Here, we cover every method of promotion that is available to a personal trainer. The goal is to reach potential clients. If you have a free hour, work on any one of these to increase your number of clients.
What Is Your Message?
You have a simple message to tell potential clients. The purpose is to let them know that you exist, who you are, what you are trained in, how you can help them, and what they need to do to get in touch with you to get started.
Don’t just make a flier with information about your accomplishments and no way to reach you. Any communication you send out should have a call to action. It has to say clearly: “Call today to set up your free assessment!”
So, before you ever start on getting any materials ready to send out – whether it is a flier, a blog post, a mailer, email, an ad, or even a phone call – work out what your goal is for the person who receives your communication. Direct them to that goal.
Many, many fliers, emails, and other forms of promotion fall short on this point. I’ve seen a billboard that got me interested, but I didn’t see a website or a phone number or any way possible to contact the company selling what I wanted.
Think this part through, no matter what kind of promotion you do.
Examples of Promotion
What we are looking for here is something that you can do that results in a new client signing up. Here are some examples.
Example: I’ve been working with a client and out of the blue asked her if she had any friends who might be interested in losing weight like she had. She said she had a lot of friends and didn’t know where to start. I told her that I’d give any friend a free session and to bring them in, one by one.
She told maybe ten of her friends. Three came in for an initial session and two signed up.
Example: I designed a simple, but straightforward mailer to go out to households of individuals who made $75,000+. It stated who we were, what we offered, where we could be found, and what they needed to do to get a free session.
Out of 1,000 that we sent out, we got 50 responses and ended up getting about 20 new sign ups.
Example: I ran a website for one of my gyms and posted short articles and pictures regularly that would showcase what we did and to make it fun. Several people walked in just from searching for a gym near them and having our site pop up. This one is hard to track in terms of saying what actually got them to come in.
Methods of Promotion
Your methods of promotion as a personal trainer are:
- Google Business Profile
- Business card
- Flier – for handing out or putting on cars
- Word of mouth
- Social media
- Getting your name in various directories, such as Yelp or other local directories
- Getting yourself promoted in a local magazine
- Outdoor workouts
There are all sorts of routes you can go with a website, but the first step is to build one.
At a minimum, it should say who you are, what services you offer, and how you can be reached.
To build upon that, you would add in success stories, testimonials, an introductory video of you and your gym, and articles written by you.
Eventually a website can become its own business, where you sell online personal training, virtual fitness consultations, books, shirts, fitness gadgets, you name it. You could eventually phase out of training clients in person into just doing your gig online.
The biggest thing is to start. If your website looks ugly, you can always redesign it. There are plenty of ways to do it very cheap, so money shouldn’t be a consideration.
Google Business Profile
This takes about 20 minutes to set up and is entirely free.
You can put up photos of yourself, you while you are training people, before and afters of your clients, your phone number, email, link to your website, languages you speak, areas you service, the address of your gym, and you can collect reviews. There are tons of options.
There are even statistics that get tracked as to how many times your profile showed up in searches and how many people clicked your site based off of your Google Business Profile.
There really is no reason to not have one of these.
It helps to always have a business card on you. If you’re a social person (as 99% of personal trainers are), then you’ll find yourself in social situations where you end up reaching out to people.
Most of the population has something they want to change about their bodies. Help them.
If you don’t have a card, then you’re not making it easy to reach you. Maybe the person you’re talking to doesn’t need help, but he’s got a wife or mother or sibling who he wants to send your way. Having a physical object (the card) is a very easy way to reach someone you would have otherwise never reached.
You should look at business cards as a percentage game. You’ll put out a lot of them and only get a response from a small percentage. So, at this point the trick is to put out as many as you can.
It’s just a numbers game.
It is a good idea to ALWAYS HAVE FLIERS AROUND.
There are important people at your gym. If they can afford a personal trainer, they have some money and are usually business owners or other people of influence. All it takes is a simple request to get your name out to any employees that may be interested and an offer of fliers to put out.
You’d be surprised with the response you get.
A lot of work goes into designing fliers for each different type of public, but anything is better than nothing.
Walk around town and ask business owners if they would allow you to put your fliers in their place of business. Get a nice display and just ask if you can put it up.
