Here at The Boxing Fitness Institute (www.boxingfitnessinstitute.com), we have found that many fitness professionals are barely scraping by. They simply don't know how to market, and don't make marketing a priority.

For that reason, all of our programs come with a free marketing manual to help fitness professionals attract desirable clients, keep them coming back, and achieve their financial goals. This article lays out the foundation of our marketing approach.

Here are some of the problems with the way that fitness professionals market their services:

  1. They rely on "word of mouth," which basically means relying on the chance that a busy stranger will talk about them to others.
  2. They offer a generic range of programs that fails to set them apart.
  3. They fail to offer programs that maximize their income, every hour of every day.
  4. They tolerate being just another fitness professional, and don't strive to become the "go-to" fitness professional in their community.

Meanwhile, the more successful fitness professionals follow a proactive, systematic ten-step approach:

  1. Make marketing a priority. It isn't fair, but it is true: The most qualified fitness professionals are not always the most successful. A mediocre fitness professional who makes marketing a priority usually is more successful than a fitness professional with impeccable credentials who waits for the phone to ring.
  2. Develop a set of programs to maximize your income. There are dozens of ways for fitness professionals to maximize their income, and you should be taking advantage of all of them: personal training, small groups, women-only, youths, children, seminars, equipment sales and DVDs, body makeover programs, and more. For instance, with Boxing and Kickboxing Fitness, anyone can offer at least nine types of programs to maximize their income.
  3. Price according to your value. Many fitness professionals suffer from what we call "low pricing self-esteem." It is important to charge what you are worth. At the same time, develop a set of pricing options and programs to lock clients in for ongoing revenue.
  4. Develop a compelling marketing message. Don't just tell people that you are a fitness professional or broadcast your credentials. Everyone does that. People want results. They want to know they are going to get in the best mental and physical shape of their life. Develop a marketing message that intrigues people with the physical and emotional benefits you provide. Show people why you are different and have an edge (i.e., by offering a unique program like Boxing or Kickboxing Fitness). And then back it up with proof in the form of facts and figures about your results, testimonials, and endorsements.
  5. Get visible using low-cost, high-impact, educational marketing. With educational marketing, you use information to persuade your clients to learn more. Speak, write, and issue press releases. Give free demonstrations. Get interviewed on local radio programs. Create an informative web site (not one that simply brags about you). Get involved as a leader in highly visible community activities. With this kind of marketing, you become a "guru," the go-to professional that people in your community, including the media, think about first.
  6. Build your referral base. Referrals are very different than word of mouth. A referrals system is a proactive way of systematically getting, and giving, referrals. It is crucial that you know the right way to ask for referrals from current and past clients and others in your network. At the same time, you should constantly seek out new referral sources, while helping them to succeed, too. There are also all sorts of "advanced" tactics to gain more referrals, including doing joint seminars, creating small groups that meet periodically to discuss business and exchange leads, and jointly endorsing one another's services.
  7. Develop other ways to get visible. Test direct mail, advertising, and signs and flyers in your local market - on a small and affordable scale at first. Then expand what works. Be sure to create a professional looking piece that tells people in compelling and unique ways about the benefits you get.
  8. Target specific markets. By focusing your market on a specific niche, you can get more clients with less effort. That's because similar types of people speak the same language, have similar needs, and respond to similar types of programs and marketing messages. We show people how to target: executives, small children, youths, women who want a great workout and athletes who want to cross-train. You can also target people in similar demographic groups (i.e., motorcycle riders, new moms, surfers) to become the go-to professional to that group.
  9. Follow up. It takes 4 - 7 positive interactions with a prospect before they hire you. You can use automatic, "push button" technology via the Internet to stay in contact with your prospects. For instance, a technology called "auto-responders" automatically sends out messages to your market, while you do other things.
  10. Create and follow an action plan. The most successful fitness trainers create a marketing action plan. They start with a six-month or annual plan, and break it down into weeks and months. Then they follow it fanatically until marketing becomes a habit.

Our members tell us that when they follow the above approach, they as much as triple their income. Because they become so visible with such a compelling message, desirable clients come to them. They don't have to chase clients or wait for the phone to ring anymore. They truly become the go-to fitness professional in their target market.

But it takes commitment, and the willingness to make marketing a priority.

Andrew Neitlich is the founder of The Boxing Fitness Institute, the leading educational institution for Boxing Fitness, Kickboxing Fitness, and Self-Defense Fitness. Andrew graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1991 and has helped clients throughout the fitness world market their business more successfully. For more information, visit www.boxingfitnessinstitute.com.

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