More Fitness Clients From Simple Homework

 In Attracting Clients, Marketing

online search for fitness clientsHelping Fitness Clients Find You

Fitness clients were finding me organically.

I thought I was clear on my brand message. I was wrong.

  • I know who I serve. I am my target market, for crying out loud, duh.
  • I know what they want.
  • I know what they hate.
  • I know what else they’ve tried.
  • I know what they read.
  • I know what goes through their heads as they look into their closets.
  • I know what 3 areas of their body they dislike the most.
  • I know what words resonate with them and what phrases they use.

You’d think based on all that I could write copy to my clients all day and deliver a clear succinct (and I hope, fun) interview.

I do OK.

I definitely think, how much more could I have grown if only I’d had a more clear message sooner. I sometimes finish an interview and have a forehead slap moment when “I wish I would have said” this or “I forgot” that.

The reason is not that I don’t have notes and “sound bytes” on file that I review and practice (and you should develop your own). I do.

It isn’t that I don’t have a few key statistics and credible sources to quote (primary research from a journal or source my audience “gets” and will recognize (and you should too). I do.

It’s that even with that I hadn’t done this one thing.

I realized that even though I’ve grown other brands for decades, and then grew my own from scratch in 3 years to a following that includes 100K views across all platforms (and growing)…

…and scrapped a website that had 13K visitors a month to create three separate websites with a 18K total in less than 6 months, no thanks to faulty redirects and three completely new URLs.

Even with that evidence I’ve been doing something right, I still missed the real target.

Fitness Clients Come From Homework

Homework pays off.

When you’re really doing it and engaged with your homework you know the right questions to ask.

I’m having a flashback to high school algebra. Maybe geometry. I hated it so much as things got more and more complex that I too often was copying homework in the hallway before class and sitting in the back of the room. (To give you an example, in English, or speech or history, I sat closer to the front of the room and put my hand up all the time: I was into that).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love branding and marketing, so I don’t avoid it, but what I’ve learned is that you have to revisit that homework and do it again and again and again. There is always a next chapter.

When a business owner tell me, “I sell sweat. It isn’t complicated,” I disagree.

They, you, and I, sell hope. We sell transformation and dreams. A very few of the very satisfied fitness clients we see WANT to simply sweat. Many, in fact who we stand to help the most, hate sweat. They don’t feel comfortable sweating and avoid it. They don’t want more mirrors they want less. If our health clubs and online services weren’t available they wouldn’t be doing anything or thinking about it.

get fitness clients messaging

Messaging Better to Fitness Clients

They want the dream, the transformation. We don’t sell sweat. We sell the potential to be better moms, dads, employees, employers, to earn more money, to have energy, to leave a legacy. We may sell insurance … less chance of disease and pain or chronic conditions that limit life… but even though those things from a place of fear is powerful they are not the actualization we hope for our clients. We hope that along the way life gets better in all areas because of exercise.

If you THINK you know what your message is and why its unique, put it on paper. Start writing it out.

Here’s what scares the S—- out of me. I am super sensitive to plagerism and copy-catting. It’s all related: the desire to be unique, to serve my niche, to put my finger on the real why I resonate with my audience (and yes, repel others) so well.

I just went through three workshops in 14 days. They all forced me to nail my message. Iget fitness clients book was in a week of media interviews almost simultaneously for my new consumer book. (and the new book for fitness pros comes out immediately after).

In prepping for the workshops I was invited to watch some of the student’s work who have already done it. There are other health coaches and fitness pros among them. One in particular has a very similar niche. She does well and yet, here was my fear in watching. I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night or early the next morning after watching thinking that something brilliant Shawna said are my words. I have the same fear when I’m writing a book: you have to do research and know the competition to know how your book is different. Yet, I always, always write my book draft first! Because it is way too easy to wake up thinking that someone else’s brilliance is yours because you’ve just read it. Then we would never contribute new, fresh, unique information and perspective.

I want to two things: 1) respect my colleagues and know I’m honoring them without copying them, and 2) respect my customers by being able to show them how I’m solving a problem for them in a distinctly different and unique way.

So I was sitting here in my pajamas (PJ Salvage if you must know) forced to dig deeper so that I could find a clear and unique message that is there but I may not have been forced to really find until now. My interviewer will always have interviewed someone with a very similar niche, so I wanted him/her to have a fresh interview, I want to be an interview that gets put up on the workshop site (OK, a little competitive) –but I asked myself, why would it if it’s too close to another’s content? And the same is true for a potential new client. How do I relay the difference if I’m not digging deep into their problem, and my unique solution? How is my solution different and if it’s not, what am I doing to change that?

I rolled up my pajama sleeves! (I work best on creative, programming, and content early in the day: know when you do your best work!)

As I worked on my script for media interviews I felt as if I had a breakthrough. I felt like finally after scraps of notes, little scribbles, and small amounts of watching others I nailed me and my brand. I’ve done it in a way that feels like I can support other pros in my space and be a different flavor so there is a unique right spot for all customers to be served. Let’s face it there are like 38 million female baby boomers, and even that’s not all-inclusive of my target who are mid 40s to 70. I can’t possibly serve them all! So I need and want other pros like you, potentially to do well in reaching women in this demographic. The more that our brands become unique and distinct, the easier it is for customers to find answers and for each of us to thrive.

I’m not new to this fitness marketing gig. I started doing it in 1987. But doing it, and doing it again, and again without thinking, “oh, I’ve got this, I can wing this” is the key to getting to the gold I found this past month. I’ll need to do this again in time. You do too. Like tomorrow, and the next day and the next day.

I’m rolled from a two-day workshop with my mastermind to a five day workshop to another two day workshop over 14 days. Each of these was filled with health and wellness pros as well as experts in other spaces who have been doing their jobs for years if not decades. They are all diving deep into why them, who are they, and how to expand they’re influence. That’s going to be the difference between brands in any industry that succeed in the future and those that don’t. Especially if we’re to do better in fitness with a message that reaches more people than we have in the last 30 years.

Fitness Clients Determine Your Brand

It isn’t your facility. It isn’t the title of your program. It absolutely isn’t your certification or your degree. For, if you can’t leverage those things into a unique brand that attracts and loves clients and that they love, it’s all going to be swallowed up by the millions of impersonal and ineffective messages consumers are hit with daily.

Do the work and define your brand’s real mission. Not the number of people you want to serve or the amount of revenue you want to reach. Those goals are important. But first you have to know the why.

Then, and only then, be loud and unapologetic about sharing it.

Later this week I’m going to share that blog: What’s your why? 

Are you reaching your ideal fitness clients? If you’re better than the competition and know it, if you have solutions to the problems they’re searching for answers to, then you want to listen to this podcast. There’s ONE thing you should be doing across every platform that you have to help fitness customers find you. Once you do the homework, then use this. 

Take action: Define the fitness clients you want (and don’t). Go back to the bullets at the top of this blog and assign each to a full page of paper. Answer the question. Try interviewing instead of guessing. You’ll be amazed at what you learn if you ask and listen.

Debra Atkinson profile imageWant to nail your message before the holidays when more messages mean yours will be lost in the sea of emails, sales, and junk? Click to talk about coaching. 

Are you going to Athletic Business Conference next month? Come find me!