Many trainers who have transitioned to online have found that the length of time clients stay is often shorter than that of offline clients. It makes sense.

Offline retention can be enhanced by things like training with friends, personal relationships being formed, having appointments where clients know someone is expecting them and the fact that training locally can often just be an easier habit to create.

So, how do you infuse some of what works with offline clients into your online business to maximize retention? Here are a few ideas:

Set Appointments — We all do better with specifics, so by having your clients schedule appointments for their training sessions, even if they’re unsupervised, they’ll be more likely to do them. And the more specific, the better. If you have the client specify where they’ll train, what equipment they’ll need and any other relevant detail that can be included, they’ll be more likely to perform the session and actually using the program is a big step toward retaining clients longer.

Make It Personal — A common mistake I see trainers make is that they try to strip away everything that’s personal about personal training from their online programs. They want to give someone a program and some videos and call it “personal training,” but there isn’t anything that feels personal. If you add a simple, weekly video call for 15 minutes, you can infuse a personal connection and let people know that you care about them. Additionally, this will serve as more accountability and get clients to be more compliant with the program, so it’s a win on multiple fronts.

Add Accountability — One of the best things I’ve done with my business coaching clients, who are basically all online clients, is to add a layer of accountability coaching. We work together to identify what the client’s weekly action items will be to move them toward their goals and then we use text, group video coaching sessions and online coaching that is asynchronous with tools like Facebook groups, Naamly or Voxer throughout the week to support them. At the end of the week, there’s a review to celebrate wins and identify areas to learn from. You could easily do the same.

In summary, if you want to keep online clients longer, you need to build stronger connections and make sure you’re facilitating their progress. These short tips will help you do just that.