#157: Having Trouble Picking a Target Market?

Everyone says to choose a target market, but what if you can’t pick? Should you give up on your business? Or push ahead without a target? In this episode Michelle debunks a few myths and helps you simplify the process. Get a free workbook to nail your target market at: HealthCoachPower.com/targetmarket

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Hello there Health coaches. I'm Michelle Leotta. I am a certified practicing health coach and I'm a mentor for you, my fellow health coaches. And today we are talking all about target markets and what the heck to do if you cannot figure yours out, hey, you're not alone. This is a very, very common problem. So it's like, should you just give up and shelve your business and say, forget about this, or should you push ahead and just keep going without a target market and just wing it, despite all the advice telling you not to do that. What do you think?

If you're here with me live, please go ahead and say hello in the comments. It is a beautiful summer day. I imagine that many of you are off at the pool off at the beach off on vacation. You know what? I'm going to be on vacation again next week. So, we will not have an episode next week. But what I'm saying is that even though it's the middle of the summer business got to get done. So, what if you could walk into the fall knowing exactly who your target market is and have some marketing ideas in mind, so you can hit the ground running and really make an impact in the second half of the year? So, before we get into today's topic, I'm going to be debunking some myths, talking about some very common issues that come up when a health coach is trying to choose their target market. And I have questions that have arisen within our Facebook groups that I'm going to answer.

But before we get into any of that, I want to say, thank you a big, huge, thank you to Ms. Percy Chrissy who wrote this review on apple podcast. She said, so many gems for growing your health coaching business fell down the rabbit hole and binged a bunch of episodes, especially loved secrets to becoming your own best copywriter. Michelle shared about coming up with ideas for posts, not being about writing skills, but about strategic decisions as a copywriter. That's such an aha moment for me overall. So many tangible gems are shared in these episodes. And I have a few health coach friends. I definitely shared this with completely recommend. Well, thank you so much Ms. Percy Chrissy. And if you could send your mailing address to support@healthcoachpower.com and just mention episode number 157 so that we can send you a little thank you gift. And for all of you listening, if you could take a moment and leave a written review on apple podcasts, I would be tremendously grateful. And I might read yours on the air next time.

So I can see that a couple of you are here with me live, go ahead and say hello, tell me what your questions are as they relate to target markets or what your target market is or what you're struggling with. So that as we go along, I can help you out since we're all here in real time together. And if you're listening later, you can always pop into our Facebook group at health coach power, community.com and ask your questions there. So here are a few things that I think stop health coaches before they've even begun. When they're thinking about choosing a target market, one is that it feels like a life sentence. It's like you are getting married or you are declaring something for life. When you say that I'm a health coach and I specialize in this, or I help this person with that.

Oh no. Now what? Now we think we're going to have a website that says that we're going to have brochures business cards. Like we are putting a stake in the ground and it's never going to come out. And I just want to let you know, that's not the case. Our target market is not a life sentence. Your target market can and likely will change through the years. Sometimes drastically, sometimes in smaller ways, but just know that you can get started with one target market and as your life and business evolves it too can evolve. So we don't have to be super scared about choosing and moving forward. The other thing that I always hear health coaches say, and Katie is saying, hi, hi Katie. I'm glad you're here. Um, health coaches are always saying this well, I want to work with so many different people.

I don't want to have to turn anyone away, right? So the thinking is, if I choose a target market, then what it, like, let's say, I'm going to work with women who have some particular issue going on in their lives. Okay? And then what if a man approached and said that they want it to be a client and the here, this guy's handed me a check and is ready to go. And I have to say no to him? Uh-uh, that's not how it works. That's not what a target. Market's all about. A target market does not tell you who you can and cannot work with. It does not define your business operations. It defines your marketing, right? So if you have clients just coming to you, just falling out of the sky, if we could all be so lucky, right? Or if you're getting referrals from an outside source, and again, these clients are just falling in your lap.

You can work with, and I'm sure you will be very effective. What we do as health coaches, how we help people can translate across all different types of people, all different types of health problems. So go for it. However, when you have to market yourself to get clients, your marketing, we'll talk more about this in a minute. I'll not be very effective if you have not chosen a target market. So don't be worried that it's forever. And don't be worried that you can't work with people outside of your niche because you absolutely can. This is something else that comes up. I just heard this the other day from one of our healthy profit university members. She said, I don't want to pigeon hole myself. Yes, you do. First of all, but pigeonhole sounds bad. When we say pigeon hole, we mean we are excluding opportunities.

