From British Airways to Benugo, companies large and small are incentivising their customers with rewards. When it comes to exercising and staying on track, humans often need an extra little nudge.
You might be inclined to cut back on rewards when finances are tight, but customer loyalty programmes pay for themselves and then some. Rewarding member loyalty is, in fact, a carefully constructed marketing ploy- upselling in disguise.
An effective loyalty programme will increase member activity, improve customer experience, and increase revenue for your business.
Opt for a points-based system
One of the most popular choices is a points-based system. Customers recognise this model from coffee chains and supermarkets, so they find it easy to understand. Points accumulate each time a customer attends the gym, takes a class, or executes a faultless burpee (we’re working on the tech for that one).
Small rewards should be reachable within a week of consistent training. More substantial rewards need to be attainable within a three-month period for clients to find them worthwhile.
Types of rewards
The value of the prizes you offer needs to be carefully balanced with your own goals. When the scales are level, both you and your customer will benefit.
Offer rewards on a sliding scale. Small prizes could include free hot drinks, smoothies, advance booking, a hand towel or gym lock. At the higher end of the spectrum are free classes or a PT session.
The trick is to merge rewards with services or products you are hoping to promote.
Big awards for referrals
A real sign of loyalty is when a member brings in a new customer. A member referral could bring in hundreds of pounds to your health club, so members should be rewarded highly, perhaps with a free class of their choice or a significant discount from a month of their fee.
The equivalent of £30-£50 is a reasonable premium for referrals.
Integrate rewards with your CRM system
To make this a win-win model, integrate your loyalty programme with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology.
A CRM system keeps track of your customers’ interactions with your business, so you can observe their activity levels and, more importantly, the aspects of your business they do not yet take advantage of. You might choose to offer rewards that encourage clients to greater experience your service.
For example, someone who is a Hiit fanatic could be awarded a free holistic class. Someone whose attendance has slipped could be offered a free PT session, to reinvigorate their interest and decrease the likelihood of them abandoning the club.
Companies that truly understand customer loyalty take their strategy a step further and create a more convenient experience. Often this is done through the development of an app.
Many airlines provide apps that allow customers to check in online and bypass airport queues. The Wetherspoons app lets people order drinks from their table, meaning they are relieved from elbow bashing at the bar. A customer’s activity is tracked through the app, meaning further rewards can be dished out directly to their phone.
When businesses solve client problems and alleviate pain points, customer loyalty rises.
Re-evaluate and evolve
Any new strategy will take time before it is beneficial. Your system will require lots of remodelling as you get to grips with the desires of your customers. You can measure the success of your loyalty programme by monitoring member retention and satisfaction.
The key to getting new customers is to get them through the door.
While it would be lovely to make a profit from the events themselves, you should be prepared to offer your classes and products at a loss, focusing instead on the bigger picture.
Once you have all of the details of your event in order, you need to get the word out. Use social media and your website for online promotions, and distribute flyers to local businesses (including your own) and homes.
Marketing events are more meaningful and intimate than a mass email, so can be hugely valuable to both your potential customers and your business.
Buddy workout and drinks
The majority of people are motivated by other people when it comes to keeping fit. Many individuals only participate in a workout if they are dragged to the gym by a friend. Thankfully, this pack mentality promotes gym membership growth.
To give this effect a little push, host a “bring your buddy” night once a month. Members’ friends get the chance to visit your studio for a class and afterwards they can hang out with your customers and your team. Sell drinks at a discounted price, with only a small profit margin, so visitors do not feel like they are being stung. Offer a membership premium rate to anyone who signs up for a membership at the event and two free passes to next month’s event.
One day a month or term, your studio can transform into a high-end fitness clothing store. Collaborate with an apparel brand and hold a sale day- Black Friday, May Madness- any excuse.
Try to coordinate your event with “Pay Day,” so money is not the reason someone misses out. The clothing company will benefit from adding your customers to its list and you, in return, will reap the rewards of their happy shoppers. Everyone welcome, members and new sign-ups get an extra 5% discount.
Yoga, as a genre, is known for its high retention rates. Its following is partly due to its ability to simultaneously fire-up and relax the body and mind; it can feel addictive. However, it is also a progressive workout: one that can very clearly be tracked by a person’s increasing ability to hold a balance and growing flexibility. Yoga lends itself well to workshops, with many studios offering events on ‘Handstands and Inversions’, ‘Breath Control’, or even week-long retreats in Ibiza.
