If you are a personal trainer looking to grow your business then we have prepared a guide for you to help with your online marketing.
This guide is for you if
- You are looking to attract new customers to your personal training business or gym, or fitness studio. The guides set-out below will help with most types of local business but this is focused on developing personal training businesses.
- You need some help with your online planning and guides
- You are looking to attract new visitors to your website or social media pages
- You are thinking about setting up a website or online business and you would like to understand the costs and some of the basic dos, don’ts and guidelines.
This guide is not for you if:
- You need support opening a studio or help attracting customers locally without the use of the Internet. I.e. your new website or social media.
Where possible we have used best in practice guidelines and linked to external tools and companies that we have tried and tested and we consider helpful and appropriate.
Do you want a stream of new clients?
If your business is predominantly through recommendations and local marketing through the gym then the chances are you may not need to develop your online presence. Many personal trainers have more clients than they can deal with and may even have to pass business away. But if you are new, or looking to take on more clients in the fitness industry the chances are your potential customers will be out there on their phone and laptop before they are looking at the wall of personal trainers in the local gym.
Is online really for you?
Developing and finding new customers online can be a very effective way of growing your personal training business. Maybe you are looking to find more customers so you can move into personal training full time. You may be ready to come back to work after a long period of time off. You may be new to personal training and you do not have any clients yet. If you are just wanting to get online because everyone else is then that is great and there is no better time to start. It is easier than ever and cheaper than ever to have an amazing online presence.
But do remember, unless you are paying someone else to do everything for you it will take time to develop a successful online business. If you just want an online presence you can skip a lot of the guide and jump to the bits like setting up a domain name. We will try and make the costs clear against the elements. We have also added the costs into a table to you can easily see the sort of things you may need to spend money on.
Remember we are not affiliate with any of the service providers. We are just sharing our knowledge freely to help you maximise your potential client base and marketing opportunity.
If you have the time and a little money then getting online should be for you. If you are still using a hotmail or gmail address for your business you should also take note. It is worth developing your brand and worth getting found. And when you do get found, let your website look as good as the services you offer. If your website looks like it was developed 10 years ago with out of date photos and information maybe it is time for a spruce up.
Get more clients using the Internet
The Internet is the go-to for everything. I received a Yellow Pages the other day through the mail. Yes I do remember the big yellow book when it used to be impressive to tear one in half. I think now most people could work their way through this guide. The once goto place for everything local is long gone. Once you put something in print, it is typically out of date. Your new (potential) clients are looking for services online. Unless you are receiving all your clients through personal recommendations, and if you are this is amazing, you need to be online promoting your services. The chances are, even if you have been recommended to a personal trainer you will check them out online first for yourself. Finding new clients online is not really the way to think about it. You want your clients to find you. And that is what we will try and help you with. Making sure if someone is searching for your services they will find you. And not only find you online, but be impressed with your set-up and online appearance.
If you want to check out the costs of the various elements scroll down to the bottom where we have outlined them. Of course prices change all the time, so we have given guidelines that will hopefully help you understand what things cost.
Setting up a domain name
Buying a domain name is relatively cheap. And when you point a client to www.yourname.com rather than blogspot.com/yourname is looks much better. Also your.name@hotmail or @gmail or @freemail doesn’t look half as professional as firstname.lastname@example.org. Buying a domain name is not the only cost associated with the process. You either need to ‘host’ your website, or use a whitelabel platform like Squarespace or Shopify. They have their own heading below so just straight down if this is what you are looking to do. The other cost is the email provider. There are countless email services but we use Google Email and I have used them for years. It is a paid service and you get many extra features like Google Drive and Docs. All covered under the heading email.
So how do you go about registering a domain name?
It really is very easy and there are hundreds of places to register a domain name. I am now a fan of GoDaddy. You can register a name cheaper somewhere else for sure, but their services make it very easy to change DNS and other things you will probably need to do for hosting your email and website. Some providers like Squarespace often have a promotion for a free domain name but this is not something I have used so I am not sure how ‘locked in’ you get. Maybe it is fine but I can not comment.
