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How to Find Your Target Market for Personal Training

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, How to Find Your Target Market for Personal Training

Reading Time: 5 minutes 20 seconds

Whether you own a personal training business or act as an independent fitness professional, marketing is a must. You can’t grow your client list if you aren’t actively promoting your services. Prospective clients need to know you exist. They also need to feel like you understand them enough to help them reach their goals. This is why it’s important to identify and learn more about your target audience.

Why Having a Target Market Matters

Have you ever heard a business’s marketing message and felt like they weren’t talking to you? Maybe their message was directed to an audience that was older, younger, or in a different geographical area. Perhaps they referenced homeowners and you rent or they were clearly talking to parents and you have no children. 

This highlights why it’s critical to have a target market in mind when trying to grow your fitness business. It will tell you the best way to market to that specific audience. You’ll have a better idea of what type of words to use, what marketing efforts might work best, and even what type of personal training services would be most appealing.

All of this together increases the odds not only that your message will be heard, but also that it will resonate with your potential client. They will feel as if you are speaking directly to them. When this occurs, they become more compelled to become one of your training clients. You have positioned yourself as their personal trainer of choice.

How to Find Your Target Market for Personal Training 

If you’re not quite clear on your target market, there are three actions you can take to gain more clarity. They involve defining your niche, creating a buyer persona, and discovering where your target audience hangs out. 

Define Your Niche

Sometimes your target audience is determined by your niche. A niche is an area in which you specialize. If you train mainly soccer athletes, for instance, this is your niche and, subsequently, your target audience. If you train primarily mothers of small children, this is your target audience. 

If you’ve been personal training for some time, you likely have a good idea of the type of client you typically serve. If you are a newer trainer, finding your niche may take a bit more effort. Asking these questions can help:

  • What are you passionate about when it comes to fitness? 
  • What topics can you talk about for hours on end?
  • What are the fitness methods or exercises that you enjoy most?
  • What problems do you like to help solve for your clients?

Another approach is to consider whether there is a particular niche market that is underserved in your area. Making this your niche sets you apart from other personal training professionals. It also gives you access to a group of clientele that isn’t currently being marketed to.

Create a Buyer Persona

You can gain even greater clarity about your target audience by clearly identifying your ideal client. Create a buyer persona so you have an actual being, albeit virtual, that you can think about when crafting your marketing approach and strategy.

Imagine your coaching business as a video game. If you had to create an avatar for your ideal potential customer, what would it look like? Consider the avatar’s gender, age, and current level of fitness.

Next, give this avatar a persona, a personality. What are their likes and dislikes? What makes them laugh? What makes them cry? What does their family structure look like? How much money do they make? What is their level of education? What habits do they have? What habits do they want to break?

The more lifelike this persona is, the easier it becomes to craft a marketing approach that speaks directly to them. You’ll know what language to use, what pain points to hit on, and how you can best help. 

If you’ve been a personal trainer for a while, look at current clients and try to identify what they have in common. Do they play a specific sport? Are they more focused on losing fat, gaining muscle, or both? Look for commonalities to help build a more accurate persona.

Seek to Discover Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out

This third option involves literally finding your target audience. Now that you know who they are, it’s time to locate them both online and in person. You can’t catch their attention if you’re never in the same places they hang out.

Take social media, for instance. Pew Research Center reports that roughly 61% of Facebook users are male. How many males use Twitter or Pinterest? Only 25%. So, if your target audience is male, marketing on Facebook will be more effective than one of these other platforms.

Maybe you want to train primarily seniors. Pew’s data indicates that 50% of people 65 years and up are on Facebook or Instagram. If you use Tik Tok, this demographic shrinks to just 4%. Again, this makes a Facebook ad a better marketing choice, no matter how engaging your Tik Tok video clips.

If you train in person, look beyond social media to find local hangouts. Is your target audience a parent who has kids at a specific school? If they are, you can pick up a new client or two by advertising in that school’s yearbook or supporting a specific sporting function. 

Put yourself in your ideal client’s path whenever you can. The more familiar they become with you, the more comfortable they will also become. This increases the likelihood that they will come to you if they have fitness questions. It also enables you to begin to establish a relationship. They start to like, know, and trust you, making it easier for them to transition from acquaintance to client.

7 Effective Target Marketing Tips for Personal Trainers

Once you know who your target customer is and where to find them, you can create a strategy to reach this market segment. Here are seven tips to get you started.

  • Set your marketing budget. How much money do you have to spend on your marketing efforts? Your budget will determine which options are available. If it’s small or nonexistent, it may take some creativity to reach your target audience. Have fun with it and see what you can do.
  • Decide what you’re trying to achieve. Is your marketing goal to increase brand awareness, grow your client base, or something else? Having a specific goal in mind can help you decide your approach. It can also influence the type of content that is best suited for your purpose.
  • Tailor your message toward your ideal personal training clients. Tailor your message to your ideal customer. Make them feel like you are speaking directly to them. 
  • Monitor your marketing plan results. No matter which marketing method you use, it’s important to monitor your results. If you don’t, it’s like designing a workout to help a client with weight loss and never tracking their weight or measurements. You won’t know if your program is working or not. The same is true in marketing.
  • Modify your marketing strategy as needed. If you’re not getting the results you want, don’t be afraid to try a different marketing tactic. Play around with various approaches until you find one that connects with your target audience. 
  • Review your fitness marketing approach regularly. Even if you find a marketing method that works today, that doesn’t guarantee that it will still work tomorrow. Make it a priority to review your strategy at least once or twice a year. 

If you are an online personal trainer, you can learn even more tips in ISSA’s Online Coach certification course. This program teaches you how to manage your social media, sell your online personal training services, and more.


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