If you are just starting online personal training or trying to successfully move away from 1 on 1 coaching, a quality email list is your golden ticket.
Whether you're just starting out and wanting to build a list, or you already have a large list of fans, list building is something that we all need to be continuously doing.
This article will show you how to get online personal training clients by implementing a list building strategy in order to increase leads for your online personal training business.
Remember though - it's not all about having a giant list. I’m a firm believer that quality is better than quantity! (I know I'd rather have a highly engaged list of 1000 than a tuned out list of 10000!).
The very step you need to take now, is to decide which core strategy/strategies you're going to implement in order to attract traffic and leads.
Only when you have a steady stream of potential leads discovering you online, can you build your email list. Basically, if nobody knows you exist, or they can't find you online, how can you expect them to get onto your email list?
This means you're going to have to get creative, and have a proactive approach to growing your email list.
Here are some of the core activities you could focus on:
Probably the activity most online personal trainers may already be doing. The big upside to blogging as a way to generate traffic and leads is that there are very low barriers to entry - you could get started with regularly blogging today without any specialist tech or equipment.
As online personal trainers and fitness coaches, blogging makes a lot of sense, since what you're selling in most cases will be guidance and information that is extracted from your own knowledge and expertise. If you can create programs, provide coaching, run retreats etc on a subject, then you can put together a 500-800 word article fairly easily too.
The downside is that since blogging is such a popular activity, a lot of people are doing it so you've got a lot of competition for the attention of your audience.
Need help setting up your online personal trainer website? Then check out our Complete Design Guide.
Running a podcast can be a great way to stand out from your competition as well as really build your authority and develop your brand, since you get to show your personality a bit more.
The popularity of services such as iTunes also holds great potential for you to reach audiences you otherwise wouldn't be exposed to.
The downside is that there is a lot more tech stuff and equipment required in order to start and maintain a podcast; plus because people usually aren't listening to your podcast on your website, your 'call to action' needs to be strong in order to get them to visit your site and opt-in.
Usually in this instance, you'll be telling listeners to visit a squeeze page in order to sign up for something specific, rather than just sending them to the homepage of your site.
Listen to podcasts? Then be sure to tune into our Online Trainers Podcast.
Whether live or pre-recorded; webinars can be extremely powerful for generating both leads and sales.
When running a webinar, you're providing a huge amount of value to people for free, typically over the course of an hour or so - essentially free training or a 'mini-course' on a specific topic, so naturally these will appeal to people more than a blog post or a podcast episode.
The fact that webinars are typically scheduled and delivered at a specific date and time also adds an element of scarcity and urgency to it, and gives you a more captive audience who you can demonstrate your expertise in front of.
You will typically use webinars to generate sales - with a promo for your coaching or service being incorporated into the webinar content; however in order to attend, people will need to register in advance, and in doing so they become a lead on your email list too - so they serve a dual purpose.
Want to see a webinar in action? Then grab your free seat to our next webinar 'How to confidently create and grow your online fitness business'.
If you're still in the process of planning or building your website, then you may be planning to build up potential leads for your launch by having people sign up for your waiting list.
I recommend everyone in those initial stages of creating a website do this. Not only is it a great way of getting pre-qualified leads, it's also an excellent way to validate your idea for your products and services too.
The upside to this is that getting a waiting list up and running is something you can do quite quickly; however the main downside is that the only people likely to sign up are those who are really interested in your product, so you're going to get less leads (though they will be more 'qualified' or likely to buy).
If you already have a strong social media following, then a great way to leverage this is by running contests for your fans and followers.
This could be as simple as having fans of your Facebook page "like" a particular post in order to take part, or submitting the best comment etc - and then you picking a winner; or more in-depth, using a specialised app or software to run sweepstakes, leaderboards, giveaways and more.
Contests can be a good way of generating a large number of leads, quickly. However it's important to make sure that your contest is aligned with the type of lead you want to generate. Giving away a Playstation 4 is going to get you a lot of entries from people who aren't your target market.
The strategies covered so far largely involve organic activity - you create something, tell people about it, they like it so much that they opt in for your list.
If you want to cut through all of that, then incorporating paid advertising into your list building strategy is a great way to do so.
This could involve using paid ads to send people to a squeeze page - a dedicated page on your site designed solely to promote your free opt-in - or even to send people to your best blog content that has a history of generating a lot of leads. Both Facebook and Twitter now even have options for directly collecting user email addresses from within the ads themselves, cutting a step out of the process.
My favourite platform for paid ads is Facebook, particularly when adding remarketing into the mix.
If you're just getting started with your project, don't have a website in place or haven't attempted any list building activity, then I recommend focus on just one of the above strategies; preferably something which makes use of existing assets (i.e. if you already have a whole bunch of Facebook fans or Twitter followers) and doesn't require too much tech set up or equipment; since chances are you already have your hands full with setting up your main site or coaching programs.
So pick which activity you're going to focus on the most and get very good at it.
If you're already blogging, podcasting, running webinars etc and your focus is to grow an existing list, then I recommend either:
Choose one additional activity to add to your existing marketing mix or decide to increase your focus on one of the previous strategies that you're already doing in order to take it to the 'next level'.
This may seem like an odd question to ask, how will you collect your leads, but it’s an important one.
You see, whilst you might simply set up a new list and opt-in form in your email marketing service, there’s actually a wide variety of ways that you could then display that form on your website.
And the way(s) that you choose to display your forms can make all the difference to your list building results.
So let’s take a look at the options...
