforms to grow your visibility and reach your target market

Learning About “Personal Branding” for your Personal Training Business

Personal branding is all about creating and marketing a brand - and that brand is you. To set up your brand consider these three pillars of business marketing:

  • Know yourself: make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, what defines you, what you are passionate about, what types of fitness training you specialize in, what makes you special. Do you specialise in boot camp-like motivational training or another niche sport? Or do you focus more on nutrition? Makes sure your ads show who you are and what sets you apart from other coaches.
  • Get known: Build your network, learn to promote yourself with social media marketing, put up ads and increase your visibility
  • Get recognised: Make sure people remember who you are and what you offer. Be that “girl on the flyer I saw”, build up other platforms to lead potential clients to your personal training qualifications.

This means putting your name out there and using your experiences as a home fitness professional as advertising material.

You may also want to list some personal trainer essential qualities you possess...

Attract clients with flyers and leaflets.
You will need to pring advertising material about your personal training business to attract clients. Photo credit: B Tal on Visual Hunt

Learn to Market Your Image as a Trainer

Before going off willy-nilly and printing hundreds of flyers and setting up a trainer website, let’s take stock of your project’s feasibility:

  • What’s the state of the competition? How many other fitness instructors are operating in your area? Is there a health club or fitness center where you can recruit clients?
  • What demand might there be in your neighbourhood, city or region? Who are you targeting with your marketing tactics, what is the marketplace like for your skills?
  • How can you improve the health and fitness of those living in this area? What sort of fitness programs can you offer? Does it have good running paths or lots of little low walls you can use as a sort of fitness parkour? Do people walk or bike a lot, or is it a business- or commuter-area with a lot of stressed-out employees?
  • What sort of prices could you ask? Is it more of a low-income or high-income neighbourhood?
  • What sort of revenue do you need to succeed?

There are business plan consultants who can help you assess the viability of your business plan and can help a beginner entrepreneur with the next steps to managing a successful small business, from bookkeeping to taxes to financing to where you need to register and what sort of insurance you should get…

Create a personal trainer website to attract clients.
Create a website to promote your personal trainer business. Photo credit: Cards and Doodles on Visual Hunt

Then you should establish a marketing plan:

  • Sell your name like it was a trademark: print up flyers or leaflets and business cards to distribute anywhere potential clients lurk: find a gym with a corkboard or willing to have your flyers available at the desk, talk to people at sports events…
  • Create a trainer website detailing who you are, what you offer, how to contact you and the price of your training sessions. Consider hiring a professional in website design or use a content management system like WordPress to design and update your website yourself. Consider writing blogs to increase activity on your site and help with its search engine optimization. (Blogging is time-consuming, though, so consider it carefully before you start writing…)
  • Make sure all your advertising material details your specialisations: helping athletes recover from injuries, instructing in the proper use of fitness equipment, nutritional advice, cardio workouts, triathlon coaching…
  • Develop a social media strategy: post to social media platforms regularly to gain a following and thus potential clients. Whether you are using Facebook (have you considered Facebook advertising?), Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Viadeo, Flickr, Slideshare or Instagram: make sure important information on your courses and prices get relayed.
  • Invest in a good photograph of yourself to put on your advertising material. The personal fitness industry is one in which personality and compatibility between coach and client play an important role.

Deciding where to train

If you decide to specialise in at-home personal training, you will only need to invest in the fitness equipment necessary for your sports.

But if you also want to offer group fitness lessons, you will have to factor in more money for renting a studio; or you could team up with other fitness instructors and share a space. You can also ask existing studios if you can rent their space - saving on some equipment costs - or if a fitness centre will let you work with private clients on their premises.

Also discover what certifications personal trainers need to have...

Learn Search Engine Optimisation to Improve Your Digital Marketing Strategies

There are many ways to make sure your website comes up high in the Google rankings:

  • When writing content for your website, try to include as many possible search keywords as you can to generate interest from the trawling bots.
  • Use links - to other pages on your website, to other websites with relevant content…
  • Post pictures on your website with content-relevant names
  • Update your website regularly (this is why a blog is a good idea).

