Skip to main content
Women in workout class

Strengthen Your Community to Strengthen Retention

By Nt Etuk

Nurture your community or lose clients to your competition.

As a studio owner, you are in the incredible position of nurturing, facilitating and bringing the incredible energy of your community to life. The space you provide, the excellence of your instructors, and the countless small things that you do to ensure a great experience for the clients who walk through your door, that people rave about your studio, clamor to come back and tell their friends all about it.

BUT studio owners often forget that, at the core, the fitness business is about human connection and interaction.

As a client, I come to your studio because I want to a convenient, affordable place to workout. But that’s just how I decide to enroll. Once I’m in, it is all about my connection to the people in the studio — the instructors and the other clients.

For example, at FitGrid, we found that just one of our product’s features led to 70-80% open rates of communications sent, 20% replies back from the clients receiving such messages and a 20% increase in return rates of first time studio visitors.

This insight supports the SurveyGizmo study of 1,211 US fitness consumers revealed by Mindbody in September 2017. The study asked the question, “Thinking about fitness studios that you’ve attended repeatedly, what are the most important reasons you continue going back?”

In order of importance, the answers were:

  1. Activity (the classes offered)
  2. Accessibility (the location, price and schedule)
  3. Community (the instructors and other clients)
  4. Amenities
  5. Music
  6. Daycare

Once you get beyond the two base requirements for even signing up — activity and accessibility, the most important factor is the people and your connection to them.

In other words, once a client has chosen your studio, the connections to others are what keep them around.

I equate this to looking at why people stay in or depart from their hometown.

A 2008 Pew Survey found that people who stay in their hometown, overwhelmingly say they remain because of family ties. Most say at least half a dozen members of their extended families live within an hour’s drive. That means that 40% of those people who stay in their hometown, more than 10 relatives live nearby.

Equate this to your studio.

If you want people to stay, they need to feel connected to other “family” members. If they don’t, they will leave.

In an increasingly fast-paced world, finding a “community” where we feel safe, where we feel a sense of connectedness and where we feel a common set of interests with others is something we crave.

Our yoga studio. Our barre studio. Our bootcamp class. These are all places we look to for that support more than ever before; and walking into a community of like-minded people, committed to the same cause is something we deliberately seek out.

So if you want to drive retention and sales in your studio, focus your people on driving personal connection, and invest in tools that expose, deepen and allow those connections to flourish.

Interested in learning more?

Visit Mindbody Integrations

About the author:

Nt Etuk

Founder & CEO


Nt Etuk is both founder and CEO of FitGrid, the first community management system for fitness studios, and co-founder of The Boutique Fitness Summit. He graduated from Cornell University and Columbia Business School, has been recognized on Crain’s 40 Under 40, and has been featured on NBC, CNBC, and Fox, among other media outlets.

New resources, straight to your inbox

Get updates on the latest industry trends, tips, and news.

We're committed to your privacy. Mindbody uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. You may unsubscribe at any time. View Privacy Policy

Back to top