In my first career as a personal trainer, I spent several years working in franchise gyms across New Jersey. I learned a lot about working with different personalities, and how to motivate them to achieve success in their personal lives. 

I learned a lot about sales during this time, and eventually started a business offering 1-on-1 personal training services. I worked as an independent personal trainer in New Jersey for just over three years. 

After seeing how fast brands and trends churn in the fitness industry, I knew I’d have to learn marketing if I wanted to have a successful career as a personal trainer. 

In this blog post, I demonstrate the exact sales funnel where I sourced all of my personal training clients. I also explain how it failed, and how I ended up working in marketing full time after a 7-year personal training career.

My Personal Trainer Sales Funnel

The approach was pretty simple. Use search engine optimization (SEO) to attract people near me who were searching “personal trainer” on Google. 

I’d deliver social proof and build perceived value when they got to my website. 

Hit them with an offer that was relevant to what they wanted (personal training services). 

Send them emails until they came to visit me in the gym and sign up. 

Here’s a graphic that explains the approach:

personal trainer sales funnel example
Note: If Russel Brunson can draw stick figures, I can use Microsoft Paint 😂

The Audience: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What better way to find customers than to let them find me? 

If you can get your website on page one of Google for searches with high purchase intent, it can be very lucrative. 

Since people searching for a “personal trainer” were interested in personal training, this was a great way to attract new clients. 

SEO is very different in 2022 than it was when I was doing it in 2015-2018 for my business. However, many of the basics are still the same. 

I built a very relevant webpage that explained personal training and referenced the city where my gym was located, as well as surrounding areas. 

I built geographically relevant backlinks by joining the chamber of commerce, donating to local charities, and reverse engineering strategies from my local competitors. 

I built niche relevant backlinks by hiring another personal trainer in my network to connect with publishers and write guest posts in my name.

Before long, I was #1 in the map pack for my city and the surrounding areas. I also ranked high on the SERPs, just under the map pack for each city. I also ranked for “personal trainer” by itself, as well as the “near me” keywords. 

After leaving the fitness industry in August of 2018, I sold my website in March of 2021. Here’s a screenshot of my lifetime Google Analytics organic traffic.

This was why I loved SEO. I was able to write off the expenses as advertising, and build an intangible asset that would grow in value over time. As you can see from the screenshot above, my organic traffic continued to grow even after I stopped maintaining the website. 

I had plans to convert my brand into a fitness magazine but ultimately decided to sell it and move on. The website is no longer active.

The Offer: Free Personal Training Session

Early in my career when I was working in franchise gyms like Retro Fitness, we had to prospect the gym floors to find our own clients. 

Many gyms had a “manager”, whose primary responsibility was to attract new members to personal training services. Anyone who was serious about building their career, though, learned how to attract their own clients. 

The approach was simple. 

  1. Identify someone on the gym floor who needed help.
  2. Offer a free session to help them on that day. 
  3. Sign them for a year of personal training and teach them “how to fish”.

We also cold-called members who recently joined the gym, but the best leads were already in the gym exercising. They were doing their best to make it work, but visibly struggling to understand which exercises to do, or how to execute proper form. 

I had so much success with this approach in person, that it made sense to use this as my primary offer in my sales funnel. 

I gave website visitors the option to receive a coupon for a free session via email ($100 value for free). 

The problem, though, was that I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to my prospects face-to-face. I had to learn a different way to provide a personal touch that would convince someone to reach out to me, instead of me chasing them.

The Landing Page: Deliver Social Proof And Build Perceived Value

I won’t go into too much detail here, but my landing page had a few priorities:

  1. Get people to contact me, call me, or opt-in to my email list.
  2. Build perceived value, to get people interested in personal training. Not just the outcome of “losing 20 lbs”. They needed to be sold on personal training as the way to achieve their goals. 
  3. Deliver social proof, to demonstrate that I was the local expert personal trainer.
  4. Follow local SEO best practices to rank on Google. If I didn’t rank get traffic, nothing above would matter. (More on this later)

While my website is no longer active, I was able to pull the copy from Wayback Machine

Note: Anything [in square brackets] is an annotation I added to help you understand how the page was structured

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Personal Trainer Landing Page Copy

Need Help Getting To Your Fitness Goals?

