Listen up, trainers: fitness marketing is key to attracting and retaining coaching clients and growing your fitness business. Here’s 9 ideas to get you started.
When building fitness brands, finding and keeping clients is half the battle. You’ve got to help all your regular clients, and then drum up brand-new ones online through fitness marketing to scale your business.
No doubt about it: that’s hard. Many personal trainers like you find marketing themselves daunting, especially when they’re more confident training clients than they are at self-promotion. But the potential payoff is huge, and word-of-mouth referrals just can’t compete with a strategic, well-executed fitness marketing plan.
At Trainerize, our whole focus is helping personal trainers find and retain new clients, and we’ve picked up tons of fitness marketing strategies along the way. There’s no gatekeeping on our end, though. Let’s break down nine key strategies you can use to market your personal training business, get more clients, and build your brand.
What is fitness marketing, exactly?
At its most basic level, fitness marketing is all about reaching your ideal potential customers through multiple digital marketing channels and convincing them that you and your services are what they need to achieve their goals and get the results they aspire to.
Of course, there are lots of factors that go into a client’s decision—like you as the trainer and your personality or approach, the space you work in, your methodology or the types of services you offer.
Ultimately, successful fitness marketing means telling a compelling story about the training you offer, the results you promise, and the pathway to getting there. You’ve got to feel likeable, knowledgeable, and empathetic, and you need to show your receipts for your expertise. If that comes across, you’re well on your way to success.
4 strategies behind all successful fitness marketing
There’s no one-strategy-fits-all approach to fitness marketing, and what works perfectly for one trainer may not be right for you. That said, there are a few marketing tactics and fundamentals that go into all the best fitness marketing, so let’s make sure you’re covered.
1. Understand your audience
Fitness is for everyone, and gym-goers aren’t a monolith. Maybe you work with seniors to help them stay mobile in old age, or maybe you’re a seasoned body builder who helps younger ones train for competition. (Or maybe something else entirely!)
Either way, your target audience is way narrower than “everyone who goes to the gym.” When you understand who they are, you can craft fitness marketing materials that speak right to them and generate more leads.
To get a closer understanding of your target audience, ask yourself these questions:
- Who are my existing clients, and what do I help them with?
- What would my dream client base look like?
- What types of personal training are most exciting for me?
2. Know what makes you stand out
Next, you need to understand what sets you apart from other gyms and fitness businesses. Often, that’s your fitness studios niche and clientele. You might focus on training pro-level soccer players, or help rehabilitate people who’ve suffered severe injuries. Both focuses are worth emphasizing and will help you stand out.
Sometimes, the reason you stand out might be more intangible—like your amazing personality. If you’re naturally gregarious, own it; you’re that trainer that clients would want to hang out with IRL. Or if you’re an introvert, position yourself as a gentle guide for clients who want a more low-key fitness journey.
If you’re struggling to define what sets you apart in the fitness industry, grab a sheet of paper, and jot down some answers to these questions:
- What’s my niche as a trainer?
- What do my training sessions usually look like?
What about me keeps my clients coming back?
3. Create a strong offer
When you include a clear offer in your fitness marketing, it makes reaching out less intimidating for your prospects. Your marketing tells prospects “look what I can help you do,” and your offer simply tells them “this is what you can ask me for.” You’re just completing the thought.
Usually, your offer will be a short line of text in a social media caption, email, or promo image. Remember: you’re not being bossy, you’re being completely helpful. Make it instructive, friendly, and direct, so there’s no second-guessing. And if you’re comfortable, inject some urgency into your offer.
Here’s some example offers you can adapt:
- Message me for a free consultation.
- Start your weekly training today.
- I’m open for new training clients—so claim your spot.
- Three training slots left for summer—don’t miss yours!
4. Show your work
Last, almost every successful piece of fitness marketing involves showing your process or results. Every time a client reaches their goals, that’s a testimony to just how good you are as a trainer and a powerful green flag for any new client.
Process is just as important. A “hey, thank you for helping me track my meals with Trainerize” message shows you support clients outside outside the weight room, which is a seriously good look. Trainerize has a growing suite of features for nutrition planning and tracking that your clients will love.
To show your work, get in front of the camera yourself, and tell a story about a recent challenge you helped someone overcome and post it to instagram and facebook. Or ask a client if they’d be comfortable if you take a video of them crushing a fitness goal you’ve been working towards for a while. Consent is always key, so only post clients who’re cool with being shared online.
