Boot Camp Marketing

Marketing a Personal Training Business With a Limited Budget

Posted by on April 14, 2014 at 9:45 am

Most personal trainers starting out don’t have a lot of resources to market their business with and that can cause a huge problem down the road. When you’re looking to grow your business and get new clients- marketing is your best friend, and without it you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.

Marketing a personal training business with a limited budget means getting creative and trading your “time for dollars” so that you can eventually end up trading your “dollars for time”. One goal you should try to accomplish with your gym or boot camp early on is to be able to afford to pay someone to do the day-to-day work for you, if you don’t already have a staff on hand so you

But don’t think that you have to go out and hire a giant marketing firm because when it comes to fitness marketing, there are tons of ways to get the word out without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars for a marketing plan from these big wigs. You really can do this on your own- and when you’re a business owner, a lot of the time you’re a marker first, and a business owner second.

You should really try to make marketing a part of your daily operations because you’ll only benefit that much more from it. So with that being said, here are the best low-budget marketing strategies that you should start implementing today:

Speak Upmegaphone

Building authority is important when you’re a business owner. You want people to know you, like you, and trust you and building authority will help make that process easier.

Speak at local health and fitness events and if there aren’t any in your area, then look a couple of towns over or maybe think about hosting your own seminar on health, fitness, and nutrition and invite other health professionals in your area to speak as well.

Write for local newspapers too. Get in touch with the top newspapers and their editors around town and ask how you can contribute. Same with radio, if you know anyone in radio- ask how you can offer fitness tips and other health related content for a morning show or what have you.

Don’t forget to start blogging. Blogging about health and fitness will easily build up your authority, especially over social media. Starting a blog and updating it consistently with useful content will help you gain attention from those in your area, and that will make them more likely to seek you out when they’re ready to get into shape.

If you’re not confident in your speaking or writing skills, then brush up on it and start practicing. As a fitness business owner- you should aim to be the “go-to” expert in your area because it will help you pull in those customers who have probably tried everything in the past and couldn’t get results.

Get Seen

In addition to contributing to newspapers and starting your blog, you should also start posting Youtube videos of yourself demonstrating different exercises and workouts or sharing a favorite healthy recipe of yours. Those who know you will more than likely share your videos, especially if they’re any good.

What makes a good video? Anything that is helpful, valuable, and compelling to your clients and prospects. This is where “knowing your niche” really comes into play. What does your ideal client do for a living? What keeps them awake at night? How old are they? What gender are they? All of these questions will help you to create amazing videos tailored specifically for your target audience. (more…)

Top 6 Online Personal Trainer Marketing Tools and Tactics

Posted by on March 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm

For today’s personal trainers and boot camp owners the Internet is king. It’s the thing that’s going to get you a constant surge of new clients whenever you need them and will give your business a platform to reach a bigger audience. Now, that’s not to knock offline personal trainer marketing methods because, in all honesty- you should be doing both, but if your business lacks a web presence then there is no way you can grow and take it to the next level.

Listen, most of your customers (if not ALL of them) are online just waiting for you to find them and inspire them to want to get healthy and fit. So do them, and yourself, a favor by making your business known online and in the community you live in.

A lot of these tools and tactics that we’re going to lay out for you, you may already have in place- which is awesome. But if you’re missing one or more of these tools in your business’ tool belt, then you might be missing out big time.

Here’s what you need for a powerful web presence:


We’re starting with Facebook first because it is, without a doubt, the most powerful and most important social media site that your business needs to be set up for. Period.

Did you know that over 15 million businesses use Facebook for their marketing campaigns?

That just shows you how crucial it is to have one for your business. But you can’t just set one up and forget about it, you actually have to be using it to engage your potential and current clients.

Not only can you reach more people through Facebook, you can reach your target audience and the specific people who are most likely to become your clients. And that’s what makes the biggest difference. You can actually build an audience for your business, an audience that’s excited to hear what you have going on.

So, how do you do that? By posting content that your potential clients will find useful, helpful, or inspirational. Start by introducing yourself and your business. What are you all about? Write that in your “About Me” section. Then get to posting.

