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Tag: Business Strategies

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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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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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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This One Thing Will Put an End to the Owner-Instructor Power Struggle

This One Thing Will Put an End to the Owner-Instructor Power Struggle

This One Thing Will Put an End to the Owner-Instructor Power Struggle

BUSINESS STRATEGIES

Laura Munkholm | May 25, 2021

What I learned from years of hiring and managing employees

Instructors have a vision for growing their classes and keeping their students engaged. Owners have a vision for growing the overall studio and keeping every new and returning client happy. Sometimes, the two are in perfect alignment, and, sometimes (or, perhaps more often than not), there can be some tension. Differing viewpoints between owners and instructors can be great when they contribute to innovations that help businesses move forward, but when bickering leads to bottlenecks, that’s when real problems begin. Tension between instructors and owners can detract from the client experience and cause fissures between your student community, impacting your ability to attract and retain clients.

So what can you do about it? Well, here’s my take. 

After years of working in sales and recruiting, I made the switch to studio management and launched my own consulting business as a support system for the leaders of the wellness revolution. I worked with hundreds of studio owners, helping them build thriving businesses.  I realized quickly that the wellness world needed a better tool to run their businesses and manage staff, so over the past year, I’ve been working with some of the best minds in software to create Walla, a new studio management platform. Thanks to these combined experiences, I’ve learned a thing or two about putting an end to unhealthy owner-instructor power struggles that can hold back a studio’s growth and engagement. It all starts with hiring. 

I’ve seen many disastrous hiring decisions made, the aftermath of which can affect businesses for months. When I left recruiting, I was excited to finally be in charge of my own hiring at my yoga studio. I was convinced that I had the formula down and that I’d never make the mistakes other hiring managers had made. Spoiler alert: I was totally wrong. Not only is the fitness industry completely different from corporate America, I underestimated the time and energy commitment each new hire would take. I learned the hard way how brutal the process of hiring new talent can be. To ease the headache, for me and my clients, I decided to keep track of what worked and what didn’t.

It all starts with hiring effectively. Here are the five key takeaways I learned in my review:

Takeaway #1: Weed out unaccountable candidates immediately with these four steps:

Step 1: Ask screener questions

Your time is precious. Don’t waste it worrying if candidates are going to show up, or if they can follow directions. In your job posting, ask three screener interview questions for the fitness trainer candidates, such as:

    • What three words would your friends use to describe you?
    • What makes you passionate about fitness?
    • Why do you want to work at this studio? 

The questions can be anything, the goal here is to see who actually listens and answers the questions. Even if someone’s resume looks perfect if they don’t follow directions and answer all three, toss out that resume. 

Step 2: Ask interviewees to confirm they’ll come to the interview 
Once you invite someone for an interview, ask them to email a confirmation to you the day before the interview. If you don’t hear from them, they’re out. 

Step 3: Ask candidates to take a class at your studio before the interview
Give them a week to do so. Part of the interview can be about their experience that day. Then you’ll really find out how passionate they can be about what you do. Your call if you want to give it to them for free, but I like the idea of them paying for a class, or better yet, buying the intro offer so you can ask them about the process. 

Step 4: Pay attention to who shows up on time for their interview
If someone is late, they probably are late in general. 

Bonus: Keep track of the answers people gave in step 1 to the three three screener questions. You will start to see trends amongst the “A” candidates’ answers and their behaviors throughout the rest of the interview process.

Your business probably looks completely different than it did a year ago, but that doesn’t mean you can’t replenish and grow your studio membership base beyond pre-COVID numbers. With the right customer win-back tools, anything is possible.

Takeaway #2: Believe in the power of group interviews

Think about the time investment it takes to interview five candidates. That’s five hours or more of your time, with a likely second round for your top two candidates. So, seven hours—not counting reviewing resumes. Yikes. A group interview, on the other hand, can fit in six to eight candidates in 60 to 90 minutes. Not only will group interviews save you time, but the strongest candidates will also truly stand out, making your job even easier. You can do this with instructors OR desk staff. 

