November 18, 2021
So you want to make money selling workout programs online.
But you don’t have any idea how to take the first step.
Setting up any kind of online fitness business is a daunting task, but people around the world do it every day.
If you want to be the kind of person who generates their own income from creating and distributing content to help people reach their fitness goals, you’re going to need to know the methods that real digital personal trainers used to do it before you.
There are lots of paths to success in any business.
That said, there are definitely key principles that overlap along most paths.
When figuring out how to sell fitness programs online, it pays to have a plan for how you’re going to go about it.
Here are a series of example steps you could take to turn real users into clients who will pay for your workout plan classes.
One great way to get started on any kind of business endeavor is to first take the time to decide on a business model.
What kinds of fitness programs will you create?
What services or products will you provide?
What platform will you distribute your content on?
Questions like these will, once answered, give you a framework on which to build the rest of the plan.
Becoming an online fitness trainer is faster to get started, and requires less of you upfront.
All you need is the expertise to train people and an open home gym floor to demonstrate the workouts you’ll be getting your users to do.
Well, that plus an internet connection and the means to connect with your audience of course.
When training users one-on-one you can usually get away with higher pricing at the start as well.
There is the caveat that you can only spend so much time training people, but the key is that you can always pivot from personal training to a more passive income generation method once you have some traction.
Selling workout programs via videos is a much more passive approach, with a significantly higher upper ceiling on potential revenue generated.
However, it is also much more difficult to get set up in the first place.
You have to create content to sell and then convince users that it’s worth the price.
This is much more difficult to do if you haven’t first spent time building up a group of people who trust your expertise.
You’re going to want your own site as a platform for your content.
This will be the place where your members go to access their membership benefits.
The place where all your social media fitness marketing will link to.
This will be where people go to book in-person training or view the workout program page they’ve signed up for.
There are lots of ways to create a site for your fitness business.
If you’re particularly technologically inclined it is perfectly possible that you could get the site set up all by yourself.
However, this is a rather troublesome task for the uninitiated, and doing it yourself will cost you a significant amount of time that could be spent on more valuable tasks.
There are of course services you could pay for to have a professional build your website for you.
However, if you’re not currently making money from your fitness business yet and would rather not pay the money you don’t yet have in order to get the site built, there is an alternative.
One example of a great way to get your site built and start an online personal training business in a hurry is to partner with System2.
Many digital personal trainers are discovering that System2 is the perfect solution for their online business.
When you partner with System2, you’ll get a custom-built platform for your fitness business with your own personal branding for no up-front price.
In fact, you don’t pay any money until and unless your fitness business begins to make money.
This custom platform will also handle communications with your users, and even manage pricing and payments from your customers, all at no additional cost to your audience.
In addition, you’ll get branded apps that fit your platform for both major mobile markets, along with tools to make every aspect of your own job easier.
Of course, everything does have a price.
In this case, the price of partnering with System2 to get your fitness business off the ground is 20% of the total revenue generated by your online fitness programs.
That said, more and more online trainers are coming to agree that the benefits of working with System2 to sell workout plans online far outweigh the costs.
If you want to sell workout plans online, you’re going to need a way to frequently find new customers to sell those training programs to.
Marketing is often pitched as an overcomplicated process that only a select handful of experts are qualified to do, but it’s not so gloomy as all that.
All marketing is, in the end, is taking whatever action necessary to get a person to click through to your website and see the online personal training services you offer.
Instagram is just about the perfect platform for budding online personal training gurus to get their workout programs selling.
To market yourself on Instagram, all you have to do is create free content that a person will see in their Instagram feed and get curious enough to check out the rest of your content.
One example is to create a story of how you reached your own fitness goals and pitch to your audience that you could train them to do the same thing if they pay for your workout programs online.
Of course, you’ll need to temper your expectations at first.
After all, there are countless other trainers on every social media platform marketing themselves in precisely the same way.
Therefore if you want to turn your audience into customers who will click through to your website and buy your workout plans online, you’re going to have to put a little personality into marketing your courses and services.
If you’d like to get your online fitness business started the easier way, begin with offering online training services to train with your customers one on one.
The advantages to this approach are numerous, not the least of which is that you’ll spend a lot less time needing to market yourself.