Share things on your Facebook like healthy recipes, tips for a good workout, and, of course, testimonials and case studies. Post pictures of clients working out and having a great time with it. Those who are interested in joining will get to see what it’s like working out at your boot camp or personal training studio.

You also don’t want to spam your audience with promotion after promotion after promotion. Pick and choose carefully when you’re going to launch a promotion and then go all out. Don’t run multiple promotions and sales at the same time either, it makes it harder to track what works and what isn’t.


Yelp is becoming more and more important for small businesses because it’s the #1 business review site.

Yelp is necessary for two main reasons: reviews and local SEO. If you have an awesome personal training business that your clients rave about, have them rave about it online on your Yelp. It helps not only with your reputation as a business, it helps with “word-of-mouth” referrals and convincing those who are looking to join your gym

SEO stands for search engine optimization and it’s what makes your business searchable when someone is looking for personal training in your area. So if someone types in “personal training in Los Angeles” (or whatever city you live in) your goal is to have your businesses website or Yelp show up on the first page of Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

Yelp is owned by Yahoo so it’s having an account not only helps with your Google searches, it helps with your Yahoo! and Bing searches as well.

Google Places

Similar to Yelp, Google Places is a big deal and definitely something that you need to set up for your business ASAP if you haven’t already.

Having your business listed on Google place not only helps people find your business online, it helps them to see your hours of business and gives directions to your facility. People can also leave reviews here and you’re able to connect with your clients like you would on any other social media site.

It also helps with SEO and since Google Places is owned by- you guessed- Google, you’ll have a much better chance at your business showing up when someone searches for it, especially on Google because it’s the #1 search engine used. (more…)

What NOT to Do When Starting a Fitness Boot Camp

Posted by on March 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Learning all the ins and outs of starting a fitness boot camp can be a little overwhelming, especially if you don’t have the strongest business sense, because there is just so much to know and so much to do to get your boot camp off the ground. It can almost make your head spin!

But if you are truly passionate about helping people set and accomplish fitness goals, watching them become healthier and reaching their true potential- then opening up a fitness boot camp is definitely for you. It’s the best way to reach a lot of people in your area and inspire them to become healthier, more active individuals.

Making the switch from personal trainer to fitness business owner may be tough, but it’s well worth it. And if you’re in the middle of making this switch, then you’ve probably done tons of research on how to get started, what things you should look out for, and the best ways to get things done, which means you’re on the right track to a successful fitness business.

You may even feel like you’re ready to get it going, but if you’re not sure of the “don’ts” of opening a boot camp- then you might end up being guilty of one or more things on this list.

Some of these “gym sins” are pretty awful, but they definitely need to be stated so that new boot camp owners never get caught doing what these business owners and trainers have been caught doing…

Socialize, don’t fraternizeScreen Shot 2014-03-31 at 1.53.09 PM

This is a pretty big one and a lot of personal trainers are seriously guilty of this. The difference between socializing and fraternizing is that with socializing you’re essentially conversing with and relating to your clients on a human level. Fraternizing has the potential to add romance to the mix- and that’s not just a bad thing. It’s an unprofessional thing.

It’s true that being a boot camp owner means that you have to be social, but your being social should be kept to a professional level and not personal. Now that’s not to say that you can’t be friends with your clients, of course you can, but you should always keep in mind that they are your paying clients and being TOO friendly with them can end up as a bad thing and ruin your reputation as an owner.

Instead, try to get your boot campers together with other boot campers. Host some type of client appreciation party and invite everyone in your boot camp to get together and have a good time. Participate in local 5Ks and get boot campers together for a cause. Things like this are highly encouraged because it creates a tribe- and that’s exactly what you should be aiming for.

Don’t be “that” trainer

Look, we all have times where we fall off the wagon. It’s just a part of life. We can’t be perfect all the time- and everyone knows that. But if you’re out-of-shape and you’re starting a fitness boot camp… well, why would anyone want to buy from you?

You’ve got to look the part and practice what you preach if you’re looking to be successful. That’s the long and short of it. You wouldn’t go to a hair stylist who doesn’t know how to fix herself up or visit a dentist with bad teeth, because if they’re not able to take care of themselves- how in the hell are they going to take care of you?

