2020 was the year of the connected fitness boom, and it hasn’t slowed down. Whether your members purchased physical equipment, like a Peloton or Mirror, or not, connected fitness is here to stay, and it’s your biggest competitor. If you want former clients to return (and stick around) and attract new members, you have to compete with the big connected fitness players. And to do so, you have to understand why they’re killing the game.
From cultivating community to consistency between instructors, Peloton, in particular, has created a cult following that has brought people from all different levels of fitness together. In-person connection is a clear differentiator for boutique studios, but you have to do more to stand out. Here’s our top advice on how you can win back clients who turned to connected fitness during the pandemic.
This point should go without saying, but digital options are still a must. Live-streaming is no longer a nice to have; it’s essential. Make live streaming easier and less time-consuming by integrating a seamless solution that takes the admin work off your plate. Tools like FitGrid will automatically send Zoom links and check clients in so you can focus on teaching the best classes you can.
In-home studio set-ups with poor lighting may have worked for your live-streaming classes a year ago, but your clients expect more now. Live-stream your classes from your studio or create a professional backdrop that fits your brand. Invest in quality lighting and sound equipment that minimizes technical issues and allows your clients to focus on their workouts.
You know what a Peloton instructor can’t do? Talk to their clients directly. You have the benefits of a two-way relationship so use it! Call your clients, connect with them on social media or the FitGrid Class App and get personal. Offer goal-setting setting sessions, help your clients with different moves or modifications, and focus on creating meaningful relationships.
Part of the success of Peloton is its instructors. They’ve each become celebrities in their own right because of their stage presence, willingness to share their stories and the simple fact that the brand gives them a platform. Just like Peloton, your instructors are the cornerstone of your community and your brand. Empower them to promote your studio, their classes and give them as many opportunities to connect with clients directly as possible. When clients form friendships with instructors, they’re far more likely to keep showing up. Tools like the FitGrid Class App and Pro App help amplify this relationship-building by allowing instructors to connect directly with clients (all with your oversight) and build their brand.
If you haven’t changed your schedule in a year, you might be missing some big opportunities. Whether your clients’ routines have changed or not, they’ve likely been exposed to new fitness routines. Connected fitness apps have done a great job of creating “stackable” workouts that can be done on their own or stacked with another workout for a lengthier session. Adding 30-minute or even 15-minute classes that can be stacked, either to your live or on-demand offerings, is one of the best ways to give your clients options that fit into the fitness routines they’ve gotten used to over the last year. And, if you’re uncertain exactly what to offer, send out a survey to ask your clients first hand!
One of the reasons Peloton has been so sticky is because of their regular challenges, badges, and leaderboards. Their members share shamelessly, and it turns into free advertising for the brand. Simply put, challenges work! They keep people accountable (even at home), foster community through a shared goal, and encourage social sharing.
One of the simplest ways to fuel your clients’ competitive nature is to get them on the FitGrid Class App to see when their friends are taking classes and get inspired to sign up themselves. The app also sends notifications to remind your clients to keep taking classes to hit their weekly goals! Take this competitive spirit one step further by organizing a challenge at your studio. While Peloton has in-app badges, you can one-up them with free classes or studio swag.
While the big connected fitness apps have the scale and large reach, they don’t have the close-knit communities that boutique studios have. Your biggest asset is your community, but to make your community an asset to your business, you must foster and amplify it. In addition to creating in-person networking opportunities, make it possible for classmates to connect and interact offline. Facebook groups have long been a way studios have done this, but the toxicity of social media can alienate some members. Instead, try a platform like the FitGrid Class App that was specifically designed to make it easier for classmates to meet, connect, and build relationships. These opportunities to connect with real people instead of just a name on a leaderboard are what will truly set your studio apart.
As you continue to welcome more and more clients back this year, keep looking for opportunities to improve their experience. Your clients have choices, and the reason they’ll choose you is because of the community, the relationships, and the results. If your studio wants to compete against the big players in connected fitness, you need the right tools like FitGrid to help you get there. Get started with a 14-day free trial.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level