It's really common in the health and wellness space for fitness professionals and marketing gurus to talk about building connections with an audience through various social media platforms, a perfect website/sales funnel, or an email list. And, although these are great tools to get your audience’s attention, they don’t necessarily guarantee that your audience will connect with your offering. You need to learn how to create genuine connection with your audience first, as this will increase the chances your audience will love your product and invest their time and money. If you don't take the time to build this connection, your marketing efforts could potentially fall flat because your audience may see you as “the sleazy salesperson” trying to force a product on them, rather than your product being the perfect solution to a specific problem that they have!
In this post I'm going to give you the 5 Most Effective Tips for Building Genuine Connection with your Audience as a Fitness Professional. These tips will teach you how to: treat each member of your audience as an individual, speak to their pain points and struggles, and most importantly how to position yourself and your product/service as the perfect solution to your audience’s problem. Let’s face it, at the end of the day if your audience doesn’t know, like, and trust you and feel like your service solves their problems they won’t buy! So, if you’re ready let’s dive right into the 5 tips that will set you apart from other fitness professionals by showing your audience that you truly care and have their best interests at heart.
Tip #1: Always Make Your Audience Feel Appreciated, Respected, and Heard
Whether you are connecting with your audience in person or online it is key to create an environment where they feel appreciated, respected, and heard. A great way to get some ideas about how to create this type of environment is to think about what the experience is like for you when you interact with your favorite business. What is the client experience like? What sets this business apart from others that are offering the same service? Really visualize going through each step of your interaction with your favorite business: What is happening? How do you feel? As a personal trainer/group fitness instructor focused on building connection with individuals, here are 3 things I do in my business to create an environment that shows my audience just how important they are:
Client Appreciation Events 2x/year
Every year in the spring and at the end of summer I host health/wellness centered events catered to my current clients' needs, and invite them to bring their family and friends. This gives me an opportunity to connect with my clients in a less formal setting, which allows me to get to know them on a deeper level. Moreover, I get to connect with their friends and family and network to potential clients.
Quarterly Coffee Check-in’s
Unlike the Client Appreciation events, this setting allows the client 1-1 time with me. This is where they can express what is working for them and where they may need more support/guidance. This opportunity is pure gold because not only does the client feel appreciated and heard, but you can use their feedback as a glowing testimonial on your website/social media platform! (With their permission of course.)
Provide Access to My expertise Online
To connect with my audience (aka potential clients) in the online space, I do monthly meetups and Q and A’s, so people who want to get to know more about me and my services/products can ask me questions without feeling the pressure to buy. I don’t do a sales pitch during these meetups/Q & A’s, as they are all about answering as many questions and giving as much value to my audience as possible. I do this through IG lives, but you can also use Facebook or Zoom to set up video meetings to connect with your audience, as well.
Now, that you have a few ideas to use as inspiration, really think about what you can do in your own business to make your audience feel more appreciated, respected and heard. What sorts of unique offerings can you give them that will set you apart from other fitness professionals? It’s all about creating an environment that your audience will want to come back to again and again.
Tip #2: Become Genuinely Interested in Your Audience’s Triumphs and Struggles.
As I mentioned above, your audience will never buy your product/service if it doesn’t solve a specific problem that they have. So, it’s extremely important to start to understand their struggles so you can create offerings that provide solutions. Here are 2 extremely effective ways of finding out what struggles your audience is having:
DM Your Audience on Instagram or Facebook
Now before you tell me you’ve tried this already, let me give you a tip that made DM’s 10x more effective for me. Let’s say you message 5 people in your audience about what they struggle with most, and you get 5 responses back that are all variations on “I can’t lose weight.” This is not very helpful, as every fitness trainer/professional has an offering that targets weightloss. So, here is where the magic happens, take the question a step further and ask, “What does weight loss look like for you?” and “What would it mean to you if you could be at your ideal weight?” I guarantee that very few people have reached out and taken the time or shown the interest to get to know the reasons behind their audience’s goals. Now, not only are you building a deeper connection with a potential client, you are gathering information that you can use to market your offering and make it that much more appealing.