The same rule applies with personal training. You’ve got to be fit and trim and show others you can do what you say you can. You are your own billboard, and if that billboard is sloppy… then you and your new boot camp won’t stand a chance against those in your area that do look the part.

If fitness truly is your passion, then show your community and the world that it is by taking care of yourself in the best way you know how.

Focus on putting your best foot forward by not only training and keeping fit, but by presenting yourself as a professional. Comb your hair, have neat clothes, brush your teeth, and don’t be sloppy. If you’re wanting to charge top dollar for your boot camp, YOU have to be a top dollar trainer yourself. (more…)

How to Sell Personal Training Programs Without Compromising on Price

Posted by on March 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Being an independent personal trainer who’s not tied down to the hard knock life of working in a big box gym, you probably know firsthand just how hard it is to charge what you’re actually worth. Why is this? You own your own business and have clients that have made amazing transformations, and yet you still struggle with the notion that your services aren’t worth a whole lot more than a gym membership. Learning how to sell personal training programs without comprising price or what you’re worth has more to do with how you run your business versus your selling and closing skills.

Now, don’t get me wrong- knowing how to sell and close clients is extremely important, but you should also keep in mind that how you run your fitness business makes a huge difference. What’s the environment like? Is it friendly? Encouraging? Would a first timer be comfortable coming to your boot camp or private studio? These things play a valuable role in getting clients to say yes instead of no.

What about you or your trainers? Are you (or they) as friendly and outgoing with your new clients as possible? People have to know, like, and trust you and your trainers in order to feel comfortable shelling out the big bucks to be a part of your facility.

AtmosphereScreen Shot 2014-03-19 at 3.49.15 PM

Having a nice and friendly atmosphere goes a long way in the eyes of someone who is looking for a new gym or boot camp to join. Same goes for cleanliness as well as the feel of your facility. It’s important to keep these things in mind when you’re looking to get new clients because these things do matter a lot. It also matters to the clients that you plan on keeping for the long haul because they’re expecting a nice, clean studio too.

How you keep your facility says a lot about who you are as a trainer and a business owner. So does how you keep yourself. Are you a fit trainer? You have to be or it’s a lot like going to a hair stylist with a rat’s nest on their head, or going to a dentist with bad teeth. You can’t expect your clients to pay several hundred dollars a month to train with someone who doesn’t look the part.

But don’t go completely overboard and spend money that you don’t have fixing your gym or boot camp up. Use what you have and improve on it as your business grows.

Show Them The Love

Show your clients the love and you’ll keep them much longer. You won’t ever feel like you’re overcharging them if you spoil them rotten. Remember their birthdays and other significant things about them so you can surprise them with a little something here and there. It’s so important to build real relationships with your clients because that is what makes you different than your average gym and gives you the permission you need to charge them what you want.

Send them things like a care package when they first sign up with you along with a handwritten thank you note that encourages them to stick it out. Exercising is really tough for some people so you’ve got to make an effort to encourage them rather than neglecting them because they can’t do something just yet. (more…)

3 Ways to Improve Your Fitness Boot Camp Marketing Plan

Posted by on February 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Improving your fitness boot camp marketing methods should be a top priority if you’re looking to grow your business. Plain and simple. If you’ve owned your boot camp for a while now, then you probably have a few tricks up your sleeve for gaining a few new clients here and there, but if you haven’t taken the time to create a solid marketing plan then you’re leaving thousands of dollars on the table. Money that will allow you to hire the staff you need to give you the freedom you want as a business owner. Money that will go to your competitors if you don’t up your fitness marketing game. So let’s get to it!

Have a Planmplan

Okay, so the best way to improve your fitness boot camp marketing plan is to actually have one. Why is having a marketing plan in place so important? Well, for one- it lays out your budget and ensures that the money you’re spending on marketing is done wisely and appropriately.

A good fitness marketing plan should include things like knowing your target market and ways to reach that market (strategies) and goals that you’d like to achieve within a given timeframe. Another benefit to having a marketing plan is the fact that you can track what’s working and what isn’t, which is something that all boot camp owners really need to pay attention to. It’s all too easy to lose focus when you don’t have a plan so crafting one will ultimately keep you on the right track. And keep a steady stream of clients coming through your doors.

