Online training has almost unlimited potential to catapult the growth of your in-person training business.
There's just one (big) problem…
Most personal training businesses don't actually realize this, or know how to tap into it. They typically either:
(A) – Believe that online training is for remote clients only.
(B) – Use online training platforms, but only to "go paperless" and deliver home workouts. They don't take advantage of any of the other potential that online training has to offer.
This is a huge missed opportunity. It's like paying for a Signature Course with a world-famous expert and only taking advantage of one module.
Few personal training businesses realize there is actually a better way – a new model that is far more profitable, with virtually no ceiling on the revenue you could earn.
This is the exact model that hundreds of our customers are using right now to grow their in-person fitness businesses, at the same time making them more resilient and adaptable.
It's the same model that Vanessa from Body Balance and Melanie from MRP Fitness used to grow their in-person fitness business multiple times over – even during lockdown.
So what is this new model?
It's what I call the Product Ladder Model. In a nutshell, it's a model that offers a diverse range of training options (aka a product ladder) to match the diverse needs of your clients.
In this guide, we're going to take a close look at how building a product ladder inside your fitness business allows you to:
Grow rapidly by taking advantage of the untapped demand in the fitness market that no one else is currently going after
Attract and convert new prospects from anywhere without the need for a hard sell
Scale your fitness business and break through the ceiling of your income
Most of us realize by now that online training helps you provide a lot of value to your client's experience outside of actual in-person sessions. You can add personalized benefits like nutrition coaching, habit coaching, and online courses. That's all great stuff, but that's not the real power behind online training.
The real power of online training is that it allows personal trainers to "dial down" their in-person time as much as they like and still deliver personalized training.
Imagine a knob or dial that you use to adjust the light in a room – you can turn it whichever way you want, to adjust brightness as needed.
In the same way, an online training format allows you "turn the knob" on how much time you want to spend in-person with clients. You can turn it up for more, or down for less – exactly to the level you want.
This ability allows you as a personal trainer to build a product ladder inside your fitness business, based on your clients' needs, budgets, and preferences.
A product ladder is a series of products, or offerings, that vary with price and features. It's the key to you exponentially growing your business.
Let's look at an example of a hypothetical fitness business, "Studio A", to understand this concept.
Here Studio-A has 4 products to offer to their clients:
Total hours per month required to train a client: 3
Number of in-person sessions: 0
Price: $199 per month
Total hours per month required to train a client: 4
Number of in-person sessions: one every two weeks (biweekly)
Price: $299 per month
Total hours per month required to train a client: 6
Number of in-person sessions: 1 per week
Price: $399 per month
High End PT
Total hours per month required to train a client: 10
Number of in-person sessions: 2 per week
Price: $650 per month
Obviously, the High End PT package is the most expensive because it requires the maximum number of in-person hours from the trainer.
On the other end is the online-only training package, with 100% of the training delivered online.
Since this package doesn't include any in-person sessions, it requires significantly fewer hours per month for you to train a client and that is why it can be offered at a much lower rate of $199/month.
Online-only training is a fantastic option not only for experienced clients, but also for clients who are on a tight schedule and need more flexibility. With the recent changes from the pandemic, more people than ever are using an online format.
The tricky thing about an online-only format, though, is that it may not be suitable for beginner and intermediate clients who need more guidance. For those clients, hybrid personal training may actually be a better fit.
Hybrid personal training is a combination of in-person and online training. In this format, you still meet with clients – just less frequently. The in-person training sessions are used mainly to perform assessments, review your client's progress, and demonstrate new exercises and correct form.
Hybrid training requires more in-person hours than exclusive online training, so the price is relatively higher. But remember the analogy of the "knob" that you can turn? You can have as wide a range of hybrid options as you want: some more online-heavy, and some more in-person focused – and the price would vary with each one.
Being able to "hybridize" online training with in-person training is the key to you having a variety of formats so you can create a solid product ladder, with something to offer every client.
The concept of a product ladder is simple, but the potential it has for your fitness business is massive.
Next, let's take a look at 3 key strategies that you can easily implement to ramp up your results, once you've set up your product ladder.
1. Grow rapidly by taking advantage of the untapped demand in the fitness market that no one else is currently going after.
The average cost of a personal training session in the U.S. is about $65. That means a client who takes two sessions per week pays around $520 per month – a pretty big expense for most people. On the other hand, a typical gym membership costs just $65 per month.
