Understanding Marketing for Personal Training
So its official, you are now a fully qualified Personal Trainer, you have registered with REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals) and are officially open for business! What next? Are you going to work for yourself, rent your own space or work in a health club? Regardless of the route you decide to take, invariably you are going to need a basic understanding of marketing in order to ensure that your Personal Training business stands out from the rest and is a thriving success. Too many Personal Trainers neglect this aspect of their business, which may go some way to explaining the level of attrition in the health and fitness sector.
So, before we get down to strategy, let us first define what marketing actually is. Marketing is a process that individuals and companies go through to develop and enhance their customer’s rapport, trust and confidence. This isn’t a one-time event, rather a cyclical process of research, implementation and evaluation. Marketing enriches the relationship between the service provider (that’s you) and the service user (your clients).
Marketing is far more than a glossy leaflet or a clever email campaign- it’s about presenting a firm commitment to customers and prospects about the level and type of service you are going to offer and then showing ‘integrity’ by delivering no less than you have affirmed.
Marketing is simply about solving problems for customers and some of the most effective marketing campaigns have solved problems that many customers didn’t even know that they had. Market research is crucial because it provides up to date information about who your customers are, what they like and what they don’t? It will also give you a pretty good understanding of who your competitors are, what they are doing and more importantly what they are not doing?
Perhaps the biggest mistake when setting-up any business, and Personal Training is no different, is trying to second guess the answers to your market research questions, or assuming that you already know the answer.
In order to implement an effective marketing campaign there are 2 core elements that must be considered.
The first element is concerned with delivering to customers no less than what you said you would. Your product and service must be the best that they can be and even more importantly, they need to be better than your competitors. All too often people and companies become preoccupied with promotional marketing activities and neglect the very core of their business- their existing customer database.
The second element of the implementation process is concerned with promotion and ensuring that everyone who may be interested is aware that you are a person, company, and/or organisation of your word. This is about creating excitement and interest in your products and services and is far more than creating hype. It’s about having a systematic process that is followed week by week, month by month to ensure that more and more people are aware of you. Your strategy must be focused, disciplined and sustainable- hype isn’t sustainable and will eventually subside leaving you on the list of companies from yesterday. It is perhaps worth noting at this point that promotion should always be targeted. There is little point spending time, energy and money on making people who are unlikely to have any interest, or be able to afford your services aware of who you are and what you do.
Finally, evaluation is about being able able to determine what elements of the business and marketing campaigns are working and what are not? Most large companies will have comprehensive reporting facilities and infrastructure that will enable them to crunch the numbers and analyse the minutia. Evaluation doesn’t need to be that complex for Personal Trainers and can simply include gaining reliable feedback from customers and prospects, and using that feedback to grow the size and quality of the service you provide. To some extent the evaluation process is very similar to the research process- but a little more focused.
This brief article is not intended to equip you with all of the knowledge and skills required to market your business successfully. It does however aim to impress upon you the motivation and desire to work as much on your business knowledge, as you do on your training knowledge so that you can become a personal trainer who doesn’t just make a living, but one that creates a fortune!