A Complete Guide To Marketing Strategy For Personal Trainer

4 years ago

Before we get started with any personal trainer marketing strategies, ask yourself one question: why did you get into personal training?

Because of your love for sports, health, and fitness? Because of your desire to motivate others? Because of your leadership skills, your socially outgoing personality, and your ambitious mind-set?

Whatever it is, I’m going to hazard a guess that it wasn’t because you wanted to spend hours sat at your computer, marketing yourself. If that is you, you’re in the wrong business – as we used to say at FSL (Fitness Shack), ‘you’re in the fitness industry, not the fitness business’.

That’s because, in business profiles, we typically refer to the fitness business as ‘the sweat equity’, or ‘your business’. Whether you’re a personal trainer, a Part-Time PT, a Group Fitness Instructor, a Pole Instructor, a Handbalancer, a Walking Instructor – whatever you’re sat at your computer reading my blog, you can interpret all the strategies below, to suit your own business.

For your marketing, you must first get three things in place:

An understanding of your customer base An understanding of their motivations for training in your fitness center An understanding of how you’re going to market to them

Having an understanding of your customer base will give you the answers to these questions:

  • Who is your customer base
  • Why did they choose to train at your fitness center
  • What do they most like in your service
  • What do they value in your service
  • How can you market to them

During your off-peak/non-peak times – these are the times where your gym is quiet, where you’d typically be sat behind your desk doing admin, or making the daily coffee run – think about the answers to these questions.

Fatal Flaw Number One: Lack of Ability To Understand The Customer

“Here’s the paradox, here’s what they found: The higher you go in an organisation, the less information you have, and the less you know what’s really going on.”

Peter Drucker, Management Guru

If you can’t answer the above questions, you’re in trouble.

Gary Vaynerchuk, the ‘New York Times best-selling author behind ‘The Thank You Economy’, put it best: ‘businesses are not struggling because they can’t make money, they’re struggling because they can’t communicate what they do well’. Whilst what he said was referring to businesses with physical presences, it still applies to personal trainers.

Can you explain what you do within fitness center? What do you most value in your staff? What separates you from other gyms? How do you present yourself as a brand? Or as Joe explains, using myself as an example, what separates me from another ‘dumpy’ guy sitting behind a desk?

You may well be doing a great job at what you do, but if they don’t know, or if you’re not explaining it to them in a way that is easily understood, then you’re facing the potential of having to job search.

You need to know all of this stuff in order to market to your customers.

Fatal Flaw Number Two: Lack of Understanding The Customer’s Motivations

When talking to your customers, you must first understand their motivations. Your marketing is secondary to your methods of customer engagement. Don’t try to sell me what you have to offer before I know how I can benefit from it in some way.

Now, if I had a penny for every time when a personal trainer was talking to me, trying to sell me their personal training session and it didn’t occur to them to ask me what I was there for (whether that be for an assessment, injury prevention, rehabilitation, or for general health/wellbeing), I might be able to afford that big power ball that I’ve been eyeing up for my workout.

Simply put, a salesperson that’s not good at sales, isn’t a good salesperson.

A personal trainer that can’t engage with their client will not book their next session.

You need to tap into your client’s motivations. What is it that makes them come to the gym?

If you’re a personal trainer, it will take something different to get me into the gym, compared to what it takes to get me back. And it will take something different to get me to sign on the dotted line, compared to what it takes to get me in the door once.

So, if you don’t know what makes me come in (that might be the high-intensity interval training that I love), what can you offer to make me want to sign up to a training program, to open my wallet and hand over my hard-earned cash?

You need to figure out what I want.

Fatal Flaw Number Three: Lack of A Solid Marketing Strategy

“Entrepreneurs aren’t inherently smarter than anybody else. It’s not magic, it’s just work.”

Jason Fried, 37 Signals

Let’s get down and dirty.

You, the personal trainer, need to know where and how you’re going to be making your money within the next 3-6 months. You don’t have all the time in the world to wait for everybody to magically turn up in the door, so you need a plan to get in-front of your customer base.

  • Do you have an understanding of the fitness industry?
  • Are you a familiar face (or even better, name) to your local center?
  • Do you have a fundamental understanding of how to market yourself?
  • Do you have a marketing budget set aside?

If you answered ‘no’, or ‘I don’t know’ to any of the questions above, then you’re going to struggle to make your fitness center a success.

The marketing strategy will directly benefit and affect every other facet of your business (coaching, fulfillment, referrals, etc). Without a marketing strategy in place, you need to develop it – as a business strategy.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Business strategies are boring. And you’re right. My articles and posts on personal trainer marketing strategies are not going to make you some killer workout routines, or help you take that extra step in designing the gym of your dreams. But the marketing strategies that you develop will decide whether or not your fitness center is successful, and whether or not you’re a success story.

Marketing is not some magical pot of gold, and marketing strategies will not be the solution to your lacklustre business profile. How you implement marketing strategies, however, is what will take your business to the next level.


