3 Steps to Maximize Client Engagement With Online Personal Training

Online personal training is an excellent fitness solution for many clients. It provides guidance, structure, and flexibility at a fraction of the price that face-to-face personal training sessions can cost.

Online Personal Training

However, online personal training isn't perfect either. A lack of in-person training sessions can make clients feel less accountable to stick to their training plans. They can drift off course, which leads to reduced progress, and potentially a lost customer for you.

That's why we, as online personal trainers, need to leverage the power of online connectivity to maximize engagement with our clients. It's our responsibility to help them feel motivated and accountable just as if they were our in-person clients.

3 Powerful Strategies to Increase Engagement With Your Online Personal Training Clients

Research has shown time and time again that people perform best when they feel a sense of belonging to a group or team. Nobody wants to let others down. People want to make a good impression and to prove that they have what it takes to succeed.

How can we use this ​with our online personal training clients?

We need to create community.

In traditional personal training, community is often created quite naturally. Small group training or even training clients in pairs is a great way to create a sense of teamwork. Online, we have to be a bit more intentional. 

1. Start a Private Facebook Group

Private Facebook groups are a great way to help your online PT clients connect with each other and with you. They are also a great way to build "stickiness" with your clients - that is, your clients will be more likely to stick with you as their personal trainer when they feel that they are part of a larger group.

Facebook Group

This 5-member group creates a sense of belonging and exclusivity for its members

You can start a private Facebook group very quickly (and for free). Then, invite your clients by email or send them the link to the Facebook group where they can request to join. Here's a quick video showing how easy it is to invite your clients to join your group:

Once your clients are in the group, it's very easy to create the community you're looking to build. Here are a few ways to generate conversation and engagement:

  • ​Ask a question about your clients' workouts, eating, sleep, etc.
  • Post an article related to the goals of your group members
  • Upload a video that inspires thought or conversation
  • Create a poll to see where your clients are succeeding or struggling most
  • Set weekly "check-in" times - clients post in the group about their progress for the week

2. Host Group Motivation Calls

As an online personal trainer, you can scale your business (and your revenue) because each client you work with requires less of your time... in theory.

Once you begin scheduling phone calls or Skype chats with each of your clients, your schedule will quickly fill up, and suddenly your revenue per hour will tank. Yes, the added attention may help keep your clients engaged, but you can easily burn yourself out trying to cater to each of them individually.

Don't work harder or longer. Work smarter. Build a business that's scalable. 

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The solution? Begin hosting group motivation calls.

Using a service like ​Facebook Live, Youtube Live Streaming, or a group call in Skype (all of which are FREE), invite your clients to join a regular motivation session. Here you can answer their questions, ask them about their progress, and, most importantly, create an awesome community in one single call.

Below is a detailed tutorial showing 4 ways to launch Facebook Live calls with your clients. I'd recommend doing it within a private Facebook group (since you've now created one of those for your clients, right?)

3. Implement Team Accountability Tracking

It is important to use an online personal training software (like TotalCoaching) to create user-friendly workouts for your clients. Most software solutions will also help you track your clients' progress as they complete each workout. This is great, but it does not foster the team environment that can be so powerful for building client engagement.

That's why I create a Google spreadsheet where my clients "check off" their workouts as they finish each one. Here's what it looks like:

team training

This particular Google spreadsheet includes members from one of my private Facebook groups. These members chat with each other on Facebook, they connect with me during live video broadcasts, and they help keep each other accountable by sharing their workout progress in this spreadsheet. It's a beautiful system for building community!

Compare this to a one-on-one online personal training relationship. Without community, each client will rely on YOU to motivate them, to engage them, and to keep them accountable. If they lose interest, it might seem like YOUR fault.

In a community, your clients support one another, and each client is responsible for taking part. There's less pressure on you, and a higher likelihood of success for your clients.

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About the author

Dave Smith

Dave Smith was chosen as Canada's Top Fitness Professional for his innovative online fitness coaching found at Make Your Body Work. He now teaches other fitness professionals how to build their own profitable online businesses. Learn more at the Online Trainers Federation.