At some point in their career, many fitness professionals will look at becoming an online personal trainer. Becoming an online trainer is attractive as it can drastically expand your income potential. The internet knows no hours, it knows no boundaries. It doesn’t get tired and doesn’t stop growing.

However, before you get started with online personal training, there are some important pieces of becoming an online personal trainer you should consider.

DO,

take a calculated approach.

DON’T,

just start a website up, run ads at random people, and hope for the best. If there were a getting started guide for “How to fail at becoming an online personal trainer“, that would be it right there.

Anyway, we press on. Here is our step-by-step guide on How to Become an Online Personal Trainer.

Step 1: Find your Target Audience

This is one of the most important aspects of becoming an online trainer. Without this, you are either trying to be an “all-in-one” trainer or you are going to lack direction.

Your target audience will be the people who need something that you are good at. So it’s important to…

identify your strengths and weaknesses.

What are you passionate about? Where do you like helping out the most? Do you feel like you’re going to pee yourself in front of large crowds?

If so, coaching large groups may not be the direction you want to take.

Pro tip: if you’re a new personal trainer, train a crowd with diverse needs and find where you did best. Use this later on to develop your target audience if you are considering becoming an online personal trainer.

Here are some good examples of niches you can occupy as a personal trainer:

  • Train people battling chronic illnesses.
  • Prepare people for going to a Military Boot camp.
  • Helping pregnant woman get fit and ready for child birth.
  • Getting woman post-child birth back on their feet.
  • Training police officers for fitness exams.
  • Creating programs for triathletes.

Notice how specific each one of those is?

There are many reasons why you should pick a specific niche. You cut out some competition and it helps you refine your marketing and branding messages to ring true with people.

In addition, since your niche is something you have passion and expertise in, it can help avoiding burnout later on down the road.

You’ll see later on that your target audience is like your foundation of your business. If you are serious about becoming an online personal trainer, you won’t skimp on these details.

Step 2: Develop Your Business Model

There are a lot of different ways to run your business when becoming an online personal trainer. Having a business model in place can help you take more concrete steps rather then just selling something you “feel” might sell.

Your business model helps you define your brand, the services you provide, and how you provide those services.

Questions that should be answered by your business model are:

  • What type of training do you offer? In-person private training? Online coaching?
  • Will people buy single sessions? Packages? Will it be a subscription?
  • What will your prices be?

A lot of this depends on your target audience. Do you see why it’s so important to have a well defined target audience?

While building a business model, it’s also important to consider the pros and cons of each business model.

Offering a subscription model can have a lot of earning potential. But, it also takes a lot more skill in sales and marketing to get a good client base going.

Step 3: Build your Website

With a business model and target audience in hand, it’s time to build a website.

There are many ways to go about building your website when becoming an online personal trainer. You can have one built for you or you can build it yourself with a site builder.

There are negatives and benefits to both. For starters, site builders like Wix make it quick and easy to get a website up and running, for cheap.

However, sometimes their interface can be difficult to deal with. In turn, this might cause you to settle on a template that you either bought or got for free. This might also mean sacrificing some user experience which can reap havoc on whether or not you’re turning visitors into customers.

On the flip side, getting one built for you is a sure fire way to have a more customized option. One that you might feel conveys your brands messaging seamlessly and will more likely provide a cohesive user experience as well. If you’d like to have a website built for you, you’re faced with a couple options for this.

  1. You can post a job listing on a site like Jobsora for a freelance web designer/web developer. This option is more likely to be your best bet in finding someone who has experience and is able to translate your vision into a real product. The only drawback to this is the price tag is more likely to be higher. But when you think about it, the payoff is more likely to be much larger then the price you pay for the website.
  2. Alternatively, you can go to sites like Fiverr or Upwork to find cheaper rates if you are on a budget. However, you will probably have a harder time finding someone who has the experience you need.

Step 4: Make a Marketing Plan

There’s no use in a site if no one’s going to it!

There are many ways to market yourself as a personal trainer, whether you’re an online trainer or in-person, the marketing strategies themselves are often similar.

Digital Marketing

Utilizing digital marketing efforts can be one of the most effective ways to drive visitors to your site, collect their info, and eventually turn them into paying customers.

Digital Marketing can be broken down into a couple main categories:

  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Sponsored Ads

When using these strategies, you just have to make sure you are driving the right people to your site.

This is where you develop an online marketing/sales funnel. In order to determine where to get started with your marketing/sales funnel, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience.

What problems are they trying to solve for themselves? What are they searching for on the internet? And where do your services fit in as a solution?

Content Marketing

The first part of your funnel visitors might encounter is your blog geared towards solving their problem. This is an example of Content Marketing. This is often considered a “top of the funnel” activity. All that means is you are in the early stages of the marketing process.

An example blog might be “5 tips that guarantee you pass your police academy fitness exam“.

In the blog, the goal is to provide valuable information to the visitor and then allow for them to subscribe to your newsletter if they determine the blog was helpful.

