Digital word of mouth
Spread the word for your PT business
Marketing director Tracy Hall shares some tips to help generate a buzz about your fitness business and keep you top of mind for your client base.
- Use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to post news about special offers and client transformations
- Offer incentives to clients who refer their friends, and partner up with local businesses to offer mutually beneficial deals for each other’s customers
- Give a great impression with a professional-looking website and make sure your location, contact details, operating hours, services and pricing are clear and easy to find
- Consider SEO strategies, to help your site come up higher in search engine results, and include fresh content and images and an ‘online appointments’ feature so clients can book straight from the website.
Word of mouth is the primary influencer for three quarters of consumer buying behaviour, according to a Deloitte media consumer survey. The majority of respondents ranked reviews from people within their social media circles in their top three influences for spending decisions, and digital word of mouth from friends and family is becoming increasingly prominent, with social media dominating the digital world.
For many personal trainers, understanding how to successfully market your expertise can seem tougher than a one hour HIIT workout, especially if you work for yourself, by yourself. But what many dedicated PTs and health and fitness business owners don’t realise is that there are cost-effective and time-efficient strategies to help encourage organic marketing through word of mouth, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. After all, PT and fitness businesses rely heavily on word of mouth to grow and thrive.
So, to help generate a buzz about you and your business, here are some tips to help keep you top of mind for your client base, and have them raving about you to their friends and family.
Connect with clients on social media
Social media can be a powerful way to get people talking about your business. It can help you keep your current clients engaged with you, and give you the opportunity to reach new ones. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram can help you build a relationship with your clients between training sessions, and keep them accountable to their fitness and meal plans throughout their week.
Social media gives you a platform to showcase the highlights of your business. Consider posting regular fitness and well-being tips, special offers or upcoming business milestones, to remind your clients why they trust you to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. This may also remind previous clients to re-sign with you. Encourage your client base to tag their friends and family in posts, sharing your invaluable tips and offers to encourage them to get off the couch. The content you post should be attention-grabbing to help maximise those invaluable likes, comments and shares from your network, in turn, hopefully, growing your customer base.
To further encourage social engagement among a wider audience, you might want to consider offering clients an incentive for sharing their fitness journey with their social media friends, followers and connections. For instance, if you’re a personal trainer, you could offer a ‘buy 5 sessions, get one free’ promotion for clients who share and tag three friends in a particular post. If you own a gym or studio, you could run a competition where clients share their three favourite workout tunes and tag your business, and the best submissions win a month’s free membership.
Create positive perceptions with a professional online presence
If a prospective client has heard about your services through word of mouth, it is highly likely they will want to jump online to check out your business for themselves. Therefore, a polished, professional and usable website, showcasing your services with consistent branding across digital channels, is crucial. A professional, comprehensive website is important because it can either enhance, or completely undo the great things the visitor has heard about you. Make sure your website domain name is directly relevant to your business, and consider aligning it to your email address and social media handles, to help create a consistent, impressive online presence.
To make it easier for customers to find your website, consider trying search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies by including keywords on your website. Keywords are descriptors that people would type into Google to try to find a business or service like yours. For instance, ‘personal trainer South Yarra’ or ‘Gym in Alexandria’. The more specific you can be, the better, as your website is likely to show higher in search results of those terms. Consider also adding a map to your website, so people can find you by location when they want to get fit close to home or work (which is almost always the case – proximity and convenience are paramount).
If you already have a website but it hasn’t been recently updated, now may be a great time to give it a refresh and ensure it looks up-to-date, complete with all your latest news and details. A bad website can be worse than having no website. When reviewing your site, you should also ensure it is optimised for mobile devices, as it is likely clients will be looking at your website from their mobile devices.
Basic features your website should include are contact details, location information, operating hours, a list of services and packages you offer, and perhaps pricing and photos of clients in action. Make sure this information is easy to locate on the website, under clear headings. The more information and clarity you can include on your website, the better, so prospective clients can feel confident about exactly what you offer, and informed enough to book an initial appointment with you. Online website builders, like GoDaddy Website Builder, have an online appointment scheduling feature which can make client bookings easier for both you and them.
Use your website to showcase the best of your services and include client testimonials, inspiring client transformation pictures and latest offers, as well as links to your social media accounts. This type of content on your website can prompt people to take the critical step of contacting you.
Team up with local businesses, in the flesh and online
Your client base is your most valuable asset, especially when you’re servicing a local area as a face-to-face personal trainer. Demonstrating that you are community-focused is a great way to foster your community with existing and new clients. Partnering with complementary local businesses is a great way to get more involved in the community around you, and organically foster work of mouth to maximise local clientele.
For instance, you could team up with a local cafe that can offer your clients 10% off their next post-workout brunch. In exchange, you could offer cafe customers a free workout when they sign up to ten sessions. Partnering up with other local businesses could also include joint advertising efforts and tags in each other’s social media posts, to help boost visibility in one another’s networks. Not only can this result in a boosted reputation, and increased brand resonance, but you may even build strong connections with like-minded small business owners in the community.
Marketing for your fitness business doesn’t have to be a grind. Implementing some simple strategies may help your PT business be top-of-mind when clients are discussing fitness options with their friends, families and local networks.
Tracy Hall is the marketing director of GoDaddy Australia and New Zealand. GoDaddy is the world’s largest technology provider dedicated to small businesses. For tech solutions to help make your life as a business owner easier, visit godaddy.com.au.