Workshops can serve any sport or fitness style, as people aspire not only to get fit, but to improve technique, prevent injury, and master steps. Workshops do not need to be solely movement based but could be diet focused or lifestyle enhancing.
If you do not have the knowledge to host a particular seminar reach out to industry professionals for help. Sometimes a physio or other expert will offer their services free of charge in exchange for access to your members.
Charitable Marketing Event
Whether the intentions are selfish or selfless, businesses are perceived as generous when they donate to a charity. Choose a cause that aligns with your business; it might be sporting access for people with disabilities or maybe an environmental charity to offset any emissions your studio generates.
Sport and exercise are one of the leading go-tos for charity events. Marathons and cross-country bike rides are often the motivational pushes that inspire people to rise from the couch and get exercising. Whether you decide to enter a team into an organised event or you host an event at your studio, encourage your members to get involved.
The health and well-being of a workforce directly correlate with productivity, increased performance, and fewer sick days. Google has led the way with their focus on employee satisfaction. They believe that a varied work environment with significant staff benefits attracts the top talent. Corporate fitness packages are a win-win for both employees and employers. Finally, large corporations are starting to take employee health more seriously, with 22% of employers now offering gym memberships. However, this is far shy of where the working world needs to be. If you’re a fitness provider- be it coach or club- you have an opportunity to pitch your services to the remaining 78% of corporate companies. Here is your complete guide to offering corporate fitness packages.
Freelance Instructors: What to offer
Both pilates and yoga can be done in relatively small spaces, so a freelance instructor could potentially teach a class in a large office with the furniture pushed to the side. Pilates is ideal for desk junkies, as it reduces injuries and corrects posture. Meanwhile, yoga provides a zen amidst a busy lifestyle and works to stretch as well as strengthen the body. These practices fit well with a company on a budget as the only cost is for the instructor and small equipment. If you are a hiit instructor offering high-intensity classes, the chances are you’ll need a bit more space than what Meeting Room 3B can offer. A nearby park or even the company’s car park can be an alternative to a gym and will help to keep costs down.
Gyms: What to offer
Intense classes will energise and revitalise a workforce, but obviously, these require proper facilities. Gyms should pitch classes and reduced memberships to nearby businesses. Your sales pitch should vary depending on the size and nature of the company you’re approaching. Large companies may seek a discount for their bulk purchase, but be wary of underselling your services. Be lenient when charging small independents, but aim high for big businesses. Investigate their spendings in other areas (such as away days or Christmas parties) and price your services accordingly.
Sports centres: What to offer
Sports will not only improve the health and stamina of a workforce but can challenge motor skills and encourage rapid decision making. 5-a-side is perfect as an office lunchtime activity. The team sport will help colleagues bond while encouraging collaboration. Whatever your sport, you have a choice of selling simply the venue (at a discounted corporate price) or an activity package deal. Obviously, the latter will increase a company’s spend, but it will also be a better motivational tool for workers. Weekly coaching or fitness sessions will encourage a workforce to set targets and will encourage them into a routine- a positive for you, them and their company.
How to market your services
Convince employers that your role is vital to the productivity levels of their workforce and the happiness of their staff. For many prospective employees, a job that includes a corporate fitness package is an enticing bonus. Not only does it save them time, but it shows that the company priorities the health and happiness of its employees. Take a look at the “values” section of the company’s website. Perhaps they boast about employee well-being or claim to promote a work-life balance. Quote them in your pitch and demonstrate how you can assist them in fulfilling their promises.
Look to success stories
Nuffield Health is one of the largest providers of corporate fitness in the UK. They build onsite gyms as well as offering corporate programmes at their facilities. Most of the major gym chains promote their corporate fitness packages on their websites. Browse the competition and steal what you think might work for you and your potential clients.
Your yoga business is already a success, with a steady stream of customers and a satisfactory income. You’ve done the hard part: getting your business off the ground, but there comes a time your seedling must grow into an oak tree.
Expanding from a small to medium-sized business is a difficult but fun process. Gone are the days when you had to search for potential customers at friends’ weddings and funerals- when you offered free classes to relatives just to bulk out your otherwise empty studio. Now, is the time to increase your marketing efforts, re-evaluate the systems you have put in place and to think outside the box that is your yoga studio.