Takeaway #3: Ask unconventional questions in the interview

Surprise your candidates! Ask interview questions of the fitness trainers that they won’t expect, such as:

  • Tell me about a blunder you’ve made…what was it like? How did you recover?
  • What annoys you most in the workplace?
  • How would you change or innovate the approach our desk staff takes when greeting new and returning clients?
  • What would your at-bat song be? (or something equally as silly, but disarming)

Tip: ALWAYS end with the question “There is only one job available, who in this group should get it? If you are looking for an instructor who is a team player and follows instructions well, you might be looking for an answer that might not be about them. If you are looking for an instructor to help you build your studio and lead customer retention efforts, you better believe that the right candidate says “ME” loud and clear. 

Takeaway #4: Ask for references

Many hiring managers overlook references because they think they will always be positive. For the most part, they’re right, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a lot about a candidate from chatting with their former managers. Plan out thoughtful questions that can help you understand who the candidate really is, such as: 

  • What drives the candidate?
  • Here is the job description that they would be taking on. What will they be best at? Where will they need a little more training?
  • What would you do to get the most out of the candidate?

You will be amazed at how much you’ll find out about a person when you speak to the right people and ask the right questions.

Takeaway #5: Create a supportive onboarding process

When staff members aren’t supported with a committed training process from the start, the likelihood of them sticking around for more than a few months is dismal. Here’s what you can do to set things up right from the get-go:

  • Provide a training manual.
  • Have current team members be part of the training process to help integrate new hires into the studio family.
  • Schedule one-week, one-month, and quarterly check-ins.
  • Create systems that will help you review your instructors’ performance.
  • Have new hires take classes at your studio, so you know they can speak to your product. 
  • Keep an open door and listen, that way new instructors know they can ask for the support they need.
  • Encourage instructors to engage with the clients and train them how to do so effectively. 

Hiring can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating for you or your team. If you follow these guidelines, you can make it an exciting part of your studio business because you will be hiring people who will help your studio grow. 

Remember: Each time you bring on a new team member, you are offering your clients a chance to connect with someone passionate about what you do. Hiring the right people empowers another person to sell and educate clients on your services and allows you the time and opportunity to make more money.

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Six Tips for Successful Hybrid Fitness Classes

Six Tips for Successful Hybrid Fitness Classes

Six Tips for Successful Hybrid Fitness Classes

BUSINESS OWNER INSIGHTS

Lindsay Mcclelland | June 4, 2020

As states relax social distancing guidelines and fitness studios begin to reopen their physical locations, the idea of “hybrid” classes is top of mind for studio owners everywhere.

With in-person classes much smaller, and live-streaming here to stay, the hybrid class looks to many like the natural next step.

Since most studios are putting together their first hybrid classes, we asked some of our FitGrid studio partners to share their thinking and advice about what can work best. Here’s what they had to say:


1. Ask your students before creating your new schedule

COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and organize our lives. As a result, more clients might have time for earlier classes if they’re working from home. “Do your best to meet the needs of most of your clients, said Heather Erdmann, owner of Pure Body Studio in Houston, TX. “If you’re not sure what those needs are, create and send a poll before building a new schedule.” Polling your community doesn’t have to be complicated. Ask for feedback on social media or send a survey via email to find out what works best for your students.

2. Engage with both virtual and in-person clients

In a hybrid class, you have two sets of students. FitGrid’s suite of community management tools makes engaging with students after class easy. Connecting with both groups during class, however, will take some adjustment.  Be aware that the camera has a strong draw, and “make an effort to look at the in-person clients so they don’t feel forgotten since you’re looking at a camera now as well,” said Chelsea Mozel, co-owner of MVP Dance Fit in Ohio. After all, everyone wants to feel some of the love and attention.

3. Create space for privacy

Not every client will want to appear in your live-streamed classes, so you’ll have to decide how to approach this with your students. FitGrid LIVE integrates with Zoom, making it easy for students at home to mute themselves or turn off their camera. In-person classes require a little more coordination. Erdmann has opted to spotlight a single student or teacher in training on Zoom instead of putting all clients on camera. “In exchange for being the spotlight, [the student gets] the class for free.” Mozel, on the other hand, is taking a different approach by advising studios to “have some designated areas that aren’t seen by the camera so clients who don’t want to be on video can still feel comfortable in your classes.” Both Erdmann and Mozel upgraded their studio waivers to cover instances of live-streaming.

4. Consider upgrading your AV equipment

To maximize the audio and visual experience for both sets of students, a webcam might not do the trick. Mozel made the decision to invest in equipment upgrades “to continue long term with live-streaming and have good quality for both sets of clients.” Erdmann teaches classical pilates, which isn’t set to music. She has continued to use an iPad to stream and added a tripod for stability. This also helps to keep only the spotlighted student in the frame.