Your first blog topic may be how to train to become a personal trainer...

Other aspects of online marketing

You can also try search engine marketing tools such as Google ads. Google analytics will help you analyze the traffic from your website so you can see where people came from - your Facebook page, a Google search, a linking partner…

You might also want to contact large businesses in the athletic or fitness industry to see if they are willing to sponsor you in some way, offer link exchanges etc. Try to get onto online lists of personal trainers near you - or websites such as Superprof targeted at independent coaches and tutors looking for clients.

Use internet marketing on social media - post content that underscores your competence. You can post a nutritional infographic or a workout plan on Pinterest (with the link to your website on it!), offer daily fitness tips on Twitter, tape an exercise sequence forYouTube video marketing or post motivational stories on Facebook - anything that will attract attention to your brand and consolidate your potential client base.

Find Strategic Partners to Boost Awareness of Your Product

Contact large firms and industries near you and ask if they are interested in providing fitness options to their employees - from special exercises for office employees seated all day in front of the computer to a workout routine tailored to assembly line workers who stand all day and make repetitive movements - emphasize the importance of a healthy workforce for a successful company.

Get online tutoring jobs on Superprof.

Martial arts for businesses could boost your client base.
You can consider offering special fitness programs for firms - for example, self-defence. Photo credit: The Adventures of Kristin & Adam on Visual Hunt

Even if it’s just a one-day event as part of their summer cookout, these are potential new clients just waiting to hear of your existence!

Also look for influential partners with a large clientele of their own who would be likely to recommend you to people looking for a personal trainer - doctors, pharmacists, sports shops, real estate agents… Offer them a free session so they can tell their own clients all about you - and who knows, maybe you’ll gain a GP or a pharmacist as a client as well.

You may also consider setting up a profile with Superprof. Superprof is a platform that specialises in helping to find jobs for ex teachers!

Set Up a Referral Rewards Marketing Campaign

Offer reduced rates or other promotional goodies (a free exercise mat, for example) to clients who recommend you to friends or family. A small business owner thrives on word-of-mouth, so make a referral rewards program part of your strategic marketing plan.

Encourage clients to write testimonials for your website or post them on social media. You can sponsor contests through Facebook in which people enter by commenting or sharing your post.

Encourage Client Fidelity With Promotional Offers

One universal adage of marketing is that it costs five times less to keep a client than to acquire a new one.

So take good care of your loyal clientele!

Some tips for rewarding loyal clients

Think about a rewards program for those who stick with you. A discount on a ten-session stamp card, for example; or you could offer little keychains or, even better, a step counter with your name on it so they think of you wherever they go.

Loyalty cards help boost your fitness trainer business.
Take an example from this coffee shop - offer rewards to loyal customers of your personal trainer business. Photo credit: duncan on Visual Hunt

Consider an upgrade to “gold client” after three years, with discounts, free access to your exercise videos or a free nutrition consultation.

Have a yearly client party so your clients meet new people and understand that you value their loyalty.

Keeping Your Clients Outside of Marketing Channels

Effective marketing aside, don’t forget that your clients are people and that the best way to keep them is to take care of them.

Try to be flexible with scheduling and understanding of last-minute emergencies. Take the time to get to know them and adapt their personal training to their skills and needs.

During a training session:

  • Be kind and attentive
  • Be sympathetic - getting stress factors out in the open will give them a sense of release and allow them to concentrate on their training
  • Be aware of what your client is saying - both out loud and with their body. Stress might be evident through tense muscles, tiredness through disjointed sentences.
  • Make sure the workout stays safe and that they don’t injure themselves because they didn’t realise how stressed-out they really were.
  • Create a calm atmosphere: use music or simply speak in a calm and measured voice
  • Create an atmosphere of trust: call them by their first name, be cheerful and make small talk
  • Encourage them and motivate them when they are experiencing difficulties
  • Praise them when they make progress

These simple strategies will help you grow and keep new clients. Superprof is ready to play its part in getting you known!

Now discover this beginner's guide to being a personal trainer...

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