Here are our top tips to help you grow your yoga business.
Build a community
A yoga studio is the perfect place for yogis to meet like-minded people. However, nobody is going to talk to those around them if the atmosphere at your venue is cold and unwelcoming. The key to retention is to build a warm community feel that will have customers itching to stay longer. Build a hangout space that oozes comfort and calm. If you have the facilities, add a small cafe area, which is ideal as a chilled catch-up space. In addition, the extra revenue from coffees and smoothies will help you to grow your business.
It’s not just the space, but the people in the space, who elevate your business from standard service to community. Your staff should lead by example and develop meaningful relationships with students. When hiring staff, don’t only assess their qualifications and credentials; judge their mannerisms, their eagerness to chat and their willingness to go above and beyond standard requirements. You want a teacher that stays behind after class to help students with niggles, a receptionist that remembers the names of regular visitors and most of all you want a team that loves working at your studio.
Host an event
Yoga is the type of exercise that requires dedicated learning. That’s why workshops a brilliant way to complement classes and boost retention. Offer specialised classes like: ‘Handstands and Inversions’, ‘Breath Control’, or even host a week-long retreat in Ibiza. If you really want to make these workshops a success, run complimentary sessions either side of lunch. Pre-lunch will be a high-intensity class to fire up the metabolism. Then students break for a healthy lunch and a mingle, before returning to the studio for Yin relaxation.
Another idea is to host weekly socials. Pilates and Prosecco Thursdays? Yin and Yang Fridays? Advertise these events at the end of classes and encourage your staff to join in the fun.
Choose the right online booking system
There is nothing worse than having willing customers, only to find they have not carried through with their online booking because the system you use is too complicated, too longwinded or, as is the case with many out there, crashes altogether.
1) When choosing a booking system you want one that is first and foremost reliable- one that will deliver on every booking request.
2) Your next consideration should be simplicity. How easy is the booking process? Is it accessible to people of all ages or will some users find it too complex to navigate?
3)Your third concern should be functionality. How many features does the system allow for? Your yoga business should be offering a tier of membership options as well as drop-in rates and special offers. You need a system that can cater to your personal needs.
4) The fourth thing that many businesses often overlook, is assessing the support that the booking service can offer you- the business owner and system operator. Will there be a team reachable by email or phone that can help you with concerns?
5) Finally, you should take into account the overall look of the system. It is important that the front end of your website looks just as professional the service you offer. While appearance is crucial, beware of systems that offer style over substance.
Yoga positions are visually impressive, and so photos of dancer’s pose, downward dog and headstands fill the pic-based platform. If you are looking to target a young market, then Instagram is for you. 59% of users are under the age of 30, whilst 63% of teenagers are active on the app every day.
To be successful on Instagram and build your following, you will want to post at least once per week, ideally more. Take photos of your studios, your team, your students and the products that you sell. Upload instructional videos or just film one of you teachers doing an impressive Vinyasa flow. The trick is to be experimental and always keep the ethos of your brand in mind.
Curious? Learn more: How to use Instagram to boost your fitness brand
Collaborate with a brand that compliments your image
There are tonnes of apparel brands that focus on fitness or, more specifically, yoga. It doesn’t need to be uber-famous brands like Sweaty Betty or Lululemon; In fact, a lesser known business might be more excited about a collaboration. A small business, still in its early growth stage will be more willing to promote your classes on their website and in their store.
A local sports shop or even an organic health shop could be your ideal partner. Approach them in person and offer discounts to their customers and vice versa. This sort of collaboration benefits both businesses and, when kept local, promotes a positive image.
Additionally, when working with a business at a similar stage of growth to that of your own, you have the opportunity to share knowledge with each other. Learn from each other’s mistakes and discuss ideas for growth in the future. If you are lucky you will create a valuable partnership.
Offer rewards for referrals
92% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends over every other form of advertising. This statistic proves that word of mouth is the biggest marketing tool you have.
To optimise this Chinese whispers effect, you should have a referral reward scheme in place. For your referral scheme to be most effective, offer a membership discount to both parties involved (ie. the referer and the referee).
Interested to know more? Word of Mouth Marketing link
Question: What tactics did you find most effective in growing your fitness business?