Try Personal Training In Cranford

  • Get ready for any upcoming event, and look your best in pictures.
  • Save the time and frustration of trying to do it yourself, and get better results in less time.
  • Learn proper exercise technique and avoid getting hurt.
  • Use the button below for a coupon for a free training session. 

[CTA Button: Try A Free Session!]

Christine Lost 21Lbs And So Can You*

Christine was spending over $100 on a high-end gym membership that she wasn’t using. After all, she didn’t know how to use any of the equipment; she was intimidated.

After three months of working with me, Christine lost 21lbs and 5 inches from her waist.* All of her friends and coworkers noticed her progress, and she feels great about it.

Now, she’s able to go to the gym on her own and maintain her progress. She’s not afraid to go to the gym by herself anymore, because she knows what to do when she gets there.

[CTA Button: Lose Weight Like Christine]

Kerlanta Added 3 Inches To Her Hips*

Kerlanta found it difficult to move her patients around the hospital working as a nurse. She was also tired of being “too skinny”, and wanted a change.

Three months later, she is 15lbs stronger with an extra 3 inches on her hips, and 2 inches on her shoulders. Her clothes fit amazing now, and the physical part of her job is easy.

Now, instead of feeling weak, Kerlanta is strong and motivated. She goes to the gym by herself now, and is constantly flooded by compliments from friends and family.

[CTA Button: Tone Up Like Kerlanta]

Brian Added 8.5 Inches Of Muscle To His Upper Body*

Early into our training, all of Brian’s friends, family, coworkers and fans were able to tell the difference. He couldn’t go anywhere without someone complimenting him.

After 12 months, Brian added 4.5 inches to his shoulders, 3 inches to his chest, and 1 inch to his arms. Now, Brian goes to the gym by himself. He knows exactly what exercises to do to keep progressing.

[CTA Buton: Get Big Like Brian]


My Name Is Zack Miller

I am a personal trainer and online fitness coach. I’ve been helping people lose body fat and tone their bodies since 2011. I’m also a licensed massage therapist, and certified nutritionist.

What started out as a hobby for me turned into a dream-job. Now, I make my living by helping people just like you look their very best and feel awesome.

I’ve done everything from one-on-one training and group exercise classes, to managing and mentoring other fitness trainers. I’ve worked in multiple gyms and worked as an in-home personal trainer, where I brought my services to my client’s homes. How cool is that?

Now, I work with people in my gym, and I work with people remotely through the internet.

How Personal Training Works

Step 1: Let’s Get To Know Each Other

First thing’s first, let’s get to know each other and make sure we’re on the same page. I want to know all of your goals, and I want to know more about your exercise experience.

Since everyone is different, everyone gets a different exercise program. I need to as much as I can about your health and exercise history so I can create the best program for you.

Let’s find out if my personal training program is a good fit for you. If not, I can recommend another professional in the area that will better suite your needs. (I know a lot of local trainers).

Step 2: Let’s Find The Right Exercises For You

Here, we’ll work together to discover which exercise progressions are best for your goals. We’ll also find your starting point based on your current level of physical fitness.

You’ll learn proper exercise technique and how exercises are supposed to feel when you’re doing them right.

From here, I’ll build you an exercises program that will get you to your goals in the fastest way possible while prioritizing safety.


Step 3: Save Money With Online Fitness Coaching

You should never need to rely on a personal trainer forever. The goal is to learn and build habits so you can continue on your own without my help.

Online fitness coaching is the transition between personal training and independence. After you’ve got a good handle on your technique, you can graduate and become an online client. Through the internet, I can manage your exercise program and continue teaching you remotely.


Who Can Benefit From Personal Training?

One-on-one personal training is for beginners who want to get start working out in the gym, but don’t know how.

In person, I can teach you how to do things properly so you don’t get hurt. If you’re more experienced, you can start online personal training right away and save money.

You should also live near Cranford, NJ. If you’re new to exercise and can’t make it to Cranford at least once a week, I can’t help you at this time. Sorry. Your best option would be to find a personal trainer near you.