9 free fitness marketing strategies to grow your business
1. Get on social media
When people search for you, your social media is going to be the FIRST thing they look for. You don’t need to be everywhere, but we’d recommend having a presence on at least one of these three platforms:
Try to post regularly—like once or twice a week, not once or twice a year. You’ll remind people you exist, and show prospective training clients you’re available. (We’ve also got a guide on driving sales with social media that’ll take your marketing up a notch.
2. Jump on a trend—or lead a challenge
Some fitness challenges on social media are a little nutty (like the 75 Hard program), but there’s lots of fun ones. Jump on an existing trend or start a challenge of your own—it’s a great way to showcase your personality and fitness skills.
If you’re looking for inspiration, we’d suggest going down the rabbit hole on TikTok. No matter what your vibe is, you’ll find one that you can jump on. (Plus, challenges like this give us all a reason to blast Daddy Yankee at full-volume—as if we really needed an excuse.)
3. Create shareable guides and tips
Create something worth sharing and other people will literally promote your business for you. So fire up Canva, design a sample workout plan or meal prepping guide, and then share it on social. The more knowledge you give away, the more love you’ll get back. (And that means more visits to you website and more clients!)
4. Run a workshop
Leading a free workshop is a great way to put your training skills in the spotlight. First, pick a subject that you’re an expert on, whether that’s legs day, recovery, or weight loss. Put the call for participants out online, and encourage your existing clients to bring their friends.
Run a killer workshop, and make sure someone’s there to take photos—’cause that workshop is great content for your social channels. (Everything you do around fitness and training can become promo, remember?)
5. Stream an online event
Online events are just as good as IRL ones, and they offer you the chance to reach potential clients at scale. Like with any workshop, you’ll want a topic to focus on, whether that’s picking meaningful fitness goals or training for your first marathon.
You can go live on TikTok or Instagram. Promote the event in advance on your social media, make sure to invite friends and clients, and have a blast!
6. Create an online course or video workout
Recording an online course can be a great way to promote your IRL training services, and scale up your income. By offering on-demand training, you can impact even more people, and get additional proof that your coaching pays off.
In terms of hosting: you can drop online courses for free on YouTube, publish them through course hosting services like Udemy, or deliver them as a program you’ve built in Trainerize. (We can even help you upload workouts, daily habits, meal plans, and scheduled automated messages, which is pretty tough to beat!)
7. Build a personal website
Building a personal website offers you another way to reach new clients, showcase your services, and get discovered online. Plus, having a more formal web presence makes you look professional and trustworthy, which never hurts.
Eager to start? Squarespace is our go-to website builder, and they’ve got tons of resources specific to health and fitness sites. Set a few hours aside one afternoon, pull up your favorite template, and you’ll have a polished, professional-looking website ready to go.
8. Blog about fitness
Once you’ve got your website fired up, you can start to publish blog articles that get you discovered on Google Search. You’ll want to focus on your niche as a coach, and answer questions that prospective clients might be searching for.
When blogging, try to keep your articles short, concise, and punchy. You want to answer a few key questions so people get to know you as a trainer—and you definitely don’t want to club them over the head with excessive information. Just a little bit goes a long, long way.
9. Start an email newsletter
Email marketing is another key way to hook new leads, especially the ones that don’t follow you on social media yet. You’ll need to build up a list of contacts, so make sure you’ve got a lead magnet turned on on your website to capture prospects’ emails.
Then, write a short weekly newsletter to go out every Monday morning, so you’re at the top of everyone’s inbox as they start their work week. Soon, they’ll be reaching out for advice and consultations. (You can dive deeper into email marketing for trainers in this article).
Should I use a fitness marketing agency?
Many fitness marketing agencies are effective, but they are costly. Bigger gyms and multi-location chains can really benefit from outsourcing their marketing, but solo trainers and smaller gyms tend to get better results from DIY-ing their promo.
Our take: you can focus on delivering even better services AND build marketing materials. Every feature in Trainerize gives you material to re-share as fitness marketing materials. Our meal plans, workouts, programs, progress tracking and virtual sessions will let you provide more value to your existing clients while creating proof points to show new ones.
In other words, you can have your macro-tracked quinoa salad and eat it too. That’s seriously powerful—and how you’ll hit all your business goals as a trainer.