Most personal trainers don’t start out with any kind of budget. Like none, at all.
So, it makes logical sense to want to generate some income before spending money on Facebook ads and other marketing techniques. In this post, you will learn five ways to market your personal training business on Facebook without coming off sleazy nor spending a dime.
Let me preface this by saying nothing in life is really free. You will have to put in a little time and effort into your Facebook marketing plan. Clients that come quickly, leave quickly. Building relationships and gaining trust take time.
Building relationships and gaining trust take time. #fitbiz #personaltraining Click To Tweet
However, thanks to Facebook making sales and marketing so easy today, you don’t have to spend any money to get in front of quality leads.
Back when I was fresh out of college (oh the good ol’ days), I sold memberships at a Gold’s Gym in Tallahassee, Florida. We did not have the luxury of social media.
I spent my mornings in sales meeting learning how to ask all the right questions so when a potential client walked through those gym doors, I was a well oiled sales robot. If I didn’t make the sale, my managers wanted to know what I did wrong. And if I did close a sale, I was just so relieved to be one step closer to my sales “goal” and hopefully not lose my job.
I was stressed and didn’t like my job. And I honestly could have cared less if that person who just joined the gym ever came back to actually work out.
My afternoons consisted of walking around parking lots in the heat sticking flyers on car windshields (and praying the person wouldn’t come out and see me and ask what the heck I was doing at their car).
Or I would stroll around shopping plazas or the mall and stop in local businesses to ask if any employees wanted a free workout (which really wasn’t free because once they got to the gym, we would just hard close them or scare them off).
In the evenings, I would tour potential clients around the gym and desperately try to get their credit card information for a two year membership. That was the fun part. When I had no one to take on a tour of the gym and go through my sales script with, I would sit in an office with four other young trainers trying to get their foot in the door and make cold calls.
Ever since that job, I HATED sales.
Well, fast forward 11 years… welcome social media and hello new outlook!
And hello not having people treat you like a telemarketer and hang up on you mid-sentence. Hello not being told you were a brainwashed sales girl. Hello not having people call and yell at you because it rained and the flyer you left on the car dripped ink all over their vehicle. Yeah, that was fun.
So, let’s dive into five free ways you can use Facebook to market your personal training business.
1. Leverage your current ‘Friends’ list
Jon Goodman from the PTDC is a big advocate of connecting, commenting, and being the ‘go-to fitness guy or gal’ to your current friends list on Facebook.
He claims un-friending people who you no longer really speak to on Facebook is “business suicide.”
Here is how this works.
You share fitness and nutrition tips and glimpses into your business now and then on your personal Facebook page. People have to know and trust that you actually know what you are talking about before they can even consider working with you.
This sets the stage.
Next, make it a point to like or comment on a few friends’ Facebook posts each day. By interacting with them, you each will show up in one another’s news feed more often.
Once you “prime the pump” so to speak, aka start becoming a name they see pop up more often, then just simply ask how they are doing.
Most of the time, people will ask the question back. This gives you an opportunity to say you are doing great, insert something about your family (or something personal), and then share that you are starting this online or in-person training business. That’s it.
Don’t sell them because that is awkward and sleazy. Continue to like their posts.
When the time comes that they have a fitness question or are in need of a trainer (or have a friend or family member in need of a trainer), you will be the first person they think of.
This approach takes time, but once you start getting a few clients and they start sharing their experiences with their friends and family, it can really snowball into a valuable potential client list!
Ok, so you are distinguishing yourself as the fitness expert, building trust, and forming relationships on Facebook, but how can you start generating some business TODAY?
The best solution out there right now seems to be to run free challenges.
2. Run a free challenge
Running a free challenge does two things: shows potential clients you can transform their bodies and gives you the opportunity to collect their email addresses to eventually sell them something.
By over delivering and building relationships with challenge participants, you leave them asking “what’s next?”
Even if they do not buy from you after the challenge, you have the opportunity to continue to build trust and stay in the front of their minds by sending occasional, beneficial-to-them emails.
6 Steps to create your free challenge today:
1. Lay the groundwork
Who are your ideal clients?
What are they struggling with?
Why is changing this important?
How can you help them in a short amount of time?
2. Decide how long you want to run the challenge
In my experience, 5-10 days seems to be the sweet spot for challenge length. Based on the challenges I’ve done and the ones I’ve participated in, the challenge loses momentum the longer it goes on.
I figure, why make more work for yourself and create a longer challenge if you can get the job done in less days?
3. What platform will you use to deliver your challenge?
You will definitely want to collect email addresses (and we will get to that in a second) but your challenge does not HAVE to be via email.
However, even if you run your challenge on Facebook and Instagram, offering participants the option to receive daily email reminders could improve participation if that is what you are looking for on social media.
I’ve done challenges on Instagram, in my Facebook groups, and via email last year. I heard this saying a while back in a podcast by Amy Porterfield and totally used it as my motto for challenges: “It is our job as entrepreneurs to try different things and see what works and what doesn’t.”
It is our job as entrepreneurs to try different things and see what works and what doesn't. Click To Tweet
4. The landing page
If you have a blog or website, you can create a page right there to send people to in order to learn more about your challenge (and sign up.)
