People want to do business with people, not with companies. By creating a strong personal brand for the frontline of your sales process you will dramatically improve customer acquisition and retention. Your personal brand is one of the most important factors for your success. It's the culmination of your Personal Trainer identity, packaged and presented in a way that's pleasing, familiar, and attractive to your prospective and recurring customers.
Personal branding requires you to find a signature image, a unique voice, and a standard of services that your customers will grow to recognise. A strong personal brand will help differentiate you from the competitors [see my blog on Differentiation]. Personal branding allows you to establish a reputation and an identity while still maintaining a personal level of trust and interaction, usually through social media.
You don’t need to use a personal branding consultant to help you create your unique identify, just follow the 10 step process below:
Step 1 - Find your niche
Before you commence marketing your Personal Training services, you have to decide what you want to be known for. There are many areas of Personal Training you may choose to specialise in, for example weight management, exercise referral, ante-post natal exercise, body building or sports conditioning to name but a few. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, its best to work in a very specific niche. With a niche focus, you'll have more opportunities to prove you know what you're talking about, and while your potential audience might be slightly smaller, it will also be that much more relevant.
By defining your niche market you will determine your target audience. Knowing the exact person you are selling to makes it easier for you to communicate your brand message.
Step 2 - Decide on and lay out your core values
How would you like potential customers to think of you? Because your personal brand is built from the thoughts and words and reactions of other people, it’s shaped by how you present yourself publicly. This is something that you have control over. You can decide how you would like people to see you and then work on publicly being that image. Values are the easiest thing to present and have people identify with, so start there.
As an example, a PT whose niche market is females wanting effective fitness and weight management programmes might use the following values:
- Empathetic – a good listener who has the ability to understand and share the feelings of his clients
- Supportive – understanding and encouraging the client to achieve goals
- Flexible – offering a range of alternative solutions to meet individual needs
- Discreet - offering a confidential service which builds trust
- Effective – evidence of positive results
Conversely, a PT whose niche market is competitive body building, might use the following values:
- Competitive – a strong desire to compete and succeed
- Results driven – a strong focus on achieving the desired outcomes
- Strict - monitored programming to drive competitive results
- Experienced – a proven track record in competitive achievement
Think about your target market and how the values you would adopt to meet their needs.
Step 3 – Establish a consistent tone of voice
Tone of voice is not what you say, but how you say it. This encompasses not only the words you choose, but their order, rhythm and pace. Rather confusingly, when seen in the world of business and marketing, the phrase ‘tone of voice’ refers to written – rather than spoken – words. A company’s tone of voice will inform all of its written copy, including its website, social media messages, emails and packaging.
Your personal brand’s tone of voice should be distinctive, recognisable and unique. This may seem like a tall order until we consider the use of our own language in everyday life. We all employ language - both written and spoken - in our own way. Of course, culture and dialect are the most significant factors dictating our approach to words. But within these, we each have our own idiosyncrasies, favourite expressions, inflections, pace and so forth.
Take a look at Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) on Instagram and Facebook, Joe has built up an excellent recognisable brand through consistent use of tone of voice. His tone of voice is friendly, fast paced and full of recognisable expressions.
Step 4 - Master Social Media
Social Media is the engine for your personal brand. Take time to flesh out the details of your social media profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and make sure they're consistently in line with your personal brand standards. Post updates regularly (at least once a day for Instagram and Facebook and LinkedIn, at least a few times a day for Twitter), and don't be afraid to re-post your older content for any new clients.
Step 5 – Get “Seen”
People need to feel like they know you, especially if your online presence is your main way of marketing. In order to help them feel like they know you, they need to be able to see you. This means pictures and, if possible, videos. Get some high quality headshots taken for your profile on your website and social media. Get great actions shots of you doing what you do best. Put out some YouTube videos where you hand out some of your expert knowledge or tell people about what you're working on now. This will allow you to invite yourself into people's personal spaces.
Step 6 - Start writing and publishing blogs
Once you know your area of focus, it's time to start building your reputation, and the best way to do that is to show off your expertise. Content marketing is the best way to build a brand and reputation online; when people look for information, they tend to go back to sources that were helpful to them. If you can become a trusted source of information through your content, over time you'll become collectively known as the expert of your specific field. It's best to start your own blog and update it on a regular (at least weekly) basis, but it's also a good idea to start guest blogging on other reputable blogs.
Step 7 – Identify your allies
Look for people with an audience that you want to reach, the movers and the shakers, the big names. You want to get in their inner circle. Comment on their writing, keep track of them on social media, help them when they ask for it, if they have a blog try to guest-post (it must be your best stuff!). Not only do you have plenty to learn from people like this, but they are also the people who can give you that killer testimonial when you launch your services, who can tweet your links to thousands of followers, who can share the best opportunities with you.
Step 8 – Offer to speak at events and develop case studies that support your expertise
If you're trying to win the business of your personal brand followers, it's a good idea to work up a few case studies. Work with your past or present clients to create some engaging testimonials. People love real stories more than promises or speculation, so prove what you've done by giving them digestible case studies. You should also consider looking for speaking events or giving demonstrations in your area, which will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise while connecting with new audiences.
Step 9 – Get out there and network, network, network
On social media and in the real world, the key to sparking growth in your personal brand is networking. Engage with other individuals in your field, social influencers who have many connections, and anybody else who could be valuable in helping you spread the word about your expertise. Attend professional networking events to meet influencers in your area, and in the online world, engage in community discussions whenever you can. The more opportunities you have to meet people and talk, the better.
It takes time and dedication to nurture and expand your personal brand. As you continue to develop your personal brand, stay consistent with your efforts, pay close attention to how your audience responds to your content, and hone your direction until your focus is razor sharp.
Step 10 – Polish your personal image
When we put a lot of work into how we look, we tell people two things. First, we tell them that we believe in taking this professional effort seriously. Second, we tell them that we believe they are worth making an effort for or that they're worth impressing. This shows respect. Between the two, you make people much more willing to take you seriously. Dress like you mean business by wearing clothes that fit and compliment your body, and work on getting nice skin and a flattering hairstyle.
Business cards can still be very useful, even in this digital age. But you need to have one that stands out. Get a professional, unique looking business card. Many sites sell these online and even offer customisation services. These are not as expensive as you'd think! Make yourself a card that no one will forget!
For more information about becoming a personal trainer with Premier Training please call 0845 1 90 90 90.