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Personal Trainer Marketing

How to Double, Triple Even Quadruple Your
Current Personal Trainer Marketing Results

and Dramatically Grow Your Business


If you are a fitness professional you are most likely doing one of two things:

Either you’re spending a lot more money on gaining new clients than you need to – money you don’t have to spend – money that could be used to grow your business even faster – or money that could go straight to the bottom line…


You’re not really doing much marketing at all.

Either way, you’re not realizing your personal training business’ full potential.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a better way.


Referrals: The Best Approach To Personal Trainer Marketing

Referral marketing is one of the most effective and lucrative strategies for creating steady streams of prospects and clients. Referrals are more valuable than typical prospects because:

  • Referral-generated clients are the most cost-efficient, profitable, and the most loyal source of new business you could ever dream of acquiring.
  • Referral-generated clients are pre-sold so they commit quicker and for larger programs, negotiate less, stay longer, and refer more business to you.
  • Referrals are generally better clients. People typically surround themselves with similar people – so if you have great clients referring prospects to you, you’ll typically end up with more great clients.
  • They save you time. If your “sales force” is feeding you a steady diet of new prospects, you can spend less time on lead generation.
  • You can easily set up referral systems that are fool-proof strategies for dramatically increasing your client base and your income!


The Philosophy of Referrals As Your ‘Flagship Approach To Personal Training Marketing’

Your referral systems leverage all of your personal trainer marketing tactics by getting others to be your “sales force.”

We are not suggesting that your business should move to being 100% referral-generated – although many fitness professionals’ businesses have. They have benefited spectacularly from referral marketing, and so should you.

Personal Trainer Marketing

What we are suggesting is that you find / create 3-5 easy to use referral systems that will each generate a 20%, 30%, 40% (or more) increase in clients and profits for you.

If you were to consistently use 3-5 referral systems, they could quite literally bring you profound and ongoing growth in both increased clients and profits!

So what are the keys to developing a referral driven business? And why do so few fitness professionals get the number and quality of referrals they could?

Read on and you’ll not only have the answers but you’ll know exactly how to turn your client base and network into a highly successful sales force for you and your business.


Personal Trainer Marketing 101: Why Should People Refer To You?

There are 5 letters that drive most everyone’s actions:


In order to get the maximum number and quality of referrals, you need to communicate to your clients and your network with these 5 letters in mind. What do they stand for?


This means that when you ask your clients or network to give you referrals, they are silently asking “What’s In It For Me?” You need to start communicating to your clients and network in a way that makes it plainly obvious, to them, exactly how they will benefit by giving you referrals.

Your clients and network are silently asking:

“How will I benefit by referring people to you?”

No benefit to them = No referral for you.

Most fitness professionals have unsuccessful approaches to generating referrals because they ignore WIIFM. In other words, they don’t give their clients or network a compelling enough, self-serving set of reasons, to give referrals.

So, you need to specifically tell people what THEY will get out of helping YOU.

So prior to asking for referrals, decide how you to ensure the referrer will benefit from sending business your way.

And it doesn’t need to cost you anything.


The First 3 Answers to WIIFM

No matter what, you should give such extraordinary service that your clients feel indebted to you and want the satisfaction of helping you grow your training business.

Extraordinary service also means that new clients will be incredibly appreciative to their friends for introducing them to you. If your current clients can see how much their friends will be thankful for being referred to you, then they’ll give you more a referrals.


Two Additional Reasons Why Your Clients Will Benefit When They Refer People To You:

  1. You’ll have more time available to focus on your clients and on improving your service because you won’t have to spend as much time doing other types of personal trainer marketing.
  2. You won’t have to spend as much money on other forms of fitness marketing. This means that you can either pass the savings onto your clients or offer an even higher level of service.

Be honest with your clients. Tell them that by referring people to you, they’ll be helping you save marketing dollars and time on personal trainer marketing efforts. Then tell them what this means for them. Say “This means that I’ll be able to keep your rates from going up and I’ll be able to put my entire focus on continually getting you your desired results instead of dividing my attention between your success and my need to get more clients.”

building a business

Using Incentives To Market Your Training Business…

You can also offer incentives for referrals. This is simply offering something off value, like cash, a gift card or some other gift in exchange for referrals.

You make it so irresistible for them that they feel a compulsion to refer people to you.

Between giving your clients a quality of service that they’d want those close to them to benefit from and by giving them incentives, you’ve created a culture that ensures referrals.

In the example fitness referral systems you’ll notice that they all have one thing in common; they all provide the referrer with a self-serving benefit for referring.


