Copywriting 101 for Personal Trainers
Now that you’ve defined your customer persona, it is time to enter the world of copywriting. Truthfully, copywriting could be a course on its own. There are people that study and spend their entire careers learning effective copywriting.
That said, there is so much that we could talk about in this module that I’ll be upfront and honest and make the statement that this module won’t do the subject justice.
Instead, what we’re going to do is distill copywriting down to the fundamentals and focus on some of the core principles to get you started.
We’ll also provide some additional content for further reading/research on the subject.
I will say that effective copywriting will either make or break your success in this world. The MOST successful trainers we know have spent significant time refining their copywriting skills so they speak TO their ideal customer in THEIR language.
I can’t emphasize this enough!
In order to be successful, you HAVE TO learn basic copywriting.
So with that...let’s go.
Know Who You’re Talking To
Brush off the Avatar worksheet we gave you and look at it now.
In fact…Print that persona sheet out and tape it up in your workspace.
Go ahead…we’ll wait.
Cool…So that person staring back at you is whom you’re talking to.
Now this is huge. Put yourself in their shoes and establish empathy for them.
What are their top pains?
What are the exact words they use to tell you those pains? Are they saying:
“I want to lose weight” or are they saying “I want to lose fat” – That one word says a lot about them. But more importantly it helps you write your copy so that the language resonates with them!
Lets use two examples here.
Example 1 – The Bro
The bro is in his early 20’s, single, and is just coming out of his illustrious 6-year reign as Chief Bro 6 at his college fraternity.
6 years of binge drinking Natural Light Ice and late nights with Burritos bigger than your head from LaBambas has taken its toll on the young lad.
He wants to look good for the ladies and build some lean muscle but is overwhelmed and not sure where to start. He knows he needs to lose fat, but he also wants to build some “guns”.
Oh, and he wants a 6 pack so he can be like Mike from Jersey Shore
Example 2- The Dad with the “dad body”
The Dad is 40 years old and happily married with 3 little girls. He’s got a busy job and his lifestyle is mostly sedentary.
The Dad recognizes that he’s entering into the back half of his life and his kids are at the top of his mind all the time.
He wants to be more active so he can participate in his kids life as they grow up.
He’s more focused on longevity and living well as long as he can so he’s not a burden on his family in his later years.
He doesn’t care about a 6 pack. He does want to drop his suit size a bit though so he comes off as more professional in his business meetings.
He also travels a ton so figuring out how to eat/drink while on the road is really important.
Now stop and ask yourself these questions about the two personals above:
- What language is each using?
- What are their primary pain points?
- What are the motivations for each of them?
- What are the goals for each of them?
- How will they feel when you solve their pain?
Putting yourself in their shoes and have the ability to answer these questions and you will be wildly successful.
There is a bit a lot of art to copywriting, and a bit of science (A/B split testing which is beyond the scope of this talk).
Everything, let me repeat, EVERYTHING starts with an attention grabbing headline. The headline after all is typically the first thing people will read to decide if they want to invest further in what you have to say.
Think of it as a pickup line in the dating game. You need a good one or your first impression is gone.
There are different categories of headlines that you can use depending on your audience’s language and pains.
Headline Using Social Proof
These are great for showing your customer that there have been other people in the same position as they have who’ve accomplished the goal that your customer desires.
These are hugely powerful for so many reasons. Here are just a few:
- It helps your client to feel like they’re not alone. That it IS possible. And in some extreme examples that they may not be as bad off as the person you’re highlighting in your example.
- If you’re using the success of your previous clients, then it shows that you’re an expert and can get them the same results that you’ve gotten for your previous clients.
- It helps to disarm the usual objections you hear without you having to do anything (I’m too busy, I can’t do it, I don’t have time…)
Social Proof Headline Examples:
- Here is the EXACT method that (success story person) used to (solve pain point) in under 30 days
- An easy way to (their desired result) through this proven method for people with (their ailment)
- I’ve helped (number of success stories) accomplish (their goals) so that YOU can (desired result)
- How (this example) was able to get (desired result) despite having (their objection)
You get the idea here. These headlines are pretty powerful and try and figure out how you can use social proof headlines in your business to capture attention
Achievement headlines are another great option for creating headline that capture attention.
The key with the achievement headline is to paint a picture as if your client has already achieved their desired result.
