13 personal training marketing ideas to get more clients + 2 tips for better retention
Who is this article for?
If you’re someone who has been a freelance personal trainer for a while, this blog is for you.
But wait! Don’t go away yet.
If you’re someone who has just started their own personal training business, this blog is for you too.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a veteran or a beginner in the personal training domain, without an effective marketing strategy, getting more clients can be really difficult.
We’ve curated some simple, low investment, high ROI, and realistic personal training marketing ideas for you to advertise your personal training business.
Let’s get right into it.
1. First and foremost – Free trials pay off big time
Why? – Free trials are a controversial topic when it comes to personal training. But when you’re trying to build a clientele, these trials can make a lot of difference.
You can be an amazing personal trainer and yet, if people never get the chance to find it out for themselves, they might never sign up to become a member. A free trial lets your potential clients experience your services without any strings attached.
Plus, you can also use their details to intelligently segment your prospects. People who show interest in buying your classes are warm leads. You can know which leads are most likely to make an actual purchase with the help of these trials.
Another advantage: Free trials allow you to ask for phone numbers and email addresses so that you can retarget these people even at a later stage.
How to do it? – Show them what they’re missing out on, in that free trial. If you’re new in the personal training business, the real challenge isn’t offering a free trial, it is to find leads who are interested in taking a free trial with you.
Throughout this blog, we’ll be giving you different tips and tricks to achieve that.
2. New clients aren’t always the right answer
Why? – Every personal trainer wants new clients who pay well to launch their PT business to the moon. But getting old clients back is a lot easier than finding and selling to someone completely new. Nothing beats a client who knows what you’re about. You don’t have to spend on discovery cost and marketing and older clients can be a little accustomed to your ways too.
How to do it?
“Dig your well before you’re thirsty.”
When you’re trying to get back in touch with old clients, you have to make it clear how it would help them rather than asking them for a favor straight away. Build your relationship before you pitch them anything. Asking them how they’re doing and questions about their family will get the conversation going.
You can then build on it and tell them that you’re starting a special program for your past clients or something specialized for them.
3. Discounting done right
Why? – Some trainers believe that offering discounts on their services means they’re losing money. While that is debatable, one thing for certain is that if you’re a new freelance personal trainer and you need to drive up sales – Discounting is the way to go.
When you set a time limit to your personal training marketing plan, that time sensitivity motivates your warm leads to move up their purchase journey. This increases sales during that period and you can find more personal training clients.
Money lost because of discounted price = money made through additional sales.
How to do it? – Offering discounts at the right time is the key factor in making the most out of it. Strategically lower the prices of class slots which are relatively free because of odd hours.
This would encourage people who were hesitant in buying your classes earlier. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. You get to utilize your free slots with more clients and people get a good personal trainer at a discounted price.
Another idea is to offer discounts to people who buy a bundle of classes together. Your clients get rewarded for the trust they put in you and you get a lump sum of money.
When to do it? – Set up seasonal discounts clearly mentioning when the date when that discount period ends. This creates a feeling of urgency and encourages warm leads to buy your classes.
Use peak times of the year to set up discounts when people are more likely to buy personal training such as January for new year resolutioners.
Who to offer discounts to? – Your main target should be people who have taken part in your free classes, have asked you questions about your services, and have shown interest in hiring you.
Be wary of offering discounts regularly because it might make it look like your service has less value. People might think that if you’re offering half price, you might be half as good. Keep that in mind and you’re good to go.
4. Teamwork makes the dream work
John C. Maxwell said that right. According to statistics people tend to work out more when they’re together.
Source – US Bureau of Labour Statistics
But you don’t need us with our fancy charts and tables to tell you that.
People love competing with each other. It is something so innate that it cannot be helped. Your goal should be to spark some healthy competition within your gym or personal training studio.
How to do it? – A classic example would be to start a challenge to see who can lose the most body fat in a month or two. Have each contestant pitch in $5 or $10 to enter the competition to amp up the seriousness.
Give the winner something to look forward to by keeping exciting prizes. And don’t worry, that doesn’t have to mean that you have to buy these prizes. You can simply have them sponsored!
A great way to make your business stand out from competitors is to give out sponsored prizes. To be that bigger fish in the sea, you need sponsors.
When an individual/ organization sponsors your business, they do so in exchange for marketing opportunities. If you can get a protein company or a gym equipment manufacturer to sponsor you, they get marketed while you get funds to help your business grow.
Having sponsors also increases your brand value and credibility. People know you must be doing something right with your business to get sponsors.
5. Brand promotion – Marketing partnerships
Why? – Another way to market your personal training business is by forging marketing partnerships. When you officially partner up with a complimentary business, a component of your product/service is integrated with a component of their product/service.
A partner helps you convert more clients by offering these products/ services to them for free or at a discounted price.
