The Online Personal Trainer’s Guide to Social & Digital Marketing
The great thing about online coaching is that you can reach more clients, but It can be tricky to put yourself in front of them. Here’s how we recommend coaches approach marketing themselves online.
December 14, 2018
Promoting your online coaching business, where to start:
The great thing about becoming an online coach is that you can reach more clients, but It can be tricky to put yourself in front of them. Knowing how to market your fitness business is going to give you a big advantage and can be really enjoyable when approached the right way!
Put a plan together
It’s important to think about how you’re going to go about this, don’t just set off in a direction without considering the future. A bit of planning at the start will save countless hours of heading down the wrong path. Even with all of the tips we’re sharing with you, the wrong plan can be hard to market, so make sure you’ve read our guide on how to create valuable online fitness content.
Identify your audience
With new trends popping up every year, the fitness community is an ever-growing market. There’s little to gain from targeting everyone, so focus on reaching people based on your skills and their interests. Play to your strengths, use your knowledge, and you’ll reach an audience that engages with what you have to offer.
Online fitness marketing guidelines
Your goal for marketing yourself as an online coach is to create and sustain relationships with clients. One of the best ways to achieve this is by providing them with useful content that they’ll want to engage with. But where do you post this content?
Social media is a fantastic outlet for reaching new people and building lasting client-trainer relationships. Marketing in this way revolves around putting yourself in front of the right audience, giving them something they want and, in return, they’re more likely to turn into paying customers. The more you market yourself through social, the easier and more rewarding it becomes. Consistency is the key!
Top 10 tips for promoting your personal training business
Each social channel has it’s pros, cons, unique tools and varying best practices.
Test the waters, find which ones your clients engage with the most, and focus on those platforms. Despite each social media outlet offering something different, these recommendations remain true across the board.
1. Be consistent with your username, profile picture and image styles across all social channels. This will help to reinforce your brand in customers’ minds and make it easier for them to find you.
2. Create a master document with the following information to avoid having to research and find the same thing multiple times:
Image sizes and specifications for each platform, we’ve covered this below.
Filter(s) that you’re using on imagery
3. Plan and write your content in advance so that it can be copied and pasted into your social channels. There’s nothing worse than making something up on the day that doesn’t align with your overall strategy or ends up being a wasted effort.
4. Give your followers a reason to visit. Whether that’s a funny meme that only CrossFit athletes will understand, or one home HIIT exercise every day for a month. Just make sure it’s relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach.
5. Engage with other users’ posts, and you’ll find more people engaging with yours. Has another coach posted an interesting blog or has a user asked for training advice? Get involved and start building a relationship.
6. Different platforms respond to varying types of media, so you should be creating an assortment of videos, images and text.
7. Don’t be afraid to try new things. You’ll start to build an understanding of what your clients like, so take a chance with an original idea now and then.
8. Make it easy for clients to find your social channels. Include links at the bottom of your email signature, in the footer of your website and your bio/ about section.
9. You want engagement with your posts, and, when it happens, make sure you’re replying and involving yourself in the conversation.
10. If you’ve given a social channel a go and it’s not for you, don’t just abandon it to be found by potential clients. There’s nothing worse than an inactive profile, so don’t be afraid to close an account if it’s not bringing you any value.
How to approach Facebook as an online coach
If you haven’t already got a dedicated Facebook Business page, that’s the first step to marketing on this platform. A business account is far more professional and gives you access to a load of handy features that help you build your following.
There are over 1.4billion active users on Facebook daily
One of Facebook’s strengths is the sheer amount of users, and although not all of them are your target audience, there’s going to be a lot within those figures. With Facebook, the goal is to grow your business page’s following. This audience will be responsive, help you to reach more people, and attract paying clients.
