How to get more personal training clients, is a big question for new and experienced personal trainers. At this point, you’ve probably heard the advice about posting more on social media, meeting new people, etc. While this is true, actionable advice is more valuable to you, because doing things right gets you a higher return on your efforts.
The key to marketing yourself like a professional
If you wish to stay fully booked, essentially you have to do two things:
- Find new clients
- Encourage your paying clients to work with you for a longer period
Knowing your marketing strategies and how to sell your service, keeps new clients coming, even if the competition in the fitness industry can seem fierce. Use this post as a guide to fine-tune your ongoing marketing strategies and learn something new. By the end of this article, you’ll not only be clear about what to do but also HOW to do it.
Personal trainers understandably wish to focus their efforts on helping people, but if you’re making a living as a trainer, you need to handle everything from marketing to taxes yourself. Right now, we’re covering ways to get you, new clients. If you’re looking for a better way to manage your taxes, Keeper Tax can help you find your write-offs, save time, and take and take the confusion out of filing them.
The first steps are about becoming clear about what you do, who your clients are, and defining your personal brand to reflect that. When you go through this, all your future marketing efforts will be a lot easier.
Define your personal trainer services
The fear of missing out on prospective clients is real. But as the old saying goes "if you try to appeal to everybody, you'll appeal to no one". This is especially true in the fitness industry.
Put yourself in a potential client's shoes. If you're a powerlifter, would you rather work with a coach who specializes in powerlifting or a coach who offers everything from calisthenics, kettlebell training to weight loss and Crossfit?
Of course, you'll choose a personal trainer who specializes in your niche, and so will your clients. So, decide on the direction of your training service and be the specialist in it.
If you’re having a hard time picking a niche to specialize in, think back to when you started and what got you in the industry in the first place. Chances are, you understand that niche thoroughly and will be happy to work in it for many years. A strong freelancer resume in a niche will justify your cost and portray you as an expert.
Define your ideal client
Some clients are better than others. Your best clients are the ones who benefit the most from your service, those who generate the highest income and are most enjoyable to work with. However, you need to define them specifically, to figure out how to attract them.
To define them, look at the list of your current and previous clients and notice who:
- Stays the longest with you
- Spends the most money on your service
- Are the fastest to hire you
- You like to work with the most
Find those who check all the boxes, and look for similarities between them.
- Are there similarities in age, lifestyle, and experience?
- Are they looking to lose weight, progress at sport, or have common goals?
- Is there a certain demographic that is dominating your best clients?
Once you’ve found what’s similar among your best clients, you have identified who benefits the most from your service while, based on real data. Now you can design your brand to speak directly to the needs of that target market and make your service look irresistible.
Define your fitness business brand
Understanding your service and your target audience, you can create a recognizable impression of who you are and what you do. This is going to have a big impact on your future marketing and sales efforts.
Contrary to popular belief, a personal brand doesn't have to offer something groundbreaking. It simply needs to resonate with your client base. You might think your brand isn't standing out, but as long as your message is clear, it will speak directly to the needs of your clients. As a result, you'll stand out in their eyes as the right personal trainer for them.
How do you define your brand clearly so your clients instantly know you’re the right personal trainer for them? Four things are needed for this to work.
1. Who your training is for
Who are your clients? Call them something that unites them like a label they live by and relate to. When you do that, they get a sense that you are talking about them specifically. Use that label to address them.
It can be footballers, moms, seniors, or anything that they will relate to, as long as it’s respectful and personal.
2. What problems do you help them overcome
Do you help them lose weight? or help them break through a plateau? There’s a very high chance your clients are facing common obstacles. What specific problems do they have, that your service lets them overcome? It can be anything from weight loss, recovery from injuries, hard time with motivation, busy schedules, as long as it’s a common enemy.
3. What Fitness Goals Will They Reach By Hiring You
Will they get in the shape of their lives? Progress faster and perform better at sports? If they have common problems, they will have common goals for working with you. What are they? Is it to get a renewed sense of energy in daily life, better results at sports, gaining muscle mass, staying in shape?
4. Your plan for achieving their goals
How do you exactly help them achieve their goals? What’s your approach and area of expertise? Explain it to let them know how they will reach their goals. Do you create specific detailed programs that guarantee results? Do you keep clients motivated through their fitness journey with excellent counseling? Do you create delicious and healthy diet plans?
