The vast majority of gyms and fitness studios across the world are now temporarily closed due to COVID-19, and the fitness industry has quickly shifted to a digital landscape to survive.
Traditionally, the primary income source for a fitness business has always been memberships, and even though your business is likely now totally online, growing and retaining your membership base remains crucial for your survival and growth. But to maximize revenue during this challenging time, you’ll need to diversify into and additional gym revenue streams alongside your online workouts.
Right now, people have more time and money than ever and are less active than ever. Now is the time to get creative and think of additional ways to deliver real value to both existing and potential gym members.
In this article, we’ll discuss different ideas to make your studio more than a place for virtual workouts but a one-stop-shop for all things health and wellness. The ideas are simple, but once you get going, you’ll find more ways to increase your ancillary revenue and inspiration for introducing multiple revenue streams.
Skip ahead to:
- Trial New Classes
- Use Referral Marketing
- Get Creative With Events and Workshops
- Leverage Your Online Store
Trial New Classes
Your business is now totally online, and when it comes to membership options, this is the perfect time to innovate and experiment with your class packs and services.
While it may be tempting to jump in with low pricing options, it’s crucial to price your online offering right and to know your value. Just because your workouts are now virtual – it doesn’t mean they’re worth any less than they would be in person. Focus on ways you can maximize membership subscription value, as opposed to devaluing your service by lowering costs.
Your studio likely has a standard membership package, whether it’s a monthly fee or pay-per-class structure with class pack options. But standard memberships aside – what kind of packages would bring your members even more value?
Make a list of different options and ask your members what type of classes or package choices they’d be interested in. We’ve outlined a couple of ideas below for inspiration:
Themed Classes to Build Your Community
Themed classes are a great idea to give members the killer workout they’re expecting with something a little more exciting than usual. You could also run this type of class to raise awareness or funds for a local charity. This tactic is a win-win opportunity for two key reasons:
- It’s not part of your standard service, so the class drives additional revenue.
- It can strengthen your community. A themed charity class gives members a new reason to workout – it’s not just about them and their goals; they’re coming together to help a good cause.
Use your social media platforms to gauge interest – the ‘questions’ feature in Instagram Stories is perfect for this. Once you have a few responses, engage with your members by offering a few different themes and ask them to vote.
If the class is a success, you can engage members further when planning your next themed event – ask them which charities they’d like to help. When you have enough responses, choose the most popular three and again – put it to your community for the final vote.
Family and Friends Classes
Encourage members to get fit and have fun as a family or with a group of friends. Many of the lockdowns in place are enforcing social distancing and essential travel only. This means that the only way people are ‘seeing’ close friends and family, is with virtual catch-ups. Make your fitness studio one of them! It’s a fun reason for the family to get together – from a distance.
Have members book a class in the same way they’d book a personal training session and set pricing tiers based on how many people will attend the session.
Again, this additional class pack will generate revenue that you wouldn’t usually have. Much like having an enticing referral program, which we’ll cover next, it’s also an excellent opportunity for word-of-mouth marketing.
Use Referral Marketing
We’ve previously outlined how to create an effective gym referral program, and given that
92% of people trust referrals from people they know; it’s likely that you were implementing one when your studio doors were open.
Nothing beats good word-of-mouth marketing, so you need to make sure you’re encouraging it with your online classes as well. You want to incentivize members to refer friends, so the offer needs to benefit both the new and existing customers. Perhaps offer a class discount for both parties, a 5-day meal plan, or some free branded products. Check out the examples below for inspiration:
Uber builds referrals directly through its app. When you create an account, you’ll automatically receive a personalized referral code. Every time someone uses the code to create a new account, both parties get their next Uber trip for free.
Dropbox’s referral marketing program increased its sign-ups by up to 60%. The brand offered 500MB of free space for the customer and the friend they referred.
Last year, the payment platform PayPal ran a new referral marketing campaign. The promotion engaged customers by asking them to use the platform to get the offer: Send 1p to a friend who doesn’t have a PayPal account, and once they sign up, both parties will receive £10 account credit.
Get Creative With Events and Workshops
As experienced fitness professionals, you and your trainers can provide members with much more than exercise. Just as you would at your physical studio, you can use your wealth of experience and knowledge to educate and advise members on different health and fitness topics with workshops.
We have previously discussed workshops as an excellent way to boost acquisition and retention and as a way to introduce nutrition into your fitness business. They’re a fantastic medium for introducing people to new health and fitness concepts and great for bringing like-minded members together.
In the digital world, you can do this by using the same streaming platforms you’re delivering your online workouts on.
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Best Practice for Hosting Virtual Workshops
Conference calls can often involve a lot of awkward pauses or the opposite – people suddenly talking over each other. Keep this in mind when deciding how many spaces you’ll allocate to your virtual workshops; you want to deliver an informative, engaging session, where everyone feels like their questions will be answered or thoughts shared. Keeping your workshops small will make for a more personalized experience – if anyone has problems, it’s easier for them to ask you, and it’s also best for encouraging group discussion.
