The key to Successful Online Training
Very much like training in the studio, a successful online training relationship is about knowing your clients, what they need and when they need it. The challenge of going online is to learn to maintain that close relationship with your clients using online tools.
Figure Out What Kind of Support they Need
If you know your clients, you know if they need accountability, guidance or cheerleading. It’s the same online. You must stay on top of sensing how they are feeling and what they need from you. If you are uncertain, just ask them!
Maintain a Strong Connection With Your Clients
This is what separates you from any number of free Youtube training videos. To your clients, you are their guide and support in the world of fitness, and they want to continue to enjoy your brand of training while online. In order to cotinue your relationship, you’ll want to take advantage of online tools and use them more frequently.
Figure Out What Type of Training Works
Not every format of training will work well online. Figure out which types of classes will translate better to an online training format. Make sure that you develop a system that lets you deliver great workouts while also allowing you to foster the relationship, maintain accountability, and offer the right support and encouragement.
Remember to think of online training from your client's perspective:
they get to have a training relationship with you, it just happens to be online.
Form a Community
Starting a private group for your clients is a powerful opportunity to build a community that supports each other, and gives you a space to deliver more personal content and training meant only for your clients.
Encouragement and Accountability
Use your private online community to create an environment similar to that of your studio, that allows clients to feel at home, interact with the studio community and support each other. This can also be a space of accountability if you ask your clients to check in after their workouts and share their results.
There are many ways to structure the workouts. Many trainers prefer to build custom workouts for the week, while others like to build a repository of workouts and put people on a program. You can schedule one-on-one sessions or do small groups with all participants live on the video feed. The format you choose will depend on your business and style.
Match Workouts to Your Client’s Environment
Keep in mind to offer programming that clients can perform safely from home using their limited equipment. You might also be able to ask clients to acquire some easily accessible equipment like resistance bands.
This is a good choice for small groups or personal training, allows for a more personal touch with the ability to interact in real time. Livestreams are also more casual, as the video feels like a chat and there is no editing involved.
Good choice for building up a library of workouts that you only have to perform once. Gives you an opportunity to edit the videos and deliver a more polished presentation. You can reuse these videos for multiple clients and programs over time. However, pre-recorded videos don’t offer an opportunity for real-time interaction with your clients so you must supplement that personal connection elsewhere.
Robert Linkul, owner of Be STRONGER Fitness, walks us through the steps of accelerated implementation as he moves his programming online for existing clients.
You’ll need apps to record your video and deliver to clients at the right time. We recommend using Zoom as the video platform, because it’s easy to use for both you and your clients and can be integrated with many training and studio management apps. Zoom can be used to record the videos, deliver livestreams, and send out notifications.
Integrate With Your Studio Software
Ask your current studio management app if they integrate with Zoom and to provide instructions. Look closely at your options to create online classes and deliver those classes using scheduled notifications. If you don’t currently use software to manage your clients or programming, consider using one to simplify the process of scheduling classes and billing clients online.
Delivering Live Sessions
With a tool like Zoom, you can schedule a live video chat for one-on-one or small groups. Clients receive notifications with a link to access the session. As the moderator, you can configure Zoom to prioritize your camera while allowing others to also have their video feed enabled to participate. You can configure the sessions on the Zoom app, or through your class management software if it is integrated with Zoom.
You can record your workouts using Zoom, then upload those files to a video platform like Vimeo or your private Facebook group. Once the files are posted online you can schedule the sessions for your clients using your class management software to send those workouts out to clients at the right time.
You can start with your smartphone camera, but trainers recommend using a computer for a smoother workflow in managing the recordings or streaming, and to connect a higher quality webcam and microphone. Test your equipment thoroughly, try out some sessions with family.
Prepare your environment for being featured in videos. Find a good angle, tidy up, and make sure there’s plenty of light. Cameras need a lot of light to capture video properly. A large window providing ample sunlight can be a great source of bright, elegant light.
Create Tons of Content
Training from a distance means clients don’t get to benefit from in-person contact, so communicating more often to keep up the good energy:
- Post social media short stories
- Daily motivation
- Talk about stretching and flexibility
- Offer bonus workouts using body weight and equipment they would have at home
- Thoughts on mental health, meditation
- Health and nutrition ideas
- Community meetups – you can schedule opportunities for people to come together and socialize on a live video feed
- Take requests! Invite your community to raise topics for discussion
Communicate changes often and transparently. Clients can be receptive and understanding as long as they are kept informed. Explain the reasons for the changes, and illustrate how your studio is working hard to continue to offer the best service possible.
Maintain Same Prices
When going online, consider maintaining the same training or membership pricing when: the frequency of training they will receive online is comparable to their in-presence schedule, and when their access to training and services is around the same.
When to Lower Prices
Consider lowering the prices for the online service when: clients/members are losing access to open hours at the facility, forced into a reduce frequency of training, or losing access to specialized training or equipment.
Even when clients are losing access to the studio, you can strengthen the value of your services by creating a strong community online including access to you and your trainers, offering fresh content regularly, and providing additional online resources like pre-recorded workouts.
Offer More Value to Keep Your Rates
Lucy Wei and Dave Smith of the Online Training Federation share their thoughts on the value and pricing of online training.
Grow Your Business Online
Going online means you can start welcoming new clients to your online services.
Word Of Mouth
Start by offering a great service for your existing clients, and have those clients bring in their family members and friends that are also in need of quality online training. Your one-on-one clients could bring in a spouse or sibling in their household, your group clients can invite their friends to join from their own homes.
Raise Funds with Bundles
It’s important to keep the revenue flowing in during a time of transition. Many of your clients will want to support you if you give them the opportunity. Create bundles and pre-paid packages that clients can purchase now. Look for bundles that pair well with online training, like a 2-for-1 month for spouses, or a prepaid 3-month package with a small discount.
You are not alone!
Now is a critical time to reach out to fellow studio owners managing this transition.
Share and Learn with Others
AFS members work closely with a mentor and a group of peers to solve all challenges.
The AFS community also gets together in the AFS Private Forum and private Facebook group, where we can discuss sensitive topics about operating your business.
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