This year, I’ve gotten bombarded by trainers on how to optimize their LinkedIn profile to build their personal training business. As soon as I tell them I’ve gotten more than a half dozen, high quality, high price point, in-person clients in the past 60 days, they all want to know the secret. Because of this, I felt it was warranted to write an article explaining the things I’ve done to optimize and market my services there, and why it is, in my opinion, the best place for trainers to find high-quality clients.
Let’s start with what LinkedIn is.
Most people think of LinkedIn as a job site. You post your CV, search job listings, and network with other professionals in your industry. If you haven’t been on the platform in a while, one login to your account and view of your news feed clearly shows you that it’s now much more driven by content marketing. Also, if anyone is thinking of hiring you, LinkedIn is likely the first place they’ll go before they even meet with you in person.
Another great benefit about LinkedIn vs other platforms right now is their organic reach. As you can see in the image below, the cost per click is highest on LinkedIn compared to the other platforms. That means there are far fewer ads and much more organic content in your news feed. It also means that if you do decide to advertise there, although it’s more expensive than the other platforms, you’re likely to get higher quality conversions
Trainers, think about who your clients are. If you work in an upscale gym, or train independently or own a boutique studio, your demographic of personal training clients is likely in the 35-60 age category. Those people are more established in their careers, have a higher net worth, and if they are old enough to have adult children they likely have the disposable income to shift towards their own health and wellness.
Check out some of these stats and you’ll quickly see why I try to have a big presence there: (view the full article on Hootsuite here)
45% of LinkedIn users make over $75k per year.
50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn.
45% of LinkedIn users work in upper management.
94% of B2B marketers on social media use LinkedIn to publish content.
91% of Executives rate LinkedIn as their first choice for professionally relevant information.
I want to stress that last point. The people who are most likely to buy your training services overwhelmingly trust LinkedIn as the place to get relevant information on your respected profession.
Ok, now that we can see what kind of value the LinkedIn audience brings when trying to attract the right clients, let’s get down to some practical tips on how to use it best.
How To Optimize Your Profile On LinkedIn
Start off by splurging for the premium account. It’s about $30 per month and allows you a few bonus features that will come in handy when deploying your marketing tactics on the platform.
Some of those features include:
The ability to use InMail and connect with people you wouldn’t be able to connect with otherwise. This allows you access to higher executives who have privacy settings that free users can’t access.
You get access to more details of the people who search for you. If someone searches “personal trainer [your city here]” and you come up in their search queue and they click to your profile. You can see who searched for you. Try finding this amazing feature on any other platform. It doesn’t exist. This is a huge competitive advantage to see exactly who is looking for your services, request to connect, then slide into their DM and introduce yourself! I’ve gotten three clients by using this exact method, which has paid for the cost of a premium account 100x over in the long run.
The gold LinkedIn badge that shows next to your name in searches looks more exclusive that the flood of free account holders without it. Simply put, you’ll stand out.
Gives you access to thousands of online learning courses from industry experts. Great if you want to also develop courses to market that way, or even enroll in some and educate yourself.
Get a banner on your profile. I used Canva to design a simple one that sits behind my profile picture and really makes my profile pop when people click through. Canva has a free account that will do everything you need, but I spend the small monthly fee to get full access and ability to print in different formats and higher quality graphics.
You need to have a clear tagline on your profile that explains exactly who you help, what kind of outcomes you provide and what the benefits are of those outcomes. The percentage of mobile usage of LinkedIn is high enough (57%) that you want to ensure you say most of what you need to say in the first two lines. If someone doesn’t click through to view your bio, they’ll at least get to read those first two lines and understand how you can help them. As an example and way to provide you with some clarity to what I mean, here’s what my tagline reads: “I help highly-driven professional men get back into shape, stay motivated, and make consistent progress.” It’s short and sweet and says exactly who I help and how I benefit them. Most everybody doesn’t care nearly as much about your professional credentials as much as they want to feel like you have a message that resonates with them and what their struggles are. I’m not saying your credentials aren’t important. Just know that everyone wants to know more about how you may be able to help them, not about all the schooling you went through. I’ve never once in 10 years ever had a client ask me which national certification I have. Once you have your tagline set, start a new paragraph and write your descriptive bio.