Stop with Traditional Marketing

One of the best ways to save money on marketing is to go ahead and call it quits with newspaper ads, print ads, and direct mail marketing. Unless you’ve got the budget and don’t have to think twice about it (because “traditional” type of marketing is pretty expensive), then you should switch your focus onto other methods that will give you a better return on your investment like email marketing and marketing through social media.

Both extremely cost effective, email marketing and marketing your boot camp through social media is definitely the way to go in today’s fast paced world. Don’t have a Facebook Fan Page set up for your boot camp yet? That’s your very first step. Promote it to all of your clients to build a little buzz. People love showing off so start taking pictures of sessions and post them to your page to show what a fun experience working out at your boot camp really is. (Get your client’s permission first, of course.) Share inspirational quotes and any tips or tricks you may have for losing weight and watch your Fan Page grow like wild fire. (more…)

Tips for Marketing a Fitness Business Better

Posted by on February 18, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Ahh… marketing. Often called the “lifeblood” of any business- and it’s completely and totally true. Without marketing, clients don’t know you exist and how can you grow your personal training business if your potential clients don’t even know you’re out there?

But for a lot of us, the marketing gene just doesn’t come naturally. We’ve spent most of our time on learning the best techniques to help our clients lose weight and look great, which is exactly what we should be doing, but owning and operating your own business means that there are other skills you need to learn and master. Marketing is definitely one of them.

Marketing a fitness business doesn’t have to be complex or that expensive (there are tons of free and low cost marketing strategies for you to roll out here on this site). It does, however, have to work in order for you to see a return on your investment so learning the ins and outs- the do’s and don'ts of marketing is incredibly important for growing your business.

Taking the time to learn more about marketing is what will help you grow your fitness business into the six or seven figure business that it was meant to be. The business that you, as a hard working fitness entrepreneur, deserve.

So, if you’re in need of a little fitness marketing boost to get more clients in the door then listen up! These five tips will have your business booming in no time.


Specialize, Specialize, Specialize

Okay, so if I could only give you one single piece of advice for marketing it would be this: pick a target market and stick to it. That’s it. This one little thing will help you harness more earning power because you’re not generalizing- you’re specializing and those who specialize in a specific market are able to charge more without having their clients bat an eyelash.

Another reason why you’d want to specialize and pick a target market is because your marketing message will come across a whole lot clearer, allowing you to speak directly to those you are trying to serve. And that is what will get you more clients. Clients who are excited to give your boot camp or personal training a try because you were able to speak their language.

Sometimes deciding what niche to serve is tough because, as a personal trainer, you know you can help just about anybody lose weight, tone muscle, and improve their overall strength. So picking just one group to market to seems like you’re shutting everyone else out, but in order to earn the big bucks- you got to find the one market that you can help the most.

One way to figure out what market you might serve best is to take the time to really think about your style of training. What interests you the most when it comes to training people? Who would be your ideal client? When you’re able to narrow it down, think about the problems that your program would solve for this market and make that your message.

For instance, busy moms have a tough time getting their workout in so if you have a program that whips them into shape without making them spend hours upon hours working out then that’s your market and your message.

Get Online

Get your business online and do it now if you haven’t already done so. Having a web presence is so important for growing your business nowadays that if you’re not online and using all of the social media sites that are available to you, then you’re probably leaving thousands upon thousands of dollars on the table and who knows how many clients out in the cold.

If you don’t have a website yet, then that’s okay. You can still utilize Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+, and any other social site you can think of as a placeholder until your site it set. (more…)

Personal Trainer Certification – Why Muscle Power Matters

Posted by on February 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Guest Post by Cody Sipe, PhD

Muscle power is an essential element of physical function and a component that declines very rapidly with advancing age. In fact, although many of us are obsessed with muscle strength, studies show that muscle power declines earlier than muscle strength in mature adults and that it declines at a faster rate. Many activities of daily living, such as stair climbing, walking uphill and quick acceleration, rely on adequate power making it a critical component to address in a functional exercise program.

