Use a Face-to-Face Challenge to Get New Online PT Clients

Aug 30, 2019

By Tim Saye

The next offline marketing tool you can use to get new online training clients is organising in-person fitness challenges to create an opportunity to provide value, encourage community vibe and a little competition, and ultimately grow your audience of potential online coaching clients.

Step 1. Choose Your Location

Where you set-up your challenge will determine most of the following steps, so deciding on the location first will help you nail down the other details.

Step 2. Choose the Time, Length and T&Cs

Will it be a one-day event? Would you be running it for a week or maybe a whole month if you have access to all the members in your gym?

How about the number of attempts a competitor can make? During a one-day event you could limit it in the best of three attempts, but if your challenge runs for a month, you could allow multiple attempts a week.

Step 3. Design Your Challenge

The idea is that you attract the types of people who you’d like to have as clients, so designing your challenge is a crucial part of the process.

If you’d like to attract general population members who just want to stay fit, maybe lose some weight and feel better in their skin, you are better sticking to standard, well-known exercises and keep the length short and sharp so they don’t have to spend their whole gym session on your challenge.

Productivity is key for many high profile, busy professionals, so they will appreciate if they can get it done quickly. Create a routine that would take no longer than 10-15 mins for even the least fit.

However, if your target audience is more specialised, related to sports performance, speed, agility or any other “fitness goals”, make your challenge just as specific. Examples could be “how many repetitions they can perform within a specific time period of a particular exercise”, how many calories they can burn on a cardio machine and so on.

Step 4. Decide on Criteria for Participating

You have a few options in this step:

You can keep it open, available to anybody around who’d like to try themselves with no restrictions at all. This works well for those personal trainers who haven’t developed a niche for their in-person or online fitness business yet and don’t mind dealing with a high number of new contacts.

You could design the challenge in a way that it automatically excludes populations that aren’t within your target market; whether you are focused on youth athletes, bodybuilders, powerlifters, other athletes, fat loss or improving the energy levels for busy professionals, think of ways to grab their attention with the challenge description.

Depending on the depth of the challenge and the results you are promising, you can charge a small entry fee. The important thing is to deliver what you promise, so the attendees come away with an amazing experience and even if they don’t hire you, they will be ready to refer you to their friends and family who need that specific help.

Step 5. Promote Your Challenge

You can use offline and online channels to promote your challenge depending on the location you chose. The most obvious promotion option is putting up signs in your gym, including it in the gym’s email newsletter and magazine if they have one, and you can also mention it to anybody relevant when you chat to the members.

If your location is outside a gym, you may need work harder to reach a wider audience; giving out flyers, putting up posts in your area, posting in your local paper' or if your challenge will be part of an event, asking the organisers to promote it through their marketing channels.

Step 6. Collect Subscriber’s Info

As part of the registration process, you can ask the attendee’s consent to be added to your marketing list and being emailed with other valuable information, like blog updates and offers.

Whether you ask for registration in advance or they add their name to the list on the spot, include a column they can tick to agree to be emailed, whether it’s a hard copy or an online registration form. You’d like your new subscribers to be keen to receive more information from you so they don’t hit the unsubscribe option after your first email.

Step 7. Deliver, Connect and Engage

When the day comes to launch your challenge, be super approachable, ready to answer questions, encourage the attendees and aim to create a community vibe so people can relate not only to you but to each other as well.

Especially if the challenge is on for several weeks, you’d like people to stay focused on their goals and supporting each other throughout so when the last day comes, they would be just as excited as in the beginning.

At the end of the challenge let contestants know their results and let them know about the other services you offer.

Step 8. Follow-Up

After the challenge follow up with challengers, let them know the results of your best contestants, tell them a bit about your online training service and show the results of your online clients. Include an option to sign up for your online coaching.