Picking a target market is one of the most definitive decisions you can make in building your personal training business. It helps you better define a lot of aspects of your business. But a lot of trainers go back and forth on choosing a target market. Should you? Do you have to? Why should you? In this article we will go over choosing a target market for personal training, why it’s important, and some considerations.
Finding your target market becomes especially important when you are looking at becoming an online personal trainer or looking at bringing some portion of your business online. Even if you are looking to just do in-person training, knowing your target market and leveraging digital marketing can still help you get more in-person clients.
But first, the difference in Target Market vs Niche
Is a square a rectangle, is a rectangle a square? Tomato, tomahto, potato, potahto – am I right? No, no, I’m actually wrong, very wrong. A niche and a target market are actually two different things – although they are related.
A niche is what you specialize in doing. It’s the service or product that you offer. Naturally, as a personal trainer, you already have a niche which is personal training services. However, nested inside of the broad niche of personal training services are more specialized niches.
For example, if you specialize in weight loss then your niche changes slightly towards what you are specialized in.
Your target market is the group of people you serve. While some of your target market is defined by your niche, some of it is up to you to decide.
For example, if you are a weight loss specialist then your target market is automatically those who want to lose weight. However, you can further specialize if you want. You can become a women’s or men’s weight loss specialist and that further narrows your target market.
Target Markets vs Demographics
These are two terms that often get mixed up and confused. While they are very similar and related in some areas, they are two different concepts.
When compared to demographics, your target market is more broad. This is because for a lot of people, their products and services appeal to a wide variety of people, all with different demographics.
A target market is more likely to be a conglomeration different demographic data. It’s rare that you’ll ever find a target market that consists of “men that are married”. That is way to general. Target markets are more specific than that. Your target market may consider the following:
- Life events
Keep in mind, these are just some examples. There are probably many more you can consider, especially if you are in a really specific niche.
However, when you look at demographics, they typically considered as small groups within a target market that share common attributes. For example, segmenting audiences by age is common for a lot of marketers and marketing agencies.
Identifying your Target Market for Personal Training
Now that we know a little bit about the distinction between target markets and it’s constituents, lets take a look at identifying your target market.
Your Existing Customer Base
Your existing customer base is guaranteed to have common character traits that can help you get a feel for your target market. Even if they feel like a pretty diverse group of people, the chances are they share at least a couple small commonalities whether it’s character traits or interests.
Let’s take a look at an example: Ultimate Performance Personal Training
When you take a look at the Ultimate Performance website, one thing becomes apparent; they target women who are trying to lose weight. They have done a great job in letting site visitors know exactly what they do. However, even though they are targeting women who want to lose weight, their target market may go a little deeper then that.
Let’s dive into their website to see what we can find that may give us a clue as to what some additional pieces of their core target market are.
The Results Page
While taking a look at their results page, they displayed close to 100 transformation images. One thing that becomes obvious pretty much immediately is the average age of their clients. Most of them are over the age of 30. There were a couple 20 year olds in there but for the most part, everyone was over the age of 30.
So now, we are starting to get a great start! So far we know they are targeting women over the age of 30 who want to lose weight. Now this is starting to get more targeted! Let’s dive a little deeper.
Frequently Asked Questions
Upon exploring the site a little more, I stumbled upon “common questions” they get in regards to their personal training services. One thing becomes clear, they aren’t competition prep coaches. While this doesn’t necessarily mean they are excluding themselves from offering that as a service, their main target market doesn’t seem to have a lot of experience in the gym.
So now, their personal training target audience becomes: women over the age of 30 who want to lose weight and don’t have that much experience in the gym or fitness. Let’s look around a little bit more to see what else we can find before we call it quits.
After looking around a little bit, I could only find the pricing for their one-on-one online personal training services. However, this is still good because it can tell us a little bit about their target audience.
$759 for 3 months breaks down to:
- $253 per month
- $64 per week
Now, by many standards, this is actually a rather affordable plan. Especially since this plan covers you for:
- Structured gym programs
- planned diets
- Individualised supplements
- Accountability – they get on your case when you don’t stay consistent.
Based on the pricing, they aren’t targeting people who make boatloads of money as their pricing is very fair. However, I did notice they seem to operate and advertise out of major cities. Which introduces another variable.
High cost of living. If you are making minimum wage in Los Angeles, you more then likely can’t afford personal training services. So their average client more than likely makes $45,000 or more.
What does all of this mean?