Hallmarks of the Achievement headline use the words “how to” and “so that”
Examples of Achievement Headlines:
- How to achieve (desired result) in (number of steps) easy steps so that (benefit)
- The A-Z Guide for getting the (desired result) so you can overcome your (pain point)
- Get the (desired result) once and for all without the (undesired side effects)
- Discover the secret to getting your (desired result) using this proven methodology in under (desired timeframe)
Fear headlines are highly effective. They can be a bit controversial though and you risk turning people off if you go too far.
Be careful here, because with great power (using Fear) comes great responsibility.
Do it right and the benefits and payoffs are huge
Don't get it right and you're going to turn off your prospective customers.
But if you stop and think for a moment, it makes sense why fear headlines are so powerful. If they’re done right, you’re able to tap into their primal needs which are core to all of us. Safety (or lack of fear) is one of the strongest evolutionary drivers there is.
Think back to our two scenarios we presented earlier in this guide, The “Bro” and the “Dad”. They’re different, but equally important.
The underlying primal need for the Bro is to find a mate and procreate. That’s core to who we are and what drives us. The “Bro” is afraid that he won’t find a suitable mate.
The “Dad” though is different because he’s focused on caring for his family and surviving/thriving as long as he can.
The dad is afraid he’s not going to be healthy enough to participate with his kids activities and that he’s not going to be around for his kids and grandkids.
Understanding these fears and tapping into these fears is a great way to capture attention and really resonate with the desires/needs of your audience at a primal level.
Example Fear Headlines
- Are you struggling with (pain) and worried you won’t be able to (desired result) so that you can (goals)
- These are the top 3 mistakes that (their persona) makes when trying to achieve (their goals)
- The biggest lie that (your industry) has told you will shock you
- The shocking truth behind (your industry) is that you don’t have to (their struggle)
- Why you’ve failed in (their goals) is because of this one reason
You get the idea here. You definitely need to be careful when you’re writing fear based headlines because you may be turning people off.
Put yourself in their shoes and keep empathy in mind. Given that they’re already likely beat down emotionally as they’re unhealthy, they could take the headline as an insult.
Keep this in mind for the Facebook module later because FB has very strict guidelines about how you advertise to their audience.
Ask questions that engage your audience.
Leave something dangling and keep them guessing
Be provocative (but be careful here)
Use ellipses to convey a sense of mystery (...)
Hit emotional triggers, pain points
Write to a Friend and Write Conversationally
Coming from an academic and corporate world, this was probably one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome in writing my copy.
And when I did, it made ALL the difference.
People started actually reading my emails and responding to me personally.
The tendency is to show off and use flashy words to demonstrate expertise and knowledge. And as a personal trainer you’ve got a vast body of knowledge, that to be honest, can intimidate your audience if over used.
The average person who wants to get healthy doesn’t want to know the inner workings of the body, the impacts of insulin, hormones, macros, micros, etc.
There are of course those that do...so know your audience and speak to them in their voice.
As the old saying goes, I don’t care how the car works. I just want to know that it can get me from point A to point B.
Many of your clients will be the same. They just want to know what actions to take.
For somebody who doesn’t have the extensive background and training that you do, the details can be overwhelming and turn them off.
Instead, talk to your audience as if they were a friend with no knowledge of health/wellness. How would you explain your services to your Mom, Dad, Brother, Uncle, etc?
Start simple and with the basics. If they push you for more details, then go deeper with them but allow them to ask you for it.
And there is a time to be the smart guy and let your customers know that. But when they’re getting to know you it is about these three things.
Ditch the geek speak unless it is called upon by your clients.
What your clients (most of them anyway) want from you are the benefits of your program and an outcome that matters to them!
Results are what matters for the vast majority of your clients so talk about your programs and services in terms of benefits and outcomes.
Let me repeat that…
Benefits and outcomes.
BMW doesn’t sell a car that gets your from Point A à Point B.
Toyota does that.
BMW sells you “The Ultimate Driving Machine”
Establish Know/Like/Trust – “KLT”
People buy from people that they Know, Like, and Trust. In all honest, that matters almost more than all of your certifications, past experience, other success stories.
I’m going to make a bold proclamation here. Getting healthy and transforming your life is one of THE most intimate things I can think of.