Best practice for Facebook marketing
Profile picture size: 360 x 360 pixels (remember, use the same picture across channels)
Banner image size: 820 x 312 pixels
Create an ‘Our Story’ section. You’ll need a 1200 x 445 pixel image to feature here, and about 250 words. You’re not trying to sell and convert clients within this section, but it’s a great opportunity to introduce yourself. Tell your audience what to expect and why they would be interested in your page
Complete your about information. This section will help potential clients find you and provides them with details such as your email address and website
Include 2-3 related hashtags. Facebook isn’t very hashtag orientated compared to other channels, but it’s good practice to include a few. Use the search bar to explore your hashtag ideas and see if similar content is coming up
Live videos are shown as a priority on Facebook, so build up the courage and get in front of the camera (It’s not cheating if you plan your live recording before you do it)
Set up a chat-bot to reply to customers when you’re away, it’ll stop anyone from feeling like they’ve been ignored and contacting your competitor
Post regularly. Remind your customers who you are and give them a reason to visit your page. Make sure to check out the ‘publishing tools’ section for an overview of how your posts are performing
Scheduling: Facebook will let you queue up posts for future posting. So spend some time creating content in advance and have it automatically fed to your followers
Paid ads: If you want quick results, create some ad copy and pay for it to be delivered to your audience. Test the waters and see what kind of ads get the best response
Top Tip: Well-performing organic posts can be turned into paid ads to reach new users (you already know your audience like it!)
Building an effective fitness-related Instagram profile
If you didn’t already know, Instagram was purchased by Facebook in 2012. The only way you can convert to an Instagram business account is by connecting it to your Facebook business page.
95 million photos and videos are posted on Instagram daily
The great thing about Instagram is that it’s so visual, which doesn’t work for all businesses but is fantastic for online coaching. Building an Instagram following may seem slow at first, but those figures will snowball as your account gains authenticity (people are much more likely to follow an account with 1000 followers than 10!).
Help your profile reach more people with these tips
Profile picture size: 110 x 110 pixels. Bear in mind that Instagram will display this as a circle instead of a square, so don’t put anything significant in the corners
Post size: 1080 x 1080 pixels. Instagram will add black edges around pictures smaller than this, so stay consistent with your image sizing
Photo editing. Instagram revolves around strong visuals, and there’s a lot of competition for your content to stand out next to all of the others. Instagram offers in-app editing features, but these are pretty limited. Using an external photo editing app will give you more creative freedom
Bio: Introduce yourself, make sure people know exactly what your page is offering and be sure to include a link (we recommend a link to your plans, but your website is also a great option)
Stories: These are limited time videos/images that your followers can view that can be turned into ‘Instagram highlights’
Hashtags: Hashtags are extremely important for Instagram, they help to categorise your posts into a related feed for users to find. The maximum you can include in one post is 30, so start searching in Instagram for hashtags and make a list of those that relate to you. Don’t forget to add at least one branded hashtag that’s unique to your business!
Tagging: Has your client made progress, or have they just completed one of your killer routines? Tag them in a post and reach people in their audience too
Sponsored ads: Promoting your organic posts is a great way to reach people outside of your following, for a cost. If you’ve got an image or video that performed well, it’s a great contender for some paid promotion
Make it easy for them to contact you: Ultimately, you’re not only trying to build a following, but also attract paying clients. Add your contact information and they’ll be able to get hold of you with a single click
Top Tip: Add branding onto your imagery to make your content more impressionable.
Twitter marketing strategy for online coaches
Twitter is a fantastic way to communicate with your audience and involve yourself in hot topics as they arise. Sharing other user’s tweets is a staple part of the Twitter lifestyle, so feed your followers with interesting content, and they’ll spread your message for you.
77% of Twitters users felt more positive towards a brand that replied to them through the platform
There are no extra steps to create a ‘business’ profile on Twitter. Simply create a new account and use the same username and imagery you’re using for other channels.
Tweet your way to success by doing this
Profile picture: 400 x 400 pixels, bear in mind this will be displayed in a circle
Header image: 1500 x 1500 pixels
Character limit: You’re restricted to 280 characters, which can sometimes feel tough. If you can’t say what you need to within this limit, consider using an image instead
Hashtags: The right hashtag can make a post, the wrong one can break it. Search for hashtags before you commit to using any!