You need to tailor your marketing strategies to suit your business objectives and the values of your business. If you’re starting up a chain of Personal Training Studios, then your marketing strategies, your business models, and your business planning will be vastly different to a studio that is an extension of a health and fitness clinic. If you’re a PT that is opening a mobile business, then your marketing strategies will be very different to a PT that’s based in a centre, or a club that has members of staff.

If your goals, values, and vision for your business are not aligned, then your marketing strategies will inevitably fall short of success.

For your marketing strategies to be successful you need to ensure you’ve got the following in place:

– Business Objective

– Bridge The Marketing Strategy With The Business Objective

– Sources Of New Customers

– Show Case Of Previous Marketing Success

– Identify Which Media Will Get Your Message Across

– Give Your Customers An Opportunity To Engage With Your Business And Offer

– Test, Test, Test – Make It A Fun Adventure

– Maintain A Constant And Consistent Communication Flow

– Get The Word Out About Your Business

Your marketing strategies will make or break your business. You have to make sure you get them right.

Recommended reading:

How I Increased My Personal Training Business By 166% In 30 Days – This post will set you on the right path. Read it here.

Why Business Obstacles Are A Good Thing – this post will help you develop strategies to tackle the mental blocks that are hampering your progress. Read it here.

The Power Of Personal Trainer Perseverance – this post will help you overcome the bad days that we all face. Read it here.

The Power Of Personal Trainer Persistence – this post will help you maintain the focus you need to achieve your goals. Read it here.

The Power Of Personal Trainer Purpose – this post will help you determine your direction in the face of uncertainty. Read it here.

The Power Of Personal Trainer Perseverance – this post will help you overcome the bad days that we all face. Read it here.

How I Ultimately Became Successful – you need to have a plan to achieve your goals. Here it is. Read it here.

Business Success Do’s And Don’ts – you need to pay attention to this post if you want to take your business to the next level of success. Read it here.

It’s Time to Be a Champion

“The real credit for our success belongs to the over 200,000 people who have come through our doors…to the thousands of dedicated associates who have chosen to share our passion for fitness…and to our extraordinary corps of franchisees – each of which is a living embodiment of the belief that teamwork can overcome individual limitations, that enthusiasm can fuel excellence, and that people of character can make a difference.”

Jim Rowley, CEO 24 Hour Fitness

Success is a mental state, not an event. Success doesn’t happen overnight.

Success is setting a goal, developing a plan to achieve that goal, and then taking massive action to make that goal a reality. It’s like in the 80’s when I thought that I’d never be a personal trainer. From that moment I decided I wanted to be a personal trainer, and I developed a plan to achieve that goal, I succeeded. From that moment, I stop the excuses about not having the right qualifications, the right experience, the right opportunities, and the fact that I couldn’t afford a membership as an excuse for not achieving my goal.

From that moment on, I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and I made the conscious choice to do something about it. From that moment I started to change my outcome from ‘I’ll never be a personal trainer’, to ‘Hey look! I’m a personal trainer!’

How To Be A Power Personal Trainer

“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will build a bigger mouse!”


With the world of personal training changing so quickly (improved equipment, new training techniques, and an abundance of resources), there’s a whole new world of opportunities waiting to be taken advantage of.

Personal trainers who don’t jump on the opportunity wagon will leave it to those who are willing to get the job done. The opportunity won’t go begging for long when the majority aren’t doing anything about it.

Since the 1990’s everything has changed. The equipment is better, more effective and less expensive. The training methods are better, and more people are getting educated and making an effort to work on their health. Resistance training is becoming more popular. High-intensity interval training is becoming even more popular. More people are walking into centers with a new-found enthusiasm for taking their health seriously. The times have changed.

Technology has also changed. Information is more readily available than ever before. The abundant resources of the Internet have made it easy for anyone to access training resources online.

We’re also entering a new era where people are a little more health conscious than in the past. The fad diets of the 80’s and 90’s have left the scene, and the messages of ‘eat everything in moderation’ is the new message. There’s slightly more acceptance of westernized cultures than there was previously.

The Perfect Business For You

“There is no perfect business. Only the ones with a vision for one!”

Karo Karastoyan

A personal trainer is one of the perfect businesses to have if you’re looking for a career where you can be your own boss.

As a small business owner, you can make your own hours and set your own prices. You’re the boss. You have the time to do whatever you want with your life.

As a solopreneur, you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. You’re not held hostage to some corporate ladder that you have to climb to be part the team.

Most people who start their own business do so because they think there’s a better life out there.

They’re tired of answering to a boss. Tired of being tied to someone else’s work schedule. Tired of putting in long hours and not seeing any of the reward. They want the freedom to achieve their dreams.

I didn’t start my own personal training business so that I could make a lot of money. I had a vision for what my ideal training facility would look like. I wanted to work for myself. I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to help people in a way that was completely different to what I was doing at the time.

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