How to Make Your Online Personal Training Services Truly Personal

Getting Started

Jul 24, 2020

By Tim Saye

With the market for online personal trainers more saturated than ever, standing out as an exceptional trainer is essential. When your personal training services come with a personal touch, your clients feel like they matter to you and that they are more than a monthly fee and numbers on a spreadsheet. Your clients are far more likely to recommend their friends and make referrals to you when they feel like you care about them. 

Your clients are also far more likely to get exceptional results because when people feel special, they will be willing to open up to you about their struggles and ask you for help and support. At its heart, all coaching is about building personal relationships - but it can be hard to know what this means in practical terms. Here are some ways that you can provide exceptional service for your online coaching clients. Of-course providing excellent coaching and programming is what PT Distinction trainers do anyway, so this article assumes you're already doing that.

Social Media

Adding your clients on social media is great for a couple of reasons. First, it allows you to be part of their lives outside the gym - and invites them to be part of yours. It shows you as a complete person, with interests other than diet and training. You can find common ground on different issues about which you both care. 

It also gives you the chance to tag them on social media, letting them know that you're thinking of them and deepening that relationship. Just ensure you ask for their permission first. 

When it comes to testimonials, you can have access to their entire network of friends. When clients are happy with their results, they will rave about them to anybody they know would benefit.

Once you built a trusting relationship, you can ask for their permission to use their transformation images in your marketing. Those that say yes will also be happy to share their achievements with their friends who have already been admiring their increased energy, self-esteem and physical changes. A bullet-proof testimonial process will improve the chances of getting a referral from that client so make sure they are comfortable with every step.

Take A Genuine Interest In Their Lives

Your clients are probably giving you a lot of information about their lives already when they do their check-ins or post online. Keeping track of personal details - such as the name of their spouse, kids, or significant life events that are coming up can be a thoughtful touch. 

If you struggle with names and dates, add these to your clients notes and review this before you speak with them. Significant events like birthdays, anniversaries or graduations may need to be adjusted for in their nutrition and training plans, so mentioning them is often appreciated. 

If you don't feel as though you have the type of relationship that would allow you to reference something personal, you could keep track of important dates since they started with you and drawing attention to the progress they've made in that time.

You can buy a small trophy for under £5 on Amazon to celebrate important weight loss milestones or significant personal bests in their resistance training, including engraving, and posted straight to their home address. These gestures far outweigh the financial cost and will mean a lot to your clients. You don't have to spend a lot to be thoughtful.

Use Their Name

When communicating with your clients in writing (emails, texts, etc.) always remember to make it feel personalised by using their name. In PT Distinction you can do this even when sending out to multiple clients. But you can go even further by referring to something specific that you talked about together. 

"Hey Barbara, I remember you telling me that you sometimes have some knee pain when kneeling to do some weeding in the garden. Here's an article I found (or wrote - even better) about some exercises you could do at home to strengthen that area as a preventative measure."

Give these freely and without expectation of anything in return. Things which are relevant to their goal or specific injuries and limitations are particularly powerful as you’ve done this specifically for them - and it's not a generic copy & paste message. 

This practice also comes handy in communicating with hand-picked members of your audience who are considering hiring you but haven't yet made the jump. Doing this for people that are not your current clients is a highly effective method of getting new clients. 

Get Personal Information When They Sign Up

Think beyond the PAR-Q and Informed Consent forms. You can include any questions in your on-boarding process so long they are somewhat relevant to your client's journey. 

Feel free to add information like their date of birth, and home address so that you can send cards and gifts through the post. While you can easily justify why you're asking for their birthday, a physical address may be a push for some clients, so ensure that you make that field optional. You can get back to asking for their address later on in their journey once you built more rapport.

A physical welcome card that you handwrite, and post is often an unexpected, exclusive touch. Birthday cards, and commemoration and anniversary cards for the date they start with you - to thank them for making a commitment to your coaching for a whole month or year.

If you can, keep your intentions secret so that when your card or gift arrives in the post, they are genuinely surprised. The goal here is to make an impression on them that you're more than just an average personal trainer. That you go above and beyond in looking after them, and that they matter to you.

Ask Them, Listen, and Say Thank You

As a good online coach, you're probably already surveying your clients regularly. You'll be asking questions about the aspects of your online service they find most useful, what features would improve your services in their opinion, and also what type of content people would like to see more. When you receive survey answers from your clients, ensure you don't forget to say thanks!

You can even record a voice note, or a short, personalised video addressed to the specific client to thank them for the help and support. You can use the opportunity to explain how you'll use their feedback to improve your online fitness services. Give people some practical, actionable advice based on what they've told you they need. Finally, say a heartfelt thank you. Feedback from your clients is incredibly useful as a business development tool.

Wrapping Up

I bet the first time you wondered how to become a personal trainer you never thought your life as a fitness coach would be more about the people than the fitness itself. At least, when you work with clients face-to-face, you have a wide range of non-verbal ways to build the trust that will help both you and your client to achieve amazing results together.

Online coaching, however, can feel remote and impersonal - unless you make a point of changing that. You might have clients that you never meet in person and doing everything in your power to make them feel like a friend you've known in real life will improve the working relationship you have.