In the world of personal training, fitness experts usually rely on word of mouth to win new business. But this wasn't possible for Armin Auerhammer.
The German immigrant and his wife settled in Christchurch when they arrived in New Zealand but, after the earthquake last year, came up to Auckland for his wife's job as an audiometrist.
The timing was good. The personal trainer market had dried up in Christchurch. "After all the earthquakes, everyone was keeping their money," says Auerhammer.
He had no contacts in Auckland but was able to present a very good CV including an MA in Sports Science and sports therapist qualifications. Auerhammer had also lectured in Germany for several national sports associations and helped sportspeople and others with rehabilitation.
Due to his experience in the rehabilitation arena, Auerhammer has specialised in orthopaedic dysfunctions and injuries. He has helped people with signs of wear in places such as the back, neck and other joints.
The Frankfurt-born personal trainer's other area of expertise is working with overweight clients from 50 years old who need help in increasing core strength, stability and improving their cardiovascular health.
In the first few weeks of arriving here, Auerhammer looked for a job and found one contracting for Anytime Fitness Ponsonby where he now has seven to nine male clients. As well, he set up his own business, PTC Consulting, which he runs from home in Howick.
"I offer interested people a first 30-minute session free of charge to introduce them to the entire process and its advantages," he says.
Some clients like their personal trainers to go to them and Auerhammer is happy to do this. As well as offering personal training, Auerhammer's business sells Unicity sports and weight loss supplements to complement the physical training he gives.
At Anytime Fitness, he met a senior director from Yellow who became his client. The executive was impressed with him and interested in the German's story. He suggested Auerhammer use digital marketing to get the word out about his new business.
Since then, Yellow has helped him take on Google AdWords and Auerhammer is also considering using Finda, the Yellow business directory. He has been introduced to Yellow sales specialists who have given him tips on how to increase the click rate on his website.
Since March, using Google AdWords has increased the click rate and the amount of traffic going through his website, www.ptcconsulting.co.nz, says Auerhammer.
"Business has increased so much. I have signed up five new clients," he says.
Auerhammer now has four clients coming to his home business and one based in St
Marys Bay. He has recently advised two figure skaters preparing to compete at world championships.
Auerhammer helped train Olympic figure skaters in Germany so was the perfect trainer for them.
The Unicity sports supplement part of the business has been gaining some traction online. "People talk about me and the supplements on there. It's absolutely fantastic," says the personal trainer.
At the moment, Auerhammer is thinking of taking his website to Yellow. He needs some help updating it and to make sure he is maximising the search engine optimisation. He has been told if he sets up a Facebook account it will increase the click rates on his website.
As his business grows, he would like to increase the personal training side of PTC Consulting and employ or contract someone to help him. "I would also like to increase the supplements business," he says. He uses these in conjunction with personal training.
Auerhammer believes that a lot of cyclists and other New Zealanders doing sport, drink unhealthy drinks to stay hydrated which can make them feel ill. He would like to bring in a US drink product which works well for people doing intense exercise.
New Zealand, says the German therapist, has two big groups of physical types: "There are many, many overweight people and on the other hand there are very sporty people, men and women, who do a lot ? they run and they cycle.
"I would like to work with more athletes," adds Auerhammer, who enjoys the mix of contract work and his home business. "But I can't complain I was a new guy in the industry and in the country who moved up from Christchurch last year," he says.