If you’re selling a service of personal training, target market research is something that should be at the top of your list.
Fortunately, this article is a step-by-step guide to honing in on the kind of client you want to train.
But before we get straight to it, if you’re a PT who wants to achieve more, why not browse through OriGym’s advanced level 4 personal training courses? If you want to find this and many other health and fitness accredited courses download our FREE course prospectus here.
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Why Finding Your Personal Trainer Target Market Is Crucial
If you’re already clear on what a target market consists of, you can skip straight to step 1, If you need more clarity though, let us explain.
A target market in any industry is a specific group of people that a particular business aims its products or services at. Relevant to personal training, a target market is a group of potential clients with shared traits or characteristics who a PT wants to train specifically.
You may think that as a personal trainer, target market research doesn’t apply to you, but it does if you genuinely want to be a successful PT.
This is mainly because of the sheer variety in the kinds of clients that could come through your door as a PT, each with different needs, backgrounds, and goals.
We simply cannot know everything when it comes to training such a range of clients, which is why the most successful personal trainers are those that pick one target market and offer them the best service possible rather than offer an average service to any and every client that they can sign up.
For example, do you feel like you have the knowledge to train clients with arthritis and also offer an expertly tailored training plan to an obese person trying to lose weight?
The truth is, these are two vastly different kinds of clients with huge disparities between their needs and goals, and so offering a tailored service to each would require extensive knowledge of two completely different conditions.
Honing in on one niche and target market gives you the ability to offer expert advice and a high standard of service, making you the best in a particular area.
One thing you should remember is that having a target market as a personal trainer doesn’t limit your audience or potential income.
It creates a reliable and loyal client base that trusts in everything you do and is willing to pay a premium for your services because you dedicate your time and energy to that specific type of clientele and their needs.
With that in mind, let’s get into discussing the steps that you should take to find the target market for your personal training business.
Step 1: Start By Outlining The Areas Of Fitness You’re Passionate About
The first thing that you should be thinking about is your passion. Ask yourself:
- Why did you choose to be a personal trainer?
- What is your favourite part about fitness?
- Who are your favourite kind of clients?
- What feels the most rewarding to you?
All of these questions will help you to come to a conclusion on what means the most to you in terms of your business and personal training, in turn, making it a lot easier to decide who you want your target market to be.
Of course, if you’re just starting out in the industry, you’ll need to be open to train a range of clients to begin with as this will help you gain the ability to actually answer these questions and to ultimately find your passion.
Unless you have a burning desire to train a particular market from the get go, dip your toe into different areas of training and another personal training target market to solidify your decision.
You will often find that many successful personal trainers have a backstory or some level of passion for an area of fitness or target market that has gotten them to where they are. Whether this is embedded in their mission statement, throughout their social media or other marketing efforts it is typically clear as day.
Take a look below at this personal trainer who has a clear understanding of their target market.
This is a prenatal specific personal training business, therefore, their target audience is extremely clear; women who are expecting a baby and want the best for their body during and post pregnancy.
This isn’t just an understanding on a practical level, but also a passion for what they do. You can see in her description that she is a mother herself and that is what pushed her to fill this gap in the market.
Your passion may stem from something similar, maybe something that you struggled with and overcame. Whatever it is, getting inspiration from a raw or personal experience is the best way to find a gap in the market as this will allow you to solve a problem for clients in a position that you have been in yourself.
Truly understanding and being able to sympathise with your clients, as well as being able to solve a real world problem, is the key to targeting a specific market and becoming the best PT in that specific area of fitness.
Step 2: Plot Out What Your Ideal Client Would Look Like
Finding your target market for personal training clients means looking for a particular profile of client that you want to train.
This needs to be done with great attention to detail, avoid assumptions and ensure that every detail is backed up from research that you have conducted yourself.
First, start with the easy stuff like demographics and who, on the surface, your client is. Ask yourself:
- What is the gender of your client?
- What is their age?
- What is their occupation?
This is basic knowledge, but finding a target audience means delving deeper into things such as:
- Their exercise experience
- If they have any health implications that could me improved/impacted by exercise
All of these are things you would find out during the PT consultation process and are standard across the board of any target market which is the easy part. Now you need to determine why they want a personal trainer.
This is when your blurry image of a target audience starts to become clearer and a profile comes together.
Let’s create an example:
- Gender: Female
- Age: 35 - 45
- Occupation: High level occupations e.g. business manager
- Exercise experience: Basic level / Beginner
- Health: No serious implications but wants to become healthier and lose some weight
With this information, you can start to create a profile by specifying a population of these women that would need or want your help.
For example, some reasons they might want or need your help is:
- They lead a busy life looking after kids and their business
- They’re a single mum and struggle to find time or motivation to exercise while having a successful career
- They want to become fitter so that they can do more activities with their children
With this level of information, you can do more research and create a profile that would apply to a wide audience while still being niche enough for you to hone in on one area of fitness and narrow down your search for a particular clientele.
A good way to do this is by creating a named profile, you may have a couple of different ‘avatars’ that would make up your personal training target market.
Though these are all different people, they all have common factors that make them fit into your target market and you can be the solution to reach their goals.
Here is an example that shows how you can have different ‘avatars’ each with one common ground:
This personal trainer specialises in working with women with PCOS, but recognises that there are many different reasons why somebody with the condition might want help from a PT.
Thus, though her target audience is ‘women suffering with PCOS’ the individual goals of each person (or avatar when planning) can be different.
By planning out each ‘avatar’ and client type, you can target your market much more specifically and in turn, more successfully. As you can see in the areas we have highlighted, she states that some members focus on losing weight and others want to cope with stress or fertility.
