A Look at the Personal Fitness Industry: Why Personal Trainers are Turning Toward Virtual Services
Whether you’ve been in the personal training business for decades or you’re just starting out in the exciting world of fitness training, you’re likely already privy to one of the most notable trends in the industry—virtual personal trainers.
It’s true, that virtual personal trainers take up a massive portion of the marketing. In fact, the rate of online or virtual personal trainers has absolutely exploded in the last decade, making it easier than ever for clients to invest in their physical wellbeing and overall fitness while creating a convenient, flexible, and scalable business plan for personal trainers everywhere.
“Sure,” you’re thinking, “all of that makes total sense—but why exactly are trainers turning toward total (or partial) virtual services? And more importantly, how can I get in on the action?”
If we’re spot-on with your train of thought (which, not to brag, we’re pretty good at), then we’ve got good news—you’re in the right place.
Here, we’re going to really dive into why trainers are offering exclusive or partial virtual training services, what’s driving them to make that switch, and most importantly, how you can jump in on this trend, too.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: WHAT’S CATALYZING THE VIRTUAL TRAINING TREND
A lot of trainers (let’s specify, trainers who’ve never run an online personal training company), might be tempted to think that an online business is less work than an in-person business and that’s where the appeal lies.
Well, we’ve got news for you guys—if you’re doing it right, that’s likely not the case. This enormous wave of online personal training brands isn’t happening because the work is easier, it’s because, in a lot of ways, it’s a more seamless, efficient way to run your business.
Here are a few of the main factors that are catalyzing the online training trend.
SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS AND TECHNOLOGY IN GENERAL
We live in a world that’s absolutely dominated by social media and online platforms. Whether you think that’s a good or a bad thing for humanity (we’re not here to comment on that), it’s hard to deny it’s a fact. With the incredible access to state-of-the-art technology we all have, it’s expected that the way we do things — like workout — will evolve. All of this technology and access makes it easier than ever to work with more people in more efficient ways without having to meet up in person. Without this boom of social media influence and general technology evolution, it’s unlikely the virtual trainer trend would have happened.
THE SCALABILITY (AND THE INCOME CEILING)
Here’s the blunt truth—online personal training is a business model that is hugely scalable. You’re able to help more people in a more streamlined way, opening the door for a larger client base. With an online business, you’re not restricted to making money solely when you walk into a gym and meet with clients face-to-face. With a virtual model, you can create a wealth of online service training programs that can help multiple people at one time, leaving you not only with more income but also with more time and freedom.
ABILITY TO WORK WITH MORE CLIENTS
A lot of online personal trainers love the fact that virtual training allows them the time, freedom, and resources to help more people than they thought possible. When you work as an in-house personal trainer at a gym, studio, or exercise facility, you’re limited to the number of people you can help based on facility resources and availability in your day. And if you’re good at what you do, that fills up fast. But, with an online program, you can tweak and tailor your overall services to help more clients than you normally would be able to, increasing your client base and effectively reaching more people.
CONVENIENCE AND FLEXIBILITY
With an online personal training business, you’re not chained to a physical location. If you set up your virtual business correctly, you can do what you want, when you want, and wherever you want. Online personal training businesses can allow you the flexibility, convenience, and freedom to run a successful, helpful business that doesn’t keep you locked into a single location or a single lifestyle.
HOW YOU CAN START YOUR OWN VIRTUAL PERSONAL TRAINING BUSINESS
This whole online personal training business is starting to sound pretty sweet, right? Yeah, we think so, too. So—now to the big question. How can you get in on this?
Everyone’s process is going to look different, especially if you’re trying to reach a specific audience or offer a specific type of fitness training. But we’ve laid out a few general tips that can help you get your online personal training business on the fast-track.
MAKE SURE YOU’RE CERTIFIED
Obviously, you’ll want to have your personal trainer’s license before you’re offering anybody any kind of personal training service, but if you’re able to add your online personal trainers license to your credentials, that can work wonders for your credibility. People like to know that you’re not just qualified to be a personal trainer, but that you’re qualified to be an online personal trainer. Even if you’re already a successful in-person trainer with a great reputation, being an online trainer requires a different, unique set of skills, and just having your online license can be a huge credibility booster.
UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Know who you’re trying to reach and why you’re trying to reach them. With online personal training, you can’t always cast an insanely wide net and hope the right kind of clients bite. Take a moment to really evaluate the point and the specialty behind your online business. Are you trying to be an online personal trainer who offers general health and wellness plans? Are you hoping to become an online Zumba-instructor? Do you solely want to take on bodybuilding clients for this online business? Know your target audience and make sure you’re marketing to them correctly.
MARKET, MARKET, MARKET
Speaking of marketing, we suggest taking a crash-course in marketing to really get your online business going. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money to take a university-level marketing course (though, it never hurts to invest in learning a valuable skill!). Instead, make sure you’re doing the research you need to understand how marketing your online services differentiates you from an in-person business. Get familiar with email marketing campaigns, social media platforms, and more. Need a little introductory guide? Check out our Marketing 101 blog here for a few tips on where to get started!
TRANSITION YOUR CLIENTS TO ONLINE TRAINING SLOWLY
If you’re an in-person trainer who’s trying to transition their business online (whether entirely online or a mix of virtual and in-person), don’t rush this process. Take it slowly. Educate your current clients on the value of transitioning to an online program, and give them time to adapt. The last thing you want to do is pull the rug out from under your established clients and risk losing their business.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR REVIEWS
Because you’re not a brick-and-mortar business, online reviews are going to be highly impactful for you. This makes sense, right? People are going to be hesitant to invest in your services if they don’t know anything about you. And if you don’t have any online reviews posted (or very few, for that matter), you’re likely not going to come off as a credible trainer. Luckily, we can help! Check out a few of our tips for boosting your online reviews!
Are you ready to kickstart your virtual personal training brand? We thought you might be. Remember, no matter what type of personal training programs you plan to offer—in-person, online, or a healthy mix of both—what matters most is that you’re committed to your clients and helping them find the results they’re looking for.
Want more tips, tricks, and advice for your online personal training business? Check back with our regularly updated blog for all the best personal training biz insight!