When Code 5 Fitness had to close its three Sydney-based locations, owner Connor Pettersson promised his customers that the closure was a new phase for the fitness centre. Like many other fitness businesses, the gym quickly transitioned to online workouts. But Code 5 decided to do something different—it would retain coaches for regular check-ins with customers and not pull back on new member acquisition.
Under normal circumstances, Code 5 focuses on results-driven programming and a structured coach to client interaction programme. In classes, you can expect to lift weights or use equipment to challenge your stamina—but that’s not the case in Code 5’s online workouts.
Pettersson’s adapted to more bodyweight exercises but has also gotten creative with what he’s using for resistance training. Recently, he filmed a whole workout using a backpack. “You just fill it with books, and you can use that for a bent-over row or a front-rack squat.”
Code 5’s customers responded to the familiarity of the workouts—within the first week, 300 of its members moved online and retained their membership agreements. While Pettersson is shooting for more customers to join them online, he’s been able to negotiate with his landlords to reduce rent, so what he has is enough to keep the gym in the black while closed.
“We’ll be able to stay slightly profitable for the foreseeable future until we can open our doors again,” Pettersson said.
But Pettersson’s not stopping there—gyms near his locations closed and didn’t create alternative workout options for their customers, and he’s creating plans for acquiring those members via digital ads.
“I know a lot of gyms have just shut down and people have nowhere to go,” Pettersson said. “So, if we can get them to show interest in our programme and give a seven-day trial, we can try and convert them into paying customers onto our online platform.”
Pettersson’s also reaching potential customers with meal plans but is quick to point out that it’s a tricky road to navigate: “It's difficult because you don't want to feel that you're taking advantage of people or a difficult situation.”
Once the customers are through Code 5’s digital doors, Pettersson’s goal is to provide the best experience possible to its customers. With that in mind, Pettersson’s done even more to build out his brand and keep his clients engaged. After tapping into connections within the fitness industry, he’s set up co-streaming partnerships with other studios around Sydney. Members at each studio will be able to access each other’s content—but only if they retain their memberships.
They created a virtual timetable with each studio’s video links, offering a well-rounded approach for each studio’s members and improving their chance of making it through the age of coronavirus.
“I feel like we're all in this together,” Pettersson said.