How to do it? – Find relevant businesses around you that offer an opportunity for cross-promotion. For example: If you partner with a chiropractor’s clinic or a nearby spa, you can give a free/discounted session to anyone who buys a package of chiropractor’s therapy or a package of massages. Similarly, these people can offer your clients a free session/ free massage if your client buys a class bundle.
You can host joint promotional events and increase your sales and revenue together.
6. Networking is the key to success
Why? – You have to be social around the neighborhood so people know who you are and what you’re about. It’s a part of building your brand. People in and around your area should know you by your social presence. This helps you land opportunities available around you.
When people know you’re a good personal trainer in the area. They refer clients to you automatically. Even a casual mention increases your chances of winning that client over any socially inactive competitor.
How to do it? – Investigate the academic programs offered by community colleges, technical institutes, and/or universities in or near you and in your community. Approach them first to get several clients from a single place. Set up a stall by talking to the authorities in these places and offer a demo class.
Do this with your brand partners to do giveaways by hosting on-spot competitive events like a push-up competition or squat/ deadlift competition.
7. Old school is still in – distribute flyers
Why? – We know what you’re thinking. What are flyers going to do in this social media generation? We say smart personal training promotion ideas will get you clients, not whether the idea is old or new.
Like having a business card, a flyer is easier to hand out and can be seriously eye-catching.
Where to put/ give out flyers? – Places to distribute or put personal trainer’s flyers include utility poles, stores with community bulletin boards, community centers, laundromats, elevators, reception and check-out areas of spas and chiropractors clinic, municipal buildings, and offices.
You can also add a section to it where your prospective clients can tick a box that best describes their present fitness state and where they are willing to take it. They can then get a discount when they bring these flyers to your physical studio location.
Pro tip: If we’re talking about being old school, let’s not forget business cards. A personal trainer’s business card is still considered more professional than just texting someone your number. You can even have a QR code printed on the back of your business card so that people can check out your website too.
8. Personal branding all the way
Why? – When you’re marketing personal training, having that ‘personal’ element is really important. Rather than being a faceless fitness business, you should focus on marketing yourself as a good personal trainer.
Breaking the walls between you and your prospective clients is an important first step towards that goal. It builds an emotional connection that greatly benefits your business in the long run.
How to do it?
- Personal branding is about generating trust towards you and in turn, your business. Share your journey and humanize the process of getting fit. Share your and your clients’ transformation photos and videos on social media (with their permission, of course!). Most people are attracted to results and that way you can get more personal training clients.
- You can even offer to train some local influencers for free (if needed) and showcase that on your social media as well as your website. This will earn you credibility.
People who follow these influencers might want to get in touch with the personal trainer who helped them get in shape.
- Bring out your own fitness merchandise to market your business. These also act as a great source of additional revenue. Tee shirts, gym towels, and water bottles are safe and tested playing ground. The key is to brand yourself with these and build a professional image.
Always keep them on during business hours and try to go out wearing your brand tee shirts. Post photos on your Instagram and Facebook account wearing these.
Pro tip: Come up with different variants for your clients also. They are a walking billboard advertising your personal trainer business for free. Give away the merchandise when a new member joins, but keep it in stock for people to buy from your website too.
What we told you till now were the starter pack ideas for marketing your personal training business. Now it’s time for the ones which may require a little more effort but can have a high ROI in the long run.
9. Your website – the digital storefront of your business
Why? – Get your website up and running. This is the building block of your online presence. In this day and age, it doesn’t matter where someone found out about your business from. They’re going to Google you the second they get the chance.
Stats suggest that 53% of US adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question. 73% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.
How to do it? – With a website, you can promote your personal training business and generate leads. If you add a booking widget to your website, it can take customers directly to your booking page from where they can view availability and schedule an appointment. This increases customer engagement and enhances the user experience since they no longer have to send an email or call/text you to book their first appointment.
A pro tip: Most personal trainers make themselves the hero on their websites, instead of the site visitor, especially if it’s been designed by a designer who doesn’t understand marketing.
Many trainers talk about being a level 3 member of some national personal trainer register. But that might not mean much to the person reading it.
People hire personal trainers and coaches or join their workout program to guide them to their desired end goal. If your website is focused on you then the visitors are very quickly going to switch off. Our advice is to put yourself in the shoes of someone looking for a personal trainer and ask “what’s in it for them?”. You should be more customer-centric while designing your website.
Even when you talk about your achievements, try to put it in a way so that the reader understands how your certification or experience will help them. Be the trusted guide and help your clients be the hero in their own stories.
10. Play the long game with Content Marketing
Why? – Content marketing, when done right, is a sure-fire way to drive up sales and draw traffic to your website. It is not just about posting pictures and videos on your social media page or your website. This is done right when you put out information that is valuable and relevant to your target customers in your blog post.
How to do it? – You can outsource this job to professionals that do content marketing for personal trainers or you can try to do this yourself. If you choose to do it yourself, you can write about topics like how a sedentary lifestyle affects the body, healthy food recipes, injury prevention, pain management, and so on.
You can also write guest posts for high-authority sites to increase your online presence. Publish these on Pinterest to gain some extra mileage on your content.
Oh and keep those pictures and videos on social media flowing! 🙂
11. Get listed on Reserve with Google
A Reserve with Google listing instantly converts your Google my business profile to a booking engine by adding a Book button to it.
This is the easiest and fastest way to be visible online. People will definitely know you around the hood after all this marketing, but they’ll still Google you.
Setting up a ‘Google my business’ profile would not only show your business in search results when someone Googles you, but it’d also show your business in the ‘personal trainers near me/ personal trainer in my area’ searches.
Integrate ‘Reserve with Google’ to start converting all those Google searches from leads to booked sessions.
12. Social media is the new age TV
Why? – Gone are the days when people used to pay local television channels to promote their business. Everyone is on Facebook and Instagram now. You should be there too.
How to do it? – Make an Instagram and Facebook account just for your business. Join groups on Facebook and post regularly about new programs offered, your clients’ journeys and their transformation videos, and your business achievements.
There is an appointment booking feature on both of these channels which would help boost conversions and get more bookings.
For instance, check out the Facebook page of @bungeecorefitness. They’ve made their brand image stand out by setting it up as their profile picture. They’ve mentioned their address, website, and their contact information so customers can reach them easily. Take a look at the ‘Book Now’ button which will allow their clients to directly book an appointment from their profile.
Source – @bungeecorefitness
While you’re at it, join groups and take part in conversations. Posting regularly and being helpful on a forum will also build your rapport and will eventually land you clients.
Below is the Instagram page of @bungeecorefitness and they’ve used the same profile photo as their Facebook page to create a brand image. They post regularly to establish a connection with their followers. The ‘Book Now’ button is used to try to convert those visitors to customers.
You have to make it easy for your customers to reach you because these are the small things that make a difference in converting a casual visitor to a paying client.
Source – @Bungee Core Fitness
13. Leveraging testimonials to gain trust
Why? – This is a major game-changer for both beginners and veterans of the training game. Good testimonials build trust in you and your brand. When you put these up on your website and social media, it’ll attract customers by providing them with proof of your abilities.
You can also ask happy clients to post reviews directly on marketplaces (like Yelp) from where you get a major chunk of your traffic.
How to do it? – If people read good reviews about your business like the one given below, they’ll definitely get in touch with you. You can ask the clients you’ve trained in the past to give you reviews initially. With time, you can work on getting better star ratings and good reviews to generate more leads.
Remember, you don’t need to follow all these personal training marketing tips at the same time. Explore what works best for your business and enjoy watching your brand reach its full potential.
And now the two bonus tips to increase client retention we promised! Because getting new clients is good, but having long term paying clients is even better. 🙂
14. First impressions last
Why? – Every client you land is likely to stay or go away after a while depending on how well you onboard them. They say that small gestures go a long way in any business.
How to do it? – One way to add a personal touch to your business is an onboarding video. It doesn’t need to be something flashy and fancy.
You can simply record a video of yourself in a familiar environment (a park, gym, your studio) looking professional and welcoming your clients to their fitness journey.
That’s it, personal training marketing at its simplest.
15. Add value to the experience as you grow
Why? – Evolving with the trends of the market is what keeps you fresh in the business. Personal training is no different. With the growth in your business, you should enhance the experience of your clients. This will keep them connected to your training methods and your business.
How to do it? – Provide a workout towel, bottle of water, and post-workout snack. Provide assisted stretching at the end of the workout. Email, text, or phone reminders of upcoming sessions and/or key targets and actions for the week.
Reward progress periodically, eg. Certificate and/or progress chart for the client to show off to their friends, family, partner/spouse, etc.
Summing it up
You’ll come to realize is that marketing will get you new clients, but to reap long-term financial benefits, you need to retain them.
You need to devote time to build good relations with your clients. At the same time, managerial and administrative work also needs to be taken care of. What typically happens is, personal trainers are in this constant tussle between paying attention to the business side of things and the training side.
We suggest that you commit yourself to these clients you got and do what you’re really good at and let someone else take care of the admin work.
If you’re thinking about hiring some paid professional to do the job, you better be ready to lighten your pockets because they don’t come cheap. But what about the administrative work, session scheduling, payments, and analytics?
For that you have Appointy! It also comes with a free plan too!
Check out Appointy’s personal trainer scheduling software to take care of your management needs. It acts as a 24X7 receptionist to take care of all your appointment scheduling requirements.
Moreover, it can help you convert all those leads on your social media platforms, website, and Google my Business account into paying clients with the help of personalized marketing and a book now button.
Hope these personal training marketing ideas got your brain stirred up about the possibilities of getting more clients.
However, don’t be discouraged if you can’t implement all these at once. Pick a few from this blog and spend some time putting them into action. You’ll be on track to landing more clients in no time.
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
If you have any thoughts on this blog, or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below.
We love a good talk!