Here’s a scenario: You’re a motivated and certified personal trainer ready to start your own coaching business. First of all… CONGRATULATIONS! 🎉 What an amazing achievement and an exciting start to the year. We’re super excited for you!

Starting your own small business can be fun, stressful, rewarding, scary, exhilarating, frustrating, <add your own adjective – it’s different for everyone>. You’ve got lots of planning, deciding, organizing, implementing, and assessing ahead of you. And that’s just to get everything kicked off.

Grab a protein shake and relax though, because we’ve got you covered. 💪

Read on to discover 7 key strategies that will win clients and start making you money.

Strategy #1 Define your niche and identify your target market 🎯

To establish a successful business that constantly grows and evolves, you must have a clear idea of what you want to offer and who you want to offer it to. Finding your niche in the market means identifying that attractive, marketable thing that makes your personal training business different to all the others. 

Tune in to your own passions and strengths. If you love being in nature, perhaps you could offer sessions that take place in parks, on hiking trails, or on the beach (ooh, running on sand is hard). If you get a kick out of supporting young people, maybe your focus could be teen fitness (or sessions that teens and parents could do together).

Your niche might be an unfulfilled need that you’ve identified in your area, such as a program for customers with disabilities or parents with small children. Other skills or expertise you may have such as medical training, bodybuilding, martial arts, or ballet could be incorporated. Or any unique experiences like completing the Pacific Northwest Trail hike or undertaking military service could give you an edge. 

Research other businesses that successfully do what you hope to do and scour social media to find out what’s trending in the world of personal training. You can put your own spin on it and you can always undertake training and upskill to meet current needs.

Your niche and your ideal customer are linked, and once you identify both elements you can tailor your marketing efforts and coaching services to attract and keep those ‘good fit’ customers.

For more on this check out our blog post: Rise above the rest: getting noticed in a crowd of personal trainers

Strategy #2 Create a powerful personal brand that will set you apart 💥

Think of The Naked Chef or The Budgetnista. Sometimes branding is so fantastic the person or business becomes a household name. For now you can start smaller (and you don’t need a clever nickname), but branding is incredibly important for any business striving to gain customers and stand out in their industry.

Your brand will be linked to your niche and the aim is to be recognizable to current clients and attractive to potential clients. This should underpin all of your marketing efforts.

It can help to create a personal brand statement, a bit like a mission statement. Clearly articulate your mission and values. What do you stand for as a personal trainer? What sets you apart? This will be the foundation of your brand identity.

Take everything you’ve discovered about your niche and ideal customer and use it to create a unique selling proposition (USP), which is exactly what it sounds like – what you propose to offer your customers that’s unique.

Have a brainstorm session:

  • What things does your ideal customer want to hear? 
  • What’s your unique approach to training? 
  • What specialised skills do you have? 
  • Why should they choose you over other trainers? 

It’s a good idea to invest in having a professional logo created, as well as branding elements that represent your style and values. Consistent use of colors, fonts, and imagery contributes to an attention-grabbing brand image. Be sure to have consistency in your messaging across all platforms. Whether it’s your website, social media, or in-person interactions, your message should be cohesive and reflect your brand identity.

Now give that brand a strong foundation by building a solid reputation in the fitness community. Become a trusted expert and your brand will gain more power. You and your brand rely on each other to become stronger and more successful. You feed it, it backs you, on and on in a never-ending cycle.

DID YOU KNOW?

We’ve created a FREE guide to getting you started on social media, including 30 made-for-you social posts and a guide to get verified here!

Strategy #3 Utilize social media platforms 👍

A strong online presence can be a crucial factor in building a successful business. If it’s something you really struggle to manage there are plenty of people out there who have it all sorted. You could always look at employing their services to handle it (or teach you how).

Share content on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, X, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. The main goals of this are increasing recognition of your brand, keeping existing clients engaged, and attracting new customers to your business.

You can attract and engage a wide audience using social media platforms. Provide sleep hygiene tips in a TikTok, showcase your new branded workout gear on Instagram, or provide an infographic on the benefits of weight training on Facebook. Aim to create a mixture of content specifically about you and your business and general content about health, wellbeing and fitness. You could post videos, photos, memes, advice, infographics, success stories and testimonials, related industry news and advice; anything that your clients will find relevant to their health and wellness journey.

Being informative and entertaining online can produce a lot of likes and sharing – which can lead to gaining more followers and customers.

Check out the following for tips on making the most of social media:

Instagram for personal trainers – 3 tips to upgrade your profile

How to use Instagram for personal trainers

How to use TikTok for personal trainers

How to use facebook for personal trainers

Strategy #4 Lure potential clients using packages and promotional offers 🎁

Gaining new clients can be a tough one for small businesses. Luckily, people love a good old promotion or special offer. Just look at the success of Black Friday – we go bonkers for a special deal! Providing limited-time promotions or exclusive perks can create a sense of urgency and encourage potential customers to take action.

