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Increase Customer Retention

This One Thing Can Help You Increase Customer Retention

This One Thing Can Help You Increase Customer Retention

RETENTION

FitGrid | October 15, 2021

Leverage instructor communication to increase engagement, retention and revenue at your studio.

What if you could increase customer retention and engagement at your fitness studio right now? By empowering your instructors to engage with their students, you can save time and boost revenue in just a few simple steps. The FitGrid Pro App was designed specifically to help studio owners nurture these important connections to build community and improve sales. 

The FitGrid Pro App is more than just a marketing automation function, it is a platform that builds one-on-one relationships, cultivates community, and helps to boost performance in the studio and on your P&L by facilitating communication between instructors and students.

Skeptical? Let the numbers speak for themselves. 

​​During their first year using FitGrid, Pure Body Studio found that 65.3 percent of first-time clients came back to the studio after receiving an instructor follow-up message, compared to the 12.5 percent of first-time clients that came back after not receiving a follow-up message. They also saw a 79 percent average open rate on their FitGrid Pro App messages, and a 52.8 percent increase in the number of first-time students returned to the studio compared to those who did not receive a follow-up.

What is the secret sauce that makes these metrics jump with very little input? A few things make the FitGrid Pro App a must-have for studio owners who want to increase their customer retention:

1.) Follow up when the time is right – The FitGrid Pro App allows you to set unique instructor email timelines, based on customer visits. You can set easy-to-trigger, templated, yet customizable follow-ups after certain visits of the studio’s choosing, such as a student’s first, fifth or tenth class.  Your instructor’s Pro App dashboard will tell them exactly who they need to follow up with and will make sending the emails as easy as a click of a button. The instructor can message select students or all of the students from class at once within the 48 hours after class.

2.) Allows you to strengthen instructor-client connection – Instructors are often one of the main reasons people visit your studio, so it is imperative that you focus on how they communicate with your community. Empower your instructors to build relationships with their clients by using the FitGrid Pro App to review a client’s goals along with any notes that instructors have jotted down about that person’s class experience. They can also review injury information, upcoming special achievements and milestones, and see when client’s class packages are coming to an end. The FitGrid Pro App facilitates strategic communication that builds loyalty and engagement, which can help your instructors fill their classes more regularly. The stronger the bond between instructor and client, the more likely people are going to be to return to your studio.

3.) The right balance between personalized and customizable – Instructors can write their follow-up templates in their own voice, this way the messages feel authentic. Instructors can either send out their general templated email with a quick click of a button, or choose to write a more personalized message to select students that might need an extra boost or customized messaging. Clients are able to respond directly to the instructor’s emails with a hidden email address to ensure that their personal details stay private and within your studio’s system.

4.) The FitGrid Pro App pays for itself  The Pro App facilitates up to 70 percent more first-timer returns, which means more revenue for your studio. If you are able to secure just one student membership through FitGrid’s Pro App and other services designed to help studio owners succeed, the service will pay for itself. For example, Bikram Yoga Rye Brook used the Pro App to send out follow-ups to 356 first-time clients. 248 of those clients returned, which is a 70 percent retention rate of first-time clients. Other studios have seen results ranging from a 60 percent increase in client retention to a 10 times increase in class size to a 30 percent win-back rate. No matter how you slice it, FitGrid’s features help studio owners drive tangible success.

5.) Track instructor performance – The FitGrid Pro App owner dashboard allows you to see which instructors are retaining clients and which are not. With this function, you can find out who to reward for their exceptional customer retention skills and catch problems before they spiral out of control. The Pro App’s instructor dashboard also gives instructors access to view their own retention rate and open rate, and they can see how they are performing over three and six months anonymously benchmarked against their peers. If FitGrid’s Client Feedback feature is activated, instructors can also see what their students are saying about them. Having access to this information inspires instructors to take initiative to improve their performance in the studio and in digital communication, driving client loyalty, and retention.

The FitGrid Pro App was developed to fit your specific needs as a studio owner. The service is affordable, simple to implement, and drives proven results. Let the app speak for itself. Start increasing your customer retention today, try FitGrid Pro App along with FitGrid’s other community building, revenue-driving features free for 30 days, or talk to our team about how to get more out of your current features.

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5 Tips for Building a Signature Series that Sell

5 Tips for Building a Signature Series that Sells

5 Tips for Building a Signature Series that Sells

BUSINESS STRATEGIES

Michael Jay | October 13, 2021

Are you a wellness teacher or studio who spends more time hustling than thriving?

If so, you’re not alone. Imagine if instead of spending endless amounts of time hustling to get new clients into just one class every week, you spent a short dedicated amount of time to build a strong system that impacts more lives, brings in more income, and creates a stronger community with loyal students. Think of all you could do in your business with more time on your schedule and guaranteed stable income. 

Cue the signature course. The smarter way to run a fitness business is to create a course to solve the problems of your students. That offer becomes irresistible to them and an easy sell for you. The best part about creating a signature course is that once it’s built, you can run it again and again, as many times as you like, to bring in a reliable income annually. 

