Marketing is a fairly misunderstood concept for most personal trainers and fitness entrepreneurs, but essential to a successful business. This is a continuation of “Why Does Marketing Matter? – Part One”.
Understanding the Demand
When it comes to successfully selling personal training or fitness-based services, there needs to be a physical, mental, or emotional desire for what is being sold (i.e., positive health benefits, weight loss, strength gain, improved athletic performance, etc.). Considering more than 69 percent of adults (over the age of 20) are overweight and obese in the United States, the market is definitely in need of what personal trainers have to sell, although this group of people may not realize it. The challenge is developing a compelling message that gets the market to recognize the immediate need, internalize it, and then seek out a solution.
Exploring the Motivations of Personal Training Clients
Motivation, the psychological incentive or reason for doing something, is a key factor that determines why people buy something (i.e., food, clothing, products, services). Motivation can originate from within oneself (intrinsic or internal factors) or from other people or tangible things (extrinsic or external factors).
Internal, or intrinsic, motivation is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, without the need for any physical reward or recognition. It exists within the individual and is based on taking pleasure in an activity rather than working towards getting “something” for doing it.
Examples of intrinsic motivation, as it relates to exercise and physical activity, includes positive feelings that come from:
- Completing a hard workout
- Reaching a new fitness goal
- The “adrenalin rush” after a long run
- Achieving a new “personal best” time or weight
- Knowing you gave everything you had in your workout (with no regrets)
External, or extrinsic, motivation comes from outside of the individual and is not under their control. In this scenario, people are motivated to take action in an effort to earn a reward (i.e., money, prizes, material things), gain recognition or to avoid punishment.
Examples of extrinsic motivation, as it relates to exercise and physical activity, includes:
- Rewarding yourself with a shopping spree when you lose ten pounds
- Showing up at the gym every day to impress someone you’re attracted to (who is also there at the same time)
- Joining the company running team to fit in with your colleagues
- Starting an exercise program because your doctor said you are at high risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease
Regardless of whether a personal training client is intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, the way you communicate the value of your services to each will be different. For example, a woman signed up for a bridal bootcamp class may be motivated by the idea of feeling “beautiful” and “confident” on her wedding day, while another woman may want to avoid the embarassment of being too big to fit into her wedding gown.
In the end, it’s important to develop marketing strategies that speak to different personality types and the “hot buttons” that get each of them to purchase your services.
Developing the Right Message
The goal of every marketing message is to effectively connect your products and services to something that your target audience genuinely cares about. People don’t care about your or your business. They care about the benefits they get when they purchase from you. To successfully deliver a strong marketing message, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is my target market?
- What are the “pain” points, issues, needs, and wants of my potential clients? How will my personal training business addresses them?
- How do I briefly describe the products and/or services I offer?
- What are my “proof” points (that prove my business can overcome these needs)?
- What makes me different from my competitors?
- What messaging platform(s) will be the most effective?
To move your potential clients into action you need to take a step back, identify their problems, issues, needs, and wants, and define how your business (without question) addresses each one of these concerns. In the next chapter, you will learn more about marketing messages and applying them to your marketing strategies.
Identifying the “Sweet Spot”
According to the Harvard Business Review, the strategic sweet spot of a company is “where it meets a customer’s needs in a way that competitors can’t, given the context in which it competes”. In other words, the sweet spot is delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time (when the competition doesn’t interfere).
Because the fitness industry is predictable, planning effective marketing campaigns is easier than for other industries that are continually in a state of flux (i.e., stock market and investments, oil and gas, real estate). The summer months typically represent the slowest time of year for fitness sales. People would much rather spend their time soaking up the sun, taking summer vacations, and participating in outdoor activities. On the other hand, the colder months (starting in September, peaking in January, and ending in April) are where people are focused on staying out of the cold, avoiding the “holiday bulge”, and getting their bodies ready for a summer time reveal.
Speaking in general terms, the target market for personal trainers are individuals who need help improving various aspects of their fitness and health and (at some point) are ready to make a change. These individuals are looking to learn new skills in order to improve their overall health and longevity, and fall into one of the following categories:
- Their health is compromised and they are unaware of the problem (i.e., unconscious incompetence).
- Their health is compromised (or they have a specific health and/or fitness goal), they know they have a problem and need help to make a change (i.e., conscious incompetence).
- Their health is compromised (or they have a specific health and/or fitness goal), they know they have a problem and need help to make a change, and are actively learning skills to improve their situation (i.e., conscious incompetence).
- Their health was compromised (or they had a specific health and/or fitness goal) and they have learned the skills necessary to change their situation that are now “second nature” (i.e., conscious competence).
As a fitness entrepreneur, your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to develop targeted messages for each of the above “potential” clients in an effort to move each one closer to becoming a client of your services.
Are you READY for the challenge?