How to Promote a Variety of Group Classes
By Dana Auriemma
Does your studio offer a variety of different group classes, or are you on your way to expanding your selection in the near future?
Many growing studios are finding it very fun and beneficial to offer a few different types of small or large group classes. This might be across different workout programs (e.g., Pilates, yoga and cycling) or different styles within the same one (vinyasa, restorative and AcroYoga).
But the more classes you offer, the more effort you have to put into promoting them all—especially if you’re hoping that the increased selection of classes will inspire some existing clients to visit your studio a little more frequently. Because clients often get attached to their regular class routine, they are hesitant to try something new.
It’s not uncommon for successful studios to add one or more new kinds of classes to their schedule, only to find that some haven’t become as popular as others.
To make a new class a success, it first needs to be well-designed, well-taught, and the kind of workout that your clients are looking for. But each class also needs to receive strong marketing support to get clients to give it a try, understand what it’s all about, and appreciate the unique benefits or experience that they will get from the new class.
Each new class should be strongly featured and visible in your marketing materials prior to launch and for several weeks after, then lightly featured on an ongoing basis. Each class can also benefit from having some sort of video demonstration, so current/prospective clients can see what the workout is like in action.
TIP: Before the class launches, you can teach a sample of the workout to your instructors and record it to share with your clients.
Additionally, there are four different kinds of marketing promotions you can try that specifically focus on getting clients to sample all of your different group classes. All have the same objective: getting clients to see for themselves why the class will be a great addition to their workout routine.
Passport attendance challenge
Just like you can get your passport stamped every time you visit a different country, in a Passport Attendance Challenge, clients can have their (physical or imaginary) studio passport "stamped" at each different class they attend. The objective is to have clients take one or more of each kind of class within a given time period. And if they do this, they receive a reward, gift or prize of some kind.
Circuit class workshops
Workshops can give clients a unique workout or learning experience outside of your regular class schedule. Try using a workshop format to offer a special circuit-style workout for your clients, rotating through a sample of each kind of class you offer during a 60–90-minute length of time. It will be an incredibly dynamic and well-rounded workout experience that they will love on its own while promoting each unique workout style offered within the Circuit Class Workshop.
Limited-time bundled packages
This is a simple and straightforward promotion where you combine different types of classes into one bundled package, even classes that have the same price point and might otherwise be offered interchangeably in the same package. For example, clients can usually take any type of yoga class with their 20-class package. But in a bundled package, you specifically offer them ten vinyasa, five restorative, and five AcroYoga classes, and your clients receive a small discount in exchange for buying the bundled package.
Open house sample week
Spend a week offering short samples of different classes that clients can take for free, or at a special sample-sized price. You’ll want to promote the Open House event to current clients and make it clear that they are encouraged to use the week to try out new classes they don’t usually attend. You could schedule the sample classes right before or after existing classes, where clients may want to extend their workout to try the extra mini class (about 20 minutes). Or schedule the sample classes as standalone express workouts (about 30–35 minutes)—something your clients would find worthwhile, yet wouldn’t feel like a full substitution for their regular class workout, so you don’t lose the revenue from their regular workout schedule. Focus on offering a few extra samples of classes that have been recently added or haven’t yet built up a strong following. You could also reposition this as a Client Appreciation Event for current clients, offering them free samples of classes throughout the week as a way to say, “Thank you!”
One more suggestion...
Incorporate anonymous feedback surveys with these programs to find out why a class may not be as popular. Is it that your clients don’t like something about the workout, or are there other obstacles holding it back (e.g., bad day/time, instructor issues, class logistics or design, etc.)?
Marketing promotions like these are a fun way to promote the variety of classes at your studio. They can be appealing to new clients and help draw them into your studio, and/or motivate your current clients to try new classes and perhaps add one of those classes to their existing workout schedule!