Replying to Tweets: Offering customer services through Twitter is a personal way to get to know your clients. Not only will this establish relationships, but it’ll create positive impressions towards your business
Quick announcements. Just built a new 6-week workout for fat burn? Tweeting about it is quick and will get your message across without demanding too much attention from your audience
Pinned Tweet: You have the option to pin a tweet at the top of your profile, so use it wisely. We suggest using this to highlight a new plan or piece of content you’ve created
Incentivise: Retweeting, favouriting and the likes all help your message to reach new people. Consider offering promotions, discounts or freebies to your followers in return for spreading the word about your business
Paid tweets: You can either promote a single tweet, a trending topic or an account. Twitter will put your ads in front of likely prospects for you, so if you know your audience are heavy Twitter users, you might find it valuable to promote here
Top tip: Twitter is notorious for blowing up into viral trends. Keep an eye out for creative ways that you can get involved in the conversation.
Up your game: Create a personal website and blog
Social channels allow you to create mini sites within their platform, but running your own website has its benefits. For a start, you’re in complete control of the style, layout and what your visitors will see. Better yet, it can give you a professional edge over your competition.
Over 1 trillion searches take place every year
It can be daunting to create an entire website at first, and you might feel that you’re getting more bang for your buck through social efforts. However, as your site grows, it can become a great source of business. It helps new customers find you, provides information about what you’re offering and influences their decision to interact with you further.
Why you should include a website in your digital marketing strategy
Easy to share. Most social profiles will have a dedicated section for your website URL, so make sure you keep your social channels updated with this information
Long term: As you grow, a website will help your business come into its own. You’ll have your own creative space where you’re not competing with other businesses to get your content seen
Search engines: The fitness industry is a competitive area, so you’ll struggle to rank on search engines for your social channels (unless they’re directly looking for you). A website opens up the possibilities of new users finding you and reinforces your business in the digital world
Blogging is a great way to talk about who you are, your thoughts on a topic and any experiences you’ve had. The aim is to provide your readers with insights/information that relates to their interests. The hardest thing with blogging is getting started, but all it takes is one on-topic post for you to go viral!
Your content won’t get lost in the ocean of other users. If a user is visiting your website, they’re only going to see your content. Social channels are great, but often people will visit them to browse through the platform, not just your profile
Client list/ email list: Get website visitors to sign up to a newsletter, and you’ll have another way to reach people you know are interested in your service. Newsletters can be powerful things because you’ve already grabbed someone’s attention, and a website is one of the best places to build your list
Analytics and tracking. You can add some really handy features to your website that helps you to understand your audience. Providing you with insights such as age, gender and the pages they’ve visited. Having this information helps you to understand your audience and make better decisions moving forward
Top tip: There are many great free website builder tools you can try out before paying for a live site.
Using Linkedin to connect with your audience
Linkedin’s user base is made up of job seekers, working professionals and organisations. You’ll have to approach this platform in a different way (memes aren’t appropriate!), but there’s a lot of potential for an online coach. It’s important that you create a personal and business Linkedin profile as both are separate but closely interlinked.
40% of active Linkedin users browse the platform daily
Sales tactics don’t go down very well on Linkedin, instead, focus on building connections with the sort of clients you want to train. A great way to do this is by engaging with other users posts, they’ll likely return the favour when you have something to say yourself! Consider your niche, the audience you’re targeting and the sort of jobs they’ll have.
