As a small business owner, it’s important to continually attract new customers as well as keep your existing ones. The health and fitness industry is becoming increasingly competitive, which means it is important to have a solid marketing strategy to separate yourself from the others and make you stand out.
Ultimately you want prospective clients to feel they are making the right choice by choosing your fitness business, rather than your competitors.
So here are some tips to make sure you market your fitness business.
1. Create a Website
With the rise of social media, many business owners have decided to build their brand on Facebook for free rather than invest in a fitness business website. This is a mistake. Even though Facebook is a great tool to engage with current clients and even attract new ones, having an online presence just on Facebook will hold back your potential online reach.
Most customers who perform a local internet search visit a store/site within 5 miles. If you only have a Facebook page, there a good chance these customers may never find your business as it might not show up on search engines like Google.
Your website is a strong and accurate representation of yourself and your brand. There are certain key elements your website needs in order to rank highly in Google. There are basic rules of thumb that every fitness website must have:
Calls-to-action (CTA): As well as making basic information like name, address, phone number available and clickable at the top of your website, you should also focus on the main purpose of your website, which is to get people to sign up and join your business.
The best way to get clients to fill out your form is through the use of calls-to-action (CTAs). These CTAs encourage visitors to submit their information via a form and allows you to make contact with them. Other great CTAs to use include: “Book Online” buttons, “Schedule Your Consultation”, “Sign Up For A Free Class.”
Mobile Friendly: Most searches are carried out by people on their mobile phones. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, there’s a good chance these visitors may get fed up of pinching to zoom in on your content and visit a competitor’s website instead. Make sure your website will show up easily on any device. You only have a few seconds to make an impression and speak to your potential clients, so you have to make it count.
Clear Images: This is all about aesthetics! Blurry and poor quality images don’t portray well on websites and give an unprofessional feel. Make sure the images on your website are high quality (hire a professional photographer if need be) which reflects the high-quality services you provide.
Content Management System (CMS): It is better to use a CMS like WordPress or Weebly so that you can make changes easily and efficiently, keep things up to date and accurate.
2. Build your brand
Right now if you google “online personal training” it comes up with 13,800,000 results! So as you can see it’s vital that potential customers find your business amongst them and it grabs their attention immediately and enough to invite them to your fitness business. Your branding will play a huge part in attracting visitors to join and stay with you.
According to Entrepreneur.com’s, branding is:
“The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.”
They also mention that “the foundation of your brand is your logo.” Spend time designing your logo (with your ideal customer in mind) which is eye catching and represents your business straight away.
As well as the logo, think about everything from the colours on your website, your business cards, your training “uniform.” Think about your target audience and the best images and colours to go with them.
If you have a team of personal trainers then it is important to include them in your branding: highlight their experience and expertise. This can be done by uploading their profiles on your website and get them involved in building your brands as well. They would also promote the fitness business on their personal Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
3. Invest in a Business Management Software
If you’re planning to sell exercise programming services, then an integrated personal training software can help you manage numerous aspects of your business which include appointment scheduling, taking payments, passing on information to clients, as well as other communication necessary (SMS appointment reminders)
Grow in Cloud is a cloud-based software that has all these (and more!) features available such as online payment options, customizable client messaging, and sleek user interface that serves as a personal trainer scheduler and an employee organisation tool.
The key for a strong fitness business is an everlasting income stream through monthly memberships. So whichever software solution you choose, make sure that it serves a purpose for your members and their needs. Remember – it’s not just about ease of use for you, it’s about ease of use for your clients! As the owner, you obviously need to control the budget, so check out pricing and compare to see which is financially viable for you.
4. Share Good Quality Content
As Bill Gates famously said: Content is King!
Content marketing is a powerful way to increase traffic to your website through SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This means that prospective clients can find your website when they search for a query and your business shows up in the results.
The idea is that if you make a video or write a blog about “exercises for toning arms,” then when someone searches for “exercises for toning arms”, your video/blog appears which is linked to your website. Hopefully if they want to explore further and contact you for more information, they may start browsing your website to learn more.
