If you’re a personal trainer, at some point in your life you made the decision you wanted to help other people take control of their fitness and of their bodies. It started with a personal passion and slowly turned into something you wanted to make your career. You poured over your textbook and study cards, you took an exam filled with questions about flexion, EPOC, and frequency, and then you become a Certified Personal Trainer.
But in the digital age that exists today, sometimes it feels like it’s not enough to just be a personal trainer at a local gym. Sometimes you want more. And when everyone on Instagram is launching online programs and YouTube channels, sometimes you start to think you want to too.
Here’s the issue though: that CPT exam didn’t tell you how to create a website, run an online business, be your own advertising agency AND your own sales team. So what’s a modern personal trainer to do?
1. Build Yourself a Website
You don’t need a crazy custom-coded site, just a basic landing page to start. What’s a landing page? Simply put, it’s a page on your site that people “land on.” In this case, it can be to sign up for your email list, purchase a product, or sign up for a webinar, for example.
There are various tools that can help you build sites easily, such as WordPress and Wix, which let you choose from a bunch of customizable templates based on your style preference. You can also launch an online course website by using a platform like Kajabi that integrates to all major CMS’s and even lets you build a website from scratch.
Here’s the thing though, getting people to buy your training programs and products begins with a personal connection. Nobody will just buy a workout plan right off the bat – you’ve got to make friends with them first. The best way to do this is by collecting emails. Which leads me to my next point…
2. Build a Community
If social media has taught us anything, it’s that an engaged audience is key. You can have 10,000 followers on Instagram but if you’re only getting 20 likes and no comments, things start to get weird.
As a trainer, you want to be engaged with your clients. Even better if your clients can engage with each other! If you can build a community and increase engagement, you’ll be making a great impact on your lives of your community and building lifelong customers at the same time.
Getting a Facebook page up and running is a must, for your go-to audience. Instagram would come next, as a complementary tool for your Facebook game. LinkedIn and Twitter are also an option, which might be more useful for your professional fitness-industry type of things, but can still increase your credibility and marketing prowess.
In general, communities are built around one main mission – does your audience know your mission as a trainer? Let them know by sharing personal stories and asking questions to encourage conversation.
3. Get Consistent with Email Marketing
Ask any marketing professional and they’ll tell you that email is a huge piece of sales. Don’t believe me? According to the DMA National Client Email Report 2015, email marketing has an ROI of 3800%. Damn.
Your email list will be the glue that holds your business together. It’s the main way you connect with your audience, how you sell products to your audience, and how you sell other people’s products to your audience (more on that later). I’d recommend finding a few different fitness professionals with killer email game so you can get a good sense of how and what to do.
4. Take your Business Online
There is so much opportunity in the online world of fitness. Here are a few to start:
- Create and sell personalized training programs
- Start an online coaching group for individuals with common goals
- Launch a training portal with videos for members to access
- Craft an e-book of exercises for people to download
There are platforms that exist that make all of this stuff super easy, despite how daunting they may seem. If you do your research, you’ll even find some that take no percentages or transaction fees, and let you keep most if not all of your profits.
5. Get Involved with Affiliate Marketing
As a fitness professional, you likely have friends who are also fitness professionals who are also selling online programs or products. An easy, passive way to bring in income is through affiliate marketing. Think of it as “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” You promote their products to your community and get a kickback if anyone purchases. They promote your products to their community and get a kickback if anyone purchases. Everyone wins.
By the way, there are also generalist affiliate programs you could also sign up for. The Amazon Associates program for example, allows you to receive income from successful recommendations of day-to-day products you’ve used, such as books you’ve read & liked or training gear that served you well.
In 2017 – you are not limited to being ‘just’ a personal trainer. You can go beyond personal training, harnessing the power of online courses, online coaching and more. Think out of the box – your profession entails more than just what you’ve been taught at your PT course!