Use Answerthepublic.com to Find the Most Popular Topics in your Niche
This turns things up a notch, and rather than just connecting with people 1-1 you can survey the entire internet and see what topics are popular in your niche. This has been an invaluable tool for me, because when I come up with an idea for a piece of content, I want to make sure it is relevant by seeing how many people are searching for it. Answerthepublic.com allows you to do just that. You type in a keyword and it shows you every question connected to the topic that people are searching for, and also how many people are searching for it. It’s an invaluable tool to ensure you are creating content your audience is actually interested in! https://answerthepublic.com/
Tip #3: Be an Active Listener and Encourage Your Audience to Talk About Themselves
By the time you get to this tip, it’s very likely that your audience is starting to open up to you about their personal health and wellness struggles. Now, it is incredibly important to actively listen to what they are saying and not to jump in to answer their problems too quickly. As a fitness professional it's really common to spring forth with a solution because we want to show them how knowledgeable we are.
But remember, this process isn’t about you showing off your certifications or how much you know, so much as it is about allowing your audience to share their story and feel heard and respected. By just allowing them to fully expand on their struggles, you will not only gain more information about them, but you will demonstrate to them you truly care about them as individuals. This once again helps to create deeper connection with potential clients and allows you to gain specific information that you can then use to create customized content geared toward their specific struggles. (Creating customized content again. Are you sensing a theme? ;P)
Tip #4: Always Remember a Person's Name.
For fitness professionals this can be incredibly challenging because if you teach multiple one-on-one clients, different fitness classes with different people attending each week, or are talking to multiple people online, the amount of names to remember can start to become overwhelming. However, all of the work you've been doing up until this point in Tips 1-3, will be far less impactful if you don’t address each member of your audience by their name. Think about all of the businesses your audience interacts with in the run of a day, and how many actually go the extra mile to learn their names and use them on a regular basis. There probably aren’t many. You doing this signals to your audience that they are important enough for you to remember details about them. This is a simple tip, but one that will set you apart from other fitness professionals who may say “Hi,” but never go that extra mile and address that individual by their name.
A great resource to help you remember people's names is this YouTube video by Jim Kwik: Remember Everyone’s Names. He is a memory expert, and his method for remembering names has helped me on countless occasions to remember the names of people that I had only met once or twice in passing. Give it a try and you’ll be amazed at how many names you will actually remember!
Tip #5: Speak in terms of Your Audience’s Interests and Create Content that Solves Their Problems
Now that you’ve put all that time and effort into treating each member of your audience as an individual, learning about their pain points and struggles, and creating rapport, it’s time to position yourself as the perfect solution to their problems. This is where you take everything that you’ve learned about your audience and create content that speaks specifically to them. After following tips 1-4, not only will you have ideas for content because you’ve asked questions of your audience, but you have lots of people to market to who will listen because you took the time to connect and get to know them on a deeper level. It is only now that you have taken the time to build genuine connection with your audience that you start to start to focus more on building your website, social media platform, and SEO funnels. All the work you’ve put in in tips 1-5, will make these tools work so much harder for you!
You can see that using the strategies these five steps, can take a lot of time, energy, and commitment. But the results will be well worth your efforts. You will actually save yourself time, money, and effort in the long run because you won’t be spending 100’s or 1,000’s of dollars on marketing campaigns that fall on deaf ears. You will be the fitness professional who succeeds in this saturated health and wellness space because you genuinely connect with your audience, and treat them as individuals with appreciation and respect. I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely the type of health and wellness business I want to build and grow!
My name is Marliese McGee founder of Holistic Happy Personal Training and Lifestyle Coaching. I create welcoming fitness communities that bring mindfulness to movement, and teach you how to maximize your results and minimize your risk of injury/burnout.
Linkedin: Marliese McGee