Much of life today happens online. If you aren’t out there engaging in discussions, commenting on trends or offering your expert view, then you’re missing out on opportunities to network and market your personal training business.
“In the digital age you need to be active on numerous platforms for people to find you,” says Muhammad ‘Mo’ Zubi, a professional fitness and life coach at Phoenix Fit Life, who trains at clients at the HFPA studios, and mentors and facilitates various courses.
Guidelines for digital networking success
But before you dive into the highly interactive world of digital and social media, Mo offers a few helpful suggestions and guidelines to follow to ensure success.
“Things happen fast on social media, so you need to be savvy and educated before wading into these public environments.”
He also suggests tailoring your approach to fit with the specific digital platforms that are available to fit pros today.
“Fitness is very visual because aesthetics are important to most people. It is, therefore, essential that you take care and pride in how you look and the way you conduct yourself online to create positive and impactful first impressions. Everything you post on digital platforms must be carefully considered.”
Pick your platform to share appropriate content
Certain platforms are also better suited to crafting this visual perception, like Instagram for images and YouTube for videos.
“While Facebook is also an effective medium to share visual content, it’s more suited to deeper engagements than Instagram.” Mo advises using Facebook to share success stories through first-person customer testimonials.
“Allow clients to write it in their own voice and don’t sanitise it. You want it to be real and genuine to have its desired impact. And don’t guide them. Whether the feedback is good or bad, publish it as is and address or respond to any concerns.”
Mo believes that a website is another vital component of a fit pro’s digital network. “A website gives you fidelity. It may seem a bit old school but when done correctly, it boosts your Google search ranking and offers a platform for content plays.”
Evolving to become a virtual personal trainer
The final component of an effective digital business network for fitness professionals is an online training platform, believes Mo, especially for trainers who work outside of mainstream globo-gym chains.
“Popular apps and online personal training platforms like Trainerize offer a captive global market of potential clients. They also create a more cost effective channel to provide your services, which appeals to many people in tougher economic times.”
And this creates opportunities to scale a personal training business exponentially as fit pros aren’t bound by billable hours. “There is always demand for trainers who create effective programmes that deliver results. This helps to supplement income from one-on-one sessions and fills the gaps between sessions.”
As such, online training is growing in popularity among trainers and clients alike, and those fit pros that aren’t embracing this paradigm shift will increasingly lose their relevance in the burgeoning digital marketplace.
Good marketers find business, great trainers keep it
But beyond a fit pro’s digital marketing and networking savvy, their ultimate success hinges on their ability to get results.
“Becoming a digital marketing and networking whizz gets you clients, but being good at your job is what keeps them. Happy and satisfied clients also spread the word, which creates powerful word-of-mouth viral marketing that doesn’t require your time or financial resources. This means less time and effort spent feeding the new business funnel and more time spent on income-generating activities.”
To ensure you deliver this level of service, Mo advises that trainers constantly learn and educate themselves, and that they don’t take on so many clients that they lose their ability to give everyone the individualised focus and attention they require.
“And always sell an effective and sustainable approach. While it’s not the popular option because most people want the quick 12-week transformation package, my greatest success has always come from a consistent and sustainable approach. So, be upfront and honest at the outset and you’ll create more long-term clients.”
Mo’s 5 digital marketing and networking tips to get your personal training business off the ground
1. Know thyself!
Know what your skills are and what you have to offer. Do you want to train moms to lose their pregnancy body? Do you want to create a new generation of powerlifters? Don’t over-generalise. Instead, focus on areas you’re passionate about and those where you can make a tangible difference.
2. Target your market!
Understand who your target market is and create a list, strategy and posting schedule to reach them. Consider demographics like age, area, income bracket, profession and interests.
3. It’s not what you know but who you know!
This is a truism, to a degree. Network by going to popular events like the Arnold Classic or wedding expos to find the types of people who want your services. And make sure you’re visible on social and digital media with powerful images and potent content.
4. Knowledge is power!
Educate yourself constantly. Follow the trends and social media industry news and don’t be afraid to learn how to use the lingo and mechanisms of your selected social media platforms like hashtags and SEO tags.
5) Content is king!
Create consistent, engaging, quality content in various forms – visual, written and audio – that serves to maintain your current client base and exposes you to potential new clients.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.