Welcome back to Part 2.
Personal Training Specialisations
So you’ve decided to become a personal trainer. If you’re new to the industry and have no particular specialisation, ie. You help people lose weight, bulk up, rehab, improve sport performance and you cater to the young and everyone in between, you’ll have a rough time getting started since the market is so saturated with personal trainers and is highly competitive.
Here are some niches or specialisations you can get into in order to more easily establish yourself as a small expert or authority in a particular area. That should help you stand out and differentiate yourself from your competition. Feel free to combine 2 niches (eg. Fat loss and PMETs in their 40s-50s) in order to create a more focused group of customers. With this, your marketing message, the channels that you choose to market and reach out to them will be focused and effective.
Here are some niches I find profitable for personal trainers in Singapore:
- Fat loss. By far the most popular niche with the most number of customers. But also highly competitive. You have to combine this with something else, maybe a pre wedding intensive program for you to stand out better.
- Muscle gain. Perhaps the second most popular choice. Competitive too. Will be helpful if you have a more muscular physique. Can also combine with another niche. Maybe busy dads who have no time to eat but wish to bulk up.
- Sport performance. Market not as big as aesthetic training but can be lucrative for some sports such as golf or tennis. Understanding of the sport, biomechanics and muscles involved is essential to be a personal trainer in this niche. Some understanding of sport psychology will be helpful.
- Rehab. Great niche for combination since it’s not uncommon for trainees to suffer from certain injuries from time to time. As a stand-alone niche, you’ll be up against physio, sport doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, tcms, masseurs etc. It’s a crowded marketplace.
- Yoga/Pilates/Martial arts/Aqua aerobics. Cross training with a gym can be appealing for some clients. If you have a background coaching people in these you can split up an hour training to incorporate some of these activities to mix things up and keep it more fun and engaging.
- Kids/Teens/Silver generation. If you can convince parents that their kids need personal training, many will gladly pay for it. Being able to connect with this group and keep things fresh and engaging for them will challenge your ability. Older folks have more paying power, more time to devote to training and can be a lucrative market to get into. But you have to have more patience and your knowledge about age related health problems or medications have to be tip top.
- Pre/post natal training. Some specialised knowledge is needed and you have to pay extra attention to keep training safe.
- People with special needs/certain medical conditions. Similarly, much patience is required together with good knowledge.
- Health coaching/nutritional coaching or even cooking training. Being a health coach allows you to look at things more holistically and you’ll be taking care of your clients not just in terms of physical fitness but various other aspects of health and disease too. If you are capable of cooking up delicious yet healthy meals, why not teach your clients to do the same and get paid extra for that?
- Peak mental performance. This will combine brain with physical training and help corporate high flyers like CEOs or entrepreneurs achieve the highest levels of mental performance in addition to physical fitness. Strategies surrounding food, sleep and supplements will be crucial. If you have the know how plus the network and contacts, this is a highly lucrative niche.
Ways to Market Your Personal Training Services
If you’re new to the industry you might only have a small budget for marketing to get new clients. If you’re working with a gym they might provide you with leads but it’s always beneficial to do your own marketing to get customers yourself so you can fill your slots up faster and can become self reliant and not depend on others for your survival. It’s an important skill to have for personal trainers. Let me go through some marketing techniques personal trainers use.
- Start with friends and family. Print vouchers for them to give out. Close to no cost. Highly recommended.
- Traditional media ie. Magazine or newspaper ads. Not targeted enough in terms of location (you can’t be servicing your clients all over Singapore). Can be very targeted for certain niche populations eg. new mums in parenting magazines. Generally high cost so not always recommended.
- Website. Neat way of presenting your services and a professional looking website will basically serve as your shopfront. It helps with conversion. BUT. The best looking website with no visitors is worth nothing. Therefore you need to drive traffic to your website:
a) A faster way of doing that is to place ads on Google. It’s called Adwords and it’s pay per click (meaning you only pay when people click through to your website). It’s good because it’s targeted (it only shows your ads to people who are searching for your services. ie. Personal training). It’s bad because each click can be expensive and once you stop paying the ads stop running.
b) You can do SEO – search engine optimisation. To get your organic Google ranking higher, preferably onto the first or second page of search results. Most new websites can forget about this as they are up against massive competition in this space and good SEO services don’t come cheap. It’ll be a long term investment before this method pays off, if at all.
- Social media marketing. Similar to a website, you can have the most attractive pictures and profile on Facebook or Instagram but if you have no followers, you have no business. Most times for quicker results you’ll have to advertise to get leads. Hoping that people will like and share your page that eventually leads to a sale is very difficult. It’s tricky to harvest leads on social media platforms. On Google, you’re advertising to people actively searching for your services. On social media, you advertise to someone who might have interest in fitness but may not be actively looking for your service. This is a really important distinction. Lots of trial and error will be needed to find the right advertising formula. The good thing is that you can start with a small budget, test your campaigns and only scale up when you start to see positive results in terms of conversion. Content creation can be time consuming and hard work for some but others might have a natural flare for it.
- Flyers. By far one of the most effective tools but this is really hard work. It’s effective since its location is targeted (you can camp outside a bunch of condos on Orchard and speak to residents going in and out). You can also pick out people you’re keen to speak to – expats etc. If both of you find a connection with each other, since you met in person, the conversion rate can be high. Biggest cost is your time and it’s hard work standing under the sun chatting people up. But nobody said it was ever easy!
Being a personal trainer means you’re trading time for money. The sky is not the limit for personal trainers. You can charge a high per hour rate and pack your daily schedule up with back to back clients but it gets tiring after a while. It can be lucrative (not uncommon for top trainers to do 200k or more a year) but most can’t maintain such packed schedules for long periods. Some ways to increase your income or progress in this career:
- Add on services. Examples include health coaching, nutritional consultation, massage, healthy cooking classes etc. All fine services but again you’re trading time for money. You only have so much time in a day!
- Become a PT manager at a gym. Manage a team of trainers, motivate them to do more sessions and help them close more and bigger packages. You’ll be rewarded for that and gyms will likely pay you extra fixed income or you get overriding commissions on what the other personal trainers are making in the gym. Great for those with leadership skills.
- Start your own gym. An upfront set up cost is involved. You need to start to wear a lot more hats – marketer, ops manager, HR, sometimes even janitor. It can be rewarding financially but with that comes bigger risks and responsibility.
I hope you find this series of articles useful! Till next time!