When you have your answers to these 4 points, put them together in a few brief sentences, and edit them to make them look good. Your result might look something like this:
- "I help ambitious footballers progress faster and avoid injuries. By creating balanced nutrition and personal training plans, they can get the most out of their training sessions and perform better in the field."
- "I provide busy moms with short, meaningful workouts so they can stay healthy and get more energy in their daily life."
- "I help retired men and women get in their best shape. With healthy, delicious diets, and fun exercises, they can enjoy their golden years to the fullest, with a renewed sense of energy."
Answering these questions not only lets you quickly describe your service and something to put on your marketing collateral. By calling your prospects out like this, mentioning their problems, speaking of their goals, and your plan for reaching them, you’re letting them instantly recognize that your service is for them.
Find out where to reach your audience
Having defined your brand, it’s time to figure out where your clients are and find ways to reach them. Depending on who your target market is, they will consume different media and spend time in different places. The best way to figure it out is to get to know them, spend time with them, and ask them about their interests. It's that simple.
If they are on the younger side, you'll need to focus more on social media. There are a ton of freelancer softwares to help with that. If they are mature, printed media, referrals, and real-life interactions will yield greater results. It’s just a matter of knowing your audience.
Once you have defined your personal training business, it's time to figure out how you'll reach new clients. Start with your inner circle.
Use your personal network
Your network is your ace in the hole. Most of your friends might already know about the services you offer, but every once in a while it's worthwhile to reexamine your social circle for opportunities. Maybe you've met interesting people or made new friends. Besides the obvious potential clients, think of what your friends do, who they are, and how it might benefit you.
- Your friends who work in the health, fitness industry, and related are the first to come to mind. If they work in a fitness shop, they can refer their customers to you as a personal trainer. The same is true if they are medical practitioners, nutritionists or anyone who looks after others' wellness. Talk to them about offering your service to their clients, and come up with an arrangement that you’ll both benefit from.
- If you know a photographer, ask them to take a few pictures for you. If they are an amateur photographer, they will gladly help you out and might even do it for free. If they are professional, you could get a good discount. Quality pictures will make you look better.
- If you know someone with a big following on social media with similar interests and a relevant follower base, ask them to collaborate with you. This will get your service in front of potential clients who haven't heard of you before.
- Maybe you know a web designer who can help you create a website, an SEO specialist who can help you get seen on Google, or someone entirely else.
These are just some examples of how your friends might be able to help you. The key to getting the best of it, is to offer them a commission for their referrals or give something in return. It might feel like you’re giving away a portion of your income, in reality it encourages your friends to be your advocates at all times, saving you time on marketing.
Relationships are not one-way streets and to get your friends to want to work with you, you’ll get the most when you offer value in return.
The takeaway is that there are a lot of opportunities. You just have to grab them. Every once in a while, think about who you know and how you might help each other out.
When your existing network is on your side, it’s time to do some networking.
Network and word-of-mouth
Your network and how others speak of you can make or break your personal training career. Therefore, it should be your second nature to nurture it.
Referrals from happy customers are one of the best ways to generate new business. How often have you bought something your friends recommended to you? Ask your clients if they have friends, family, colleagues, or teammates who could benefit from your service and reward them for bringing them in. These rewards can be commissions for their referrals, exclusive referrals back, gift certificates, and sponsored goods, as long as they are valuable to the ones who refer you.
If you wish to streamline your referrals and find business opportunities, join BNI. It’s a powerful business referral network, to help like-minded individuals connect and grow. This means you can find unprecedented opportunities.
Join their network, go to their meetings and introduce your service to local business owners. This allows you to set up exclusive referral deals with local businesses and independent contractors. BNI is a great way to grow your network and secures referral agreements that give you a stable flow of new clients.
Your relationship with your local gym has a big impact on your career and the employees can be your biggest advocates when gym-goers are looking for trainers. So, be respectful and friendly with the staff. Offer once in a while free training sessions for gym-goers and consider giving the members a little discount when they work with you. Your relationship with your gym can be very fruitful, so nurture it!
Relationships with local businesses can bring a steady flow of new customers without a lot of effort.
Do your ideal clients frequent certain sports stores, health food stores, coffee shops? Once you have a few places in mind, get to know people who work there, and become a regular there. When you’re on good terms, ask them if they could be interested in working with you, and promote your service. In return, offer to refer your current clients, building a win-win relationship.