5. Minimize visual distractions

As when live-streaming classes from home, instructors should make an effort to minimize visual distractions in the studio, too. This can make a huge difference in retaining virtual clients. Nicole Lazzerini, co-owner of LVL Fitness in Bakersfield, Calif., has guidelines for how her instructors set up their classes. “We are very picky about how our background is set up for each instructor,” she said. Lighting also makes a huge difference. Set up your camera so your instructor isn’t back-lit and make sure everyone demonstrating is visible throughout the class. There’s nothing worse than trying to follow along at home with headless students!

6. Let your community be together

All the studios we chatted with about their “hybrid” solutions agreed: Giving students the option to join an in-person class via Zoom is good for their business and community. Evolution Power Yoga in Pennsylvania plans to take this approach, “so our community can practice together despite not being able to fit everyone in the studio!” After class, be sure to unmute your students and let them chat amongst themselves. Social interaction is something we’re all craving, whether at home or in the studio, and even just five minutes of social time post-class can keep your community together!

FitGrid has been helping studios live-stream their classes since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Our experience combined with our suite of community management tools, easy set-up, and seamless integration with Mindbody and Zoom makes FitGrid LIVE the best solution for live-streaming and hybrid classes.


To start hybrid classes and stay connected to clients online and in the studio, sign up for a free trial of FitGrid LIVE.

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11 Tips for Fitness Instructors Who Are New to Live-Streaming

11 Tips for Fitness Instructors Who Are New to Live-Streaming

11 Tips for Fitness Instructors Who Are New to Live-Streaming

BUSINESS OWNER INSIGHTS

Nicole Cier | April 3, 2020

If you’re a fitness studio owner or instructor who is new to streaming classes, you’re probably still getting comfortable with the shift. We’ve put together some tips to help you get the best results possible. Keep in mind that perfection is not the goal or the expectation. What matters is that your team is showing up for your clients and giving them a way to stay healthy and connected while they’re stuck at home—no fancy equipment necessary.

Here are our tips to help your live-stream fitness sessions go as smoothly as possible…

1. We need community now more than ever

Clients look up to your studio team to guide them through their fitness regimen and inspire them to follow through with their goals. Yet without the typical social interactions and friendly competition they’d get during a face-to-face session at the studio, they may feel alone in their fitness journey. Just because you’re WOFH—“working out from home”—doesn’t mean you can’t continue to support them! Cheer your clients on and make them aware that you are there for them during this unusual time. Let them know you are here for them, and back them up with support from you and the studio.

2. Encourage clients to invite friends to class

We’re all looking for ways to do virtual activities with friends and family in order to help support each other. So encourage clients to invite someone to the next class—and that someone can be anywhere in the world. Now that you’re live-streaming, start tapping into your clients’ broader social networks while giving them ways to stay connected, too. This creates new leads for your classes once the studio is able to reopen as well as strengthens your community.

3. Get comfortable with the process

Any mobile phone, laptop, or desktop computer with video capabilities can work for live-stream content, but make sure you are familiar with it ahead of time. Charge your phone or computer as well as any headset or earbuds you might be using. Set up a tripod, or create a makeshift tripod out of stacked books or boxes. You may want to film a few test shots to make sure you are fully in the frame but close enough to the camera so that clients can clearly see you. If you are using FitGrid and Zoom to live-stream, make sure you download the Zoom streaming app (see our FitGrid LIVE User Guide for more information on how to do so). Then you will receive a link to access your “virtual classroom.” Once you Zoom-enable the class, email notifications will go out to clients one hour before class starts, and instructors will receive the class link 30 minutes before class. 

4. Give yourself (and everyone else) ample time

Allow a 15 minute period to prep for your class and ensure all your audio and visual settings are correct. A few minutes before class you can allow clients to virtually check-in, get settled, and welcome everyone. And after class, if time allows, set aside 15 minutes for instructors to address any questions or concerns clients may have. This is a confusing time for all of us, and having their favorite instructors’ insights can ease any worries clients may have about maintaining their fitness routine.