In my 13 years as a successful yoga studio owner, I offered a mixture of memberships alongside registered series such as Beginner 101 Yoga, Yoga for Men, and Yoga for Mental Health. The registered series brought in guaranteed income, built and strengthened the studio community, and brought stability to the studio and teachers’ schedules.  Now, I use the same unique system I used at the studio as a certified business consultant, to help yoga teachers and yoga studios create their own signature series to shift their businesses from hustling to thriving.

Here are five tips that can help you easily build, sell and market your very own signature course:

1.) Define your purpose

The first tip to creating a signature course is defining your purpose. This is why you do what you do and it takes reflection upon your own story. This tip is key. What you share with your students must be in alignment with who you are and what you offer or your course won’t sell. Key questions that can help you define your purpose include: Why are we doing this? Why are we in business? Why do we exist? What are we great at? And Why are we good at what we do?

2.) Identify your ideal client

Once you’ve identified your purpose, you can easily identify who you want to serve. To identify your perfect customer you have to do some research into the demographics of the area you are serving, identifying key aspects such as age range, family status, career profile, and lifestyle. Really do a deep dive to understand who your studio is serving. From here, you can create a client avatar, which is a hypothetical student who exemplifies your ideal client. Everything you do should help serve your avatar’s needs. Your ideal client is often a reflection of who you were before you started your yoga practice or fitness studio. You could have the greatest service, but if you’re trying to sell it to the wrong person it will be very difficult to hit your goals.

3.) Pinpoint your ideal clients’ problems

This is a crucial step in creating your series. People will pay for a solution to their problems. Take a look at your client avatar and find out what they need. Are they looking for stress release? Efficient strength-building? Short and sweet classes or in-depth dives into topics? Use a tool like FitGrid’s Client Feedback feature to understand your community’s pain points.  Once you determine your ideal clients’ problems, you can identify the skills you offer to solve their problems. Get crystal clear about how your offerings will solve your customers’ problems.

4.) Figure out where your ideal client hangs out

Now that you know who you want to serve, it’s time to identify where your ideal client hangs out. You want to be wherever their eyeballs are and in their direct line of sight. Which social media apps do they use? What websites do they visit? Are they reading local newspapers? Are they hanging out in coffee shops or health food stores? This is critical research needed to create a marketing plan.

5.) Create your simple custom marketing plan

Identifying your purpose, who you serve, your ideal clients’ problems, and where your ideal client hangs out gives you all of the data you need to map out the marketing plan for your signature series on a small budget. A simple example might be that you have created a program such as Yoga for Men that is running in a studio at a downtown location. You have also identified that the demographic of men are mostly on Facebook. With that information, you can run a simple Facebook ad campaign, targeted at men only within a certain radius of that studio location. This campaign is super targeted and ensures that you spend your advertising dollars getting in front of the eyeballs of people who are likely to convert.

Once you’ve followed these tips, you are ready to launch your signature series and shift from hustling solopreneur to thriving and living to your fullest potential.

Are you ready to join the next generation of yoga biz champs?
Find out more about Michael Jay, the Yoga Biz Camp Coaching Programs and Yoga Biz Camp Podcast at www.YogaBizCamp.com. Join on Instagram at
@yogabizchamp.

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Increase Studio Membership Sales with This Simple Tool

Increase Studio Membership Sales with This Simple Tool

Increase Studio Membership Sales with This Simple Tool

RETENTION

FitGrid | October 7, 2021

Clients want to hear from you, not your business. Automated personalized communication increases re-acquisition.

Did your studio see a drop in membership during the pandemic? With people easing back into a normal-ish life thanks to widespread vaccines and safety measures, now might be the time to win back your lost clients.

It’s no secret that obtaining a brand new client is way more expensive than keeping an existing one–around 5-25 times, according to Harvard Business Review. With this in mind, FitGrid created several solutions that help studio owners retain and regain their clients. The FitGrid Win-back feature is an effective automated personalized email function that can work in harmony with other automated messaging software that typically drives purchases that cover the cost of the software itself. 

Clients have found that FitGrid’s Win-back feature is very effective at helping studio owners rebuild their membership base, increase class size, and reconnect with clients who haven’t attended class in a while. Emails sent with FitGrid’s Win-back feature have an average open rate of 50 percent, compared to the industry average for marketing emails, which falls around 20 percent. 

In one case, Cindi N., the owner of four Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping studios, sent out 1,200 win-back messages to a combination of people who had lapsed over 30, 60, and 365 days. Over 6 months, 382 of those clients returned. Cindi was able to directly interact with her lost clients without needing to take the time to send out each message manually but allowing the opportunity to personalize messages when needed. FitGrid’s Win-back feature allowed Cindi to reacquire almost 30 percent of her lost members without losing precious time.

How does FitGrid’s Win-back feature work?

