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Hierarchy of Fitness Marketing

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Hierarchy of Fitness Marketing

As a fitness professional we believe the answer to just about EVERYTHING is…

Exercise, eat nutritious foods and live a healthy lifestyle!

After all, living a healthy lifestyle gives you more energy, less disease, more confidence, decreased stress, a healthier body…It is the answer to EVERYTHING, isn’t it?

Right? WRONG!

If you thought more like a business owner you would argue that the answer to every problem is MARKETING! Huh?Marketing solutions pinned to a whiteboard

Whether you need more clients, need to make more money, need to leverage your time better, want to change more lives, have a bigger impact on the world and share your gifts…If you know how to reach your target market you can solve any problem. After all, knowing how to market will lead to more business, changing more lives, which leads to increased income, which leads to improved mood & overall happiness and financial freedom.

Bottom Line– One of the most important things you can do is learn how to market your fitness business. It is just as important as living a healthy lifestyle (if not more)!

Because of this I wanted to share a quick crash course on marketing your fitness training services. Read this, put it into action and change more lives!

Rule #1 when it comes to marketing

You need to “hit your audience over the head” with your message 7-10 times before they might take action.

Paying for marketing such as direct mail or other paid advertisement will only work if it is the 7th time you have hit your audience over the head with your message or if it is going to get them into a loop to be hit a 7th time. Make sense?

Think of marketing like a puzzle and direct mail is the last piece of the puzzle. You have to have all of the other pieces of the puzzle in place first.

My recommendations:

·      First of all, think through all of your points of contact with your business and make sure they are congruent with each other and are all hitting your audience with the same message– your website, your logo, your marketing message, your store front. Think through where the red light is for the prospect. Some of you have had websites that look nothing like your direct mail piece or the name of your business doesn’t match who you are marketing to, or you are writing blogs and email fitness tips that are written to a different audience. Make sure every communication is speaking to the one target market you are after. Know your target market very well!

·      GIFT marketing, which is by far the most effective way for you to market. Stands for Get In Front Of Them. Focus on getting in front of an audience at least once a month. Plus meet people in town and tell them what you do – at the bank, at Starbucks, at a restaurant, at the hair salon, at the little league baseball field wherever you are GIFT.

·      Press Releases and/or networking and building relationships with your local media. Become the expert in your area. Who does the local newspaper call when they need a fitness expert? It should be you. If it isn’t do what you need to do to become that person.

·      Email fitness tip. As you are GIFT and have people going to your website the goal is to collect contact information for people who have “raised their hand” and said they are interested in your services. You must have a way to collect these email addresses onto a list to contact. Your website should have a sign up form to get onto your list and every talk you do collect email addresses and add them. This fitness tip should be weekly and is to build a relationship with your list.

·      Referrals. If you are not getting at least 1-2 referrals a month from someone you need to reevaluate why. The goal is to create what are called “raving fans” which is an excellent book- Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard.
Why aren’t your clients telling everyone about you?
Have you not WOW’ed them?
Given them a reason to talk about you?
And of course some kind of incentive to refer their friends?
The biggest secret to “marketing” is to deliver such great results that your clients friends can’t help but notice, and such a great experience that your members can’t help but talk about you.

·      Joint Promotions with other companies who have the same audience as you. Think about what other businesses are marketing to the same audience that you are.  Who else has customers that want to look better and feel better? Beauty salons, massage or spas, healthy food delivery, boutique clothing stores, chiropractors, physical therapists…approach these businesses about how you can work together to both get in front of more people, each other’s audiences or offer for them to train for free to become a spokesperson for you. Who can you recruit to be your spokesperson?

·      Social Media. We had fought doing social media but at this point have realized this can be a fantastic way to “hit people over the head.” It is more like a fitness tip because it is secondary, they have to know about you and had to have “liked” you or signed up for your newsletter but then you can share everything they are missing out on – videos of classes, testimonials, people getting into great shape. Facebook fan pages are proving to be a way to build a relationship with your potential customers and an easy way for your customers to refer other people to you. You must have a presence on social media.

From all of the above, before you have spent a dime on marketing you should be getting 10-20 prospects a month.

RESULTS FITNESS BIZ RULE: If you are not already getting at least 10 prospects a month DO NOT spend $ on other advertising. You will waste your money because you have not already built any buzz and you are only hitting them once with your direct mail piece. It isn’t enough to generate a flow of prospects.

Modern business conceptLet’s run through a few scenarios. For these situations let’s say that we need 7 exposures to your message to get your potential member to sign up.

Example 1:

1.     A friend tells them about your gym.

2.     They go to your website and the website looks just like what the friend had described so they sign up for your weekly fitness tip.

3.      They get an immediate email with a great tip and maybe a free report on how to get started losing fat today.

4.     They open their local newspaper the next week and see an article quoting you as the expert.

5.     They meet you at an event or around town.

6.     They get another email tip a week later with some really great information.

7.     They are on facebook and notice that the friend who originally told them about you just linked to a video on your fan page so they click on your fan page and decide- I need to check this place out!

The above scenario or something similar should be happening on a regular basis driving people in to your business.

Another example of this:

Example 2:

1.     They drive by and see your sign. Months go by…

2.     They open the local paper and see an article quoting you as the expert. Months go by…

3.     They attend their kids PTA meeting and you are there speaking and what you say really resonates with them so they give you their email address and phone #.

4.     They get an email from you with some great tips and they click on your website link to check it out and the website looks like exactly what they need from a gym.

5.     You call to invite them to an event you are having or a class you are offering. They call their friend to go with them and they both arrive and take class and have a blast and are thinking about signing up.

6.     They go into their beauty salon where they always go and their hairdresser mentions your place and they strike up a conversation about it and the hairdresser gives validation that it is the place to go.

7.     They happen to drive by and see your sign again and decide- heck I should just stop and go in…


When the above scenarios are happening over and over and you are getting leads coming in without spending any money on marketing – NOW spend the $ and have a direct mail piece land in their mailbox getting MORE OF THEM to that 7th time faster to get in and sign up.

Most trainers build their businesses solely on referrals. If you aren’t getting referrals and prospects without spending money then spending the money isn’t going to help.

This leads us to The Hierarchy of Marketing…

The Hierarchy of Fitness Marketingmarketingpyramid

1.     Figure out your message – what is your tagline? What will you be known for? People will say- “That’s the gym that…” Who is your target market?

2.     Gather before and after pictures and stories from your clients. If you don’t have any, this is a red flag. Put these pictures and stories at every touch point – your front desk area, your website, your face book fan page, anywhere your potential client can see them.

3.     Ask yourself if you have had at least one referral from every single client you work with? Do you get referrals coming in monthly? If not think through why not?

4.     Get a website up that matches and reflects the above message and a Facebook Fan page.

5.     Set up to build an email list and have the sign up form on your website and start to collect emails to add to the list.

6.     GIFT marketing– make it a goal to speak in front of an audience once a month and to meet at least one person every single day who is a potential prospect. Get really good at connecting and building relationships. Always think about how you can help them?

7.     Approach other businesses to figure out how you can help each other.

8.     Track your prospects – are you getting AT LEAST 10 leads a month? If not start over with #1 until you are.

9.     Once you have 10-20 prospects a month THEN start to pay for direct mail and commit to doing it every month consistently.


This is a hierarchy, start with #1 and do not move on to #2 until you have #1 and move down the list.

Following this hierarchy will start to get prospects pounding down your door building your business solving all of your problems!


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