This is essentially the only tool that you really need - as long as you have an email service you can build an email list.
So it may be that actually for now you just want to keep things simple and only use the tools that your email service provides - for example simply embedding the sign-up form that is created for your list into your website.
Not all email marketing services are the same and there are a wide variety of options available - all of them will allow you to create different email lists, create sign up forms to add people to those lists, and then allow you to the send emails to that list.
Other features that may be included are automation options, tagging options (to avoid lots of different lists) grouping or segmentation options and even landing page options. I recommend to my Masterclass students that they use Active Campaign.
This is a standalone page containing just the details about your opt-in and the sign-up form.
If your plan is to drive leads to a wait list for your upcoming online program, then you’ll want to use a landing page for this.
Similarly, if you’re focusing on paid advertising, you’ll typically want the information about your lead magnet on a separate landing page to avoid confusion. I recommend using Leadpages or Thrive Themes to create your landing pages.
This is the kind of opt-in that suddenly appears (or ‘pops up’) on the page you’re viewing – usually at the centre of the page and often blocking any other content from view. They’re often disliked, but can be very effective.
These are similar in nature to a pop-up but less obtrusive (though still attention grabbing).
Whilst a pop-up will generally appear in the centre of your page and hide the main page content, a slide-in or fly-in opt-in will (as the name implies) slide in from the bottom corner of the page, typically on the right hand side.
You can have this occur on a specific time delay, or simply when a user reaches the end of the page.
This kind of opt-in can be quite effective on your general content pages.
A Welcome Mat is essentially a full page call to action (in this case to sign-up) that is shown before anything else on your site. However, rather than it being a separate landing page, it’s actually just inserted above your site content, meaning that users can simply scroll down and it will disappear.
Welcome Mats can be great for general sign-ups, but you could also use one to promote your upcoming website launch quite effectively if you wanted to.
This is typically a slim horizontal bar that appears at the top of your screen and remains in place as you scroll down the page.
Essentially this keeps your call to sign-up constantly in sight as someone navigates through your website.
The key to a good Hello Bar is a short and snappy call to action. You can also either include your form directly in the bar, or have a button which leads to your landing page.
With this type of opt-in you essentially add a button or link into your page which, when clicked, opens up a lightbox with the actual sign-up form in.
The beauty of this kind of opt-in is that it’s unobtrusive on the page and the user controls if/when they actually see the opt-in form.
Probably the most traditional of opt-in options. These are good for general opt-ins, but they won’t usually set anyone’s world on fire or be major lead collectors.
It’s generally a good idea to use more than one type of opt-in on your site in order to capture different visitors.
That said, DON’T use every single type of opt-in on one page. You don’t want your reader to be overwhelmed by a sea of opt-in forms rather than being able to focus on your content.
If you’re offering multiple opt-ins, think about the best way to do this. You wouldn’t want to have 4 separate forms in your sidebar for example, but you could use graphics leading to individual landing pages.
Keep your opt-in simple but visual – don’t use large paragraphs of text, keep styling in line with your site and include an image if fitting. An eye-catching headline also works wonders.
Test! Different types of opt-ins perform differently for different sites so make sure you’ve got some way of seeing which forms are performing best for you and don’t be afraid to adapt things as you go along.
In order to increase the leads you gather, you're going to need to drive traffic to your website or wherever else you're collecting emails.
If you're using a site-wide opt-in (like a pop-up or "hello bar") then it's just about getting as much decent footfall to your website as possible.
However if you're focusing on generating leads from a specific piece of content (like a featured article or webinar) or even directly from a "squeeze page" then you're going to need to be more targeted in your approach.
There are, broadly, three main types of website traffic:
Owned: Existing website traffic/returning visitors, existing mailing list, social media fans & followers
Earned: SEO, third-party referrals and links, social shares
Paid: Ads, sponsorship, paid content placements
"Earned" traffic tends to be a bit of a slower burn, particularly when it comes to things like SEO, where your standing in the search engines evolves over time. It's also typically the area in which you have the least control. Google will positively rank your website according to a hidden algorithm, people will share your content if they enjoy it etc.
If you already have your website up and running, then you'll want to leverage your "Owned" traffic as best as possible - find ways to encourage existing website visitors to return or to opt-in to your list. Drive your social media contacts to key pieces of content on your site.
And of course the shortcut is to tap into "Paid" traffic through channels such as Facebook Ads, Google Adwords etc in order to send a flood of new visitors to your lead generating assets.
Now it's time to start pushing traffic to your site or lead-gen asset - we're putting everything into motion now and starting to collect new leads for your list.
Once your new (or improved) lead generation strategy has been up and running for around 7 days, take an honest look at how it is performing.
Are you happy with the results? If yes, then consider whether you want to leave things to run their course or amp things up even further (for example driving more traffic to your opt-in).
If you're not happy with your results then consider what you may need to change in order to improve things - is it a traffic issue, a message issue or something else?
Often changing just one small thing can make a big difference!
My team and I have just finished up creating a brand new training workshop called 'How to confidently create and grow your online fitness business (even if you hate tech!)'.
Best part? It costs you nothing. This is your official invite - all you need to do to attend is click here to register.
This workshop is for you if you want to finally create a plan that will produce real results to get you in front of your target market online and create more meaning by having the opportunity to impact more people with your expertise.
Join me and I’ll walk you through the exact steps you need to take in order to get started online and my proven strategies on how to get online personal training clients.
If you're a health and fitness pro who would like to learn more about creating a successful, meaningful online fitness business, check out The Exceed Masterclass.
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