Personal Trainer Marketing Secret: The Basis For All Referrals

Just as all personal trainer marketing is based on WIIFM, all successful fitness referral systems have a foundation as well. That foundation is a simple 3 step progression:

  1. Earn
  2. Ask
  3. Reward

The first step in this progression is to Earn the referral.

One thing is for certain…

Satisfied Clients Do Not Refer!

It’s not enough to have satisfied clients. You need to go way beyond that. To receive a flood of referrals you must have…

Raving Fans!

This all gets back to providing extraordinary service. You need to earn your referrals. You can’t expect your clients to refer their friends, co-workers and family members to you if you don’t over-deliver on what they’ve purchased from you.

It just won’t happen.

In fact, the most compelling fitness referral system will not persuade unhappy clients to market your personal training business for you. Nobody wants to look bad among their peers.

Your first step is to provide an extraordinary experience. There is nothing more powerful when it comes to personal trainer marketing. A question that Walt Disney used to ask himself all the time, which helped make Disneyland so successful, was…

How Can We Do What We Do So Well, That Our Customers Can’t Help But Tell Their Friends About Us?”

You want to make the process of doing business with you so extraordinary that clients can’t help but tell their friends.

I’m not just talking about training. I’m talking about the interaction… the human interaction clients have with you and your staff. I’m talking about making the act of doing business itself so extraordinary that it leaves a mark on your client.

It all gets back to the Golden Rule – Treat others as you want to be treated.

Sounds simple, but do you or your staff do it?

How would you treat your clients if you imagined they were family? Would you treat your clients with a different level of respect?

Always approach every transaction in your business as an act of giving… not receiving. Extend yourself over and beyond the client’s expectation levels. This is critical. Extend just enough so your client says “Wow… I wish every business treated me that!”

The 2nd Step Is To Ask For Referrals.

I know this sounds simplistic, and it is. But it’s amazing how many fitness professionals simply do not ask for referrals.

Maybe they’re uncomfortable asking for help.

Maybe they’re embarrassed.

Maybe they feel as if they don’t deserve them.

If you’re not asking for referrals on a consistent basis, you’re really missing out.

Think about how much you improve the quality of your clients’ lives. You improve their health, their self-esteem, their relationships, their energy levels not to mention the physical changes that you help them achieve.

You Deserve Referrals!

When is the best time to ask for referrals? The ultimate time to ask for a referral is at the time when your client gives you positive feedback about your business or when they’ve completed a Transformation Contest or gone through a follow up assessment and gotten great results.

At this stage, if you have done a great job (not a good one), it’s the perfect time to ask for referrals.

How do you ask for referrals? Well, there are tons of ways. Here’s a simple example of a way you could ask a client that just thanked you for your help.

That’s when you say…

“Thanks for your kind words. Listen… I want more clients like you. You’re motivated, have a great attitude and you’re really a perfect example of why we do what we do here at Fitness Revolution.

If you have any friends, family or co-workers that would enjoy making the same type of progress that you have and are anything like you, I’d love to give them a Complimentary 21 Day Jump Start Program.

Can you see how simple this is? At this stage, you can either ask for the referee’s name and contact information and you can follow up with them or you can give the client a gift card or gift certificate to give them.

Also, you’ll want to jog their memory. In the initial stages of the script you could say…

“When you’re at home, at work or church, you may think of someone you know that might be a good fit for what we offer. When you do please hand them this gift card.”

And you’d go into the rest of the script. You need to jog your client’s memory, and give them a focus. You can’t just say, ‘give this to people who would like to lose weight’. That’s way too broad. You need to say, “who do you know that is like you and would be a great fit like you are for what we offer?’

Or, you can approach it from this angle:

Or you can send a letter or email. The following is a simple example:

Dear Ms. Jones,

I’m writing to you today to let you know about a new service we’re offering as a courtesy to our clients. For quite a while, our clients have been asking us to assist friends, acquaintances and family members who felt they could benefit from the services that we provide.

We’ve decided that for the next 3 months we’re going to offer 3 21 Day Jump Start Programs (one each month), where loyal clients like yourself can refer people they know who would like to improve their health and fitness. This would at absolutely no cost to your valued friends and family members.

We will be offering this same Jump Start Program to the general public at a cost of $79. However, if somebody close to you would like to experience the same dramatic success that you’ve achieved; we will allow them to participate for free.

During these 21 Day Jump Start Programs we will teach participants exactly how they can lose unwanted weight, gain more energy and improve their health through a 21 day supportive meal plan and 3 weekly group training sessions each week for 3 weeks.

