Certified personal trainer Kimberly Linton. , MBA, loves helping people improve their fitness levels—and their lives. As owner and manager of Fitness 4 Life Studio in Springfield, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC, she offers private training sessions. She also offers online training to reach a broader population.

To provide extra value for current clients and to attract new clients, Linton uses the free IDEA FitnessConnect tool, the largest directory of fitness professionals, connecting more than 16 million consumers to more than 250,000 fitness professionals online at www.ideafit.com. Below she shares her experience with IDEA FitnessConnect.

1. How long have you been on IDEA FitnessConnect? “Since its launch,” says Linton. “I immediately realized its value and the opportunity it provided for new and seasoned fitness professionals.”

2. What tools do you use on your profile? Which are your favorites? “I had been using all of the social media tools already, so linking them within FitnessConnect was easy,” she explains. “I especially like the inclusion of client reviews and comments. They are a great way to allow clients to share their experience, which ultimately may help a prospective client decide whether to work with you.”

3. Why do you participate in the IDEA Answers section? “I love sharing what I’ve learned over the last 18 years in the industry and feel like it’s a good way to add to the fitness community’s synergy,” she says. “The more we share experiences as professionals, the more it benefits clients. Also, answering and asking questions helps me learn different ways to grow my business.”

4. Have potential clients contacted you through IDEA FitnessConnect? “Yes, and it was amazing that they all were right in my neighborhood!” she explains. “Most were looking for someone tough like me, someone who could truly motivate them. I was able to convert several of the leads to clients. The rest weren’t the best fit for various reasons.”

5. What do you do to promote your profile? “I include a link to my profile on my website ‘media inquiries’ and ‘about us’ pages,” she says. “I feel like it’s part of the ‘social proof’ that consumers look for to validate my abilities. I also put links in my newsletters and emails.”

6. Do you have a story about how you have helped a client whom you’ve gotten as a result of being on IDEA FitnessConnect? “A woman contacted me through FitnessConnect and bought a ‘total transformation’ package,” she explains. “She lost 15 pounds in 3 months. This was more weight than she had lost in the previous year! After her success, she paid for her husband to train with me.”

7. How have your personal training business and phone coaching services benefited most by your being on IDEA FitnessConnect? “I used FitnessConnect to apply to present at IDEA [and got accepted], and other companies are now contacting me due to my ‘expert’ profile. I’ve been asked to teach seminars and set up possible partnerships with other companies. Also, I have been able to offer my phone and online coaching to a larger audience thanks to FitnessConnect being featured on major websites. Having access to that traffic is awesome!”