Want to learn how to market online personal training? Below you'll learn about the 5 most effective marketing strategies for your online fitness business.
Marketing is essentially the art of selling more and is considered one of the most important things that online personal trainers need to get right.
Just like building a website or developing your product, learning how to market online personal training will also take time to test and perfect.
The good news is that it doesn’t need to be extremely complicated, as some marketers would have you believe.
The role of this article is to summarise the essential marketing strategies to build an online fitness business, so that you are aware of the methods available to you and the important areas to focus on.
Marketing is essentially the process by which you encourage your potential online clients/customers to make a purchase from you.
No matter if you have an online or offline fitness business, marketing strategies will need to be in place to maximise sales.
For many online personal trainers the most effective method for doing this is by direct marketing. This means you will interact with your potential clients and essentially form a relationship with them.
Direct marketing is therefore a ‘permission-based’ form of advertising, as you will first need agreement from your potential customers to interact with them.
Now let me show you how to do this effectively:
Strategy 1: Build an audience
In order to market to a potential client, you first need them to find you, as only then can you seek their permission for interaction.
We’ve already discussed the importance of having a website as an online personal trainer, and attracting traffic to it is essential for creating better awareness of who you are and what you do.
It’s important to note that your traffic should be interested in whatever you are essentially providing them with. Website traffic is of little use unless the people who visit your site are likely to buy.
What must be understood is that very few people will buy from a stranger.
This is why your website should be optimised to kick start a long term relationship with your visitors.
Use email marketing
The classic marketing approach is to provide your new visitor with something of worth in return for their contact details – usually their name and email.
Email marketing has always been regarded as one of the most effective ways of building a relationship with a prospect, and also encouraging them to make a purchase.
With email, you can contact your potential client at any time you like, with any form of content, information, updates or offers.
Your prospects should then receive specifically written emails that will serve two purposes:
- To make them read more of your content
- To encourage a sale or purchase
Aside from being an effective method to make more sales, email marketing offers other advantages too.
Control the platform
With email you are essentially using your own platform.
Despite the need for software to help you send emails to your list, that email list belongs to you, and you can transfer it or store it wherever you want.
With other forms of marketing, such as getting a ‘like’ on your business Facebook page or a ‘follow’ on your Twitter account, you have very little control over these platforms.
In fact, if these social media platforms got closed down tomorrow, you will lose that list of people who ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your work.
This is why email marketing is, and probably always will be, the most effective method for a creating long term relationship with your audience.
Once you begin building your email list from those visiting your website you can then communicate with them as often as you need.
Automate your communication
Another benefit to email marketing is the ability to set up an ‘auto-responder’.
This is an automated sequence of emails that allows you to contact new sign-ups to your list, without having to do anything yourself.
Essentially you can create a series of emails that will always be received automatically by new sign-ups, so you don’t have to continually resend them out.
A good auto-responder sequence will not only make email marketing less time consuming, but will also make sure everyone receives the content you want them to.
Now that you understand that capturing email addresses from your website traffic is important in building relationships and making more sales, we can now examine the methods of increasing visitors to your site.
The more qualified leads you can get onto your website, the greater number of emails you will get too.
So aside from email marketing, you need to understand the key processes and tools required to attract website traffic and enhance the relationship with them.
Below we will look at three key areas, which have been proven to be highly effective at doing this.
If you need more help with email marketing, then check out our article 'How to get online personal training clients using email marketing'.
Strategy 2: Content marketing
Content marketing has risen in popularity over the last number of years for online personal trainers to get their voice heard.
The increased amount of blogging websites such as WordPress has let content marketers create quick, cheap and effective methods to connecting with an audience.
Combined with the popularity of social media platforms, this now offers any online trainers the opportunity to self publish their own work and expose it to an audience.
By using this combination, content marketers are attracting new traffic to their blogs and main sales websites.
It will therefore come as no surprise that I too recommend that you start blogging.
Today, blogging isn’t necessarily just about writing posts on your WordPress site, it can be about creating videos, podcasting, or even a series of e-books.