So for the next three months, the first Saturday of each month we will launch this program at a cost of $79. But if you know of anyone, invite them as you’re special guest and they can participate free of charge.

Simply, have them contact me directly at (123) 555-1234 or at and mention your name.


Your Name

P.S. Remember, this special offer is only for your friends, family members and co-workers.

The most important factor in this letter is the offer. What you offer your client, and/or their friend is what is going to determine the amount of referrals you receive (outside of your WOW service, of course). So you’ll want to experiment and test many, many referral concepts.

The third step is to Reward referrals.

Let me ask you: how do you feel when you do a favor for a friend… you’ve extended yourself… and… you DON’T receive a thank you in return?

You feel resentful don’t you? Sort of like you wasted your time and regret putting yourself out.

Isn’t that true?

Well, the same applies with referrals. If any of your clients give you a referral…

You MUST Reward Them!

Remember, anything you reinforce you get more of. When you reward the behavior of referrals… you get more in turn!

And how do you reward referrals?

Oh, I don’t know… can you pick up a phone and say…

Thank You?

Can you drop a letter in the mail and say you appreciate their assistance and that you’ll do your best to help their friend out with their problem? Can you send a gift?

Could you give them a $50 or $100 bill in the front of a class? (A great idea from FR Franchisee Vaughn Bethell.)

Personal Trainer Marketing 14

Gifts, Cash and Recognition are my suggestions – but what you give is a decision for you. Remember, you need to first GIVE… in order to RECEIVE.

Above all though…

Remember that you’re rewarding the behavior of referring – not just the act of the referred prospect purchasing your services. Reward the behavior if you want your client to repeat it.

So you could say ‘Thank You’ and give a small gift…a $10 Gift Card or a T-Shirt for the act of referring. Then, when the referred prospect become a client, give a bigger gift – like the $100 or a $50 Gift Card.


Make It Easy For People To Help You With Your Personal Trainer Marketing Efforts

Many times when you ask people for referrals, you will receive a quick response such as “I don’t know anybody who would be a good fit right now.”

Most of the time this isn’t because your client wants to blow you off or doesn’t think you’re worthy of referring. They honestly may not think of anyone when you ask such a generalized question.

To help them remember you should quickly educate them. Give them reasons why someone would want to do business with you.

Here are two quick methods to educate them:

First: give them your “elevator pitch” – a short description of your business and what makes you unique, why someone would need to work with you, and a profile of your “ideal client.”

Second: Remind them of people who may fit in the following categories:

  • Employees and Colleagues
  • Family, Friends, and Neighbors
  • Others they may do business with
  • Members of Associations, Churches, and Special Interest Groups

Third: Tie it back to them.

By telling them you want more clients like them, they will immediately think of people they feel they have things in common with.


A Secret Weapon For Marketing Your Personal Training Business

Most fitness pros haven’t given much thought about who they are, what they are, and why people should choose them over every other solution.

They haven’t ever thought about what their message is to the marketplace. They have no clear and concise answer to the question, “Why should I work with you instead of anyone else out there that promises me to help me reach my fitness goals?”

Everyone basically says the same stuff.

Dan Kennedy calls this “marketing incest”. Businesses in a particular industry start saying the same things the same way as other businesses in that industry. They have the mistaken belief that it must be working if other businesses in that industry are doing it.

Doing things the exact same way means that the only way a prospect can choose is based on lowest price. And that’s a competition that you don’t want to win.

So the questions you need to ask yourself is:

Why would people choose you over every other solution available to them?

What makes you unique and buzzworthy?

You must give prospective clients a reason to call you that is different than everybody else out there. You need to develop a marketing message that sets you apart from all other fitness providers and states clearly and concisely to your prospective clients why they should choose you.

If you don’t have answers to those two questions you’re making it really tough for your clients and your network to talk about you.

Ask your clients – what makes you different? Why do they love what you offer? What has been unique about their experience with you versus the other fitness solutions they’ve tried?

The more you educate your client base on the benefits they are getting from you, that they couldn’t get from anyone else, the more you’ll be building deep rapport and a solid foundation for referrals.


How To Attract The Type Of Clients You Want…

When it comes to effective personal trainer marketing it can’t be entirely about quantity. The quantity of new prospects is important but just as important is the quality. You want to attract people who are a good fit for the culture of your business. Prospects who are like the clients you already enjoy training.

So, how do you attract ideal clients?

