Worldwide, there are over 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users (1) and online personal training is on the rise. With reduced costs, the ability to train anywhere and the increasing responsiveness of mobile phones, tablets and apps, more and more people are turning to online personal training. Likewise, more and more trainers are creating an online presence – to increase passive income, stop exchanging time for money and provide a better service to clients. Standing out in the online space is essential. To truly harness the power of your website, you must build a compelling homepage that not only shows what you do, but also builds trust between you and the buyer.
- Understand that first impressions are as important online as they are offline
- How to use the Primacy Effect in an online space
- Understand Self Determination Theory and its application online
Creating a website can be a daunting prospect. It’s an ever-evolving growth process with a steep learning curve. The beauty of it is that you can constantly tweak and refine what you are doing, so whether you are just about to start or have established your site a long time ago, you will gain take-aways with this article that can be implemented immediately.
Once someone has arrived at your site, it is imperative to engage them and keep them there for as long as possible and look to your other pages. If they stay on your site for 3s, the likelihood that they will purchase from you is slim. Whereas, if you can keep them on your homepage for a minute or more; and get an email address from them- in exchange for a free workout program, recipe plan or something similar- you are in much more control short and long term. Even if they don’t purchase immediately, they have signed up to your newsletter and you can keep in contact with them upselling to them in the future. Getting that buy in – with so many free offers out there is the trick – and this is where building trust and rapport gives you an edge.
To build trust and rapport there are a few steps.
Understand that first impressions online mean as much, if not more than they do offline. It takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand once they've perused your company's website (2) and it takes just another 2.6 seconds for that viewer's eyes to concentrate in a way that reinforces that first impression.
So, you’re left with less than 3s to give your first impression. This means that it’s imperative to get your website, branding and presence aligned and geared towards your prospective client. Without these attributes and if you haven’t already got thousands of subscribers on your mail list you will be left behind with great products and zero purchasers.
To get people to buy from you, you need to get their buy-in first.
Getting that buy-in to you and your brand begins with understanding the primacy effect and how to use this online.
The Primacy effect essentially means that people tend to remember things that they hear or see first (3), in other words, their ‘first impression’. This is based upon:
- Willingness to listen
Think about your last visit to your favorite store; would you prefer a sales assistant that had the intention to look and serve you or one who stared down into their phone? Would you prefer one who could confidently grab the products you need or one who was unsure and faltering in their assistance? One who was excited to help you buy what you wanted or one who just looked bored to death by your questions? A person who listened to your requests and was able to provide you with answers that were appropriate or one who half listened and gave you completely the wrong recommendations, leaving you feeling stumped? Then lastly, would you prefer the one who looked smart and presentable or the one who didn’t look like they’d showered after their night out and rolled out of bed before coming to work.
The picture is clear – the person that presented the more enthusiastic, confident, professional and empathetic would be a sound choice. To apply those traits online is part of this step towards gaining an effective homepage that creates engagement.
Tools for Using the Primacy Effect Online:
- Get to know your avatar (4) – get in their mind, use their language, understand how you can solve their problem and how to overcome their objections. Get specific and even give them a name so that you can engage and build trust in the best way.
- Provide a specific lead magnet (4) that speaks to a known and desired result that can be consumed in 5 minutes or less. You’re giving them what they think they want in exchange for their email address so that you can upsell them what you know they need. By ensuring that the lead magnet can be consumed and applied quickly will further concentrate their trust.
- Speak to all different types of learning styles – visual, physical, verbal, logical and social learners. Use pictures, videos, audio files, statistics, stories and quizzes to engage your potential audience. It’s good practice to have up to 5 lead magnets running at once to engage different personalities and learning types.
- Use and stick to a clear branded style guide (4) - A style guide is the blueprint to your business and what it represents. It is the one source of truth in your business when it comes to the treatment of your brand and all of the collateral which builds it up.