Most of the focus should be on improving lower body power (which is explained in greater detail in the Functional Aging Specialist Certification- a personal trainer certification that focuses on functional training strategies) but upper body power is also important. Even a task as seemingly mundane as opening a heavy door requires sufficient upper body power along with core and lower body stability.


Unfortunately, the traditional “way” of training upper body strength isn’t the best for improving power. Consider the typical seated row on a selectorized machine. For one, since the weight stack moves against gravity performing high-velocity movements are a little tricky and can be somewhat dangerous. When a high speed movement against resistance is initiated a lot of force is generated in order to get the weight stack moving. After the weight stack gets moving then momentum takes over and very little force is needed during the latter half of the movement.

So really high force at the beginning and very little force at the end.

Secondly, there is basically no core requirement because the chest pad on the seated row stabilizes the trunk artificially which does not mimic daily activities. There is no external trunk stabilizer when a person opens a heavy door or starts a lawn mower. Trunk stability must be accomplished through co-activation of the core musculature.

Thirdly, the traditional row is performed bilaterally (using both arms simultaneously). Again, this doesn’t really mimic daily activities which are typically performed unilaterally (one arm). And even if it were performed unilaterally the chest pad would stabilize the trunk anyway eliminating most of the core demands.

In addition, what we typically consider “power lifting” (moves such as snatches, cleans and jerks) is not typically appropriate for the older client. Now I will be the first to admit (and I teach people) that the older clientele is very diverse and there may be some that could do these traditional movements. However, there are very, very few that could. So when we talk about training for muscle power we do not mean traditional power lifting.

If we really want to perform upper body power rowing movements to prepare for activities of daily living then they need to be performed:

· Unilaterally (to create sagittal and transverse plane forces)
· In a stable stance position (to create ground reaction forces)
· With no external trunk stabilizers (to activate core musculature)
· With equipment that minimizes or eliminates momentum

An exercise that I use often with clients and we teach in the Functional Aging Specialist Certification is the 1-arm standing row in a semi-lunge position. Our preference is to use the Keiser Performance Trainer, the Keiser Functional Trainer or resistance tubing. Not everyone is going to have access to Keiser equipment but it is ideal for performing power movements because it uses pneumatic (compressed air) resistance. (more…)

How to Retain Clients to Maximize Your Personal Trainer Marketing Budget

Posted by on February 4, 2014 at 11:45 am

One-time clients aren’t going to help you continually grow your boot camp or personal training business. Sure it’s nice to see someone get results, but it’s not so nice when they leave to try and maintain their new-found results on their own. You’ve worked hard to get these clients into your program, but when they end up being one-timer- you’re left to fill the hole with a new client and that means hunting down a new one.

Knowing your client retention rate goes hand in hand with your marketing because if you aren’t keeping track of how long a client stays with you then you won’t be able to maximize your personal trainer marketing plan and its budget. Although there are lots of resources out there for free and low cost marketing strategies, but it’s still time consuming and requires some investment.


Losing a few clients here and there is only natural, especially if it’s because someone is moving out of the area or some type of emergency occurs. But if some of your members aren’t showing up on a consistent basis or they disappear altogether, then you’ve got to figure out why.

Get to Know Your Members

You may feel like this has nothing to do with marketing, but getting to know your members is a great way to build up your word of mouth reputation- and there’s not much advertising that can beat that.

From the very first client you sign on to the 100th client, you (and any staff that you hire) should be concentrating on building a solid relationship with them. By taking the time to get to know your members and showing an interest in them, they’re more likely to be upfront with you if they’re having any issues instead of just dropping off the face of the earth and avoiding your calls. If you’re noticing that a big percentage of your members aren’t renewing their agreement, then something is wrong and you need to know- and fast.

Start by constructing a short, but well-written questionnaire that includes a limited time coupon in a friendly email and send it to past clients who didn’t renew with you. Be sure to leave a space for them to leave comments and pay close attention to the answers you receive. This is where you can take major action, especially if their making the same complaint.

Listen to what they’re saying and offer what you can to get them back. Offer nutritional support if they’re not seeing the results they want, or change up the exercises if they’re finding them boring. Up the energy of the place if that’s what it takes. By giving members what they want increasing your client retention rate- you’ll build up your “word of mouth” and save tons on traditional fitness marketing.