Well, it’s actually very simple. The first step is to…

1. Determine Exactly Who Your IDEAL Client Is.

You can’t attract ideal clients to your personal training business if you don’t determine who they are, so who’s your ideal client? What characteristics do they have?

2. Be Honest – Are You The Best Solution For Your Ideal Client?

Really think about it and don’t kid yourself. So what’s the answer?

If your business is exactly what your ideal clients are looking for then you’re in good shape.

But, if your ideal client can’t immediately see that you’re their best solution…why not?

How can you become that ‘best solution?’

So, if your business is not quite there yet in terms of being the best solution – that’s ok…just work towards getting there.


Rate Your Clients

Since most people surround themselves with people who are similar, do you necessarily want to ask your worst clients to refer you their friends? Unless you are really struggling for business, that would be a bad plan. You’d be likely to get more clients like them … terrible clients!

So rate your clients on a scale of 1-3 with the “one’s” being your favorite clients…those clients that you can’t wait to walk through the door.

The “two’s” are your average client. They show up, do what you ask of them for the most part and are a solid part of your business.

The “three’s” are those clients that you want to fire. They complain, show up late and cause 90% of all your headaches.

Now – focus most of your referral efforts on getting your “One’s” to refer to you. Run special referral promotions specifically for them.

Does that mean you don’t want your “Two’s” to refer. No…you can put effort into getting them to refer as well. But really try to leverage your best clients and eventually your business will be virtually all “One’s.”


The Lifetime Value Of A Client: Your Personal Training Marketing Edge

If you know the “Lifetime Value” of your clients, you can dramatically improve your fitness business fast. It’s the “Referral Edge” that will allow you to know exactly what you can afford to spend to bring in a new client.

If you are unfamiliar with this, let me explain what the Lifetime Value of a Client is…

The Lifetime Value Of A Client Is The
Average Monthly Gross Total Of Revenue Per Client,
Multiplied By The Number Of Months They Remain
Your Client.

For example: Your average client spends $200 per month with you between training and any retail offerings you have. Let’s say on average your clients stay with you for an average of 1 year before moving on.

This makes your average client worth $2400 in gross revenues to your business.

Even if you just approximate the numbers, you’ll start to get an idea of what every client is really worth to your personal training business.

Why is it so important to know this? Well, knowing the Lifetime Value of your Clients gives you a HUGE “Referral Edge”. Armed with this information, you will now be able to know what you can spend to acquire new clients.


The Truth About Selling Personal Training: You Buy Your Clients

Personal trainer marketing, and therefore referral systems (the best approach to personal trainer marketing), is simply the process of buying new clients.

So, let me explain what I mean by buying new clients …

Let’s say you launch a direct mail campaign and send a 3 letter sequence to prospects. It costs you $600 to create and mail the sequence to 400 prospects.

You get 6 new clients.

So, because you invested $600 to get 6 new clients, you paid $100 to ‘buy’ each client.

This is the way I want you to think: Whenever you do marketing of any kind, you are doing nothing more than investing money to buy new clients.

And before you ever do any marketing, you need to decide how much you’re willing to invest for each new client. That’s where your Average Lifetime Value of a Client is so valuable.  You can be sure that the fitness marketing investment you make is profitable. Let me walk you through a process to help you decide how much you can invest to buy a new client.

If you have a average lifetime client value of $2000 – you need to recognize that this is a gross number. You need to identify what your costs are to service these clients. So you should calculate all of the costs incurred to provide the services, rent space, cover expenses, etc.

This will leave you with a net number. For the ease of math, let’s say that the Net Lifetime Value of Each Client is $1000.

If you’re spending the $100 per client I alluded to before, then you’re getting a true 10 to 1 return on your investment.

Now you just have to decide what an acceptable return on your investment is based on your cash flow and the fact that the personal trainer marketing cost is “up front” while the LCV is spread out over the duration of the time you do business with each client. I

If you have good cash flow and a high volume of existing clients, the percentage that you can spend will likely be higher. If your cash flow is poor or you have few clients, then you probably can afford less.


Fitness Referral Systems Are One Of The Safest Ways To Invest Your Marketing Dollar

Here’s another reason why referrals are your best prospects – with referral marketing you can decide exactly how much you are going to spend to acquire a client. You will pay a small fee for all referred prospects – perhaps a thank you card or a small token of your appreciation – but you only pay “full price” when you get a new client.

Personal Trainer Marketing 17

This is different than in typical fitness marketing because if you use the example we worked with before, the quality of your letter, the demographics of your list and your ability to close prospects will all factor in to whether the $600 you spent produced 1 client, 6 clients or 10 clients.