We're keeping ourselves small, right? So that term has a negative connotation. However, when it to marketing, you do want to talk to a very specific group. You do want to have a very focused message. If that means you're in a pigeonhole, then fine, whatever. As long as your messages coming out of that pigeonhole, nice and straight and reaching your intended audience. That means they're going to hear you. If you instead are trying to reach everyone, you know, let's pretend you have like a bow and arrow, literally trying to hit targets all over the place. There's like a million targets in front of you. And you're just doing this back and forth and back and forth trying to hit them. You're not going to hit any of the targets in order for a target market to be effective. There really just doesn't need to be one, right?

So if that's your pigeonhole fine, but we don't call it that we call it specificity. We call it specializing. When we talk, we talk about in terms of being your niche or your target market, and you do want to do this, not because you can't work with other people, but because you want your marketing to be effective. Is this resonating, have you had any of these thoughts? I have a couple more for you. And then we're going to move on to actual questions and scenarios from coaches within our group. So here's something else that often comes up when we have to choose a target market is we are taught or rethink that we should pick an area to focus on that we are passionate about. Oh, we just love, love, love talking about hormone health or, oh, we're just so passionate about helping people with eczema or whatever it is.

That's something to consider for sure. I mean, it is one piece of the puzzle. However, that is not the end all be all way to choose your target market. In fact, it's probably the least important thing to consider. The most important thing to consider is who can you actually do really great work with? That probably means that you are somewhat passionate about it, but it also means a lot about the type of person that you're working with. Who can you connect with that is going to really resonate with your message. They are going to want to work with you. They are going to show up. They are going to pay you. They are going to be there. They are going to actually work towards their goals. Like who is that ideal client for you think about that person and think about what that person is willing to pay for, because this is what makes a target market viable or not.

You can have all the passion in the world about a particular topic, but if no one else cares about it, you will be making $0. You hear me? So it's a little bit about your passion, of course, but it's a lot about what people are looking for help with and what are they willing to pay for help with? That means you have a viable target market. You can have a hundred target markets, you know, you could try them all. You could keep going. I, and I see coaches do this. Well, first I tried this and then I tried that and nothing seems to be working Michelle, but that's because these are potentially not viable target markets. You're not trying to work with people who are trying to work with you. It has to be a two-way street in order for it to be viable.

And now Lisa is here and Lisa is saying, hello. Hello, Lisa. I'm so glad that you joined us. And just in time for the final myth that I want to talk about, and this is a biggie, and I think this comes from frustration. I think this comes even from sometimes business coaches who are fed up with trying to help you help health coaches, help whoever they're working with, choose a target market, because everyone gets really hung up on this. And sometimes the advice is, don't worry about it. You don't need a target market. Just don't worry about it. Here's what's going to happen. If you just don't worry about it, which is what I did by the way, for the first four or five years of my business. So I know exactly what happens. You are going to end up with a mailing list. That's like a box of chocolates. You don't really know what's inside.

It's just a mishmash of a lot of different people from a lot of different places, all different activities that you're kind of randomly doing in your health coaching business. And then when it comes time to let's say, host an event, write an email, post something on social media, like literally do anything in your business. You're going to go, um, talk to these people about, or you're going to go, oh, I have so many things that I can talk about. I can't choose. And it's like too broad. It's too wide. It makes all of your marketing decisions. Very, very difficult. So what's going to happen is you are going to run yourself in circles and you're going to potentially burn out, which is exactly what happened to me because you are not narrow enough in your messaging. You're trying to be all things to all people.

Maybe you're doing that in other parts of your life, too. Hello? Red flags, red flags. That's not how you want to start a business. So you will run yourself in circles. And eventually even if you find some success, you know, there's always going to, like I was running a detox program in the first years of my business and it was doing quite well. And I thought I got this. I don't need a target market. Like everybody says, and then you're going to hit a wall. Are you going to hit a plateau with your earnings? And at that point, I can almost guarantee that you will come back to this exercise. And so what is the exercise? Target markets are described differently here, uh, you know, in different places. And they never quite made sense to me. You know, we talk about, oh, you should know your ideal customer avatar.

And you should know what their Starbucks order is. You should know them so well and you should know everything about them. And, um, that's not really it. It's not really it. You don't have to have this vision of your perfect client in front of you right down to color of their shoelaces. That's not helpful, but here's what you do need to know. You need to know who you can do great work with. And I don't mean women. I mean like what age? What location? What kind of career do they have? Are they moms? Are they not moms? Are they married? Are they single? Do they ride horses? Do they take yoga? Or are they in to needle point? Right? Like you want to know about them, for sure, because you need to know where to, to find them. So, if you have a detail, like she sprinkled cinnamon on top of her latte, who cares, like that's not useful at all.

