Marketing your business in today’s landscape is in many ways much more affordable than it was 10-years ago.
Small businesses can now be very competitive on a lower budget mainly thanks to the internet. Gone are the days where you had direct mail, radio, print and TV as your major options. Having said this, the online landscape is highly competitive, especially in the Personal Training arena and while success may not rest solely on budget it does rest heavily on strategy and time invested (which does have a monetary cost at the end of the day!).
Here are some ‘old school’ marketing basics that are very worthy of your consideration while setting up your own business…
First and foremost – who is your target audience? Yes, you are a Personal Trainer and in the initial stages of your business you may take on any paying client however it’s good to define your target market and to create your marketing presence with them in mind. This will give you a clearer and more consistent message throughout all your marketing activities.
Keeping it simple, consider the 7P’s of Service Marketing which are outlined below. When looking at the 7 P’s consider your target clients, what your business is going to look like and what is going to make you stand out from the ‘crowd’.
1. Your Programs (Service):
Exactly what are you offering? What problem are you solving for your target clients? What quality are you offering them? What will be their perceived value from your service? Really try to think of these answers from the perspective of a ‘client’ not from your perspective. Talk to people who are in your target market and ask for their feedback. How is your service going to differ from other similar services in your area (what is your point of difference)?
2. Your Price:
How much are you going to charge? Consider the prices for the services you offer, 1:1, small group training sessions, bootcamps, etc. What are your competitors charging and offering? What is the perceived value of your service through the eyes of a client?
3. Your Place (Location):
Where will you be based? A PT studio, gymnasium, a park? What is the set up involved? Do you need licences to operate (i.e. many councils now require you to have a licence to run PT sessions in local parks)?
4. Your Promotion:
Now you know who you are targeting, how much you are charging and where you are based… How are you going to get clients? There’s the traditional PT marketing which should not be overlooked – external signage, promoting to family / friends, building local mutually beneficial relationships, offering complimentary first sessions. (NB: Remember to ensure your local promotional relationships are mutually beneficial as many PTs fall into the trap of offering complimentary sessions with little return!)
Don’t underestimate the power of Word of Mouth, the most cost effective form of promotion there is! Ensure your service is second to none, deliver what you say you are going to and ‘ask’ for the sale. Regular clients that are happy will refer you! Many personable, successful Personal Trainers have built their businesses based on word of mouth alone.
Finally…. Consistency, consistency, consistency! Keep your message, your look and the quality of your service consistent.
5. Physical Evidence:
Your service is intangible however there are tangible elements to your service. How are you dressing, do you have a uniform? What look and feel does your location present? Gain your clients testimonials and USE them to show the tangible outcomes to your service! Take photos at your sessions and before/after shots (with your client’s permission) and post them online.
A very important element of the Marketing Mix that is regularly overlooked by Personal Trainers just starting out. Consider what processes you need to implement – how are you going to take payments (direct debit?), how are you going to manage and track client payments and your expenses? Set up a cancellations policy and make sure your clients are aware of it! Your weekly income relies on clients attending their sessions and no shows (with no notice) need to value your service and still pay for the session that you were there for and prepared to deliver!
‘You’ and ‘your trainers’ are perceived as the main component of the service you deliver. You create the culture of your business, you deliver the training, you provide customer service and it is ‘you’ who people will judge as part of the service delivery. Keep this in mind, especially if you get to the stage of hiring Personal Trainers down the track! Whenever you are in uniform you are representing your business, whatever you write or say online is representing your business!
A note on Customer Service…
You’ve worked hard to get to where you are, don’t blow it all when it comes to delivering your service. Always remain professional, ensure your appearance is professional, you are on time (early) for every session, you are organised and show your passion for health and fitness and helping others to achieve their goals! Learn from what works well and just as importantly learn from mistakes you make.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates
A note on marketing yourself online…
It’s indisputable that the internet plays a major role in today’s society.
If you set up your own web site how can you ensure people will be able to find your site on the World Wide Web? What other activities can you do online in order to be found and be seen as reputable? And most importantly how can you tie everything together to ensure you get the most out of your marketing efforts and turn your online presence into enquiries and eventually clients?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
A massive topic, however to try and sum it up in a nutshell SEO is all about getting your business found online when people search for a PT through the likes of Google.
It therefore incorporates a range of activities that you carry out online that all tie back to your main web presence. Your sites keywords and content are a BIG part of it, online activity, back links, online PR and articles, social media, blogging…. Make sure everything you do online ties back into your website.
If you are having your website built make sure you have a conversation with your developer about SEO.
Most people are well aware of social media and use Facebook on a daily basis. However, have you thought about how you may use Social Media when you are promoting your own fitness business as opposed to just updating your personal life?
Social Media is an important tool for you to use as a part of your Marketing Mix. The most important thing you need to remember is to view and use it as a business strategy and keep it separate from your personal pages!
Written by: Sarah Morrissey, Marketing Manager, Australian Fitness Academy
Sarah has her Master’s in Business (Marketing) and has been in the health & fitness industry for 10-years.