You are spending $600 no matter what. With referrals, aside from the nominal cost of thank you cards or whatever you deem appropriate, the only way you spend $600 is for 6 (or whatever number your LCV allows) new clients.


It’s Time To Do Some Calculations …

So you need to decide how much, in dollar terms, is the maximum you’re willing to invest to acquire a new client. Calculate the gross LCV of your average client and then the net LCV. Then assess the current status of you cash flow and existing client base. Here is a general guideline to start with:

If you have a very healthy personal training business, you can easily spend 20% of net LCV to acquire a new client.

If you have a moderately health personal training business, you can spend 10-20% of net LCV to acquire a new client.

If your training business is relatively new or has poor cash flow, spend 5-10% of net LCV to acquire a new client.

Remember, these are only guidelines. If you choose to spend less, that is perfectly fine. Consider these the maximum amounts that you’re willing to invest.

One final thing before we move on to example referral systems…

You need to allow enough time to test each referral system and the amount that you’re willing to invest. Like anything else in business, to decide whether or not it’s something to keep, you must test. I would pilot each system or incentive 4-8 weeks to get significant information on whether or not it’s worth keeping as part of your personal training business.


Example Personal Trainer Marketing Systems

Here are 19 separate marketing strategies that you can use, model or manipulate into your own personalized approach for getting a steady stream of pre-qualified, high-quality prospects. Obviously, you don’t need all of these systems, so pick 2-5 that you think will be a good fit for you and your business and test them for 4-8 weeks.

If you’re happy with the results, continue on – constantly seeking ways to incrementally improve the systems that you’ve chosen.  Here are 19 proven, effective referral strategies for you to choose from:

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #1: Make it a Condition of Doing Business

Description: Make it a mandatory part of being your client. I know – it sounds easier said than done – but hear me out. This is especially effective if you have an in-demand service. State from the onset, as a condition of working with you, clients each need to refer 2 friends. Obviously, you have to be tactful about it. Here’s an example of what you could say:

“If I do everything I’ve promised and you lose those 20 unwanted pounds, will you provide me with 2 referrals of friends, co-workers or family members that could use the same benefits?”

So, at the very beginning clients know what they’re in for.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #2: Your Community’s Best Businesses

Personal Trainer Marketing

Description: What you do is compile a list of other types of businesses that also serve your ideal client. After you’ve developed a comprehensive list of these types businesses, search through your database of clients, friends and contacts for people that operate businesses in these categories.

If there are business categories that you have no contact, look for a mutual friend that can serve as a liaison to a successful professional in that category. Now rank the professionals in each category as to which you’d prefer to affiliate yourself and your business with most.

Send the “Tier 1” professionals a letter suggesting that you’d like to invite them to be a member of “Your Community’s Best Businesses” and receive referrals from several of the other premier professionals in the community. Let them know that your goal is to create a network of the best local professionals in hopes of best serving each member’s customers or clients and providing high quality referrals for the members.

This group would meet once a month and you would serve as the host / leader (another way of subtly enhancing your perception among group members.) Each member would be able to present for 10-15 minutes as a means of educating the group about their business and how it would be of benefit to their customers / clients. Each member can make special offers to customers / clients of fellow group members, do endorsed mailings, etc. To increase the perception of this group, you could launch a website (, do a newsletter or provide testimonials of happy cross-referred customers.

This involves a little more work than most of the other referral systems, but done well, it could easily provide you with more business than you could ever handle.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #3: Referral Survey

Description: The strategy is simple:

Once you’ve delivered great experiences, wonderful service and outstanding results… you are laying the groundwork for many referrals.

Here is a simple way you can capitalize on the goodwill you’ve created with your client…The Referral Survey.

The client will be asked to complete a survey. People love to provide their opinions. This survey is unique because in addition to providing valuable business feedback, it also stimulates referrals on the spot.

How it works:

In most businesses there is a point in the relationship, where the client reaches peak satisfaction. Let’s say this is after an assessment in which the client lost 3% bodyfat, or on the graduation of a 12 week program. This moment will vary client by client. I’m sure you know when clients are most satisfied. You want to ask the client to complete the Referral Survey at the conclusion of that visit.

(I hope I don’t need to point out, you should never call this a “referral survey”)

Why the referral survey works so well:

  • As the client completes the survey, they “sells themselves” on their good experience.
  • Each question validates their positive experience.
  • By the time they reach the referral question, they are psychologically very pleased with their experience, and happy to give a referral.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #4: Cash Reward

Description: Remember, you buy your clients – so this is a great strategy because many people respond to cash over gifts.