You're not going to like go find her at the cinnamon on my latte club that doesn't help. But if you know, she rides horses, then you're going to know where to find her. If you know, she does yoga, you're going to know where to find her, et cetera. So we need concrete details. I'm going to talk a little bit more about that in a minute. Um, and then we have to know, so first it's the who, and then we need to know what big problem we're helping that person solve. Because if they don't have a big problem, they're not going to pay you big money. They're going to want to pay you little money. And I think most health coaches need to earn a living, which means we can't sell our three months, six months coaching packages for $99. Right? So, you need to be able to solve a big problem that is very valuable to this person.

Not to you, not what you think is valuable, health coach, but what this person thinks is valuable. The thing that they worry about solving the thing that they're probably already spending money to try and solve that makes for a viable target market. So if you have a target market that you'd like some feedback on, go ahead and throw it in the comments. I'm always happy to help you out with that.

This question came from Gwen. So inside our Facebook group, Gwen wrote, I am really struggling with my niche. Oh, and by the way, you can say niche, you can say niche. I kind of go back and forth. I usually say niche, neither one is incorrect. So if you've been feeling weird about that word, you can just say target market and skip it all together. But if you have to say the word it's niche or niche, either one.

So she says, I'm really struggling with my niche. I keep circling around and around and can't seem to land on something that feels right. I think I might be too new to niche, which I love. I should. I almost wanted to name this episode, too new to niche. You are never too new to niche. I could create a viable target market for any one of you right off the top of my head. I could hand you a viable target market here. This is a group of people that need your help and they're willing to spend money to solve this problem, right? Like, and I can give that to you right away. Maybe they should hand it to us. As we walk out of our health coaching school, like right with our diploma, should be, here you go. Here's your niche. And here's your niche. You're never too new to niche.

The reason that I don't just it to you and that your school doesn't just hand it to you is because of that small part of it, that lesser part of it that says, what are you passionate about? What do you know really, really well? Cause there might be people out there let's say that have, um, vertigo that really, really need help. But I personally have no experience with that. So I'm always going to do better with a viable group that I do have some level of experience with either with the health condition or with that type of person. I know that group of people really, really well, that will make me very well suited for that group too. So you're never too new to niche, but it's very common. And I think this is like an out when somebody is a new health coach, it's like an out for them to say that I'm too new.

I don't know. Cause I haven't done enough of the work yet. That's true. You should get experience that is going to help you. But I think the belief is I have to be some kind of specialist or expert in order to say that I help this particular group of people, right? Like if, if you, if you have experience with vertigo, like maybe this is something you've gone through yourself or your, uh, your family member has gone through, then maybe that would be a good target market for you. But then you're going to go. I have no degrees in that. I haven't done any advanced trainings on that topic. I don't know enough about this. I can't possibly be a specialist. This is not what your target market is about. It's not about you being a specialist. The way that we go to, like, I don't know an endocrinologist or like other specialists in the medical field.

That is not what it's about. Again, it's not about your operations. It's not about how you coach. It's not about what you do in your coaching. It is about your marketing. It's a way of getting your marketing messaging, heard a target market. This is the best metaphor that I have for this. You guys I've worked really hard on it. So listen up the target market is like typing an address into Google maps. Let's say you open up Google maps and you're like, Google maps. I want to get somewhere, take me somewhere. Google maps is like, yeah, no, that's not how this works. You need to tell us where you want to go. Right? So when we show up to her coaching business and we're like, I want clients and I want to do something with my health coaching business, I want to be successful. It's basically like, yeah, good luck.

We need to be more specific. What are we trying to do? Who are we trying to connect with? Where are we trying to go? So if you don't have a target market, that's like, you don't have something to type into Google maps. And your marketing is not really going to get you anywhere. You know, you're going to hang flyers that say vague things like be happier and healthier, live your most vibrant life. And they're going to be ignored. The health space is super crowded. So these types of messages tend to get lost or maybe it'll get you to a certain level in your business. And like I said, you're going to hit a wall. So instead of saying, you know, I can work with anyone. I want to work with everyone. If you want to get somewhere, remember on your Google map, you need to specify where you're going.

You have to say, I can do great work with this type of person. Who's struggling with this type of problem. And then suddenly we know where to find those people. Like if you type that into your Google map, now it can take you somewhere. You know where to find that kind of person, you know, where to find that kind of person who's having that kind of problem. And you're going to know what to say to them once you get there and suddenly it becomes so, so, so much easier to create your marketing materials, sign clients. It's like butter. Okay. Let's do a couple of examples here. So in this conversation with Gwen, I gave her a shortened version of what I just told you guys. And I said, so all of that being said, now that you understand my Google maps metaphor, who do you know that you could do great work with, even if she's a brand new coach. Right?

