Do you need testimonials to succeed as an online coach?

By Johnny and Yusef

We’re often asked whether you need testimonials to succeed online. It’s something people often want to know when they’re new to coaching, or are moving from offline to online coaching.

When we first started online coaching, testimonials for online personal training weren’t that common. Nowadays, there are a lot more online coaching options out there.

But if it was all about having the most testimonials, there’d be no room for anybody to ever get new clients.

People in our community get new clients every day with no testimonials.

Of course, testimonials can definitely help.

But there also has to be an implicit assumption that what you do as a coach works. And you have to communicate that in different ways – not just with photos of people who’ve lost weight.

The problem with testimonials

It’s easy to look at some of the bigger online fitness businesses like Herbalife, who have hundreds of testimonials, and worry that you don’t have any.

But Herbalife have millions of people using their programme, so if only 1% of them lose weight while consuming their product, they can then take the credit.

And the problem is, this doesn’t take into account things like:

  • Consistent exercise and calorie deficit
  • The timeline (it’s easy to fake dates, so how do you know that a 12-week plan didn’t really take someone a while year?)
  • Whether steroids or other drugs were involved
  • The fact that the photo could just be completely fake

So in reality, Herbalife might have played a very small part in someone’s body transformation.

As it becomes easier to manipulate information online, people are slowly becoming more wise to there being a bit more to testimonials than meets the eye.

Fortunately, there is more information available to people than ever before, so things don’t seem as black and white as they did just a few years ago.

We’re more aware that different solutions work for different people.

“Before and After” photos

A photo of someone taking a selfie at the gym

“Before and After” photos also don’t tell you what sort of headspace someone was in when the photo was taken.

I can guarantee that when we’ve gone through weight loss programmes ourselves, we were feeling pretty terrible when some of the “After” photos were taken.

We definitely didn’t feel as good as we looked. **

So if anything, all a testimonial is showing is that you’re able to help someone lose weight.

If that’s not an assumption your client is already making, then there’s a far bigger trust issue going on that can’t be solved by two photos on the internet.

This brings us to our next point.

If you’re switching to online coaching…

Don’t go for the generic fat loss programme

You’ll be going up against industry giants with no chance of getting heard.

It’s also not specific enough to get someone’s attention.

And seeing some impressive “Before and After” photos on a website won’t be enough to convince most people to sign up to your programme.

Because clients have different metabolisms, different diets and different goals, so they want to know that you’ll be able to get results for them. And they want to know that your system is a reliable, proven way to reach their goals.

Find out more about how to pick your niche as an online coach in this video:

How to use Testimonials the right way

We’re not telling you not to use testimonials. But you should make sure that you use them in a way that helps convert clients. When used well, testimonials should help people make a decision to use your programme. They should show people how other clients like themselves used your programme to solve a specific problem.

Some of the best testimonials we’ve received for Propane Business testimonials have been videos.

These a better idea of how it actually feels to go through the process and how we supported them along the way.

And that’s a much better way to communicate how you can help someone than a photograph.

What next?

If you want to learn more about our process, including a walkthrough of our system for converting clients, you can grab an overview video here.

Or, if you’re ready to chat to us about your own online fitness business and how we can help you build it, you can book in a call with us here.

free video guide: ⬇️

The EXACT process we used to build PropaneFitness to 15k/month: