Note to Fitness Professionals: This is How NOT to Market Yourself

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On an almost daily basis I receive emails from people asking me to promote their website or pimp their product.

On one hand I’m honored that some people think highly enough of me that they’re willing to reach out, stroke my ego a bit (Tony, you’re so smart and handsome), and ask for help.

Plus, you know, free stuff!

I’m not going to lie:  90% of the time whatever it is someone’s selling or marketing – whether it’s a website, blog, or product – it’s garbage and has no relevance to me or my audience.  I once had someone contact me asking if I’d be interested in trying out their new vegetarian, soy-based, meat-like product, and if I liked it, would I be willing to write about it on my blog?

Clearly they didn’t read my site and were just fishing all the popular fitness blogs to see if they could get any bites.

It may have very well been the best tasting and highest quality whateverthef*** on the market, easily digestible, increasing protein synthesis by 177%, and making people shit rainbows and cinnamon.  But definitely not a good fit for me or my site considering all the dead animal flesh I eat.

Flipping the script, however, every now and then I’ll receive an email from someone where I’ll be intrigued by what they have to offer.

Clear Tea would be one example.

In this case, the individual sent me an email that wasn’t a “canned” template, actually mentioned that they were a fan of my work, even referenced a few posts where I mentioned my love of tea, and then offered to send me a few samples to try if I was interested.

In fact, the heading of Greg’s (the owner of Opportuniteas, which is such a baller name by the way) initial email to me read:  “I love your articles, want free tea?”

He then opened the dialogue by saying, “I hope things are amazing with you.  Your articles have helped my deadlift immensely…….”

It was personalized, it was professional, it was non-douchy.

As a result, he and I have kept in touch, I (and Lisa) love ClearTea and use it every day and have told friends and family about it, and I was more than willing to write up a testimonial for his website.

Unfortunately, in the world of networking and marketing that’s the exception and not the rule.

Lets go back and explore, in my experience, the “norm,” and how NOT to reach out to others and come across as someone destined to mediocrity.

All new and incoming fitness professionals pay attention.

Last week I received an email from a guy named Hazel asking me if I’d be interested in writing about his website.  Mind you, I’ve never heard of Hazel, never interacted with him, never read anything he’s written, never seen him coach, never laid eyes on him.

For all I know, Hazel could be some 50 lb overweight housewife catfishing me.

Nevertheless, his approach was to open with:

“I came across your site and find it full of useful information about fitness.”

Ahh, can you smell the mass email?

He then went on to ask if I’d be interested in blogging about his new website he designed which offers free content to guys looking to add muscle.

He was also gracious enough to inform me that I could easily link to his site!!!

Needless to say I deleted the email, chalked it up to someone who just doesn’t “get it,” and moved on with my life.

A few days later I saw my buddy, JC Deen, post this up on his Facebook Wall:

Note:  I blocked out Hazel’s website with the giant arrow.

Hahahahahahahaha.  I knew it was a mass email!  The dude sent the EXACT same message to JC (and John Romaniello) and I have to imagine dozens (if not hundreds) of other fitness professionals with popular websites and blogs.

People, this is how NOT to market or make a name for yourself.

As Lou Schuler has repeatedly noted:  “when the fitness industry is ready for you, it will find you.”

Many don’t want to hear the truth, but it takes years of hard work and consistency to gain an audience. Or, if you’re an attractive female with a badonkadonk (and an affinity to play Spiderman in your free time), all you need is an Instagram account.

You don’t do so by sending out “canned” mass emails to everyone with a .com next to their name and expect them to jump on board. Come on!  At least buy them dinner first or something.

Maybe Hazel will prove me wrong and his website will catch on.  But I doubt it.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

Comments for This Entry

  • Roland Denzel

    Galina and I get several 'great' offers per week, by people who have obviously never read our stuff. Nice research, people!

    June 11, 2014 at 10:37 am | Reply to this comment

  • George Kalantzis

    What your saying is in the fitness industry, hard work and time pays off? What words of inspiration do you have for new coaches? Would you suggest spending more time on coaching , attaining a solid client base and maybe start a small newsletter/website? I know you have always pointed me in the right direction, then again I did learn from the best

    June 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      I think starting with a blog/website is a fantastic idea. People need a place to get more info on YOU! Use it as a home base where you post your bio, testimonials, blog posts or articles of interest, etc.

      June 12, 2014 at 9:19 am | Reply to this comment

  • sandiegopete

    As usual, GREAT advice...

    June 11, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Kate C

    You should be a blogger who happens to mention they are a parent. I get offers all the time where they clearly have not read my blog as they offer me baby stuff. My children are 9 and nearly 8!

    June 11, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Reply to this comment

  • John voigts

    I am not familiar with your page or personal fitness advice, however I take full responsibility for that because I am increasing my social media exposure to levels I would like for them to be! That being said I don't need a lot of information about you to throughly enjoy this article, and agree 100%! I have watched the occupation of being a trainer or coach become so polluted since I started, that I refrain from identify myself as one when meeting someone! When I received my cscs In the late 90's , I found that anytime I would say I am a trainer, I would be categorized with trainer's that rep count and provide one size fits all 3 sets of 10 tool's that occupy a lot of big box gyms! For the record I am not a Hater , but I am an advocate for bringing resctabilty back to my profession/passion! So I try not to smash trainer's that I feel are redundant or irrelevant, but when I see trainer's misleading people on purpose to aquire some gain for themselves, I try and correct the problem of possible! I have always been firm believer in letting your work speak for itself, and I still follow that however with technology changing daily, if you don't conform you the only one to blame when Katfishes word's are the only one's out there! So in closing I must say that I appreciate trainer's who take pride in their work, and I look forward to becoming better acquainted with your site! I know I embraced social media so I wouldn't have the regret of not voicing my optionions to the masses!

    June 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Anja Skrba

    Hey Tony, I talk daily with many bloggers from different niches on that matter and trust me when I tell you that we ALL are dealing with the same issues...! I'm gonna share this on my socials to raise more consciousness about this matter. Kind regards. Anja

    June 30, 2015 at 6:41 am | Reply to this comment

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