The aftermath of the pandemic is real - nearly 20% of fitness facilities closed due to the impact of COVID-19 on their business.
This past year has been more challenging than anyone could ever have imagined, but now there is hope on the horizon. Studio owners are switching gears from being in survival mode to re-establishing in-person sessions, growing multiple revenue streams, and welcoming clients back into the studio.
With this evolution comes new challenges. The business you have now is different from the one you ran pre-pandemic, which means you also need to update your marketing strategy.
Here are the three top fitness marketing strategies that will help your studio thrive post-pandemic:
1.) Regularly remind your clients what it is like to be in your studio
After spending the last year desperate for life to return to normal and for regular routines to resume, your clients are finally able to be active outside of their homes. And that means they are busy!
The biggest differentiator between studios that have successfully filled their schedule as restrictions have lifted and those that are still waiting for the numbers to climb is the frequency of communication with their clients.
While it’s understandable that you don’t want to overwhelm your clients (or yourself) with email marketing and text messages, sending regular, personalized emails has been shown to increase retention.
Why? Think back to the commercials you remember from your childhood, you likely can recite them verbatim because you heard them over and over again! Their jingles and catchy phrases burrowed into your brain forever.
You want to create the same effect for your marketing message right now. You don’t need a jingle, but you do need to share compelling insight into what it looks and feels like to be inside your studio–and do it often! Automated marketing tools, like FitGrid’s client outreach tool, can help you send high-impact, personalized communications at exactly the right moments.
2.) Leverage the online business you have built
A large number of studios were in the process of developing an online business concept pre-COVID and the pandemic simply accelerated implementation. For many studios, these new online platforms can become a permanent supplementary revenue stream.
Despite being able to take classes in your studio, some clients continue to appreciate the convenience of online classes (either via your on-demand platform or live virtual classes) and some want to take a hybrid approach, coming into the studio when possible and getting in their other workouts from home. You’ll want to continue to nurture those relationships while rebuilding your in-studio client base.
Online businesses require next-level marketing strategies and typically more client touch-points than brick and mortar studio businesses. This is because nothing beats meeting with someone personally when you are trying to build a long-term relationship. To continue to build your online business post-pandemic, keep your virtual clients interested and inspired so that they remain engaged in your studio. Creative programming, impactful content, and effective client outreach can help you continue to generate revenue from your online business, alongside your brick and mortar reopening.
3.) Adapt your messaging to meet the evolved needs of your clients
It’s been a while since you had a full studio. During that time your clients’ lives have likely changed. As you welcome clients back into your studio there is one question you’ll want to ask yourself:
What do your clients need right now and how can you meet them where they are?
Conduct surveys to find out what your clients’ needs are right now. Once you know what is potentially holding your clients back from taking that next step, you can build your marketing strategy for after the pandemic. Make sure to address client needs in all touchpoints, including program and schedule design, marketing messaging, and personalized outreach.
Implementing top fitness marketing strategies does not have to be overwhelming. To succeed post-pandemic, simply start with the foundational elements of connecting with your clients. Remember that building relationships and community are the top ways to get people back in the studio and keep them around. Show up for your clients and they will show up for you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Seran Glanfield, founder of Spring Three and host of the Pilates Business Podcast, is a business coach and consultant to boutique fitness studio owners and instructors around the globe. With over 10 years of experience in business coaching, finance, and marketing, Seran has helped hundreds of studios and online studios grow and develop their businesses, sharing her expertise and insight on marketing, branding, sales, and strategy. Learn more at www.springthree.com.
FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level