Rumblings of an economic recession have been in the air for months.
Early indicators suggest consumers are already tightening up their spending. Unfortunately for fitness studio owners, one of the first things people pull back on are fitness expenditures. So how can we prepare our businesses for tough economic times ahead?
- Cut expenses
Many of us run our businesses on a shoestring already, but we can always take one more look at costs. Maybe it’s time to find a new laundry service, or perhaps your instructors can do check-ins during slow times so you don’t have to staff the front desk all day. Point is, there’s always more we can do if we really try.
- Engage your loyal clients
The other thing you can do is lock down your loyal clients so they keep coming back to you, even during hard times. It’s not easy, but the impact is huge.
Your studio offers a community for your clients. When times get tough people to look to communities for commiseration, for support, just for a darn break. If your boutique fitness studio can become that kind of haven, chances are very good it will make it through the next recession. Let me explain how.
Build a relationship with each studio client
Too often we only touch base with members and clients when we want to sell them something. That’s certainly the relationship most companies have with me. Credit cards want to sell me the latest balance transfer offer. Verizon wants to sell me their newest service. Amazon wants to offer me their latest deal.
This is not the way to build a relationship. Instead of selling, we have to start caring about the customer. That means reaching out even when you don’t have anything specific to say, just to let them know you’re thinking about them. In fact, consumers that studios interact with using FitGrid’s communication tools have returned up to 60 percent more than clients that haven’t been. Nobody wants to just say ‘hi’—but trust me, you should.
Quality not quantity
Most fitness studio owners are worried about over-communicating with their members and clients these days. But maybe we need to consider it’s not just the amount of communication that’s the problem, but rather the type of communication.
Send me a million messages that show you don’t really know who I am, and you’re right: I’m going to get annoyed and stop listening. But ask me the right questions and show me that it’s coming from a real person, and not only will I read what you send, but I might even reply back.
Why I believe in this
I started FitGrid to help boutique fitness studios do exactly this. Our technology makes it possible for a studio’s entire team—instructors, front desk staff, and managers—to easily and authentically reach out to clients to say ‘hi,’ to congratulate their progress, to check-in and ask for feedback, and more. It even sorts clients into different actionable groups (aka segments) and delivers them to you each morning. That means you don’t have to go digging through your database yourself to find out who needs a little TLC that day.
But none of that is the point. The point is that you have to find a way to stay in touch with your clients, and you need to start doing it right now. It’s the only way your clients will begin to think of your studio as their home away from home, the only way they’ll see your front desk staff, your instructors, and even your managers as members of their extended family. That’s what will keep them coming back, even when times get bad—or rather, especially when times are bad.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founder and CEO of FitGrid, a ground-breaking connectivity platform for fitness communities. Prior to starting FitGrid, Nt founded DimensionU, an educational video game platform, and YourGuru, a trusted marketplace and social platform for the health and fitness industry. He is also Co-Founder of Boutique Fitness Summits.
FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level