7 Ways PT Studios stand out from their competitors in business




Your gym and personal training studio has been reporting steady sales for several years, your sessions are 80%+ full and you’ve got the local media in your back pocket. But do you stand out from your competitors in business?

Now a new training studio or gym has moved in across the street, hiring a PR agency that helped them hit the ground running with a grand opening event, advertising, mailers and more.

Your sales start to slip and leads stop calling.

How can you compete against this new competition’s seemingly unlimited marketing muscle? 

Here are seven ways to make your Independent Gym or Fitness Studio stand out from your competitors in business.

1. Avoid comparing your business to other gyms and studios.

A big PR budget does not equal a better product. Don't compare yourself to the big-budgeted gyms.

This is a mistake that beginners in business make.

Yes, by all means check out what the big guys are doing for creative purposes, but by comparing yourself, you can sometimes fall into a victim mindset.

Do not sabotage yourself by draining your emotional energy on what everyone else is doing better than you.

Your craft needs that emotional energy much more than your competition.

Your craft needs your passion, your fire and your creative genius to push forward. Your competition is draining you of your competitive edge, and they’re not losing sleep over it -- you are.

Yes, it’s important to know your market well and the others competing in your space, but keep it there.

Have a concrete knowledge, but don’t worry about their quarterly sales, their new endorsements, how big their holiday party was, what media slots they are securing or what new clients they’ve gotten.

The reality is that there is enough business out there for everyone. If you don’t believe so, ask yourself -- how you are going to solicit a larger client base?

Focus on the value that you, your business and your services bring to your community.

Spend time listening to what your loyal members and clients are saying so that you can consistently perfect what you do.

Focus on innovative marketing strategies, closing sales, satisfaction guarantees and new business outreach.

Seeing the glass half full is half the battle.

Think about what you do have and what you do exceptionally well. Focus on the clients that already love what you do, and show them how much you appreciate them.

2. Check your infrastructure

If you’re going head-to-head with a heavy hitter, make sure that you’re ready to take on the challenge with a solid business and a motivated team.

You’ve got to create a solid infrastructure using the three P’s...

  • your People
  • your Place of business
  • and your business Partners.


Of the three “P”s, “people” are the most important. Without good people, good processes and good products or services only do so much.

Simply put, the “right” people are effective while the “wrong” people can destroy your business. And what’s “right” for one business may not be for another.

Furthermore, you can’t just look at someone’s CV and tell that he or she is the right person. Sure, you can judge qualifications, but effectiveness in the role(s) they perform for you is something you will only pick up on (or not) in person, when you interview a job candidate for a role and you see how he or she interacts.


How well does your business develop and deliver the processes that make it run?

Assuming you have hired the right people, the second element necessary for your success is having processes that make sense.

Neither should they be needlessly complicated.

Being in the health and fitness business, your product is health, but the processes that go into turning fitness goals into results have an enormous bearing on how efficient and effective creation of your sytems and processes are.

In most gyms and PT Studios, processes must adapt with the times, or the business risks being left behind by competitors.


In many cases, a business's product is a tangible item: a tool, software package, article of clothing, or food product.

But in the fitness industry, our product is a service, such as a gym membership, a PT session or a nutrition program.

A great product alone isn’t enough to make a business successful, but it is essential, because people simply won’t buy irrelevant or inadequate products (or services).

So rather than promote your services, look into how you can create your own flagship product. John Warrillow discusses this in his great book Built To Sell.  

Are you ready to max out your sessions?

Is your team ready to handle the added surge of new members?

Is your facility clean and signage maximised?

If so, you may be ready to give a big-budget competitor a run for their money.

3. Find a local partner.

Two heads are almost always better than one, so look around for some backup if you are serious when it comes to standing out from your competitors in business. .

Align yourself with local charities that have bigger PR budgets than you.

Host events at your facility and/or give proceeds to a local charity in return for them using their budget to spread the word and drive traffic to your studio.

And look to partner with businesses who work with the same types of clients you do. For example, when I ran my own Outdoor Bootcamps, I partnered with local hair salons, nail salons and day spas because I knew that they also serviced the same clientele that I did.

I was able to structure special offers for their clients to join my classes and in return I was able to promote the hair salons etc to my client list.

4. Get personal with your clients.

More often than not, the gym using a big PR agency will send out template marketing mailers.

As you run a smaller operation, you can be more personal and make clients feel like part of the family.

Send handwritten cards congratulating them on hitting a personal goal or pick up your phone and call them out of the blue to follow up after their last session.

Example of Handwritten Cards Sent To Clients

Handwritten cards to clients

I used this tactic a lot and to good measure when I was aiming to stand out from my competitors in business. And as you will see from the images above I have shared this successful marketing tactic with clients.

I have covered this in depth in a recent edition of my print newsletters. Touch base with me if you would like to receive a complimentary free copy.

5. Begin—or rekindle—relationships with local press.

PR is about developing relationships.

Take the time to get to know a writer and they may consider you a source of information to call in the future.

This strategy has worked for me on a number of occasions.

There WILL be a time when they have to write a health-related article and they are NOT an expert so they have to reach out to one and that person could be and should be you!

Before you embark on your own PR journey to help you stand out from your competitors in business, it’s important to first define your goals.

You can build a successful, easy-to-implement strategic plan by using the answers you have to the following questions:

  • Who are you trying to reach and influence?
  • What is the message you want to convey?
  • What stories can you share that will rally people to support and share your cause?
  • What can you bring to your industry discussion that is new or interesting?
  • What market problem are you trying to solve?
  • Can you be a thought leader on a particular topic?
  • Are there national or industry trends you can speak to?
  • What is your desired outcome?

Once you’ve clearly outlined what it is you hope to achieve through your PR efforts, you’ll need to figure out what your angle(s) will be, and to whom you’ll pitch it.

I have covered this subject in depth in one of my recent newsletters. Let me know in the comments below if you would like a copy or jump on a call with me to discuss your ideas.

6. Continue to promote your business through social media and email.

Make sure that you capture names and emails of the clients who visit your facility – encourage them to “check-in” on Facebook each time they are in for a session.

Take photos and videos of sessions and tag clients in these posts.

These clients are the easiest, fastest and cheapest people to reach with your PR message.

Email marketing STILL has huge profit potential and costs very little; the big gyms use this strategy, and it works.

Remember – the fortune is in the list.

7. Be more creative and stand out from your competitors in business.

When was the last time you created something that really wowed your clients?

If you don’t have a big budget, you have to get creative and get your clients enthralled.

Create compelling offers year-round that will get customers talking.

So there are 7 tips to help you stand out from your competitors in business.

What are you doing THIS WEEK to help you stand out from the crowd?

About the author, Andrew Wallis

From two decades in the corporate world to finding my freedom in fitness, I'm known as Braveheart—a Personal Trainer turned marketing maestro for Fitness Professionals. I'm all about unlocking potential and empowering Fit Pros to grow their businesses. 'Finding Your Freedom' isn't just a mantra; it's a collective journey I embark upon with my clients.

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