Place a “sign up here” link on this page that will take people to a Google form to insert their email address or, if you use Mailchimp, simply install the Magic Action Box plug in and collect email addresses right on that page.
If you do not have a blog or website, that is FINE.
You can create a free landing page on ontrapages.com. This is kind of cool because you can drag and drop pictures, videos, and big “SIGN UP HERE” buttons. The only downside is that the url will have “.ontrapages.com” in it – but you can customize the beginning of the url to whatever you want.
For example, this was my holiday challenge: http://sarahmichelle.ontrapages.com/Thefirst15
Another super simple option is to create a Google form. You can add a brief description about the challenge, include a picture, and have participants sign up right there on the Google form.
5. Collecting email addresses
If participants sign up through ontrapages or a Google form, both of these platforms will generate a list of emails that you can save into an Excel spreadsheet (or just copy and paste).
3 Steps to Jam-Pack your Email List
“Having an email list allows you to show up directly in your potential customer’s inbox. This is why email has proven to result in more reads and clicks than social media.”
You can then upload these emails into an email provider such as Mailchimp.
Mailchimp is free up to 2,000 email addresses. Once you have more that 2,000 emails you can upgrade in Mailchimp or switch to a more functional provider (such as Convertkit, Leadpages, etc.). However, if you don’t need to spend that money yet, use the free versions as long as possible!
Once you upload your email addresses into Mailchimp, you can start creating and scheduling your emails.
Yes, this takes a little more man power than the platforms that has this whole process automated for you, but remember, this is your starting point. Once you start playing with the big dogs, you start paying like the big dogs.
Here is a great tutorial on how to set up Mailchimp for the first time: MailChimp Tutorial for Beginners
6. Promote your challenge
Share your challenge on Facebook and other social media platforms, your blog, in your gym, to your current email list, etc.
Be sure your challenge gets your clients concrete results. It’s not just a “Facebook fitness challenge”, but it clearly takes your client on a journey from point A to point Band gets them results. Explain who the challenge is for and what they will get out of it
The great thing about evergreen posts on Facebook, is that you talk about your challenge as if you were talking to a friend – because you are! It doesn’t look or sound like an advertisement.
Amy Porterfield just released a podcast titled How to Prepare, Plan & Execute a Profitable 5-Day Challenge – if you are thinking of running a free challenge in 2017, this is definitely worth a listen!
3. Interact and provide value in Facebook Groups
I run two Facebook groups and one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is when people only comment to promote their own business. And it happens quite a bit. Usually when entrepreneurs do this, they also post the exact same post in various other Facebook groups. Please don’t do this.
Use the Facebook group to make connections, learn from others, and help and support those in the group.
If you have a really valuable tip that would benefit the group, share it. Become a name that people see in the group frequently and appreciate the value you add… for free.
They might just click on your profile – and when they do – be sure to have a link to your business page there. Or, if the group admin allows, when you do launch a product or service, people will be happy to check it out because you have been so helpful over the past few weeks or months.
Be sure to check with the group admin if you are not sure if you are allowed to promote your own stuff.
Here are a few of my favorite Facebook groups for health and fitness entrepreneurs.
4. Start your own Facebook Group
All the same rules apply from above, but the best part here is – YOU are the group admin. So, you can promote your awesome products or services every now and then. And, I think most people in Facebook groups expect or understand this.
Just remember the 80-20 rule: Share valuable, free content 80% of the time and promote your own stuff 20% of the time.
Because of the Facebook’s latest algorithms, FB business pages are not being seen as much. So, Facebook Groups (and live video) seem to be where it is at in 2017! I feel like almost every entrepreneur whose email list I am on has launched a free Facebook group over the past few months.
This can work a few different ways:
1 – Start a general fitness group for your local community targeting a specific population or goal. For example, I run a local fit moms Facebook group.
2 – Create a Facebook community that coincides with your blog or business (just don’t promote your business or blog posts allll the time – that gets annoying).
3 – Create a private Facebook group that coincides with your free challenge and use it to support one another and add extra value to the challenge. You can then turn this into your community that has a theme related to your business.
5. Do Facebook Live videos on your Business Page
As much as many of us hate it, Facebook is giving priority to Facebook Live videos (and Facebook ads) while giving very little priority to other posts on Facebook business pages.
You still should have a Facebook business page, for sure – but chances are that many people will not see your posts in their news feed unless it is a Facebook Live video.
As fitness professionals, Facebook Live is a GREAT opportunity to demonstrate how to properly perform an exercise, complete a workout, or just share some quick fit tips. You won’t get better at live video by NOT doing them – so just start! I know I need to take my own advice here and it is defiantly a goal of mine for 2017.
5 Free Ways to Market Your Personal Training Business on Facebook #fitbiz #fitbiztips Click To Tweet
Come join the Fitness Blogging Mastermind Community Facebook Group!
What are some ways you promote your personal training services or fitness business online?
Have you launched a free challenge in the past? What worked, what didn’t?
How do you feel about Facebook Live? How has it impacted your blog/business?
photo credit: Ivory Mix