  1. First, you set up your FitGrid Win-back feature within your FitGrid dashboard by selecting who is going to have access to this feature and what the messages and offer will include.
  2. Once you activate your Win-back feature, your FitGrid platform automatically sends an outreach message to clients who have not visited the studio in a specific timeframe of your choosing, encouraging them to come back.
  3. FitGrid’s Win-back technology delivers an incentive message from the instructor the client saw most during their active time at the studio (or from the studio manager, depending on how you configure the feature).
  4. Studio owners and managers can add promotions or pricing options with purchase buttons to the instructor message to drive retention and revenue.
  5. Effectiveness reports in the owner dashboard show how many clients came back to the studio as a result of getting a message and how many dollars were won from any attached offers.

Here are three tips for getting the most out of FitGrid’s Win-back feature:

  1. Increase your open rate: In order for people to take action on your marketing emails, they need to open them! People are inundated with email messages, so you need to make sure that yours are standing out. There are two main ways that you can increase the open rate of your FitGrid Win-back emails:
    • Edit the sender’s name: Using the name of a client’s favorite instructor as the win-back message sender, will increase the likelihood that the recipient will open an email. For example, using a sender like “Lesley at Studio NYC,” could make someone excited to hear from Lesly, their past favorite instructor. If you’re thinking, “how on Earth would I know each person’s favorite teacher?” FitGrid has this covered. The software can determine a client’s most visited instructor for you. If that person does not have a win-back template, the email will be sent from a “fallback sender.” It is important that you set this up as someone who your clients will recognize, maybe the first name of an owner, manager, or beloved front desk staff.

    • Craft a catchy subject line: If you want people to read your emails, you will want to create subject lines that encourage people to open them. Be creative, and spend some time thinking about what incentivizes your community to take action – will it be a sense of urgency, with a subject line like “Only one day left to take us up on this amazing offer,” or a sense of curiosity, with a subject line like “This one thing will make you super fit,” subject lines that are humorous, mysterious or personalized are also effective. Test out subject line styles a few times to see what works best for your clients. 

  2. Create engaging email content that inspires action: Once your past clients have opened their email, you want them to find engaging content that encourages them to take immediate action that brings them closer to becoming a member again. 

Here is how to craft an effective win-back email:

  • Write a message that encourages sales, without being too sales-y: Most of the time, the message the client is receiving is written by an instructor, who may not be a trained salesperson. Create templates of effective marketing emails for your instructors, and then let them edit the messages into their own words. Make sure to use catchy calls to action that inspires the former client to click through and book their next class or renew their membership.
  • Offer incentives to win them back: The FitGrid Win-back function allows you to add offers into your messages (though this is not necessary). You can offer incentives such as discounted packages, a free class for a friend, or even some merch. Keep in mind that depending on your community, you might not need to send out a big offer in this environment. A lot of people let their gym memberships lapse last year because of the pandemic, and they may just need a little reminder to get them back in the studio. We’ve found that about 27 percent of lapsed clients who receive FitGrid win-back messages return to the studio and attend more classes.

  • Give it time: You might not see win-back results right away. Win-backs are a long-term sales strategy because you are reaching out to clients who are not engaged. Getting them back occurs over time, sometimes by sending multiple messages. When someone lapses it usually means their life and habits have changed. Your objective in this situation is to keep your studio top of mind so that when the former client is ready, they will return to you and not the studio down the street.

Win-backs are a top strategy to strengthen your community and increase your revenue without expending too much time and energy. Don’t forget that obtaining a new client costs much more money, time, and resources than retaining a preexisting one. If you’re using FitGrid’s Win-back feature to its fullest potential, it will essentially pay for itself. If you convert a single additional lapsed client and they get a membership, you’ve paid for your entire FitGrid membership for as long as they remain a member. Any other win-backs—along with results from the many other tools FitGrid provides studio owners—are pure profit for you.

Try FitGrid free for 14 days – start winning back your lost clients today.

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How FitGrid Can Help Grow Your Revenue

How FitGrid Can Help Grow Your Revenue

How FitGrid Can Help Grow Your Revenue

SOFTWARE FEATURES

FitGrid | September 22, 2021

Community management software that helps fitness studios increase their bottom line

Do you struggle with finding the time to do everything it takes to build a thriving fitness business? FitGrid, a smart community management software developed with the fitness studio owner’s specific needs in mind, can help. By connecting staff, instructors, and clients through a powerful learning and recommendation grid, FitGrid helps you leverage the power of your community to drive your studio’s profitability.

Here are four ways that using FitGrid can help you grow your fitness studio’s revenue, right now:

Save time and energy, while increasing revenue

According to Campaign Monitor, marketers who use segmented campaigns see huge boosts in revenue, some note as much as a 760% increase! Knowing that segmentation is a foundation of email marketing success, FitGrid created an automated outreach platform that allows you to divide your client base into segments so you can intervene with at-risk clients and recognize your most loyal ones. FitGrid sends your staff daily recommendations on who and how to reach out to your customers. Much of the outreach is automated, helping save you precious time and energy, while allowing you to customize messages to give them a personalized touch. 