Show Them Love

Be generous with your members, show them that you appreciate their business by incentivising their hard work from time to time. Host a silly costume contest or hold a theme day at your boot camp or gym and get everyone to dress up. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way to bring everyone together. Give the best dressed a gift card to their favorite restaurant or half off their monthly rate to show that it pays to participate. (more…)

How to Overcome Objections When Selling Personal Training Programs

Posted by on January 30, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Dealing with objections in sales is never easy, especially when you are selling personal training programs. It’s just not fun to hear “no thank you” after you’ve spent time with a prospect, explaining all the benefits and features of your training program… why it’s important to exercise… why they should take their health seriously… how being fit affects other areas of your life in a positive way… blah, blah, blah and so on.

Your prospect already knows this stuff. They know it’s unhealthy to be overweight, they know that diet and exercise are vitally important in healthy living, and they know that if they don’t change then what ever issues they’re dealing with might get worse. Your potential clients don’t need to hear all this from you- and it’s not your job to explain how awesome exercise really is.

The trick is to get right down to it and figure out why they haven’t made that change for themselves yet. Sometime people just need a push in the right direction- and that’s where you come in.

Some of your prospects might have been overweight for years and are just now seeking the help of a personal trainer. Others might not be overweight, but they lack energy to get through their day without loading up on tons of caffeine. Others may have been athletes when they were younger and want to get back into shape. Some may have never even exercised before and aren’t really sure of how to start.


So, if you find yourself dealing with a lot of objections when selling your personal training packages, then that’s step number one. Find out what drives them.

Why They Say No

Why do people say no when buying a product or service that they want? Simply put, there’s a lack of these four little things: need, urgency, trust, and the most frustrating of all- money.

One of these four objections are at the heart of every single “no” you hear, so if you get good at identifying which objection your prospect is using then you’ll be much more prepared to overcome them. Each objection is important to understand because they all require a different way of handling the issue.

Here’s how to handle a lack of…


Basically, a prospect or potential client has to have a need for your services, which is probably likely because you’re selling personal training- and everyone needs to exercise. But not everyone feels like they “need” to pay for a fitness program to help them exercise.

One way to overcome a lack of need is to sell your prospects on results. Not the mechanics of getting there, but what they’re going to get if they stick with your program. The outcome. By focusing on the value and the outcome of your program, you’ll create a need for it. But if you focus too much on features like the square footage of your gym or the exercises they’ll be doing if they sign up, you’ll lose their interest and devalue what you actually do.


This objection is usually the one that drives personal trainers crazy. They go through all this trouble to figure out someone’s needs and they finally find it but the timing isn’t quite right. They may have even said something like “I’d love to, but it’s not the right time for me”.

Chances are, if this is someone’s biggest objection, then you probably didn’t demonstrate the impact of your solution well enough. What you offer has to be a solution for a problem that you’re going to help them solve. And if they’re not really ready to solve that problem, it’s up to you to show them that they are- with your help, of course.

Taking time to figure out their needs will really help you in this step, and if you listened well enough then you can use a lot of what they said to make a big emotional impact. People buy with their hearts- not with their brains… so it’s important to create a sense of urgency when sitting down with someone.

Ask open ended questions that forces someone to give up a little information about themselves. Questions like, “What bothers you the most about the extra weight?”, “How do you feel when go shopping for new clothes?”, “At what point in your life did you feel the best?”, “How is your energy level throughout the day?”. Really pay attention to their answers so you can refer back to them and help them decide that now is better than never.

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You’ve heard us say this a billion and one times, but it’s so incredibly true: people have to know, like, and trust you before they’ll buy from you. That’s why referrals are the perfect potential client because they already trust that you can get results- or they wouldn’t have been recommended by someone you train in the first place.

Exposure is one awesome way to build up your know, like, and trust factor. Start making Youtube videos of home workouts and share them on your business’ Facebook Fan Page. Write helpful articles on health and fitness and send them to your email list. Try submitting one of them to your local newspaper. Write case studies on your best, most transformed clients to show that you really know your stuff. (more…)