So, I thought she might say, I don't know. You know, I have no idea. And then I'd have to do more digging because everybody knows who they connect really well with. But it was actually very easy. I said, who do you know, you could do great work with. And Gwenn came back with the story about Hashimoto's disease and how she knows quite a bit about Hashimoto's disease. It's personal to her. She would like to work with women between like I forget, 35 and 48 or something like that who have Hashimoto's. And I was like, great, perfect stop there. Don't say anything else. You've got it. You have got it lady, because you have a who, you know, you know, the type of person that you're going after and you know, what kind of problem she has as she's got this thyroid issue.

She's, you know, if she's got Hashimoto's and she's feeling bad, she's exhausted, she's got aches and pains. She's not able to lose weight. And you already know this type of woman, you already know about her problems. You're going to be able to connect with her and you're going to be able to help her. And now Gwenn has a target market. See how easy that was. Okay. Let's do another because Lisa's okay. We're here. And very bravely offering up her target market. She says career women. So we would say I do my best work. When I work with career women who have older kids age 45 to 55, I assume that means that the women are 45 to 55, not the children and who are stressed. Again, the women who are stressed and concerned about staying on top of their career, but they had sacrificed health and self-care.

It seems like a lot of coaches target this group says, Lisa, that's true. And although you have told us some good concrete things about who she is, she's 45 to 55. She is a mother and she has a career it's still kind of broad, right? Cause there were like a million women on earth that fit what you just described. So I would encourage you to put one, maybe two, definitely at least one more layer of detail, niche down just by one more layer. So maybe it's these women 45 to 55 who have older kids. And they're concerned about staying on top of their career and they live in Michigan, right. Or, and they are Jewish or add just one more concrete thing about them that will help you really speak to the woman that she is because not all moms 45 to 55 are the same.

Right? All working moms. Like we got all different career types, you know, maybe you decide you're going to work with moms who are in like the advertising industry. That would be another way to niche down. They have a very different lifestyle. They do very different things. Their schedule is very different. They're probably going off on shoots and they have to work until midnight. And that would be different from like the corporate mom who really is working like a nine to five office job closer to home. Doesn't do any travel. Right. So that can be helpful. Um, so when you're thinking to yourself that man, a lot of coaches target this group, like here's another one I target, let's say that I'm a health coach. And I work with busy moms having hard time feeding the family. Yeah. Let's just pretend. That's what I do as a health coach.

That's what's so many health coaches are saying, so it's a really good indication that, that you can narrow down further. Right? What kind of new mom is this? And the really good way of narrowing down? Like if you can't decide, let's go back to Lisa's example. She's like, well, there's lots of moms, age 45 to 55 who have careers, which one should I choose going to ones who are available to work on themselves right now who have the disposable income to work on themselves right now. Right? Like if she's in a career that is severely underpaid, she may not have, she just cannot hire a health coach. Right? Her, the disposable income is just not there. If she is in a career where she is currently working, like she's, um, I mean, you said corporate, but in my head, I'm thinking what if she was like in residency to become a doctor, you know?

And she's on these like crazy shifts that they do all day long and all night long, she just is not available for health coaching right now. So you want to choose someone who is ready, willing, and most of all able to hire you both with her time and with her resources. Um, so that is a way of thinking about that. Okay, here is another one. And actually this is not that different to your point. Lisa, a lot of health coaches are kind of going after a similar demographic. Hey, we know these women need help. There are other groups of people in the world. So consider them as well. But anyway, this came from Sarah and Sarah said, my ideal clients are stressed out busy go-getter women in their thirties and forties who really want to lose some tone up, feel stronger and calmer. I can't decide whether to focus on weight related solutions or go for the digestive issues.

She might also be experiencing since I know most struggle with weight and stress have underlying gut health issues. Okay, Sarah. So at this point, it's a little bit less about you deciding like, do I want to focus on weight or do I want to focus on digestive issues? And it's more about you finding out which problem she wants to focus on, right? Like which one of those is the problem that she is most concerned about. She's already seeking help for it. She's paying money to try and solve it, right? Like it's not about us. And what we think is most important. It's about what does this person prioritize? Cause that's how they're going to prioritize their money as well. The really cool thing. Okay. And I'll tell you two really cool things. The really cool thing is that like between you and me, once you have a client and let's say she wants to lose weight, but you have her changing her diet towards more real whole food and she's moving her body and she's getting better sleep.