You can pay for AdWords and spend thousands on a social media campaign and still struggle to increase footfall at your facility. Despite all the advancements in technology, word of mouth is still your most effective marketing tools. A member referral programme is an age-old, low-cost way to rake in new meat to your fitness centre. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends over every other form of advertising.
So how can you use word of mouth marketing to increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction?
What is the return?
Obviously, new members are what we’re after, but referrals, specifically, can prove to be astonishingly lucrative. According to Harvard Business Review, customers obtained through referrals are more faithful and more valuable than regular customers. The study reviewed 10,000 accounts in a large German bank over a period of three years. It found that, on average, referrals are 18% more likely to stay with the business. They also spend about 16% more (amounting to €40 each). When considering both of these factors, the company earns about 60% on its €25 referral award. Referrals begin their gym journey with a higher level of trust than someone who has no prior connection with your service. This means that they are happier to spend money on your products.
To reward the referrer or the referree?
You might think that you can get away with rewarding your current member and bypassing your new client, but overall a method that sees both parties benefit works best. Giving discounts to all involved makes them feel like a team who have worked together for their prize.
How generous should you be?
The first step in creating an effective gym referral programme is to create a great offer that incentivises both the referrer and the referree. The reward given out should always be in line with the reward your business receives, ie: a possible gym membership. To find a suitable figure, you need to calculate the profit margin of each individual membership, ie. what is left over once rent costs, instructor costs, towel service, water etc have been taken away.
For example, if your profit margin is 50%, the reward you offer needs to be significantly lower than this. A 10% membership discount for both customers would still leave you with a 30% profit increase from the new sale. You need to calculate a figure that leaves you confident your margins are healthy but one that is also a significant reward to the customer. Alternatively, you could waive the initial joining fee or throw in free merchandise and PT sessions.
Once you’ve devised a plan, it’s time to tell your members. You can do this via whatever means of communication you normally use. This can be email marketing, push notifications (if you have an app), in-house posters, or verbally, when members check in at the reception desk.
The try before you buy model is enticing to potential customers. Of course, having the trusted view of your gushing pal is persuasive, but it doesn’t beat smelling the sweaty chlorine air for yourself. Offer members three yearly guest passes and encourage them to bring new people into the club.
Move in for the kill
Without looking like a tiger ready to pounce on its prey, be ready and eager to settle the sale. Some consumers will sign up having never set foot in your gym, but they’re the easy sell. Those that utilised a guest pass may be a little fussier and more cautious with their investments. Assuming that your guest checked in upon arrival, your sales team has already had a chance to greet them and obtain their contact details. Aside from plying them with alcohol, your guest will be happiest and most willing to join immediately after their visit, so try to tap into their spontaneous side. Organise a casual chat in the cafe or reception area. Using a friendly, moderate approach will be most effective.
If they leave without joining, simply send them a gentle reminder a day or two later, so you remain on their mind. Apart from that, you have a trusted side-kick in your current member: their friend.
It’s the same every year; January sees a flock of eager Christmas-pudding shifters clog up the gym as they attempt to do sit-ups on the leg curl machine. But most of these blow-ins are nowhere to be seen come February. Gyms must work harder to motivate and retain these well-intentioned newbies if they want to keep their membership numbers up.
Redundant memberships are more common than active ones. The less a member uses your facilities, the less likely they are to renew their membership. For every additional visit a person makes each month, their risk of cancellation reduces by 33%.
So how can you increase member retention? The answer is surprisingly simple: communication and engagement.
Reward member loyalty
Your longtime members are most likely to become dissatisfied with your service. To combat this, consider offering a point-style loyalty system where people earn a free smoothie after five visits or free personal training session after 20 visits. Reward them with extra guest passes, which, in turn, could gift you with new members.
Implement a CRM system
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is booming in the technology world and beyond. CRM is usually stored in the cloud, where it records, reports, and analyses each interaction between a business and its customers. When you understand your customers; remember their previous requests, their birthday, and their goals with you, they feel valued. Your CRM system is built into your OpenPlay account, so you can access a customer’s details and discover their relationship with you directly from your OpenPlay dashboard.
It is not the swanky heated pool or treadmills with Sky Tv that will keep the bulk of your members coming back; human interaction will. People are socially motivated. Whether it’s a group fitness class, where friends can work out together, or a personal trainer who will scream at clients for missing a session, humans need to be involved.
