How Fitness Studios Can Continue to Keep Connected with Their Communities During COVID-19
Now that we’ve become more accustomed to our new normal as fitness businesses, the question becomes: How do we continue to provide the same sense of engagement and accountability our clients look to us for?
Our communities may have jumped on board initially with our new offerings—attending live workouts, interacting on social media, spreading the word about our virtual offerings—but could be starting to wane.
So, how can we combat discouragement and continue to reinvigorate our communities?
We’ve compiled (and will continue to add to) this list of creative ways to keep clients fired up—for however long this time of coronavirus lasts.
Host virtual happy hours/get togethers
What we do is so much more than a workout—it’s about the connections we make with our clients and the relationships they build with each other.
It’s likely your clients (and your team) are missing the normal face-to-face time we all take for granted. So, schedule regular virtual get-togethers to engage your community socially and fill the gap for now.
Ask your instructors to jump on when they can and invite members to ask questions and share their COVID routines, or keep it casual and let it run its natural course. Make it even more fun by theming your get-togethers—have a pajama party, a luau happy hour, or a fancy Friday virtual hang.
Add in virtual one-on-one or small-group offerings
If you don’t already offer small group or one-on-one sessions, now may be the perfect time to start. The benefit of having a one-on-one appointment on the books with your trainer? The accountability factor. Consider creating special COVID-19 personal or small group training pricing. Who knows? You may convert a diehard group class attendee to a class and one-on-one fan.
Develop an accountability program
Accountability is one of the main reasons consumers say they prefer in-person fitness. Over the past year, though, we’ve learned in-person isn’t always possible. So, what do you do? Consider creating an accountability program.
First, survey your members to determine the level of interest. Then, partner with your staff and members to create accountability partners or groups. Each set of opted-in partners or group can determine how they want to communicate—via email, text, or private Facebook group—and can set goals together. Whether it’s simply encouragement to sign up for class, or a commitment to attend a set number of workouts per week—your program can be customized to the needs of your business and your clients.
As the business owner or manager, make sure you outline specific guidelines, including dos and don'ts for your staff and members, and be part of regular check-ins to see how the program is going.
Partner with other fitness businesses
Switch up your live-streamed classes by partnering with other fitness studios in your area. Are you a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) studio? Partner with a yoga business to provide a well-rounded workout schedule (plus, your clients might be extra tight sitting at home and need an extra dose of stretching). Own a barre studio? Partner with a dance spot to bring in some cardio.
The lesson here: The more we work together, the better. Plus, your community will be grateful for fresh additions to your schedule.
Offer rewards for social media challenges
Up your challenge game, and promote safe social distancing, by asking clients to post photos of themselves doing movements at home. Encourage participation with branded swag or gift cards to local businesses. VYB Studio in Durham, North Carolina, created their own NamaSTAY at home yoga challenge, giving participants a chance to win free, branded swag in exchange for posting yoga poses on Instagram.
Host virtual workshops
Right now, many of your clients have extra time on their hands. Use it to educate on topics you aren’t normally able to cover in class with a virtual workshop series. Give members a discount (or an incentive to continue their autopay) and charge a small fee for drop-ins. Whatever you decide, clients will love seeing your face and learning about especially relevant topics like:
Foam rolling basics
Snacking dos & don’ts
Healthy DIY desserts
Send a survey or run a poll on Instagram Stories to see what topics your clients want to learn about most. That said, be sure to develop a consistent workshop schedule—and stick to it. That way, your members know what’s coming up and can invite their friends and family to join, too.
Connect with your clients individually
Show your community how much you care by reaching out individually to members. A simple phone call, text, FaceTime, or even a notecard in the mail is a small gesture that will mean a lot.
Right now, it’s the little things that mean the most. Don’t underestimate what a bit of extra effort can do to keep your clients motivated and connected. After all, our communities are the lifeblood of our businesses and our clients are worth fighting for.