How to Get Your Personal Training Business Off the Ground

The day-to-day of building a new client base can be daunting. Chances are you’ve blindly thrown out a few lines hoping to get a bite. With any luck you have managed to attract a new client or two. The problem is, it’s not enough and you aren’t sure of what to do next. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. After all, you are a fitness professional, not a marketing guru.

The truth is, marketing is a necessary evil for any business, but it doesn’t have to be big, bad or scary. In fact, there are some simple steps you can take to get your marketing plan off the ground before trying more advanced techniques.

Word of Mouth

The most effective advertisement comes from word-of-mouth. Not only is this free, it can be easy to come by. The opportunities are everywhere; you

The obvious place to start is with the people you see at the gym; the people who see you every time you’re working out. But then there’s the people you don’t see every time you’re there. Strike up a conversation. See if they only work out a few times a week due to time limitations or if they think they aren’t seeing any improvement and are becoming discouraged. There may be an opportunity to help. just need to know where to look and who to ask.

Once you get a small client base. Help them help you. (Think Jerry McGuire – “help me, help you.”) They know you. They love you. They cherish your services. They may already be promoting your business, but if you give them an incentive, referral rates will skyrocket. A free or discounted training session could be the difference between just spreading a positive word and actually bringing you new clients.

Local Business Partnerships

From there look no farther than local businesses. Figure out where your clients go to get their hair done, tan, eat and so on. Other people who frequent these businesses are likely to be similar to your clients. Typically, small business owners like to help each other out. Build a relationship with them. Consider a local business networking group.

Boot Camps

Regularly hold boot camps or workshops. These are excellent opportunities to promote your services, increase clientele and add extra income in the process. Use the relationships you built with the small business owners to promote these events. Ask them to help you spread the word. Most of them will gladly post your flyers in windows or on message boards. Some of them may go even further by actively promoting your events to their clients. Just remember a relationship is a two way street. If they support your business, support theirs. Promote their business to your clients. If a client reaches their fitness goals – give them a gift card to one of your partners’ local businesses.

Cause Marketing

As a fitness professional and small business owner you are in a unique position to make an impact in your community. The more you give, the more you are engaged with the members of your community – the more your community will know you and want to help you succeed (though this shouldn’t be your only reason for being socially responsible. Always be genuine).

If you can implement some offline marketing strategies to meet new interesting people, marketing in general will feel less like a necessary evil. And, you may just develop some life-long friends who become long-lasting clients.

About

Angie Pattengale is co-owner and chief executive officer of the National Federation of Professional Trainers, where she works behind the scenes on relationship-building, advertising, policies and procedures, test development and delivery, and growing the business. She joined her father, NFPT founder Ron Clark, at the company in 1994.