Updated: May 30, 2021
In recent years, and especially since the social distancing recommendations and stay-at-home orders made during the COVID-19 pandemic, people have turned to web-based fitness coaching and personal training services to stay on top of their exercise and physical activity routines.
You might already offer your personal training services online but aren’t having much success, you might be offering your services online for the first time, or you might want to expand your online offerings.
Now, where to get started?
Here, we offer a 7-step method for getting hired online as a personal trainer.
Decide What Type of Clients You Want to Work with Online
If you haven’t decided on a niche, it’s important to do that before promoting your online personal training business. After all, there are more than 350,000 personal trainers working in the United States.
Providing services to a specialized group is a way to reach untapped markets, experience more growth, build your brand, reduce your competition, and take advantage of your passion and expertise.
If you haven’t chosen a niche yet, you can read our article on How to Find Your Niche as a Personal Trainer or Health Coach.
Keep in mind that, even if you have chosen a niche, not all people in that niche may be willing or able to get training online. For example, if your niche includes an older population, you may have to specify a “sub-niche” of people who will likely access your services.
Choose How You’ll Deliver Your Services
How are you going to offer your services to your digital clients? Believe it or not, there are many methods—from basic to complex.
The most simple method of offering your services is hopping on a video call and carrying out a live session with your client. The advantage of this method is that it is very low-cost, and you can start almost immediately. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t allow you to scale your business. In other words, you can only have as many clients as you have time and energy to carry out one-on-one sessions.
Fortunately, there are several apps and platforms where you can either choose from a database of pre-loaded exercises for each client or upload your own videos of exercises, which you can then assign to each client.
If you choose to go the route of digital apps or websites, check out this article where AFPA reviews eleven apps personal trainers can use to improve communication with their clients.
Build Your Programming
Now that you’ve chosen how to deliver your services, it’s time to build your programming. If you decide to focus on live one-on-one or group training via video platforms, this may include:
- Digital forms and questionnaires
- Note templates for session reflections that may include exercises to work on, repetition, set or weight abilities, and critiques on form
- Training programs organized on a per-session basis
- Email templates that encourage and check in with your clients (don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!)
If you choose to provide your services via platforms and apps, you might need to create the above items in addition to:
- A video bank (some apps offer pre-recorded banks)
- Copy or audio that explains how to perform the exercises
- Scheduling platforms for regular check-ins. After reviewing what your client has completed that week, discuss how they felt and any adjustments that need to be made to their plan and goals.
If you are unsure how you want to provide your programs, read this article that explores seven ways to offer your coaching services.
Decide on Packaging and Pricing Models
In traditional coaching and personal training, it is common to charge per hour for your services. However, as most personal trainers know, personal training requires regular commitment from the client if they want to see results and achieve their fitness goals. At the same time, however, it can be difficult to get clients to commit to multiple sessions where they pay by the hour.
You can increase client retention while also leveraging your earnings by offering package rates for a certain program or number of sessions.
Retainer models are a set rate for certain services per month. This is common for subscription-type personal training models.
How do you calculate what to charge for your coaching services? Read Know Your Worth: How to Confidently Set Your Coaching Rates to learn about applying AFPA’s seven-step method for calculating your coaching rates.
Choose a Payment Processing Service
Success is in the details. It is important to establish a way to collect what your clients owe you for your services.
Some simple methods include PayPal and Venmo. If you have a website, you can integrate a credit card payment option—keep in mind that these usually charge a 3% fee, so it is important to incorporate this into your pricing model.
Create a Digital Presence
If you are planning on offering your personal training services online, it is vital that you have a digital presence. Depending on where your current and ideal clients are, you may choose different social media platforms.
Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok are some of the most popular social media platforms for fitness professionals.
Whichever platform you choose, some of the keys to gaining a following include:
- Posting regularly and often
- Posting unique content
- Showing people who you are and what you are about through videos and text
- Demonstrating your knowledge and expertise
- Engaging with your followers in the comments
- Creating shareable content
- Letting followers know about your programming
- Demonstrating how your programs can add value to your client’s lives
Building a digital presence can be time-consuming and, for some people, draining. If you are unsure you can keep up with a schedule, consider hiring a digital media expert to manage and promote your content.
Implement a Digital Marketing Plan to Get the Word Out About Your Services
This is a biggie—and the key to getting hired as an online personal trainer. In addition to creating a digital presence, which is important for all digital marketing strategies, you’ll also need to consider strategies to convert followers and email lists into leads.
Luckily, AFPA has tons of resources to get you started.
Whether you are looking to get hired as a personal trainer online for the first time or want to up your game in the digital marketing arena to gain more clients, it is important to build a strategy for building a presence online and converting followers into clients.
While it isn’t an exact science, there are many best practices to getting hired as an online personal trainer. These include finding your niche, building your programming, deciding on packaging and pricing models, choosing payment processing services, creating a digital presence, and carrying out a digital marketing plan.
How are you doing on your digital fitness coaching journey? Tag @AFPA_Fitness in your Instagram posts to show us what you’re up to and if you need any tips along the way!