With the rise of smartphones, making good quality videos and posting them online is easy now. For personal trainers/instructors these are good ideas for what to make a video about:
- Instructional videos
- Introducing new trainers
Upload the videos to YouTube (2nd largest search engine) so they can be embedded on your site.
Blogging and adding these to your websites and social media platforms provides the best possible result when searchers are trying to find results for a particular request for example, “gyms near me,” Google wants to provide the websites of gyms that have the best reviews, followers, engagement, and original content. All of these give the impression to the notion that not only are you a good business, but you are also a leader in their industry.
Blogging increases traffic for people searching for answers to questions you’re answering. If your blog answers the questions people are looking for then they will naturally click on the link to your blog post. That link will build your domain authority and generate even more natural traffic to your website.
Ideas about what you should blog about:
- What customers and potential clients frequently ask you
- Answer questions about nutrition or fad diets and their effects
- The best workout regimes in different situations,
- Explain how certain exercises help you in specific ways.
Mark Williams, who is a fitness blogger and bodybuilding enthusiast, has written a blog; Avoid These Workout and Post Workout Mistakes To Maximize Your Results, which is a perfect example of the type of interesting and detailed content your readers and followers would appreciate.
Think about how your content can be adapted to suit different social media platforms and expand your reach. For example, if you post a workout on YouTube, you can type it out as an instructional text for a blog post or break the workout down into small Instagram-sized or include it as snapchat stories. One piece of content can be re-used in many different ways, which makes sure you reach a wider audience.
You can also update your old posts to make them more relevant. If you have a library of blog posts on a particular topic, you could bundle these into a useful e-book for your clients. E-books are all the rage now. Not only do current readers appreciate a compiled resource of your best advice, but it can help you reach potential new clients.
5. Devise Healthy Meal Plans to share
This is something else that you can add to your website to help increase traffic. People are now more conscious of what they eat and how it can help them to lose weight or stay in good shape. Having information at the tip of their fingers, people are now more aware of harmful effects of certain food groups and health benefits of others.
The way to approach this it to understand that just like you, your clients are busy people too who are trying to balance work, life, and family, so you should make things easier for them. One of the best ways is to suggest meal plans that complement their workouts.
These meal plans can be shared on your social media sites and show your clients that you care for their wellbeing and health.
Examples of healthy meal plans could be devised for:
- people wanting to losing weight
- pregnant women
6. Use Social Media
Almost everybody you know will be on a social media site of some sort. It is a great platform for sharing your content as well as connecting with potential customers or maintaining relationships with existing customers.
Depending on what industry you are in, some social media sites work better than others, so here are a few that would be more useful for your fitness business:
Facebook has the most users (over 2 billions) out of all the social media sites so having a Facebook Business page is worthwhile for fitness trainers/instructors to reach a wide audience of all ages. You can also create Facebook as a way to set up a community for your clients who can post updates on their workouts or share questions with each other.
Instagram is the most popular social media site at the moment. It is a visual marketing tool so it is useful for showing exercise pictures. You can share short workout videos on Instagram stories, share pictures of your trainers with brief information sharing their expertise as well as post fitness motivational messages.
The popularity of Snapchat as a marketing tool is on the rise especially amongst the younger generation, it is not just a photo-based platform but allows you to share videos of sessions/workouts being carried out, motivational messages from you. You can add links to your business so people can see your location too. It is rapidly being used by fitness professionals and celebrities who want to share their fitness regime with their followers.
Twitter is another way to interact with your clients and potentially new ones as your clients can promote you and your business through tweets. You can engage with your audience by hosting Twitter chats as well as create a community for your clients and interact with them in real time.
Whichever social media platform you use it is always a good idea to use one or two and use them well and post regularly so you are not overwhelmed trying to keep up to date with your posts and trying to run a business! Also try and get your clients to use the check in option on posts or tag you in when they add posts or photos of their fitness sessions-this is another way of promoting your business on their contacts list.