You’ll be able to use higher pricing plans as a one on one online fitness trainer, so you only need to market yourself until you have enough customers to fill your schedule to generate the income you need.
Whether you’re starting out doing online training directly with customers or skipping straight to selling workout plans online, the latter is definitely the end goal.
There’s only so much revenue you can generate from day-to-day work, but with online training programs, you can have as many customers as your marketing plan can pull in and the upper limit of revenue generation is impossible to quantify.
Now, once you’ve built a suitable website and a respectable social media presence, with enough potential customers that you’re ready to transition into actually selling your workout plans online, it’s time to get to the good part.
Here are some example steps to the process of turning the work you’ve done so far into a proper business to sell workout plans online.
So, theoretically, you’ve got a group of members who are willing to pay your pricing for a workout program.
Now you just need to create an actual workout program to sell.
If you’re going to keep your members happy and paying for their membership, you’re going to need to make a plan to create new workout programs online regularly.
So, first things first you’re going to want to make sure you get your home gym floor all cleared out so you have somewhere to record videos for your workout programs.
You’re also going to want to take a page of paper and plan a list of ideas for different videos you can record as content for your website members.
There are lots of different workout plan video ideas you can come up with for your membership page.
If you worked as an online fitness trainer before transitioning to sell workout plans passively, you might consider selling a workout plan you made especially for a previous client as a more generalized workout plan for your other clients.
If you decided to jump straight in to sell workout plans first and worry about building up a membership for your online fitness business later, you might consider developing workouts for group classes.
The logic behind this is that if your clients see workouts you’ve made as being made for classes, they’ll be more inclined to forgive a program that’s not quite as optimized for their own personal needs.
That said, you’ll want to be sure you’re selling workouts that your online fitness business clients will benefit from.
If you want your website members to keep paying the pricing for their membership, you’re going to need to take that plan you’ve just made and put it into action.
Spend lots of time recording a group of videos to post to your website membership page to keep your clients happy.
But don’t post the videos all at once.
You don’t want to overload clients with content that they won’t want to sort through.
You also don’t want to burn yourself out making video workout plan content all the time with no breaks.
Instead, record a group of videos in a batch and then make a plan to drip feed a video at a time over intervals to your membership-paying clients.
This way you keep your clients happy with a regular stream of content while leaving most of your time open to work on other aspects of your business when necessary.
When you’ve got lots of workouts lined up for your membership-paying clients, you can sell even more workouts by generating imaginary increased value in some workouts compared to others.
The way to do this is to divide your membership access page up into multiple tiers of membership access and have the most valuable online fitness program content open to access by only the highest-paying clients.
While doing this will allow you to have different pricing levels and sell more workouts to the same clients, gating off access from some material may push some clients away at first.
A good way to counteract this is to make particularly old classes free for anyone to access, allowing non-members to access a portion of your page free of charge and enticing them to become members to access the rest.
While having monthly subscribers who pay regularly to see your content works for many people, it isn’t perfect for everyone.
If you would prefer to have your marketing direct traffic to your site and make recurring income off of the same online fitness classes, it is certainly possible to sell individual online fitness classes as unique products to your visitors.
This has both advantages and disadvantages.
On the one hand, each piece of online fitness content you produce remains theoretically relevant for as long as people are interested in it.
A post you put up today could make you money years from now if people are still paying for it.
Plus, you don’t have to always be making new posts.
Since people are only paying for what they want to see, you can go longer between posts without driving customers away.
On the other hand, however, doing things this way actually adds an additional layer to your marketing strategy.
Every piece of online fitness content you put up in this format has to sell itself by its own merits, rather than being bundled into a regular membership fee.
This makes every individual sale harder and usually means each sale is of less value to you than a monthly subscription would be.
In addition, there are invisible costs as well.
If you’re not working to meet a quota to keep your users happy, you might find your workflow slipping.
Over time you might post less and less often, allowing yourself to coast on the success of your current most valuable products.
However, even the most popular online fitness class will fall out of fashion eventually, and if you’re not making new classes you’ll find that you’re unprepared for the fallout when that happens.
On top of that, while it is true that customers are less likely to get turned off by a gap in posting when they’re only paying for individual workouts they are interested in, there is still the possibility of customer falloff.