It’s important to use your skills and interests to create something great.
If you don’t enjoy writing then don’t start a written blog – try podcasting instead.
You need to understand that the purpose of your blog in whatever form it takes, is to help establish a relationship with potential customers and present you as a figure of authority.
Here are some key considerations to blogging:
Your blog should be speaking to your customer – your ideal customer. It should be in their ‘language’ and contain relevant and interesting topics for them.
The first and only rule to blogging is do not be boring. Not everyone wants pure information – they want entertainment too. Show them who you really are.
As a blogger you should be up to date with current events and trends. Your audience will enjoy hearing about news and your opinions of it.
Your blog should link back to your business and what you have to offer potential clients as services or products. Remember to mention them, promote them and include links wherever possible.
The primary goal of blogging is to capture readers email addresses. Just like with your products or services, be sure to request this information in a visible way on your site.
Many people can start a blog but few will keep it going consistently. Your efforts at blogging will only be rewarded if it is something you keep at consistently.
Once you have created your blog on the website, it’s still important to drive traffic to it.
This means people will actually consume your content and you can build your email list.
Of course you can also directly upload your blog to various hosting platforms. For example if you create a video blog you can add it directly to YouTube. Or if you create a podcast you can add it to iTunes.
These platforms will provide you with their existing audiences, which may benefit you if you don’t have your own social media following.
Remember that the main reason in creating a blog is so that you can capture an email address, and many platforms make this a difficult task to do.
So by hosting your blog on your own website, you can then drive traffic to it. You are therefore creating your own platform to work from.
Strategy 3: Social media
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the key social media platforms that you will use to advertise your blog and also build an audience in the process.
Many online personal trainers will put a huge emphasis on their social media platforms, but we have already established that it is a tool to help us reach more people.
Social media marketing is something you do seriously when your product, website and blog are of high quality.
Building your social following is similar to search engine optimisation – it’s a long-term game.
Make sure your business is solid before spending time on social media.
Let’s break down each platform to highlight the key areas to focus on:
Facebook allows you to have a page for your business.
This is separate to your personal profile, so Facebook allows you to promote services and products too. This includes running paid advertising to expand the number of followers and reach more people with your content.
This service from Facebook has allowed it to quickly become one of the main social media platforms for business owners.
The power of Facebook is that you can quickly build a fan base, or community around your business or product.
The great advantage of Facebook is the way its users interact. When you write an update, it appears on the walls of many of your followers. If your followers like, share or comment on these posts, then your message has the potential to reach more people, including your followers own friends lists.
This is a powerful formula for a small business owner who wants to drive traffic to their blog.
Facebook advertising has also proven itself to be an effective method in driving more traffic to websites.
By having a business page, you can create highly targeted adverts that can present your information such as your blog post to followers or those with similar interests.
If you don’t have a large following on your Facebook page, this form of advertising your blog will probably work well for you.
Just like Facebook, every personal trainer appears to have a Twitter profile nowadays.
This is the same for online businesses too.
Twitter can serve as another powerful social media tool for creating awareness of you and your business. You will want a personal and business profile on Twitter.
Updates are very short on Twitter, limited to 140-character SMS format, so ideal for short and snappy tweets. These can be personal, informative or simply a link to your latest content.
The key to Twitter is tweeting, tweet often, tweet original content, tweet controversial and interesting information, re-tweet generously and link to external information where possible.
Instagram is cool, but I only follow people who have an eye for great photography. You should too.
It’s a visual platform and the better you can make your images or videos, the more success it’s likely to have.
If you want to make Instagram your platform, invest in a good phone or camera and learn some basic photography skills. It will go a long way.
Your goal is to still get people off Instagram to look at more of what you do.
So if you want people to go and check out that new blog post or special offer, you’ll need to really invite this engagement with strong call to actions. The link should take users to a unique page so you can track traffic you’re generating on Instagram.
But it’s not enough to just ask people to click. You have to reward viewers who visit your bio and follow through by visiting the URL. So it’s best to link people to high value things, like free ebooks or blog posts.