While we don’t have access to the data that Ultimate Performance may have, you start to get a feel for what their target market for personal training looks like. Here’s what we have gathered so far:
- They help women lose weight.
- Their average client is over the age of 30 and doesn’t know that much about fitness.
- Based on their pricing, they may be targeting based on income level ($45,000/year +).
- According to the assumed income and the locations they operate out of and advertise in, their target market probably has a degree of some sorts.
Why does this all matter?
I hope by now that you see the value in really focusing time on figuring out your target market. Having a solid grasp on your target market will help you build a better brand which inevitably helps you better curate your message and marketing to those who are more likely to relate to you.
Without a target market, you can very easily lose money and motivation when people come to your site and don’t do anything besides bounce and never come back.
Discovering and Using your Target Market for Personal Training
That was a lot of information. Lets take a look at what you can do to get a better grasp of your target market and how to use it.
1. Discovering: Make sure you have the right analytics in place.
If there’s one thing that’s a must, that’s having the data. But lets not get confused here. We aren’t talking about compiling a bunch of 1’s and 0’s into some deeply meaningful analysis. We aren’t data scientists here.
But, what you can do are a couple things:
- If you have a blog or website, make sure you create a Google Analytics account and install the tracking snippet. Google Analytics will compile the data for you, such as, the common interests of those who are visiting your site, their behavior, the devices they are using, and more.
- Make sure your social media accounts are business accounts. This way you get access to things like Instagram insights and other pieces of data. Besides this, explore the profiles of those who interact with your brand regularly and determine common character traits.
2. Discovering: Have the data now? Look for trends and commonalities.
As you start to figure out what type of person is more likely to interact with your brand, it’s important to ensure you have the right pieces of data in place.
Here are couple for consideration:
- Age – This doesn’t have to be an exact average or anything like that. But if you were able to figure what age ranges dominate your consumer base, then you are on your way to understanding you audience better.
- Spending habits – Again, this does have to be exact but getting a feel for what income level your audience is at helps you understand how they are spending. Specifically for personal training, this can be valuable as personal training is considered a deluxe services. As such, understanding you base audiences spending habits and income can help.
- Interests – What is your target market interested in besides your products or services? What do they do when they are interacting with you and your brand? Understanding this can come in big when trying to figure out the best messaging for your brand.
- Life – Where is your target audience in life? Are they more likely to be single? Married? Married with kids in their teens? Are they retired?
3. Using: Clarifying your value proposition
Once you have the analytics in place, you can start to figure out who makes up your target market. Once you start to figure this out, it’s time to go to work on making your marketing very clear.
Translating your services into a direct value proposition and solutions to problems
A lot of people get caught up here. Your services and/or products are going to have associated value beyond features.
Listing all of the benefits of your service is attractive because, essentially that is what you are selling. However, if your only value proposition is listing the benefits of your service, then you might have a hard time getting people to make a purchase.
This is because of a common method used in sales is called “putting the customer in the product“. This is where you pin point the reason behind why the consumer is chasing a product like yours. Here, you want to figure out their “why” and then create a value proposition that fits in with their need.
Putting the Customer in the Product
For example, when you go car shopping, it wouldn’t be very helpful if when looking for a car with a sales rep, their pitch was:
“Oh yeah, you’ll love your jeep wrangler JK unlimited 4WD 4 inch lift kit w/ vertex reservoir shocks! This bad boy also comes with a top feed 1050x fuel injector guaranteed to get you to at least 300 NM’s of torque…”
I’m not even going to pretend to know anything about cars or that the example above was coherent. But you get the point. Your value prop needs to be functional right off the bat. Tell your customer exactly what problems you can solve through putting the solution in context. Here’s an example but geared towards personal training:
“Together, we will work to get rid of that back pain so that you can set an example for your kids on how to live a healthy life, throw them around when its play time, and live a confident life like your deserve.”
That sounds much better then:
“Through progressive loading and myofascial release, we will lift the tension in your lower lumbar that should pull the pressure off the L5 vertebrae giving you approximately 15 degrees of more rotational freedom without pain!”.
While that sounds fancy, it doesn’t resonate on a human level.
4. Constantly Adjust Your Research and Testing
As you start to better figure out your target audience, keep in mind that your business may change and other variables might cause slight adjustments to your target audience.
Consider how external variables control your target audience such as time of year and holidays.
Make sure you are always testing and analyzing your audience data to make sure you don’t miss anything.
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