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7 Savvy Strategies for Building Your Client Base

Working as a fitness professional is a fun and rewarding career, and most of us love what we do. But whether you work in a gym or studio, or you have ventured out on your own, making fitness really pay can be a challenge. Considering the poor health of most Americans, there is a limitless pool of potential clients. But how do you attract them to your doorstep? (more…)

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Marketing Your Personal Service Business: 4 Strategies for Success

Whether you are a personal trainer, massage therapist, Pilates coach or other personal service provider, there is no denying that you provide valuable services that benefit your clients’ health. The nature of your business is unique in that the products you sell fall under the umbrella of “intangibles.” In other words, you do not sell items that your clients can hold in their hands, display on a shelf or consume. Because intangibles are unique from other products, they require a unique approach to marketing.

1. Define Your Products


Before you attempt to build your client base, you should have a clear definition of what you offer. Create a menu of services that defines their benefits, cost and duration. Keep it simple, and limit your menu to a handful of offerings so your potential client is not overwhelmed by too many options.

2. Identify Your Market

You could advertise your services to the public at large in hopes of grabbing someone’s interest, However, you will have more success if you identify a niche market and gear your advertising specifically to them. Older adults, working women, stay-at-home moms, and fitness competitors are all niche markets that frequently purchase personal service packages.

3. Reach Out in Person


Because your services are personal in nature, you will have greater success in attracting new clients if you market yourself in person. Identify large companies in your community and offer to set up a booth at their corporate health fair, or ask to set up a table in their cafeteria during lunchtime. Offer free consultations or simple fitness assessments to attract people to your table. Arrange to speak to local retirement communities about the benefits of your services for older adults. Reach out to moms at ballet, gymnastics, martial arts or other sports activities. You may be able to offer group training or fitness classes while they wait for their kids.

4. Create a Referral System

Personal service businesses often grow by referral. When you have happy, satisfied clients, they will sing your praises to their friends, family members and co-workers. You can leverage your clients’ good will by offering referral incentives, such as free sessions, tangible products, restaurant gift certificates or event tickets. Because of the small and intimate nature of your business, you can personalize referral incentives for individual clients.

Resources

Successful marketing builds successful businesses. The W.I.T.S. Business Management Success Series offers continuing education courses geared specifically to personal service businesses, to help you market your services and grow your client base. Some of our standout courses include: Insider Secrets of Advertising and Marketing; Attracting Club Members; Developing Relationships; Developing Your Marketing and Promotion Strategy; Establishing Your Brand and Image; Creating Relationships on Social Media; Social Media Strategies for Attracting Clients; Finding Your Customers on Social Media, and many more!

Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: stock images; exedos; Stuart Miles.

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For Big Results, Think Small! 5 Tips for Marketing Your Small Service Business

Small businesses that market personal services have a huge advantage over large chains whose service tends to be generic, and whose employees tend to be over-managed and underpaid. As a fitness practitioner or other small personal service provider, you have the autonomy to add personal touches and creative elements that make your clients feel special and keep them coming back for more. As your own boss, you get to call the shots, and reap all the profits!

1. Keep It Local

There is no point in investing time, money and energy in advertising and marketing to the world at large. If you are a personal service provider, you are most likely to find clients within a small radius in your own community. Get your name out there by networking with local schools, churches, community centers, neighborhood associations, realtors and civic leagues. Get to know the “regulars” and staff at your local coffee shop. Advertise on community websites like Nextdoor.com.

2. Stay in Your Lane


Trying to be all things to all people can be exhausting, and when you spread yourself too thin, you run the risk of not pleasing anyone. Focus on the things you are good at and knowledgeable about. For example, if you don’t know the first thing about mixed martial arts, you are probably not qualified to help someone train for a match. Be forthcoming about your strengths, and honest about your limitations.

3. Go the Extra Mile


Take customer service to the next level by acknowledging how much you value your clients. Keep a calendar of special occasions for each client and send a card for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and other meaningful events. Bring them coffee and a muffin from time to time. Going out of your way to make sure your clients are satisfied will build your word-of-mouth reputation and bring in new clients by the droves.

4. Customize

When you work for yourself, you have the autonomy to provide extra services, juggle your schedule and negotiate pricing to meet the needs of your clients. Offering customized services gives potential clients a say in what they want and how they want it. For example, they may want shorter, more frequent sessions, a flex schedule, or a specific mode of service. Clients are often willing to pay a little extra to get what they want, so be sure to customize your prices as well!

