Until recently, most people had no idea what an online coach did or why they might want to consider hiring one. People treated the entire prospect either with total confusion or cynical distrust.
If we can make a positive out of the situation, we've recently found ourselves in - gyms shutting their doors due to the pandemic - it has fast-tracked the position of online training by potentially ten years. There has never been a better time to be an online coach, and here are 6 reasons why.
1. People Now Want to Train at HomeOnline training has skyrocketed in popularity recently because people have been unable to get to the gym. People want to train at home because exercise is a way to stay physically healthy - but mentally healthy too. People are seeking out online coaching in numbers we've never seen before.
From a marketing perspective, this is massively powerful. Now you're speaking to an audience that sees virtual training as something desirable. You no longer have to overcome that particular objection in your marketing content.
2. Virtual Is the New NormalThe "new normal" is virtual for everything. So people who might never have considered online training as something that they would manage to cope with, or want to try are now far more tech-savvy than they were just six months ago. Working from home and having meetings with colleagues has pushed the pace forward significantly on people having to adapt to technological advances. Virtual social clubs have given people a chance to practice their skill with "logging on". The step to begin online personal training is minimal compared to what it once was with people now familiar with the language around it even if they don't understand the mechanics of your particular program.
3. People Have EquipmentFor the longest time, online coaches were faced with designing yet another bodyweight program, maybe with some resistance bands, if they were lucky. However, thanks to an extended lockdown period, many people now have access to really high-quality home training equipment, including dumbbells, kettlebells and even barbells.
With more equipment options, there are more programming choices available. The plan you write will be more varied and exciting for your clients. As a result, they will be more compliant with your program. Consequently, they make incredible progress that they have enjoyed, and they can't wait to tell their friends about (virtually, obviously).
4. FlexibilityThe drawback of working with a personal trainer face to face is that it's dependent on juggling two schedules - the client, and the trainer. Often this results in either very early or very late sessions. Parents of young children, people with demanding jobs and clients who have to travel a lot, may want more freedom in managing their time and may not be able to commit to in-person sessions fully.
The option to have an online coach frees you both up to have maximum flexibility in your session timings. Clients can fit their training around their lives, and online coaches can provide more support when it's needed. With people having had a taste of this flexibility, it seems likely that many of them will be reluctant to give it up even when the gyms do reopen.
5. Confidence Around GymsOnline coaches have been dealing with people who lack confidence around the gym for a long time, but now many people feel this way. With increased concerns about hygiene, crowded environment, and the possibility of having to wear a mask which could restrict breathing - many people aren't rushing back to gyms any time soon. They might be looking into other options to get and stay healthy.
In countries where gyms are open already, there are extensive measures in place around the amount of contact members are having with equipment and one another. People may become even more intimidated by this and affect their willingness to enter a place which - for many people - has historically been a source of anxiety anyway.
6. Health and ImmunityPeople are recognising the importance of good health and immunity to the pandemic and trainers and coaches are on the front lines of educating and supporting their clients to prioritise their health. With the media regularly reporting the higher risks associated with respiratory problems and obesity, people are putting a greater focus on controlling the negative impact of these factors in their lives.
It's worth making a note here that ethical marketing is at the heart of what we believe in at PT Distinction. Finding a strategy that allows you to communicate your values around health and fitness, but which doesn't pressure or frighten prospective clients into making decisions is something that we wholeheartedly support.