SEO

There are a variety of methods you can use to make sure people are seeing your blog. One method that’s a must is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO can get complex. But it doesn’t have to be.

Essentially, you are optimizing your blog for search engines to read. Which, in turn, allows for them to rank your blog according to “how relevant” the search engine determines your blog is.

This involves doing research on popular topics and keywords. In the example blog above “5 tips that guarantee you pass your police academy fitness exam“, the keyword would be “police academy fitness exam” or something similar.

In choosing your keyword you want to make sure it’s relevant to the blog topic and is at least somewhat relevant to your business. You wouldn’t want to be writing a bunch of blogs on obscure topics. Sure, you might have written a masterpiece of a blog but if it isn’t relevant, does it even exist?

SEO Tools

Using tools like Ubersuggest can help you do this research. Don’t worry, it’s free and pretty easy to use.

You can also use popular plugins like Yoast SEO as well. Yoast helps you make sure your blog is SEO compliant while you are writing your blog. It’s a very handy tool to use and helps take the stress off your back.

One last point before moving on, you can also use social media to drive traffic to your blog. Starting an Instagram account for your business is another great content marketing method. On your account, you can post pieces of valuable content that help visitors to your account solve problems. It’s like a small taste of what’s to offer in your blog.

In the sponsored ads section, you’ll see one last method of driving traffic to your blog.

Email Marketing

In the last section I mentioned allowing for blog visitors to subscribe to a newsletter. You provided a piece of valuable content to them and in exchange they give you their contact info.

There’s a caveat to this. Your content has to be valuable.

Without the value, there is no exchanging of contact information. They just leave, never to come back and thus, no lead to send lovely emails to. 🙁

Anyway, back to email marketing. Since they have given you their email, this gives you the opportunity to streamline content straight to their email inbox. And what does this content do? It solves problems for them and drives them to your site where you have listed client testimonials, you services, etc…

Hopefully by now, you have a beautiful specimen of a site. One that’s easy to navigate. One that converts visitors into leads. If not, you’re doomed. Pack your bags and go home. It’s over.

Sponsored Ads

Just kidding, I was lying. This is where sponsored ads come in. It’s not reasonable to expect visitors to convert on their first or even second visit of your site. Alongside email marketing campaigns, you can also run sponsored ads.

Sponsored ads consist of running google search ads and social media ads. For now, we will focus on social media ads as they are effective and google ads are a beast of their own.

Before they know it, you’ll be everywhere. Just kidding, that creepy…

Social Media Ads

There are different types of social media ads you can run. There are some that focus on creating brand awareness.

This might entail running an ad that provides some information about the service you offer and provides a link for them to go check out your site.

Then there are ads that focus on conversions.

The term “conversion” is used a lot in digital marketing. Basically, a conversion is a user completing some action you intended for them to complete through a marketing activity.

In different cases, conversions can mean different things. Maybe the intention of your ad was to get them to sign up for your newsletter or maybe you were trying to get them to purchase a package from you. It really just depends on the goal of the ad you are running. However, a successful completion of the overall ads goal is a conversion.

Social media ads can be a really powerful tool to reel in site visitors who might be on the fence with signing up or purchasing a package. This is because you can run re-targeting ads.

With re-targeting ads, you can really simply create audiences that your ads are shown to based on their interaction with your site.

For example, you can tell Facebook ads to create an audience based on “people who viewed the check out page but didn’t check out”. Because you know they viewed the checkout page but didn’t check out, you can run an ad to that audience with a promo code or some other ad that is geared towards getting them to purchase something from you.

Step 5: Using a Client Management Software

Imagine this. You have found your target audience, built a solid business model, launched an amazing site, come up with a genius marketing strategy, and the flood gates have opened.

People are purchasing your packages left and right. You can’t believe it. It’s a dream come true.

Then it dawns on you.

You have to manage each one of those clients and their programs through a combination of email, excel, word, the invoicing service you use, and any other software you are using as a part of your service.

Not to mention you need to be have good and consistent record keeping. Both for legal and tax purposes.

What if a client gets hurt while doing a workout you gave them and they try to sue you?

Well, no big deal, right? You had them sign a liability waiver that should have you covered. It’s just somewhere on your computer… with the hundreds of other documents… or in that pile of paper, or is it the other pile?

Crap.

Don’t get sued. Use a client management software.

The situation above is exactly why FitSW has features like client forms.

This way, instead of nervously searching your PC or piles of paper for that liability waiver, you can just go straight into that clients profile in FitSW and pull it up. Along with their existing workouts, nutrition programs, exercise history, past communications, and many other key aspects of your business.

Aside from legal and tax reasons, there are many other reasons to use a client management software.

Antiquated workflows, such as, using Excel, Word, and email messaging to deliver programs simply are not scalable. They take way too much time.

FitSW offers exercise libraries complete with demo videos, a pre-made food list to choose from for nutrition programs, the ability to turn past workouts into templates for future ones, scheduling recurring workouts, and much more.

The entire system is meant to be scalable.

Thoughts on Becoming an Online Personal Trainer: A Step-by-Step Guide?

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