5. Spread the Love


Perhaps the greatest appeal for clients of small service providers is the personal bond and relationship they build with you. You become an important person in their lives who helps to keep them healthy, grounded and looking fabulous. Open up and let the love shine into your personal service sessions. In exchange, your clients will sing your praises and reciprocate with gifts, tips, and referrals.

Resources

Successful marketing builds successful businesses. The W.I.T.S. Business Management Success Series offers continuing education courses geared specifically to personal service businesses, to help you market your services and grow your client base. Some of our standout courses include: Insider Secrets of Advertising and Marketing; Attracting Club Members; Developing Relationships; Developing Your Marketing and Promotion Strategy; Establishing Your Brand and Image; Being REAL and Creating Relationships on Social Media; Social Media Strategies for Attracting Clients; Finding Your Customers on Social Media, and many more!

*Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: graphics mouse; ntwowe; stockimages;

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Niche Marketing: Make More Money and Beat the Competition!

Business is Booming

The demand for fitness services has been growing steadily since the 1950s, and it is now a multi-billion dollar industry, with a projected jobs growth of eight percent by the year 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this is a good time to work in the fitness industry, the competition is becoming fierce, and setting yourself apart as a fitness practitioner is a challenge. If you want to be recognized as a top notch trainer or instructor, the key is to set yourself apart as an expert in a specific niche.

Finding Your Niche


In today’s market, consumers of fitness services are looking for specialists who understand their needs and have a track record of getting results.There are dozens of niche markets to zero in on: Athletes, youth, older adults, pregnant or postpartum moms, weight loss, body builders and figure competitors, runners, triathletes…the list goes on! Find your niche based on what types of people you like to work with, and on your level of expertise. Remember that your knowledge will grow along with your client base, so don’t be afraid to take on new challenges.

Smoke the Competition

Many trainers mistakenly think that by marketing to any and all potential clients, they will make more money and build a professional reputation. By targeting a niche population, you will not only establish yourself as an expert in that area, but you will reduce the pool of competitors vying for a limited number of clients. As your reputation grows, you will receive more referrals from others who know you as an expert in your niche.

Get the Word Out

Once you define your niche, you can narrow the focus of your marketing to likely clients. For example, if your niche is older adults, you can advertise to retirement communities and other venues that cater to that population. If you want to work with runners, you can advertise at local races, or offer your services to members of running clubs. City intramural programs and local schools are good places to market to youth. Make yourself visible by volunteering and getting involved with your niche population.

Resources

Successful marketing builds successful businesses. The W.I.T.S. Business Management Success Series offers continuing education courses geared specifically to personal service businesses, to help you market your services and grow your client base. Some of our standout courses include: Insider Secrets of Advertising and Marketing; Attracting Club Members; Developing Relationships; Developing Your Marketing and Promotion Strategy; Establishing Your Brand and Image; Being REAL and Creating Relationships on Social Media; Social Media Strategies for Attracting Clients; Finding Your Customers on Social Media, and many more!
References
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Fitness Trainers and Instructors
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm

*Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net:

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All That Glitters: Don’t Be Fooled by These Fitness Marketing Scams

Cash Cows


With growing numbers of overweight and obese Americans, the fitness and weight loss industries offer help and hope to millions who want to shed and shred. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, or IHRSA, the trade association serving the global fitness industry, there are currently over 35,000 fitness facilities in the United States alone, and thousands more globally. Add to that tens of thousands of weight loss centers and thousands of services online geared to fitness and weight loss, and you could say the fitness business is booming. In fact, IHRSA statistics reveal that fitness industry revenues exceed more that $25 Billion per year. Clearly, Americans are willing to spend money for healthier, slimmer physiques, and many programs offered are legit. But be wary of expensive programs that promise results they cannot deliver.

Sign Me Up!


It’s all well and good to make a commitment to your fitness program, but long term contracts and subscriptions that lock you in for an extended period of time can drain your bank account without giving you the benefits you signed up for. Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure you fully understand the fine print. Long term memberships often offer incentives to join on your first visit, but don’t allow yourself to be pressured to make a decision on the spot. Take a day or two to think it over before you commit.

