COVID-19 has changed gym membership and workout culture as we know it. Now, more than ever, businesses must quickly adapt and take advantage of new opportunities. In an extremely competitive industry, finding ways to utilise technology and adopting a strategy that supports your members both in-gym and remotely is the best way to grow your brand and succeed.
With the following tips, you can create a gym that never sleeps and generates income 24/7.
Pre-step: Identify the needs of your client
Offering any type of service before getting to know the needs of your clients may leave your business open to failure. You first need to know what your customer wants by understanding who they are, what their demands are and how digital technology and services can help them. Then, you can set a strategy. While you shouldn’t look too far ahead (none of us know what will change in the next few years), you should have a clear vision in mind and an agile plan in place.
Step 1: Engage with on hold members
As an operator of a fitness facility, you’ve probably had some members cancel or place their memberships on hold. Though frustrating, this change in member behaviour is an opportunity for you to let them know what you’re offering.
The digitalisation of your services provides a chance for you to generate additional revenue as it appeals to the consumer for a number of reasons. Firstly, a digital offering can attract the less extroverted member by removing the barrier of face-to-face training in a busy gym setting. Secondly, your clients will be able to train whenever and wherever they want, thereby removing the physical need to receive support, motivation or education. Additionally, you’ll be able to learn more about them and their behaviour in order to make their digital experience more personalised, effective and seamless.
Stay in touch
Regular communication builds trust. Consider using digital channels to display the current capacity in your gyms at any given time and to regularly communicate hygiene and safety measures online. Remember to frequently demonstrate how much you have to offer virtually and how much this adds value to the member.
Remember: your business must deliver the highest benefit to your clients, whether they can come to your facility in person or choose to connect with you digitally. Beware that not all members have the same comfort level when it comes to returning to the gym; they may prefer one-to-one personal training or virtual classes. It’s important to meet them where they’re at and provide solutions to keep everyone engaged.
Now is when your members need you the most, so you must communicate often and remain available for support. In return, this will maintain brand loyalty that will pay off with higher retention in the long run.
Step 2: Expand your marketing to reach new demographics
There’s never been more focus on the importance of health than there is now. This public awakening has attracted a whole new health-focused consumer to the fitness industry. To maximise this opportunity, we must stop exclusively selling ‘hardcore’ fitness to people who are already engaged in fitness. It’s time to start providing activities to people who’ve previously been outside of ‘the fitness bubble’ and to start targeting the beginners who’ve a newfound respect for living a healthier lifestyle.
Use digital channels
Implementing digital channels is a great way to target this new demographic. Consider a digital membership option and how it could also encourage people to purchase in-gym memberships too.
Build an online community
During times of social distancing, what steps can you take to introduce new people into your gym community? Try social media groups, digital challenges or exclusive content. Think about connecting people with similar goals, remotely or in-gym and rewarding loyalty with referral discounts. Guiding people into making that first step online can help alleviate some of the potential discomfort experienced when they enter a facility.
Reassure anxious first timers
While digital marketing can also help you extend your reach, it’s important to remember that these beginners are nervous and need reassurance that your gym is a welcoming and open place for all fitness levels. Adjust your messaging and communication style with these people in mind -but that doesn’t mean altering brand values. Operators should maintain their mission and brand standards while still adapting the message to reach different demographics.
Step 3: Get your freelance trainers on board
The general public aren’t the only people we should be thinking about. COVID-19 has changed things dramatically for coaches, personal trainers, and class instructors too. We’ve known for a long time that teaching talent is valuable, but we’re now seeing that the relationship is between client and coach, not necessarily client and gym. We can learn from the mistakes that have left us with loyal members following their favourite freelancers out of the gym or online.
As an industry, we must give freelance instructors the right tools and digital resources they need to make their jobs easier, thus more likely to work alongside you. Not all trainers will be familiar with teaching online and it might be useful for your gym to offer a wide variety of workout templates and classes that can be scheduled for them. Consider promoting your trainers too, whether it be in an area of your facility or by creating a ‘promotional’ space in your gym app that highlights the benefits of their services.
Besides, many have already started working outside the four walls of the facility and building up their own competitive client base. Providing them with the right support to help keep the gym at the hub is a win-win for both of you.
Step 4: Create quality online services and investigate freemium
You don’t need to give everything away for free. By adopting a freemium model that provides quality over quantity, people will be happy to pay for your premium services and exclusive content. But make sure your digital offer provides the same quality experience they’re used to getting in the gym. That way, digitalisation will help your business stay at the heart of the community whilst providing members with the content and connection they need.
Tips for making freemium work for you
There are several possibilities to consider when creating a successful freemium model. You can set limitations to your free account -what you want to offer, what you don’t and for how long they’ll have access to it. Consider ways to incentivise your members to opt for an upgrade and to encourage other members to sign up too.
Highlighting your member’s success will also make them feel part of the community and more likely to choose your premium offer. Regularly reminding your members on a basic account of all the advantages that go along with an upgrade should also be a part of your practice.
Don’t forget about your team either. Educate them on what you’re offering so they can spread the word too. They’re your frontline staff and the more they understand what you’re selling, the more invested they will feel, and the more conversions you will get.
Want free advice or a demo on how these steps can work for your business? Contact us today to learn more about how you can generate income for your gym 24/7.