Content marketing is heavily used in most businesses today, and that’s for good reason, it is very effective. Be sure to create high quality and consistent content, and share it with your fans or followers on social media.
In time, you will discover that marketing doesn’t need to get much more complicated than this.
If you need more help with your social media, then check out our article '8 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Online Fitness Business'.
Strategy 4: Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of ensuring your site is as highly ranked as possible in popular online search engines, such as Google.
Optimising your site can feel like a difficult task to do, and many companies will tell you they have a secret formula to its success. The truth is that this isn’t the case, as there is no way of guaranteeing that you will take top spot for any high traffic keyword.
However you should place some focus on ensuring your website is search engine friendly, so that in time you will be rewarded with enhanced traffic to your blogs and content.
Any site containing inbound links will eventually be indexed by all the major search engines, but you can submit it manually to be sure.
Google is currently the largest search engine and you should make sure your site is set up properly for it first. To do this you will need Google Webmaster Tools, and once you verify that you own the site, you can submit a site map to show Google your key pages and content.
There are a number of other search engine optimization tactics and considerations, with a main one being a focus on keywords.
Search engines will scan the content and copy of your site so they can decide how relevant it is to those searching for information. Many specialists will suggest that every page should have certain keywords in it, links to your product or service, or common searchable terms.
Search engines are clever, and they can easily find websites (and penalise them) that have intentionally added certain keywords to the site.
Aside from telling the search engines that you now exist, your next focus should be simply creating regular high quality content that your audience wants to read.
Do this consistently and search engines will soon reward your website.
Strategy 5: Paid advertising
As an online personal trainer you should also consider traditional paid advertising.
Many trainers will instantly think of adverts in local papers, magazines and radio, but paid advertising has become a lot more advanced.
Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, such as Google AdWords, means your advert will only be shown to a user who types in a phrase or word relevant to your product or service.
This means your advertising is highly targetable and it is being seen by the right people. This makes paid advertising much more effective than traditional methods, saving you money in the process.
Social media advertising has also become a popular choice. Facebook ads have become one of the most sophisticated advertising platforms available and this success is due to its huge audience, and how highly targetable you can make your ads.
Promote your best
The primary reason why paid marketing fails for so many online trainers is that they fail to understand the sales process.
We previously discussed that all of our customers must go through a sales process before making a purchase with us. Therefore if you are sending viewers of your adverts straight to paid products, they will most likely not buy.
You have not created enough ‘know, like or trust’ links with them yet.
For paid advertising to work, your adverts should be driving viewers to your blog or free content, such as an e-book. In return you will simply ask for an email or phone number, to help build your list. You can then get to work on building that relationship with that person.
Your paid advertising must therefore get the attention of your visitors to ensure they will want to interact with you.
Your advertising should therefore link to a ‘landing page’ on your website. This will be the main entry point to your website and probably the most important page on the site.
The reason for this is because you need to make the right first impression with your visitor. You also want them to share their contact details with you to start that on-going relationship.
It’s therefore important to get this landing page right. A good landing page will show your visitor the benefits they will get from being part of your list/audience, and then provide a clear call to action to highlight the response needed from the visitor.
The main elements of a good landing page are:
This should catch the attention of the visitor and show them why they should keep reading.
This should also keep the attention of the visitor but explain some further information on how you can help them.
Here you can add additional information and benefits for the visitor to read. This should explain more about what they will receive from you and why they should sign up.
It must be clear as to what action you want the visitor to take on your landing page. If you want contact information in exchange for your most popular blog post or e-book, then provide the required fields to make this happen.
There is a lot of software out there to aid you with setting up effective adverts and landing pages. Ultimately they will drive more traffic to your site and help build your list. It is then up to you to convert this audience into sales.
You now have 5 proven strategies on how to market online personal training. Just like with everything in business, you will need to test, tweak and measure your marketing strategy.
Always keep a record of how well your marketing efforts are doing, and play to the strengths that are working for you.
Keep it simple yet consistent and your efforts will be rewarded in time.
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