Based on the projections, now is a great time to start as a personal trainer.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of personal training jobs in the United States is slated to grow about 13 percent until 2022.
While these statistics are encouraging if you plan to start a career as a personal trainer, there is still one problem:
How do you stand out from the crowd?
As of 2012, there were close to 300,000 personal trainers in the US. Some of those work full-time for a certain gym or health club, while others are doing their own thing and meeting with clients in their home or other locations.
Since personal training is a growing, but competitive space we’re going to give you a few simple marketing ideas that can help you attract and retain more clients.
1. Manage Your Personal Brand
Whether you are self-employed or you work for a local gym as a trainer – YOU are the brand.
After all, people are looking for a “personal” trainer and they’ll ultimately continue coming back because they like working with you.
So it’s important to use the internet to help create and monitor your personal brand.
What makes you unique and different from the other trainers in your area?
Why would I pay all that money to train with you, specifically?
The First Step
If you are an independent trainer or you own your personal training company, you should first make sure you’ve covered your bases online.
The first step is that you need to make sure that at the very least you’ve claimed your spot as a Google Business.
It’s free, and can be done in a few minutes.
The result is that when people look for your business on Google, or when they are searching more generic things like “trainers in YOUR CITY” you’ll have a better looking, more complete profile in Google like you see below:
In addition to having accurate and complete information about your personal training business, you can also do things like:
- Respond to customer reviews left on Google
- Add photos of your business or your work
- Add accurate training hours and location information
- Put your best phone number and other contact information
Obviously Google is the king of online search, but I’d suggest that you don’t stop there. There are plenty of other directories and places that people look for trainers, read reviews, etc. and you should make sure to stake your claim there as well.
Most let you claim a business for free, but may also offer some paid services which you aren’t obligated to buy.
Here is an excellent list of the 20 places your business should be online.
Just by taking the time to claim what’s yours online, you’ll be a step ahead of many of your competitors who are too lazy to do it.
You’re not lazy, right?
2. Answer Common Questions on Your Website
Again, this applies mostly if you have your own training company or are a self-employed trainer and not an employee of a branded gym.
Remember that you are the brand as a personal trainer.
While you might be completely sold on the benefits of working with a trainer, many of your prospective customers are not. They are probably skeptical and have questions like:
“Do I really need a personal trainer?”
“Are personal trainers worth it?”
“Difference in working out alone vs. personal trainer”
The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.
Many potential customers who have never heard of you (yet) are searching things like this in Google, and they are getting answers from someone online.
Why not be that someone?
If you want to pull in more free traffic to your website, then I’d suggest answering all of these common questions on your website in the form of a blog post.
You don’t have to give all written answers – you could work in a combination of images, video, and text to educate your readers and warm them up to you personally. Below is an example from PopSugar which shows how to do a proper crunch in a video, and then has some text below with additional information.
Here are a few benefits to doing this on your website:
- The traffic is easier to get. By focusing on these long, specific questions with your content – you have less competition. You could do content about proper ways to do workouts, review certain workout routines, working out for different situations, like pregnant women or the elderly, etc. We call these specific search terms long tail keywords, and suggest that you focus on them early and often with your content.
- It doesn’t cost you money – just time. Assuming you have a website already, we’re just talking about adding helpful content that is going to attract new customers to your site and introduce them to you.
- You build trust and authority with your customers. By delivering well thought out and knowledgeable answers, you are proving that you are a fitness expert. This helps break down walls of confusion and/or intimidation some people might have about reaching out to a trainer that they don’t know.
3. Feature Your Clients
This is yet another free marketing idea for trainers that has a few different benefits.
The idea is simple.
Feature the success stories of your existing clients, and use it as marketing material.
When done properly, this kind of campaign is something that your customers love to share on social media. Here is an example of a simple “before and after” photo from another personal trainer, John Blankenship:
Source: John Blankenship
We’ve all seen photos like this before on advertisements for supplements, workout DVDs, and other fitness products.
The good news is, you don’t have to be a big brand like P90X to share success stories – it’s easy to do. Obviously you’ll need your client’s permission, but it starts by simply asking if you can feature them.
Once that is squared away, use your website and your social media accounts to brag about their success.
Important: For maximum “shareability” don’t make it about you – make it about the client. Talk about how hard they worked to achieve success.
The truth is, we all love when people pat us on the back. So when you start making an effort to feature you client success stories, many clients will spread the word too! They might take your post from Facebook or Instagram and share it with their friends – putting you in front of a whole new audience.
As you might imagine, when your customers help you spread the word this opens up the door to more referrals and better word of mouth advertising – both of which cost you nothing.
Really this technique is a win-win for you and your client.
If you are already in the personal training business, I hope these simple techniques have shown you that it doesn’t have to be complicated to market yourself and your personal brand to your local city.
The key is taking action and getting started.
Start by laying claim to your business listings online, then work on your website content and make sure you focus on the things that your customers are searching for online. This will give you the opportunity to be seen as an expert in your field.
Then, take time to brag on your current and former clients to start opening up more referral opportunities.
Best of luck in your business!