Cultivate community to keep clients walking through the door

People want to feel that they belong to something bigger than themselves. Nurture community at your studio, and your business can thrive. From creating in-depth client profiles that allow you to understand your clients’ goals, preferences and habits, to a consumer-facing app that allows studio-goers to connect with other clients online, to a feature that allows instructors to communicate with their students, increasing engagement, loyalty, and revenue, FitGrid has created several solutions that help you cultivate community. Sending instructor follow-ups from the FitGrid Pro App, for example, can increase the number of first-timers who come back to your studio by up to 65 percent.

Empower your clients to be your biggest advocates

Word of mouth referrals are widely considered to be the most effective form of marketing. People might not trust marketing messages from a company, but they do trust what their friends love and recommend. The FitGrid Class App makes client referrals simple and intuitive, allowing people to invite their friends and family to class with a simple click of the button. We’ve found that about 1 of 6 members referred via FitGrid end up joining the studio.

Use your resources wisely to decrease customer churn

Research indicates that it is much easier and more cost effective to regain a past client than to find new clients. FitGrid empowers you to easily connect with past clients and get them back in your studio. Our clients have seen real success in driving revenue by winning back clients. For example, Cindi Nikituk who owns four locations of Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping sent out messages to 1,277 unique clients who had not been in the studio in 7, 30, 60, 180, or 365 days through the FitGrid Win-Backs function. 392 of these communications turned into return clients –a conversion rate of 31 percent, without offering discounted programming. The FitGrid Pro App elicits similar results, with 65.3 percent of first-time clients came back to the studio after receiving an instructor follow-up message.

FitGrid knows the fitness business and has developed community management solutions with your success in mind. What are you waiting for? Let FitGrid fuel your studio’s success today. Try FitGrid for free for 14 days. 

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How to Attract New Clients to Your Fitness Studio

How to Attract New Clients to Your Fitness Studio

How to Attract New Clients to Your Fitness Studio

ACQUISITION

Jacqui Somen | September 20, 2021

Has your fitness business started to plateau? Are you struggling to attract new clients to your fitness studio? Do you feel that your revenue and bottom-line would be much better if you had more feet walking through your door every day? Finding new fitness studio members is one of the greatest challenges in the industry, but there are ways to get first-time students to funnel through your studio that don’t require a lot of energy and money.

Here are 5 proven techniques that attract new clients to your fitness studio:

  1. Word of mouth – Word of mouth is by most accounts the best way to get first-timers into your studio. People tend to trust the activities and teachers that their friends love, so tap into your community and encourage them to invite their friends and family to class. Make sure that you are offering quality classes and encouraging connections within your community. Taking these steps will ensure greater retention once people come in for their initial workout. A stellar customer experience will also inspire your members to intuitively tell their loved ones about your studio, without you having to ask. Aside from having people bring their friends to class, you can also ask for online ratings from satisfied customers, and use tools that increase the likelihood of referrals. FitGrid’s Class App makes it easy for people to invite their friends with the simple click of a button and FitGrid’s Pro App helps strengthen the bond between instructor and client, cultivating loyalties that can lead to more authentic word of mouth referrals.
  2. Offer livestream classes globally, and make them searchable One benefit of offering digital classes is that you become unrestricted by local boundaries. With live-stream, you have the ability to offer your classes to anyone in the world. Make sure you are delivering quality classes and make the names catchy and unique to stand out from the thousands of other online workouts. Using a tool like the FitGrid Class App allows you to list your classes in a global calendar that is visible to people from all over the world. The FitGrid Class App further allows students to easily invite their friends to your digital class.
  3. Host unique events  Host special events partnering with other highly regarded businesses in your community to reach a new local audience. Make sure the event is hosted at or near your studio. These events will help you reach the community of other local businesses as well as people who live in the area who are looking for a unique way to work out.
  4. Hire a publicist – Just like with word of mouth, potential clients tend to trust earned media more than advertising messages. Hiring a local publicist to help get the word out about your fitness studio to the local news can help improve both your brand awareness and your class attendance. You could also pull this task in-house, dedicating some time and energy each week to building relationships with local journalists by inviting them to a class or event and sending out pitches with a compelling story about your fitness studio.
  5. Reach out to past clients – One source of added foot traffic that often gets overlooked is your database of past clients. Research indicates that it can be much easier and more cost-effective to regain a past client than to find new clients. Seek out clients who were happy with their experience and might have left due to financial reasons or because they got busy at work and send them an email letting them know that you’d love to welcome them back into the community. FitGrid’s Win-back function makes this process simple and effective. You can also leverage your instructors by asking them to reach out to people who used to regularly visit their classes at your studio with FitGrid’s Pro App.

Finding new clients for your fitness studio doesn’t have to be time and energy intensive. Oftentimes making small tweaks or reaching out to people in specific ways can help boost attendance, membership, and revenue.

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3 Ways That FitGrid’s Features Can Help You Save Time When You're Short-Staffed

3 Ways That FitGrid’s Features Can Help You Save Time When You’re Short-Staffed

3 Ways That FitGrid’s Features Can Help You Save Time When You’re Short-Staffed

SOFTWARE FEATURES

Chris Beer, founder of B.Well Consulting | September 16, 2021

If you’re experiencing staffing challenges in your studio, know that you’re not alone.

What some have called “The Great Resignation” has been a staffing nightmare for most businesses. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a total of 11.5 million workers quit their jobs during the 2nd quarter of 2021. 

At FitGrid, we feel the impact of that statistic. We’ve spoken with many understaffed studio managers and owners who feel the pain of a growing to-do list and not enough hours in the day to get things done. While the search for new staff members can seem overwhelming, one mental shift you can make right now is to focus on what you can control – including the full utilization of your software solutions. 

If you are a FitGrid subscriber whose studio is short-staffed, you can tap into the software’s features that automate everyday studio operations. In this article, we’ll look at 3 ways that FitGrid’s smart community management software can help you save time by eliminating repetitive tasks, reducing hours spent on communication, and helping to improve overall productivity. 

1.) Make sure your clients feel heard

The purpose of your business is to help fill the needs of your clients. The best way to understand how to do this is to engage in regular communication with them, but this takes a ton of time right? Not necessarily. FitGrid’s Client Feedback feature makes it simple to gather valuable insights from your clients. This function allows studio owners and managers to receive feedback directly from their clients—without having to spend the time checking in with everyone individually.

Here’s how it works: FitGrid sends quick and easy surveys to clients via email after they take class. Clients rate their experience on a 1-10 scale, with the option to leave written comments. As the studio owner or account admin, you can select to receive feedback about specific instructors. Clients are invited to complete a survey once every three months per enabled instructor whose class they attend, giving you the ability to collect feedback at regular intervals.

By helping your clients feel heard, you can improve your clients’ satisfaction and loyalty to your business. Ready to get started? This support article will help you set up your FitGrid Client Feedback feature. 

2.) Reach out to the right clients at the right time

In a perfect world, you’d remember every important milestone in your clients’ journeys. However, when juggling many tasks, it’s easy to let important communications fall through the cracks. FitGrid’s Client Outreach feature assists studio managers and staff by allowing you to create connections with important clients at precisely the right time. Fit Grid’s Pro App empowers your instructors to follow up with their students, increasing loyalty, engagement and retention. These solutions provide your team with a clear action plan for building community–and increasing retention and sales–through authentic communication.

Here’s how it works: 

Client Outreach: As the studio owner or admin, you control the managers and staff who have access to Client Outreach. The team members you select will receive a prioritized list of clients to communicate with every day. This list also explains why each client was selected and what your goals should be when sending them a message. Your team sends custom messages to each client individually. With a few clicks, you can examine the client’s purchase and visit history, then write and send them a brief personalized message. From the client perspective, clients receive Client Outreach messages in their email inbox. In the “from” field, the staff member’s name will be displayed. This touch causes the email to feel more personal, which increases the chances that it’ll be opened and read. The client can reply and have a conversation with the staff member.

Pro App: You, as the studio owner, select which instructors you would like to engage in follow-up communication with your clients and set milestones for how often you would like them to do so. Next, your instructors will create their own personalized message templates that can be used for each milestone, perhaps a word of encouragement after a client’s first class or to cheer them on after their fifth. Don’t worry, the instructors can customize these messages before they send them, maybe to add a personal note about something this particular client can work towards or a goal that they crushed during class that day. Once everything is set up, the app reminds the instructor when to send follow-up messages, which can be sent with the click of a button or customized, when needed. This app helps build stronger bonds between instructor and client, with a proven track record of increasing studio retention. 

Communicating with clients in these ways can help you save time and increase sales. Concerned about directly connecting your staff and your clients? No fear – the reply will be routed through FitGrid and show up in the staff member’s email inbox. The staff member can also reply, and again the message will be routed through FitGrid before going to the client. This allows the staff member and client to have a conversation while keeping their personal email addresses private.

Ready to get started? This support article will help you set up your Client Outreach feature (note: upgrade to FitGrid’s Gold Plan is required to access this feature), and this support article will help you get started with the Pro App. 

3.) Automate your win-back strategies

Obtaining a new client costs much more money, time and resources than retaining a preexisting one. When you’re running a lean staff, consider activating FitGrid’s Win-back feature to help you tap into the power of automation to almost effortlessly bring back lapsed clients. 

Here’s how it works: Our Win-back feature allows you to trigger automated messages to clients that have not visited your studio in a designated amount of time. Clients who have fallen off in terms of attendance are eligible to receive a message from their most-visited instructor that acknowledges their absence, and encourages them to come back to class. Accountability plays a huge role in retention, especially in the boutique fitness industry, and having a client’s favorite instructor personally invite them back to class strengthens the sense of community required to run a successful studio.

Ready to get started? This support article will help you set up your Win-back communications.

While nothing can take the place of human connection, the right combination of automation and manual execution can help alleviate some of the issues caused by your studio’s staffing challenges. Using your FitGrid subscription to address the three operational challenges listed above can strengthen a studio owner’s or manager’s ability to navigate a lean staffing situation. If you have yet to sign up for FitGrid, now is the time. Try our innovative, time-saving, revenue-boosting software free for 14 days.

