On your path to creating a successful personal training business, you can agree that finding your groove can be the trickiest part of the journey.
Finding a niche or the main specialty is one thing. Identifying and capitalizing on your unique selling points is another.
For any personal trainer worth their salt, marketing strategy is the real key to success.
But let’s say you’ve carved your niche, collected your credentials and nailed your marketing strategy, is that it?
Well, in this day and age, you not only need to specialize while diversifying your scope of expertise, but you also need to explore multiple ways to implement your operation as a PT.
What I mean by this is taking your PT business and hybridizing it.
Hybridization means integrating and delivering your service across the two most prevalent platforms for pt implementation.
In-person and online.
But before we dive deep into integrated training, I want you to take my quiz if you’re not already certified.
You should do that soon. Check for the top personal training certifications on the market and steps to becoming a personal trainer on my page and if you are wondering which CEU you need to expand your knowledge, you can also find that on my page.
The quiz will help you figure out which certification is best suited for your aspirations and situation as a trainer getting into the game.
Before you can get into integrated training nailed, you’ll want to gain the right expertise and credentials.
With that being said, let’s get into some pointers on how to succeed as an integrated trainer.
What is Integrated Personal Training?
Integrated training is a fairly new avenue in the fitness world.
That’s because it combines the traditional methods of in-person training with the advent of online coaching.
So basically put, integrated training is the combined approach of being a real-world trainer and an online coach.
Having these two approaches allows you to capitalize fully on your training ventures since more eyeballs are glued to screens for digital online content.
It’s one thing to have multiple services on offer via different platforms, it’s another thing to do it right.
And by doing it right I mean making both your online and in-person approaches work well in their own right, but also as an integrated approach with each other.
I’m going to give you some pro tips on how to initiate, grow and manage your integrated training approach for maximum benefits to your clients and maximum profit for you.
So first up, let’s break down each aspect of the integrated trainer model, then look at how you can fuse these two approaches.
I’ll start with the pros and cons of each approach, then go into how you can effectively implement and integrate both.
Pros vs Cons
In-person training is the traditional way of doing things. It has an aspect that has stood the test of time such as:
- Ability to build and maintain rapport with clients
- Real-time assistance and the ability to provide hands-on support and correction
- Greater in-depth assessment of where your client is in terms of physical potential and their needs
- Ability to react to instantaneous events during a workout session
- Greater quality communication, feedback, and assessment
- Greater ability to motivate and encourage as well as hold your client(s) accountable
That said, in-person training also has some disadvantages:
- Can be more time consuming
- Less flexibility in terms of scheduling options with multiple clients
- Your realistic client volume is limited to the time available in a day or week.
- You are constrained by geographical location.
- In-Person Training: What It Takes
- Now, assuming you’ve gained the necessary credentials, you will have an idea of where your field of expertise lies.
Whether you’re a personal trainer, group trainer or have a focus in training special scenarios or populations, the approach is similar.
There are 5 essential steps towards netting and retaining your clients.
- Act like a Pro
- Do Your Homework
- Orientate your client
- Do a dry run
- Establish the end game
Making sure you follow these steps closely is the key to the doorway of success whether you are training in-person, online or in this case, both.
Now, having a great in-person service will also boost your credibility in the online space.
The way you can optimize this is by building your reputation, library of results and track record through in-person sessions and client relationships.
While you can jump straight into online training, its a much steeper climb than building your business up from the in-person side of things.
I recommend you gain a significant amount of mileage through your real-world PT services first.
That’s where reputation, a library of expertise and track record come in.
They serve as automatic authentication for your ability and experience as a reliable fitness professional.
Let’s break that down.
Reputation management is a key part of growing your business.
The best way to do this is simply by being reliable.
Having a reliable, trustworthy relationship with your clients may actually count more towards your success than the results they experience.
Your clients want to feel important and taken care of more than anything. They have entrusted you with their livelihood and ambitions, all while parting with their money for it.
Being on time, communicating effectively and scheduling well will help build a strong reputational foundation.
Having a strong ethical code and recognized credentials are also important in this regard.
You don’t want to come off as uncertified and unscrupulous.