Your clients are opening up to you in a way that is practically unparalleled outside of lying down on a couch talking to a therapist (on my personal list of things to do).
Your goal is to get your clients to know you and one of the best ways to do that is through the art of story telling.
What is your story? How will people relate and resonate with that story?
I had a trainer who was getting frustrated that he didn’t close the sale with a lady that he was working a free session for.
He’s an incredible trainer and is great at closing sales. Now he is an Asian American who has competed in successfully in bodybuilding competitions and has had great success training a myriad of people.
She was a middle aged African American woman who was just stating her journey to health and wellness.
He definitely could have helped her accomplish her goals.
So he was confused when he couldn’t close the deal.
So I told him to go back ask her why.
She simply stated “You wouldn’t understand what it’s like to be me”
He had no response to that. She was right. He couldn’t relate to her.
Had he been a woman who had a similar background to her, maybe similar challenges in the past, it would have been a different conversation.
Again, what is your story and how will people relate to it?
What challenges have you overcome?
Establishing KLT is something that takes time and can be challenging, especially in health and wellness where so much crap is peddled to the public.
They’re guard is naturally going to be up initially. Your goal in your copywriting is to establish Know/Like/Trust through relatable stories, social proof (success stories), and just frankly being “personal”.
Write for “scanning” instead of “reading”
Think about how you read content on the web versus reading content in a book. They are vastly different.
On the web people scan content.
In books, people read the content.
What’s the difference? Well for one there are thousands, actually millions of other pages that are at your fingertips when you’re on a computer.
Subconsciously people are wondering if this is the best use of their time. So they’ll scan the content to really see if it is worth their time or not.
And studies show that they’ll make the decision in only a matter of a few seconds which is why it is so critical to make your content easy to consume.
Look at this document and how it’s written…
What do you notice?
You don’t see huge blocks of text that people need to focus and concentrate on.
Why? Because it’s intimidating and you’re making people “work” to be able to consume it.
Try and keep your paragraphs to around 2-3 sentences so it’s easy to read.
Leave the large blocks of text to the academics.
Instead make it “scrollable” …
If Social Media feeds have conditioned for anything, it’s scrolling through and scanning rather than reading.
Subconsciously the reader of your copywriting is able to consume the content easier and they feel that they’re making “progress” faster as they’re able to rip through pages of content quickly.
How to confirm your writing is readable:
To quickly determine if your copywriting is easily readable, simply turn your page of writing on the side and look for lots of peaks and valleys.
This is an example of something "scrollable" and easily readable. It's not intimidating.
This is an example of copy that's a bit more intimidating. Note the blocks and dense text:
Make it Easy and Be Succinct
Everybody is busy these days so there is no need in being redundant. Get to the point and don’t waste time with filler words.
In fact, some of the best copywriters write for a 6th grade level.
This helps to ensure that your writing is easily and quickly consumable by a broad spectrum of people.
That said, if your specific audience you are targeting is academic or highly educated, you might want to up level things a bit.
If you’re not familiar with it, there is a cool feature in Microsoft Word that uses an algorithm to determine how readable your documents are.
It’s called the Flesch-Kincaid score
I did a quick scan and on this document and it returned grade 6.3…so I guess I’m getting good at this.
If you’re not using word you can search for an online analysis tool like this one.
Call to Action – Start with the End in Mind
Start with the end in mind. What do you want your prospective clients to do in the end?
Do you want them to download your free e-book in exchange for an email address?
Do you want them to take you up on a free lesson?
Maybe you want them to refer friends?
Always, always, always have some kind of Call to Action in everything you do. It helps guide your clients along a journey to learning more about you and your unique services.
Take them through step-by-step through various call to actions that bring them further along the Know/Like/Trust
AVOID ALL CAPS
It’s annoying. Don’t do it except in rare cases.
As an alternative use an underline, bold, or even different colored text.
The Copywriting Formula:
If all of this seems overwhelming allow me to distill copywriting down to a general formula that you can use in your copywriting.
Pain/Struggle + Unique Solution + Call to Action (CTA) = Their Desired Outcome & Benefits
Using this simple formula will allow you to speak in a way that resonates with your prospective customers using their language.
This in turn will help you communicate that you understand and empathize with their plight while having a unique and effective solution to their problems.