It’d be the perfect prop to illustrate my answer.
Because I know a guy who set himself apart because of his passion for beer. That’s right, he’s a personal trainer who brews his own beer, and that was the key to his success.
But first, let me shoot down the premise of the question …
How do I set myself apart from other online personal trainers in such a saturated market?
I would argue that the market is not saturated. Noisier, maybe, but not saturated.
I understand how you could think it is—because everybody is talking about online personal training. All that talk can sound discouraging, right?
The pandemic had hundreds of thousands of people wanting to work out at home, and wanting to do it right. So they looked for online personal trainers.
That’s great. It’s obvious why: There are more people buying online fitness than there ever were before!
We don’t have to convince people that you can get a good workout online. There are so many more customers who know this now than, say, seven years ago. Or just last year.
This market is huge. There is unprecedented opportunity for you—or for anybody in this business. And the reality is: It’s easier than ever to enter this game.
The consequences are interesting. Here’s a flowchart to explain:
Now let’s pause and have a beer with Alex Peifer.
Alex is a student at the Online Trainer Academy who was having trouble marketing his business. His target audience was professional men who wanted to get in a little bit better shape.
Okay, that’s fine—but kind of generic. There was nothing that set him apart in that rather large market.
Our Academy mentors went deeper with him and found out he had this love for craft beer. He even brewed his own at home.
Now that doesn’t have anything to do with fitness. In fact, it seems to be the opposite of fitness.
But he was deep into that craft beer world, and started building a community of craft beer lovers who also were young, fit guys.
He started creating content about—get this—how to meet your macros while still enjoying your beer!
He also created a Facebook group called Barbells & Brews, and rebranded his signature program “From Keg to Six Pack.”
Boom. Suddenly, all of these craft beer lovers who wanted to stay in shape started buying from him.
Alex became known in that community as the beer-friendly trainer. He spoke their language; he understood them.
Talk about setting yourself apart!
And that’s the beauty of the online personal fitness industry:
You can set yourself apart. Big companies can’t.
Here’s a counterintuitive thought: You’re not competing against the big boys. Sure, you’re in the same general field. But you’re not competing.
Because you can’t.
In the market now, there are massive companies out there offering personal training. And there are lots of low-quality trainers copying the approach of the big companies.
The reality is, if you try to compete with them, you’re going to lose. You’re not even playing the same game. They have:
- more money
- more marketing
- further reach
You’re not going to win that game. So stop playing.
Play a different game. Here’s what you can do that they can’t:
- connect with people personally
- offer a unique approach
- dominate a small segment
So think about your life. What makes you different?
It doesn’t have to be a fitness thing, remember?
Your biggest marketing advantage is this:
There is only one of you.
What you have to do is go deep. Try to understand what it is about you that makes you unique.
Maybe you like to hike. Get into the “rucking” scene—hiking with weight—and see if there’s a niche there. Every day is leg day! There’s your slogan.
Get creative. Maybe you like rock music. Take a look at 71-year-old Bruce Springsteen and develop a program for boomers that’d build that body and provide the stamina for a four-hour concert. He’s only got a few zillion fans.
Whatever your thing is can work. Say you’re a former field hockey player who got back in shape. There are plenty of women out there who loved how they felt at age 18 but they’re moms now. There’s your audience.
Or you love cooking Italian. C’mon—there’s only a few hundred million people out there who’d love to keep doing that while staying in shape. Combine healthy Italian recipes and workout programs? Why not?
The one thing you can’t do is offer the same old same old. You can’t do what everybody else is doing.
The big companies can scale up, sure—but they can’t scale down like you can. They can’t focus on the fringe like you can.
The way that you set yourself apart is to enter the market on a smaller scale. More personal. Higher quality.
And you will absolutely crush all of these people that are reaching too wide.
Learn more: Get answers to more online trainer questions.