Visit www.godaddy.com and type in your brand. You can go for .com or .co.uk or now thousands of other choices. There is now even a .training extension and for the sake of this post we have gone ahead and registered that domain name to show how easy it is.
What do all the extensions mean?
The bit after yourname is the domain extension. Like the .com or .co.uk part. They used to be locked to countries and organisations. So a charity may go for a .org or a .org.uk. Now there are hundreds of extensions and they do not really have any improvement in your search results. Google still likes businesses using their country domains. That is .co.uk in the UK. These tend to be cheaper to register than a .com. A .com may be great for your brand if you want to scale it internationally. The .training is great for your industry. But may cause some confusion when reading it over the phone to clients and your insurance company. But the extension doesn’t matter too much.
Most places that register domain names will try and sell you loads of extra domain name extensions when you register. They will try and sell you identity protection. But having a website means you will probably be publishing the data linked to your own name so it is probably not necessary. If you want to keep the costs down, stick with the one name and do not add any services to your purchase.
If you are planning on using a service like Google for email and a website platform like Squarespace for the hosting and design you can decline all other services. We have not used GoDaddy for any of the extra services so cannot comment on them.
Website Hosting and White Label Providers
Once you have registered your domain name great. Step one complete of making the switch to online. You now need to find somewhere to host your website. The chances are you have not ‘created your own website. If you have actually written code to publish a site this guide is probably far too simplified. Website hosting and the platform that actually gives you the ability to publish pages is essential and the easiest way to go about this is by signing up to a cloud based system like Squarespace.
Squarespace is so easy to use. You can pick a template and have your site designed and online in minutes (if you know what you are doing). But even a novice can build a web / mobile optimised website in a relatively short period of time.
For most personal trainers the very basic site that Squarespace offer will be more than enough. The personal package is currently $8 (USD) per month their discounted prices for buying a year and if you search online or even their site you can get a further 10% discount. Code GIMME10 found on this page https://www.squarespace.com/coupons/ gives you 10% off. So $86 for the year. About £60.
The personal account is limited to 20 pages, but within that quarter you can set-up a blog (we definitely recommend this) and you can publish unlimited pages. We will not go into the details of setting and developing your website. There is planty of how to guides and their online help. You will need to link your domain name to your squarespace account. If you have purchased a domain name in GoDaddy and want to link it to Squarespace they have a guide here: https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/206541747-Connecting-a-GoDaddy-domain-to-your-Squarespace-site
There are plenty of other systems that will ‘host’ your website. Shopify is a starter platform like Squarespace but more geared towards selling online. This is probably not required for your personal trainer / fitness business. On Squarespace you can also sell a limited amount of products. As an example, you could put a block of lessons with an ‘add to cart’ so clients can pay online.
You will hear this buzzword a lot and luckily it is not something you really need to worry about if you use a professional platform like Squarespace. Most platforms are optimised for mobile phones and all popular browser window sizes. Mobile friendly just means it looks great on a mobile phone. So the user doesn’t need to zoom in to read the text. And have to scroll to the right to finish paragraphs. Mobile optimised sites will reduce the images automatically so the website looks great on a phone and on a desktop computer.
If you are using a platform like Shopify or Squarespace to host your website check because sometimes they run an offer for a free year (or period of time) for a free Google account for your email.
You will need to link your GoDaddy registered domain name to receive email. A useful guide from Google can be found here https://support.google.com/a/answer/33353?hl=en
Your Google account is also an entire suite of useful tools. Like Spreadsheets and documents. Google account, Online programs.
Like your website your email needs to be ‘hosted’. More on hosting below if you need help to understand what that is.
SEO - What is it?
The dos and don’ts of online marketing in a nutshell.
There are lots of things you will hear about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). You should do this. You should do that. Mobile friendly this. Etc. If you use a platform like Squarespace then don’t worry. Your site will be mobile friendly. It has all the ingredients in place for an excellent SEO friendly website. This just leaves the content (see below for our ideas around suggested content).