This results in a big pricing gap between gym membership and private training. There are options on both the high and low end, but very few choices for prospects looking for personalized training options in a price range somewhere in the middle.
The numbers gap between gym membership and one-on-one personal training is huge, and not many fitness businesses are serving this mid-priced segment.
That's great news for you, since it means competition is very low.
By adding affordable, personalized training to your offerings you can take advantage of this gap and easily attract loads of clients, rapidly growing your fitness business. Not only that, you also fill the needs of:
- Clients with a tight schedule looking for flexible options
- Clients who are experienced and just need help with designing a workout program
- Clients looking to keep themselves safe during these uncertain times
Any successful product ladder includes a Low Barrier Offer. An LBO is absolutely critical, and I'll explain why in a moment.
An LBO is a program that you can offer your prospects for free or at a very low price. For example: A 7-Day Spring Kickstarter Fitness Challenge.
It does 3 things:
Attracts loads of prospects as it provides lots of value, risk-free.
Directs the attention of your prospects to your core service.
Enables you to make sales on your core service, once you get prospects' attention
While your prospects are doing the challenge, you are able to show them how your service is the solution to their problems and how it can change their lives.
You can also share success stories of previous clients who they can relate to and identify with. By the time you share your offer at the end of the challenge, your prospects will be good and ready to join.
Your LBO is the crucial first step in your product ladder. It's a step that will do 70% of the selling for you.
(Example of a Low Barrier Offer (LBO) - Free 7 Days Fitness Challenge)
Something important to note, here: your LBO is your lead generator, not your profit-making product. It's a means to an end, not an end in and of itself.
Therefore, a good LBO shouldn't take too much of your valuable time or resources. This is where modern personal training software can really help.
You can create a short online program in a SaaS training platform (such as TrainerFu), allowing you to automate the delivery of:
- Habit coaching
- In-app education courses.
- Upselling messages
- And much more
Once your online program is ready, all you have to do is share the link to the program via social media platforms, email, website, Facebook ads and then sit back and watch as you gain an influx of prospects. If your LBO is well-designed, many of these prospects will be converted into customers.
There's only a limited number of hours in a day you can work.
This means with one-on-one coaching you can only take on a limited number of clients at a given time. This places a hard limit on your maximum income potential as a personal trainer.
If you want to keep growing beyond the income barrier placed by one-on-one training and help more people then you need to add a scalable option to your product ladder.
This is where online group coaching programs shine. Online group coaching program is an online fitness program where participants with similar goals and physical states go through a fitness program together. It can last anywhere from 8 weeks to 16 weeks.
Building a great online coaching program is no cakewalk. You need to attract participants with similar goals and design a program that actually gets them amazing results.
But the thing is, once you've nailed down your program, you can easily scale your business.
Going from 50 to 100 clients in a group coaching program doesn't add to your workload. With a proper system in place you can actually work outside your business and concentrate on marketing that increases the bottom line for your business.
Also, you don't need to build your program more than once. Once ready, you can reuse the program multiple times.
Similar to your LBO, you can automate most of the aspects of running a group coaching program with a personal training SaaS like TrainerFu. This is why an online group coaching program is such an important step inside your product ladder.
Does this seem like info overload? Don't worry – You don't have to do all of these things at once.
Start out with a basic product ladder and create the hybrid packages you think make the most sense for your business and clients. After that, add an LBO.
You can gradually add on or change things around from there.
Remember, this is a guide – you can refer back to it anytime you need during the process of creating your product ladder.
I recommend you to start slow and build your product ladder over time. Consider a product ladder as a blueprint that you can use to grow your fitness business multiple times over.
The primary reason we developed TrainerFu is so that fitness businesses like yours can build a highly profitable product ladder, allowing you to:
Build end to end LBOs and online group challenges without needing any third-party software. You can automate every aspect of your program delivery allowing you to deliver amazing value and save precious time.
Have features like private social networks and automated scheduled messaging to help you convert more prospects into customers…and keep those customers engaged forever.
Be flexible. TrainerFu is the only software where 97% features are available across platforms (iOS, Android, and Web). That means you can be productive on your desk, inside your gym, or on your coach.
If you haven't already signed up for the service, you can start today at no risk with our free trial. It's easy to get started and get results before committing to a subscription, so you can move forward and have peace of mind.