Getting in shape has felt like something of a luxury this past year. Many of us have felt isolated and alone. Lack of access to our favorite fitness businesses has taken a toll not only on our physical health, but our mental health as well. As we get back to “normal”, it’s essential to acknowledge the truth about running a fitness business—community is the backbone of our ability to run profitable businesses.
Strong community matters for studio fitness success; here’s why and here’s how you can foster it within your own business today.
Working out is something you must be dedicated to. It’s something that requires energy and effort. In order to exercise, you must sacrifice time spent somewhere else in your life. And for that reason alone, it’s essential that the space, the people, and the experience in a fitness studio are warm, inviting, and memorable.
The most important part of this equation is the people, or the community with your fitness space. It’s what will make or break the entire experience for a new member. Creating that sense of connection and belonging is essential if a member is going to dedicate their hours to your business rather than someone else’s (or on another activity altogether!)
This is what keeps your members coming back for more.
Plus, every fitness professional understands that accountability is key in keeping on track with a fitness regimen, and many people rely on friends and family to keep them on track. When they feel connected to the other members of your studio, you’re making it easier for them to stay engaged and stay accountable.
When your fitness business is not focused on creating an epic community within it, it’s easier for members to bounce and events like a global pandemic to make it impossible for you to keep moving forward, so a strong community is something your business really can’t live without.
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.
Now, 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.
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?
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?
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!
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.)
This is a guest post by Shauna Armitage. Shauna is a Fractional Marketing Director who has been running her own business for quite some time now! Shauna works closely with teams to help them develop their marketing strategies and create successful campaigns to generate new leads; she also hosts a podcast called Startup Renegades.