Simply tell your clients that you’d prefer to pay them for sending you new business instead of the newspaper or radio. You recognize that there is a cost associated in acquiring new clients and you’d prefer to get more clients like the one’s you currently work with – so who better to reward that those very clients as they undoubtedly surround themselves with people similar to them.

Decide what is a reasonable amount to offer based on LCV and your current cash flow and let your clients know. You can also offer to donate that amount to their favorite charity if they do not want the cash.

To make this more powerful, award the cash at the end of a session in front of other clients to reinforce the referral culture.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #5: Standardized Gift

Personal Trainer Marketing

Description: You could give away “The Ultimate Wellness Package” to each client who refers a friend. The package might contain an hour massage, a month’s supply of your preferred supplements and a foam roller.

The advantage here is that the perceived value retail products is much higher than your wholesale cost and you could barter for the massage.

To start with though, keep it simple and remember to test each gift you offer to see how attractive it is to your clients.

“For everyone you refer to us, we’ll give you your own “Ultimate Wellness Package” that includes…”

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #6: “Thank You” Gift Cards

Description: After a meaningful moment during a client’s time with you – perhaps after they’ve met a goal or finished a 12 week program – hand them a gift certificate and tell them: “Here’s a gift card that you can give to a friend, co-worker or family member that would like to enjoy the same results that you have. It entitles them to get $100 off of our (name of program) program as a gift from you. And as a way of saying thank you for being such a great client I want to give $100 off of your next program as well.”

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #7: “Thank You” Postcards

Description: Similar to the Thank You Gift Cards – after a meaningful moment during a client’s time with you – perhaps after they’ve met a goal or finished a 12 week program – hand them 2-3 pre-printed and stamped postcards that detail a special offer and tell them: “Here’s are 3 postcards that you can address to people important to you that you’d like to see benefit from changes similar to the one’s you’ve made.  It entitles them to get $100 off of our (name of program) program as a gift from you. Simply address each postcard to someone important to you and sign them and I’ll be happy to put them in the mail. And as a way of saying thank you for being such a great client I want to give $100 off of your next program as well.”

Both of these “thank you” strategies can be very powerful, but you need to make sure that your current client gets the credit for the gifts they give to their friends. If they don’t get something out of giving the gift to their friend they’re highly unlikely to do so. So, one way to create an incentive for your clients to pass on the gift voucher to their friends is to include a statement on the certificate of postcard that says: a special gift for you from (your current client’s name)”.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #8: Testimonials


Description: Testimonials are one of the most valuable marketing tools you can have – yet most fitness professionals don’t take full advantage of them.

When you help a client get results, get a testimonial. While this isn’t a direct referral, because most of your clients live in the same communities, shop in the same stores and often know one another – this can be an indirect referral as the fact that someone a prospect knows or can relate to has worked with you and received results helps the prospect feel comfortable doing the same.

You can also go a step further and do a direct mail to the client’s neighborhood using the testimonial as the foundation for the letter. Don’t forget to get before and after photos if at all possible.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #9: Send a Gift To Work

Description: This is a great method to use, especially if your client has just graduated from a program you offer or achieved a specific goal. Send a big bouquet of balloons to your client’s work congratulating them on their success. The balloons don’t need to have any logo or writing on them… they just need to have a card congratulating the client on their success.

What will happen is that everyone at the client’s place of work will ask who the balloons are from. The client will tell everyone about you and how much you’ve helped them. The balloons act as a talking point about how happy the client is with their trainer (your business).

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #10: Viral Newsletter or Special Report

Description: Through social media you can use viral marketing to get your clients to forward your online newsletter or free special report to their friends, family members and co-workers. This is an easy way to get clients who may be less assertive to still promote you to their network in a non-invasive fashion.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #11: Viral Recognition

Personal Trainer Marketing

Description: Very much like the previous system, you can use social media to get in front of your clients’ networks. Take pictures (with permission) during sessions and post them to Facebook. Tag the clients and compliment them on their efforts. Their friends will see the post and learn more about what you offer.

This also works when you name your Client of The Month or Camper of the Week or any other recognition you might give to your clients.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #12: Run a Contest

Description: You could run a contest where everyone who refers a prospect in for some sort of trial offer goes into a drawing to win a prize or prizes.

Just let your clients know that they can gain an entry for every referral they send to you.

If you know your conversion rates and your anticipated LCV of the new clients – you can be pretty aggressive in investing the prizes to get clients more excited.