SEO Page Titles, Naming URLs and Images
When you create pages for your website and inject them with all your hard efforts, uploading them for the world to see give your pages the very best chance of getting found. The main places to check are:
- Page Title
- Meta description.
- Page URL
- Page Heading
- Image Names and Alt Text
These areas are typically very easy to change and will make a massive difference to how you are found in the search engines.
This is the bit that shows up in Google when you search for something, typically along with the meta description and website address
Most systems will let you add in a custom meta description. This is a very short summary of your page. Make it clear to visitors what you page is about so they will click it if they consider it useful to them.
This is so important to get right, and ideally make it match what your page is about. Change spaces to hyphens. Remove characters like ? and ‘ so if your page is about activewear then the URL will be something like yousite.com/activewear or yourside.com/blog/2016/activewear
Shown above a typical result from Google. The first line is the title. The next line is the URL. The next line is the meta description.
The page heading is the main subject. In theory it will match the URL, Title. And in the source code (you don’t really need to worry about source code) it will have <h1> before it and </h1> after.
Image Names and Alt Text
Finally a very simple thing to pay attention to is renaming your photos. If you upload a photo of someone doing a pressup. Name the file pressup.jpg or similar and add a description behind the photo. This will help the search engine know what your photo is of.
Content is king
Google has said since day one content is king. This job has always been about getting the user to the content as quickly as possible. But remember content is not always written. YouTube will let you embed videos into your website. Photos. Charts and PDFs training plans. This is all content for your site. But definitely do not forget the written content. It takes time, but it will be worth it.
Check what potential clients search for and give them what they want
Identify Keywords that your clients will type in when they are looking for services like yours. For example ‘Personal Trainers Southend’.
What do people type into Google?
If you are looking to target customers for your personal training business then your focus keywords will be very different to a national or international business. You will need to focus your efforts on local and relevant searches. So what does that mean?
Please note the above link may not work without a paid account. But there are many similar services that will show you what users are typing into search engines. You can download the lists or just make a note of the searches to give you ideas for future pages.
You need to focus your efforts on content around any appropriate services and locations you genuinely offer.
- personal trainer basildon
- personal trainer billericay
- personal trainer brentwood
- personal trainer brentwood essex
- personal trainer chelmsford
- personal trainer colchester
- personal trainer courses essex
- personal trainer essex
Very popular searches are neighbouring towns. Also, local gyms. Training techniques and training systems.
If you are a PT in a particular town, create a page about that town with the title ‘personal trainer essex’. Talk about the gyms you work in. Services offered in those gyms. Remember people will be typing in the local gyms and searching for things like opening hours and equipment. As long as it is appropriate for your own website work on creating content that will answer the search visitors questions. If you answer the questions your website will start to appear in the results. Read the section on SEO Page Titles to help get this content right. But remember. Stay on topic. Only create pages that are really appropriate to your business. No point creating a page called TRX Training in Southend if you do not run TRX Training and you do not work in Southend.
Marketing your PT business Online
It won’t happen overnight. In fact it really will take 3 months+ to start seeing results. Organic website marketing (meaning showing up in the free results and not paying to rank) is a process that will definitely not happen overnight.
Elevate your fitness business using social media. When you develop content for your social media sites post it in your website blog. But in your blog include more text and information. How to guides, instructional information. Just because your client can see instruction online it doesn’t mean they will do their training at home and not sign-up to your PT services.
How to open your own facility … and ensure profitability from day one
If you are opening your own fitness studio then you really need to be all over the online marketing. If you want to double your sales in the next six months (or less) you need to tell the world about your studio. What makes it different and better. With online marketing photos are so important, so it is worth getting a photographer in to take the very best photos of your space. They will look great on your website and have a very positive impact.
Growing your PT business online
Free services like Google Analytics will help you understand where visitors are coming from and how many visitors your website is receiving. You can link to Google Analytics for free from Squarespace. It takes a few seconds and there are plenty of help guides out there. You can then start to understand where your visitors are coming from and what they are searching for. If all your website traffic is coming from overseas, great for online traffic, but not good for your local business. Sign up with Google Business (it is free) https://www.google.com/business/ and list your business and services.
