Grow Your Online Audience by Taking Part in Local Events

Sep 7, 2019

By Tim Saye

In our latest article, we discussed how to use face-to-face challenges to build your tribe. 

Today, we'll dig into details on why getting involved in local events can be beneficial in growing your online training business. You can even combine the two strategies.

What events should you consider?

The best ones, to put it briefly are those where your ideal online personal training clients and their friends hang out. Identifying who your ideal clients are, what they're interested in, and what they do in their free time is the first step in finding opportunities near you. You can then meet them, engage in conversation and showcase the value your services can add to their lives without trying to sell anything.

Family Fairs

Family Fairs are an excellent choice for trainers whose primary target are busy mums and dads; these types of local events are a great way to get your name out there.

How to Get Involved?

- Volunteer to hold a FREE activity; explain to the organisers that you would be wearing branded clothing, give out flyers and collect contact details from those open to become part of your tribe. The activity could be anything you think will be popular among kids and parents. You can design it in a way that both the young ones and the adult can join; great bonding time for the family, an excellent opportunity for you to build rapport.

- You can set-up a paid activity or challenge, but in that case, be prepared to pay a fee to the organisers. When you charge people, you need to deliver something they feel was worth the money. Parents will go the extra mile for their kids, but only if they think it will be worth it for them. Make sure they will have an experience, both the little ones and their mum and dad that they won't forget and will want to hear from you in the future.

- Organise a raffle or if the organisers have their own, offer one or more prizes. Ask for an opportunity to engage with the visitors; whether that's a seminar, a workshop on the agenda of the event, or a short workout, make sure people know who you are before the draw.

Local Races

Whether you'd like to work with hobby or professional athletes, being present at local race events is great to start building a targeted audience. The more of the same type of athletes join your tribe, the more you will be exposed to their friends with similar interests as well as their teammates or competition. 

How to get involved?

- Become the "warm-up" guy or girl. Whether it's a park run, a 5k/10k race, a half marathon or an obstacle race, most organisers provide the attendees with a form of "collective warm-up". Quite often they struggle to find qualified fitness professionals to do the job, especially if it's a smaller event. Be proactive and approach them well in advance to find out what it would take for you to be there in front of all the people.

- Setting up a stall. Most events will have an area for the spectators to hang out while they are waiting for their loved ones to cross the finish line. Being able to engage with them here and chat about what you do would be an opportunity for you to grow your online audience. Prepare demonstrations, a little seminar or even 5-min workouts or a challenge so they can kill time while waiting. You can also offer the finishers to see you for post-race cool down tips and assistance.

- Become a sponsor. We will go into details on how to set-up a sponsorship in a future article. Building such bonds with local events would mean that your brand will be featured in every marketing material they produce and promote: online and offline.

Fitness and Health Expos

Out of the three types, this is probably the one that requires the most financial commitment from your part if you'd like to set up a stall. Especially if it's a well-known event with a high number of visitors. It doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, but make sure you have a plan, and you will have guaranteed access to hundreds if not thousands of potential leads. Then all you need to do is wow them so they will remember you when receiving the first email. Otherwise, it may get lost among the other business present at the same event.

However, if you are already an established professional in your area and people recognise you, you may get asked to hold a workshop or a seminar. There's no better way to show competence than being invited to relevant events as a speaker. Then all you need to is to follow the steps we detailed in a previous article on the seminar topic. You can even offer goodies to the attendees. That will give you a good reason to email them with valuable content and establish first connections online.

Wrapping Up

Regularly being present at local events should become part of your local networking efforts so you can get your name out there, in front of potential clients who belong to your target market and whom you can help best with their fitness goals.

While these strategies will have an effect on your in-person business, with a little planning and consistent content marketing you can grow your online tribe so when you decide to launch your online personal training business, you will have an audience who will be keen to jump on board.