Make every second month the “January rush”. Host a ‘30-day Challenge,’ where people compete to complete the highest number of workouts in 30 days. Introduce a leadership board and get your staff to promote the competition or even join it. These competitive events will keep customers engaged and help them achieve their exercise goals.
Reach out to inactive members
Using your CRM system, you can track member activity. Send polite, motivational emails to those who have been absent for a few weeks. Recommend your favourite upcoming classes, Attaching workout tips and remind members that your staff are always around to help with any questions or concerns.
To keep members engaged, you need your facilities to feel like a community. A hello is free, and a smile costs nothing, so make sure that every employee is friendly and forthcoming. Wherever possible, learn clients’ names, and use them. Staff should be extra accommodating with new members- yes, the January mob! Show them how to use equipment, recommend appropriate classes, and welcome them into the community.
Question: What tactics have you used to increase member retention?
In 2018, customer relationship management (CRM) software became the leading and fastest growing software market, with a growth rate of 16%, according to research by Gartner. Worldwide, CRM software revenue reached $39.5 billion at the end of 2017, surpassing that of database management systems (DBMS). With such rapid growth, people have been given little time to get their heads around what CRM actually is. Many people use the word, sounding impressive in emails and board meetings, but frequently they confuse its meaning with more general management software. So, what exactly is CRM and should your wellbeing business use one of these highly complex systems?
What is it?
Simply put, CRM is a way to manage and improve your interactions with customers and potential customers. Sometimes it refers to a company’s theoretical strategy or process. In its most recent format, it is a software product, usually stored in the cloud, that records, reports and analyses every interaction between company and customer. It sounds very Big Brother, but it is intended to serve both the service provider and the consumer.
The Benefits of CRM
Personalised marketing: CRM allows for a more personalised approach to marketing. Think of targeted ads that follow you around the internet; CRM refines this personalisation further. Customers or potential customers are only advertised to about products or events that are highly relevant to their interests.
Automated sales: Salespeople cannot afford to waste time rooting through spreadsheets and notepads to remember their relationship with a customer. CRM puts this information directly onto their dashboard allowing for a much smoother and more effective pitch.
Higher retention: It is proven that retention rates and member usage are directly correlated. For each additional visit by a member in any given month, the risk of that member cancelling in the subsequent month is reduced by 33%, according to research by IHRSA. With a fitness CRM system, you can monitor and reach out to inactive members who are most vulnerable to cancellation.
Customers feel valued: A mother might call with a query about her daughter’s tennis group. With an efficient sports CRM system, you can quickly search her name and load every previous interaction. With the facts laid before you in your dashboard, you will be able to provide a more personalised customer support service. Member care is a journey; it evolves as your members change.
Happy Birthday: Automatic birthday wishes can be sent to every client with the gift of a special offer. For many activity providers, kids’ birthday parties are a big chunk of their income. An effective CRM system could decipher appropriate clients and send a promotional email in advance of the child’s birthday.
Budget for change
CRM systems for sports typically contain vast amounts of sensitive personal data, such as customer contact information, date of birth etc. This information increases in value over time, as a customer’s profile builds up. In its very nature, CRM is prone to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) non-compliance. CRM budgets are expected to increase as companies follow GDPR procedures.
Dynamic pricing has been a part of flight sales for years. You check the amount, think about it, then return to book the next day and find out it has doubled in price. Now, many leisure centres, fitness studios, and sports courts are using dynamic pricing to increase usage and maximise profit. It makes sense; isn’t it better to have a tennis court filled, even if the profit margin is slimmer? Does dynamic pricing solve the gym’s most prominent issue of being either too full or not full enough? The answers are not as straightforward as you might think.
How does it work?
There are many software products that each have their method of determining price points. First off, the studios themselves set their price margins: the minimum and maximum they are willing to charge for a class. Then the algorithms kick in. The method works by taking the actual capacity utilisation of a studio. Let’s say a studio is, on average, at 60% capacity. Dynamic pricing aims to increase this figure while also growing revenue. However, it is possible for this studio to improve its capacity utilisation to 70%, yet revenue stays level or decreases, due to lower prices.
Who will benefit?