Make It Snappy


Once you decide to get in shape, you want to see quick results. But the truth is, losing weight and building muscle take time, patience, commitment and perseverance. Programs that promise speedy results with minimal effort are scams that are out to get your hard earned money. Spokespersons who endorse such products and services are often fitness models or paid actors who got themselves in shape over the course of time, through regular exercise and good nutrition.

To Die For


It is often pointed out that the first three letters in the word diet spell “die.” Weight loss supplements and pharmaceuticals can have deadly side effects. Costly weight loss programs often use restricted calorie diets and processed foods that can sap your energy and rob you of nutrients necessary for good health. Instead of going on a fad diet in hopes of losing weight, look for a well constructed nutrition plan that teaches you to modify your life long eating habits while optimizing beneficial nutrients.

Resources

Successful marketing builds successful businesses. The W.I.T.S. Business Management Success Series offers continuing education courses geared specifically to personal service businesses, to help you market your services and grow your client base. Some of our standout courses include: Insider Secrets of Advertising and Marketing; Attracting Club Members; Developing Relationships; Developing Your Marketing and Promotion Strategy; Establishing Your Brand and Image; Social Media Strategies for Attracting Clients; Finding Your Customers on Social Media, and many more!

References and Credits

IHRSA: Fitness Industry Trend Report
http://www.ihrsa.org/industry-research/

*Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: imagerymajestic; stockimages; Monitor Stock Photo; Jeroen van Oostrom; Gualberto107.

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This is Us: Building Your Small Business Social Media Community

Getting to Know You

sm-fingers
Social Media can provide a lucrative and completely free platform to promote your business, provided you are willing to put in the time to build a social network community. It all begins with opening an account for your business on the Social Media sites you’ll be using. Facebook is by far the Social Media site with the greatest membership and farthest reach, so you’ll want to put some thought into what your company’s page will look like, and what types of posts you will present to your potential customers.
Welcome to the Family
Once you have established your Social Media accounts, it is time to begin to reach out to your potential customers. If you already have established personal accounts through which you interact with friends and family, invite them to “Like” your business page and follow you. Creating memes with your business theme, and posting pictures and videos that depict your business in a positive and engaging way is an essential part of building your community. Your posts should be upbeat, professional and visually engaging. Keep text to a minimum, and always provide a link to your webpage.
We Belong Together

diverse-group-of-friends
Once you get a few posts circulating, visit your page periodically each day to read and respond to any comments that were made on your posts. By actively engaging with those who read your posts, you begin to build relationships that encourage ongoing interaction. Your continued presence on Social Media is key to drawing attention to what your business has to offer. Keep your comments friendly, and steer clear of arguments on controversial topics. You want to develop a professional persona that is likable and empathetic.
Spreading the Love
Keep your eyes peeled for the fitness posts of others in your news feed, and like, share and comment. By doing so, you begin to build a network in much the same way you would network at a business conference. Your support of others will be reciprocated, as long as your posts seem relevant and interesting, and you represent yourself as a likable professional. Remember that most Social Media users receive hundreds of posts each day, so post frequently, and make your images dynamic.
Resources
Want to up your Social Media game? W.I.T.S. has the continuing education tools you need to keep you in the running! Our online Social Media Marketing Series offers seven courses geared to helping you become an online fitness superstar. Topics like Creating Relationships, Attracting Clients, Branding and Increasing Your Presence are all covered. And don’t forget to add your Digital Badge to every post, to let the world know you are the best!

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You Are What You Share: Tips for Business Success on Social Media

Perfect Profile

guy-with-laptop
Building your brand on Social Media is a great low budget way to market and get your message out. But be aware that your posts represent your online business persona. Before you begin to tweet, post and share, put careful thought into the image you would like to portray. You should create a profile for your business that is separate from your personal profile. Make sure you flesh it out with complete details and images. When people click on your business page, they should immediately get a sense of what your business is about, and a feel for your target market.
Same-Same

female-handshake
The way you build business relationships online is virtually the same as building personal relationships. The key is to post material that is both engaging and informative, and that relates somehow to your business. Steer clear of blatant advertising, and instead focus on evocative images and compelling headlines, coupled with well written text. Keep articles short, but not too short. Four hundred to 600 words is about right to hold readers’ interests. Proofread for errors in grammar, syntax and spelling, which are unacceptable in business posts. Reference all your sources at the end of your article, and be sure to provide plenty of links to your website.
Balancing Act
There is a delicate balance between promoting your business and creating humanly appealing posts. The more business oriented your post, the less human it will sound, and the less likely it will be read. On the other hand, too much humanity can take away from the business message you are trying to send. Think of it in terms of going into a retail store. You want the staff to be polite, friendly and upbeat, but you don’t want them to become too personal. Your online persona should convey the same pleasant vibe as a well run retail outlet, without oversharing your personal information.
Touchy-Feely