When creating packages and promotional offers, you should consider the needs and preferences of your target audience. Offer a variety of options and clearly communicate the value clients will receive (and don’t forget to clearly set out terms and conditions). 

Some ideas for deals and promotions you could offer include:

Introductory offer: Kickstart Your Fitness Journey: Get 3 personal training sessions for the price of 2. Perfect for those new to personal training!

Membership package: Fit for Life Membership: Enjoy unlimited monthly sessions, personalized nutrition plans, and exclusive workout videos. Commit to your fitness journey!

Online coaching package: Virtually Fit: Get personalized workouts, nutrition plans, and weekly check-ins from the comfort of your home.

Bring a friend offer: Best buddy bundle: Train with a friend! Enjoy discounted rates for duo or small group training sessions. Achieve your fitness goals together!

Transformation special: Total Transformation: Includes 12 weeks of personalized training, nutrition guidance, and weekly check-ins. Sign up now and receive a free fitness assessment!

Loyalty program: Fitness Fanatic Loyalty Program: Stay committed to your fitness journey with us and enjoy exclusive perks, including discounts on sessions and merchandise.

Strategy #5 Leverage referral networks to expand your reach 📣

Who better to spread the word about your excellent customer service than the people benefitting from it!

Motivate your loyal clients to become advocates for your business. Provide exceptional service that they can’t help but rave about and then provide an easy way for them to tell others via an excellent referral program. 

Ensure that the program you develop is easy for them to use. Provide them with any content they need to quickly share with others. Offer juicy incentives if someone signs up based on their referral. You could also offer smaller rewards when a client leaves a review or testimonial online.

Thinking back to strategy # 4, what about a promotional offer:

Refer and Save: Refer a friend, and both of you get a free session! Share the gift of fitness with those you care about.

We’ve covered referrals in great detail in these two blog posts:

Reaping the rewards of referrals for personal trainers

Asking for referrals without feeling awkward: a brief guide

And in this ebook: 

The Ultimate Guide to Referral Marketing for Personal Trainers

Strategy #6 Get to know each other first 🤝

Personal training is very… well, personal! Some people can feel very vulnerable when exercising and discussing their bodies and health. You have to get close to each other, they have to exert themselves, sweat, sometimes cry (for good reasons too). 

Offer an introductory session or consultation call so potential clients can get to know you better. Ask them heaps of questions about themselves and tell them about you and your own fitness journey. Build a connection from this first visit and you will have a greater chance of sign up, retention and loyalty. It’s all about creating an enjoyable and personalized customer experience. 

You could use this session to set goals together that you can then track and revisit in your regular check-ins.

PRO TIP

For strategies and tools for setting goals download our ebook: Growing Your Personal Training Business: Actionable Ways To Set (And Achieve) Your Business And Client Goals

Strategy #7 Invest in yourself 💜

Ah, last but not least, the most important element of your business: you! 

You need to be doing everything you can to keep ahead in this fast-paced industry that’s chock-full of other personal trainers vying for clients. Boost your training and expertise and give yourself a real edge. Investing in yourself can take many forms and reap ongoing rewards.

Part of investing in yourself involves personal growth. As the driving force behind your business, you need to be able to adapt, change, and grow so that your business can do the same. Personal growth is about the way you perceive yourself, what you envision for your future, and the action you take to achieve it. It is the ongoing process of:

  • becoming strong and resilient
  • building confidence
  • practising flexibility
  • maintaining curiosity
  • having intention
  • being more effective

There are heaps of ways you can upskill to become better at what you do. 

You could complete coaching programs, attend industry webinars and conferences (network, baby!), approach or hire a mentor for guidance, complete business courses, or even gain a specialization, which can increase your customer base and you can increase your prices. 

Possible specializations include:

  • Special needs: such as pre- and post-natal exercise, clients with unique requirements
  • Nutrition coaching: developing nutrition plans to accompany fitness programs
  • Wellness coaching: providing holistic programs for physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing
  • Senior fitness: adjusting programs to suit the health, age and physical limitations of seniors
  • Strength and conditioning: focus on specific training to improve speed, power, endurance
  • Yoga: offer additional exercises to build strength and increase flexibility and balance
  • Powerlifting: strength training to lift external loads, often in preparation for judging
  • CPR: you should undertake constant refreshers in this vital skill

For more information on how to be the best personal trainer download our ebook: Investing In Yourself: How To Improve And Protect Your Best Business Asset

Hopefully this has given you a great start to launching your personal training business. As well as the 7 strategies mentioned above, you can rely on TrueCoach to elevate and streamline your business.

For tips on getting started head over to this blog post: Want to be a successful TrueCoach?

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Article by Clare Hudson

First published: January 02 2024

Last updated: February 20 2024