Most personal trainers miss the #1 key step when they market their business.
This step is not the latest and the sexiest marketing tactic – it's actually something fundamental and yet not intuitive to everyone.
The most important thing, when it comes to marketing your fitness business, is identifying a niche. No other marketing tactics, no matter how cutting-edge, can save your business without doing this.
Here are just a few examples of what could (inevitably) go wrong when you don't have a niche:
Your Facebook and Instagram pages attract few followers and have even lesser engagement
Your sales emails fail to convert leads into any real sales
Your Facebook group(s) has next to zero participation, and the only response to each new post is crickets chirping
Not identifying your niche is like trying to build a house on shaky foundation. You'll never be able to make your house bigger or stronger – instead, all your efforts will go into simply keeping it propped up, and hoping it doesn't fall down.
If you start off on the right foot by figuring out a niche for your business, you'll bypass all these pitfalls and save yourself a lot of grief. My goal in this post is to give you clarity on 3 things:
What a niche is
How finding the right niche helps grow your fitness business
And finally, how to nail down your niche.
What exactly is a niche?
Simply put, the right niche is a certain group of people – who will be especially drawn towards your business. A prospective client in the right niche:
Will understand the benefit of your service instantly
Will quickly convert into a paying client
Will stay with your business the longest
Will spread your business word-of-mouth like a true fan
How finding the right niche will help you exponentially grow your fitness business
Most fitness businesses that have paying customers will have some source of free traffic that will help them grow to a certain point, whether through Yelp or Google.
But you can only go so far with these sources of free traffic.
If you want to see real and meaningful growth in your fitness business, you have to develop predictable ways to find, attract and reliably convert prospects into paying clients. This is the whole purpose of a good marketing strategy.
One important point to note here: When it comes to marketing, you are reaching out to your prospects, not the other way around. It takes work, especially in the beginning.
With that in mind: which prospects should you put your efforts into going after?
Doesn't it make sense to go after the prospects who:
(A) are the easiest to attract and convert
(B) will stay with you the longest and
(C) fall into your niche?
Hopeful the answer to that is duh, of course!
Logically, when you focus on prospects within your niche you are maximizing the return on your marketing efforts. It also means prospects who are likely to be your happiest and most satisfied clients.
Let's take an example and see this in action.
Suppose the pie below represents all the people you could help with your fitness business:
Let's also suppose your goal for next year is to double your revenue. If you are currently generating $10,000 in revenue, that means you want to reach $20,000 in revenue by the end of next year.
Now suppose you found a slice of this market that has a special affinity to you, and the prospects in this slice (aka prospective niche) will return twice the ROI on your marketing efforts. Moreover, this slice is big enough for you to generate revenue to meet your next goal.
What would you do?
You would do what every savvy fitness business owner would do: Focus your marketing efforts on capturing this slice rather than the whole market. Doing this means you'll reach your goal of $20k revenue in 6-months.
In fact, it's completely possible to take this a step further and exceed your year-end goal altogether to reach an even higher revenue of $30k or even more.
Identifying and focusing on a niche clearly pays in many ways. The #1 reason to identify and focus on a niche is to maximize your ROI.
Whether you have a niche or not, you will be putting effort into marketing – doesn't it make sense to make your marketing as profitable as possible by targeting the prospects most likely to convert and love your business?
Hopefully, I've convinced you by now that you need to identify a niche for your business. Now let's talk about how to find your niche.
How to nail down your niche
A prospect in the right niche, as we've said, is someone who has a special affinity for you and your business. They also feel a sense of community and belonging.
Come to think of it: doesn't this also describe your happiest clients?
Your happiest clients are the ones who most likely understood your service right away, converted quickly, stayed with you the longest and brought you tons of referrals.
Your happiest clients are the key to unlocking your niche.
If you focus your marketing efforts on acquiring prospects whose profile matches those of your happiest clients then you are on the road to making all your clients your happiest clients. It's an ideal scenario, and it's not a far-flung one.
So how do you figure out the right niche?
Start by analyzing your happiest, most dedicated clients and look for traits that are common among them.
Are they busy women looking to lose weight and with a minimum amount of time to spare? Are they seniors looking to gain more strength and mobility?
Even if it's not obvious at first, with a little digging you should be able to see patterns and commonalities in your most loyal and satisfied clients.
Ultimately the right niche for your business should have:
The highest percentage of your happiest clients.
A low percentage of your not-as-happy clients.
Enough market potential to meet your next revenue goal.
Let's look at a few examples and see how they score in these 3 categories:
Example #1: Everyone who wants to get fit.
This is probably not your ideal niche. It's too broad: it contains your happiest clients, but also your not-so-happy clients. In fact, the percentage of the happiest clients inside this slice is very low. Since you aren't focusing on your happiest clients, you won't be able to target and retain more of them.
Example #2: Local individuals who have a rotator cuff issue and want to get fit.
The problem with this niche is that even if all your past clients with this same health issue had great results and loved your business, it's probably too small of a market to meet your revenue goal.
Example #3: Local working women who want to lose weight but need flexibility in their workout routine.
This is the start of a decent niche. But you need to evaluate and see if you can niche down a bit further to find a market that is more specific, but with a good potential for revenue.
A better niche might be working moms who want a flexible schedule, but who also want to be part of a warm and caring community.
At this point you might be thinking: "This is all great, and makes sense. But I'm just starting out, and I don't have enough data to know what the best niche for my business is."
No problem. You can still evaluate and move forward by doing the following:
Decide on the next goal that you want to achieve in 12-18 months.
Decide on a market that can meets following requirements:
Is narrow enough to be a niche but big enough to meet your goals
Aligns your strongest skill-set with the clients' needs within that niche
Is comprised of the type of clients you would enjoy and be happy working with
Here's a summary of why it's so crucial for you to pick a niche:
With marketing, you are reaching out to prospects – not the other way around
Reaching out to prospects costs time and money
The right niche is the slice of the market that will bring you the highest ROI and money you invest on your marketing
This will not only help you grow your business but will help you acquire more clients who are happy and satisfied in the long-term
No matter where you are based or who your clients are, there is a niche available to you. It may take a little bit of thought and research, but you'll be able to find one that works great for you.
Also remember that depending on your results, you can always re-evaluate and re-consider your niche. It shouldn't be rocket science – remember that the key to finding a great niche is by looking at your happiest and most successful clients!
Finding the right niche is definitely the most important factor to make your marketing successful.
Do you know what the 2nd most important factor is? It's convincing the prospects in your niche to become your clients.
And how do you do that? By telling them that you have something unique that will help them get better results with you rather than anyone else.
The key to this is developing a unique selling proposition. That's the focus of my next post.