- Be authentic – be yourself and stand up for what you believe.
Once you’ve given your avatar a reason to trust you and they have downloaded your free lead magnet, you will have their attention, email address and all consequent correspondence from this point must use Self Determination Theory.
Self Determination Theory is a theory of motivation initially developed by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, which has since been elaborated and refined. It is a macro theory of human motivation and personality that concerns people’s inherent growth tendencies and innate psychological needs (5). It is concerned with the motivation behind choices people make without external influence and interference. It is important for us as online marketers to use in order to build someone’s inner motivation and desire to purchase from us.
Three features that facilitate the Self Determination Theory that we can utilize online are:
Autonomy – A central feature of all human beings, the desire for autonomy. The confidence that emerges from charting our own destiny is violated easily by outside advice to change or demands to be someone new and different. Training with you online must be their choice.
Competence – Implies as a sense of confidence in acquiring the skills that support. The online client doesn’t want to be dependent upon you. They want to gain competence from you on your subject and passion.
Relatedness - Refers to our sense of purpose. Who will be with our avatar whilst and after they change? How will it change their life and the lives of others?
Motivation to change can only be sustained when it is actualized. Actualization comes through the transcendence of information into practical application. We as online trainers and coaches have a responsibility to use this training paradigm of establishing a high degree of trust and rapport with our clients and transferring it into their movement and programming strategies. The impact of self-determination theory shows the need to meet clients where they need to be met to be able to facilitate their growth to where they want to go.
How to Use Self Determination Theory in Correspondence with your Leads
The answer to this is simple – ask good questions and listen empathetically to their answers to provide viable options to overcome their pain points.
There are different levels of listening:
Creating a good impression is the first step in building trust and rapport so that your potential clients purchase from you. Maintaining that trust and rapport comes from empathetically listening to them. As you can see from the list of different levels of listening empathetic is the top of the list and the most sought after. Again, easily done with intention face to face – applying this online is another story.
The best, most successful brands in the online business, listen to their customers. What do the clients actually want and how can you best serve them?
If you are targeting, for example, stay-at-home moms, it will be a good idea to listen to them and give them time sensitive programs that they are able to complete without a ton of gym equipment. By giving them what they want and what they truly believe they can do, they are more likely to buy into your program than if they see it as unattainable.
Ask questions, use online surveys, online forms, quizzes and market research to gather as much data as you can as to what your current and potential clients actually want, how to package it and will consume.
Online personal training/coaching is a huge business and it is growing. Taking your business online is beneficial, but one barrier is building an active and engaged list of followers. Having an awesome homepage and website that builds trust and rapport is a tried and tested was to ensure engagement, and therefore profitability.
I’ve outlined three steps for you to use. The first is to understand how the first impression of your site affects your business. The second is to leverage your first impression using 5 factors – understanding your avatar, have a specific lead magnet, speak to all learning styles, be clear with your branding and be authentic. The final step is to empathetically listen to your online followers using questions, surveys, market research and quizzes on an ongoing basis.
By doing all three, well you will stand out in the online crowd, and you will grow your profits and ability to get more people who need to speak to you in front of you.
Facebook Investor Relations. (2017). Facebook Q1 2017 Earnings. Retrieved from: https://investor.fb.com/investor-events/event-details/2017/Facebook-Q1-2017-Earnings/default.aspx.
Careaga, A. (2012). Eye-track studies: First impressions for quickly on the web. Retrieved from: http://news.mst.edu/2012/02/eye-tracking_studies_show_firs/ .
PTAGlobal. (2017). Motivation, Movement and Program Design Course. Retrieved from: www.ptaglobal.com.
Stephanie Joanne. (2017). Build Your Empire Program. Retrieved from: www.stephaniejoanne.com.
Sugarman, R., Corn, R., & Cappuccio, B. (2014). Client centered training: A trainer and coach’s guide to motivating clients. First Quartz Pty Ltd.