Make the right connections with these tips
Profile picture size: 400 x 400 pixels, but bear in mind this will be cropped into a circle
Banner size: 646 x 220 pixels. Keep anything like your logo or text right aligned so that your profile picture doesn’t interfere
Connect with people you know: A great starting place for your Linkedin profile is to connect with existing clients, friends, family and colleagues. It adds authenticity to your account
About Us (business page): Let other Linkedin users know what you’re offering, your specialities and info such as your website. Focus this section on your business, not you as an individual
Intro (personal profile): Use this section to list your personal accreditations, job title and a summary of who you are. Users are likely to view both your personal and business page if they’re interested, so make sure the information is consistent
Keywords will help people to find you on Linkedin, so make sure you’re referencing your coaching specialism a couple of times
Build your network: You’ve heard the phrase ‘it’s who you know’, and this is true for Linkedin. Without making connections on this platform, you’ll find it difficult to engage with the right people and get your voice heard
Publishing tools: It’s reported that Linkedin users have higher engagement rates with content such as blogs, namely because it’s free professional advice! Make sure you’re using the built-in ‘publishing tools’
Target job titles. You need to drill down into your audience and the type of jobs they have. Offering home workouts? Target ‘work from home’ professions. Do you have a masterclass on exercises to improve posture? Try approaching people who are sat in an office chair all day
Top tip: Linkedin is great for business to business relationships, so if you’re aiming to build a coaching brand, it’s a great place to start making the right connections.
How to include YouTube in your marketing strategy
It’s notoriously more time consuming to create video content, but users are more likely to engage in comparison to text or images. As an online coach, you’ve already got a good reason to provide visual instruction to your clients.
Over 3.25billion hours of YouTube videos are watched each month
You’ll have to sign up to YouTube with a Google account, so now is a good time to think about creating your dedicated business email too. Your YouTube content should supplement your overall strategy and be relevant to your training niche. If you’ve built a plan, start by creating videos that demonstrate how to perform the exercises correctly.
What you need to know as a coach using YouTube
Profile picture: 800 x 800 pixels, but bear in mind this will be displayed in a circle
Banner: 2560 x 1440 pixels.
About section: Describe what you’re offering as an online coach and be sure to connect your YouTube account with your other social platforms and website
Re-use your videos: It may take some time to build a YouTube following, but you should be posting your uploaded videos to your other marketing channels too
Channel trailer: Create an introductory video for when unsubscribed users visit your channel. It should feature you, discuss the sort of content you’ll be focusing on and what your audience can expect to gain by following you
YouTube TrueView ads can be a great way to push your content and channel to potential clients if your YouTube channel needs a boost
Title and description: Upload your videos with a title and description that include keywords. This will help users find your videos through the search function
Tags & Categories: These will help YouTube suggest your content to users viewing similar content. Get specific and drill into your niche, using ‘fitness’ as a tag won’t help you to reach the audience valuable to your business
Top tip: Using the right keywords could lead to your video ranking in Google search results!
Using fitness forums to your advantage
Due to the popularity of social media, online forums may seem like an outdated way to reach your audience. This isn’t true, in-fact forums are a fantastic way to get in front of people interested in specific topics.
Reddit has more than 330 million monthly active users
Reddit is essentially an ever-updating feed of just about anything on the internet, but within this platform you can find ‘subreddits’ dedicated to specific topics. It’s not just Reddit that you should be exploring, use any search engine to find forums relating to your specialism and you’ll soon find the most popular ones.
Here’s how to approach online forum marketing
Create a profile: Each forum will have a different profile section, so keep it consistent with your other channels and include links to social profiles
Don’t try and sell. Online forums are a place for like-minded people to ask questions, share recommendations and talk about their experiences. Be the person answering questions, offering advice and sharing your experiences. You’ll receive a much better reception
Make a name for yourself. Most forums have a built-in feature that tracks your engagement on their site. Build this up, become a dominant force on the forum and people will remember your name
Forum rules: Almost every forum will have a code of practice for posting. Make sure you read this to avoid any blunders or getting banned!
Signature: If you’ve found a forum you like, explore the options to add your website URL and social links to your profile. In some forums, these will be shown with every post you make
Top tip: Join multiple forums and start interacting with other people, the more online communities you’re engaging with, the more potential reach you have!
Pinterest marketing for personal trainers
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social channels out there. Like Instagram, it’s highly visual and favours more quirky/creative content. You should aim to create posts that will be just as valuable in 12 years as it is in 12 hours. Users that like your content will ‘repin it, which essentially increases its lifetime and your reach.
