Much space on the Super-Trainer website is devoted to fitness club marketing to attract leads and clients. However, when you’re getting started out, you will be most concerned with attracting the best personal trainers and staff members. After all, your new business can only be as good as the people working there. At the end of the day, you can aggressively market all day and night long, but still lose out on business if your service just straight up sucks. There is really no point in pouring your hard-earned money into a promotional program if every lead that walks in through the door is disgusted by your trainer’s snaggletooth, disappointed by what a bubble-head your nutritionist is, or put-off by the chauvinistic attitude of your class instructor. Without a winning team, any program you can dream up is destined to fail. Over the years, I’ve had to say good-bye to a lot of trainers in my quest to build the perfect franchise. There is no way to avoid the risk altogether, but you can at least minimize your stress and heartache by carefully screening all applicants.
Before you can attract top talent, you need to create marketing materials that project success. This means: do NOT try to create your own website. Do NOT write your own web copy. Do NOT look for the cheapest avenues getting started. Ask around and find affordable resources that carry a lot of street credit. (I can give you contact information for quality people if you message me.) You need to project a professional image if you want to attract professionals to work for you. A good website not only looks presentable, but also conveys your company culture. Top talent should identify with your mission statement and be moved, emotionally, when they read the word on your site.
Pricing your salary and benefits packages are also important in marketing to personal trainers. If you price your packages too low, then you depreciate the value of your business. It’s sort of like a yard sale in that respect. You might price a toaster at 50 cents, but you’ve priced it so low people assume it can’t possibly work and they overlook it. However, if you price that same toaster for $5 or $10, then you will have a taker. It’s just that simple. You can’t have the cheapest and the best club in town, plain and simple. You can be one or the other. You will always get what you pay for when it comes to training staff.
This is not to say everyone you pay a handsome sum of money for will perform up to your expectations. There are a lot of duds out there too. I won’t put an exact salary down on my fitness club marketing ad. I’ll usually just include a ballpark figure and negotiate details later. I also don’t recommend commission-based pay only, as this attracts a lot of sales losers with obnoxious personalities. You want to give them a good base pay with the opportunity to earn more. You also want to pay them in more than just money. You want your group to be their own close-knit social club. You’ll earn loyalty by spending considerable time hiring personality types that will get along and work well together. Remember, hiring is when your time is cheapest. Once you begin training a staff member, the cost of on-boarding increases considerably. It’s not uncommon for a fitness business to look at over 75 applications just to fill 4 spots. Narrow down your field to A) People with experience, B) People with credentials, and C) People with charisma.
You will find a lot of young, excited individuals who seem promising – but they’ve just graduated from school and have no real world experience yet. These workers will undoubtedly be attracted by your marketing messages and may be tempting at first, but you’re taking a huge gamble if your business is just getting started. Let these newbies go to big box gyms to get their feet wet. These gyms operate based on brand name recognition and are able to handle high churn rates. For you, every client will be valuable.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that the fitness industry is not regulated, so you’ll get a lot of applicants who have no credentials. In your ad, be sure to state minimum requirements for the job to weed some people out. Certification shows you a person is dedicated, hard-working and diligent. The most well-respected credentials are administered through the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF), the National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), or the International Sports Science Association (ISSA).
Lastly, be sure your fitness marketing conveys a sense of the personality you are looking to attract. You want people with real charisma. One way we’ve marketed in the past is to encourage people to send in brief video submissions. This helps us see if the looks, personality and mannerisms of a person are a good fit for our organization before we even grant an interview. Phone interviews can also help you decide if a person is a good communicator with a lot of enthusiasm – important characteristics for your business, no doubt.
While you want attractive people working at your establishment, do not base your decision solely on looks. There are a lot of people with six-pack abs and great smiles who are dumb as bricks. There are tanned, well-endowed beauty queens with attitude and greased, muscled men with Jersey Shore mentalities. You want to go over and beyond pitches like “We have the best-looking trainers in Chino Hills!” You’re not a dating service, after all. Instead, you want your fitness club marketing to differentiate your enterprise by saying something like “Our personal trainers get the best results in Chino Hills” or “All our Chino Hills personal trainers are credentialed, experienced professionals.” Your staff can really make your business stand-out if you take the time and care to attract and hire the right candidates.