phone in gym
Your posts should be entertaining and informative, while still getting your business message across. People respond to posts that catch their eyes, and that appeal to them on an emotional level. Keep your headlines fun and enticing, and infuse your text with a positive upbeat tone. Try playing upbeat music while you create, and smile to boost your own mood. That happy feeling will ooze through your fingers and onto your page. Your content should strike a balanced ratio of about 20 percent business to 80 percent information and entertainment.
Resources
Want to up your Social Media game? W.I.T.S. has the continuing education tools you need to keep you in the running! Our online Social Media Marketing Series offers seven courses geared to helping you become an online fitness superstar. Topics like Creating Relationships, Attracting Clients, Branding and Increasing Your Presence are all covered. And don’t forget to add your Digital Badge to every post, to let the world know you are the best!

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Pin Power: Marketing Your Small Fitness Business on Pinterest

Not Just for Cooking and Crafting

kettle bell 2
There is no doubt that Pinterest is a favorite go-to site when you want inspiration for your creative ventures. Party planning, crafts and cooking tips abound, along with beautiful illustrations and infographics that pique your creative drive. But Pinterest is also a prime platform for health and fitness that you cannot afford to overlook if you are serious about marketing your small fitness business.
Inspiring Images

pinterest-smartphone
Pinterest is all about the image, so if you want to make the most marketing milage, you need to pin professional creative images that speak volumes. There are dozens of stock photo sites that offer attractive fitness images for a fee. However, if you have a Personal Training or Group Exercise business, images of you and your staff may be more impactful. Pinterest Analytics offers data on the most successful image size and quality for your pins, to ensure you get the most exposure.
Tantalizing Text
The text associated with your pins should be minimal, so you want to think carefully about the message you are trying to convey, and then economize on words to deliver the gist of your ideas. To optimize your reach, keep your word count between 150 to 300. Overlaying text on top of your image can be effective for enhancing your message, so long as it does not obscure the image. Also consider the actual words you use in your text. Keywords within your text will partially determine whether your pin comes up when a user launches a search.
Lots of Linking

girl on laptop
The whole idea of social media marketing is to drive users to your website, where they can get more information about how to access your services. When you create your pin, think about how your images and text will inspire Pinterest users to migrate to your site. Create multiple links within your text to encourage users to divert their browsing. For content, design and user behaviors, visit Pinterest Analytics for valuable tips on creating powerful pins.
Resources
Want to up your Social Media game? W.I.T.S. has the continuing education tools you need to keep you in the running! Our online Social Media Marketing Series offers seven courses geared to helping you become an online fitness superstar. Topics like Creating Relationships, Attracting Clients, Branding and Increasing Your Presence are all covered. And don’t forget to add your Digital Badge to every post, to let the world know you are the best!
References
Analytics: https://analytics.pinterest.com

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Make It Viral: Using Social Media to Build Your Small Fitness Business

Age of Social

fitness-social-media
There is no denying that Social Media has entrenched itself in the daily lives of humans worldwide. More importantly, Social Media has grown from a resource for keeping up with your classmates and sharing cool videos of your cat, to a global forum for promoting ideas and brand-building. Whether you are an independent contractor, a sole proprietor, or a gym or studio owner, you cannot afford to overlook this free and lucrative marketing medium. Yet according to the “2016 State of Small Business Report,” only 80 percent of small businesses use Social Media for marketing, and those businesses who do use it underutilize SEO (search engine optimization), blogging and video. Only 45 percent use Social Media to sell products or services, and 38 percent use it to build their fan base.
Tools Talk
As with anything new, there is a learning curve for mastering Social Media marketing. Thankfully, there’s an app for that! In fact, there are a growing number of tools, many of them free, created to help you track, post and assess your Social Media market. You can create instant surveys with Wufoo, see which of your posts and those of your competitors get most hits with Fanpage Karma, and view which times of day and days of the week your posts get the most traffic. Apps like Hootsuite can let you schedule posts to be released throughout the week, and Tailwind and Followerwonk can steer you toward likely new customers, and much, much more. And don’t forget to use Social Mention to see what people are saying about your company and about topics related to your services.
Being Present