If this is the right program for you, let’s get started with a free personal training session.

[Start FAQ accordions]

What Is A Personal Trainer, And What Do They Do?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, trainers are “fitness professionals who develop and implement personalized exercise programs for individuals across a diverse set of health and fitness backgrounds, from professional athletes to individuals only recently cleared to exercise.” According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, trainers are “health/fitness professionals who, using an individualized approach, assess, motivate, educate and train clients regarding their personal health and fitness needs. Certified personal trainers design safe and effective exercise programs, provide the guidance to help clients achieve their personal health/fitness goals, and respond appropriately in emergency situations. Recognizing their own area of expertise, a personal trainer will refer clients to other health care professionals when appropriate. According to World Instructor Training Schools, a level 1 trainer’s scope of practice, “demonstrates entry-level fitness specific competency and a commitment to consumer safety by individuals who help to improve the health and fitness for clients ranging in age, health, and fitness status through the development and implementation of fitness programs required for practice in the service industry in the United States. Individuals who earn the CPT – Level I designation are qualified to implement personalized exercise programs to clients that have no special medical conditions nor specialized physical limitations that would require advanced knowledge or skills.”


Do You Offer In-home Personal Training?

No. In the past I offered in-home fitness training, but I found it doesn’t work for most people. At home, there are too many distractions and it’s hard to stay focused. I found myself spending more time playing with client’s dogs and children than actually teaching them about fitness. Working out is all about building habits. At home, you’ve got one set of habits (cooking, laundry, relaxing, things like that). Use a gym to build a new set of habits. In my experience, it’s been helpful for most people to actually go somewhere to build new habits. Once you get to the gym, you have no choice but to start exercising. It’s hard to get motivated to workout at home when the couch is right in front of you.


How Many Fitness Trainers Work At Tone Body Fitness?

My name is Zack Miller and I am the only personal trainer in Cranford at Tone Body Fitness. I’ve thought about hiring other trainers to work for me from time to time, but I’d rather not. Training is what I like to do, and it’s what I’m good at. I managed a staff of trainers in a gym before and I don’t want to do that again.


What’s The Difference Between Group Exercise Classes, Semi-Private Fitness Training And 1-on-1 Exercise Training?

In group classes, it’s impossible for an instructor to teach multiple people technique all at the same time; each person has their own structure and limitations. Fitness classes and semi-private training are for people who are already experienced and have a good sense of exercise form and technique. If you’re looking for someone to make you sweat, a large group class might be a good option for you. Typically, the more people in a class, the lower the cost of the sessions is for a client. Many gyms offer boot camp group exercise style classes for anywhere from $5 to $20 per session. Some gyms even include unlimited classes in their membership options. Small group training works really well if you’re working with a friend. The problem is, if one of your schedules’ changes, so does your group training. 1-On-1 training is more for people who are new to working out and want to learn how to exercise with purpose. Instead of going to the gym and guessing through each workout, a 1-on-1 trainer can guide you. You can expect to learn exercises that will get you to your goals, and how to do them with proper technique. 1-On-1 personal training costs more than group options, but that’s because it isn’t intended to be something you do forever. The goal is to learn a sense of exercise technique, learn how to progress your exercises, and then start working out on your own.


[End FAQ accordions]


[Start Location Accordion]

Tone Body Fitness is located at Strength and Fitness Club on South Avenue.

My clients visit from other locations in Union County to get to their fitness goals:

  • Cranford
  • Clark
  • Westfield
  • Garwood
  • Union
  • Roselle Park
  • Scotch Plains and More

[End Location Accordion]


Start Personal Training Today

I Only Accept 1 New Client Per Month

  • Get the bikini body you want, and look your best in pictures.
  • Save the time and frustration of trying to do it yourself, and get better results in less time.
  • Learn proper exercise technique and avoid getting hurt.
  • Use the button below for a coupon for a free training session. 

[CTA Button: Try A Free Session!]

If any CTA Button was clicked on the website, a popup would appear with the following text:

Free Personal Training Session

($100 Value)

“Just leave your best email address and I’ll send you a coupon for a free personal training session.”

