Sept. 28 2020 10:26 AM

While many trainers are giving away as much as a month of free content, others are now starting to pull it back

    online training

    For the past decade, most services have been migrating to online, or at least having an online element to them. In the past year, the migration to online became not just a “nice-to-have” or an added benefit, but a necessity. To many fitness companies, it has meant survival, as we are in a turbulent time with a pandemic and ever-changing community guidelines for live fitness programming.

    Long-time staples of the fitness industry now have streaming live classes and pre-recorded classes to keep their membership numbers, such as Gold’s Gym with their 200 additional online classes, and many YMCA’s offering virtual real-time classes. Even with online offerings, many facilities are closing their doors permanently or reducing their number of storefronts to preserve the business.

    For smaller companies and individuals in the fitness space, this has meant a significant drop-off in personal training clients and paid classes. It has meant ingenuity in the fitness space, to stand out, show value, gain new clients and preserve relationships with existing clients.

    We all know that people need fitness now more than ever. The science shows us that being stuck at home leads to more sedentary behavior, and that lack of movement, especially with others, can lead to a reduction in feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin and dopamine.

    But as people began to close their fitness facility doors and enter more of the online space, many felt that they had to give away fitness for free. Some professionals were showing up to teach a live class online every day, many beefed up their free content on YouTube or Vimeo.

    This begs the question: How much should we be giving away? How much is too much? How can we remain profitable while serving in this time?

    While many trainers are giving away as much as a month of free content, others are now starting to pull it back, giving away ideas or quick tips, not necessarily entire workouts. Taking a cue from traditional marketing, you give away just enough to make the audience want more.

    Isaure Moorehead of IzzyMo Fitness and Nutrition in Houston, Texas, says she is giving away one short virtual ab class per week to show who she is as a teacher. Then, her “stories” on Instagram and Facebook show her clients performing exercises that she teaches. This form of marketing helps the viewer see herself in the exercise, rather than just watching a trainer.

    Laura Ratcliffe of The Singers’ Club in Leicester, England, says that the inspiration should come for free, but people pay for the transformation. Her business model is very unique, as she caters lifestyle education to musicians specifically. By using such a special niche, she can cater her inspirational posts to her market and show transformations. Musicians looking to get healthy are more likely to seek her out for personal advice, which is past the paywall.

    Here are some ideas to consider while using an online platform to stay in business or even improve your bottom line:
    ● Find a specific market niche and talk to that niche specifically in social media, blog posts, or videos.
    ● Inspire that person through brief tips or short content that helps them see what is possible.
    ● Make it personal. When someone asks about your services, ask questions, get to know them, and have a service plan idea ready to share.

    How we navigate this time will transfer into the future. Online is not going away, and we really don’t know how turbulent business life will be at any point. Taking the time now to plan for your niche market and having a service plan available to virtual clients could change your business and your bottom line.

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