The Ultimate Guide to Rebuilding Your Studio Post-COVID
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level