Engaging Members With Virtual Workshops
One of the best things about workshops is that if you make the most of them, they’re very interactive. Encourage members to ask questions, share their opinions, and generally get involved with the event to keep them engaged and interested. The specific nature of a workshop means you can deep-dive into one area, and people will learn a lot in a short space of time. We’ve outlined some topic ideas below, with the COVID-19 climate in mind:
- How to structure your day productively during the COVID-19 lockdown
- Do you need to exercise more while you’re self-isolating?
- Nutrition 101: X immune-boosting recipes to keep you healthy at home
- How to stay on top of your fitness goals during the COVID-19 lockdown
- Three daily mindfulness practices to improve your mental health
The more workshops you hold, the more you’ll understand what topics your members are enjoying, and you’ll gain inspiration for future ideas. It’s good practice to get into the habit of asking for feedback, as it’s a great chance to find out what people would like more of, or if they have any suggestions of their own.
Similar to your workshop sessions, you can take many of your usual in-studio events online. Live events are a great way to engage your members and bring them together for something that’s fun and provides value. Find inspiration from the events or workshops that you’d hold at your physical studio. Take a nutrition workshop, for instance. Typically, you’d share information on different foods and their nutritional values, answer member’s questions, and suggest recipes that they can try out to complement their fitness goals.
You can take this online in the form of a webinar, or turn it into an engaging cook-along event. Invite members to join you for a live cook-along session, where you’ll demonstrate the recipe from start to finish, and they can join in from their kitchens at home. Ask members for inspiration on the methods they’d like to learn using the ‘questions’ feature in Instagram Stories. Gather the most popular requests, so you have a bank to choose from for future events.
Leverage Your Online Store
You can add anything to your online store and sell it, all you need is a picture and some text to get started. Below we’ve outlined a couple of resources you can easily pull together.
Dedicated supplement stores are popping up everywhere because more and more consumers want to fuel their workouts with the right nutrition. So, why not make it easy for your members to get everything they need in one place?
Take a look at some well-known consumer supplement websites to get an idea of pricing. Then, you can purchase through wholesale and still offer a competitive price to your members.
If your supplement sales are successful, there’s room for improvement to promote brand awareness: consider finding a white label supplement company that will put your branding on the packaging in the future.
Create bundles that will help your members stay healthy inside and out during their lockdown period. Sell each of the items separately as well and offer different bundles at a price that works out less than purchasing individually. We’ve included some ideas below, highlighting examples of how you can group your bundles to make shopping easier for members:
The Lockdown Survival Bundle
Everything you need to take your home workouts to the next level, with exclusive access to our pre-recorded workouts and a 14-day meal plan to keep you healthy on the inside.
- 14-day meal plan
- Equipment and props
- Access to premium workout videos
The Full-Body Essentials Bundle
Equipment you can adjust and use for a variety of movements for a total-body burn.
- Weight Adjustable Kettlebell
- Ab Roller
- Skipping Rope
- Set of 4 Rubber Resistance Bands
The Glute Bundle
The go-to kit list you’ll need to focus on those glutes!
- Inner Thigh Toner
- 1 x Fabric resistance band
- 1 x Rubber leg resistance band
- 2 x Ankle Straps
- 1 x Tube resistance band
As we know, people have more time and money on their hands than ever right now. It’s the perfect opportunity to spend it learning something new!
Use your expertise to create online courses that you can deliver in the coming months. There are hundreds of health and fitness topics to choose from, and you’ll already have some idea of the ones that you’re confident in.
Whichever area you choose to focus on, your courses should follow a structure and offer similar benefits. We’ve outlined an example below of what nutritional course might look like:
Do you want to learn the nutrition essentials to support your fitness goals?
Do you want to learn the foundations for cooking without having to rely on recipes?
Then watch and learn!
Join us on our 4-week cooking masterclass course, led by [your name, details of experience]. Expect expert advice, the support of our community and resources, including:
- In-depth information on all aspects of cooking to fuel your body with the right nutrition. From where to find ingredients, the equipment you’ll need, and a range of cooking methods.
- Guidance on how to cook a variety of delicious meals to help maintain a healthy lifestyle – without having to rely on recipes!
- Access to practical notes and instructional videos from your course leader.
- Weekly supportive Q&As.
- Access to our studio team members and a private online community to help support you.
Diversifying your revenue streams will bring much more than a quick profit boost. It’s one of the most effective ways to increase your overall revenue, and strengthen your business financially in the long run.
It’s time to develop and master your digital skills now and build for the future. Online workouts are here to stay – and so are the additional revenue streams you perfect now.