Transitioning from face-to-face personal training to online PT is a necessary step for fitness professionals to take in the current environment. Moving to an online environment is a necessary step to keep a fitness business running during these uncertain times, and keeping up an online business profile even when things are back to normal is just good business sense.
Australian adults spend an average of more than 96 hours a month online, which means that the better you understand how to run an online business, the more likely you are to reach new clients and engage with your current customer base.
Online fitness businesses can be challenging. There are many variables, such as programming, messaging, scheduling, payment processing, and other fundamental building blocks that are a bit different from offline business strategies. Keeping your clients motivated when you’re online can also be a challenge, and delivery can also be complicated. But it’s not impossible– you just need to know how to get started. Here are the seven things you need to get your online fitness business up, running, and earning!
1. Establish Your Online Presence
An online presence is crucial for growing your business and providing a marketplace for existing clients to engage with you. Different web platforms have different audiences, so it’s important to understand how each aspect of your online footprint works.
A business website listing your current services and a bit about you, as well as providing a reliable method of contact is a great way to provide information. This can be simple and straightforward or can have subpages where you can have things like blogs, image galleries, or videos that help show clients exactly what makes you unique. However, you may find that for attracting new clients, social media might be your best option.
The average Australian spends almost 2 hours a day on social media. If you’re not on social media, you’re missing out on a lot of attention. Because these platforms use engagement-driven algorithms to show your information to others, you will want to post regularly- video clips showing how exercises work, recipes, or other fitness tips can get a lot of attention for your online fitness business! You can encourage your clients to follow your social media accounts, which will help bring new eyes and new attention to your business.
2. Customize Your Offering
Personal training has evolved past the traditional one-on-one offering. Today, people often want more than just dedicated physical activity, as fitness goals have changed. Many clients want increased attention to holistic wellness, and that means going beyond just the activity.
Nutrition coaching, online assessments, accountability sessions, and other appointments where you address concerns about overall wellness are highly desirable. Being able to offer programs for specific exercises, like boxing, Crossfit, or high-intensity interval training can appeal to new clients or existing clients looking to shake up their routine.
You also need to decide if you are going to pivot completely to an online fitness business, or if you are going to offer in-person sessions as well. You can judge this based on the current local climate. What do people want? What are you allowed to do? Even if you can’t offer in-person sessions right now, you can keep that in mind as an option to implement later.
3. Get Started!
There are lots of tools to help you pivot from an entirely in-person business to an online fitness business model. Sites like PT Enhance take you step by step through the process of getting set up and running! There are plenty of tutorials and guides that can help you through every step of the way.
You will also need to decide how you want to run scheduling and payment. Providers like Square let you build your business website, do scheduling, and accept payment all through one service. For scheduling, there are free tools available, but for payment, it’s best to use an established processor to protect yourself and your clients. Square, Paypal, Apple Pay, apps like Beemit, and other recognizable names are good options for this. It can be helpful to accept payment through more than one processor to give your clients more options.
4. To Zoom Or Not To Zoom?
The world of online Zoom training is here to stay. It can be convenient for clients, and it can also be good for your online fitness business. If you’re leading sessions through Zoom from your home gym, you aren’t paying for transit costs and you’re not spending time in transit– which can give you more time for sessions. However, while leading sessions on Zoom, there’s a lot of variables to consider.
If you don’t have good lighting and a distraction-free space, clients might become frustrated with how difficult their sessions are. This means that you must block outside noises, visitors, and other visual distractions. It also means you need to have lots of light and a good angle for the device you’re using.
Audio is also important for Zoom sessions. If your clients can’t hear you, then they can’t follow the instructions, which is both frustrating and unsafe. If your clients can’t hear you and see your example, they could really hurt themselves, and you do not want that to happen. Fortunately, there are lots of good sports headphones/microphone combos available.
You also need to make sure that you interact with your client’s health and safety as much over Zoom as you would in person. This means ensuring that they stop for water breaks and making sure that you check their form when they start exercises.
5. Communicate With Your Clients
While your online business will appeal to new clients, don’t forget that you need to keep offering the same quality service to your existing clients. You should let them know you have adapted and are improving your offering. Send personal emails or individual calls or text messages to demonstrate your continued commitment to quality. Make sure they understand exactly how your offering has changed, especially if you are no longer offering any in-person sessions. You should also think about providing a discount for the existing clients who are the first to book your online sessions.
6. Consider home equipment
Some clients might not have the fitness equipment they need to start training. Getting this equipment to them can be a part of your business. You can offer the loan of at-home fitness equipment like exercise bands and tubing, or you can create personalized shopping lists on Amazon so that your clients can buy things themselves. You should also include exercises in your session that don’t require a lot of specialized equipment- bodyweight exercises, exercises that use a YBell or an easily-purchased set of small hand weights, and other low-equipment exercises are perfect for online personal training.
7. Keep It Personal
Clients still want to feel special! Personal training is more than just a business transaction. A successful personal trainer knows that to keep clients, they need to build a relationship. This can take some adjustment to do online, but just like with any relationship, the key is paying attention. Make note of your clients’ birthdays, and learn a little bit about their likes and dislikes. Don’t bombard them with emails and messages, but if you see recipes they might like, or blogs they might find useful, be sure to send those along! Let them know that you think their goals are important and treat every client with that same level of personal support.
Moving online is an enormous change for any fitness professional. But with a little hard work and dedication, you can successfully make the changes you need to build your business online.