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3 Ways To Keep Your Staff Motivated and Your Clients Happy

3 Ways To Keep Your Staff Motivated and Your Clients Happy

3 Ways To Keep Your Staff Motivated and Your Clients Happy

BUSINESS OWNER INSIGHTS

Catalina Zbar | September 1, 2021

If you’re a studio owner, you know that in order for your business to run smoothly, you need motivated instructors and happy clients. Unfortunately, you can’t have one without the other. If you’re striving for high retention rates and instructors that embody your core values, you’ll need both of these to thrive. 

Let’s explore 3 key ways to keep your staff motivated and your clients happy.

1.) The Intake Process

First impressions are super important, and having a seamless intake process for your staff members to follow will help ensure a great experience for new clients. 

The intake process can begin before your client even steps foot into the studio. When they sign up to take their first class and create a profile, prompt them with a welcome email that includes your studio intake form. The intake form should include questions about their goals, what they’re looking to get out of their practice, how often they like to take class, as well as any injuries or concerns they might have. For first time students who visit the studio prior to signing up online, paper intake forms are a great way to capture this information, and are a natural connection point for desk staff.

A structured intake process has three main benefits: 

    1. New clients feel welcomed.
    2. You’re able to gather valuable data on those clients. 
    3. You’re able to share that information with your instructors to both fuel their classes and allow them to connect with clients on a more personal level. 

Their approach to welcoming in new individuals is key to whether or not they are retained. Make sure the intake process follows your clients through to after class, and encourage your instructors to reach out to them afterwards. Your instructors can use a tool such as Fitgrid’s Pro App to send personalized messages to clients after class to get feedback on their experience. This will allow instructors to feel useful and clients to feel taken care of. 

2.) Create a Welcoming Environment

An inviting physical space creates a welcoming environment, a place where everyone wants to be. Using friendly and inviting signage, carving out space for a cozy seating area, and creating a mood with candles and music will help everyone who enters your space feel calm and positive. When creating the ambiance of your studio, focus on hitting as many of the five senses as possible.

In addition to the physical space your staff can cultivate a welcoming environment through their personal interactions with clients. Encourage them to connect with clients before, during and after class. Your clients will look forward to being in an accepting environment where they feel proud to be a part of your studio community.

3.) Check in with your Core Values

Core values are a key component of any successful movement business. If you haven’t created core values for your studio space yet, think back to what you envisioned when you first opened your space. What type of energy did you want it to hold? What were you hoping your clients would feel in the space? How did you want your staff to interact with clients and one another? Use these questions as a starting point to create values that feel true to your studio.

Once you’ve created those values, make sure staff and clients know what they are. Include them as focal points in your newsletter and social posts, blog about them, and consider putting them up on the walls. Clearly communicated values allow studio-goers a way to connect to the space and each other, creating a sense of community and commonality.

Motivated staff and returning clients are key to the success of any studio. By following the guidance outlined above, you’ve started down the path to a thriving studio. Your community – clients and staff alike – will thank you for helping them to feel appreciated, supported and welcome.

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How User Experience Impacts Retention in The Fitness Industry

How User Experience Impacts Retention in The Fitness Industry

How User Experience Impacts Retention in The Fitness Industry

RETENTION

Carolyn Cummins | August 20, 2021

The term user experience is a hot topic right now, but what does it really mean and how does it relate to studios? User experience is how the user (student) interacts with a business (studio). The user experience sometimes called customer experience or member experience is critical when it comes to retaining students. It is more important than the product or price.

Here are three simple ways that you can enhance customer experience and improve client retention, right now:

Create a Studio Experience

When you build a brick-and-mortar business, you likely put great thought into how the space is designed, where walls go, where rooms will be, where the waiting area is for clients, etc. Most studio owners approach this from a functional standpoint and little is taken into account from the user view or the user experience. Only after the studio is built do many owners realize issues with flow or usability. Taking a moment to see the user view and how they would engage with the space while developing plans can help eliminate costly changes down the line.

If your studio is already open, how is it used? When a student walks in, what do they do? Where do they go? Do they access the space the way you intended? Walk-in as a student would and then ask yourself if it makes sense. Would it be clear to a new student what to do when they enter?? Is there good signage to help them feel clear about their experience? You want to make it easy and intuitive for the client so they have the best customer experience, especially if it is a new student!

Increase Opportunities for Staff-Member Connection

Your secret weapon to success is your staff! Your physical space and core service offering of fitness classes are just a few of the reasons why a student decides to come back. You must provide a clean and appealing space and your service offering should be top-notch, however, even when these two things aren’t at their 100% best, your staff and the connection they build with students keep people coming back. 

When a student walks in and is greeted by name with a warm hello and a smile, it makes them feel like a valued member of your community. Your staff are the people creating a connection with each person that walks in the door. When they spend a few minutes talking with the student before and/or after class about what is going on in their life, the student might feel like they are cared about, and that they belong. All of these small gestures add up to relationship and community building that support customer retention.

