Running a personal training business (or starting your fitness business) keeps you super busy. Writing programs, running sessions, doing admin, tracking clients, sorting marketing and finances, plus all the other tasks and responsibilities that keep a small business chugging along smoothly.

There’s another important aspect that you must devote time and energy to: building a community. Though this may just sound like something that’s nice to do, the results of your community-building efforts can have significant impacts on the success of your business.

‘Community’ refers to a group of like-minded individuals who share common interests, goals, or activities (such as health and wellness!) and often engage with each other through social media platforms by sharing content, participating in discussions, and interacting with each other’s material.

Keep reading to learn more about how to harness the power of networking and community.

Why local networks matter to you 🤝

Relationships are a vital element of any small business activity and as a personal trainer you are dependent on the resources available to you through your network(s). 

Healthy networks can play a huge role in business sustainability and growth. As a small business owner, you may struggle to collect contacts or build marketing and sales pipelines. This is where having a robust community will help you out. The benefits include:

  • Client loyalty – which can lead to retention
  • Increased engagement
  • Word-of-mouth marketing/brand advocacy
  • Extra accountability for clients
  • Point of difference from other trainers
  • More opportunities to upsell
  • Strengthened reputation

Local networks are important because due to the use of smartphones with location detection, people’s actions are closely connected to things geographically closer to them. This is something you can take advantage of.

How to reach out to potential clients in your community 👨‍👨🏽‍🦱👱🏻‍♀️👩🏿‍🦲

There are many ways to go about this, and one of the best ways is using online platforms and social media, which we’ll cover in the next section. Here are 5 other ways to find new clients and mingle with members of your fitness community.

#1 Attend industry events and functions

What a fabulous way to interact with existing and potential clients as well as other industry professionals. These events include conferences, expos, chamber of commerce meetings, local fairs or any community gatherings. If there’s an opportunity to exhibit or provide sponsorship, then all the better.

#2 Host workshops or classes (virtually or in person) related to health and wellbeing

This means events outside of your regular services. Ideas for sessions include:

  • mindfulness and stress management
  • educational sessions on the benefits of specific training types, such as strength, cardio, HIIT, etc
  • nutrition basics or planning (plus plenty of info on how your business can provide guidance)
  • fitness goal setting (then you explain how you can help them reach those fitness goals)
  • holistic wellness (again, always a teaser of what your business can provide in this area)

The idea is that these sessions will showcase your expertise and general awesomeness. They should provide some helpful information but leave people wanting more – leading to contacts, follow-up conversations and eventually conversions to clients (down the funnel they go!)

 #3 Engage with the community yourself

Actively engage in the community by attending local meetings, participating in volunteer activities, or sponsoring community initiatives. This demonstrates your commitment to the community and can generate positive word-of-mouth. Make sure you’re wearing your branded gear!

#4 Go old school

Traditional media isn’t dead yet! Leverage local media outlets such as newspapers, radio stations, and community magazines. Consider running ads or getting featured in editorial content to increase visibility.

Create special promotions or discounts for local residents. This can encourage people to try your products or services and can be an effective way to attract new clients.

Consider targeted direct mail campaigns in your local area. This could include postcards, flyers, or other promotional material to introduce your business to residents.

#5 Build local partnerships

Build partnerships with other local businesses. Cross-promotion can be mutually beneficial, helping you tap into each other’s customer base. For example, you might partner with a local health food store or an active wear shop.

Reach out using the long arms of the internet 📶

It takes some research and practice to use online platforms and social media in the most effective way possible. You’ll likely find that a bit of trial and error is required to work out what attracts the most engagement from your online fitness community.

Interestingly, according to research, 90% of Instagram users follow a business profile.

Here are 5 tips for establishing a strong presence and building a solid community (all with the goals of raising brand awareness, finding and nurturing leads, and encouraging ongoing engagement).

#1 Be responsive

Don’t just post and move on. In order to build a community you need to always engage. If someone comments on your post, acknowledge or thank them or ask questions to keep the conversation going. Answer DMs and queries. Recognize highly engaged people.

People want to feel like you’re all in it together. Definitely avoid the ‘selling’ vibe.