5. Send follow-ups after class and ask for feedback

This is going to be a new experience for most of your clients, and admittedly we’re all figuring it out along the way. That’s why it’s crucial that you take the time to reach out to clients after class—ask them how they liked it, what they’d like to see more or less of, and just generally let them know that you’re still available even if you aren’t seeing them in person. FitGrid has built these tools into its platform with the instructor app, which makes it easy to keep track of clients’ needs and send followup messages after class, as well as the Client Feedback tool, which automatically sends surveys out after each class.

6. Be mindful of lighting

Most fluorescent and overhead lighting does not work well with video. It creates a flickering effect that can distract the viewer and interfere with the quality of your video. Film your workouts with natural light if you can. Be sure that your body faces the light source to prevent being backlit and therefore difficult to see. Outdoor filming can offer great results as well. But make sure before filming that you have a steady WiFi connection and there is minimal background noise, such as birds or street sounds. Also, direct sunlight is not ideal either indoors or out.

7. Keep it easy on the eyes

Avoid wearing clothing with bright colors or patterns because they can distract from the workout on camera. Try to wear clothing that contrasts with your surroundings; for example, if your background is bright, wear dark colors, and if your background is on the darker side, wear bright colors. Pick a simple environment if you can, too, such as a clean, bright room with limited furniture and clutter. Clients will have a much easier time focusing on your instruction without these distractions in the background.

8. Consider your audio quality

It can take some work to perfect the audio quality of a streaming class. Make sure you speak clearly and slowly and project your voice. Avoid rooms with echoes or noise drifting in from nearby family or friends, if you are quarantining together. You can also use a wireless microphone or Bluetooth earbuds, such as AirPods, to achieve higher quality audio—just be sure to fully charge it in advance! For more tips on obtaining the best audio quality for your live-stream, we’ve put some info together here: FitGrid LIVE Optimal Audio/Video Guide.

9. Stay consistent, when possible

Try to record your fitness classes in the same location each time without changing the physical lighting or furniture in order to create a sense of continuity in your videos, both for your own convenience and the comfort of your viewers. This includes your clothing, too—stick to a similar color palette. These simple choices can create a reliable atmosphere for your clients that they will appreciate.

10. Use Zoom filters to touch up

This trending article from The Cut reveals a “beauty filter” that you can activate through Zoom webcam conference services to freshen up your appearance after days spent inside (and possibly without skincare or makeup products to help out). Click on the bottom left button on the Zoom screen, “video settings,” and click “touch up my appearance.” This will slightly alter the image in the webcam to make it a bit more forgiving on the details.

11. Host Q&A sessions for clients who need extra attention

Consider creating a live-stream schedule to help clients who may be experiencing technical difficulties or need extra modifications or support for their workouts. They’ll appreciate knowing that you’re there for them—and this is something that no on-demand platform can offer. 

Your clients will be so grateful that you’re adapting to new circumstances and needs in order to help them stay active from home. Ultimately, we believe streaming is probably here to stay, and using it now will also be preparation for the future in which it’s part of most studios offerings.

BONUS: Here is a helpful guide with tips for teaching virtual fitness classes from home that you can keep on hand or share with your instructors. 

We’ve been helping fitness studios go virtual since the beginning of the pandemic. Let us help you. Learn more about FitGrid today

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5 Tips to Improve Studio Retention

5 Tips to Improve Studio Retention

5 Tips to Improve Studio Retention

BUSINESS STRATEGIES

Kevin | June 17, 2019

When it comes to retaining clients at your studio, it’s critical to consider the balance between using a platform that will automate your efforts, and pushing up your sleeves to do the work manually.

With automation – the notion that a studio can trigger ongoing communications to its clients is attractive and relatively easy to implement. A few clicks and presto: you’re sending important messages to a variety of clients at a regular cadence. But when it comes to the subject of retaining clients – rather than creating awareness around your promotions – is automation the right way to go? While 71% of studio owners report using marketing automation for their business, client retention continues to be the industry’s #1 challenge.

So what about manual outreach? Writing personalized emails, asking instructors to engage with clients outside the classroom, making phone calls and interacting with clients at the studio before or after class? Well, that’s a lot of work. But more to the point, how many managers or instructors have the time to realistically contact all clients on an ongoing basis? Probably very few, which is where the retention paradox exists. So should you automate or personalize your retention efforts?

