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Session #023 - Top Reasons Why I Think Online Communities Are the Future

Show notes

Now, if you are one of the people that know me well, you would know that I have been yakking on about membership based businesses for a couple of years.

Especially online based memberships that you can turn into a community. I think every business should have some kind of membership for a few reasons which we are going to get into today with my top 5 reasons why personal trainers should have this.

Now, what a lot of trainers do not realise is that personal training is already a membership based business.

People pay you or the company you work for on a recurring basis for a service that you provide.

Clients are essentially a ‘member’ of your business so long as they remain a client.

Now, what I’ve been talking about for the last couple of years is to turn these members into a community so you get some of the amazing benefits they offer. These are definitely going to strengthen your business.

So first, let's talk about what a community-based business is. It’s basically a business that prioritises creating a strong sense of community among its clients in addition to just providing a service. Some of the main things included in this community can be events, online forums and connections where clients can meet and talk with each other and share their experiences, ideas, thoughts and opinions.

So, why is this important for personal trainers? Let’s get started with the top reasons why I think all personal trainers should try and turn these members or clients into a community that can easily live online, and why it is the future for your business.

Well, for starters, the first benefit of having a community based business as a personal trainer is the sense of accountability and motivation it creates among your clients. When people feel like they're part of a community, they're more likely to stick to their goals and support each other along the way.

One reason for this is that people are more likely to be motivated when they feel like they're part of something bigger than themselves. When individuals are part of a community, they can feel a sense of belonging and connection to others who are working towards similar goals and going through a similar experience.

The community can provide a higher level of accountability, as clients are more likely to feel responsible for showing up and participating in events, discussions or check-ins.

They will want to share their successes and get feedback which helps drive better consistency and adherence to the program they are working through.

Additionally, when clients see others in the community making progress and achieving their goals, it can serve as inspiration and motivation for them to keep going.

Clients will see for themselves that other people are achieving and having success with your methods so they have this extra level of confidence that if they keep doing what you show them, then they can achieve it too. Goals become more real and reachable to them in their mind.

You can even get this kind of competition and friendly rivalry between clients in the community. Clients are more likely to compare their progress to others and strive to do better. This can be especially beneficial in groups, as individuals may push themselves harder in order to keep up with their peers.

Of course there is also a potential downside to this which is some people will become less motivated if they see themselves as constantly behind their peers.

Now, a great thing about accountability and motivation in a community business is that it can also be supported by you, the trainer, in a way that saves you a lot of time.

Communities don’t typically operate on a 1-2-1 basis like most personal training sessions. Instead they are what is called 1 to many. You can give guidance, feedback, and encouragement for many clients in the community all at the same time.

Your stories or coaching sessions can be open to other people, maybe with the same issues or doubts to watch and learn.

That support and coaching can be recorded and live in your community where any person that joins up even 3 months later can get access to help and support them on their own terms and in their own time.

That content is always there to help, which is constantly adding value to your community as you add more and more.

By creating a community you can provide a sense of belonging, connection, and inspiration for all your clients that are working towards similar goals.

Next up and number 2 on the list is that having a community based personal training business can lead to much higher client retention. When clients feel like they're part of a community, they're more likely to continue working with you over a longer period of time. This leads to a more stable and predictable income, which is awesome for your business.

This is because working with and being connected to other like minded people with similar goals can help to create a deeper level of engagement and commitment from clients. When people feel connected to a community, they tend to be more invested in the success of the community and, as a result, in the success of their own fitness goals. It is something that clients love and they won’t want to leave. There will be a level of FOMO, fear of missing out, if they leave.

There is a saying in the community and membership world that I first heard on the Flipped Lifestyle Podcast and that is that ‘people join for the content and stay for the community’.

And this is true of most communities set up like this across all business and industries. Not just personal training or fitness.

So this helps to build your community as clients will have a stronger sense of loyalty and commitment to the community. We’re human, and deeply social, unless you’re like me. But then even I’m a member of 2 business communities that are really fun to be a part of.

The next point on this is that communities allow you to better understand your clients which can lead to you providing better and better services.

It will be much easier for you to learn what your clients struggle with. The obstacles and issues that they have along their path to achieving their goals.

What this turns into is now your clients are driving your business forward. You can develop programs, products and services that fit what you know they already want and need to succeed.

Why does this work? It’s because in an online community you can be in regular communication with your clients. There is this level of communication that you can have outside of the gym where you can have a different set of conversations.

In this new environment, clients can be more open to sharing their thoughts, their experiences and give more feedback.

And the fact most people engage on their phone, you can easily reach them with direct notifications that they are less likely to miss than say if you send an email.

Fourth up on the list is that having a community can help you attract new clients and this is because having a strong sense of community can be a powerful marketing tool.

Having that extra level of engagement and support at any time of the day brings a different dimension to your business that hardly any other personal trainer will be offering.

You can also make your community exclusive. By limiting the number of members in a community to paying clients. So you can create a sense of prestige or status that can attract new clients who are seeking more exclusive and high-end experiences.

And this also allows you to charge more!

Now, the fifth and final point to having a community as a part of your personal training business is that a community business model allows you to have different revenue streams, allowing you to earn more while protecting your business a bit more.

You can offer different types of services and products beyond one-on-one training sessions. And they can also be at different price points that serve different people in different ways.

For example, you can create and sell online workout plans, nutrition guides, or even merchandise. You can have a community as a place for support of your existing clients or have it as an online training community to deliver programs to a wider online audience. Or you can have both!

These different revenue streams can give your business a safety net like I said before. Do you remember how many gym based trainers struggled when covid hit?

Were you one of them? But trainers that had an online set up probably didn’t panic as much since they didn’t necessarily need gyms to be open to make their business work.

Online you can attract a broader range of clients and create a more sustainable business in the long run.

Now, what do you need to create an online community? Well, there are a couple of simple and free ways with apps that your clients probably have on their phones already.

You can use WhatsApp or Telegram to create a group to get started. But a better free option would be something like a Facebook Group.

There are premium platforms that you can use that will have a lot more functionality allowing for posts and videos to be saved and more importantly searchable by members.

This lets you build like a library of content that is always available and easy to find.

Platforms such as Podia, Circle and Mighty Networks work really well. And for my own community…I use one called Heartbeat. So go check it out and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments about online communities for personal trainers.

They really are amazing!



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