With the coronavirus lockdown curtailing many fitness regimes, it's a great time to adapt your PT business for online workouts. Here, Jonathan Birch, Creative Director of Glass Digital, shares his tips for giving your PT enterprise an edge and retaining your clients during these challenging times.
As you're probably well aware, most of the UK's population is currently under lockdown thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the nation. And, with social distancing measures in place, many gyms have had to close down, leaving lots of people who were doing so well with their fitness regimes in 2020 to drastically change their habits.
This has also been bad news for personal trainers up and down the country, with no clients to train and no workplaces to utilise. So, is there anything you can do? Well, in recent weeks we've seen a spike in people looking for advice on exercising at home, demonstrating that there is an audience out there searching for direction on their DIY workouts as they're trapped indoors.
With this in mind, I've put together some tips that will help you to move your personal training business online.
One of the first things you will need to decide is what type of platform you wish to establish the online element of your business upon. There is the traditional route for online businesses, which is creating a website and aiming to get it ranking for organic search. On the other hand, you could choose to sign up to a site that allows you to build subscriptions, such as Patreon. You can then complement either of these routes with a presence elsewhere, such as with a YouTube channel.
Creating your own website and building search is the method that takes the longest and may require the services of a digital marketing agency to boost your rankings. However, it also delivers the most freedom and a larger share of the profits. Building your business on an established platform will be easier in the short term, but you will need to pay fees and will be beholden to the rules of the site.
To be successful as an online PT in these strange times you will need to offer up both live and on-demand content for your clients to feel like they're getting their money's worth. And, if your content is helpful and engaging, this will also help you to build an online brand people will love and trust.
One of your main strategies will likely involve booking live classes with current or new clients that can be delivered over the internet. These can be provided over teleconferencing software, like Skype, or even through webinar software, such as Zoom.
However, while you handle these on a day to day basis, it's a good idea to build up a bank of on-demand classes and tutorials for your customer base to access on their own schedule. These can range from complete class videos to shorter exercise demonstrations. While you will want to put most of this content behind a paywall, consider making some taster videos on a free channel that will entice people to get involved and sign up for your services.
Creating the right content can boost your marketing strategy ten-fold, but knowing how to do it in a way that ensures you stand out can be tricky. With so much competition around, you'll want to build up a personal relationship with each and every potential customer and, as a result, you'll need to create relevant content that does this too.
If you've got a blog on your website or are thinking of creating in-depth guides on certain topics, it'll pay to write about things that your potential and current clients actually want to know. As we talked about before, exercising at home is the top of many people's list at the moment, so it's a good place to start with your content. You could also host a poll on your social media pages to see what kinds of things people say they would read, then create content around the answers you receive.
When creating content around health matters, it's important that Google recognises you as an expert and authority on the subject in order to rank you on its search engine results pages (SERPs). Adding an author bio that discusses your experience to each of your posts can help Google to understand that you're a trustworthy source. Plus, having external links to credible sources, like the NHS, for instance, can boost the credibility of your pieces and help them to rank better.
It's no secret that social media is the main source of information for many people, with forecasts from Statista predicting the number of people using these platforms will reach over three billion by 2021. And, while you might've already set up social pages, it's important that you're targeting the right type of people with them.
For example, if you're targeting new mums who are wanting to get back into shape after giving birth, you may need to look at younger audiences, so putting more effort into Instagram and Twitter might be your best bet. On the other hand, if you are looking to help older people become more comfortable with exercise, creating a business page and advertisements for Facebook will help you to target the right demographic.
With people stuck at home, you'd think that they'd be looking for some help with exercising to keep themselves occupied. However, remember that these are tough times, and you may find people lose motivation or suffer from depression as a result of feeling trapped. That's why you should look to assist your clients in maintaining a regular schedule that keeps them motivated — pair this with a positive, upbeat message, and your customers will really start to appreciate your assistance.
One of the best ways to do this is by setting up automated emails or SMS messages that encourage people to start the week with fresh goals and a good mindset towards fitness. If you can get the motivational tone right, it will make them more likely to continue investing in your services — especially if they feel they're struggling to push themselves.
But, don't forget to personally communicate with clients too. Replying to comments and interacting using fitness-related hashtags will help to get the word out about your services and help you to build relationships with those who may be interested. It's also an essential part of supporting and getting your clients motivated, which can also help build business. After all, if others see you out there on social media having a positive impact, they may well decide they want you as their personal trainer.
Follow my six digital marketing tips and you will be best placed to set up a successful online PT business during these tough times. Good luck with your new venture!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Future Fit Training.
About the author:
Jonathan Birch is Creative Director at digital marketing and SEO agency Glass Digital, where he works with companies to improve their organic search visibility. On a daily basis, he oversees the content and outreach teams as they work on client campaigns.