-Zack Miller

Email Marketing: Build More Social Proof And Perceived Value

After giving me their email address to receive a free session, my prospects would enter my email automation which I’d set up using Active Campaign. These are also no longer active, but I have the copy. 

The goal of this email automation was to further educate the prospect on the value of personal training and convince them to call me. 

The first email contained the coupon with a free personal training session that expired fourteen days from the date it was received. 

Each email after that was sent one per day and was focused on building value, with a gentle reminder to call me to schedule a session.

Your Title Goes Here

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#1 Subject: Here's Your Free Session Coupon

Good For 1 Free PersonalTraining Session

This coupon is good for one free personal training session. No purchase necessary.

This offer expires MM/DD/YYYY

Let me help you build your fitness game plan

I wanted to take a minute to personally introduce myself and welcome you to Tone Body Fitness. My name is Zack Miller, and Tone Body Fitness is my 1 on 1 personal training business in Cranford.

I’ve been a personal trainer since 2011, and I want to share some of my knowledge and experience with you.


Because I want to help you succeed.

I want to help you get to your fitness goals, and stay there. No more back and forth weight loss and weight gain.

Let’s do this together.  

Over the next few days, I’m going to send you important information that will help you learn how to use the gym, and set up a game plan.

Do you have a game plan?

I’ll teach how to do some of my favorite exercises for weight loss and toning, and I’ll teach you how to “fit in” at the gym.

You know, not look like a clueless fool.

So if you’re in, and you want to learn how to win in the gym. Stick around. If not, you can unsubscribe from this mailing list at any time by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of this email.  

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make this community a place you love to be a part of.

If you do decide to stay,

Reply to this email saying “got it”, so I know you’re here and following along.

If you’d like, tell me what your #1 fitness goal is, and the biggest struggle you have getting there.

I’ll answer you any questions you have, and help you win.

Here’s my cell phone number: (XXX) XXX-XXXX

To schedule your free personal training session, reply to this email, call me or schedule it from my website, here:

Talk to you soon!

#2 Subject: Don't be like Jane…

Hey, Zack From Tone Body Fitness here.

I want to tell you about Jane.

Jane needed to lose 20lbs, and she needed to do it as soon as possible.

Year after year, this was the same story for Jane.

Year after year, she did the same thing.

Year after year, she was left in the same spot…


Lost some weight, gained it all back.

Lost some weight, gained it all back.

Lost some weight, gained it all back.

Lost some weight, gained it all back.


“Why doesn’t anything I try work!?” Jane cries!

That’s when Jane got in touch with me, Zack – her personal trainer.

It’s not that Jane wasn’t trying hard enough, or wasn’t motivated. She was.

She just had no idea what she was doing in the gym. Every year she had the same routine: Salads and cardio machines.

She would lose weight pretty fast, but the problem is… this isn’t sustainable. The weight would always come back and it always made Jane sad.

If you told me I had to eat salads and do cardio every day for the rest of my life to be skinny, I’d cry!

Jane need guidance and knowledge. Jane needed exercise that wasn’t so dreadfully boring.

Anyways, after working with me… Jane was where she wanted to be – 20lbs lighter. The difference this time was that she’s able to stay there now.

Here’s what we did different:

We found exercises Jane liked to help her lose weight and tone at the same time.

Jane learned there’s more to getting a nice body than salads and cardio.

The 20lbs Jane lost this time are symbolic. The represent a sense of freedom. Freedom from making the same silly mistakes, over and over again. 

Jane’s problem wasn’t that she wasn’t trying hard enough. She was confused.

Going to the gym without a game plan is confusing.

Stay tuned for the next few emails. I’m going to send you information that will help you develop a game plan.

If you have any questions, give me call! My number is (XXX) XXX-XXXX

Remember, your free session voucher I sent you in the last email expires on MM/DD/YYYY.

To schedule your free personal training session before it expires, reply to this email, call me or shoot me a message from my website, here:

Speak soon,

Zack Miller

#3 Subject: Your "Game Plan" For The Gym

Hey! Zack From Tone Body Fitness here.