7. Set up a referral scheme
Another way to increase your client base is to go into partnership or set some sort of agreement with local businesses that are nearby. You could offer your services for wellness programs at co-operate events and offer wellbeing sessions.
By offering these services to local businesses (for discounted prices), you are inadvertently promoting your fitness business/ services. This could lead to potential clients, from the company, wanting to join your business so they could carry on with the workout sessions during their own personal time.
You want to keep a relationship with these companies and local businesses. If they promote your business and receive an incentive (either your services for free or a % of commission for the sale) then this can only be a good thing for you in the long run!
Keep in mind, the whole point of this is to strengthen your presence and hence provide you with more clients.
8. Reward Clients
If clients stay with your business it is down to your excellent and professional service-after all personal training is just that-personal. Always consider a way of getting your existing clients to refer you their family and friends.
You can create incentives to encourage your clients to get their friends and family to sign up in exchange for a discount or other deals.
Examples of discounts or offers you can provide:
- A reduction of their membership fees, when someone they referred, signs up for a membership.
- % off sessions when they buy their next bundle of sessions
- The referred friend or family member joins at a discounted rate for the first month/package whilst the referring client gets a discount on their next package/month/sessions
January shouldn’t be the only time people start thinking about working off extra weight from Christmas holidays. Provide your clients reasons all year round to contact you, for example, during wedding season or simply trimming down for upcoming holidays such as bank holiday or summer.
The idea is to create a win-win situation for you and your clients.
9. Engage with your community
Many neighbourhoods host fairs. This is the perfect for your fitness business to set up a booth, carry out fee mini sessions for the public to see you in action, provide helpful fitness and health advice, and reach out to people in your local community.
Your clients will often than not be people who live nearby. By seeing you work within the community and support local events, will raise appreciation for you and what you offer.
People will get to learn about your fitness business and everything you have to offer for a healthier lifestyle.
If there isn’t a fair in your community, create your own and invite other health professionals to take part so that you can all help work with each other and support each other’s businesses.
You could also go to local schools and offer services for free or discounted rates. Two things you could do:
- Offer to run classes to help children get fit-they have the resource to host this (hall)
- Offer classes for teachers during staff training days as part of their wellbeing policy for staff
Doing this could lead to potential new clients-just like co-operate events, if they are happy with your service, then you will have staff members who will reach out to you wanting further personal training sessions.
As well as schools, go to care homes or retirement homes to provide specialised and adapted physical activities to help the older members of your community stay fit and active.
The Chamber of Commerce is a great place to make connections with the top businesses in your local area or region. By making connections, building and developing professional relationships, you will be able to promote your business within your area.
A business networking event is full of local business people who, like you, are keen to promote their businesses at a time where everyone is free and available to listen.
An advantage of attending networking events is you’ll get to learn how to promote and grow your business from other owners who have been successful but are looking to connect with more businesses. You will also have people to inspire you with their motivation and bounce ideas off of each other.
How to behave in network events is important. You don’t want to just go up to people and start talking about what you do non stip. Remember the key is to build a connection. So when you go up to someone, take an interest in what them and their business. Take their business cards so that you can contact them at a later date.
Then make sure you do contact them afterwards- an email is usually the best way rather than a call (they could be busy) or text (too personal just yet). An email means they can get back to you at a time that’s convenient to them. Make the message memorable-which could be something specific you both talked about. If they asked you a question about your business, then you can reply back to them and explain what you do and services you offer.
Offer to meet them in person again to go through your businesses in detail and how it could benefit both of you. The 1:1 meeting is important because it is not until then you will have a new contact who can talk about you to their connections.
Marketing for your fitness business is more than sharing pictures of super fit people with abs do die for! It’s about sending the right message to people using a way that is appropriate to you and your clients. Remember; don’t make it obvious you are selling your services. You need to show that you are providing value and helping people to reach their personal life and health goals.