And because each person referring gets a chance to win – no one gets discouraged from participating if one client refers 3 people the first day.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #13: “Bring a Friend” Sessions

Description: If you run any group based training offerings, this is the most simple referral system you can put in place. Just announce a “Bring A Friend Day” in which all of your clients can bring a guest free of charge to participate in a workout.

Announce the even about a week prior to the actual day and continue to promote it leading up to the event. You can combine this with another referral system and offer incentives for any guest that becomes a client. Have a way to capture the contact information of each guest and continue to market to them via a newsletter or promotional material.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #14: “Bring a Friend” Sessions

Description: If you run any group based training offerings, this is the most simple referral system you can put in place. Just announce a “Bring A Friend Day” in which all of your clients can bring a guest free of charge to participate in a workout.

Announce the even about a week prior to the actual day and continue to promote it leading up to the event. You can combine this with another referral system and offer incentives for any guest that becomes a client. Have a way to capture the contact information of each guest and continue to market to them via a newsletter or promotional material.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #15: Run a Charity Bootcamp

One of my favorite promos, find a client that has a strong tie to a charity and tell them you’d like to run a charity camp on a Saturday with all proceeds going to that charity. Clients just bring friends and you’ll donate $5-10 for each guest they bring.

This is powerful for a few reasons:

  • You’re supporting something important to a camper – not just your own personal cause. This is great for strengthening your community.
  • The camper will likely become a big help in promoting this event.
  • Fellow campers will want to support the camper’s cause – maybe even more than if it was your preferred charity since they pay you to participate.
  • All the campers / clients need to do is bring friends – you’re making the financial contribution.
  • It’s just a great thing to do 😉

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #16: Seminars

Description: Put together a seminar that would have drawing power for your current clients. If it’s around the holidays – you might do something like “Beat The Holiday Bulge: 7 Simple Strategies to Avoid Gaining Fat From Thanksgiving ’till Christmas.” Promote it as a paid event, but free to your client base and allow your clients to invite their friends as VIP guests (free).

Make the event seem exclusive. Put a limit on the number of friends they can invite. Often, people will bring the maximum number of friends just because there’s a limit.

If you like, you can even make bringing a friend a condition of coming to the seminar. Remember, you make the rules.

The key to this whole strategy is to…

Create enough buzz about the event that your clients would be crazy not to invite someone they cared about!

Put together great presentation. Be incredibly sociable. Make your clients and their guests feel special. (This is great for retention as well.) Also, and most importantly, get your clients to introduce you to their friends.

Don’t try to sell your services or products up front. (Certainly, don’t hard sell).

When you’re not giving your presentation spend a lot of time listening to your clients and their guests. Find out about them. This is a great way to build rapport. And building rapport is incredibly important because…

When people like you, they’ll be more likely to business with you.

So your goal is to have a good time, be an incredible host, and be extremely likeable.

One of the most important things to make your special events work really well is you want to get the contact details of all your clients’ friends.

Send Everyone a “Thank You” Note For Coming

A few days after the event is over, mail all the new prospects a thank you for coming note, preferably with a handwritten note accompanying a reminder of the invitation to join a free Jump Start Program or a special offer.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #17: Free Trials

Description: The key here is to give you the opportunity to build value in what you have to offer. Give your current clients cards, vouchers or gift certificate that allow them to give a gift of a free trial of your service as a gift. You client feels great because they can give a gift to someone close to them, the prospective client is happy because they get to test your services with no risk and you get the chance to build value in what you offer.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #18: Gift Cards

Description: Give your clients a gift card that they can give to their friends, family members or co-workers. The card entitles the holder to $100 off any of any of your programs.

The card should look like a gift card someone would buy, so it needs to be high quality. These tools can be used any number of ways and are incredibly powerful.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #19: Just Ask

Description: If you continually over-deliver on your clients’ expectations, then often you don’t need to give incentives to receive stacks of high quality referrals.

The key is OVER-DELIVERING on a CONSISTENT basis. You don’t want “satisfied” clients. You want “Raving Fans.” And the key is to keep doing more, being more amazing to them, and continually giving them more than they expect.

When you create “Raving Fans”, it’s very easy to simply say to them something like:

“We really strive to give you the best service possible and we hope that you feel that we exceed your expectations in every way.

If you do feel this way, you’re pleased with the incredible progress that you’ve made and you know someone who would really benefit from those same benefits, would you be kind enough to tell them about us.

