Jonathan Goodman Jonathan Goodman is the creator of the PTDC. He is the author of several books on personal training and creator of the first-ever certification in Online Training (Online Trainer Academy). Originally from Toronto, Jon and his wife Alison spend their winters traveling the world.
What You'll Learn In this lesson you'll learn practical ways to market your brand new online training business and the services you provide. I’ll help you understand why online training is so hard to sell, and then show you how you can sell it.
Why is This Important? Marketing for businesses is everything. Without marketing you may as well be a rubber duck in the Pacific Ocean. It’s important you know how to do this because it’s the only way your business will get off the ground. Online personal training is highly competitive, and you must do what you can to stand out from the rest.
Step 1: Understand Why Online Training is Hard to Sell
Online training is much harder to sell than face to face personal training because the value of an online personal training service is more difficult to describe. On the face of it, you’d assume that a cheaper monthly subscription service is easier to sell than an expensive and time-consuming face-to-face personal training service. After all, cheaper is better and people are used to monthly fees for cable TV, their phones and gym memberships... right? But with a membership service, things can be quite vague, and people find them difficult to understand. They don’t have clarity on what they’re signing up for or what results they can expect, so it’s hard to sell this to a website visitor, no matter how much you know they need it. If this sounds confusing to you, then don’t worry, I’m going to help you make sense of everything in just a moment.
First, lets's talk about the differences in marketing a high end coaching service versus a low end membership website.
Marketing a High End Coaching Service
To sell high end coaching, you need to have a systematic way of generating clients. Unlike in person there is not a constant stream of people coming through the gym and there are not many people actively searching for what you do.
This is a point of confusion for many personal trainers, they ask: "Where do I find people who want an online trainer".
The answer is, you don't. Nobody wants an online trainer.
What you do, is find people who want solutions you provide to the problems they have. At the end of the day, the client wants to achieve their goal. They don't care how. They don't really want a Personal Trainer, they want to be slim.
They've probably already tried a diet club, a gym membership, Zumba and the 5:2 diet before they are ready to try Personal Training. They're not looking for a service - they are looking for a solution to their problem.
You can offer them that solution online. They don't care how it is delivered if they believe you are the answer to solving their problem.
Therefore; you market at this level. You talk about the struggles and process of losing weight (or whatever you specialise in). In your marketing you shouldn't be talking about the ins and outs of your product anyway - that comes later in the selling.
Marketing is all about you connecting with the potential client and showing that you have the solution to their problem. To do this, you create content that positions you as the answer to their struggle.
Make it clear that you understand their problem and empathise - show that you've achieved results for other people like them and they will believe that you have the solution for them too.
The marketing channels are no different to normal Personal Training packages. Some combination of:
You have opened the market up to anyone in the world who fits your perfect client criteria. This means you can laser focus on the people that you really want to help, there will definitely be enough of them out there.
The best way to generate the lead will depend on two things: where your perfect client hangs out and how they like to consume your message.
Marketing Low End Memberships
When you're selling high end coaching, it's low volume and high value. All of the marketing and selling can be active. You actually get on the phone or meet with people and close sales. Marketing and selling a recurring membership differs from selling high-end coaching or Personal Training, because it relies on high volume.
In this model, the marketing is the selling. It needs to be scaleable to work, meaning that your marketing efforts are closing sales in a one-to-many scenario. One email, video or webinar can get you 10 or 50 sales.
This sounds great, but in reality it is not so easy. Generating traffic and making sales without interacting with the clients, in a highly competitive market like fitness, requires great marketing.
Before jumping in to the complex topic of marketing an online personal training busness, we need to understand what we need in place to create great marketing strategies for your membership?
A defined niche and avatar - to identify exactly who you help
A great offer - when you know the unique problems and situation for your avatar, your offer needs to fix that (it's driven by what the consumer needs/wants, not what you want to sell)
Lots of targeted traffic - identify where your potential customers are, and get in front of them. You're going to need to be highly visible to succeed
Great sales copy - when you don't have someone in front of you, your videos or written material have to stand alone and do the sales job. Harder than most imagine
Consumption - the real money is in the recurring income, not in new clients. You need your users to be active and benefiting from your material, so that they are happy to continue paying
Systems - this isn't marketing per se, but it is customer service, which ties in with consumption. The more people you have to handle, the more you need to systemise and control the workload, otherwise it will be impossible and your level of service will drop
All sorted? Let's talk about step 2, creating content.
Step 2: Creating Content
Content is key when it comes to marketing any online training website. It’s the very backbone of your marketing strategy and it’s one of the best ways to attract website visitors and leads. Think about why YOU visit certain websites… it’s usually to consume content, right? A blog, an article, a video or a podcast. You’re there because you want to learn something new. Your ideal online training clients do too! Visitors need to feel like it was worthwhile to visit your website and gain access to your content. Your content helps them to solve their problems and this increases the “know, like and trust” factors that are important for selling online. Some of the best online personal training businesses use many different types of freemium content to attract new visitors. Examples include free workout tutorials, meal plans, how to guides and cheat sheets.
If you're stuck for content ideas, use your best source of marketing research... your existing clients. Simply ASK them what they would like to read, watch or listen to.
