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.
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.
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.
Lets take a look at an example: The Dollar Shave Club
When you take a look at the Dollar Shave Club’s website, one thing becomes apparent; they are targeting men. However, it’s not that simple. They really hammered down on their target market during a critical time period.
That is, they are targeting a specific market segment of men that are looking for an inclusive, simple, and convenient service for their grooming needs.
Not only that, but it’s not like they don’t sell women’s grooming products – because they do. However, based on the companies branding and marketing messaging, women are not their primary target market.
In fact their primary target market are probably men between the ages of 18 to 45 that are busy. Some may be business professionals that want to look clean cut but don’t want to, nor do they have the time to think about staying stocked on razors. That’s why a subscription grooming service makes sense for them.
Lets dissect their marketing messaging and see how that could impact their targeting. Their brands messaging is “easy, convenient, affordable, and inclusive grooming products for men”.
Here, you are more likely to find men from a variety of walks of life that care about one thing: convenience. They could be busy or they just don’t care to go shopping for razors all the time.
Affordable / Convenient
The prices of razors have been on the rise. Gillette has been the main company men have gone to for their grooming products. However, $20+ for a pack of razors is a little steep.
In this market segment, you are more likely to find men with a variety of backgrounds but one that may stick out with this messaging is the income level. Their product is more affordable, giving men whose income is less then $50,000 per year more options for their grooming products.
Their branding tells you a little bit about their core values. The company stands for creating an inclusive experience for men from all backgrounds and needs.
Which couldn’t be more critical as modern society is constantly analyzing aspects of our daily lives in order to create a more inclusive experience for everyone.
This appeals to men across many different backgrounds, regardless of income levels.
What does all of this mean?
While we don’t have access to the data that the Dollar Shave Club may have, you start to get a feel for what their target market looks like.
Understanding this helps you better cater your marketing and branding to the different segments of your target market and can lead to more effective marketing initiatives.
Discovering 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.
1. 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. Have the data now? Compile it and looks 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. Clarifying your value proposition
A lot of people get caught up here. Your services and/or products are going to have associated value beyond features and benefits.
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 with their need.
This isn’t a singular event either and is something you should be doing from the first time someone interacts with your brand – starting at the value prop.
Putting the Customer in the Product
For example, when you go car shopping, it wouldn’t be very helpful if when looking the details of 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…”
Especially if you were looking to save money on gas. 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 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 other variable 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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