If Lady Gaga were a fitness trainer, you can be rest assured she’d be banking serious cash. Even though she is obviously an eccentric, she has built an appealing brand that brings her close to $100 Million every year. She grew up the daughter of wealthy internet entrepreneurs, but she decided to carve her own niche in music without her parents’ help. It took years of waitressing and dancing in cabaret clubs before she was signed with Def Jam Records – and later, Interscope Records. Now her 60+ million record sales have put her in a category with Enya, Def Leppard, Green Day and Kenny G as one of the best-selling artists of all time. Fitness trainers can learn a lot from the way Lady Gaga approached her burgeoning career.
First, trainers should be themselves. I always tell people that we are in the business of “personality marketing.” If you’re an outgoing and charismatic “people-person,” you will do well in this industry. If your clients look forward to your funny jokes, your warm-hearted dialogue and thoughtful advice, then you are likely to keep the same people for years and spend very little on marketing. Gaga has a rabid following because she is a very different type of personality. People view her as a very genuine person who just does as she pleases, rather than trying gimmick after gimmick. Likewise, you should focus on providing the best service, rather than claiming to be the “#1 fitness studio” or promising to help people lose 10 pounds a week.
Telling your story is just as important as living it. You can be authentic all day long, but if you can’t convey who you are to others, then it won’t matter. Lady Gaga has created a following by sharing her story about being picked on as a child for the way she looked and acted. She has been a very vocal supporter of everything from gay rights to bullying and, therefore, she has picked up droves of followers who embrace her message to “just be yourself.” As a fitness business owner, you probably have an important life story that others can relate to. For example, many trainers were once overweight themselves and found their inspiration to train through the process of working with another trainer to lose the excess fat. Other trainers may have come from another country or an impoverished background and became a self-made success story. Use your “About” page, your email marketing, your blog, and other marketing avenues to share your story with others and earn loyal supporters for life.
Lastly, you need to be accessible. How successful would Lady Gaga have been if she only released studio albums and never toured, never updated her social networking pages, and never released merchandise? Instead, she posts to her Twitter and Facebook five times a day, sharing her causes, photos, videos and thoughts. She interacts with her fans (whom she lovingly calls her “little monsters”) directly as often as possible. Similarly, your fitness business must become an empire. Instead of just marketing to people, offer them tips they can use, free e-books, gifts, money off your services and other special perks for being part of your community. Make your fitness club a starting ground for a community of people who are dedicated to leading fit and healthy lifestyles.
You may not have elaborate costumes like Lady Gaga when you’re running your fitness classes, but you can still inspire crowds with your bold personality, your benevolent nature and your passion for people. Create your brand and share yourself with the world. You just may be surprised at how eager people are to accept your offering.