While there are some personal trainers who are still strictly offline, they are few and far between. The vast majority now compete with each other for online clients. Instruction and training sessions take place over video links, negating the need for exercisers to travel to gyms.
Unfortunately, engaging clients is notoriously challenging. There’s just so much competition online that it’s hard for any individual professional to stand out. A tiny minority wins all the business with the rest left high and dry.
The trick here is to build your ability to engage your audience. The more loyal they become, the less likely they will be to flake off and join one of the major platforms.
So what do you need to do to build insane online engagement? Let’s take a look:
Focus On Addressing Your Customers’ Needs Directly
The first rule of thumb for running a successful fitness business is to address your customers’ needs directly. Provide them with the services that they actually want. Don’t try to do it all.
For instance, suppose your clients are young city-dwelling professionals in their twenties. They are much more likely to want training sessions that let them build muscle mass. Rehabilitation probably isn’t on their agenda.
Now compare this to the needs of older female clients. Women in the over-50s group probably want training and exercise routines that let them improve their quality of life by helping them to become more limber. Building huge biceps probably isn’t on their agenda.
Foster A Culture That’s All About You
While it might sound weirdly self-centered, online fitness professionals these days have little choice but to formulate communities around their values, approaches, and bodies. That’s because there are countless other people out there offering the same basic services. The only real differentiator is who you are.
What does this mean in practice? Fundamentally, it’s about being yourself and letting your positive quirks shine through.
Remember, not all clients are looking for dominant type A personalities with rippling muscles and shredded physiques. In fact, many people are relieved when they find trainers who are very much like them.
Think carefully about how you want to present yourself, based on your personality, and then set the boundaries of your service. Get into the role you want to play and then execute it carefully, remembering your core principles.
When you adopt this approach, you stand a much higher chance of developing a loyal niche. Don’t try to attract everyone. You won’t succeed.
Offer Personalized Support To Your Members
Fitness gurus should make time to offer personalized support to individual members. There should be time in your schedule to mentor people one-on-one, even if it is an extremely exclusive service.
How you offer this kind of engagement is up to you. One option is to listen to members’ problems via Zoom and then offer advice. Another option is to chat with them on social media, particularly if they would prefer to contact you via text.
When you offer personalized support instead of general or group instructions, it gives clients a sense of exclusivity. They know how rare it is to get you by yourself, so they are often willing to spend a small fortune for the opportunity to pick your brains.
Get The Help Of Community Managers
Not all fitness professionals understand how to manage online communities. It’s tricky to do, and mistakes are common.
That’s where community managers can help. These are just people who manage the community on your behalf so you can get on and do your job.
One of their roles is to take questions from users. They can either act on your behalf or independently, depending on how much autonomy you want to give them.
They can also do other work involved in managing a community. Things like publishing content and ensuring that members have the right backend support are other critical aspects of their work.
The best community managers are already people who know you and love the work you do. These tend to be your best advocates and they find it easier to slip into your brand voice.
Add Live Chat Options To Your Website
Most fitness professionals operate a single-page website with all the information visitors need to contact them. However, for deeper engagement, providing email addresses and telephone numbers isn’t enough. Furthermore, many of your prospective clients will want to talk to you immediately to find out more about you.
That’s where learning how to integrate live chat to a website can help. Clients have the option of communicating with you directly to ask more about the services you offer and what they can expect from working with you.
Live chat works in two ways. You can either have someone attend to it at all times (either you or a member of your team). Or you can set up a chatbot to answer users’ most frequent questions. You could also do a combination of both. If users still need help after interacting with your chatbot, you might give them the opportunity to contact you directly.
Get Moderators Involved On Social Media Channels And Personal Networks
Communities by themselves can have great conversations with each other. But most require moderators to steer the dialogue in a direction that most people will find helpful. These professionals can help set the standard in your community, encouraging more people to join in and take part while keeping everyone safe.
What do moderators do, exactly? Well, quite a few things, as it turns out. One is to set rules for all parties involved. Members need to understand the behavior, rules, and culture expected of them. They should also understand what type of service you offer. If they don’t, then moderators can point them in the right direction.
Moderators have the power to improve your credibility and image in the community. They can help you become a thought leader in your enterprise, setting you up as an authority in your space.
Offer Classes For Free
Handing out free classes might seem like a cost, but it can be one of your most powerful revenue generators. When you show prospective clients what you do upfront, for free, they are much more likely to be willing to pay for subsequent services.
Say, for instance, you provide yoga programs online requiring a monthly subscription. Instead of just demanding that people pay first to see what it’s like, offer a couple of introductory classes for free. Show people what they can expect when they work with you.
Another approach is to get people to sign up by offering free classes for their friends and family. This way, you can get your customers to market to the people they know on your behalf. Once they take part in your classes, they are much more likely to sign up long-term.
Nail Your Digital Marketing Strategies
Lastly, you’ll need to nail your digital marketing strategies to appeal to your niche and get people interested in what you do.
Email marketing is a promising approach because of how inexpensive it is, and the return on investment available. It costs virtually nothing to send an email, so even a single sign-up can make an entire campaign worth it.
Email works because most adults like to check their inboxes daily. Even if they don’t open their emails from you, the headline still exposes them to your brand and services.
There are numerous ways you can engage with fitness clients via email. One option is to send them birthday greetings when their birthday comes around (if you know it). This way, you can make your communications with them more personal and meaningful.
Another option is to promise them discounts. Remember, there will be a lot of clients out there who aren’t willing to buy your services at the market rate, but will gladly do it at less than that. What’s more, when they see just how much value you can offer them, they will often happily switch to paying full price.
Besides email, push notifications are another inexpensive marketing strategy you can adopt. Here, messages pop up on users’ screens while they use the mobile versions of your website. You can use these to offer discount codes and other incentives that encourage people to sign up.
Do Something That Makes You Unique
The fitness industry is crowded and everyone is trying to occupy the middle ground. Therefore, it’s critical that you do something different from everyone else. Find a unique approach that’s going to make you stand out.
The choice of approach depends on you. It’s something that will need to come out of your creativity. Think about a problem that other fitness professionals are failing to solve and then see how you can address it in a new way.
Don’t be afraid to do something attention-grabbing. Try to tap into the fun side of getting healthy. Look for ways to make your service offering light-hearted but results-driven.
Once you have a formula in place that works, engaging with clients online is easy. It’s just a question of actually developing it.