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How to get personal training clients: 6 winning ideas

How to get personal training clients

Key takeaways

  • Personal training clients come and go, so use your network to generate new referrals
  • Focus on a niche audience who will view you as an expert in your subject area
  • Use social media to build highly engaged communities that you can pull from when you need new clients

Running a successful personal training business depends, in part, on your ability to continually build relationships with new clients. As current clients hit their fitness goals or get a handle on their personal health, they may graduate from your services and move on. 

If you know how to recruit new personal training clients on an ongoing basis, you won’t have to worry about your small business losing steam. 

Consider these six actionable steps to keep your personal fitness business in tip-top shape.

Clarify your niche

Potential clients search for personal trainers based on their individual fitness goals. The best way to stand out is by branding yourself as an expert in a niche area.

To determine your niche, consider the following: 

  • Where you’ll train clients. Do you offer in-home, online, or gym-based training?
  • Who you’ll cater to. Will you train clients one-on-one or in pairs or groups?
  • Areas of expertise. Can you help clients with weight loss, strength-building, or marathon running?

Once you’ve identified your target audience, make sure your brand aligns with your niche. For example, if your personal training service caters to distance runners or triathletes, include images on your website of people participating in these sports. 

Grow your audience on social media

Building your social media presence is a great way to find new personal training clients, especially if you haven’t quite figured out how to garner new clients through email marketing, personal referrals, or search engine optimization (SEO). Leveraging social media can help you expand your online presence, connect with ideal clients, and establish your authority as a personal trainer.

Consider live streaming online personal training sessions on social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook to give users a glimpse into your training style and how you can help them. For example, you could offer a step-by-step guide on how to properly do deadlifts, squats, or post-workout stretches. Plus, live video allows you to engage with users in real time, responding to comments or questions as they watch.

Consider creating a Facebook group of past and potential clients to build a tight-knit, engaged community that shares exercise tips and supports each other’s fitness journeys. Engage users with fun quizzes, challenges, and valuable content posted to your Facebook page, then watch your audience grow, increasing your chances of winning over new clients

Manage online reviews

How to get personal training clients: Manage online reviews

Just as people trust word-of-mouth referrals from friends or family members, 87% of people also look for opinions from real customers on review sites. In fact, 79% trust online testimonials as much as personal recommendations.

Claim your Yelp Business Page to be sure prospective clients can find you and easily view your business details. Update your page with current photos and contact information, and respond to user reviews with timely, thoughtful, and professional comments. Always recognize positive reviews, and avoid letting negative reviews sit for too long without a response. 

When you take the time to publicly follow up on reviews, it shows potential personal training clients (and your current clients) that you care about what they have to say—especially when things don’t go so smoothly.

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Invest in ads

When it comes to getting personal training clients, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on TV or print ads to compete with more established fitness professionals. Instead, consider using digital advertising to target your ideal clients with highly relevant content, plus you’ll only pay when they click. 

For example, when you advertise on Yelp, you can reach three times the amount of potential customers. Ads are displayed above Yelp’s search results and even on your competitors’ pages. Plus, you can create your first Yelp ad easily within minutes and monitor its progress over time on your dashboard.

Because you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, you can be confident that every cent you spend will go toward valuable engagement (like a clicked link or a comment), rather than just a view. It’s also simple to set a maximum ad spend so you never exceed your budget—your campaign will stop running when that budget is used up. 

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Network with local businesses

Connect with your local community by seeking out relevant local businesses that align with your values and offer non-competitive products or services—forming a mutually beneficial relationship. When their clients need a certified personal trainer, they may exclusively refer you, and you can do the same when your clients need their products or services.

Consider partnering with other companies like gyms and fitness studios, nutritionists, chiropractors, and vitamin shops. These local businesses are likely to have a number of paying clients who want to reach new fitness goals or are just getting started on their wellness journeys. Plus, you’ll have clients that you can send right back to them. You and your partners can even exclusively provide discounts to each other’s clients.

Working with non-profit organizations like local fitness communities (such as YMCAs or running clubs) can also help you generate leads, so don’t limit your possible partnerships strictly to other business owners.

No matter who you choose to partner with, make sure to vet them first. Their values and quality of service should align with yours. Consider reaching out to them on LinkedIn or via email to set up an introduction call.

Start a referral program

Personal trainer with client

If you’ve already amassed a network of satisfied clients, they might happily send potential customers your way in exchange for an incentive. While people in your network might be casually recommending your business to others in passing, an incentive may drive them to actively promote your business for you.

Fortunately, referral programs don’t need to be complicated. Each time someone refers a lead that turns into a new client, you can reward them with a gift card, a free session, or a discount toward one of your partner businesses.

How to get personal training clients 

Understanding how to get new personal training clients will help your business thrive no matter how many people graduate from your services. 

Whether you’re creating a Yelp account to manage reviews or growing an audience with your social media accounts, these tips can help you stand out and earn new clients with greater ease. You can even use several of these ideas at once for a multipronged approach. 

For more ideas, try these online marketing tips for small businesses.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.