You can do many other things to boost your reputation such as getting involved in community projects by giving up your time and resources to those in need through your expertise as a fitness professional.
Networking is another useful tactic in growing your reputational net worth and credibility as a reputable pro.
All this will increase your client inquiries and potential for conversions.
Having a great track record is one of the keys to great marketing, and having great marketing is a must for any trainer, especially if you’re gunning for integrated success.
A good track record is predicated on the results you obtain for your clients and having these results documented and spoken about.
The best way to do this is through reviews.
Having great reviews and clients vouching for your service is in my opinion, the best marketing resource out there.
The main reason people buy any goods or services these days is that other people have recommended them.
Just look at the movie industry today.
But just as with movies, great client reviews, and recommendations are the gateway to a growth in business and thus, revenue.
Platforms like TrustPilot and Google reviews are the best way to boost your reviews on your services.
When it comes to integration with an online service, this factor will come in handy.
Library of Expertise
This is where social media and online presence.
What I mean by a library of expertise is having a documented catalog of what you have done and can do.
The best way to approach this is by producing and sharing content.
Showing people what you have done for others through videos and progress pictures is a great way to get people excited about the prospect of training with you.
You also want to put yourself on display and give a little insight into your lifestyle as a fitness professional.
Regularly sharing content on your own fitness routine, nutrition regimen and healthy approach to life serve as a great way to build your expert library.
You also want to try and provide value in terms of knowledge and know-how that can allow casual viewers to gain useful insight and a great starting point.
For example, you could post workout videos in your Instagram feed and provide details on correct form, execution, and intensity in the captions.
Having an online library of expertise is actually your first big step towards graduating into an integrated approach.
That’s because this content can include calls-to-action and links to what we will discuss next, your online coaching operations.
Pros vs Cons
Its 2020, and with a new decade, you can expect a further shift of all economies into the digital space. That includes the fitness industry, but before you go all in, let’s see what the pros and cons are.
- Much more flexible in terms of time and scheduling
- Able to reach a wider audience and thus higher client conversion rates
- Able to sustain a larger volume of clients at any given time
- The client base is no longer limited by geography or even time zones
- Can create more diverse products and pricing
- Ability to truly create a passive income
- Online training lacks the personal touch you can provide with real-world interaction
- Its harder to keep tabs of actual progress when no contact is being made with clients
- It’s also harder to hold clients accountable
- You still need a customized approach to some extent, which becomes more difficult with an increased client volume.
I’ll be going into more detail about the ins and outs of growing an online business in future premium content so keep it locked and stay tuned.
Online Training: What It Takes
Now that you’ve grown your in-person business to a sustainable and reputable level, it’s time to branch out into the online world.
As I mentioned, having a solid real-world background is the best approach towards building a great online business.
You want to be a real person with real-world results and real-world client relationships so that the online ones can be forged on an authentic realization of your expertise.
There are several aspects to ramping things up with your online approach.
- Social media
- Automated trainer platform
- Ecommerce and information products
Let’s get into each of these and the role they will play in growing your integrated business.
The best way to make the jump to online is to feed off your social media presence.
That’s because everyone and their dog is on at least one social media platform.
When looking back at what I discussed about creating your online library of expertise, you’ll see how social media is key.
Expanding from just posting your workouts and client transformations, you can add calls-to-action or CTAs that lead your audience down a path that will potentially convert them into clients.
You can also create content that acts as a preview or sneak peeks into your full suite of premium services and products.
Having a link in your bio or profile description and directing people to click on relevant links is a great way to start building your online client base.
Of course, this link or links should lead to useful, valuable services and products you will offer as an online pro.
Also, get this, fitness is one of the top 5 most popular topics on social media, so taking advantage of SM puts you in a more favorable position than may others.
As far as social media platforms are concerned, you obviously have numerous options.
The big 4 are Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram.
In my opinion, Youtube is the most useful platform in terms of social media. Not only can you provide more value to a wider audience, but you also have the opportunity to make money directly off your youtube videos.
And yeah, you can totally make money with just your content alone on the other platforms, but youtube is the most viable creator platform in terms of cashing in on just your content.
Instagram is great for creating a visual identity of your brand and business and less so when creating valuable content.
