Tips to Sustain Client Engagement in Online Fitness Challenge Groups

If you are an online trainer or coach utilizing a hybrid model of both in-person and online services, you may struggle to sustain client engagement after the initial novelty and excitement wear off.

Do you struggle to keep people engaged in your online programs, challenges, or in your member Facebook group? You launch a new group or enroll a new batch of clients into your private group and after a few weeks, you only get crickets? No one is checking in. No one is commenting or responding to posts. People aren’t completing their lessons or workouts. 

You spent all this time creating and drafting content and now no one seems committed. Sound familiar?

Should you cancel? Refund people? What do you do? Here are some tips to keep your clients engaged in your 

Inspire, Don’t Drag!

People don’t often like being the center of attention when it comes to airing their struggles publicly, on social media or even small forums. If you are running a smaller group, especially because perhaps you’re a newer trainer or new to the online space, it can feel like you’re pulling teeth to get any engagement going. Don’t “out” people for not sharing, but perhaps share your own inspirational posts and tidbits.

Set an Example 

First and foremost, you need to show up the way you’re asking your clients and online members to be showing up. Set an example. If you want people to post a picture of a meal they enjoyed last week that fits all of their macros in, share yours first. 

Set the Set the Standards

You set the standard and the expectation. If people see your commitment and your consistency, they’ll likely be willing to engage more. If they don’t know the expectation, they’ll flounder around unclear on what is being asked of them. Keep your call-to-action items clear, concise, and simple. 

“Giveaway” Motivation

Get people excited about being a part of your community. One of the easiest ways to do that is with free stuff. While you certainly don’t have to give away any big ticket items this could be something as simple as a PDF with tips on how to avoid binge eating candy or sweets for the holidays or tips for how to talk to your kids about nutrients and what they mean when building a healthy meal that sustains good energy; whatever your “niche” or target market would enjoy. Bring value whenever and however you can.

You can easily throw this together on an online editing platform like Canva in a few minutes and use it to get people talking in the group. You could give away a free 15-minute 1:1 call if people are in a group coaching program so they have your undivided attention for a few minutes. Make them feel special because their experience matters and it will help to improve your skills as you learn more about what is helpful to your target clients. 


Holding FAQ/Accountability Calls Consistently

If you run a live FAQ call each week (and you should be for group coaching!), try to keep it at the same time on the same day each week. People have enough on their schedules already. If they have to always check a message board or thread to see when the new call is- it’s much easier for them to forget or not make it a priority. For your newer clients who are just getting started and possibly feeling overwhelmed with content and action items up front, this could very well make or break a client sticking with your program. Don’t make them track you down. It’s exhausting. 


Having Weekly Call is Crucial to Your Client Engagement

These calls are an amazing opportunity to create community and connection so people can get to know you, the face behind the social media page. Don’t take this for granted. Face time with your members is so important. Plus, this gives you tons of content to repurpose and share on your social media pages. Quotes, questions asked on the calls, ways your clients boost and encourage each other; all this lends to help you sell your challenges from real people actually taking part in them and showing off the amazing community people have the opportunity to be a part of when they join you.

People don’t buy products. People buy products or services that provide solutions to their problems. That’s you! They want to see people like themselves represented in your marketing, and they want to know the person who can get them there wants to connect and understand them.

Hiring a coach is a big investment; assure them that they made the right choice. Don’t just focus on the picture transformations. Anyone can have a few of those. Audio and video clips from your calls can be great content to share to give a better understanding of what you do and how you help people. (Make sure you get permission, of course).

 

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Calls-to-Action to Increase Client Engagement

Daily Inspiration

Every day of the week, assign fun call-to-action items. For example:

*Mindset Mondays, where you share a mindset tip or bring up a subject that gets people to get their brains thinking. You could share a podcast episode you really enjoyed or drop a title to a book you think people should read in line with your challenge topic.

*Tip Tuesdays– this can be a life hack, a gym hack for making things for efficient, or a tip for remembering to drink more water throughout the day

*Wisdom Wednesday– ask others to share their own advice on what’s working for them with fellow members. Let them engage each other so it’s not always on you. Sometimes our advice falls on deaf ears because we’re “out” of the weeds. While current clients and members are going through similar struggles and very much still in the weeds can share how they are navigating certain areas on their journey.


Utilizing Mini Challenges

A great way to get people excited and in a good competitive spirit is by creating a mini-challenge once a week, but waiting to announce what the challenge will be on the morning the challenge will begin. This can be a squat challenge, a “make a meal with only 5 ingredients challenge,” or a tag-a-friend water chug challenge. You can get people familiar with others in the group too so you begin to create more of a community where people are less intimidated to speak their minds and show their faces to those they recognize.

Be as Efficient as Possible

Utilize the Auto-Scheduler Post Feature Keep the content recurring with the same graphics each week. All you have to do is change some of the copy beneath to reflect the call to action you want your members and clients to take. This makes life more efficient for you as you can schedule your posts ahead of time.

Social media platforms like Facebook as well as many other coach/trainer apps allow you to drop prescheduled content at a certain time of day so you can plan out weeks worth of copy in a few hours. This makes your time spent more fast and efficient! This also avoids the feeling of burnout and being at the “mercy” of your challenge/online groups 24/7. 

When in Doubt–Ask for Feedback!

Being a trainer in the online space can be hard if you don’t have systems in place. You’ll learn through some trial and error what your target demographic best responds to. Don’t be afraid to ask them directly for feedback, too!

For example, “On a scale of 1-10, how much did that article I shared resonate with you yesterday?” And then ask them to share which part they enjoyed learning about. Continue on with asking what topic they’re still struggling with. You can make this a poll within the group for people to vote on and add their own options too!

This helps you make your programs better and improve how clear you are with your responses to their questions. If you make this part of your weekly check-in process with people, you’ll have more than enough testimonials by the end to continue sharing and marketing for the next round. 

Consistency. Always.

We preach consistency to our clients every day. It’s not how hard you show up for a few weeks or months. It’s how consistently you can show up over the long haul that gains the result we seek. Carry that over into your online groups and challenges too. Consistency in how you as the coach/trainer show up is key.

Show your face. Make your content reliable. Keep it simple. People will show up and engage with you if they feel you are committed to the methods that you teach.