Top Five Marketing Strategies for Personal Trainers

marketing ideas

Getting new clients is one of the most challenging aspects of the business that I hear about from other personal trainers. As trainers, our skill sets and our passion revolves around coaching people to become the best versions of themselves possible.

Sometimes we focus so much on the training portion of the job that we neglect the most important part of any business…getting clients.

The good news is you don’t need a degree in marketing to start implementing these tips to grow your business and you can start most of these right now for very little investment.

1. Get Listed 

There are numerous directories that potential clients can search to find you and your services. Most of the directories are free to list with and will allow potential clients to search within a geographic area for fitness professionals. The NFPT has a directory and this is the first place I’d suggest getting listed. Another directory that I’ve experienced positive results with has been IdeaFit.

2. Bring a Friend 

Inviting your current clients to bring a friend to try out a training session with them is a great way to not only introduce a new person to your services but the social proof of their friend training with you too can help make a new sale. It is important to not let your clients abuse this and bring the same friend over and over. If this scenario presents itself offer them a partner training package that is cheaper per person but will generate more revenue for the hour for you. You can invite your clients to bring a friend verbally or if you want to make the experience more memorable you can print out a “bring a friend coupon” or something similar to hand to your client. People value being given things more than being told, its human nature.

3. Become the Local Expert

In order to give yourself a leg up on the competition position yourself as the local authority on fitness. There are a few ways that you can do this and each is effective in its own way. Being a local authority and having others promote you and your services is often more effective than if you tell people yourself.

  • Newspaper – Reach out to the local newspapers and let them know you are available to be a source for any reporters looking for quotes on fitness. If you want to take this one step further you could pitch an article to the editor and potentially write it yourself and get published. It is important to come up with an interesting story that has a hook and is relevant to their readers. Simply restating fitness information without putting your own unique spin on it will likely not get their attention.
  • TV News – The TV news and morning shows are always looking for content to fill air time. One of my nutritionist friends does a weekly nutrition segment on the local news in Kansas City and has done very well for herself as a result.  You can pitch anything from a fitness tip, cooking demo, a quick bodyweight workout for when someone is traveling, etc.
  • Word of Mouth- Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to position yourself as an expert. Just about anytime someone I know thinks of health or fitness my name is usually the first that pops into their head. In order to become the first person someone thinks about you need to provide value to their lives. They don’t necessarily need to train with you, but they should benefit by knowing you, whether it is being willing to answer questions they have, posting informative content on your social media, and certainly living the life that you preach.

4. Identify Mavens

A maven is a trusted and well known person in the community who can be a valuable source of referrals. A maven doesn’t have to necessarily be someone who holds a position of power like a mayor, but someone who knows, sees, and interacts with a lot of people on a daily basis. For example a hairdresser, a local radio personality, or even the barista at your local coffee shop can be a maven. These people tend to talk to a lot of people everyday and if you help them lose a few pounds or increase their energy levels they will be glad to tell the world about you. One strategy would be to offer to work with them for free, either on your down time or add them to a group class you have so you’re not investing any extra time, and once they see the value you bring they can then happily refer people to you.

5. Invest in Yourself and Your Education

As a trainer we are our product. The knowledge and skills that we have to get our clients to their goals is what we are compensated for. We are not being paid for spending an hour with someone, rather the value we bring to that hour. This is one of the reasons that it is important to continue to invest in yourself and your education. If a new potential client has the choice between someone with a regular personal training certification or someone with multiple certifications and advanced education…all other factors being the same… who do you think they will choose? The NFPT offers numerous advanced courses to take your education to the next level. Additionally, having various designations and initials after your name on your business card informs potential clients that you are highly credentialed and can probably do the best job at helping them reach their goals.

These quick tips are fairly easy and inexpensive to implement but can make all the difference when you’re trying to grow your business and attract new clients. Give them a try and let us know what works for you.


Mike Kneuer is a professional health and fitness coach and retired pro physique athlete in Boca Raton, FL. He is passionate about health and fitness and helping others make positive life changes. Mike holds numerous advanced training certifications included 2 nutrition certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the International Sports Sciences Association. He has helped thousands of people around the world change the way they think about eating healthy foods and helped them reach their health and fitness goals by posting every meal he's eaten since 2012 on (@WhatMikeEats)
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