Facebook is a great way to advertise your services, but the tide is shifting and the platform is captivating less of an audience than it used to.
Twitter is great for news and updates, but not much else, unless you’re into opinionated, often toxic debates.
When it comes to social media, the best approach is a cross-platform integration.
You want your social media platforms to feed into and out of each other.
This creates a seamless, broad-spectrum digital footprint that will amplify your presence online and boost the potential of your online business.
The next essential component in your online trainer business is a good website.
You want your website to be simple but complete.
Have a design that is appealing but also informative with a layout that leads visitors to subscribe or purchase your services and products.
This means optimizing navigation by using clear text and images as well as visible, essential menu items.
You also obviously want an eye-catching look to impress potential clients. A clean logo and visual consistency along with good images are the way.
Just as the way your site looks is important, you also need to take care of what’s being looked at.
By that I mean content, and content is king.
You want to make all text and images informative but concise and to the point.
Another factor in how well a website performs is its web friendliness. This is where things get technical and you might want to bring in some SEO pros to give your site the right boost.
The last thing your website must do is boost conversions.
You need to create content and provide tools that compel visitors to do business with you while also offering additional value to existing clients.
Visiting your website is one thing, but if it doesn’t translate into actual client conversions then you aren’t getting much out of it.
When people visit your site and don’t interact with any transactions, i.e. they don’t buy anything, its called “bouncing”.
The bounce rate of a website is the rate at which this happens. You want to get this as low as possible which translates into more clients.
Automated Trainer Platform
A great way to streamline your online services is to set them up via an automated tool or platform.
There are a few great apps and websites that allow you to set up your own custom profile accessible to your clients allowing them to interact with your services automatically.
This is a great way to limit the administrative tedium of micromanaging every aspect of your clients’ needs.
Software such as PT Distinction and Trainerize allow you to deliver programs with relative ease to a wider client base.
Information Products and eCommerce
The last important component of online training is providing premium content in the form of information products.
Information products range from eBooks to fully fleshed out digital courses.
Depending on your brand and niche, you can create many versatile info products.
One example is recipe guides to go with your nutrition coaching services.
You can also produce exercise tutorials and even go as far as creating broad-spectrum lifestyle packages.
A well-designed suite of info products with different options and pricing tiers is your gateway to passive income.
Finally Integrated: The Advantages and Drawbacks
Now that we’ve broken down the two components of integrated training, let’s build them back up into an integrated system.
So far I’ve shown you how each component of the integrated model works on its own, with some limited insight or examples on how online and in-person can be connected.
Let’s take it a step further and instead of just integrating the platforms we use, lets now integrate our client experience.
What I mean by that is instead of just having a hybrid of what services and products you offer and integrating those, you now have the advantage of integrating your client experience.
Your in-person clients now have added value through your online offerings.
Added value for your clients means added income for you.
Integrating existing in-person clients also means they are already well versed in how you operate and have also developed somewhat of a loyalty to your services.
However, there are certainly some drawbacks when it comes to the integrated model.
For instance, just integrating in-person clients will leave you with a limited client volume. You will still need to go through the motion of converting new online clients in order to fully satisfy the potential for that end of your business.
Speaking about marketing and conversion, keep your eyes peeled for some awesome premium content in that area that I will be launching soon.
An integrated approach also means you can’t focus completely on one model and have to divide your efforts.
This means you’re sacrificing the mastery of either online training or in-person training, for the rewards of integration.
As far as clients are concerned, the integrated approach can become confusing for some, especially if they aren’t used to the back and forth between modern tech and more traditional service channels.
You’ll experience this with older clients.
So what’s the key to a successful integrated trainer model?
I would say growing your in-person strategies, expertise and client base up first while creating a suite of online resources and developing your digital real-estate.
After that, you find ways to seamlessly connect these two halves in a way that makes sense for your clients to want and need to use both sides of your operation.
You have to be able to balance your ability to cater to individual clients while also providing some one-size-fits-all services where applicable.
Another essential aspect is the constant assessment of threats and opportunities. Be open to emerging trends and business tools.
The fact that you are here, taking a new and exciting approach to coaching means there’s more innovation to come, and keeping an eye on it means staying on top.