Absolutely. In fact, you better embrace the marketing side of training more than anything. You can be the most knowledgeable trainer, but if you don’t know how to make sure you are on most social media channels, and constantly providing really valuable information, you will become the trainer that says “the industry is unfair”. Nope. You just haven't’ adapted to the times.
You can’t expect to build a clientele long term, if no one knows you exist. No one is going to choose YOU over the thousands of trainers both online, and at every single gym in America, if you aren’t showing what makes you stand out.
Find a Niche
If you really want to create a successful career as a trainer, find a category within fitness to market yourself in. This will make it easier for potential clients to decide whether they should go to you vs the other guy. Think of it this way; when you break your foot, would you rather go to the foot specialist, or the general practitioner? The world’s full of specialities right now. This is also good because it’ll help narrow down what kind of blogs you should post, and information you want in your online presence.
For example, if you want to work exclusively with competitors, your Instagram can be a portfolio showing all the competitors you’ve gotten stage ready, and won competitions. If you want to work with skinny guys struggling to put on size, it can consist of before and after photos showing how many clients who have SPECIFICALLY struggled with adding size, you’ve helped. People want to know you’ve had repeated successes with THEIR issue.
Big Box Gyms
If you are at a big box gym, you better be working the floor, and the front desk. So many trainers are afraid of this. It’s not about trying to hammer the sale down right there, in their face. Use your floor time to just strike up a conversation with at least one person each time. Ask them how their day was, what they’re working on, or anything where you can grab information. That’s it. When you see them next time, follow up with that conversation if you learned something about them. Write down everything you learn about each person so you don’t forget it.
If you can, try and just book assessments with newer clients, to get them used to being in the gym. For a lot of people, they’re intimidated having to work out in front of so many people and don’t know what to do.
We live in a world of Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook, you name it. I’ve seen trainers absolutely killing it in each format. The trick is, knowing how to USE each format. Tiktok for instance, is a quick hit. Trainers post 30-60 second fat loss tips, at home exercises, fat loss recipes etc. As I mentioned earlier, Instagrammers use client testimonials, and longer explanations for common problems people have. Whatever format you use, provide FREE information. In order to have online clients, you need value. If you want value, you need to show that you have the answers to their problems.
This may be a bit tougher, especially starting out. But collaborations are huge. Just take a look at Mind Pump. A lot of their growth you could argue is attributed to the insane volume of free information they provide both in podcasts, blogs, and Youtube, but they also have countless guests on. They’ve also appeared on several other fitness podcasts to help expand their reach. Being able to appear on another reputable fitness influencers channel exposes you to more people. People you may not have gotten otherwise. It can really expedite the rate at which your clientele grows if done right.
At the end of the day you don’t HAVE to do these things. There’s many ways to skin a cat. I wanted to provide you with the best ways to maximize today’s fast paced industry with your skillset to help get you the results you want the quickest. It’s definitely not going to be easy or quick. It’s a grind just like any other job. It may take you 2-3 years just to hit a point where you can commit to it full time so keep that in mind. You may need to hold down a full time job either at a big box gym or whatever job you were doing before personal training until you hit that threshold. If you can follow the advice above, it will be worth the hustle.
One more thing to remember - it never ends. Marketing as a trainer is 24/7. Don’t ease off the gas just because you’re busy with clients. They come and go monthly. Make sure you are always a step ahead keeping that inbox full, because you will hit slower periods and busier periods.