This article is part 4 of 4 which recaps the roundtable discussion that were held at the recent FMI conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

After splitting the attendees up into four groups, we assigned each a separate topic for them to discuss. Feel free to click below to read the previous article.

1 – Blogging and Sharing Websites Marketing Efforts (Led by Dave Dreas)
2 – Personal Website Marketing Efforts (Led by James Patrick)
3 – Social Media Marketing Efforts (Led by Kimerbly Miller)
4 – Differentiating your Niche and Brand Online (Led by Teri Simmons-Crenshaw)

The fourth and final discussion we are sharing is differentiating your niche and brand online which was led by Teri Simmons-Crenshaw.

Major Discussion Points Included:
1 – What is your niche?
2 – Marketing:  Social, print, permission
3 – Recommended reading

We began our discussion by defining what makes us unique in our industry.  It is vital to differentiate in a way that makes your brand stand out.  If you attempt to get the attention of potential clients by marketing yourself as a “better” fitness professional or even a “cheaper” trainer, you are dead in the water.  White noise.  People want to know how you are different and how that helps them.  Examples of attendees who were niche-oriented were The Fit Girl on the Go: outdoor and adventure workouts and the Double Time Twins with their dance-based fitness programs.  We talked about how being a fitness professional is the first layer or umbrella of your business and below that is the title of trainer, nutritionist etc. and then your niche.  Your niche is your specific brand and is what gets the attention of a prospective client.

How do you market your expertise? An example of the mistakes made on Facebook and Twitter is constantly making your marketing about you.  Posting that you just “crushed legs” in a killer workout isn’t attention getting and is potentially annoying.  Alternatively, create posts that reach your market and lets them know how you can help them or have helped others like them.

Using the “Ask a Question” feature is a good option for getting a conversation started and can be attention-getting however, taking a poll on what exercises your Facebook friends want to see you demonstrate isn’t on target either.

We also discussed ideas for making your print marketing “stick”.  I showed them the business cards that I had made through  With the ability to upload up to 50 different pictures/ logos/ photos, the cards stand out and clients can choose whichever card is their own favorite.  It makes it a fun way to engage the people you meet in person.  It’s an icebreaker and a conversation started that will make your card a “keeper”.

Remembering that your clients who are friends on Facebook have given you “permission” to provide information about your business, what you do and how you can help.  Permission marketing is much more effective than random print marketing for capturing the audience that is already interested or potentially interested in your product.  Differentiating your brand by personal (via online) connection with potential clients is an effective branding strategy.

Side note:  having 1000 Facebook friends makes the personal connection much more difficult.  Decide if you want fewer, more likely to buy, clients or just a mass following.  This is dependent on the type of services or product you offer.  If you are all about selling eBooks related to your niche, then having a mass following is fine.  If you are doing small group or private training at a higher end price point you might want the personal connection option instead.

To conclude each mini forum I suggested the attendees read a couple of books on the subject of differentiation and soft innovation that I have found helpful.   Both are by Seth Godin:
Purple Cow
Free Prize Inside.

Teri Simmons-Crenshaw is a fitness talent and the owner and CEO of Dancer Body Fitness, LLC based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Also connect with her on her company’s facebook page at or her personal page at

James Patrick