 

fans
With hundreds or even thousands of posts appearing on the average user’s daily Social Media feed, you cannot afford to skimp on updates. Posting once a week, or worse, once a month, will not draw in the audience you desire. And while most of us are familiar with Twitter and Facebook, don’t forget there are a plethora of other Social Media sites, with millions of regular users. Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, Flickr, Google+ and Vine are just a handful of the most popular alternatives.
Make It Matter

like
Resonating with your audience and making meaningful connections is the name of the Social Media marketing game. Make your posts engaging and relevant, but keep them short and to the point. Keep your target audience in mind, and steer clear of offensive language and off-color innuendo. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a short video is probably worth a million. Pay attention to design elements like color, tone, font, layout and images. Remember, you only have a split second to catch the attention of a scrolling Social Media user.
Resources
Want to up your Social Media game? W.I.T.S. has the continuing education tools you need to keep you in the running! Our online Social Media Marketing Series offers seven courses geared to helping you become an online fitness superstar. Topics like Creating Relationships, Attracting Clients, Branding and Increasing Your Presence are all covered. And don’t forget to add your Digital Badge to every post, to let the world know you are the best!
References
Social Pilot: 125 Amazing Social Media Statistics You Should Know in 2016
https://socialpilot.co/blog/125-amazing-social-media-statistics-know-2016/

Wasp Barcode Technologies: 2016 State of Small Business Report
http://www.waspbarcode.com/small-business-report

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Perception is Everything: Five Ways to Improve Your Professional Image

Our Fabulous Fitness Industry

80s aerobics
Whether you are a seasoned fitness practitioner or a novice just getting started, the fitness industry promises increasing opportunities for professional growth and career success. However, in order to gain and keep the respect of the public, we must all hold ourselves to the highest professional standards. In the near future, you can expect to see the bar raised for professional credentials and baseline qualifications. Our industry will be scrutinized for evidence that we deserve a place at the table with other health care providers. The measures that you take today to improve your professional image can play an important role in helping you secure a rewarding, lucrative and sustainable career in the future.

1. Get Certified

CPTBadge
Despite certification being a widespread requirement throughout the fitness industry, there are still many gifted and capable personal trainers and group exercise instructors who have never been certified, or whose certifications have lapsed. In most states you are not required by law to be certified. However, obtaining and maintaining a national certification shows that you are a dedicated professional. Using your Digital Badge on social media is a great way to broadcast your professionalism.

2. Stay Informed

Exercise science, biomechanics and nutrition are relatively young fields, and new research is released daily that challenges long held ideas and beliefs. As a professional, it is up to you to stay current. Spend time searching the internet for new information, and keep up with trends by pursuing professional development and continuing education. Your clients will recognize your commitment and appreciate your dedication to your profession.

3. Get Involved

On both the state and federal levels, there is legislation being considered that will impact the future of the fitness industry. Licensure, baseline credentials and liability issues are all on the table. Writing or calling your representatives to voice your opinion can have a huge impact on the outcomes of such measures. Band together with other fitness professionals to steer the conversation in your favor.

4. Walk the Talk

walk-the-talk
It is hard to influence others if you don’t practice what you preach. Make sure that your lifestyle behaviors reflect your convictions. You are a role model for others to emulate. Not only your clients but other fitness professionals are looking to you to set the bar for professionalism. Be the real deal.

5. Give Back

Despite the massive acceptance of fitness as critical to human health, Americans are increasingly afflicted with lifestyle related disease, and obesity continues to be on the rise. Look for opportunities in your community where you can get involved to change the downward health spiral. Volunteering to take a leadership role will crystalize your standing as a professional in your field.

Resources

We at W.I.T.S. are proud of our professionals, and we are here to support your growth and professional development with state of the art Certifications and Continuing Education courses. If you don’t yet have your Digital Badge, what are you waiting for? Visit our Digital Badge page and get the ball rolling! If you need more credentials, add a new Certification, or expand your professionalism by visiting our Fitness Business Institute. We highly recommend the courses, Establishing Your Brand and Image; Developing Relationships; Finding Customers; or any of our other great business success courses! To enhance your presence on Social Media, check out our numerous courses about Social Media Marketing.