Yesterday I sent you an email telling Jane’s story (one of my old clients).

She had the same problem a lot of people have when trying to lose weight: no game plan.

In this email, and in the next few emails, I’m going to help you set up a strategy to lose weight and keep it off.

Today, we’re focusing on goal setting.

“But Zack, I already have a weight loss goal!”

Thanks fantastic! We’re going to refine your existing goal in 5 easy steps. If you can spare 2 minutes to read the rest of this email I promise it will be worth it.

1. Specific goals work best

If you’re goal is to lose weight, you need to know how much. Whether it’s 10lbs, 20lbs or more you need to have an idea of where you want to be. This way we can….

2. Measure your goals

This way we can measure your goals. This gives us something to track every month, and we can know whether or not we’re moving to our weight loss goal.

3. Are your goals attainable?

If time is going by, and nothing’s happening… or you’re losing weight very slowly… it might be better to either adjust your goal, or adjust your timeline. If you’ve repeatedly lost and gained weight, choose a goal that’s either less weight or a longer timeline.

4. What is your timeline?

One month?

Six months?

One year?

How long is it going to take you to hit your goal weight?

According to research, losing 1-2% bodyfat per month is the most sustainable way to succeed. Body fat percentage is how much of your body weight is actually fat. It’s more accurate than just tracking weight.

If you want to know your bodyfat percentage, Call me. (908) 858-2839


5. Action and Education

After setting your goals, the next steps are the most important.

Get in the habit of going to the gym, get in the habit of learning as much as you can.

No idea every became reality without the action to create it.

Knowledge will help you work smarter so you can get more results with less effort, in less time.

Come see me in the gym 🙂

Keep an eye out for the next few emails. I’ll be teaching you some exercises that will help you lose body fat and tone at the same time.

There will be videos, too.

Remember, your free session voucher I sent you in the last email expires on MM/DD/YYYY.  

To schedule your free personal training session before it expires, reply to this email, call me or shoot me a message from my website, here:  

I look forward to meeting you!

#4 Subject: Leg Exercises That Burn Fat

Hey! It’s Zack From Tone Body Fitness.

Yesterday I sent you an email promising to teach you some exercises.

These aren’t just any exercises. They’re VERY effective for burning fat and toning up. The best part is virtually anyone can do them.

1. Squat

The squat is one of the most well known exercises, and also one of the most misunderstood. The best way to learn this exercise is from a sitting position.

Basically, sit on the edge of a chair or bench. Make sure your feet are flat. And stand up. This helps you learn proper form.

Watch the video demonstration here

2. Split Squat

The split squat is a great way to firm your your legs and also improve your coordination and flexibility.

Put your weight on your front foot, and stand on the toes of your back foot. Come STRAIGHT down, and then straight back up.

Watch the video demonstration here

BONUS: Box Push Up

If you can’t do a full pushup, try the box push up. This will build your strength up, and as you lose weight you can get stronger for a regular pushup.

Watch the video demonstration here

Moving from the box push up to a regular push up is an example of a progression.

Getting stronger by progressing your exercises is what’s going to help you burn fat and keep it off.

In the next email I’ll show you progressions of these exercises. I’ll send it in 2 days so you have a chance to try these exercises. Keep an eye out for it!

The idea is to learn how to work smarter, and learn how to make the most of your time in the gym.

Instead of hitting an hour of cardio a day, you can set good goals like we did in the last email… and try these exercises and learn how to progress them.

It’s way more fun.

Call me to schedule your free training session and I’ll teach you how to do these exercises. (XXX) XXX-XXXX

Remember, your free session voucher I sent you in the last email expires on MM/DD/YYYY.

To schedule your free personal training session before it expires, reply to this email, call me or shoot me a message from my website, here:  

See you soon!

#5 Subject: How Joe Lost 30Lbs

Hey! Zack from Tone Body Fitness here..

Having a hard time getting to the gym to get in shape?

Let’s face it, life gets in the way. Kids, work, school… other things are important, too.

Here’s a story about how one of my old clients, Joe, did it.

Joe’s a family man.

He’s got a wife and two kids (at the time ages 10 and 12). Joe was also studying to finish school.