These interpersonal relationships between staff and students can increase students’ enjoyment and improve their perception of the overall user experience of the studio. The more solidified the relationship and community, the more likely the student will continue their membership. Studies show that even when the service offering suffers, interpersonal relationships can help create a barrier to prevent students from looking for services elsewhere.

In the virtual live streaming realm, this might mean communicating using a chat function to interact with students. Or perhaps you want to use a third-party app like FitGrid to follow up with a student via a text message or email to ask about how they enjoyed the class. 

Text messaging and email are also effective tools for engagement if the students haven’t been in a virtual live stream or in-studio class in a while. These touchpoints with a student give them the feeling they are valued. These tools can help students have a positive user experience, even if they aren’t in the physical space or face-to-face with a staff member.

Make Sure Your Clients Have a Smooth Digital Experience

Just as with your brick-and-mortar studio, you probably thought about what you wanted on your website or fitness app before they were built. You probably wrote down all the necessary information about your studio offerings, class types, and membership packages. Then either you or someone you hired built your website. Good web designers understand usability and help clients work through flow and clicks to help get the end-user (student) to the right information the fastest way possible. However, sometimes there is a disconnect, user experience and usability get lost in a sea of fancy design and creative add-ons.

Many people believe that fewer clicks mean a better user experience. However, studies show that the number of clicks isn’t what frustrates users, it is the inability to find what they are looking for. If students can’t find class descriptions or the schedule or pricing, they are likely going to give up and search online for an option that IS easy to use.

Here are some things to consider about user experience when designing your studio’s website. This list is adapted from the User Experience Honeycomb:

  • Usable – Is it easy to navigate?
  • Attention-grabbing – Does the platform evoke a positive response from the user? Is it appealing to the eye? Does the content create a feeling for the user?
  • Trustworthy – Is the content credible?
  • Accessible – Is your site accessible to those with disabilities?
  • Findable – Can your students actually find what they need?

Whether you call it customer experience, member experience, or user experience, it all boils down to this…customers/students that have a consistently positive experience that includes a connection to the staff and community are far more likely to keep coming back to your studio. Focus on how your students feel when they interact with your brand and you are on the road to successful client retention.

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Create a Subbing Culture to Engage Your Instructors

Create a Subbing Culture to Engage Your Instructors

Create a Subbing Culture to Engage Your Instructors

BUSINESS OWNER INSIGHTS

Jessica LaChance | August 11, 2021

Expert Robert Sherman shares tips for easing the headache of staffing your studio schedule.

Studio owners have always faced challenges keeping every class on their schedule covered. These difficulties are exacerbated by the need to hire, rehire, and re-engage their team of instructors in the pandemic-minded world. Jessica LaChance of Boutique Fitness Solutions sat down for a conversation with Robert Sherman, instructor development and management expert with over 30 years in the industry and a resume that spans roles and business models, to discuss tactical shifts you can make as a studio owner or manager to alleviate the headaches of filling your schedule.

Why discuss the importance of creating a subbing culture in your studio when your instructor challenges of the moment might seem so much larger and all-encompassing? Because how you handle schedule substitutions might impact your business in more ways than you realize.

Here are a few ways your substitution policies affect the success of your business:

  1. No fitness business is immune to the headache of keeping the schedule fully staffed.
  2. Constantly working to fill slots affects day-to-day operations and takes time away from revenue-generating activities.
  3. How you engage substitute instructors impacts overall studio culture.
  4. Managing your schedule plays a major role in intra-studio relationships (instructor-to-instructor, manager-to-instructor, or studio owner-to-instructor).
  5. Figuring out how to address subbing is especially necessary right now while many studios are still short-staffed.

You can watch the entire BFS Coffee Break Coaching Session with Robert HERE and schedule a check-in call with BFS to receive an exclusive invitation to our member-only live Q&A with Robert Sherman on August 17th at 2 pm EST.  

In the meantime here are some of the key takeaways from their conversation that you can implement at your studio right now:

Why creating a subbing culture at your studio is critical: 

  • It is unacceptable to have a class on the schedule without a teacher or to cancel a class at the last minute. This jeopardizes the credibility of your brand. 
  • Having a solid plan in place to keep your schedule staffed with high-quality instructors builds trust with your clients and members.

How can you make sure your schedule is fully staffed by qualified and enthusiastic substitute instructors?

  • Use the hiring process (or the re-entry to the studio process) to set the expectation off the bat that instructors are responsible for finding their own substitute instructors.
  • Create buddy pairings of instructors. Have your team members pair up to each have two names of “go-to” subs for their classes. Make this list the baseline criteria for getting on the schedule in the first place. 
  • Work to build an environment where your instructors feel that they are supporting the bigger picture. 
  • Set a studio-wide mentality that subbing is a benefit and a bonus and not a chore!

Creating a subbing culture not only helps you fill empty classes, it also helps build communication between team members, holds your team to a higher standard, creates an environment of credibility and quality, and opens up your schedule as a studio owner or manager to focus on brand building and revenue-generating activities.

