During COVID-19, we saw a lot of coaches move their training business online in an effort to stay afloat. And while there were a lot of great, inspiring examples of this shift being navigated well, the problem of “set it and forget it” programs began to grow. Many started getting the idea that a coach could put a training program online, put up a $10 paywall, and watch the money roll in.

But it’s not that simple.

Clients love their coaches because of things like eye contact, visual cues, body language, motivation, real-time corrections, and feedback. These are essential aspects that are hard to replicate in a mobile app.

However, we believe that you can grow your online business without losing your human touch. Move away from “set it and forget it” and instead focus on a “virtual customized coaching service” by following these principles.

Mirror Your In-Person Training Format With Online Tools

When coaches ask how they should set up an online training business, we tell them to start by doubling down on what is working in person. Your best chance of success online is building upon your strengths. Use your digital platform as an extension of your coaching service and tools, not as a replacement coach.

Online technology lets you message your athletes to keep them informed, track workouts to see who is engaged, schedule automatic check-ins, and send progress reports to clients. You can use all of these functions to stay involved as a coach, all while saving some serious time and staying far more organized than you would on your own.

Don’t Overestimate Your Reach

Unless you have millions of followers or millions of dollars to pay for them, it’s unlikely your website is going to reach enough people to make a “set it and forget it” low-cost program worth your while. Let’s do some simple math. If you have a realistic 1% conversion rate on people who see your offering, you would need to have 1 million visitors to make $100,000. If you’re starting out with only a couple hundred Instagram followers, there’s a long way to go.

Instead, you should be offering a highly-customized virtual coaching service for which you can charge a higher dollar amount. That way, you won’t need 7-figure website traffic to earn a living. Here are some premium services that you can offer online:

  • Individual assessments via online form, phone call, or video call
  • Built-in tests within your training app
  • Manual customization (ability for coach to edit workouts on the fly)
  • Automated customization (tools that will do some of the customization for you)
  • Form analysis via video
  • Regular weekly client check-ins
  • Monthly reviews of performance data
  • Nutrition, meditation, or other performance advice add-ons

Don’t Undersell Yourself

The other problem with “set it and forget it” programs is they just don’t work as well as real coaching. Furthermore, they undersell the great program designers and coaches behind those programs. Make your training representative of your brand. Offer a personalized experience. Otherwise, you risk your name being associated with a cookie-cutter offering that is, as advertised, cheap. Great coaches didn’t come by their experience cheaply, so why the rush to provide cheap programming online?

Try to mirror your online service to your in-person service. What do your clients love about working with you now? Don’t throw that away. That is your special sauce.

Choose the Right Tool

Our mission at BridgeAthletic is to leverage technology to empower better outcomes in sports, health, and life. We believe technology is absolutely essential to achieving better outcomes now more than ever. Try it free for 30 days and cancel any time if we don’t help you improve client retention and increase your bottom line.