Between working long hours, school, his kid’s soccer and basketball games… Joe had no time for himself. This was a huge problem.

Joe’s health was taking a turn for the worse. And he knew it, too.

At christmas one year, his sister posted a family picture on facebook. When Joe saw himself in that picture, he couldn’t believe how big his face got. Joe gained 30lbs.

After talking to his wife about getting a personal trainer, Joe came to me. We started training some mornings before work, and some evenings that Joe didn’t have school.

I need to get my health back for my kids,” Joe said, “I can’t look like this next year at Christmas.”

The issue here wasn’t time. The issue was motivation.

One or two days exercising a week was enough to make the difference, he just needed to “want it”.

Joe’s schedule had enough gaps for him to come work out for a half hour once a week, and drop the 30 lbs he gained.

He just needed to come in and try.

You don’t need to exercise every day to get started, but you do need to start somewhere.

Joe trained once a week, and I taught him how to fix his diet. He exercised one day at home on his own, too.

There was time for exercise, there was always time. Joe just needed a push in the right direction and a little support. He needed some help.

If you’d like some help, give me a call.


You don’t need to train every day, but you need to start somewhere.

Remember, your free session voucher I sent you in the last email expires on MM/DD/YYYY.

To schedule your free personal training session before it expires, reply to this email, call me or shoot me a message from my website, here:  

Tomorrow I’m sending you the progressions to the exercises I showed you yesterday, so keep an eye on your inbox.

#6 Subject: As Promised, Here Are Those Exercise Progressions

Hey! Zack from Tone Body Fitness here.

The last email I sent taught you some exercises that will help you burn fat and tone up.

The problem with those exercises… is never progressing them.

If you’re doing those same exercises one year from now, you’re going to hit a plateau. The trick is to get stronger. THIS helps you burn the fat and keep it off.

Progressing is also going to make you more tone as you burn fat.

Here are progressions from the emails I sent you in the last email:

1. Goblet Squat

After you’ve practiced squatting from the bottom of a bench, the next step is to do it without the bench. Then, take a dumbbell and hold it at your collarbone. As you get stronger, you can increase the weight and reps.

Watch the video demonstration here


2. Bulgarian Split Squat

After you’ve got your balance down with the split squat from the last email… try the bulgarian split squat.

Put your back leg on a bench, and do the same thing you did with the split squat. When you get stronger, you can hold some dumbbells in your hands.

Watch the video demonstration here

If you’ve tried these exercises and still don’t feel like you “get it”… or you’re having trouble getting to the gym. Call me.

Let’s figure it out together.



Remember, your free session voucher I sent you in the last email expires on MM/DD/YYYY.

What are you waiting for?

To schedule your free personal training session before it expires, reply to this email, call me or shoot me a message from my website, here:

#7 Subject: How Natalie Found $380 For Personal Training

Hey, Zack from Tone Body Fitness here.

Today I wanted to share Natalie’s story with you.

She needed to lose 20% bodyfat, which was about 30lbs for her. (If you want to know your bodyfat percentage, we go over this in your free session.)

She said she didn’t have enough money, and she couldn’t afford anything.

Anyway, before we went over pricing, we were looking at different habits of hers that might not be helping her lose weight.

She was eating out almost every day between lunch at work, and take-out for dinner.

She went out to a restaurant almost every weekend.

She likes to drink at the bar.

She also smokes about a half a pack of cigarettes a day.

When we estimated how much Natalie was spending a month on everything above, it came out to $380! When we looked at pricing again, that was enough to train twice a week!

I explained to Natalie that the habits that made her out of shape, could sponsor new habits that would make her look good again.

She started training once a week.

The best part about fitness is it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Although Natalie could have trained twice a week, she started with one session a week.

This way, she could still hang out with her friends on weekends and she could work on cooking more of her own meals and quitting smoking.

All while learning exercises and better habits that would help her drop 30lbs.

For Natalie, her bad habits were able to cover the costs of good ones. She could easily afford a personal trainer, she just needed to see how much money was being spent in the wrong places first.

Call me. Let’s get started before your free session expires in a week.