If you don’t work to stay relevant with new and useful online fitness material, you might find that your following has forgotten you by the time you get back to work.
Once you’re happy with the levels of access on your member page and the pricing model for those levels, and you’ve got a good long backlog of classes lined up for your members to consume as they come out, the next step is actually to return to marketing.
The process of operating an online fitness business from this point forward is more or less simplified down to two steps repeated ad infinitum: generate online fitness gym classes to retain existing clients, and market your online fitness business across the internet to generate new clients.
Bringing in new attention to your fitness business is a process that can go any of a huge number of ways.
Let’s check out a few ideas in particular.
Earlier we looked into Instagram and briefly talked about how you can garner an audience through the platform.
But exactly what kind of material do you post there to get people to click through to your site?
If you have experience working with training clients one on one, you might use before and after photos to show the progress of people who have worked with your guidance to reach their goals.
If you’re going to do this, of course, make sure you have permission from those people to use their photos for promotional material.
You can also do teaser trailers for material that’s on your site.
This is particularly effective for high-effort posts that you want special attention brought to, so that a larger percentage of your already existing audience will see and check it out.
Of course, there are also simple workouts.
You can take video clips of parts of your own personal routine, or new moves you’re trying out before incorporating them into future classes.
Naturally, there’s always the option of shameless selfies and other non-promotional material that serves no express purpose but to keep followers engaged so they don’t forget you’re there.
Check out our Instagram fitness content ideas here.
Instagram isn’t the only place you can promote your material for free with relatively little effort (you can even monetize your Instagram fitness account).
You can set up a Facebook page that links through to your own site, allowing Facebook users to find you with ease and convenience.
Facebook also happens to be a great place to connect with the community of your fitness students and engage with them beyond the bare minimum, allowing your students to get to know you as a person and develop a greater degree of trust that will cause them to identify more strongly with you.
This effort will earn more returns than you might imagine, as social credit is worth more than many other forms of validation in the current marketplace.
Beyond Facebook, there is also the option of setting yourself up on Twitter, where you can post little snippets and thoughts throughout your day and promote yourself as down-to-earth and personable.
Twitter is also predictably a good place to interact with followers, at least on a small and intermittent scale.
After that, there is of course Youtube, which is itself a solitary home for many fitness influencers who opted not to try to take their business to the big leagues.
You can leverage Youtube as a soapbox for fitness-related monologues and significant life updates that just don’t fit into a text-based post.
Youtube also makes for a just about perfect dumping ground for old videos that aren’t earning their keep on your paid site anymore.
Instead of making sales directly, such old material can instead serve as an appetizer for new students to find and click through to your website and buy more recent and relevant content off of you.
Of course, there are only so many hours in the day and you need to spend some of that time producing material for your website.
How are you supposed to keep up with all those different social platforms and bring in new traffic while also maintaining a steady flow of good-quality fitness content to appease your existing customers?
There is only so far that you can really scale up your business all by yourself.
A business in which you are the only employee isn’t really a business, it’s just a really unpleasant job.
That said, eventually, you will find yourself at a point where it does not make sense to do all the work yourself anymore because you have the means to afford to hire help.
A social media manager is an excellent first hire for your fitness enterprise, as they will be able to take a significant workload off your hands while still achieving the same results you would achieve on your own – if not even doing better.
The manager will handle some of your social platforms and bring in new traffic for you while you produce material that converts that traffic into sales.
Social platforms are powerful for bringing in traffic, but they aren’t all-powerful.
Eventually, you will scale your fitness enterprise up to the point where you have the means to invest in a wider range of promotional materials.
Being able to invest some of your revenue into advertising campaigns that will pull in people from all across the web to come to see your fitness content is one of the end goalposts for a budding fitness empire.
In the end that’s all, there is to it. Pick a path, build a website, build a following, then all the rest is to create content for your members to consume and keep on pulling in new members to buy your content, old and new.
Anyone who tells you that trying to sell workout plans online is some kind of pie-in-the-sky business idea is just trying to keep you down.
With the help of System2 and some hard work, not only can you successfully create and sell workout programs online, but you can do it in a way that’s totally free until the plan starts to bear fruit.
Written by: Nathan Dresser