For many personal trainers, especially those starting out in business, a key goal is to attract more clients. But when you think about how you market your business and your services, is it better to try and appeal to as many people as possible, or to concentrate on a niche? According to Tom Hart, former Asia-Pacific Regional Manager at Net Profit Explosion, attracting new clients is not a quantity game, it’s a quality game.
“A mistake that a lot of PTs make is trying to market to everybody, like throwing out the net and seeing who you might catch rather than being really focused on who it is that you want in your business,” he explains.
“If you try to market to everyone, you might deliver the right message to a section of the market, but you’re probably delivering the wrong message to the rest of the market.”
Working out your target market
To identify the type of client that you want to concentrate your business focus and marketing messages on, think about who your top 10 customers are right now.
“Ask yourself who are the best 10 customers you’ve got, why you love working with them and what makes them great customers,” advises Hart. “It could be that they get great results, they always do their homework, they pay their bills and turn up to sessions on time.”
Once you’ve got a list of who you love working with and why, you’ll get clear on the type of customer that you want more of in your business. Considering who you get the best results for is a key part of this process. For instance, if you find that you get great results for busy mums, but don’t work as well with body building enthusiasts, then you should concentrate on the former.
“Focus on clients who you do get results for, because they are the ones who are going to celebrate you, refer you to their friends and create more business for you,” says Hart.
Profile your ideal customer
According to Hart, there are three key things a trainer should look at, when they are considering the type of client they want to attract. “The first is the demographic of that person, so perhaps they are a 25-35 year old mother of two,” he says.
Generally, you don’t want too broad an age range (for instance, 20 year olds and 60 year olds) because they are at different ends of the market. Secondly, consider the client’s location, or the area where they live or work.
“Finally, you want to think about the psychographics of that person, so in the case of the 25-35 year old mother, maybe she wants to get her body back or make time for her own health and fitness,” says Hart.
Reflecting on this last aspect helps you dial into the psychology of the clients who you want to attract into your business – their emotional needs and thought processes, so you can ensure your marketing messages resonate with them.
Create a customer avatar
Once you’ve gone through the above steps, you can start to formulate a client avatar or ideal client.
“You want to be as clear as you can, so if you’ve honed in on the 25-35 year old mother of two, you might want to name her ‘Amber the supermum’, and identify her as someone with small kids who is dedicated to getting her pre-baby body back,” says Hart. It’s also helpful to think about what the main external, internal and philosophical problems of your client avatar would be.
Externally, maybe she wants to lose weight or tone up, internally maybe there’s a fear that she doesn’t have time to exercise, and the philosophical stuff is about wanting to be a role model for her children,” says Hart.
Giving your client avatar an identity helps make your marketing materials (everything from what you write about in your blog posts to your social media posts to the images on your website) more targeted, and more likely to resonate with your target clientelle.
Give it time
Changing your business focus and marketing tactics from blanket marketing to a targeted approach where you try to speak to a particular type of client won’t instantly deliver more of those clients.
“You have to keep working at it, but if you keep delivering the same message then those clients you want more of in your business will catch on, and you’ll find they start to connect with you a lot more,” says Hart.
It’s worth noting that you can have more than one client avatar for your business. “It’s ok to want to attract Amber the supermum and also the 24 year old male muscle-head, but you want to make sure you have a specific marketing strategy for each, rather than treating everyone the same,” says Hart.
For more tips and resources like this go to the Grow Your Fitness Business Toolbox