These are profiles you could make that all fit into your personal training target market. For example, though her overall target market is:
“Women with PCOS”
She could create different profiles such as:
“Women with PCOS who want to lose weight”
“Women with PCOS who want to combat chronic fatigue”
“Women with PCOS who want to improve their health in order to conceive”
As you can see, they all tie into the same target market, but require different areas and levels of assistance. By targeting each of these specifically, you’re reaching every inch of the target market more successfully.
Step 3: Spend Time Researching Your PT Target Market
Once you have come to terms with what your ideal target client would look like, you need to make sure that there is demand for those services.
Though you might have a particular personal trainer niche which stems from your passion, you need to make sure that there is business out there for you. Are there clients in your location that want the services that you provide?
Essentially, this step is to determine whether your ideal client exists in numbers and if your chosen personal training target market isn’t over saturated.
One thing you should start with is focusing on advertising your services tactically. There is no point wasting your time and resources on an area of marketing that isn’t going to serve you any results.
With that in mind, how do you go about this?
#1 Research Your Target Market by Checking Out Your Competitiors
Well, let’s say you want to target women who are struggling with endocrine disorders, just like the PT we mentioned earlier. There is huge demand for these trainers and there are certainly gaps in the market for you to fill.
If this is what you want to do, you should first ensure that the market is in your local area.
This is because unless you also offer remote services, you want to make sure that your target market exists in your area since nobody really wants to travel far for a PT session. Do some research, it can be as simple as a Google search like this:
As you can see, the results that pop up are related to the subject (PCOS personal trainer) and the location (London). Wherever you’re from, you should change your location to that and spend some time scoping out the businesses that already cater to your target audience.
- What are they missing?
- What could they do better?
- What are they doing well?
This will help you to determine whether your target audience is suitable and generally plausible for a successful income and business operation.
Check out things like:
- Business names
- Where your target audience is
In terms of where your target audience is, you should be thinking about this in every capacity, in terms of online spaces and physical locations.
#2 Use Keyword Research Tools to See If & Where Your Target Market Exists
You can narrow down your search using a keyword research tool like Ahrefs, which shows the amount of people per month that are searching for a specific type of PT. For example, below you can see how many people search for a generic personal trainer in London every month:
The 'volume' shows that there are plenty of people regulary searching for this term, however, the 'keyword difficulty' score of 53 indicates that there are other competitors targetting this keyword, which might make it more difficult for your business to stand out online.
This is another example of how narrowing down your target market can really help you to cut down on competition and make it easier to reach the exact people who will be actually interested in your services.
For example, take a look below at the dramatic difference between the difficulty level of ranking for a PCOS personal trainer compared to that of a holistic personal trainer, despite there still being around 100 people a month who search for this:
As you can see, getting on the first page of google for the term 'PCOS personal trainer' is much more achievable.
#3 Think About Places Your Audience Frequents And Be There!
Finally, you should think about where you’re going to find your audience. Keeping with our aforementioned example, women with PCOS who would benefit from hiring you as a personal trainer, where could you find these kinds of women?
Online and offline locations should be considered, in this instance, these are some example places as to where you would find this target market:
- Facebook support groups
- Womens health social media pages
- Guest posts on women's health blogs
- Fertility Clinics
These are places where you could potentially leave leaflets, hold a stall to share your services and put yourself right where your target audience is going to be.
You shouldn’t expect that the correct people will just find you, you need to put your business out there and tell your target audience why they should trust you and why you can help them improve their lifestyle.
Below, you can see a prime example of a business that has a clear target audience with no room for mistakes:
They have made it easy for women to find their website by optimising their site, meaning they are among the first results people find when they search “female only personal trainer UK”.
This is among the personal trainer marketing strategies that you should be trying to incorporate to find your target market and reach them effectively.
Step 4: Define & Refine How You’ll Reach Your Personal Training Target Market
Once you feel confident in what your personal trainer target market is and whether there is demand for such a business in your area, you should fine tune how you’re going to keep it consistent.
As time goes on and the fitness industry progresses, you’re going to have to adjust your strategies accordingly. For example, if you research other ways to keep adapting to new areas of your target audience you have the ability to cater to more and more clientele.
For example, if you’re helping women who are looking to improve their health for fertility purposes there are many areas of health and wellbeing that can contribute to this.
This will stem from you doing more research and finding out more ways than one to help your clients. This might mean doing more than a simple Google search and getting out to do more hands-on research.
For example, you could ask your clients to answer a simple survey, or even ask some loyal clients to get involved with some focus groups.
These are all ways of personal training marketing research that can help you to evolve your business and to keep appealing to new areas of your target audience. We mentioned earlier how to reach your target audience, but without researching more you are ultimately limiting yourself.
For example, say you have a group of women, maybe 5-10 clients who are loyal to your service. You could organise a coffee morning which could act as a focus group where these women could talk about their hurdles with their fitness journey.
This means that you’re getting an honest look into problems that you, as a trainer, can solve.
This means that you’re not wasting your time in areas of fitness that are over saturated and avoiding the chances of hitting a wall and making no progress. Keeping on top of this means that you’re only ever growing your business.
Before You Go…
We hope that with our help, you feel confident in not only finding your personal training target market, but targeting them effectively too.
Don’t forget, if you want to become even more attractive to a potential client, why not expand your repertoire of qualifications? Find plenty of advancement personal training courses with OriGym.
Find this and more in our downloadable course prospectus here.
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Download Your FREE Course Prospectus
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