Word of Mouth
This is easy.
You just have to do your job and word of mouth happens on its own. Getting results causes your clients to become walking success stories and advertisements for your services.
If you get a skinny young man to be muscular, you’ll have ten more signing up. If you get a mother of four to lose her excess weight, she’ll bring you fifteen of her friends.
If you have just a regular guy who wants to maintain his weight, ask him to bring someone in for a free session. You’ll sign them up. Don’t underestimate the kind of magic that is word of mouth. I started out pretty humble and was amazed that people would talk so highly of me.
These were the major people in society here and I was a young man just working my butt of as a trainer and they saw me as a professional in my field. I absolutely was and I tried like hell, but it took some getting used to.
All you have to do is offer help. People will end up paying you whatever you charge if your help is genuine and gets results.
I’m slightly wary of this one in terms of actual time spent vs returns.
But it is something that you should set up and add to bit by bit. I say “bit by bit” because this should not be your main focus unless you have an ungodly amount of followers.
So, you can add things here, but don’t make this into a huge time pit unless you’ve found a way to make money off of it in the short term.
It is worth your time to make sure that you are in every directory available.
There are local listings in every city of services provided. Get your name in it. Submit all of your correct and up-to-date information, then keep a log so that if you change gyms or phone numbers, you’ll be able to go back and update that.
Find out what all other trainers in your area are doing and at least get your name in the same listings. Then get your clients to add reviews about you in those listings.
Reach out to local writers, journalists, etc. and make yourself known.
Tell them that you are more than willing to do a segment on X, Y and/or Z. Make sure you are in their phones for THE trainer to call for their next health and fitness shoot or even just to get an “expert’s” opinion on some controversial matter.
You can even make your own story. For example, I used to live in one of the most overweight cities in America. Take a study like that and tell the reporter that you would like to demonstrate how you and other trainers in the city are working to solve this through education and exercise.
Just pick up a local magazine from your city, find the author’s name, Google them and get an email address, then tell them you want to work with them to create something cool.
This is a great, free method of promotion. Depending on where your gym is located you could get a ton of exposure to people who otherwise wouldn’t have seen you.
Get ten people working out outside of your gym and you’ve got a spectacle. People will line up to watch. It’s a bit funny. While you’re doing it, have a sales guy chat up the people and take them in for a tour or an interview.
It is also a great way to change things up for your clients.
I’ve gone to health expositions and demonstrated Olympic weightlifting.
It was kind of a fun setup. We had the owner of the gym I was working for at the time, and he was kind of like the Master of Ceremonies. He introduced me and said my credentials and weight as well as the other trainer next to me. We each demonstrated the different movements that we were certified to teach.
What was funny is that we were lifting with bumper plates on a wooden platform, so the whole thing made a ton of noise every time we performed a lift. Jaws dropped, fliers were handed out, business cards passed around, hands shook, and the effect was created.
I’m not sure how many sign-ups we got from it, but it was a great way to spend a Saturday.
There is no way for me to give any solid advice on this.
You’ve got to test several methods for yourself. Whether you put up an ad on a city bench, a billboard, TV commercial, taxi cabs, or any other method, it’s got to be tested to see what kind of returns are possible.
Some will work, most won’t. If you are smart and get in with some advertising person, then great. Utilize it as much as you can.
For one gym I worked at, I worked a deal with a local arena football team. We trained them and they advertised for us. The good ole’ barter system.
When we went to the coliseum to watch the game, we saw our big ads right on the side of the field. It was great. Did it actually end up in any sales? Probably not.
So be careful with this one.
If, at any time, you find yourself sitting around wondering why you don’t have any clients to train, just blame yourself.
The methods listed out above should be more than enough to keep you busy in those down periods.
You’re going to learn about design, website hosting, how to write properly, what subjects to write about, photography (in your before and after photos), videography and editing (in the video for your website), how to approach people, and so much more.
If you’re good, then people will just gravitate toward you. If you’re not good, then get good by getting as much training as necessary to get people to reach their goals.
Once you’re there, put all of the above to work so that you can become a definitive powerhouse of promotion.
There really is no reason that you should be without clients.