It doesn’t matter if you're Michelle Bridges and your face is plastered on the side of a bus, or a personal trainer fresh from certification, every effective marketing campaign starts in the same place.
Initially joining the industry as a Les Mills group instructor, Bridges’ beginnings mirror that of many other trainers. However, having been named on the 2015 BRW Rich Women’s List, with a reported net earning of $53 million, it’s safe to say she’s succeeded at standing out from the fitness crowd.
Heading up a fitness empire that includes television appearances, her own dvds and cookbooks, an online body transformation program and branded fitness gear, Bridges’ role has certainly evolved. As well as being inspirational, what makes her story so relevant is that despite the scale of her business and its many moving parts, her approach is one that can, and should be, employed by any trainer. The universal element in any effective marketing message is that its customer driven, promoting the benefits it delivers to them, rather than the service itself. It doesn’t have to be difficult, here’s a quick lesson in marketing 101.
1 – Establish a strong brand
Regardless of the product or service she is promoting, Bridges’ core message is that she understands the barriers that prevent people from exercising, but is able to help anybody recommit to their health. Before you can start marketing yourself, you must first establish what it is you stand for and how that will manifest in the services you offer. CreatePT Wealth Founder Jason Urbanowicz says having a clear and defined brand comes from first understanding what problems you are going to solve for people. “You need to understand their fears, frustrations, desires and pain points, and then use your marketing efforts to explain how you will solve these problems and the benefits you can offer them.” He explains that the biggest mistake people make is that they base their marketing message on what everyone else is doing, not on their unique brand offering.
2 – Find your target audience
It’s impossible to be everything to everyone. If you’re marketing messages are going to have any cut through they need to be designed with a specific audience in mind. Once you’ve established the type of trainer and business you want to be, you need to determine the audience you want to cater for. Whether you make your decision based on their being a gap in the market or you have a personal desire to work with a certain demographic, you need to find your niche.
While Bridges’ has the manpower and resources to target multiple demographics, she definitely doesn’t market her programs to them all in the same way. Using her 12-week Body Transformation program (12WBT)as an example, Bridges has established multiple programs based on different goals, including Weight loss, Running, Strength, and Pregnancy and Post Baby.
Back when he was running his own gym, Urbanowicz saw first hand that marketing a single gym membership wasn’t an effective approach. After surveying their member base Urbanowicz and his team found they had three key demographics frequenting their gym. Women aged 18-35 whose main aim was to trim and tone, men and women aged 45-50 who wanted to feel better, have more energy and lead a healthier lifestyle and younger men aged 18-35 who wanted to build muscle fast. Based on this discovery Urbanowicz began promoting three key programs – Trim and Tone, Healthy Lifestyle and Muscle Accelerator, a simple yet effective approach. Urbanowicz adds that if at first you aren’t sure of the niche you want to target, start by communicating the three things your service will provide.
3 – Choose your words wisely
One of the most beneficial things that a trainer can do for their business is to educate themselves on the psychology of marketing. As Urbanowicz says, “You can be the most qualified trainer but if you can’t get your message across you’ll be the best kept secret.” The success of your campaigns isn’t dependant on the channel you choose to promote yourself; it comes from your ability to write marketing material that resonates with your audience. This means attention grabbing headlines and strong calls to action that will turn an individual’s intrigue into an interaction with your brand and business. With so many trainers competing for consumers’ attention you need to be able to prove you can deliver on what you promise. In Urbanowicz’s opinion one of the strongest and most effective way to do this is through testimonials, and it appears Bridges agrees. In every one of her enewsletters Bridges features a member story with a first-hand account of the results her clients have achieved. To further prove your credibility, Urbanowicz recommends offering white pages, blog posts, or instructional videos on your website, social media or via email.
4 – Measure your effectiveness
Building a fitness empire is no easy feat and will require you to constantly be on your toes, trialling new approaches. However you choose to market yourself it needs to be measurable and constantly assessed over time.