In your area, there are chiropractors, doctors, nutritionists, and other medical professionals. It’s time to visit them. They are in the health industry for the same reason as you are in the fitness industry - to help people. According to the CDC, around 39.8% of adult Americans are overweight and could benefit from a personal trainer. A doctor will be happy to refer their patient to you if you can help them.
Regardless of your audience, a website will help you sell your service at all hours of the day.
Build a website
A website might not be a highest priority and you can do just fine without one. But having a website will certainly help you in building your credibility and help convert potential clients.
After hearing about your service, many prospects will look you up online to learn more about your service. That’s why your website is the place to explain what you offer, show off your freelance portfolio and show the results they can expect from you.
Put your testimonials, success stories, and certificates on there. These tools will convince your clients to work with you, so make sure to include them. Luckily, it’s easy to create a website if you use services like Squarespace or Wordpress, because they have pre-built templates and themes already.
Depending on your audience, social media might play a big role for your business.
Step up your social media game
If your client base is on the younger side, they spend time on social media. Instagram and Facebook are great places to connect with them. Here are my tips for getting the best out of your efforts here. Some of these tips might seem obvious but I see a lot of professionals not using their social media to the fullest and miss potential clients.
1. Stay on topic
Your prospective clients follow fitness professionals for training related content. So, keep your fitness account on topic and save memes, politics, your other hobbies, and off-topic content for your personal page. Facebook and Instagram are always learning about your account and know that your posts are popular among those interested in fitness. When you post unrelated content, it confuses the algorithms about who to show your content for, crippling your reach as a result. Occasionally it’s fine to post off-topic, but keep it to a minimum.
2. Post emotionally engaging content
The most engaging content you can post is your clients testimonials and success stories. This is emotional content that will get a lot of engagement and let your prospects see what they will get from hiring you.
Speak to your clients and post their testimonials and fitness journeys. It can be before/after photos, videos of their progress and them speaking about their progress. Tell their stories, let everyone in your network know that you’re a personal trainer and build a connection with your target audience this way. If you have a great story yourself, it will let your clients see that you’ve been in their shoes and understand them better than anyone else. The good thing about testimonials is that you can use them more than once.
3. Follow a schedule
Decide if you're going to post daily or on certain days of the week, and commit to it. I found the best time to post at around noon or 6 pm. If you have spare change, use HootSuite to schedule your posts in advance to save time. Hootsuite lets you create posts across all your channels, schedule them, and post them for you without you having to think about it. This way you only have to sit down occasionally and prepare your content, freeing your time in your daily life.
4. Become a part of your local community
Check posts tagged in your location and explore local hashtags. Chances are, there's a thriving community to be discovered. Use that location for your future posts and interact with others who use it. Join the local fitness Facebook groups too. There you can advise members, join the conversations, and get noticed. If you wish to make giveaways or contests, you can arrange that with the admins too. Those are great ways of getting noticed by potential clients in your area!
5. Follow those who are killing it and learn from them
Of course, you're already following influencers in the fitness industry and your niche, and there's a lot to be learned too from them. Find successful influencers who are similar to you, scroll through their feeds, pay attention to any posts that get above-average engagement. Examine these posts and notice what made them perform better. Then emulate and use the discovered tactics yourself.
6. Engage your followers and join the conversation
Create content designed to get a positive reaction. Ask questions, participate in trends, challenges, run contests, giveaways, and encourage conversations in your posts. When users engage with your content, it lets the algorithm know that your content is valuable and rewards you by exposing you to a bigger audience. Also, join the comment sections and be generous with likes, when you look at others' posts too. People will notice!
Provide value, motivate, inspire, educate. When you display these values in your marketing, people will like you and want to work with you. No matter what you specialize in, being good at marketing, will keep clients coming. If you want to get really good at it, you need to start doing it, even if it’s small steps at first.
I want you to grow your business and have a good time helping people. One way you can do this is, is by freeing up time and energy from bookkeeping and taxes. These are necessary tasks for every business but many find them time-consuming and confusing. At Keeper Tax, we help independent contractors, small businesses by automating their taxes and finding all the write-offs they are missing out on, saving time and money in the process. See what value our clients get out of our service in their own words, to find out what it could do for you.
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