Let’s face it.
Most certified personal trainers are equipped well enough to handle working with most clients.
But, we always see personal trainers advertising themselves as “weight-loss specialists,” or “post-natal specialists,” or some obscure specialization.
Are these people better trainers or more educated than yourself?
Generally speaking, no. They are not.
What these trainers are doing is increasing their appeal to a smaller audience by presenting themselves as an expert on a particular subject that is relevant to their ideal client type (also known as a niche).
While certain niches may require more advanced or specialized education in order to be successful, there is no reason why any certified fitness professional should not be able to describes themselves as a weight-loss specialist or other form of specialist.
But, the real question is whether or not you should go down this path and begin to advertise yourself in this manner.
Let’s explore this and see if a personal trainer needs a niche in order to be successful.
Operating as a generalized personal trainer
It’s important to note that when you run your business as a general personal trainer that you can appeal to a broad range of disabilities and client needs.
When you begin to advertise yourself and become known as a specialized personal trainer this may decrease your overall appeal to a broad audience and increase your appeal to a smaller audience (which is kind of the point).
This can work for you and against you. Let me elaborate.
Let’s say you begin to advertise yourself as a post-natal personal trainer but currently your schedule is only half-full.
You may be able to pick up a few clients that are your target audience (post-natal) however you run into some difficulty picking up enough clients to fill the rest of your schedule.
If your reputation is as a specialized post-natal personal trainer, a gentleman in his 30’s looking to get in shape to get a date might not find your service as appealing as the macho physique competitor personal trainer.
While there is no way to make a mass appeal to everyone in all walks of life, it is really important to contemplate the fact that you niche may turn off potential clients in the future.
To the opposite effect, when operating as a general personal trainer, you may turn off a small audience as they may be looking for someone who can appeal to their disabilities or areas of focus better than just your average personal trainer.
When should you advertise yourself as specialized or niche?
Niche personal trainers in a face-to-face environment is fantastic when your business is healthy and you no longer need to worry about client acquisition.
By focusing your efforts on acquiring your ideal client you can slowly replace your general client with ideal clients that you enjoy working with more and possibly bill more as well.
If you intend on focusing your efforts on online personal training only, it may be best to dive straight into a niche as this can decrease your cost per client acquisition.
Platforms such as Facebook allow you to so accurately target your audience based on their likes, interests, and behaviors that it is easy to identify your audience and craft a masterful message that appeals to them and moves them along the sales funnel.
Transitioning to a niche
If you discover that your current niche simply does not support your desired client base then it may be time to find a new niche, or if you currently do not specialize in any area it could benefit you to find a niche.
When transitioning to a niche, it is important to pick one that you can personal relate or have professional/personal experience working in.
Popular niches chosen by personal trainers include those of sports they have previously competed in, or clients who have gone through rehab after a similar injury.
The aforementioned niches are fantastic simply because finding clients can be as simple as building a relationship with a physical therapist or a school tennis coach.
In the process of building a completely niche client base, a solid referral program can expedite the process of stacking out your client base.
Using a referral program that incentivizes positive actions such as bringing a friend to the gym or referring an associate for a new business appointment are vital to your success as referred individuals have already developed a sense of respect for your services from the referrer.
So, should you train niche?
This is entirely up to you as a personal trainer.
Many personal trainers will never have the luxury of working with an exclusively niche client base, especially if they work as an employed personal trainer at a gym or health club.
Independent and online personal trainers can benefit more from specializing in a niche, and if done properly, can dramatically increase the overall profitability and stability of their business.
Are you currently at a point with your personal training business that you can begin to fill your client base with your ideal clients? Let me know in the comments below.