Use the “who’s viewed your profile” feature. This is a major benefit with the premium account. Here’s where you can start to filter out who’s checking you out and find out more about them and decide if you want to connect. It’s almost a no brainer for me to add a connection that’s viewed my profile and then immediately slide into their DM, thank them for connecting, and wish them a great day. You’d be amazed at how many people are willing to engage with you this way. The large reason they viewed your profile (as long as it wasn’t someone you requested connection to first and is screening you) is that you showed up in their search query and they clicked your profile. It should be a dead giveaway that this person is likely looking for something you have to offer, like health and fitness services. I go aggressively on this strategy and connect with any and all people that view my profile. Message them all and start a dialogue. Remember, this is something you have to do consistently and find time for daily. If you just do it for a few days, you’ll likely not get enough experience on what DM greetings work and which don’t. Just like meeting someone in person, the more personalized and relative you can make your messaging, the more likely you’re going to get a response back and have someone engage with you.
Effective Tactics For Prospecting Clients on LinkedIn
Now that you’ve optimized your profile and understood some of the strategies you need to implement, let’s talk about the tactical side. In other words, what are the daily actions you should be taking on the platform to actually convert leads into clients?
Strategy #1 - The Effective Way to Use the Search Bar
One of the best ways to make new connections that can become potential prospects is to use the search feature in LinkedIn to target a specific kind of individual. If you have the premium account you will be able to filter out your searches in greater detail and parse out the people that may be interested in your services.
Start by typing your city into the search bar, followed by a job title that your ideal client has. For example:
New York City Vice President
San Francisco Software Engineer
Once you hit search, filter out by people and start connecting. Part of my strategy on LinkedIn is to use the search feature daily by requesting 30 connections a day. This breaks out to roughly 900 per month. Even if I only connect with 10% of those people I would make 90 new connections per month which would allow my content to get in front of people I’ve handpicked to see it. The good news is that far more than 10% of people add me to their network (it’s closer to 30 or 40%, so I typically can make a few hundred ideal connections a month and grow my network of ideal prospects.)
Try out some of these job titles in your search that I’ve identified as a viable candidate for personal training services:
This list is in no way complete and you can get as creative as you want. I would suggest doing an inventory of your current clients and look for job patterns. Then use that as a search term alongside your city.
Strategy #2 - Focused Content Towards Solving Your Ideal Client’s Challenges
Now that you’re consistently building your network of ideal prospects, it’s time to drop some content on their doorstep that engages them and builds your authority and value as a viable source of relevant fitness information.
The best way to do this is through your posts. Think about answering these questions when you’re deciding what to post about:
What does my avatar client have the most challenge with when trying to get more fit?
What are the hobbies and interests that my avatar client wants to know more about?
What is the most important thing to my avatar client, and how could I create a post that would move them closer to that important thing?
How can I explain the benefits that my avatar client would get from improving an area of their life they’re unhappy with?
You want all your content to be congruent with the branding and messaging that attracts your ideal clients. Always ask yourself, “By posting this, does it help give value to my ideal client and move them closer to the benefits they want?”
Most of us act on the things that are most important to us, not someone else. This means that your messaging has to show the benefits of improving that thing. Think of it this way - My target client is a 40 to 60-year-old, highly-driven, busy, professional male. Many of them love to golf. Some go several times a week. That means golf is important to them. If I make a post that shows the benefit of doing this one exercise that will benefit them by hitting a longer drive off the tee, I’m likely to attract the attention of those ideal clients. They’re also more likely to engage with my posts which then shows me exactly who is interested in my content, which I can now reach out to and send a personalized message to, or even ask what they’re interested in learning more about so I can tailor my content toward the things people are most likely to interact with.
Strategy #3 - Publishing Articles
Articles, different from blog posts, show up in your clients feed or search results in a more formal context. They showcase authority, professionalism, and provide your audience with longer form content than a regular post does. Remember that 91% of Executives rate LinkedIn as their first choice for professionally relevant information. This means that an article published on LinkedIn will carry more weight than your posts will. They build authority and leverage, both things that are important to your professional career and business building opportunity.
If you already have blog posts on your website, re-purpose them to a LinkedIn article and then create a back-link to your blogging site where they can see more of your content from a native platform like your professional website. Also, remember to have some way to capture emails from potential leads that come to your site and are viewing your content. You can do this easily with a simple pop-up form built on MailChimp (and it’s free!)
All in all, LinkedIn is a great place to become well connected with the career professional who have money, are well educated, and likely see the potential value in hiring a personal trainer or coach to help them get healthier and fit. Like anything, it’s going to come down to putting the work in on a daily basis. You may not see results in the first weeks or even months. That doesn’t mean it’s not working. You need time to create a body of work, and learn how your network interacts with your content. That only happens if you’re putting yourself out there. Take consistent action on these 3 strategies and I can guarantee you’ll have just as much, if not more, success than I’ve had on this platform.