Here’s a little secret I learned after 20+ years in the industry: the difference between the guy making $30K and the guy making $300K or $3 Million has little to do with talent and everything to do with personal trainer marketing strategies. It’s really shocking when you first realize this truth. It really makes you think: How long have I been working for peanuts when I could have been rolling in the dough?!? Yet, it also feels relieving when you understand that it will only take a few tweaks to your business model to put you in the right direction. You won’t make six-figures overnight, but I’ve seen guys make that transition in as little as three months by taking the steps outlined in my “Six-Figures In 67 Days” manual. It’s a really rewarding experience to see the light bulb go on over people’s heads and see them take control of their lives that way and command the paycheck they’ve earned. Hell, most of my guys are now signing the front of the checks, rather than the back of the checks now! Life is good, my friends. But first: here are some guidelines to discovering the best marketing strategies.

1. Focus on free first and foremost. I can’t stress this one enough!!! New businesses often fret over “dominating” their local markets with ad bombardments and they end up spending in all the wrong places – billboards, TV commercials, sponsorships, Facebook ads, costly promos. There are a few things that are worth investing in heavily: Pay Per Click ads, content, that sort of thing. However, you want to consider ways you can encourage your existing clients to give up referrals. You want to run cross-promotions with related businesses in your area to expand your reach. You want to be on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Marketing strategies don’t need to bankrupt you.

2. Leverage your time. This was a hard lesson for me to learn in my early years. I was a power freak. I wanted to do EVERYTHING myself. This was my business, my baby, you know? You feel if you have control of all hiring, training, program development, closing, blogging, public speaking, accounting and training, nothing can go wrong… right? Unfortunately, you are just one person and it is not possible to do absolutely everything. The tighter you hang on, the more choked your life becomes. Suddenly, all the freedom you worked to attain is out of your reach. You are a slave to your new business and running yourself ragged! Take time to hire loyal, talented staff members you can trust. Look into outsourcing tasks like SEO, copywriting or web design to free up more of your time for the tasks you’re really good at. How much money do you earn in a day? Divide it by 8. That’s what your time is worth. Now reconsider whether the marketing strategies you’re working on are worth that much time or if you can pay someone else to do it much cheaper.

3. Go viral. The concept of viral personal trainer marketing strategies is simple. You post something buzzworthy – be it a blog, video, photo, whatever – to ten people on Facebook. Now you’re reaching the eyes of all their friends and, if the content is good, those people might repost it to their networks as well. By the end of the day, you could have hundreds of people viewing your creation. It’s brilliant! An easy way to automate sharing is to install Facebook buttons and Twitter plugins to your blog to enable auto-posting. Save yourself the hassle — seriously! In our industry, the best viral posts include clever videos, photos, or promotions (like a 21-Day Fat Burn for $21 daily deal). Another nice offer is the 2-week paid trial with free meal plans included.

4. Manage your leads. This is not one of the most “exciting” marketing strategies, but analytics are a necessary evil. If you really hate it, outsource it – but don’t overlook it. Say you have a post with 100 likes. Half of these are probably useless – people outside your geographic area, people who have no money, or people who aren’t even the persona they claim to be in their profile. So that leaves you with 50 people who are interested in your promotion. Get technical to organize your leads. Use a computer program that will sort your prospects. Track what posts these people like and what they buy to personalize your marketing better. Keep a handle on rejection rates. Find out, not only which offers are most effective, but what designs, colors and advertising channels get the best response rates.

5. Consider public speaking engagements. If you are charismatic and the idea of getting up in front of a small group of people doesn’t scare you senseless, then you can often win a lot of hearts and minds at a public speaking engagement. These appearances won’t cost you much, save for a few business cards or hand-outs, and can show-off your expertise in fitness and nutrition. You can host seminars at community centers, colleges, local seminars, senior centers, or a number of other venues. Often the best marketing strategies are the ones that don’t cost a thing.

6. Invest in your education. Do you feel like a cog in the wheel? If you just keep turning and turning, without gaining traction, then it may be a good time to enlist outside help. A business coach can offer you personal trainer marketing strategies you may have never considered before and point out where you may be wasting time, money and energy. We are filled to the brim with knowledge of anatomy, exercise science and nutrition, but our certifications fail to prepare us for all the sales and marketing work we need to do to be successful. Whether you buy a book, sign up for business coaching calls or attend a fitness marketing retreat, you will find there is no better investment than investing in yourself. It’s like the old parable: Give a man a fish and he will eat for today; Teach a man to fish and you will have fed him for a lifetime.