The development of a good fitness marketing plan is the first step to your successful business venture. You may be obsessed by thoughts like, “I NEED to get more clients” or “I MUST generate more money!” To this I say, “Hold your horses.” These are worthwhile goals, but if you don’t have a solid business plan in place, you can’t expect any measure of success. You want to eliminate bottlenecks and make sure leads and money can flow freely.

The first step is to identify your lead sources. You want to double your ideal number of clients to determine how many leads you should have coming in each month. I recommend starting with two internal and two external lead sources to drive the vast majority of your business. Once your model is perfected, you can explore other lead sources. Internal leads might include a referral program and email marketing. External leads might include joint venture partnerships and website landing pages.

The next step involves developing a juicy, irresistible front end offer. You might seduce leads with a free trial, a paid trial, a health assessment, Deal of the Day coupon, or a body transformation contest. You might be offering a seminar, workshop or clinic. You want to minimize any risks and maximize the benefits. You’ll need to determine which strategies you want to use, how often you’ll rotate offers and how you will build value to sell prospects on a more long-term engagement with you.

Thirdly, you’ll want to develop your core offerings, which are the foundation of your fitness marketing plan. This likely includes: Private Training, Semi-Private and Small Group Training, Large Group Training, Weight Loss Programs, and Bootcamps. At my studio, we’ve added things like Nutrition Seminars, Weekend Field Trips, Grocery Store Tours, Group Luncheons, and Sponsored 5-K Runs to add even more value. You will want to optimize your core offerings by deciding what perks to add, how to price everything, and how to maximize results. You may need to adjust your sales presentation or consider different pricing strategies to make your offers even better.

Lastly, your plan for fitness marketing will involve optimizing your back-end offers. This includes determining the problems your clients face and how your products or services can help them. For instance, you may get a lot of new moms who are eager to lose excess baby weight quickly. You may also find that your core products create additional opportunities. For example, you might have a great bootcamp that can be repackaged as a “21 Day Fat Blaster Clinic” or a “3 Month 30 Pound Challenge.”

Here are a few additional tips…

1) I always stress the importance of understand your target audience and writing it all into your fitness business plan. Analytics data of your current clients can help you figure out who your best customers are. Keep in mind that 20 percent of your client base generally brings you 80 percent of your revenue, so you want to find out who your “Elite 20 Percenters” are – and cater to their every desire! Look at demographics – are they male or female? How old are they? What part of town do they live in? What are their goals?

2) A sound plan will also feature very specific goals. You want your goals to be SMART – meaning, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. For instance, you know it’s not enough for your clients to say they want to “lose weight.” Instead, they should say, “I want to lose 8 pounds by the end of the month.” Break down your workload into manageable chunks to guarantee your success.

3) Focus on the 4 P’s: Product, Price, Placement and Promotion. What is the Product you are offering that no one else can offer? Are you Priced to get as many bodies through the door as possible or for a more discerning, elite, luxury market? Where have you Placed your marketing messages to reach the most amount of people and the most targeted traffic? Lastly, how do you intend to Promote your services and build your brand over time?

4) Conduct a thorough investigation of your competition as part of your business plan. You should always have your eye on at least three of your main competitors. Know them inside and out. See what they are doing. Have a list of keywords they are going after. Observe which channels and tactics they’re using to promote themselves. How can you position yourself to cut into their market share? What strengths do you have over these competitors? Where are these competitors outselling you?

5) Remember, your fitness marketing should always be evolving. Meet with your trainers regularly to get feedback on how the business is looking on the frontlines. Run surveys with your members (offering them a kindly incentive for their time, of course) and gain a better understanding of where you might improve your business. Hiring a mentor or business coach is a good way to inject life into a sluggish or stagnating fitness studio. Sometimes an objective third party can provide you with the missing links you need to double or even triple your revenue and slash expenses! Often, I find it’s the most subtle tweaks of an existing business model that can skyrocket a fit business owner’s salary to high heaven like you just wouldn’t believe.

My fitness marketing plan changes on a monthly basis. Every month, I have new assignments for my copywriting team, new keywords my SEO guys are targeting, new promotional offers for new and existing clients, new partnerships forged with area businesses, new events I’m sponsoring, new package deals for my protégés, new seminars I’m speaking at, and new sales goals I’m hoping to meet. I’m adding new channels for promotions and looking at additional target market segments to attack. You want to run a dynamic show that keeps you engaged and assures that your business will continue to thrive in the months to come.