You may have a friend, a coworker, or a family member who is looking for someone like us. And by telling them about us and what we offer, and how we’ve truly delivered for you, that means that we can focus our time and energy on continually giving and doing more for you and our other important clients instead of marketing and advertising.

So, if you have anyone close to you who would really benefit from what we offer, please let them know about how we can help them.”

When you ask, expect to get what you ask for. Know that you give each client much more value, greater benefits and deliver results more successfully that any other fitness provider, so you’re doing your client a service by offering to take care of their friends too.

Another thing to keep in mind is to ask your clients for referrals when they’re feeling their best about doing business with you – perhaps at an assessment where they met certain goals. Or it may be right after you’ve gone the extra mile for them … and they know and appreciate it.

If you over-deliver and make your clients “Raving Fans” you’ll get a lot of referrals without having to spend any money up front. My suggestion is to reward these referrals and reinforce that behavior rather than take it for granted.

And remember … if you don’t ask, you can’t receive.

Personal Training Marketing Strategy #20: Referral Stimulation Letter

Description: Here’s an example letter:

“I Need Your Help!”

Dear Friend,

I think you can help me with a problem I have. I don’t know if you realize it or not, but marketing for new clients can be pretty expensive. And after I spend all that money on marketing, I’m still not guaranteed to get one single new client. “Word of Mouth” marketing is still the best type of marketing. And frankly, I’d rather reward you for sending me new clients than spend all my money on radio or newspaper. Many happy clients have mentioned that their friends, acquaintances, and family members have expressed an interest in improving their health and fitness. With this in mind, I came up with my new…

Referral Reward Program!

Here’s how it works:

For every referral that you send me who tries any of our Free Jump Start Program, you’ll receive a $20 American Express Gift Card.

If they become a client, you’ll receive $100 in cash.

I know that I don’t have to offer rewards for referring friends, but I think it’s important to show that I value you as a client and appreciate your referrals.

When you think about people that you might refer, keep these ideas in mind:

  • People you work with.
  • Friends listed in your cell phone.
  • Neighbors.
  • People you know from your hobbies and other interest.
  • Family members.
  • People you do business with.
  • People who attend your church

Hopefully, that will jog your memory a little. If you just spend a few minutes thinking about it, I’m sure you’ll come up with quite a few people you know who would like to experience all the benefits that you’ve experienced from working with us.

I’ve included a Referral Forms to help you jot down the people you think of who might be interested in finding out more about my services.

Thanks for your help!



You may have to adapt this letter to fit you and your business – but you get the picture.


Personal Training Marketing Strategy #21: Physician Referrals

Description: This professional courtesy is designed to create a line of communication between the doctor and the fitness professional and as a bonus, it positions the fitness professional as a credible resource for the doctor when he / she is making recommendations to their patients. The report can include the following:

  • Weight
  • Bodyfat Percentage
  • LBM / Fat Mass
  • Resting Heart Rate
  • Blood Pressure
  • Outcome of any Movement Assessment or Screen

You can add other assessments or statistics based on what your assessment process consists of.

You can send this report each time you update your assessment. This single approach can set you apart from other fitness pros and fitness providers in the eyes of your community’s medical professionals.


Putting Your Personal Training Marketing Plan Into Action

There you have it. You now have access to 19 separate fitness marketing strategies – but the real key is taking action!

Here’s what you should do TODAY:

1. Look through the personal trainer marketing strategies one more time, making notes about how you could implement each into your business. Don’t make excuses; don’t dwell on why a particular system won’t work. Find solutions. This exercise will open you up to creating and fitting the right systems to your unique situation.

2. Get a rough estimate of your client lifetime value so you can decide what to invest in acquiring each new client.

3. After going through this process with every strategy – choose what you perceive to be the 2-5 best fits for your business.

4. Develop an implementation strategy. If you want to use cards, order them. If you want to do a Charity Event, set a date and start marketing it.

Yes, I know, I didn’t tell you to spend tons of time working through all the details, setting goals for each strategy’s production or many of the things that you might expect.

That’s OK. I just want you to get moving. You can document the approach you take along the way to create your own version of the strategy. You can test new incentives and verbiage as you move along as well.

My goal is simple. I want you to have the framework of your own structured personal trainer marketing plan in the works TODAY! Make this part of your business now and you’ll soon start reaping the rewards. As you refine your system you may eventually find that referrals make up the bulk of your new prospects.

So that’s it. It sounds simple because it is. A steady stream of highly-qualified, pre-disposed prospects are just a couple of weeks away if you follow our recommendations for your personal trainer merketing plan!


Dedicated to Your Success,




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