Then create a steady flow of content based on your clients' needs and promote that content. Remember, for every one hour you spend creating a piece of content, you'll need to spend 4 hours on promotion!
Step 3: Driving Traffic
Naturally, there’s no use having a site with all of this great content if you’ve got no traffic. But generating traffic either costs money or time. Whether you choose to use money, time or both, your marketing funnel might look something like this:
During the early stages, you’ll struggle to generate a lot of free search engine traffic so we need ways in which you can drive traffic to your online training website quickly. There are two ways you can drive traffic; paid and free.
Paid methods include Facebook ads and Google AdWords. By paying for traffic on these platforms, you can ensure that your ad appears to the people that matter.
For Facebook ads read: How to Create Facebook Ads and learn about how to use your content to create effective Facebook retargeting ad campaigns.
Both Facebook and Google have the potential to generate a lot of traffic and each has it's pros and cons. Ultimately, it depends on where your clients look for you.
Free ways to generate traffic include becoming an authority on niche specific health and fitness forums by creating content and positioning yourself as an expert by answering questions and being helpful. Naturally, free methods of generating traffic take significantly more time and effort.
Here a few ways to drive free traffic to your website. Facebook Groups - If you've created loads of great content then the best place to promote that content for free is a Facebook Group. Ideally your own group but other groups work too.
Join topically related Facebook Groups and search the group for conversations about your service and expertise and contribute to that conversation with really helpful advice. If it fits and the group rules allow, support your response with a link to one of your blog posts.
For example, if you've written a blog about over 50's fitness, look for over 50's support groups and become an authority in the group by helping, not selling. Answer questions and use your blog posts to support those answers and get more traffic from those interested.
Twitter Search - There are literally hundreds of leads on Twitter who are all talking about their struggles and problems. Problems you can help with. Simply use the search bar in Twitter and find people who are talking about your service and contribute to the conversation much in the same way you would do with a Facebook Group.
Finding Influencers - Influencers are people in your niche who have already established some kind of authority within your niche. Of course, you can't just ask an influencer for help, you need to make it mutually beneficial.
One of the best ways to do this is via curated content. Write a blog post on the top ten tips for solving a problem that your niche has, get 10 tips from 10 influencers by reading their blogs and then tag them on Facebook and Twitter in your blog promotions.
Influencers will be flattered and if your blog is great, they'll share it.
SEO - Search engine optimisation is the long game. You won't generate traffic quickly with SEO but it should be part of your strategy. Use the Google Keyword Planner to find topics your niche are asking about and write in depth blog posts about that topic.
OK, now let's assume you're doing great at all of the above and you're driving traffic to your online personal trainer website, the next step is to turn that traffic into leads and more importantly, capture the date of people who aren't ready to buy yet. Here's what you need to do:
Have all of the right things in the right places - By this, I mean your website needs to have the information a potential buyer needs to see in the places where they would look. This is usually pricing information on a pricing or services page and info about you on your about page. Don't try and be hip and sexy or "different". Nobody cares. They just want answers, fast!
Lean Muscle Project have done a great job of directing website visitors through their funnel while giving the reader everything they might need to make a decision.
Add calls to action - Every page and every blog post should have a purpose. Whether it's to obtain leads directly or estbalish yourself as an authority. Each page should contain a call to action that corresponds with that goal "Share this post", "Get in touch", Talk to an expert", "Email a friend". Anything.
Here's a great example of a call to action at the bottom of a blog post about an Asian Beef Recipe.
People who are on a personal trainer website who are interested in Asian Beef Recipes are almost certainly interested in a high protein cheat sheet!
Creating page/blog specific ethical bribes is one of the best ways to get new leads. Don't add your generic eBook to every page! Add an ethical bribe - This is usually an eBook in exchange for an email. But don't use the same eBook on every page. Create ethical bribes specific to the page the website visitor is on. If they're on your pricing page you could use "How an Online Trainer Can Save You Money" and if you're on a blog page about fat loss you might use "10 Fat Loss Tips You Can Implement Today".
Add a retargeting pixel - Not everyone is going to want to download your stuff. And that's cool. Some people might need to be exposed to your brand several times before they trust you enough to hand over an email. A Facebook retargeting pixel helps you to track users who show interest in your work and send them more value via ads on Facebook. Read: How to Set Up and use Facebook Retargeting Pixels.
Frequently Asked Questions
DO I CHARGE AN HOURLY RATE FOR MY ONLINE CLIENTS? Sort of, you charge an hourly rate based not only on the the individual time you give them but also on the time you spend marketing and building your business systems. If you don't, then you risk undercharging and slowing down your business growth.
I AM CONFUSED. IF ONLINE TRAINING IS CHEAPER WHY IS IT HARDER TO SELL? It's not all about the money. Think about where you would be most likely to spend money on a service: if it was provided by someone you already know and you trust or if you went on someone's website who you haven't heard of before and all you can get to know about them is what's available on their website and social profiles? It will take time and a lot of interaction to build the same level of trust before the prospect will be ready to buy, especially when it's about an online service they can't quite comprehend.
WHAT TOOLS ARE THERE FOR MARKETING AN ONLINE BUSINESS? The most important is to have a kick ass website with content which sell, and a combination of the following will work well: SEO, blog posts, social media presence (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), paid ads, free marketing, free content for email address, email marketing.