Dynamic pricing is particularly useful in the boutique fitness market, where customers will pay premium prices for premium slots. Then there are the many people who cannot afford to participate unless the price is lower; dynamic pricing gives them access to slots depending on when they book. Facilities that are in high demand (such as squash courts) can also do well from a dynamic model, as space will only go to waste if a timeslot is left open.
Will dynamic pricing put people off advance purchasing?
A tool like Zenrez offers a pricing structure that decreases the value of a class as the starting time nears. A descending model may seem like a positive move; that empty spot gets filled- fantastic! Ultimately Zenrez’s programme discourages early-bird bookings, causing a last-minute flurry of activity and studios struggling to predict and manage class numbers. Your class might be full, but your margins are squeezed and your customers are less loyal. People who wait until the final moment to book your classes have proved that they could take or leave your service. They are an unreliable customer that could very quickly jump ship.
What about an ascending price model?
Perhaps more useful are the systems that turn this algorithm on its head, rewarding early booking and slowly hiking the price as the time nears so that a reservation made the final hour costs up to £6 more than one made a week before. This system is more effective than a descending model and is proven to be useful in the airline industry. However, an ascending price structure can dissuade some people from booking at all.
Introducing your customers Jane and John. Jane is delighted she bagged herself an early deal for Boxfit and views your studio favourably. John doesn’t know what his plans are in a week’s time and cannot commit to a class seven days in advance. It comes to the day of, and John resents paying more than Jane for the same service. That bitter taste makes John spiteful. Maybe he is a spiteful guy? Or, quite possibly, many more of your customers are a little miffed. Jane, on the other hand, is a loyal customer who prioritises your classes, instead of offering Jane a discount on individual courses, you should be focusing on promoting class bundles or a membership.
Will it encourage more pay-as-you-go purchases and discourage memberships?
The short answer is yes; well, probably. With an abundance of choice in studios and gyms, pay-as-you-go is very popular, particularly amongst the younger generation who enjoy varied workouts. At the end of the day, each venue wants you to train with them and them alone. So if you bring dynamic pricing into the mix, aren’t you encouraging people to earn discounts by paying for individual classes?
By all means, experiment with your pricing; perhaps a dynamic model will work for your studio. However, if you want to build a loyal customer base, maybe it makes more sense to provide value for money memberships. Regarding pay-as-you-go, peak and off-peak is a tried and tested method that few customers seem to begrudge.
Having a finely displayed range of retail items can add character to your reception, giving it a boutique feel. Your customers should enter your venue and be comforted that you can offer them all they need to attend a class. Retail is not always a success, to begin with. You will need to shop around to find items that match the professionalism and ethos of your brand. If items don’t sell, cut your losses and hold flash sales (an excellent form of event marketing) or sell these items at a highly reduced cost to your staff members. When done right, retail has the potential to massively increase revenue at your fitness studio.
Give customers the Prime service
Amazon Prime has got it sussed when it comes to customer ease. The purchase process is almost completely frictionless, with people now asking Alexa to order the batteries. Whilst it is not yet necessary for you to be integrated with Alexa, you can take Amazonian steps to make it easier for your customers to purchase things. Perhaps they can pre-order a shake through your app, so it is ready and waiting for them when they finish their workout. The whole point of your retail station is that it is more convenient for your customers to purchase from you than to head to a nearby shop or cafe.
Food and Drinks
Obviously selling bottled water is a must for all fitness facilities. Consider switching to an eco-friendly version, such as Aquapax or Voss. When selling a higher end product, you can increase the markup, and people are happier to pay a little more if it is helping the planet. Plus, it shows that your brand cares about the impact it creates. In addition to healthy drinks, why not host a post-workout social on Thursday evenings, even if only once a month around pay-day, and encourage members to mingle over beer and wine.
Collaborate with alternative clothing brands
A lot of studios choose the mainstream brands: Nike, Adidas, Sweaty Betty, Lululemon. With high street shops on every second corner, is there any point in joining them? Your customers know them well and many will walk right by your clothing rail, assuming you are selling the products for a higher price than they could get in a store. You should spend time researching more obscure labels, in any case; these companies will be more excited about the collaboration. Promoting an indie label will prove to your customers that you are “in the know” for all things fitness and have a good eye for up and coming trends.