Her digestion is going to get better all on its own. And maybe you even can broach that topic with her. It's going to come up at some point and you will have the opportunity to work on it with her, but you got to get her in the door and maybe you're going to get her in the door through the thing that she cares the most about. And then halfway through the program, she's going to realize that she has other things to work on as well. The second cool thing that I wanted to tell you is that there are ways to find out what your people want to spend money on and what they're struggling the most width. And for this, you need to do some market research. And this is something that we do inside healthy profit university. You really need to go out and do the work and find the answers. You only know so much in your head and you have to remember, I always have to remind myself, I'm health coach. I am health nerd. I already know a lot about these topics. I already know how to cook, but what do average people, the people who are going to become my clients, what do they know? What do they worry about? What do they want to spend money on?

Okay. Lisa says, would adding that they ballroom dance as a hobby or compete in the amateur level, be too specific. Ooh. What if Lisa specialized in working with ballroom dancers, maybe not professional ballroom dancers, maybe, but the hobbyist, the amateur level ballroom dancers. Well, now we know where to find these people. Obviously my next question would be what is the big problem that these ballroom dancers want to solve? Like they're dancing. So they must have some level of energy or whatever, but that is, that does make it much more specific so much so that I'm going, okay. So maybe, maybe she's already managing her stress in some way. Cause she is moving and she is dancing and that's wonderful. But what problem does she want? What does that big burning problem that she has? And we start talking about dancers or like athletes or whatever.

Sometimes it's about increasing their performance in their chosen sport. For working with triathletes or marathoners, you know, it's about beating their best time or first time marathoner, marathoners completing that first marathon. So you'd want to figure out what she needs help with the most. But that would be a very cool target market. And I would imagine that you probably have some experience with ballroom dance or you would not have offered that up. And that is a very cool way to start thinking about your target market. It's not the only way, but you can start with, what do I know really well, what have I done in my life? Right? Like what do I already have ins with? I already know people in that industry, I already have a sense of what they need. So that's a very cool thing to think about. Okay.

And now I have a question from Eva and Eva says, I keep digging in my target market. I know I want to work with women 45 to 55. They are ready, willing and able. I brainstormed. And I always end up with the same problems that I solve. Clear thinking, better sleep, increased energy, weight loss, increased self-esteem, improved home environment. She asks is increased self-esteem a good one to pick. I mean, all of the other problems when solved will lead to self-esteem. So what do you think? So even though this is similar to what we have already spoken about, where you have to find out what these women want more than anything, what do they consider their biggest problem to be? And what are they willing to spend money to fix? If it's self-esteem, I would kind of question if there's not another way to narrow down that niche right there, women 45 to 55 - great. Why do they lack self-esteem um, or why do they need more? Self-esteem you know, maybe I'm just making this up, but maybe they are, um, learning, you know, maybe English is their second language. Like, you know, they're, they're living in the United States, but English is not their first language. They lack self-esteem or they lack confidence when they speak and they lack confidence at work. And I don't know me and maybe there's something there or maybe there's some other reason why they're... Why they need more confidence. So you could niche down quite a bit further than just saying, you know, women who are 45 to 55, I would do that. And then I'd go talk to these women. You know, I would really find out what is the problem that she wants to solve. And that's the one that you want to target.

You know, sometimes we have to get out of our own head and stop trying to figure it out up here. And we have to actually just listen to these women. Or if you're targeting men, listen, your men hear what they say in their own words, because they're the ones that have to make this decision to work with you. So when, again, let's just go back to this idea of working with women 45 to 55 millions of women on earth like that, right? So it's location, career type. Um, again, we need those concrete details to define the type of person that they are a ballroom dancer. Then we can find them, we can type it into Google maps, so to speak where you can locate them. And then we can figure out what they need once we get our hands on them. Um, here's an example of that.

A 45 year old Christian mom in Missouri, who, you know, homeschools her three kids is very different from a 45 year old, single divorced woman who lives in Manhattan's upper east side, right? They have totally different lives, totally different needs, different interests, different perspectives, and you would speak to them very differently. You would market to them very differently.

You guys, I can go on and on about this topic in case you haven't noticed it is an important one, and yet you don't have to overthink it. Follow the steps that we've gone through. I have, by the way, a resource to help you with this. If you go to healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket, it will walk you through the steps of nailing your target market so that you can get on with everything else that you have to do in your business. Again, that's healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I will be on vacation next week, but I'll be back after that. So be sure to subscribe on apple podcasts or Spotify or YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts so that you don't miss an episode and I'll see you then take care.