How to Grow Your Online Personal Training Business
Most businesses in 2020 have had to adapt to the new normal of a Covid-19 world, with many moving operations online where possible. Personal trainers and other fitness industry niches are no exception.
While there are many helpful articles out there about how to move your business online, what about when you’ve already done so and want to expand? Maybe you have a steady base of clients but are now looking to find more beyond those who transitioned with you from the bygone days of in-person training sessions.
Read on to find out four ways to grow your online personal training business.
1. Expand your offering
It’s perfectly normal to keep your focus small while transitioning to a new way of doing things. Maybe up until this point, you’ve been focusing mostly on one-on-one remote sessions or some group classes a few times per week using video calling platforms like Zoom or Skype. Depending on your particular niche and strengths, there are several training models to choose from when it comes to diversifying.
First, think about targeting those who aren’t interested in one-on-one classes or want a more flexible way of working out. You could create workout PDFs and classes, either targeting the general population or specific fitness issues, that your clients can access at any time. Since these PDFs and classes will already be created and will need no extra input from you, you’ll be setting yourself up with a passive income stream that you can build upon over time.
Should you decide to go down this route, you’ll need somewhere to host this content where only your paying customers will have access to it. One option is hosting it directly on your website and setting up login access. However, hosting video content may not be the most cost-effective option if you’re just starting out. Another option is uploading unlisted videos to YouTube and then embedding them on your website. An unlisted video is a type of private video, where only those with the link have access to it. You could also look into using apps like Trainerize or True Coach.
For clients who want a more hands-on approach, you can set up an accountability service which ensures you check in with your client via email, SMS, or phone call at certain times of day to make sure they’re following their workout regimen. You can also make yourself available at certain times of day if clients need additional support.
Online boot camps or personal training challenges are also a great way of expanding your offering while also increasing your reach. Online boot camps and challenges are time-limited courses aimed at helping people create a fitness habit, break a plateau, or focus on a specific area of exercise, often named something like “Get fit in 5 weeks” or “30-day fitness challenge”. Online challenges are an excellent way to build your online community, which we’ll discuss more in point number 2. Whether free or paid, challenges are an excellent means of positioning yourself as an expert and attracting more clients. Find more information about creating an online challenge here.
There are countless ways to expand your online offering. Be sure to be realistic about what you can manage and not take on too much at once. Think about your particular strengths and bandwidth, and go from there.
2. Grow a community and boost your online presence
It’s likely that up until now, you’ve depended on transitioning clients and word of mouth to keep you going, but that can only get you so far. An effective means of expanding your client base is to cultivate an online presence. There are a few ways you can do this. If you’re interested in writing about fitness and exercise, blogging can boost your online visibility while building your brand. We have a whole blog post dedicated to it here.
You should also consider building an online community. An online community can take many forms, whether it be a Facebook group or a forum hosted on your WordPress site. Instead of having your clients exist in a vacuum separate from each other, you can create a space where they can interact and bond over their common fitness goals, ask questions, and share tips and success stories, with you at the helm to guide them.
The key to successfully building a community is engagement. You should post content and interact with people often. Try to offer instantaneous support where possible if people contact you through comments or direct messages. If all this seems like a lot, consider enlisting the help of moderators or a community manager. You may even find people in your community who would be glad to lend a hand. For more tips on growing an online fitness community, check out this helpful article.
3. Promote yourself using video
Promoting yourself on social media is essential, and what better way to do it than through video? Visuals are vital to teaching your clients how to work out, so video content is an incomparable way of showing what you can do and what potential clients can expect more if they decide to enlist your services. You can share anything, from short workout routines to fitness tips and tricks. Think of potential customer pain points and how to address them. For example, seasonal workouts, from workout routines people can do outside when it’s sunny, or apartment-friendly workouts for when the weather is colder.
YouTube is a no-brainer platform for this since you can post a video and build an audience on the platform itself while also easily sharing the video across various platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok are great platforms, too, especially their live streaming functions. Plus, fitness is a strong niche across every one of them. Big names in online fitness like Cassey Ho and Maddie Lymburner have a large following on each one, posting content like targeted workout videos, nutrition advice, Q&As, and vlogs. There is a world of possibility for the video content you create if you decide to venture down this path.
For more information on the wealth of video platforms out there, check out our piece on getting started with video marketing.
4. Seek out business partnerships
Finding a business partnership relevant to your niche is a great way to bring added value to your clients. Small business ownership can be incredibly volatile, so corporate partnerships can ensure you have extra revenue streams. This will serve you well for more slow months if, for example, some clients decide not to renew their contracts. Relevant business partnerships could include nutrition and diet services, supplements manufacturers, or gym apparel stores.
These kinds of partnerships can work differently depending on the partnership. For instance, a company may pay you to promote their products, or you could trade promotion for promotion, which means you promote their products, and in exchange, they promote your business. Whatever the partnership entails, you must be discerning about what you decide to promote and actually believe in the product or service, lest you lose your clients’ trust.
Social distancing measures are likely here to stay for a while. It’s going to be a long time before things are back to “normal” again, so it’s crucial that you build a business that can sustain you in an online model. When social distancing measures are lifted, you may decide you prefer the online model altogether, or you could consider a hybrid model, where you work in-person some of the time and continue with your online sessions. Whatever the case may be, applying these tips should help expand your online personal trainer business in the current climate.