As fitness business managers and owners we know that having solid internal marketing strategies in place (including a solid referral program) are some of the best ways to keep our current clients engaged, coming back for more and sending their friends and family our way.
It is also essential to have a well thought out external marketing strategy in place so that you always have new potential clients walking through your doors.
First, let’s start with explaining the difference between internal and external marketing and why both are so important.
- Internal marketing is advertising and promotion of your services and programs to your CURRENT clients.
- External marketing is advertising and promotion geared toward bringing in NEW clients.
Clearly, both types of marketing are essential to all personal training businesses. We need to continue to engage our current clients to keep them interested and coming back for more and we need to continually have new business coming in the doors. A focus on both of these types of marketing will help keep your personal training business thriving.
In this article you will learn the following:
- A creative idea for internal marketing that is simple and free
- How internal marketing initiatives take care of more than just marketing
- A creative idea for external marketing that really works
- An understanding of why a combination of both internal and external marketing is essential to the success of your fitness business
Internal Marketing Idea:
Now that you know the difference I’m sure you are thinking, “Oh yeah, we do internal marketing.” Well, today I want to share a quick tip with you that is simple, but you may not have tried it before. Try sending out an email similar to the one below. This was sent out to a Monday Morning group training class by one of our trainers. Go ahead and read through the email and then I will move on to explain why simple communications like these can make a HUGE difference to your clients and your bottom line.
Here is the email:
I know that I will be feeling MY muscles tomorrow!! That was a tough workout today. Go ahead... pat yourselves on the back. For those of you that couldn't make it in WE MIIISSSSSED YOU!! We did a Tabata workout and it was hard, but we made it and are better for it ;)
Just a heads up on our upcoming events:
Girlfriends Half Marathon:
This is our biggest event of the year! An all-women half marathon….that we host! It is a beautiful course along the Columbia River and winds through beautiful Vancouver, WA.
FREE Seminar: Foam rolling to minimize aches, pains & injuries
Foam rolling is a technique commonly used amongst athletes, physical therapists and personal trainers to inhibit overactive muscles. In this seminar, we will be doing personalized assessments to help you understand what muscles you should be foam rolling and why.
Be ready to DANCE! Join Jenna Nirode to learn and perform Michael Jackson's Thriller!! Costumes are encouraged but not required.
Ok, now you are in the know! Challenge yourself to try something new and fun!!
We ask our trainers to regularly send out emails (like the one above) to their personal training clients and group training clients. These types of emails accomplish a few things:
- They reiterate to your clients that you and your staff truly care about their goals. It shows that you and your trainers recognize and acknowledge when a client is working hard. What better way to call out successes than a quick email like this?
- They give trainers a chance to personally invite (and remind) their clients to upcoming events.
- They show your clients again what they already know: Your customer service is top of the line. As we know, customer service is one of the top reasons people return to any business, so make it your business they return to with simple initiatives like this.
You may be wondering how our trainers know who to email for each of their classes. First, at the beginning of each new group training schedule, we ask all group clients to “sign up” for the sessions they intend to take. This gives them priority over drop-ins if sessions are full and gives you a list of clients that you should expect to see in class every week. We use a software system to keep track of all of this, which allows us to pull email addresses for the trainers to send out in group emails.
Encourage your trainers to use their admin time to send out simple emails just like this. You will be amazed the impact little things like this can make.
So that is an easy internal marketing idea that you and your trainers can start implementing today. It doesn’t cost you anything, your trainers are connecting with their clients, and you are marketing other events and services. Not bad!
External Marketing Idea:
Now that you have an internal marketing idea you can implement today, it’s time to give you an external marketing idea that really works:
Get health professionals on your side.
Having health professionals support you and your services will not only help you to generate more business, it will also give you a more professional and credible image to existing and potential clients.
Here are some ideas to help you initiate a relationship with Health Professionals in your community:
Have all new clients fill out a medical questionnaire where they list all of their health professionals and request their approval for you to contact them.
Then, send each client’s health professional a letter:
- Let the health professional know that their patient has started an exercise program with you.
- Introduce yourself and your services. Include any relevant marketing materials and your professional bio.
- Send complimentary personal training sessions that the health professionals can offer to the patients that may benefit from your training services.
Establish a Health Advisory Board for Your Community.
- Different participants might be: Massage therapist, Physiotherapist, Nutritionist, Sports Physician, Chiropractor and any other appropriate health professionals
- Having about eight to twelve members on an advisory board is sufficient.
- Try complimenting your advisory board with professionals outside of the health and fitness industry, such as: a marketing expert and advertising specialist, banker, accountant, lawyer, successful business owner…
- Keep in mind these people are busy, so do not request a huge time and energy commitment.
- You only need to hold an advisory board meeting once or twice per year.
- Take the board out for something to eat and ask them questions about your business.
- Your advisory board should function as a sounding board and provide opportunities for brainstorming.
- A meeting once or twice a year and the ability for you to call a member of your board to ask a question is the extent of their commitment.
- In return for their time and energy, offer VIP rates on Personal Training to all members of your board. Also, provide them with exposure by listing their names on your materials and within your places of business.
Any size business can create an advisory board so go out and give it a try!
At the very least incorporate my idea of sending physicians a letter informing them that you are working with their patient and the free passes. Why not!? If you get really motivated, create an advisory group that many professionals in your community would benefit from, including you.
So in conclusion, you are now armed with 2 new simple and doable marketing ideas. Every little bit of marketing helps. If your current clients don’t know about your extra programs how will they sign up and how will you generate that extra revenue? If you aren’t continually thinking of new ways to generate new potential clients how will you increase or even sustain your business? So, get out there and give these ideas a try.