It's so overused, overanalyzed and ruthlessly abused, the word hardly says anything anymore... Marketing. What does it even mean?

Well, one thing I can tell you is that, as far as your business and mine are concerned, marketing doesn't look anything like what you've seen on television, billboards or radio. And it isn't posters and business cards either.

Marketing for your business really only works one way. It's what we in the biz call Direct Response.

Essentially, it's a way of communicating and expressing a marketing message that encourages prospects to take one particular action and to take it immediately.

You know all that junk mail from the car dealership or your local real estate agent? The 'letters' that start with "Hello [Insert Name], this is Bill. I want to tell you about blah blah blah. Yup, that's Direct Response and that's what you're going to learn how to do.

Don't panic, though. The good news is that this type marketing is perfectly respectable and can be done in such a way that is classy, professional, and not sickeningly cheesy.

So how does it work?

Well, it's all about compelling someone to do something, right? In our case, that something is purchasing a training package or boot camp membership, or maybe even buying an online product you've made.

And traditional marketing methods just aren't going to make that happen, not for you anyway.

Because you aren't Apple. You aren't Google or Disney, people don't know or trust you simply by reading your name or the name of your training business.

So you've got to get those people to know you, which means you'll have to send them a message in the form of a letter or email, rather than a tagline or picture.

Enter: Direct Response Marketing.

That's right, you're actually going to have to sit down and write this stuff. It's got to be in your voice because no one knows your businesses like you do. You understand the benefits and how you can help people better than anyone else. So it's up to you to get people to take action and buy your product.

But this will come to you easier then you think. And to make things even easier, I've put together these 4 tips that will help you get started on your new career in market -- I mean fitness... just keep reading.

Marketing Tip #1 - You Probably didn't Know it, but You're a Copywriter
Like I said, you're the one who has to write this stuff. But if that freaks you out, if the thought of sitting in from of the keyboard and writing out a whole letter makes your gut churn and your hairs stand on end, don't worry it's not as bad as you're thinking.

This isn't high school English. There won't be any Shakespeare and there won't be any essays. You're going to be writing to these people just as if you were chatting with them at a bar or if they were a guest in your house.

Sure, that doesn't make things easy, per se, but it makes it a lot easier than what you're probably most afraid of when it comes to writing.

It is a discipline, and you'll have to work at it, but the whole point of Direct Response is that it's casual. You don't need to worry about perfect grammar and you don't need the best writing skills because as long as your message is effective your prospects will exhibit the desired response.

Marketing Tip #2 - What Makes an Effective Marketing Message?
You can explain to someone how great your training is all day, you can tell them how beautiful your facility is, how modern your equipment and how cutting-age your methods, but in the end, they don't really care about any of that.

It's definitely important, and you'll certainly want to let them know about your most attractive features, but listing features should never be the prominent aspect of your message. Not in our industry, anyway.

Think about it: no one hires a personal trainer because they love the gym so much. No one shopping for a gym membership cares about the best machines or the most modern equipment.

Most people hate the gym! They'd rather not step foot inside there for the rest of their lives so how is your awesome gym stuff is going to encourage these people to buy? It's not.

Prospective clients want one thing and one thing only: Results. They just want to know you're going to help them lose weight and get in shape, so sell them that. All the features should be more like icing rather than the cake.

Marketing Tip #3 - It's the Emotional Appeal that Works Best
Purchasing personal training is a very emotional experience. As I'm sure you well know, there are so many emotions rushing through the mind of someone committing to massive life and body changes.

So use that emotion!

What's going to get someone excited about joining your training program? We already talked about selling them the results, but how should you do this?

How about, instead of saying "You'll lose weight," you can say, "you'll finally fit into your favorite jeans from college." And instead of saying, "You'll feel great," you can say, "you'll actually have enough energy to chase the grandkids across the yard rather than sit watch them play alone."

Get at those emotional reasons for buying. Break past the logical and hit them where it counts: in the heart.

Marketing Tip #4 - How Will You Send these Messages?
So, what are you going to use to get all this information out to your prospects?

Email, obviously.

If you didn't know already, email is, without a doubt, your most powerful marketing medium. There's no better way to get these people to know you, trust you, and like you enough to buy from you.

That means it's time to start building an email list.

If you don't already, you NEED to have a list comprised of current, past, and prospective clients.

Build this list by asking for an email every chance you get. Ask for them when people sign up, when they quit, and when they try your training. Ask for emails using social media and have list-builders built into your websites and landing pages.

Your new mission in life is to build the largest list of quality, active emails.

Once you get that list you'll employ all the tactics we talked about with tips 1 through 3.

And all those lead generating pages, websites and tools? That's right, you'll use direct response marketing there too. Use your new copywriting skills and appeal to those emotions until you get the list you want.

And what about print ads, post cards or mailers? Yup, direct response copywriting there, too.

Do you see the pattern here?

Personable, comfortable messages that appeal to emotions and sell benefits, that's marketing that works in the fitness industry. And it'll work for you.

After struggling for eight years as a personal trainer, Cabel McElderry challenged the typical gym setup and created quite a reputation for himself. His 7 figure studio, now five years old, has won multiple awards for business excellence. Cabel has been recognized as one of the top 100 fitness entrepreneurs in North America and is currently one of 50 nominees for Optimum Nutrition's Canadian Trainer of the Year. He now mentors fitness professionals worldwide in an effort to help them achieve similar or better results than his own. Cabel's advice and writing can be found amongst some of the biggest blogs online and he is constantly called upon to offer his advice and strategies at some the largest fitness events

Topic: Entrepreneur Web Column

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