In Part I of this guide, we looked at how to nail down a profitable niche for your fitness business.
And in Part II, we learned how to find a stellar unique selling proposition to help you convince prospects in your niche to work with you instead of your competitors.
But there's one more piece of this puzzle that you need to put in place before you can go ahead and start producing content for marketing.
That final piece is understanding your prospects' deepest, most personal motivations and desires.
If I were to ask you, "what do your clients want?", how would you answer?
Your knee-jerk response may be: "They want to get fit."
That's not false.
But that's not the real, primary reason they want to get fit.
Being fit and healthy is a means to an end. Think of any particular person who wants to be fit, and you'll find a deeper, more primary reason for their motivation:
A stay-at-home mom wants to be fit, so that she can be a role model for her family.
A senior citizen wants to get fit, so that he can play with his grandkids.
A college undergrad wants to get fit, so that he can attract more dates.
An obese dad wants to get fit, so that he has a better chance of living long enough to see his kids grow up.
Do you see how these reasons are all rooted in social, emotional (and even primal) desires?
Prospective clients may even decide to work with you because of reasons totally unrelated to fitness.
They may, for example, decide to work with you because your business is branded around being environmentally-friendly, and they share this value with you deeply enough to support you by paying for your services.
Or, they may decide to work with you because of your personality and the way you make them feel. It could be that you're funky and funny, or maybe you're uber professional and classy, and they feel uplifted or secure in your presence.
Why You Need to Figure Out Who Your Ideal Client is
The most successful marketing messages are the ones that connect with prospects on multiple levels. They perform better 100% of the time.
Marketing that connects on deep, multiple levels brings you more leads, more customers, more revenue, more profits, and ultimately allows you to transform more lives.
So, how do you get your marketing to do that?
The first step is to understand who your ideal client is.
An ideal client is a prospect inside your niche that you would love to work with. To understand this person on a deep level, you need to create what in marketing terms is called an "ideal client profile" or "ICP".
It should contain all the information that is relevant for your marketing. It should not only include demographic information, but also details about their goals, desires, fears and values.
Once you have your ideal customer profile figured out, the next step is to make sure that you write every marketing message for this ideal client. Having an ICP will help you write messages that go deeper and better connect with the people you're targeting.
One question I get asked often is, "What about the fact that most of the clients in my niche actually don't look exactly like this Ideal Client?"
That's 100% okay and normal. Your clients don't all need to perfectly match your ideal client profile.
There just needs to be some overlap, and that's enough. A marketing strategy that connects 90% of the time is much better than one that doesn't work at all.
Also, if you don't have an ICP, you are far more likely to not reach anyone and miss the mark altogether.
The other important point is, when you write your marketing material for an individual person (i.e., your ICP), your message style becomes consistent.
Think about the way you talk to people. You probably don't talk to your six-year-old nephew the same way you talk to your best friend, right?
Imagine, now, if you did start talking to your best friend the same way you talked to your nephew. I'm guessing the result would be pretty awkward, right? Your friend may even decide not to talk to you for a few weeks.
It's the same thing with market messaging.
Make sure that you know who you are targeting, use the approach that speaks to that type of person, and never deviate from it. The last thing you want to do is confuse or disenchant your client bases by being inconsistent.
Now that you know how creating an ideal customer profile can help your marketing, it's time to create one for your fitness business.
How to Figure Out Your Ideal Client Profile
Your ICP should include all the information that you think is relevant to marketing your business to your ideal client.
There is no set format or hard and fast rule. Feel free to create it whichever way you like. The important thing is that, regardless of whatever format you choose, your ICP helps you answer the following questions:
What is your ideal client's demographic? Age, gender, income, education, type of profession etc. Do they have kids? How many, and how old are they?
What are the pains they are seeing right now because of their fitness (or lack therefore)?
What are their fears when it comes to fitness? What they think will happen to them if they don't start now? What will happen to them in the next 6 months, 1 year, 2 years etc.
What are their goals? What do they want to achieve in the short term and what do they want to achieve in the long term?
What are their desires? What do they envision their life looking like once they achieve their goals?
What are their hidden desires? What are the status-related motives they are afraid to ever say aloud? (For example: "I want to look as beautiful as my neighbor").
What are the impending dangers they're not seeing?
What are their possible objections to working with you (or anyone)?
What kind of values do they expect in a business? Do they want businesses to be environmentally-friendly, emphasize inclusivity, etc.?
What are their core values? Do they value family, freedom, education?
What do they like doing in their free time? What are their hobbies?
What are their limiting beliefs? What do they believe they cannot do which is not true?
What makes your them feel embarrassed or self-conscious?
You may not know answers to all the questions listed above, and that's okay.
Just do your best to answer as much as you can. This list is a living document that you can continually update as you gain more understanding about your ideal clients.
Some of these questions may not be relevant to your ideal client, either. In that case, feel free to skip them.
Document Your ICP
It's always a good idea to document your ICP so that you can refer to it when you're writing a Facebook post, email, landing page or other content. Keep it in a file you can easily access, or pinned above your desk.
It'll be a hugely helpful resource for you and will spark ideas you might have missed otherwise.
The other important reason to document your ICP is so that you can use it as a reference for other team members. You'll find it incredibly useful if you choose to hire a designer, copywriter, blogger or other expert to help you with your business.
How to Get Started with Writing Your ICP
Do you already work with a client who closely resembles your ideal client?
If so, you're off to a great start. Keep this person at the forefront of your mind when you go through your list of ICP questions.
One thing that really helps me is to imagine a real person when writing copy for my marketing material.
If you already have a client that closely resembles your ideal client, start writing your marketing material as if you are writing to them. Writing as though you are writing to one, individual person is a powerful, time-tested way to connect with readers.
How to Understand Your Ideal Clients Better and Evolve Your ICP
Having a client who closely resembles your ICP is a great start, but how do you dig even deeper into understanding your ICP?
Here are 2 tips that have helped me get great results:
1. Join groups or forums where people who fit your ICP hang out
Is there a common place like a Facebook group or online forums (Reddit, for example), where your ideal client hangs out?
If yes, then that is a great place to join and learn more about them. If they have questions that you can answer then engage with them. You never know they may convert to your paid client.
One thing to remember is to follow the group rules and don't be salesy. No one wants to be "sold" to.
Focus instead on open-ended questions and active listening. Be sure to write down actual phrases they use – this will help you create content later on that is absolutely golden for reaching your ideal clients.
2. Learn from businesses that are selling to your ICP
Who else is selling to your ideal client? Are they doing a good job?
If yes, then subscribe to their newsletter, study their website, and check out their Facebook/Instagram page. Study and get to know them and their approach. Be open-minded to learning from someone else.
The important thing you want to learn from your competitors is what methods they are using to persuade your ideal client. What kind of language are they using – what kind of desires, hopes and fears do they address in their content?
The idea here is to learn what is working for your competitors and then use those findings to write the best marketing material you can for your own fitness business.
I know from experiencethat understanding your ideal client will give you a serious competitive edge.
It's the difference between businesses that create lifelong customers and raving fans from the business that struggle to retain their clients even for a few months.
Once you go through this exercise, your marketing message will resonate much better with the projects in your niche.
It's a fast-track that will save you invaluable time trying to attract the right clients and it's a win-win scenario: not only are you benefitting from having stable, loyal clients, but your clients are benefitting from having found a business that directly addresses their needs and pain points.
This is the most stable, authentic, effective way to market – and it's the closest you can reasonably get to having a bullet-proof fitness business.