How to Welcome Clients Back to “Normal” at Your Fitness Business
The fitness industry is on the road to recovery–and inching closer to normalcy (or at least a new normal) with each passing day. But after nearly a year and a half of at-home workouts, commutes to outdoor venues, and social distancing, it may take some time for your community to adapt to a routine inside your studio.
How can your fitness business support clients during this transition? Let’s dive in.
Meet them where they are
Many clients will be ready to return in full force right away; others may need time to ease back in. Tailor your client experience and offerings accordingly.
Welcome varying comfort levels. Some clients may not be ready for hands-on adjustments and high fives during workouts just yet. Offer ways for your community to communicate their individual comfort levels. MVP Dance Fit, for example, uses color-coded wrist bands for both trainers and clients to display interaction preferences:
Red means “I’m keeping my distance”
Yellow means “I’m okay with talking but not touching”
Green means “I’m okay with hugs and high fives”
Create a beginner’s or refresher workshop series. Go back to basics for both new clients trying your services and existing clients getting back into workouts. Yoga Kula, for example, says its in-studio 4 Week Beginners’ Course is the perfect way to “rekindle the joy of stretching” and “get used to being out of the house in a safe and relaxed environment.”
Host a challenge. Right now, your clients may need an extra dose of motivation to consistently exercise—especially if they’re coming out of a fitness hiatus. Reignite your community with a fitness challenge. OrangeTheory's #BackAtItChallenge is a perfect example.
Revamp your space
For some, it’s been a while since they’ve been inside your studio. For others, it’s their very first time. Make sure your physical space—and your team—is ready to provide a welcoming and seamless experience.
Swap out your signage. To help clients move through your space with confidence, update both external and internal signage. Be clear and concise but don’t be afraid to have fun and show your brand personality, too. Add verbiage that:
Welcomes both current and prospective clients at your front door (like the one from McAlister Training, below)
Addresses check-in policies, mask protocols, equipment rentals, etc. at your front desk
Highlights any updated protocols related to social distancing, shared equipment, hands-on adjustments from trainers, etc. in classes
Upgrade your front desk. Your front desk staff sets the tone for your entire in-person experience. Make sure your team is ready to welcome clients back to their workouts with a process for handling client inquiries and concerns and tools to streamline external communication.
With Messenger[ai], your team can spend more time focused on in-person clients and less time answering the phone. When a customer calls to ask a question, they’ll immediately receive a text message back with customised responses to the most frequently asked questions at your studio. Keep your FAQ (frequently asked questions) up to date and your AI receptionist will handle the rest. For more on Messenger[ai], check out our guide.
Update your marketing efforts
Both prospective and existing clients want to know exactly what to expect when heading inside your studio or gym, especially now. From mask protocols to new services, use your various marketing channels to share the latest details.
Refresh your website. Your website should show the new normal at your studio or gym. Update your FAQ and COVID-specific pages, and swap out photos of masked clients and temporary, outdoor workout spaces. Add a pop-up, like Madre Fitness + Wellness, with the various ways your business is now operating (indoors, virtual, or hybrid) and any new service offerings (your beginner's series, for example), too.
Leverage your social media presence. Next to your website, social media is one of the first places clients look for updates from your business. Lean into visual platforms like Instagram and Facebook to share what post-lockdown life looks like at your studio or gym.
Try these post ideas:
Video or photo tour of your space (like this one from RAE Studios)
Video of an indoor workout back in action (check out this Instagram post from Alive)
Post celebrating previous members who’ve returned (like this Boomerang from Bond Fitness)
Post with a mask update (like this one from Hard Core Yoga)
Your Facebook about section and Instagram bio are also prime real estate. Highlight studio news (e.g., “It’s official: We’re back with indoor classes!”) and the various service categories you currently offer.
Keep in touch with email marketing. Maybe you've sent an announcement email with the specifics of your initial reopening, but have you sent any follow-up communications? Consider additional campaigns that:
Answer frequently asked questions and address concerns (ask your staff what they’re hearing from clients in real time)
Pro tip: Record a member of your staff addressing these FAQ (it’s all about that personal touch), add it to your video-on-demand library, and use Marketing Suite’s Video Content block to add into the body of your email.
Motivate and provide tips for getting back into a fitness routine
Highlight virtual and outdoor offerings for those still on the fence about coming back
Now that you have a few ideas to help welcome clients back into your space, it’s time to put them into practice. Want to dive deeper? These three guides have the details you need: