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How to Get Your First Online Personal Training Clients
Reading time: 6 minutes 55 seconds
Whether you’re an established personal trainer or just beginning your certification study program, you are in the right industry! Fitness is a field that is not going anywhere anytime soon. As a trainer, you are the product and you’re promoting healthy, balanced, pain-free lifestyles.
Once you get up and going, expand your reach by adding virtual training to your personal training business. To attract a client online, it takes more than just a post on social media or an email. Prospective clients sometimes need to be wooed into a purchase and the want to trust you as an online coach. Transitioning existing clients to online personal training can also prove difficult if they don’t understand the process or how an online workout plan runs.
First, Get the Knowledge
If you’re new to the game, you may not even be certified yet. A lot of people interested in online personal training consider NOT getting certified… Is this a good idea? Unlikely. There are many reasons why skipping a certification is a poor business practice. The biggest reasons? You cannot obtain personal trainer insurance and it kind of kills your credibility! How can you claim to be an authority on a subject if you didn’t do the legwork to learn everything you need to know? Even with years of experience, it’s not the same thing.
Also, if someone gets injured doing something that is not biomechanically sound, you’re on the hook. A certification will guide you in programming and injury prevention when you train your client through their fitness journey.
So, bottom line—if you’re not yet certified, DO IT! You can check out the ISSA Personal Training Certification and bundles here! Do your research and pick the best certification for your learning style and budget.
For those who are already certified and running a personal training business, you have some things to learn as well! Processes like marketing, assessing clients, fitness goal setting, taking online payments, and how you’ll deliver your workouts and plans must be considered. With the trend toward online fitness, there are many online personal training certifications aimed at helping you as a business owner. The ideal program will not only show you how to market yourself and your business, but also how to work with, engage with, assess, and effectively train clients in an online setting. Don’t settle for just a marketing program—you are not selling shoes—you’re selling YOU! The process is very different.
ISSA is offering the most inclusive and wholistic online coaching certification available right now! Check it out: ISSA Online Coaching Certification
Establish Yourself as a Pro
When you are the product, you must represent every day. When you train a client in person, they see you, how you’re dressed, how you move, and they get to hear the passion in your voice. When you train online, the things you post, the messages you send, and the voice you have on the phone must convey the same sense of trust and passion to be effective.
Whether you are looking for your first client or your 100th client, behave as a professional. You will need to stand out amongst everything else a potential client will see online. Steven Pressfield wrote a book called “Turning Pro” with some great tips on how to be a professional, not an amateur, at what you do. It applies to so much more than sports!
- The professional shows up daily
- The professional stays on the job all day
- The professional is patient
- The professional accepts no excuses
- The professional is prepared
- The professional doesn’t show off
- The professional will reinvent themselves
- The professional is recognized by other professionals
- The professional dedicates themselves to mastering technique
- The professional endures adversity
You’ll also need to specialize. No fitness professional can be great at training every possible type of client. Choose a niche of people you’d like to train and get great at training and working with them. This will also help you in your marketing processes.
Offer a full program in nutrition and training with your online business. Clients are looking for a one-stop-shop for all their fitness needs in a convenient format. This means that if you aren’t well versed or certified in nutrition, that may be your next stop! Educate yourself so you can educate your clients and help them get the results they are seeking.
It is possible to be a part-time personal trainer with an online personal training business. In fact, it’s probably easier to do in this format. Practice good time management and set expectations of your availability with clients from the start of the relationship and you can excel!
Establish Your Processes
Payments, scheduling, assessments, oh, my! There is a lot a personal trainer has to consider when running a successful training business. Before you start marketing to a single new client and moving your services online, you must sort out the HOWs and WHATs of your business:
- HOW to assess online clients effectively
- HOW and WHEN to communicate with clients
- HOW to motivate any type of client
- HOW much will you charge for your services
- HOW will you process payments
- HOW will you offer virtual sessions
- WHAT is your target audience (niche)
- WHAT packages will you offer
- WHAT intake and liability forms will you require
- WHAT are your policies for things like late payment, non-payment, or canceling services
- WHAT documentation or ‘homework’ will you require of clients and at what frequency
Write out a list of questions that you would have if you were hiring an online trainer. Perhaps ask an existing set of clients their questions as you transition your business. You’ll need to be prepared with answers to every possible question you may get. Think outside of the box! How will you handle cancellation of a training session by the client? What if YOU have to cancel a session or meeting? What’s your policy on changing a fitness plan (upgrade or downgrade) mid-month?
Don’t just think about these questions, write the answers down! It may even be wise to create a policies and FAQ document answering these questions that you can share with clients as they begin their programs so everything is clear. Perhaps this becomes one of your intake documents requiring a signature and date.
Once you have your procedures in place and you know how you will run your entire online personal training business, then you can start to market to your target audience.
Marketing and Outreach
Connecting with current and prospective clients online is a lot different than on the gym floor. All your fitness business is conducted in a different way with online coaching—without that live, in-person finesse. Now, you don’t have to be a personal trainer AND social media influencer to be successful, but you will need some kind of online presence.
Facebook, Instagram, and email campaigns have been proven as the most effective for the online fitness industry. Start by creating a business profile on any and all media outlets you choose to use. Keep these separate from your personal profiles to avoid conflicts or issues.
Email campaigns are often viewed as one-way communication, but they don’t have to be! Learn how to get replies and provide usable, informative content in your emails with the ISSA Online Coaching Certification. Engagement is key to email campaigns!
On social media, you have to offer engaging and informative content as well. However, you get to have a little fun with it! Using images, client testimonials, fun facts, and sharable workouts or recipes will keep your audience engaged. Social media is also a great place to begin to get to know prospective clients, learn their goals, build trust, and, when the time is right, ask for their contact information to draw them into your email campaigns.
Many online personal trainers have their own website as well. This is a place to direct your social media users to often. Your personal website can be as simple as a landing page with your details and program information. Or, it can be an informational set of pages with all of your information: philosophies, experience, program offerings, testimonials, policies, and even a payment page. The choice is yours. The site you use may grow as your business grows, so stay flexible.
Keep Clients Engaged
Let’s revisit motivating clients. To prevent attrition, it is critical to keep clients engaged in an online format once you’ve brought them in. The goal is to keep your clients with you long-term and make them so excited and successful that they send you all their friends!
When you start to work with clients online, understand that every client will have their ideal amount of contact. Some clients may need to speak or connect with you daily. Others may only require weekly communication. Anything beyond weekly is likely to lead to disengagement, noncompliance, and, as a result, the loss of a client. NEVER assume a client who never reaches out doesn’t need to hear from you. They came to you for a reason! Set your expectations early. Make sure your new client knows how often they will hear from you and when they should reach out. Be available and approachable.
Completing reassessments periodically is ideal for client engagement as well. Show clients you are invested in their results as much as they are. You can show a client their progress and relate it back to their goals.
The First is the Hardest
Getting the initial set up going for your fitness business and snagging that first client is the hardest. The more you market and service clients online, the easier it will become. You will settle into your processes and client communications just as you would with in-person training.
As discussed, the first step for you is certification if you don’t have it already! Then specialize and learn your processes to grow your business virtually. The sky is the limit when you aren’t limited to a local gym or space! Your income potential and ability to reach clients in every corner of the globe has just been expanded with online personal training—sign up for your Online Coaching Certification today!
Online Coaching Certification
Online fitness isn't just for right now, it's the future of the fitness industry. Personal trainers who transition to training virtually can make more money, reach more people, and create more financial and personal freedom. That is why ISSA has developed the Online Coaching Certification -the fastest way to start your online fitness coaching business.