(You can also reply to this email if it’s easier for you.)

Or, shoot me a message from my website, here: 

#8 Subject: hey

Hey, it’s Zack from Tone Body Fitness here agian.

You requested a free personal training session on my website a little over a week ago, and I still haven’t heard from you.

Is everything ok?

I just wanted to follow up with you again before your coupon expires in a few days.

Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help!

-Zack Miller

Schedule your free personal training session here before it expires

#9 Subject: This Is Your LAST Chance.

Hey, it’s Zack from Tone Body Fitness.

I’m just reaching out to let you know that this is your last chance to schedule your free personal training session. 

It expires today.

If I don’t hear from you today, you will have to pay $100 for it in the future.

Schedule your free personal training session here before it expires TODAY

My Business Was Growing Steadily

For those of you who work in retainer-based service industries, you know the business model is fairly simple. 

Inflow of clients > Outflow of clients = Success

For a long time, each month I was signing more clients than I was losing. I also had the luxury of choosing who I wanted to work with. 

I had the “good problems” that come with success: 

  • Clients were having trouble scheduling appointments because I maintained a nearly-full book.
  • The personal training manager wanted to negotiate more rent from me after seeing how busy I was (We were bartering. I was managing the gym’s website & SEO in exchange for rent).
  • Other personal trainers & gym owners in my local area started copying my marketing strategies.

Then, It all Changed In What I Remember To Be An Instant

This is a current screenshot and was taken as an example of what the search results look like. The listings in my area looked different, though.

Notice the “website button”.

In my area, Google made updates to their user interface and removed the “website button” from my listing! 

My sales funnel was based on people going to my website, consuming my content, and coming to me already “warmed up”. 

After the “website button” was removed from my listing, all of my leads came via phone and started with “Hi, how much is a personal training session?”. 

To make things worse, the local search engine market got more saturated, and there were more personal trainers in the area. The difference, though, was they offered a more affordable “group training” model, where my services were “1-on-1” at a higher cost.

Business Started To Decline

At this point, I was now losing clients faster than I could acquire them. 

Outflow of clients > Inflow of clients = Bad

I pivoted and focused my efforts towards online personal training. This did a few things for me.

  1. It gave me a downsell when people couldn’t afford my 1-on-1 pricing. I was able to train clients fully remote, or use a “hybrid approach” which consisted of some in-person sessions, but was mostly remote.
  2. My schedule was no longer the bottleneck that would limit how much money I was able to make. Online personal training was mostly based on template programs with slight modifications, so it was much more scalable. 
  3. I was able to consolidate my schedule and have much more control over the hours I worked.

I Managed To Stem The Bleeding

I replicated the sales funnel I had for in-person training and made slight modifications to make it work for “online personal training”. 

After a few months of link building and content development, I was ranking on the first page of Google for “online fitness coach”. 

I successfully sold a few downsells to people who couldn’t afford my 1-on-1 pricing, and I managed to stabilize my inflow vs outflow of clients.

However, I Ultimately Bit Off More Than I Could Chew

“Online fitness coach” became an extremely competitive keyword, and I was soon knocked off the first page of Google.

I couldn’t have known this at the time, but this was the end of my personal training career and the beginning of my marketing career. 

By this time, most of my day was spent building marketing systems. I still liked training people, but all I wanted to talk about was marketing. 

Soon after my lead generation systems dried up, I was offered an opportunity to work in the marketing department at Investors Bank. I seized the opportunity and never looked back.

Diversify Your Traffic For Long Term Business Success

While I wasn’t making a lot of money, or managing massive ad budgets, I did learn a lot from building my personal training business. 

From a marketing perspective, it is critical to reserve a testing budget. Whether it’s testing new offers, content, channels, or media buying strategies, you should ALWAYS have a testing budget. In the digital marketing landscape, it’s inevitable that change will happen and it’s important to be one step ahead. 

From a business perspective, having a series of upsells and downsells can have a significant impact on revenue. If I had these online services sooner, I might still be personal training. 

I learned these lessons early as a personal trainer, and I saw the same patterns repeatedly in my time at The Snow Agency