Links to your website
One thing that most SEO people agree with is that along with content links to your website are important. This means, other websites linking into your website. But not links from anywhere. Links from appropriate and similar topic websites. So if you are a PT at a gym, ask them to link their website to your PT business services. Lin your social media accounts back to your website. If you run a sponsored half marathon, link the page back to your personal trainer website. Another way to get links is in directories, see below.
How to Get Listed in Fitness Directories
We have established the importance of links. These will all help boost and rank your website closer to the top of the number one spot. In the health and fitness industry, and many other industries, there are online directories where you can list your services. May are free. Sundried run and manage a directory of fitness professionals that is completely free to list your services or gym. Our fitness directory website is http://fitness.sundried.com/
There are other directories out there. If they charge a listing fee it is worth considering if you are better off paying a listing fee over some target Google Advertising using their Adwords ( https://www.google.co.uk/adwords )or Adwords Express ( https://www.google.co.uk/adwords/express ). Adwords Express is a quick and easy way to boost your business registered on Google Places (sign up at Google Business) (https://www.google.com/business/ )
Social Media Pages
Quick tips, ideas and way to boost your social media presence:
- Ask your clients to link to your Facebook / Instagram page
- Sign up on Google+ and Google Local
- Set-up on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook
- Link all accounts back to your website
Do not commit to more content than you have time to manage. As an idea, have a set time once a week where you post to your website blog and social media sites.
Other ways to increase your turnover
As a fitness professional there are plenty of ways to earn a secondary revenue. Sundried have a personal trainer partnership program as an example ( https://www.sundried.com/pages/personaltrainer ). This means your clients can be introduced to our activewear brand through yourself and you will receive commission on any sales. Sundried is set-up and run by personal trainers so we understand to turn your personal trainer business into a full time venture you need to be thinking outside the box. And not spending cash on things you do not need. There is no cost to be a partner with Sundried. Get in touch with Jess to find out more.
Getting a logo
If you do not have a logo, it is not essential for your services. But if you fancy one a really cost effective way to have one developed is a service list https://uk.fiverr.com. For $5 you can find designers all over the world who will help you develop something that looks really professional. Ask for an EPS version of your logo so you can use in the future for print.
Costs of getting your PT business online
£1.99 p.a. First Year (goes up after)
£1 p.a. (first year)
Website Platform / Hosting
Squarespace Personal Platform
£60 p.a. Using their discount code
Google Email Service
Free Services to Sign up to
- Google Webmasters - https://www.google.com/webmasters
- Google Analytics - https://www.google.co.uk/analytics/
- All the social network platforms
Helpful Online Marketing Terms
Hosted / Hosting
Hosting is required so you can actually find your website or email service in the ‘cloud’. Your website’s physical location. Typical hosting comes with an annual charge. Without hosting a domain name will not point to anything.
Once you register a domain name you will probably start to get email from various companies guaranteeing you placement in Google. No one can offer this service. Search Engine Optimisation will come if you follow the above steps. Your site being optimised is taken as given on most cloud based services. So you now need to let people know it is there. Link your site from various sources as described above and people will start to find it. Add your website to Google in your webmasters account and away you go.
A blog on your site is a useful space to post regular content to. Maybe training programs. Site news and updates. It is useful to keep fresh content and new content being added to your website to add new potential search terms and visitors, and therefore new customers.
About the author
Daniel Puddick is the founder of Sundried. A qualified personal trainer with +20 years of online and ecommerce. Daniel’s last eCommerce business had an annual online turnover of +£7million grown organically and grown online.
Now working with personal trainers to help grow their brands and develop partnerships with Sundried. Sundried is premium, ethical activewear. Visit www.sundried.com for more infomation.
If you have any questions or comments leave them below and we will answer them.
Personal Trainer Links
- Personal Trainer Directory
- Personal Trainer Partner Programme
- Personal Trainer Online Marketing Guide
If you have any questions or comments leave them below and we will answer them.