Being an online personal trainer is markedly different from being a personal trainer who operates in a gym or client’s home.
Online personal trainers have the entire Internet in front of them and aren’t as limited gym-based personal trainers in terms of geography, price range, and working hours.
So, if you’re an online personal trainer, the world is your oyster in terms of potential clients. The issue is, it is for lots of other online personal trainers as well.
They won’t all be reading this article, though! Here are our tips on how to be a successful online personal trainer, including insights from those who have made a career out of it.
Define your unique selling point
All personal trainers, online or otherwise, have to define their unique selling point to some extent. The difference is, in-house trainers can’t be too specific because they rely on local clients. They might be the sole authority on a given subject in their area, but there might not be enough people in their area to make it commercially viable.
However, the reverse is true when it comes to marketing yourself as an online personal trainer. The Internet is limitless, which means there are far more prospective client types than you would have access to in person.
Therefore, you should be much more specific about how you target clients in order to stand out. If your professional identity is too vague, you’ll be lost in a sea of competing trainers, and clients are spoilt for choice already.
The best way to distinguish yourself is through the services you offer, and for whom. You don’t just have to be a fat burning expert – you can be a fat burning expert specialising in clients with type 2 diabetes. In the grand scheme of things, you’re reaching out to a very small sample of people who have a very specific demand, meaning it’s easier to convert them into paying customers.
Dr Aishah Muhammad, an online personal trainer and founder of The Way To Weight Loss: “Have a niche and know who you are targeting. This allows you to create great content that speaks to the people who you want to be training. It makes you an authority of knowledge, so people are more likely to pick you as a trainer than someone else.”
Earn client trust
As you’ll know, the Internet is a minefield of scams and multi-level marketing schemes.
With online personal training being mostly unregulated, prospective clients may be more careful about investing in your programme. That’s why it’s vital to earn their trust from the get-go.
Considering they’re browsing your website looking for red flags, it’s a good idea to have your credentials, reviews, and education front and centre to give them peace of mind.
Beyond that, try to place yourself in their position to pre-empt and dispel potential doubts. You’re only telling the truth; the hard part is getting across your sincerity and passion for personal training. Make this implicit in your course prospectus, website, and social media channels.
The greatest obstacle to enrolment is the impersonal nature of the online business model, so do anything you can to reduce the gap. It’s worth considering integrating a live chat feature on your website, or offering free consultancies via Skype.
Understand client motive
Between Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Strava, and a plethora of other apps, there’s a wealth of technology available to fitness professionals in 2019. Even people’s grandparents are keeping an eye on the number of steps they’ve taken each day. With this in mind, you can see why online personal training is such a rapidly expanding industry.
What was typically an analogue, face-to-face experience has gone digital – and this needs to be reflected in the services you provide.
People could opt for online personal training because they travel for work or work unsociable hours, or they’re short on time, or they’re socially anxious. Whatever it is, they will have different motives for using an online personal trainer, so you need to do your research and show you understand them.
Affordability is often another motivating factor for clients. Online personal trainers tend to be better value for money than their in-house counterparts, and they usually provide a wealth of additional resources.
Dr Aishah Muhammad: “The traditional face-to-face way of training someone is great and has its benefits, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Some can’t afford a gym membership and a personal trainer, others may not have access to a gym they feel comfortable in. Online personal training makes it much easier for people to access fitness professionals who have help them with their goals.”
Play to the strengths of the format
Online personal training offers much more flexibility and convenience to a client than traditional in-house training at a gym. Moreover, online personal trainers can provide a range of online-accessible materials for their clients that in-house personal trainers simply can’t.
While you might not be with your client at the gym or in their home, there are advantages to going digital. Hammer home these advantages by providing an active and exhaustive archive of video tutorials, infographics, vlogs, testimonies, nutritional advice, exercise routines and equipment recommendations.
Providing a digital service isn’t only of benefit to your clients though, it’s also of benefit to you. By being based online, you’ll have access to further marketing insights and opportunities via social media, mailing lists, SEO and web traffic analytics. There are a number of purpose-built personal trainer apps to monitor your clients’ progress as well.
There’s a logical synergy between fitness technology and your online fitness service. Together, this will provide a comprehensive personal trainer experience that sets you apart from the others.
Dr Aishah Muhammad: “My advice to online personal trainers is to create plenty of free content, whether that is through a blog, podcast, YouTube or social media, so your potential clients can see that you are serious and have value to offer.”
Know your stuff
Being thorough and knowledgeable will only enhance your professional reputation and career prospects in the long run.
Without this solid foundation, no amount of marketing, online presence or reach will make you successful. Clients will detect your level of knowledge and commitment and simply drop your training service if they’re dissatisfied.
Go above and beyond for them. Don’t cut corners; plan bespoke fitness routines that deliver tangible results. Demonstrating that you know what you’re talking about is the simplest way to give your clients confidence in your business.
Make sure they know they’re valued as individuals, and not being given a cookie-cutter training programme. You need to be as invested in their fitness as they are, and they need to feel that.
You also need to show that you know (and are prepared for) what could go wrong during your sessions. Even as an online personal trainer, if a client injures themselves as a result of your advice or instruction, you could still be legally liable.
For this reason, you should invest in personal trainer insurance. This protects you if, for instance, a client injures themselves following advice you’ve given and makes a claim against you for their injuries.
At Insure4Sport, we provide personal trainer insurance starting from as little as £43.99 a year (including our introductory 20% discount).
So what are you waiting for? If you’re not already covered with us, get an instant online quote today.