The success of boutique fitness industry is down to how gym owners are putting time and resources into creating unique experiencesthat bring their members value.
No longer is the gym just a solitary experience where you sweat in silence, headphones on and closed off from the clanks and grunts that make up the soundtrack of your typical workout space.
In fact, today, more and more people are gravitating towards a more class-based and interactive fitness model where the most successful gyms offer a member experience that goes beyond what the larger low-cost fitness chains are offering up.
Creating this goes beyond just implementing the correct gym management software. It is about cultivating an ethos in your gym that values each individuals progression and focuses on building personal relationships with your customers. This ethos is something that is woven into the fabric of the business, from how your space is laid out to every touchpoint your customer interacts with you, both online and offline
To get this right can be tricky at first and can take some experimentation before you get it correct.
However, there are three absolutely key things you need to consider to help you succeed in this process.
Know Who You Are and Who Your Members Are
The reason most successful gyms are changing the fitness game is that they have thought long and hard about who they are as a gym and what value they can bring to their members.
One of our customers who does this really well is Stephen Weinmann of BikeRowSki who started his fitness studio to counteract a trend he was seeing in the industry. For him, some aspects of fitness training had become overcomplicated, with some trainers and gyms focused on teaching complex training methods that had the effect of alienating some members.
In developing the concept for BikeRowSki, two things were at the forefront of Stephens mind:
Time and Simplicity.
“As you grow older you start to realize that time is your biggest asset. If I am in the gym full time for my job and I can’t even get to train, how are the people in my target market supposed to?” Stephen says. “People only have maybe 2 to 4 hours a week to spare and they don’t want that time taken up learning a new skill in some cases”
So Stephen came up a fitness model which he defines as the “I can” fitness model. No matter what type of injuries they have, perceived deficiencies they have or pasts fears that have marred previous experience in the gym, he wanted to make sure there was nothing in the gym that would leave the person feeling that “I Can’t”.
“People come in, we show them the studio and ninety-nine percent of the time they believe they can do it,” he explains. “There is nothing standing in their way from coming in with a bottle of water, a towel and being coached on three machines for twelve to fifteen minutes each.
The two factors of time and simplicity that are central to the “I Can” ethos of BikeRowSki. For this ethos to work, however, there needs to be a space that welcomes the customer in. From the way the gym is laid out to how the staff interacts with members, the goal is to create a positive environment for everyone. “A big factor for us is making the gym as welcoming as possible because a lot of people are afraid of going into the gym for the first time”
Invest in Technology
Creating a truly unique member experience means investing in the digital infrastructure of your business as well. This will make life easier for both the staff and the member, creating an all-around more streamlined experience.
Choosing the correct gym management software for your fitness business is a large part of this. With Glofox, you will have an all in one place you can manage leads and memberships, allow your members to book classes easily through the website integration or app and keep track of your business performance.
The key benefit of this is that your admin time for you and your staff is reduced. This leaves you with the time to develop and grow your business further.
It also gives your staff the time to focus on what really matters – building personal relationships with their members and helping them achieve their fitness goals.
Having an app for your studio is a great way to assist in building that relationship with your member by connecting with them where they spend the majority of their time – their mobile phone.
In constructing the user experience at BikeRowSki, Stephen used a combination of different technologies to support his “I Can” fitness model.
He uses Glofox to manage his business and memberships and the Polar App to track member performance week to week.
“The Glofox App gives us great information on people coming in and what classes they are attending and gives us the advantage of a streamlined booking system,” says Stephen. “And the Polar App gives us all that performance data about each person that we can work with each week to try and improve”
The overall combination of technology gives a gym owner and their staff the information they need to make key interventions at the right time to keep the member on track. It also allows them to show the member in real time how they are improving.
According to Stephen, the way they use technology is what keeps their members engaged.
“It appeals to the person who needs to get in, get out and see results. With this information readily available we can show them how this can be achieved. ”
Connect With Social Media
Not only can technology help you in building a framework to create the best member experience, but it can also help you connect with your customers through social media.
With the majority of your customer base either on Facebook or Instagram, it is very important that you are using these platforms to keep your members engaged outside of the studio.
Four of the really important ways most successful gyms do this are:
Create a Closed Facebook Group
Make a closed group chat on Facebook where you and your members can exchange information, post class results, deliver words of encouragement and overall keep the sense of community going outside class hours. This helps build a stronger relationship and community between you and your members outside of the couple of hours a week they spend in class.
As well as that you are listening to your members and gathering key information to help improve their member experience further.
Provide Valuable Information
Whether it be written words, pictures or videos, try and provide your members with helpful information on fitness and nutrition. Get this information out to them on a regular basis on social so they can keep motivated in the times they are not in class.
Create a Hashtag
A relevant hashtag that encapsulates what your gym is about can be enormously helpful in creating a sense of community online. This could be the name of your gym or a phrase that is closely associated with your gym. Stephen believes that creating the #bikerowski on Instagram was very beneficial.
“People who came to our classes were taking pictures with the logo with the #bikerowski or posting pictures of their heart rate results with the same hashtag so it had the effect of building a community of people through our Instagram,” he says.
After spending all that time giving key information and community building, give your members an easy way to book classes through social with Glofox’s easy Facebook and Instagram implementation. Make the journey from them getting excited and motivated by your content to actually attending the class so much easier with this unique feature of our software.
Remember that making a member experience that is unique and valuable takes hard work, experimentation, and most importantly patience. Take the key points discussed in this article and apply them to your fitness business to set you on the journey to creating a member experience for your gym that lasts.
Thank you to Stephen Weinmann of BikeRowSki for his contributions to this article. You can find them here