When coming from work or squeezing classes in between daily tasks, it is easy and a nightmare to forget workout gear. Water bottles, leggings, sports bras, are neglected time and again by busy fitness goers only to be sorely missed during an exercise class. In addition to fitness apparel, consider stocking some items that facilitate an easy exit. There is nothing worse than forgetting a spare pair of socks and have to hit the town in a damp pair or worse- sockless. Price the pieces so they are a little more expensive than a high street chain but not so expensive that impulse purchases are out of the question.
Gift vouchers are your finest sales accomplishments. When customers love your brand, they want nothing more than to encourage friends to join them for a fitness class. Sometimes mates are resistant; a gift voucher is the perfect ploy to get them through the door and get them hooked.
What better advertising for your brand than to have your customers wear your logo? It’s a bold form of marketing; your customers literally pay to advertise on your behalf. Whether it’s a sports bag, hoodie or reusable water bottle, selling branded items earns you both cash and marketing rewards. The customisation market is rife with companies of questionable quality. Shop around and don’t sell out for a cheap deal unless you want your brand to look cheap. Ordering branded items is a long process if you do it right. Reserve in small batches to determine product quality and then bulk-buy once satisfied.
If you are an upmarket studio consider hiring a hairdresser on Friday and Saturday evenings or a part-time masseuse one or two days a week. If you do not have the space or the clientele for such services, consider partnering with local hair salons, physios, or massage parlours to cross promote your services and provide discounts.
It is essential that you invest in the front end of your business. We provide booking software for sports providers big and small, so we have seen and worked with our fair share of websites. Sometimes, it is not the flashiest, most expensive site that stands out (or indeed that takes in the most bookings). Having said that, nobody ever built a website out of peanuts. Hiring a website developer is a significant investment, costing upwards of three grand. Of course, this would give you a bespoke, glossy finish and a highly functional site. Many people choose to go with a DIY site builder, such as WordPress. Using such templates result in a more generic, less professional looking website, which often struggles to integrate with other software. Whatever route you choose, you must have a clear idea of the look and feel you want from your site.
Prioritise the visitor
You may want to get lots of useful marketing information from your customer via a booking form: How did you find us? Would you recommend us to a friend? Resist that urge. These questions are irritating and may lead to a customer dropping out before purchasing. Perhaps you want to hammer home your mission statement and flaunt your qualifications and triumphs. Yes, your business must look successful, but avoid slipping into the realms of boasting. Your website is not about you; it is about what you provide. So be generous; give them a taste of what you offer. Your site should be a virtual representation of your business; show what you provide, rather than telling them. Which leads us to the next point…
Photos are essential, but videos stand out
Most activity providers have lots of pictures of children having fun at their camps and courses. Instead of having a “Gallery” page, scatter these photos throughout your website so that every page is brimming with smiling students. Videos of practice or matches give potential customers a glimpse into the experience they will get if they sign up for your club.
Keep things simple
Start with a simple navigation bar, with clear headings, so your visitors immediately know which section to click. Nobody likes clutter: you only have to think about Ryanair’s jumble sale of a website to consider cancelling your holiday plans. Don’t have a master’s degree in the English Language? Don’t worry, because customers favour conversational English over stuffy technical jargon.
Mobile is fast becoming the surf medium of choice. It is vital that you consider how your website looks on both a desktop and a mobile. The mobile view is not merely a smaller version but must be explicitly designed with a phone screen in mind. Text should be clear and large enough to read, without having to zoom in. Include a slick, pop-up menu bar for easy navigation. A nice touch is a click-to-call feature, so customers can ring without having to dial the number.
This is the most important element of your website. Yes, we may be biased, but what is the point of your site if not for people to book your facilities and courses. OpenPlay’s bespoke booking system provides a streamlined booking experience. People can book on a desktop or via their mobile, meaning that your booking window is 24/7 and accessible from anywhere in the world.
Up to date information
So this is obvious, but make sure that everything a customer needs to know is there. If the last event advertised is for a summer course in 2005, they will assume you’ve closed up shop and will look elsewhere. Include a news section, so visitors can see that you have activities and events happening all the time. Age groups or available course are the first things that your customers will look for, so make this information easy to find. We would recommend having these available on your homepage as well as on their specific TAB so that visitors can click directly to a booking.
Connect your social media
People engage 25% more with brands that are on Instagram. Make sure to connect your social accounts with your website. Whatever platform you engage with most should be featured on your site; whether that is a rolling Twitter feed or an Instagram tile display.
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