Training How-To's

14 Guerilla Marketing Tactics for Personal Trainers

Looking for ways to grow your business? Try some of these simple, creative ideas to help you increase word of mouth, market in your community, retain current clients and ultimately drive new prospects through your doors.

Leave a Note

Sticky notes are eye-catching and inexpensive. Use a stamper from your local office supply store and stamp a motivational phrase along with your website address on sticky notes. You can also use your printer or handwrite this information. Post these sticky notes above mailboxes in apartment complexes, on local business doors, office doors and parked cars; people will take notice.

Hang Door Handle Signs

Have some door hangers printed with your business information and a witty quote, maybe “Sorry We’re Open, No Excuses,” or a seasonal promotion. A door hanger in the shape of a kettle ball could be attention-getting. Use your creativity! Hang the signs on door handles in a nearby neighborhood or apartment complex. Door hangers are also perfect to take along with you to a fitness expo.

Print Calendars

Give a calendar to each of your clients, or leave a pile of them in a local store for people to take for free. Feature dates of any upcoming events, pictures of client testimonials and/or trainers’ biographies. The more these calendars are used, the more exposure your company will get, especially if they’re visually appealing.

Make a Top 10 List

Substitute your business card or other promotional content with a list of the top 10 reasons why potential clients should choose your training studio. Leave a handful of printed lists in local businesses, or send it in an email. Make these reasons true, humorous or motivational — but above all, memorable.

Ring the Wedding Bells

Check your local newspaper for wedding announcements, and handwrite personal invitations offering special personal training sessions to the brides-to-be and their bridal parties. Send invites to grooms as well. Also consider partnering with a local bridal shop to promote your services.

Fake a Publicity Stunt

Post caution tape outside your store front that might read “CAUTION! Trainers inside know TOO MUCH about FITNESS.” Or, in the days before an election, put out picket signs that read “Vote Fitness Together, running mate since…” Get creative, and get people’s attention.

Decorate with Window Decals

Print a custom window decal for your car and your trainers’ cars with the business logo/website and slogan. Window decals are great attention grabbers, especially at red lights and in stop-and-go traffic around town.

Create Walking Billboards

Get t-shirts made that’ll spark conversation. Give them away as prizes or pair them with membership deals. By wearing t-shirts promoting your business, you and others can turn yourselves into walking billboards. Let’s face it — everyone loves a new t-shirt, especially a free one.

Take Advantage of Waiting Rooms & Library Books

Slip your business cards into magazines every time you find yourself stuck in a waiting room. There’s a good chance that other people in the waiting room will see your card. You can stop by your local library and slip some of your cards into popular fitness publications, too. Since the people checking out those books and magazines are already interested in what you have to offer, it’s a great way to target potential new clients.

Recruit Hair Salons & Barber Shops

Have you ever thought about how much talking goes on inside hair salons? Want to be the business that local hair stylists can’t seem to stop raving about? Drop in and offer the employees a couple of free training sessions and leave your business information, or some promotional water bottles. They’ll be telling everyone who comes through the salon about you for weeks.

Hold a Contest

Organize a weight loss contest, or rally your clients to help break the franchise record for the most training sessions in 1 month. Both the competitive elements and the prizes of your contest can generate great word of mouth.

Send Holiday Greetings

Send handwritten holiday, birthday or thank-you cards to past and present clients. Doing so will keep your name in their thoughts, and your personal gesture will help you stand out from the other trainers in your community.

Sponsor an Event

Great for publicity, especially if it’s a good-sized event. Your business and your logo get mentioned in the promotional material leading up to and at the event. Attend the event to put a face to your name and interact with guests/potential clients.

Talk of the Town

Word of mouth is crucial! Your loyal clients, friends and family talk to other people about your business, but you might need to call in the reinforcements. Consider sending even people you aren’t that close with out to bars, events, restaurants and other busy places to talk up your business. Compensation might be necessary, but the small amount you pay them will generate a great deal of word of mouth.

Aside from getting noticeable results, a top reason people exercise outside of their homes is for social interaction in a fun yet focused environment. Your clients want to walk through the doors of your training studio not only for a great workout experience, but to feel a sense of belonging. Your company should strive to build a sense of community among clients and their trainers. Personal training studios can be intimidating for those who are new to the fitness scene, so no matter what marketing tactics you use, always look for ways to be personable.