One of the biggest mistakes trainers and coaches make when transitioning into an online personal trainer is skipping the planning stages.
I get it - it’s more interesting to dive straight into what your programme is going to be about and the colour of your logo. Yet many people are wasting all of this time, effort and money, because they don’t really know who they are making it for.
But here’s the thing, many trainers THINK they know their perfect online client. The most common profile I hear is: ‘Women aged between 30 and 40 who have tried all the diets before and now want a long term solution to fat-loss.’
It likely rings a bell, because that’s the EXACT same demographic that you and every other online personal trainer is creating a programme for. Now I’m not saying that this is a bad target market, but that’s all it is, a target market.
Because when you do this, your online programme or service suddenly becomes a glass slipper for your dream client. You stand out from the crowd AND you can actually create something that people will want.
Only when you take the time to map out your exact online client, should you advance forward with your ideas and website.
And it makes sense, right? To market an online product or service properly, the first thing you must do is get clear on WHO your ideal client is, where they are hanging out, what their challenges are.
But the impact of taking the time to create and find your online avatar goes beyond just creating a good programme. It’s going to stem into every inch of your marketing and sales, which we know is literally the driving force to improving your income.
You’ll know what blog posts, eBooks and social media updates to publish that ensure your avatar actually takes notice.
You’ll learn where your ideal avatar hangs out, how to find them and what targeting options to use to get in front of them.
Your website, blogs, adverts and sales pages will improve because you know who you are writing to and in a way that compels your avatar to take action.
… and that’s just scratching the surface.
Any part of the online marketing and sales process that “touches” the client (which is pretty much EVERYTHING) will improve when you get clear on your client avatar. After all, it’s a person that buys our products and services. It pays to get clear on the characteristics of that person, so you can find and present them with a message that moves them to action.
The 5 Online Avatar Components
There are 5 major components to the client avatar. In some cases, you’ll need to survey or have conversations with existing customers to accurately flesh out your client avatar.
In other cases, you’ll be familiar with the characteristics of your ideal client. In any case, move forward. Don’t wait for surveys or interviews to be conducted to create your first draft of an online avatar. Make assumptions where you have no data or feedback and put it on your short list of todo’s to complete your research. In the meantime, you’ll begin getting benefit from an avatar built from the assumptions you’ve made.
Let’s make up an example avatar here together…
Let’s look at each component of the Avatar profile and fill them with our example Steve.
1. Goals and Values
You should begin with the goals and values of your ideal client. Make note of the goals and values that are relevant to the products and services you want to offer.
Steve’s goals are to lose the stone in body fat he gained last year and to get his bench press to its former level of 100kg.
Steve’s values are that family comes first and that he fulfils the role of his job to his best ability. He also see’s himself as a leader, and wants to instill that into his 10 year old son.
Based on this information we know already about Steve, a Facebook advert calling out “men who want to re-gain control of their body”, would be perfect. That will get Steve’s attention.
2. Sources of Information
This point is critical to determining the “where” of your client avatar. You will determine the best places to advertise and the targeting options you’ll use to reach your online avatar by listing their sources of information.
At this point it’s important to think about what else your avatar is seeing, hearing, reading and listening to. Let’s map it out for Steve:
- Books: High Performance Living by yours truly 😉
- Magazines: Men’s Health
- Websites: bodybuilding.com
- Guru’s: Jamie Alderton on Facebook
3. Demographic Information
Applying demographic information will bring your client avatar to life. This information is another useful resource when choosing targeting options in ad platforms like Facebook.
And, when writing content, email or sales copy it can be beneficial to simply write as though your avatar were sitting across the table from you. Demographic information like age, gender and location will give your persona a look and feel.
This do it for Steve… Steve is 40 years old, married with 2 kids aged 8 and 10 and lives in Manchester, UK. He works as an engineer, in a project management role and earns £45,000 per year. He’s university educated and enjoys fly-fishing on a Sunday.
4. Challenges and Pain Points
This will drive your new programme creation as well as the copywriting and ad creative you’ll use to compel your ideal client to action. If your online programme or service can speak directly to your ideal clients pain points, it’s going to get a response, and they will likely take action on it.
For Steve, his challenges are:
- Losing the body fat he is gaining slowly each month
- Finding time to get to the gym
- Staying up to date with the best nutrition and training advice to help him
- He feels alone in tackling this challenge
For Steve, his pain points are:
- His confidence is low because of how he looks
- He’s not getting any younger and feels the pressure
- He fears getting ill from poor health and not being able to support his family
Originally we created an ad for “men who want to re-gain control of their body”. Now we can take this a step further…
"Are you tired of gaining weight because you lack the time to eat healthy and exercise regularly?
Then check out our Elite Body Programme created specifically for men who want to re-gain control of their body."
Now we’ve really got Steve’s attention because it’s specific to one of his pain points and challenges.
Why would your client avatar choose NOT to buy your product or service? These are called “objections” and they must be addressed in your marketing. You must also determine your avatar’s role in the purchasing process. Are they the primary decision maker? Are they a decision influencer?
Understanding your ideal clients decision making process is paramount to the success of your future marketing and sales campaigns.
So what would Steve’s objections to the sale be:
- Does this give him flexibility to eat with his family at night
- How long will each of the training sessions be and how often
And his role in the purchasing process:
- Steve is the decision maker and has the funds to buy an online programme when he wants to. He’s not worried about the price point but does seek value from his purchases.
Ok, so it’s time to do an initial deep dive on your own Online Avatar for your new online programme.
Start by building a single avatar. But don’t stop there. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be churning out multiple avatars representing the different segments of your market.
If you'd like to have access to my online avatar lessons and resources that will help you find your ideal client then be sure to check out my Exceed Masterclass.
Let's build your online fitness business together
If you're a health and fitness pro who would like to learn more about creating a successful, meaningful online fitness business, check out The Exceed Masterclass.
The Exceed Masterclass is your essential resource for the training, advice and support you need on how to become an online personal trainer.
You'll receive proven, practical training to help you reach more people and create more impact online.