Successful (and profitable) personal trainers rely on good marketing in order to effectively seek out new clients, retain existing ones, and generate ongoing revenue. Unfortunately, many aren’t really aware of what marketing is or why it is important to their growing business. To keep it simple, marketing is everything you do to place your fitness and nutrition products and personal training services in the hands of potential clients. It is an activity, involving a wide variety of actions and strategies that result in making products and services available that satisfy the needs and expectations of customers.
Just like an effective personal training program, a marketing strategy (or campaign) requires a goal, strategies and tactics, a budget, and a timeline. A well planned marketing campaign can be simplified into five steps:
- Analyze the situation
- Target the right audience
- Define the goal(s) of the campaign
- Create strategies and tactics
- Establish a realistic budget
By following each of these steps, you can outline a plan for success that ensures the valuable time, money, and effort you put in results in growing your personal training business.
Analyze the Situation
Before you start any marketing campaign, it’s important to evaluate your current situation.
- What are your current products and services?
- What marketing advantages and challenges do you face?
- What threats are posed by your competitors?
By knowing where you are starting from, you can outline strategies that are relevant to your business “today” and you can establish goals that are realistic.
Target the Right Audience
Personal training is something that could be utilized by people of all ages and abilities. There are very few people who can’t benefit from the services you offer. Unfortunately, a marketing campaign should target a very specific group of people for the greatest effect (especially if you have a limited budget). First determine whether you want to market to your current clients, new prospects, or both. Regardless, it is important to identify your target audience by outlining demographic data, including:
This information is important because it will determine the what content you choose that will best “speak” to the target audience (i.e., words, images, colors) for the greatest overall effect.
Define the Goal(s) of the Campaign
List the goals you wish to accomplish for this particular marketing campaign. To be effective they need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound (S.M.A.R.T.). Examples of goals include:
- Sell a minimum of ten personal training packages in the next 30 days
- Gain brand recognition in the local community
- Get a minimum of four referrals from current clients
- Establish relationships with at minimum of two corporations interested in onsite personal training services
These are an important part of the evaluation process at the end of a marketing campaign to determine if it was successful and if it can be used again at another time (with guaranteed results).
Create Strategies and Tactics
This section will take up the majority of your time and creative thought. A strategy is the overall plan and tactics are the actions that work towards achieving an outlined goal. Tactics include all the actionable steps you plan to take for advertising, public relations, direct mail, trade shows, and special promotions.
For example, if a goal is to sell five weight loss programs in the month of January, a strategy would be to establish a discounted rate for the program during the month, and tactics could include mailing a one-page promotional piece to all current customers and broadcasting an email to your complete opt-in database list.
Be sure to properly schedule each of the tactics, including the correct sequence of actions (i.e., the website should be updated before sending out a broadcast email that includes a link to the promotional website page).
In the end, strategies and tactics are only as good as your willingness to put the plan into action.
Establish a Realistic Budget
No matter how great a marketing campaign may be on paper, without the funds to make it happen … it will do nothing to help your business. Most small businesses, including personal trainers, allocate limited funds to marketing. Even though the funds are limited, it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice tactics that you’ve included in your plan. What it does mean is that you may not be able to go as big in scale as you had hoped. For example, you may have planned to send a direct mail piece to a target audience within a 10 mile radius. If your budget doesn’t allow for this you can decrease the reach to a five mile radius to stay on budget. The tactics are still helpful to your business, you just won’t reach as many people.
Evaluating Your Marketing Campaign
Most people don’t like getting evaluated, for fear of being judged by others (or ourselves). Regardless, it’s an opportunity for a business to learn and grow. You get a chance to determine:
- Your performance in relation to the goal (i.e., hit it, missed it, or exceeded expectations)
- What you did well
- What you could improve on
If the marketing campaign is successful, you can take information from the evaluation and improve on it for future use. Like they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Marketing, a necessary part of running a personal training business, is more than just handing out business cards or talking to people about your business. It is a collection of activities that involve creating, communicating, and delivering products and services that your potential clients value. The overall goal is to:
“Get the right message to the right audience, at the right time, using the right medium”.
The information in this article is based on the series of books, “The Business of Personal Training”. Click here for more information.