As a studio owner or manager, you already know that it is imperative that people feel welcome when taking their first fitness class at your studio. Most fitness studios have a specific procedure in place for greeting new leads on their first day, but going above and beyond by giving those leads an experience that really wows them can increase the number of first-time students that convert into members.
Here are a few creative ways to show your new lead a little extra love during, or following, their first class.
1.) A personalized message from the instructor or head coach
Many studios use automated messages, but they can often come off robotic and insincere. Receiving a text or email from the instructor who will be there to greet them can make a new lead feel much less intimidated about coming into your studio. It can also go a long way to make someone feel remembered when the instructor reaches out again after class to let the new lead know they ‘crushed it in class!’. FitGrid’s Pro App makes it easy for instructors to see who is taking their first class, and then efficiently reach out to them to cheer them on.
2.) Make sure they arrive early
There is nothing worse than trying to rush to explain how things work to a newbie right before class is about to begin. This can leave both the instructor and new lead feeling flustered and unprepared. It is important to allow a few extra minutes before class for natural conversation to flow and for your instructor to get to know a little bit about your lead. This connection between the instructor and student is vital for transforming them from lead to member. Make sure that your new leads know that they must arrive 10 minutes early for their introduction on their first day. Sending this message through multiple channels (text message, email, phone call) is ideal for ensuring the best possible first-time experience. You can set these messages up as automations through platforms like FitGrid, or reach out to each new lead individually the day before their first class.
3.) Announce them before and/or after class
It is important that new leads don’t feel like they are fading into the background of class amongst all of your regulars. Introducing them to the group before class starts can encourage seasoned members to cheer them on throughout class, or even help show them what to do if they look a little confused at any point. Asking the class to give the new person a round of applause after completing their first workout can leave your new lead feeling like they are already a part of your community.
4.) Pair them with a regular
Pairing a new lead with a veteran member (preferably one with good form) can help the student feel that they are supported throughout their first class and take some of the pressure off the instructor to be there at every station or exercise change. This is especially important in classes with moving circuits, such as F45 or Orangetheory, as it can be really confusing for a new person to take in all the information from their introduction. Asking a regular member to take the lead can also make them feel important, deepening their connection to your studio, which can make them more likely to keep working out with you for the long haul.
5.) A hand-written postcard
It goes a long way to show a new lead that they are being thought of when they receive a handwritten postcard in their mailbox a few days after their first class. Not many studios use direct marketing anymore, and this simple gesture can go a long way in making your studio stand out. Postcards can be printed in bulk with customized graphics so that instructors, managers, or front desk staff only need to add a short note and then put the card into the mailbox. Fitness consultants, like myself, can help you design a postcard that fits your brand and captures the culture of your studio.
Exceptional first impressions are absolutely crucial for turning a lead into a member–they can truly make or break a studio. Taking a few extra steps to make those first encounters as memorable and personal as possible is a great way to attract and retain the right kind of members to your studio.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah has a decade of fitness industry experience under her belt and has worked in almost every role in gyms and fitness studios. She is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and currently works for an F45 studio as the Head Trainer and Studio Manager. She is the founder of Alta Fitness Consulting and uses her sales, marketing, and leadership experience to help studio owners make a lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of their communities as a fitness studio consultant.
FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level