80% of Pinterest users view the platform on their mobile, so optimise your content for a mobile experience
You’ll need to sign up for a Pinterest business account. This gives you access to insight tools and the ability to advertise. Focus on creating unique pins that entice users into visiting your whole profile.
Our best Pinterest pointers
Profile picture: 165 x 165 pixels
Image size: Pinterest doesn’t limit you to a single image size like other channels. You should stick to a width of 600 pixels and then either 600, 900 or 1260 pixel height (depending on how square or rectangular you’d like your image to be. If you’re new to Pinterest, stick with 600 x 900 while you find your feet
Layout (boards): Pinterest allows you to arrange your posts into categories (called boards). This is a great way to break down what you’re offering, i.e. home workouts, quick 15 minute sessions or yoga positions. Make sure you include a title, description and cover photo that match the content
Pins (posts): Pins are the photos that you organise into boards. It’s vital that you write a description that clearly explains what the picture is about, as this helps users find your content in the search function
Schedule pins in advance: Pinterest has a built-in feature to help you post when you’re not around. Take advantage of this tool to get in front of customers when you don’t have the time to post manually
Pin other users content: Adding other user’s pins to your boards is part of Pinterest, so if you’ve found something your followers would love that was created by someone else, pin away
Link link link. Make sure that your pins link off to your other social channels. Capturing their interest at that moment means they’ll be much more likely to check out what else you have to say
Group boards: Some boards are the result of multiple users input, so if you can find a popular one and become a collaborator, you’ll reach a lot of people. Can’t find one relating to your niche? Maybe it’s time to start one!
Top tip: Take some interesting points from content you’ve already made, create a pin and link to the full piece to encourage users to visit your other channels.
Using email marketing to reach your clients
Perhaps the biggest constraint for emails is building up a contact list in the first place. You may not be able to use this marketing channel for months, but consider how you’re going to build the list at the very start of your marketing push.
21.93% open rate for health and fitness emails, but if people have opted in to receive emails from you, you can expect that to be higher
Most people will check their email on a regular basis, so the opportunity to get in front of them already exists. If someone has opted in to receive your emails, you know they already have an interest in you. Your goal is to entice them into opening, reading and taking action in response to the email they’re sent.
How to make it work for your business
Email signature: Create a professional email signature with links to your website, social channels, phone number and plans
Email address: Just like creating a social profile, create an email account you’ll only use for business that matches your social name. If you’re using YouTube, you’ll need to create a Google account anyway, so plan your email address in advance
Get new sign-ups. Use your other social channels to let followers know you have email content they can sign up for
Weekly roundup: Some people either won’t visit social channels or simply don’t spend enough time on there for you to always reach them. Weekly updates of important points are quick, punchy and can be saved for later reading
Branding. Make sure your emails are visually pleasing, with a good mix of images and text. Don’t forget to keep on brand, it all helps to reinforce your business into customers minds
Make email readers privileged: Signing up to a mailing list is a big leap of faith for a customer, so consider offering them some email exclusive content, tips or offers
Don’t spam. Your email subscriber may have only just become interested in your fitness area. Don’t put them off by sending too much information too regularly
Top tip: If you already have physical clients, ask them if they’d be interested in receiving your newsletters. This is a great way to start your contact list.
Make sure that it’s easy for your audience to convert into clients
You’re putting a lot of time into your marketing efforts, and you’ve managed to reach many clients and amassed a healthy following. The hardest part is over, but without a clear and easy way for them to convert into paying customers, your efforts won’t reach their full potential. This is where remote fitness coaches using Fitr. have an advantage.
Upload your programming to Fitr. and we’ll provide you with a URL linking directly to the purchasing page. Think as this link as another addition to your bio, footer and email links, except this one will directly earn you money. Everything you need to create a plan can be found within the platform, but be sure to check out Fitr. features beforehand.