Many trainers want to create a marketing system for their group fitness business that keeps their classes full.
Keeping your classes full though is as much about keeping your existing clients as it is getting new ones. As I mentioned last week, my friends Chris and Katie have over 180 members and use an in house referral system to keep adding to that every week. And then they hug them to keep them around.
Last month I mentioned how I went from 5 to 10 classes a week and doubled my class attendance – consistently!
It’s totally possible and it was all very intentional. It took me educating myself about marketing and psychology so I could create a group fitness business that mattered. One that had enough momentum to start making a difference in my area.
It was not easy. There is a lot of conflicting advice and examples out there. Big gyms use ‘bikini body’ competitions and big supplement companies use ‘detox challenges’. I knew that I didn’t want a part in any of that. It didn’t sit with my philosophy on health and fitness.
Then I had to navigate the many different ways of marketing.
Some companies advertised in the newspaper, in school newsletters, on Google, on Facebook, direct marketing and on and on. They had websites and special offers they ran.
Which offer should I use? Which one works best? How can I find a way to market that aligns with my values and what my bootcamp is about?
There was so much to learn. I felt like giving up before I even started.
Below I want to share with you 4 myths I believed and see other trainers believing that hold us back from get new clients.
Myth #1: I need to have a marketing degree to properly understand and use marketing.
After copying the big fitness businesses and either it not working or not feeling right I started trying to learn more about marketing.
What I discovered was an overload of information about the subject online and in books. A lot of the time I felt like it didn’t really apply to my bootcamp business, it was written instead for online businesses or large companies selling physical products.
Nobody understood the way a fitness business runs. It’s a very personal experience for the client and it doesn’t involve just selling them once, you have to keep selling them to stay on.
So I spent months and months trying different methods, some didn’t work, but enough of them did – and worked well – to help me steadily increase my bootcamp numbers and sustain them.
Myth #2: You have to spend a lot on marketing to get results.
When I first thought about advertising and marketing I pictured an ad in the newspaper and letterbox drops around the local suburbs. But that stuff can cost a lot of money. Money I didn’t have as a then struggling bootcamp.
But then I discovered the power of the internet for getting new leads. For a small amount of money (and in many cases no money) I was able to keep a steady stream of new leads coming in.
Myth #3: I have to use slimy marketing tactics to get new clients.
What do you think of when you think about fitness marketing?
Is it bikini body challenges with before and after photos? How about ways to get 6-pack abs (like every Men’s Fitness edition ever)? Or some supplement to help you get ‘gainz’?
It’s kind of ridiculous isn’t it? I am often ashamed at being associated with an industry that places so much value on the way we look when in reality physical appearance has little to do with being happy and healthy.
After a while I realised that a lot of others out there don’t really care about those reasons either. They want things like more energy, their back to stop hurting and to be able to sit on the floor for long periods of time with their 3 year old to play. In fact there was a huge group of people out there just waiting for a non-slimy approach to health and fitness.
That revelation allowed me to create a bootcamp I was proud of with awesome, encouraging, loving clients.
Myth #4: It just doesn’t work.
Many of the trainers I speak to don’t do much marketing, because either like in Myth #1 they don’t understand how to use it yet or they have tried stuff in the past and it hasn’t worked.
Perhaps they spent some money on pay-per-click ads (think Facebook Ads and Google Adwords) to send some traffic to their website. Or maybe they spent money on printing some flyers and then spent 10 hours on a weekend walking around dropping them in letterboxes.
In both cases they got no new sign ups.
The problem isn’t with the method, it comes down to their actual marketing material. Just informing people of your business isn’t enough. You must tell them WHY they should train with you. This is very easy to do wrong. But don’t worry, I’ll show you how to do it right later.
Most trainers believe they have to use slimy marketing tactics and a lot of money in order to get more clients.
All this does is attract the wrong type of client who probably isn’t a good fit for you or your business.
Instead, I’ve discovered that a little knowledge about marketing and psychology combined with showing your values on fitness will help you get more clients who love you and your business.
My new version of The Trainers Tribe (coming next month) helps trainers who are stressed and overworked achieve a thriving, reliable business with more freedom.
Next I’ll be sharing with you the four important questions that every person asks themselves before signing up for group fitness along with how to answer them. You must answer these or you will miss out on most people joining.
Update: The next part is out. Find out how I saved 20 hours of marketing a month by answering these 4 questions.
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