#2 Encourage user-generated content

Encourage your clients to share their fitness journeys, progress photos, and testimonials. This not only showcases your expertise but also builds a sense of community among your clients.

Be sure to share the content others create to your own socials as well. Not only does this provide you with content you don’t have to create, but it generates the warm, fuzzy feeling of a supportive community (and shows how social and generous you are).

#3 Invite everyone

Starting with your personal networks, invite everyone to like or follow your account. Even people who don’t use your services can support your business by sharing and interacting with your posts. You never know the ripples that can form from a single drop (or like).

#4 Create a Facebook group:

Establish a private Facebook group for your clients and those interested in your services. This can be a space for Q&A sessions, discussions, live feeds, and sharing success stories. It also provides a sense of exclusivity.

#5 Use every tool in your belt for maximum impact

Make every post work hard! There are lots of ways to ensure your posts are giving your business the best chance to grow and succeed.

  • Use hashtags to ensure as many people with similar interests as possible are seeing your content.
  • Enhance your online content for local search engine optimization (SEO). This helps your business show up in local search results when potential clients are looking for products or services like yours.
  • Use memes, GIFs, images, emojis, quotes – anything fun and engaging to pull attention.
  • Cross-promote to your other online platforms by providing links or sharing content across all of them.
  • Include some kind of opportunity for people to interact such as a call-to-action, a poll, or even a simple question (How do you keep your workout shoes fresh and clean?)
  • Provide a variety of material that is relevant to the industry or the interests of your fitness community (especially if you have a niche area such as post-partum fitness). Don’t make every post about your business or people will stop noticing your content. Throw in facts, funny tidbits, memes, helpful hints, and anything else that makes you useful and worth their time.

Perfect the elevator pitch 📢

This sounds very Hollywood, but an elevator pitch is just a concise and compelling introduction or overview of something (in this case your business or one of your services), typically delivered in the time it takes to ride an elevator—usually around 30 seconds to one minute. The purpose of an elevator pitch is to capture the listener’s attention quickly and effectively communicate key information in a way that is memorable and sparks interest.

A great elevator pitch might contain the following:

Introduction/hook: Start with a compelling introduction or hook that grabs the listener’s attention. This could be a question, a surprising fact, or a statement that piques interest.

Value proposition: Clearly communicate the value or benefits of your product, service, or expertise. Highlight what makes your offering unique.

Problem and solution: Identify a common problem or challenge that your target audience faces and explain how your product or service provides a solution.

Credentials or qualifications: Briefly mention relevant qualifications, achievements, or certifications that establish your credibility.

Call-to-action: End with a clear call-to-action, indicating the next steps or how the listener can learn more or get in touch.

Here’s an example of an elevator pitch for a personal training business specializing in fitness for women, specifically targeting busy moms with small children:

Hi there! I’m Barbie and I’m the founder of Girl Power where we specialize in empowering busy moms to prioritize their health and well-being. As a certified personal trainer with a passion for supporting women, especially those with little ones, I understand the unique challenges that come with balancing family and fitness.

I’ve crafted fitness programs tailored specifically for busy moms like you. Our approach goes beyond traditional workouts; it’s about creating manageable routines that fit seamlessly into your day. Imagine short, effective workouts you can do at home or even involve your little ones in.

We’re all about making fitness accessible and enjoyable, helping you reclaim energy, strength, and confidence. With a focus on results and a deep understanding of the demands of motherhood, we’re here to be your fitness ally.

I hold certifications in general fitness as well as post-partum recovery and my commitment is to make your fitness journey not just effective but also enjoyable. Let’s chat about how we can customize a program that suits your unique needs and schedule. Can we schedule a quick coffee or a virtual chat to discuss further?

PRO TIP

Writing something from scratch can seem overwhelming, so utilize an AI program like ChatGPT to help you craft your pitch. It can provide you with a base that you can then refine. For help with this, check out our blog post: ChatGPT: your new fitness business buddy

Cultivating and continually nurturing and strengthening your fitness community is a fantastic way to optimize your client acquisition process, which will ultimately lead to better efficiency and results.Remember to have a strategy in place, clear goals and the steps to achieve them, and most of all, track your results and make changes where necessary. Now get out there and build those networks!

Article by Clare Hudson

First published: January 25 2024

Last updated: January 11 2024