Every studio is different and you will need to have policies that work for you, your teachers, and your clients. The bottom line is that it is crucial that you find a way to make sure that your schedule is full, your members are happy, and you don’t spend all of your time trying to fill your schedule. Creating a culture of subbing at your studio can help you achieve these goals.

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The Ultimate Guide to Rebuilding Your Studio Post-COVID

The Ultimate Guide to Rebuilding Your Studio Post-COVID

The Ultimate Guide to Rebuilding Your Studio Post-COVID

BUSINESS STRATEGIES

FitGrid | June 23, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the fitness industry forever.

The landscape has shifted, your customers’ needs have evolved, even your staff might not be the same. How do you navigate all of these changes to rebuild your business in this new environment? We’ve tapped into our expert network to create these fitness studio reopening guidelines that can help you rebuild post-pandemic.

Reconstruct Your Sales & Marketing Strategies

In 2020 we saw fitness enthusiasts and gym-goers from all over the world leave their physical studio memberships behind and shift towards digital and connected fitness. Now that people are starting to feel more comfortable in studio, how can you recreate your sales and marketing strategies to get people back in the door and off of their mass-market apps? 

It’s time to switch gears from being in survival mode to re-establishing in-person sessions, growing multiple revenue streams, and welcoming clients back into the studio.

In order to build a thriving business post-COVID, you will need to evolve your sales and marketing plans to meet the times. From leveraging your new online classes to focusing on building a brand that transcends the four walls of your studio, to utilizing tools that help you automate communication, we outline the ins and outs of post-pandemic sales and marketing strategies.

Focus on Customer Retention

Customer retention is the top way to increase your revenue. It is less time-consuming and expensive to nurture your current community than it is to go out and find new customers. Even a small uptick in retention can support your bottom line. According to Bain & Company, a 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit.

Rather than spending your time, energy, and money on trying to find new customers, use tools to get to know your customers and build a true understanding of what drives them to keep coming back. Capturing data about your customer’s preferences and feedback can help you understand how to build programming that your community wants and needs and communicate with them in a way that inspires them to return. Learn about the key data points that can help you increase retention and revenue. 

(Re)Build Your Studio Community

Your community is your greatest asset. With so many studios out there, it is essential to create an irresistible sense of community. People don’t come to your studio for the workout, they can get that anywhere. Your clients keep coming back because they want to be part of something that is bigger than themselves, a community of like-minded people. 

“Once a client has chosen your studio, the connections to others are what keep them around,” says Nt Etuk, founder of FitGrid. In fact, our analysis shows that clients who are connected to one or more of their classmates in the FitGrid Class App attend 66% more often than those who don’t. 

How can you encourage your members to connect and form bonds that strengthen your business? Our experts lay out their best strategies for deepening bonds within your community.

Reframe Your Pricing 

Revenue is a key driver in your fitness business and it is likely that this year drastically changed your revenue streams. Now that you are reopening your studio doors, what is the best way to price your various experiences? Where can you find new revenue streams and how can you optimize your pricing to stay relevant? 

It’s possible that you might be in a better financial position than before the pandemic in terms of opportunity. You now likely have a mix of programs that you can continue to monetize going forward.

Our network of financial experts share their insights into how to reframe your ideas of revenue to account for the post-pandemic industry. 

Turn Your Staff Into Salespeople

You might be trying to wrap your head around how your business can thrive in this new environment. Have you considered that your most valuable sales assets might be right at your fingertips? Engaging your staff and instructors in client communication can increase the sense of community at your studio, boost retention, and help you bring in new business. 

In our experience, there are many ways to encourage your staff and instructors to act as your best salespeople. From personalized communication, to hiring strategies and performance metrics, we break down the power of valuing your employees. One communication strategy outlined was shown to increase studio visits by as much as 66 percent! And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Keep Offering Livestream Classes 

As people in the United States begin to emerge from lockdown, the state of the post-COVID fitness industry is starting to take shape. Before heading back into the studio to resume business as usual, it might be worthwhile to spend time reflecting on what programs will bring you the most success as you reopen. Is it possible that some practices adopted during the pandemic may be fruitful going forward?

During mandated closures, it is likely that your studio invested in technology to livestream and digitize your classes. Why walk away from everything you’ve built? There is a way to reopen your studio to traditional classes and continue offering livestream fitness classes. A hybrid model can be a helpful resource for transitioning out of COVID lockdown as well as expanding your community and revenue opportunities.

While the concept might sound simple, the hybrid class model requires planning and the right set of tools for execution. We’ve shared trends and best practices to help you diversify your revenue streams and keep your clients happy.

Don’t Forget About Personal Development

Being a great studio owner is more than just running a profitable business. Exceptional leadership can be the difference between a lasting brand and a business that fizzles. To be a great leader that inspires your clients and instructors, and enthusiastically builds your dreams, you need to be doing some inner work as well. Yet, it can be far too easy to overlook your personal development while taking care of the day-to-day tedium of studio management. Carving out time for networking and self-care can improve your life – and your business. 

Excited to dive into these topics in-depth to build a more successful studio post-pandemic? We’ve compiled actionable advice from industry experts into this definitive guide.  

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