That is the framework around which we’ve written our top 5 tips for increasing your studio’s retention:

1. Offer curated experiences that are unique to your business and  bring out the best in your studio

Clients absorb and evaluate everything about your business before deciding to return – the facilities, check-in, interactions with managers and the class itself. To keep clients coming back, give them an experience that’s unique, personalized and feels special.

The client experience is driven by 3 categories:

  • Facilities – Everything from layout, colors and artwork to the towels, showers and toiletries.
  • Managers – The people and personalities that greet clients. It’s important they make each visit feel special.
  • Instructors – Having the largest impact on a client’s experience, they must be knowledgeable, authentic and compassionate.

Automation/Personalization Balance: Your managers and instructors should make all check-in, class and post-class interactions as personal as possible. Knowing clients names and major life milestones (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) help increase retention.

2. Develop repeatable programming and curriculum designed to keep clients coming back

Though your studio may offer a wide array of classes, most studios fail to realize  the valuable role that routine can play in retention. Creating recurring programs designed to force regular behavior motivates clients to keep working towards new goals and thus, coming back to your studio.. These 4 types of offerings can help:

  • Challenges – 30 Day challenges, 4x a week plans or similar
  • Programs – 12-20 week courses with milestones and completion dates
  • Routines – Specific exercises completed on a per class, per month and per year basis
  • Workout of the day  – Keeps clients coming back for a new daily activity

Automation/Personalization Balance:  Developing programs that appeal to a wide audience, yet have enough self-customization that clients can find a mix that’s right for them.

3. Build a community: clients are more likely to come back the more connected they are to the other people around them

Creating community at your studio is one of the most beneficial things studio owners can do to keep clients coming back. Having a strong community can be extremely effective in retaining clients, and this effort begins with instructors connecting with clients.

  • Have Instructors Send Follow Up Messages – Sending a follow up messages is a powerful way to let your clients know the instructor cares. The FitGrid Pro app sits in the perfect middle ground between automating and personalizing these messages.
  • Ask Questions – Sending a follow up message such as “Good seeing you!” isn’t enough. Instead, asking questions like “what goals do you have?” or “how are you feeling after class?!” or “see you next week?!” should elicit a response, and engagement is the foundation of retention.
  • Be Genuine – Hiring staff that sincerely care about the well-being of their clients will naturally help the authenticity of their messages. If instructors are simply going through the motions because they have to, it’ll show.

Automation/Personalization Balance: Using a technology like FitGrid Pro allows automating messages that look and sound authentic with the flexibility of personalizing them when the situation calls for it.

4. Having a “linear touchpoint timeline” communication strategy will make sure you’re touching base at the right times

Most studios use a variety of technology platforms to communicate with their customers. However, many are over-communicating because there is confusion about which platform is sending each message. For example, the touch points a new client might have with your business include:

  • Registration
  • Welcome Email
  • Pre-Visit Call/Email
  • First Visit Follow-up
  • Third Visit Follow-up
  • Final Week of Intro Offer Front Desk Check-in
  • Last Day of Intro Offer Phone Call Check-in

These common touch points for a new client at your studio have a person, platform or technology to help facilitate delivery, yet few studios set forth a linear touchpoint timeline that assigns each to a person or platform. Failure to outline this process often leads to mixed messaging.

Automation/Personalization Balance: Using a mix of technology, people, automated messages and one-to-one touch points will create the perfect blend of messaging that should help retain clients.

5. Holding clients accountable to their goals is the most fundamental retention strategy of all time

The new client on-boarding process should always include a place to document the goals of your clients. Whether they are aiming to lose weight, increase strength or improve their overall sense of well-being, these should be noted on their account. Then theoretically, holding clients accountable to their goals should influence their behavior

Three popular accountability techniques include:

  • Setting Expectations – It’s important to provide clients an understanding of what’s needed from a client in order for them to achieve their physical goals
  • Provide Feedback – Let clients know how they are doing early and often with actionable feedback, both positive and negative

Automation/Personalization Balance: Holding clients accountable in a training environment is deeply personalized and relies heavily on frequent interpersonal communication.


Sending automated messages that contain personal content is the ultimate healthy balance between your convenience and your clients’ satisfaction. Finding the perfect middle ground between automation and personalization not only saves time for instructors, but still thoroughly communicates to your clients that you value and appreciate them.  Show clients they matter by using FitGrid to thank them for their attendance and effort every session, and keep them coming back for more.

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FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level

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