Over the past year, we have talked to dozens of personal trainers about how they run their businesses and attract new clients. Given our background in tech and experience with digital marketing, we always end up checking out their websites (if they have one) and corresponding social channels to see how they are using the different tools to accomplish their goals. What we have seen has not only led us to create content (like this blog) to help support them passively, but also inspired us to make a 30 minute consult with us a part of being a Trainer+ certified trainer.
This experience has shown us that despite best attempts, most trainers do not do a very good job of setting up their own websites, nor do a lot of website makers hired to do the job. We see the same common mistakes in most of the websites we look at, which we have outlined below:
1. No Website
A majority of the trainers we talk to do not even have a website to begin with. If you are running your own business in 2016, there is really no excuse not to have a website as your online business card with the available tools out there. There are a few key reasons to make sure you have one:
- Legitimacy - If you want people to take you seriously that you are professional, organized, and established, a website goes along way to communicating that on the first impression.
- Search - The overwhelming majority of search for new services is done online, and having a proper website along with corresponding social media channels is the best way to help SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and make sure you show up to potential clients that might otherwise miss your Facebook page.
- Calls to Action - It is much easier to drive people to the actions you want them to take, like booking a consult or paying for your service, on a website than through social media.
- Content - Writing blogs or filming vlogs on a website, then sharing and linking them in social media is another way to help SEO. It will also bring people that find your content in those channels back to your website, where they can take the action that you want them to, such as “Contact Me” or “Book a Free Consult.”
- Data - For the more tech savvy, a website provides many more data points through the analytics tools provided (especially if you know how to set up Google tools). This data and the ability to A/B test on your website will help you refine your message and improve conversion of visitors to any of your content into clients.
2. Too Much Text/Info
This is a problem we see in many websites and one that we always have to remind ourselves of in the various marketing sites we have for our fitness software (Trainer+), fitness programming service (FitnessPlans.ca) and this web development agency. As someone who has written far too many long winded blogs, trust me, people do not like to read a lot online :)
You are very rarely going to sell a potential client your services just from them reading about you on your website; it is still going to take a consult/assessment or at least some communication before they will trust you for their fitness. Your website should give them enough information to want to engage with you, but also be visually appealing that they can find the right information. Take a look at some of these leading tech company websites for examples of how to keep it simple, while providing the information users need to want more.
3. ‘All about me’
I know, it’s your website and your training service. I’m sure your story is very compelling and the reasons that you are a trainer are as well, but remember who the website is for: your potential client. You still need to include information about yourself, but make sure you are clear how you can help them and why they should trust you with their fitness goals (and money). Testimonials go a long way in earning that trust (referrals from current clients even more so) and also make sure to use language that speaks to them.
4. Improper or Lack of Call to Action
What is the point of a website if the people coming to it are not engaging with you or converting to your service? In order for this to happen, you need a clear call to action (CTA) in multiple places on the site. A clear CTA is not just some linked text, but a distinct button with an activating statement on it, like ‘Book a Consult’.
You don’t have to have buttons everywhere, but they should be in all of the appropriate places and after any blogs or vlogs that you publish. Some of the easier mistakes to fix:
- Very few or no CTAs - usually just a contact page somewhere as the only way for potential clients to engage
- No CTA ‘above the fold’ - there should be a CTA right on the first part of the website that visitors see when they first land on your page. Even if people do not click it right away, it makes it clear what action they should take when they are ready.
- Links to more info - ‘More Info’ is not a CTA, it is just more navigation. It is ok to provide users a way to get more of the info they are looking for when navigating the site, but do not confuse it by putting it in a button.
- Wrong activating statement - the statement should both evoke the action you want them to take at that place in the website, and be in line with the personality of your site. This can range from the direct to more playful and encouraging:
- Book a Consult
- Contact Me
- Let’s Get Started
- I Want to Get Fit
- Click here if you’re ready to change your life: ‘I’m Ready’
5. No Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Every trainer’s website is going to say some version of the same thing: I have a story on why I am fit, I believe in a certain lifestyle, I can help you achieve your goals and a version of this lifestyle. You need to figure out what makes you unique as a trainer and speak more to that specific use case. If you communicate a specialty in a given area, then it will also communicate to someone with a more generalized goal because it should be even easier to help them.
We recently spoke with a trainer who did not think she had anything really unique about her services or abilities as a trainer. Then when we asked her why she got into training, she told us that after having her first child, she was able to get herself back in shape by learning online then working out with minimal equipment at home. She enjoyed it so much that it led her to start working at a gym as an administrator and working towards her personal training certification. Now after her second child, she is a trainer and many people at her gym and within her social circles commented on how fast she was able to get back in shape. She told us how much she likes working with women and specifically mothers, because she can easily identify with them and build trust given their shared experiences. She is currently changing her website to reflect her story, how motherhood led her to fitness and how she can help new mothers get back in shape in the comfort of their own homes. Not only is this service much more marketable to all the mothers in her social circle and region, but also communicates that she can help anyone with a weight loss goal at home.
Hopefully hearing about these mistakes can help prevent you from making the same ones in building your own personal training website. Our friends at ProDigi Development have recently launched a new service (WARNING: shameless plug, we work with them) specifically to help trainers set up their own websites on Squarespace, and teaching them how to edit and maintain it in the future. If you are going to do it yourself, just remember these tips:
Build a website, even a basic one
Limit the amount of text on most pages, some text in your About page is reasonable
Make it about your potential client, not too much about yourself
Have clear and appropriate CTA’s throughout the site
Figure out your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and cater your site to it
We’d love to hear your feedback or any other tips or questions you may have. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave it in the comment section below.