The fitness industry is getting more and more competitive.  There are studios, boot camps, and CrossFit boxes popping up on every corner.  Then you have the big box gyms like Gold’s providing personal training and small group training on the cheap.

How in the world do you compete with all these businesses?

It used to be that if you were good at what you did, had a bit of drive to outwork your competition and produced results for your clients that you would succeed as a fitness business owner.

Now, there are more frustrated, struggling fitness business owners than ever.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way!  With a great plan you can succeed, make a great living, enjoy what you do and even have the freedom to take vacations and stop working 12-16 hour days.

Being great at what you do is still a requirement for running a great business.  If you aren’t producing the results your clients want and creating a great experience for them that’s where you need to start.

However, if you’re doing those things and still struggling to grow your business you’re most likely missing one of the following 3 marketing ‘must haves’.

What’s Wrong With Marketing

Naturally most trainers and fitness pros aren’t great marketers.  You didn’t start training clients or start your own business because you loved marketing and selling.  You love helping people!

The thing you need to understand is that without marketing you can’t reach the people you need to help.  Marketing will make everything you do a lot more powerful because it will give you the means to truly change lives and the ability to reach more people.

So what is marketing?

It’s not a dirty word or a bad thing that sleazy people do to trick you into buying something.

While there are marketing tricks that can be used unethically most great business owners aren’t doing it that way.

My mentor Joe Polish says “marketing is storytelling” and I love that definition.  When you simply look at marketing as a client acquisition tool it’s easy lose sight of what you’re really trying to accomplish.

Telling your story and helping people understand what you do and how you can help them is the best way to market.

Even more powerful is having the ability to tell a story that resonates with your target market, more specifically your ideal client so that they can see themselves in the marketing message.

The 3 W’s of Marketing

To master your marketing you need to know WHAT, WHO, and WHY.

Those 3 W’s are the foundation of any great marketing strategy.  Without them you’re gambling with your marketing.

Let’s cover each of them so you understand what’s needed to build a great marketing strategy.

The What

This is your Core Offer.  It’s what you do best and the results you get for your clients.  Your Core Offer will dictate your target market and help you narrow your focus on your Ideal Client later.

There are 3 questions you need to ask about your Core Offer:

  1. What are the results I’m best at getting?
  2. How do I best get those results?
  3. Is that method of training economically feasible?

You need to be great at what you do, love doing it, know exactly how you get the results and your Core Offer needs to be the economic driver for your business.

For example your Core Offer could be fat loss training in small groups of 6-8.

That’s a very generic example but it fits all the qualifiers as long as I’m great at delivering fat loss results.

By defining your Core Offer you’ll know exactly WHAT you are marketing!

The Who

Once you know your Core Offer you need to narrow your focus and create a profile for your Ideal Client.

marketing strategyThe most important thing you can do when creating your Ideal Client profile is understand that this profile is not for a current client, but rather for someone BEFORE they become a client.

Interviewing current clients that fit your Ideal Client is a great way to get an in depth look at what your Ideal Client feels and needs, but you have to make sure you ask questions that get answers to why someone chose to work with you instead of why they stay.

For example you may get a lot of clients telling you that they love your coaching and the community in the gym.  But, that’s not why they joined in the first place.  They most likely discovered that after starting with you and it’s why they stick around.

Get to know every detail about your Ideal Client including income, family, employment, hobbies, and interests.

Once you know who your Ideal Client is you can target your marketing to them because you’ll know where they spend their time and money.

The Why

The final component of your marketing strategy is crafting your marketing message.  This is the answer to “Why should I choose you over your competition?”

These marketing differentiators and your positioning in the market will help you narrow your message and speak to a focused audience.

Your message should attract your Ideal Client and target market while repelling everyone else. If you try to be too inclusive with your message you’ll attract no one and it will get lost in the mix of all the other marketing messages your audience sees daily.

When you get this part right you’ll have a powerful marketing message.

It should be present on your website, social media, and all other marketing materials.

marketing strategyWhen it’s all said and done your marketing message should:

  • Differentiate your service from the competition
  • Address important customer buying criteria
  • Articulate key service characteristics

When you can check each of those off your list you’ve done a great job positioning your business as the ‘go-to’ solution for your Ideal Client.

How To Put This To Use

Understanding and creating your What, Who and Why is the foundation of a great marketing strategy.  Now you have a filter to know what marketing methods you can and should use to attract more clients to your programs and you’ll know exactly how to communicate your message to them via these marketing methods.

Look at your website and all marketing materials to ensure you have a consistent and congruent message.  If not, start by updating your most important assets and implementing your new marketing strategy into your marketing methods.

Once you’ve established the 3 W’s for your business marketing will get easier and your business will grow faster!

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Ryan Ketchum

Ryan Ketchum

Ryan Ketchum is the Executive Director and Co-Owner of Fitness Revolution. FR helps boot camp and studio owners earn more money, have more freedom and rediscover their passion for fitness through a unique coaching process. Through their coaching programs they are helping fitness business owners learn how to become high performers and finally have the business they want. Learn more about Fitness Revolution at
Ryan Ketchum

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