How to pick your niche as an online personal trainer

By Johnny and Yusef

Learn why it’s so important to pick a niche before you build your online business

If you want to start online coaching, you need to pick a niche.

You might have tried to pick one before that didn’t work. Or maybe you’re still undecided.

We’re going to walk you through how to pick one so that you’re on your way to matching your current offline income with an online fitness programme.

A photo of a personal trainer at the gym
It’s easier to find clients if you’re working in a gym where there’s steady footfall.

It’s much easier to find clients offline when:

  • you’ve got “Personal Trainer” written on your back
  • you’re working in a gym where there’s steady footfall.

But how do you get customers as an online coach?

It can be scary to move your coaching online

If you’re working with clients face-to-face, chances are you’ll have a few clients who are all fairly different. You’ll probably be writing multiple programmes for people of different ages and genders, at different stages in their training.

The only thing that unifies the people you might train as an offline trainer is that they all live within the same five-mile radius.

But it’s much harder to get the attention of six or seven different types of people at once when you move your training online.

When you start coaching online, you’re suddenly trying to get the attention of potential clients from a much larger pool

A good offline coach might get most of their clients through word-of-mouth.

But if you’re just someone else on a on a news feed, you can’t really benefit from word-of-mouth or the quality of your service.

You’re just somebody else on the internet.

It can be quite a leap of faith to move your coaching online. Because you’re not just promoting your business to whoever goes to your gym anymore. You’re suddenly trying to get the attention of potential clients among a pool of about 8 billion people.

Don’t try to appeal to everyone

If you’ve just switched over from offline coaching, it can feel counter-intuitive to work exclusively with people who are of a particular age group, or who have specific goals.

But if you try to market yourself to too wide an audience, you end up diluting your message too much. And then nobody pays attention.

We made this mistake with Propane.

When we first started, we tried to appeal to everyone. But then we realised that there’s a core subset who love what we do and what we write. We discovered that we could afford to miss out on appealing to other groups, and make more profit overall.

A photo of an online personal trainer making a video with her phone
Creating original content will make you stand out on social media.

Personal trainers considering moving online can often worry that the online market is too crowded. And it can seem that way when you’re following the same handful of personal trainers on Instagram…

Who are all following each other.

But keep in mind that the algorithm is probably going to keep showing you more and more stuff from this same handful of people… whose content all looks very similar.

Lots of personal trainers fall into the trap of trying to imitate what they see online. But for the sake of your mental health, you’re better off following those who actually give you value, rather than the people you’re comparing yourself to.

And working offline to create content will help ensure that you’re being authentic and original… Which will help you stand out to potential clients.

You’ve found a niche. Now how do you attract customers?

Essentially, you need to either solve a problem people have or help them achieve something.

Once you’ve found a nice, you need to think about how to:

  • resonate with prospects
  • get people to buy from you
  • get them to stay as clients

When a client chooses you, it’s because they relate to you more than the other people they follow or show an interest in.

You only have someone’s attention for a couple of seconds when they’re scrolling online. So during that time, you need to make sure that you have a competitive advantage against everyone else.

You do this by making them feel as though your style of coaching is designed specifically with them in mind.

In order to do this, you need to understand:

  • the problem
  • the solution

And you need to have a method in order to get them from the problem to the solution.

The method is your coaching.

Your client is you, five years ago

We always say that if you are targeting yourself five years ago, you’re a couple of chapters ahead of that person.

You understand very intimately:

  • the struggles they are experiencing
  • their frustrations
  • their insecurities
  • what drives them

Think about what you’d say to your 18-year-old self. What would you tell them, and what advice would you give them?

Targeting this audience will make it so much easier for you to appeal to them.

And not only does this make it easier to build, market and sell your programme, you also know first-hand the value of it.

Where do you go from here?

A photo of Propane founders Johnny and Yusef
Watch our free online training to find out more about Propane’s processes

We recommend the online coaches we work with to sit down and imagine that they’re talking to themselves, five years ago. We tell them to write down what their own passions, desires, insecurities and challenges were at the time, then chat to a potential client about what they’d like to get out of an online fitness programme.

This will give you honest insight into what your customers need, and allows you to absolutely nail your content so they feel as though you’ve read their minds.

If you want to see how this translates to a marketing process, you can watch this free online training.

And if you’d like to have a chat with us to see how we can work with you to help you grow your business, you can book in some time for a call with us.

free video guide: ⬇️

The EXACT process we used to build PropaneFitness to 15k/month: