How to Establish and Market Your Fitness Business

Personal Training

How to Establish and Market Your Fitness Business

By Toby Giles, Precor Master Coach and Small Business Owner in Salisbury, Wiltshire in Southern England. Toby owns and operates a health and beauty suite called The Body Lounge, as is a 17-year industry veteran.

Setting up your own gym or studio can be a daunting experience. Managing staff, looking after customers and marketing the business are just a few of the jobs that can quickly overwhelm an owner. However, there are some fundamentals you can put in place to increase your chance of success when battling through the sea of tasks, mainly focused around the goal of maintaining and increasing your client base. Here are my top six below:

1. Some may think that mission statements and business plans are for large corporations and fancy software companies. But the truth is that a solid plan, and resulting mission statement, create the foundation for your marketing strategy. It does not need to be an 80-page spiral book - just an outline of what your service is, why you do it, and who would want to use it. Start by asking yourself these questions and develop real depth and clarity in your answers.

2. Make existing clients and members feel special. Word of mouth is one of, if not the, best forms of communication. Customer validation and testimonials have long been proven to be among the most powerful marketing tools. And the best part? You already have this marketing channel under your roof. Small investments in your members, such as naming a Member of the Month or Annual Achiever, or simply sending birthday cards, can nurture your community and create advocates within your facility.

3. Social media and website. It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are if no one knows your business exists. For this reason, finding ways for your brand to be seen by new customers is fundamental. According to, Facebook user accounts are predicted to grow to around 42 million in the UK and to 219 million in the US by 2022. This means that your gym must have a vibrant social media presence that reflects your ethos and brand.

Operating your social media strategy is an art within itself. If you are new to social media and/or don’t have the budget to employ someone, start by simply sharing daily tips, advice and inspiration on your business’ Facebook and Instagram profiles. Pictures of your services and members-in-action will showcase the strength and appeal of your community.

4. Social media platforms should point to a good-looking, functional website. It does not need to be expensive or overdone, but a professional website that clearly communicates your programs and services will help to legitimize your business. Include testimonials on your main page to establish credibility, and add biographies of trainers to personalize your brand. Integration tools such as and provide you the capability to take online payments for personal training and group classes. Sign-ups should be transparent, simple and virtual.

5. Paid Advertising.  Depending on your location and preferred demographic, the local paper, radio station and/or online advertising can all offer value to your business. It can be tricky to accommodate paid advertising, especially during the early days when income is low, but a strategic investment can pay dividends in the long run.

Social media ads are a popular, cost-effective and direct way to reach new audiences. Social media platforms such as Facebook have also created straight-forward tutorials for those who need to spend a little time learning how to go about it effectively. In general, highlighting seasonal offers (beach ready summer programs, ski season workouts, etc.) and free trial services are strong pulls for new clients.

6. Assessments and nutrition plans. Advertising “add-ons” ups the perceived (and real) value for prospective clients. Most personal trainers include complimentary assessments and/or nutritional advice, but make sure you clearly market all of the services provided to increase the total perceived value of investing in working with you.

The great thing about assessments (before and after measurements, biometrics, pictures, etc.) and offering ongoing training plans is that they not only help members set realistic expectations and goals, but they also serve as motivation to continue training with you. Helping members strive for and achieve success creates lifelong advocates. That’s good news for your growing business!

Author Information

Toby Giles
Toby Giles's picture

Toby Giles is a personal health and fitness coach from Salesbury, Wiltshire in Southern England where he owns and operates a health and beauty suite called The Body Lounge. He holds over 10 fitness certifications and has been working in the industry for a total of 17 years. Toby has been working with Precor for 9 years on several projects and became a Master Coach in 2015 delivering AMT Team Fit and Queenax onsite training workshops. 

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