Online personal training is touted by many as a set-it-and-forget-it business model. Create the workout templates, disperse them amongst hundreds of clients, and sit back and relax.
While that business model works for some trainers and some clients, it definitely doesn’t work for all of them. In a world where we trade much of our in-person interactions for online interactions, taking the time to message your client when they don’t expect it is an impactful way to deepen your connection with them, ultimately boosting their accountability and results.
Why You Should Be Messaging Your Clients
There are 168 hours in a week. Depending on your business model, you might spend anywhere from 30 minutes to five hours with a client in a week. That leaves a substantial number of hours for them to figure things out on their own.
And while we want to empower our clients to be self-sufficient, we also want them to know we’re right by their sides throughout their journeys. Sending a quick message to ask how their workout went or why they didn’t check in will show them you’re just as invested in their results as they are. Remember: one of the primary reasons people hire a personal trainer is for accountability. Knowing you’ll be able to see if they don’t complete their workouts is a step in the right direction, but you can hold them even more accountable if they know you’ll be following up when you see they miss a training session.
Messaging your clients also allows you to communicate pertinent information. You may want to explain why you’ve given them a particular workout, why their training schedule looks different this week, or to remind them of something you previously discussed during a phone check-in.
Third, messaging your clients help build strong trainer-client relationships—something that is especially important to consider for online clients—and that can translate into clients training with you for longer, more referrals, and just a generally more enjoyable experience with your clients.
Finally, consider this simple equation: Accountability + Motivation + Strong Relationships = Client Retention and as we all know Client Retention = Increased Business Revenue. When you deliver an engaging and personalized training experience to your clients, it’s not just them that win. You’re investing in creating long-term clients, and that can raise your bottom line, increase your revenues, and propel your business forward.
Messaging really is a simple but powerful thing.
How Often Should You Message Your Clients?
There is no set formula that will tell you how frequently to message your clients. However, if you message your clients too often, you may find they don’t pay attention. If you send them a “Have a great workout!” message every time they have something scheduled, it will just become routine. On the other hand, if you message your clients too infrequently, you may not be providing the accountability they hired you for in the first place.
A good rule of thumb is to have a messaging schedule set up that you can adapt based on the client or the training package they are on. For example, you may want to reach out to your clients on Wednesdays with a mid-week motivational message. You could consider leaving the clients on a basic training package with no extra communication other than this message while adding a second message to a higher-end client who has a key training session on Fridays.
You may also want to structure your messaging schedule around the most critical moments in a client’s training program. This could be when they’re changing training plans or moving into a new phase of training, or it could be around holidays and the weekends when your clients might start to “disappear” or miss workouts.
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How to Make Sure Your Messages Drive Your Clients’ Motivation
One of the best ways to ensure your messages are motivating rather than “just another reminder” is to tailor the message to the particular client or speak to a specific challenge that you know multiple clients are personally experiencing. For example, if we go back to our example of motivational Wednesday messages, ask the client how they felt about a specific aspect of their training from the past week. Have they progressed in one of the habits you spoke about? What are they struggling with?
Including open-ended questions prompts them to respond to you, which will help you gain a deeper understanding of where they’re at in their journeys. This can only help you become a more effective coach for them. It also gives them the opportunity to reflect on their own journeys. This is a powerful combination that helps to increase both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
When to Use Individual Messages and When to Use Group Messages
Being able to send one message to a group of people at once is a big time-saver, but it’s important to consider the clients you are working with before choosing between group or individual messages. Clients who are paying a higher premium to work with you deserve more of your personalized attention, so a personalized message works best.
If you’re running group training programs or have a number of clients training from the same templated workout, a group message would suffice. With lower-priced programs, your clients won’t likely expect much more than a quick update on the program or a “Kill it this week, team!” message.
For an extra touch point, you could also send all of your clients a group motivational message on Mondays in addition to their personalized check-ins on other days. If you opt to do this, just be sure to be consistent and include brainstorming this message in your regular weekly to-dos.
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Using Auto Messages
Trainerize comes packed with a lot of ways for you to connect with and stay connected to your clients. Individual messages, groups, automated events, Trainerize Feed, video calls, and now, Auto Messages.
Auto Messages are a game-changer because they let you message your clients without having to always be glued to your phone. And while I certainly wouldn’t recommend you replace all your messaging with Auto Messages, with some careful thought and preparation, Auto Messages can make your clients feel like you’re always there with them at exactly the right moments.
With their pre-scheduled format, Auto Messages are great for those repeated check-ins, or for transitions. Plus, because you can add images and emojis to them (just like with individual and group messages) they will never sound robotic. They’ll sound like you!
How to Add a Personal Touch to Your Messages
Your clients should feel as though your messages are to them, from you (which they are!) even if they’re automated or being sent to a group. Allow your personality to come through by writing as you speak. If there are certain slang words you regularly use, use them! Just because your connection is through the computer or an app doesn’t mean you have to lose that authentic touch.
It can be challenging to convey your tone in your messages, which is where emojis come in. Using smiley faces, images, and even random objects can help lighten a conversation and allow your personality to come through.
You may also want to consider including images in your messages. Perhaps you made a healthy meal on the weekend and want to share the recipe with your clients; if you’ve got a great-looking photo, they may be more enticed to try it out. Or maybe you want to take a funny selfie with your best cheerleader face and send it to your clients. If these things fit with your personality and brand, go for it. Clients will remember the little touches!