Whether you’ve been a fitness coach for years or just decided to venture out on your own after working at a gym or fitness facility, one thing is for sure — you need a professional website. That’s step 1. Step 2 answers the question: “How do I make money online with my expertise?”
The answer is a membership website. With a fitness membership website, you can offer payment options for live classes, or turn your income into a more passive stream by allowing your audience to sign up for online classes through either a course format or a members-only set of blog posts and articles.
But before you jump in and hire a web designer or sign up to a course platform, read on so you are armed with the 3 steps you’ll need to get your online fitness business off and running.
Step #1. Know Your Audience
You’ve probably heard this before, and your response might be something like “I’ve sent out plenty of surveys asking for demographics like yearly income, age, children, occupation and more. Most of them go unanswered.”
And that can be frustrating. But don’t stop there. Here’s where a little “detective work” will help you narrow down your ideal audience.
Your clients and potential clients probably have social media accounts, and other places online where they hang out. Have a look at some Facebook pages and websites of potential clients who you may have met in a Facebook group or on a forum. You can discover some interesting information such as where they are from, where they went to school, whether they are married, have kids and more.
But even more importantly, you can glean some valuable psychographic intel – what are their values? What are their attitudes? What language do they use? Are they a “peeps” and “totes” kind of person or the corporate exec type? Are they detail-oriented and like to follow a workout regimen precisely every day? What bothers them? Any pet peeves? You get the picture.
Build a profile
Now armed with these ‘soft’ facts, you have a good idea of what makes your potential customers tick, and can truly begin to build a profile of your ideal client. It’s an invaluable resource to have this persona in the back of your mind when building your website. With it, you have a good chance of hitting the nail on the head when it comes to writing targeted, appealing copy and content for your site.
Step #2. Create Your Content
Let’s say our ideal client is a mom in her 30’s who is very busy but willing to put aside 30 minutes per day to get and stay fit – as long as it can be done at home during her child’s nap time. Her schedule is tight so she can’t afford to waste time surfing around your website looking for your workout videos. With this ideal client persona in mind, let’s talk about some approaches to content that would make sense for her.
Less is more
– A safe overarching principle to follow is “Keep it simple“. Make your content easy to find, and the site easy to navigate. Your workouts should be instructor-led using video. Your client doesn’t have time to wade through workbooks and checklists.
– Less is more when it comes to equipment, too. Unless it’s a household item, don’t expect your audience to have yoga mats, kettle bells or weights handy.
Keep it simple
– If you are not also a dietician, you might want to think twice about including menus and diet recommendations. These could complicate the website and dilute your message, at least when you’re just getting started.
– Sort your workouts in the way your audience can relate to best. This might be by body area (abs, legs, thighs), specific muscle groups, or by level of fitness (beginner, intermediate or advanced).
– A Challenge is a great way to engage your clients and keep them coming back to your site, day after day. Whether their goal is to lose weight or stay healthy, a Challenge encourages feedback for you and communication among your tribe members.
So far we’ve talked about some ways to present your fitness content to your ideal client. Now let’s discuss how to inspire your website visitors to purchase that content in the first place – always keeping in mind, of course, that ideal client persona.
A compelling homepage
A homepage that is visually appealing and lets the visitor know they’re in the right place should be at the heart of your website strategy. Use images that mirror their lives and experiences. Use words that they use. Remember to reflect their attitudes and values.
This homepage appeals to a female audience and focuses on the convenient features offered to make it easy and painless for the audience to take advantage of the site owner’s expertise.
2. Easy to find contact info. Be sure to include an easy way for visitors to contact you. Better still, offer an easy way to get their questions answered right on your homepage. In the SubHub platform, you can include a nifty Q&A section on your homepage. You could also add a chat feature from any one of a number of third-party vendors.
Call to action
Have prominent “Start Now” or Subscribe Today” buttons on your homepage. Include testimonials and social proof as incentives to hit those buttons.
A Facebook group can work well, but a built-in Community Forum on your website is even better, as it keeps your audience on your site longer, and keeps them coming back to see replies and comments to discussions they are interested in. And you’ll never be faced with the dreaded “We’ve temporarily restricted your ability to use this feature on Facebook” message!
Step #3. Choose Your Platform
Given all of the above considerations, the job of choosing a software platform should be relatively pain-free. There are plenty of options, but it should be easy to narrow it down to the top 3 or 4 that offer these fundamental qualities:
Your ability to earn income online is something you’ll want to entrust to a partner that is experienced and trustworthy. Look for a platform that has been around for a number of years, has other fitness coach clients, and has positive reviews on review sites like Google and Capterra. SubHub has been hosting membership websites since 2005, and many clients have been on the platform for 10 years or longer: https://www.capterra.com/p/84253/SubHub/
Unless you’re a techie yourself, go with a platform that is fully hosted, offers great support (very important!) and doesn’t require plugins, updates and maintenance on your part. You want to keep the process as simple for you as it is for your clients.
A platform that lets you offer membership content and courses separately or together in a bundle will give you the most flexibility. Check that the platform allows video embeds, PDF embeds, paid downloads and an e-commerce store option to sell your digital and physical products such as meditations, bonus workout videos, audios and even T-shirts and other merchandise. Most platforms offer a 14-day free trial, so take advantage of that and compare features and ease of use.
Flexible design options will let you create a website that is not only feature-rich but modern and beautiful. Make sure the platform you choose allows you to customize your homepages to your branding without you having to either restrict your creativity or write code. SubHub’s design options include a number of templates that can be customized with just about any layout option you can think of. You can also configure completely different content and layouts for your public and member homepages.
Stripe and Paypal are still the dominant payment processors out there, and they take care of all the security requirements you need to assure your members that their credit card details are safe. Connecting either or both of these services to your SubHub site is as easy as pasting a few lines of information from your accounts.
Some of the payment options you may want to have available include offering your members a free trial, offering monthly recurring payments with a discounted annual fee, the option to bundle courses with a membership, and one-time payments for courses with lifetime access.
This is by no means a complete list but hopefully it’s a starting point on the way to a fun and profitable online fitness business.
Start a free SubHub trial today and see how easy it can be.