How To Change Niche in Your Personal Training Business
Your niche is defined as the ideal clients you serve in your personal training business. It includes the group of people you help and the kind of results they want to achieve. An example would be, "I help men prep for single figure body fat ranges so they can compete on stage in bodybuilding competitions."
However, sometimes, you may want to change your niche to pivot in your fitness business. Perhaps it's not as lucrative as you expected, maybe you have stumbled on a few other types of clients you enjoy training more, or you have done a great job in professional development, so you want to become super specific about the people you'd like as clients.
As you gain experience as a personal trainer over the years, you might become more precise about your niche organically. However, it becomes vital to nail it down when you launch online training services. This article aims to explain how you can change your target audience and research interests and topics that matter to them.
Why You May Want To Consider Changing Your Niche
Being a self-employed coach can be challenging. If, after many years of consistent hard work, you're feeling like you're not making the progress you've projected with your existing audience, it could be an indicator that a change is required.
Sometimes the appeal of a niche will fade with time. This might affect your motivation to cater to that audience. For example, if you started by working with bodybuilders, but you're now more interested in other sports, such as Strongman, you want to change your niche.
Working with some niches as a local trainer could be challenging if there aren't enough people that fit that niche in your area. Say you're a vegetarian or vegan trainer, so naturally, you decide to primarily work with people who want to get fit and lose weight on a vegetarian or vegan diet. However, you might be living in a farming area where meat-eating is paramount, so there aren't many people who would fit that niche. As an online coach, this is much less of a problem, where there's a far greater capacity for being specific in your marketing and narrowing your niche down further.
What To Consider Before You Change Your Niche
One of the first considerations is that your new niche is in demand and thus will be profitable. If there are already personal trainers or online coaches working in that niche, that's a good indicator that there will be a market for your services.
You don't need to feel like you have to find a target market that no one else is serving. While that could be an indicator of an "untapped market", it may also indicate there is no need for it in the first place! That's not to say that if there's an area you'd like to discover, you shouldn't do it. It's crucial to keep developing. Just make sure you do some research to establish that there is a market for your service.
How To Research Your New Niche
There are all kinds of reasons why you might want to change your niche. But before you do, make sure you do your research. You will need enough knowledge about your new niche that you can market your services from a perspective of authority.
Personal Story If you have had personal experience of the struggles your new niche faces, this will be the first thing to consider. You can speak from a place of authenticity and share personal stories.
Client Story If you have some coaching experience in the new niche, you will have sales calls, check-in data, and on-going coaching conversations with your clients about their struggles, aspirations, and challenges.
You can refer back to these notes as part of the sales and coaching processes to get a feel for the exact language your ideal clients would use when talking about their struggles, challenges and goals.
Running Surveys Surveying your clients can give you an insight into their pain points and what they value. You can send a survey out once a quarter or even more frequently. You can set this up with free software, such as Google forms, paid survey software like Typeform, or custom forms in PT Distinction.
Asking clients open-ended questions that invite them to give long-form, detailed answers is essential here. You will want them to have as many opportunities as possible to discuss the issues in as much detail as possible.
What If The Niche Is Brand New To You?
If this is a market that you've never worked with before, you'll need to do a little more research to best support them.
As a start, you can survey your broader audience, your followers on social media, your email list and your blog readers. These surveys can come from wanting to develop your services to serve better the people who need your help. Share the questionnaires on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your email list, and add a CTA to an article where it's relevant or even post in specific groups with members from that niche.
The goal here is to gain as much insight into what their problem is, how a trainer best can help them according to their expectations, so you know what your services should provide for them. You could also spend time in the same places they do online.
Facebook Groups If you're providing face to face services, this might include local groups. But if you're providing online coaching only, the groups will be based on the goal the audience has. For example, if you decided you want to help women 40+ going through peri-menopause and menopause, you'll likely find communities around their issues online, both local and general.
Reddit and Forums Reddit uses "sub-reddits" to bring people together with similar interests and goals. Forums are social boards which have a massive archive of information available in their libraries. These are fantastic resources because the people who are actively searching for a solution to their problem could be considered "warm leads" and ask the same kinds of questions as your ideal customer.
Amazon Reviews Consider the kind of books or equipment your ideal client might be reading or using. Scroll to the review sections and read the 1 star and 5-star reviews to get an idea of what they liked and disliked about how it solved their problem.
Once you have collected information about the problem, what they've tried to fix it in the past, what they've liked and not liked about those solutions - you can start addressing those things in your marketing materials.
One thing to be aware of is how this shift in your marketing might affect your existing clients. You may lose some clients from your previous niche when you're pivoting in your business. This is fine, and your business is yours to take in any direction you choose. However, it's prudent to do your research and make sure you find a niche that you will love serving and can provide you with a good income before making your pivot.