Referrals are my best advertising.
I also tend to get clients by training my clients outside on nice days. Other people see us training or see me lugging equipment in/out of the car and ask about my services. A good professional business card comes in handy here.
I’ve also placed on-line ads with local moms groups (I specialize in training moms with small children, pre/post-natal). I’ve gotten several clients this way as well.
The great thing about all these suggestions, most of them cost you nothing!
I started an in-home fitness business in 2003 and I just sold it a month ago. What really helped me in the beginning was not only grass roots marketing to the areas/clientele that I wanted to target, but I also used a service called respond.com
In early 2002, IDEA used to give away free leads that were coming from respond.com, but then the lead company caught on that some of these leads were turning out to be great revenue streams for trainers. For example, one of the leads that I procured through IDEA/Respond.com cost me $1.00 and I had that client on and off for 5 years.
The other method that I used was advertising in the neighborhood newsletters/community newspaper that have your exact demographic. If you want high end clientele, then advertising in the penny save or craigslist is not going to drive you that type of business. Advertise and market where your client is. If you are looking more for large numbers, then craigslist may work.
I believe that word-of mouth referrals are still the best way, however, I have gotten inquiries through IDEA FitnessConnect. I believe that this is a great source.
Years ago, I tried an ad in a newspaper (I am in busines that long 🙂 and the only person I got through this medium was the person at the newspaper who I talked to about this ad.
I found that being out in public events, clearly identifiable as a personal trainer, often starts a conversation. A lot of people are curious and may never have met a real personal trainer. Have plenty of business cards handy.
Teaching classes, of course, is another way to connect to people, and I see that you are also a fitness instructor.
Fortunately, I have my own studio and only go to the homes for existing clients if they have a change of circumstances that makes it necessary.
I really liked Marlan’s suggestion to secure your personal safety, particularly if it is a lead that did not come through an existing client.
Word of mouth tends to work best for me. I have also had success with the ACE AARP Resource. My company secured a contract with four managed-care nursing homes. I’ve also have several clients that I’ve secured through IDEA Fitness Connect.
I have the fortune of having a 700-square foot space so I am able to provide both services mobile and at my studio.
I feel strongly that this resource can be very instrumental in securing new clients if one takes advantage of it’s power.