What the pandemic has taught us
We’ve learned a lot as we’ve lived and run our businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and one thing is abundantly clear: there is no substitution for the in-person fitness experience. Mental and physical health is vital to maintain a balanced sense of self. Remaining active and disciplined is not only a physical necessity, but a mental necessity as well.
We can certainly offer virtual options successfully, but it can be tough to recreate that sense of belonging and camaraderie when we’re not in the studio altogether. (Difficult, but not impossible.) Creating a “solace spot,” a place of familiarity and safety, helps people develop a routine and stick to it regularly.
Many of our members have tried the at-home options popping up across the internet like daisies, but those alternatives to the fitness studio can’t support their desire for friendship and human connection. There will always be a demand for in-person fitness options because people will always crave that kind of experience.
How to build a powerful fitness community around your brand
It’s pretty clear that community is essential to the success of any studio fitness brand... but how will you go about building and nourishing that community within your own business space?
Make sure your classes are memorable
There are a lot of options out there for fitness these days from local studios to online memberships. What makes yours stand out?
Do you have a special technique? Are your instructors particularly engaging? Do you have “events” built into the flow of class that encourage members to work together or engage with one another? These are all factors that will play into the overall experience your business provides.
At the end of the day you must ask yourself (and your members too!): Are our classes memorable?
Empower teachers to create real bonds with clients
Connection is key to any successful relationship, and that’s what you’re building every time a new member walks through your door. Relationship maintenance makes it difficult for clients to part ways with their studio fitness business of choice.
When teachers check-in with their students before and after class, they are maintaining a relationship that ensures the return of the client…. but this isn’t the only way to create deeper connections. When your fitness business software makes it easy for instructors and members to communicate, they can take the community with them wherever they go!
Encourage members to connect with one another outside of class
Connecting outside of class is key. The pandemic, again, has taught us a really big lesson: Maintaining our relationships—even when we can’t be face-to-face—is essential for our mental health. So why stop the community vibes when your member walks out the door?
Having a dedicated online space where your instructors and members can actively communicate is going to be the thing that keeps your community thriving whether your classes are in-person or online. (Enter the fitDEGREE announcement board.)
Keep communication open after hours
fitDEGREE has a lot of amazing features that would recommend it as a studio management software to any fitness business. However, one of the most beloved features that we’ve built is the announcement board.
Gone are the days when you need to email your members if class is cancelled, or to let them know about the special yoga workshop you’re holding next month. fitDEGREE’s announcement board has a Facebook-like feed that keeps members up-to-date with everything that’s going on in your studio (complete with push notifications!) and gives them a space on their phone where they can quickly and easily connect with all their favorite friends from your studio—keeping the community vibes alive in between class sessions.
Offering your members a line of communication with other individuals in your studio ecosystem when they are outside of class is the #1 way you can foster community in your studio and keep your business thriving.
“You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” is more relevant today than ever; and what’s sweeter than a group of people who love and support you as you work toward a better version of yourself? In today’s day and age, one tweet can result in 100 retweets and even more views or shares. What people say about a business matters. How your business makes people FEEL matters. Today, more than ever before, people are looking for connection; they are looking for a place where they belong. It’s time we gave it to them.