Take the "Risky" out of Trying a New "Business"

Three Program Ideas To Attract New Clients

If you like to gamble, then you’re in luck! Because when it comes to trying out new products, services or businesses, that’s what we do. Gamble…and take a risk.

There is so much unknown in being a new customer at any business, and fitness studios are no exception. Your potential clients wonder: Will they be happy with their workout? Will the sessions be worth the cost? Will they have an easy time interacting with your studio? Will they enjoy the experience or feel uncomfortable and insecure?

With all of this unknown, it’s no surprise that potential clients try to minimize their risk using research and reviews. They proceed cautiously, ask a lot of questions, wait for sales, or purchase a low-cost class in case they don’t like your studio. But sometimes, they just don’t proceed at all. They don’t want to take the risk and instead opt for a cheaper, easier or more familiar exercise alternative.

As studio owners and instructors, we should ask ourselves…what can we do to help take the “risky” out of new clients trying our “business.”

If we can give potential clients an easier, less risky, and downright more enjoyable experience to try us out, we’ll get more people willing to take that first step and become a new client!

So here are three program ideas that will allow clients to try your studio services in a low-risk, fun, and easy way…plus, enhance your studio’s awareness and reputation.

Open Houses

An open house offers a comfortable, laid-back environment for potential clients to get to know your studio. Here is one option I recommend:

Every three months when seasons and schedules change, hold a one-week Open House and advertise accordingly. Offer a selection of services throughout the week that are designed for Open House visitors (i.e. beginner classes, 101 intro workshops, sample services) while the rest of your business runs as normal. You’ll likely want to run these services outside your current schedule as to not interrupt your existing clients and to better customize the workouts for new, inexperienced visitors. You might also make the classes shorter than usual to optimize scheduling and minimize costs. Offer these Open House services as complimentary, at a small fee, or with a requested donation to a local charity. Also encourage existing clients to utilize your Open House to try any services they haven’t yet experienced.

Online Sample Class

Have you noticed the growing availability and popularity of online fitness classes over the past few years? While you probably aren’t in the business to produce regular, professional-quality online classes like many of the companies out there, you can still put together a few online sample classes to promote your studio and allow potential clients to try you out in a convenient and comfortable environment. Here’s what you can do:

Get together with one or two of your instructors and plan a few short at-home workouts tailored towards an inexperienced client (i.e. stretches and intro exercises). Then arrange a video-friendly space in your studio during off-peak hours, grab your smart phone and record your video. Explain proper form and common ‘don’ts’ to avoid. Also, be sure to include a call-to-action at the end (i.e. tell viewers what classes to start with at the studio, ask them to share the video with their friends, to sign-up for your newsletter or follow you on social media). Then post the videos to a public sharing site and have fun advertising them! Note: Please consult your attorney for liability considerations and precautions.

Off-Site Classes

Bring your services out into your community. Offer to teach one-time classes on location at schools, hospitals, businesses, community events, parks or wherever there is appropriate space and a group of interested people. By going to where potential clients already are, you make it convenient and fun for them to try a class with fellow on-location friends. Scary-new-experiences LOVE company!

How should you start? Advertise to your community and clientele that you offer off-site classes. You can also offer them as gifts or fundraising programs. As with the Open House example, I recommend offering these classes as complimentary, at a small fee, or for a donation to a local charity. (Why not charge full price? That’s another big topic! I’ll go in-depth about the psychology of pricing and discounts in my online business courses.) And once again, include a call-to-action at the end of the classes (i.e. offer newsletter sign-ups, tell participants how to register for classes at your studio, offer business cards etc.)

I hope these suggestions give you some fun, new ideas for your studio. Whatever fits best with your business, services, and clientele, just stay focused on offering potential clients easier, less-risky and more enjoyable ways to try out your studio and you’ll be seeing your client list grow!

You can read more of Dana's business writing on her website. To learn more about how MINDBODY can help you start a new business, sign up for a free tour here.