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How to Create a Compelling Offer to Attract and Retain Gym Members

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In a hybrid world, fitness businesses are using digital and physical services to support members and drive value. You can see from a quick Instagram scroll that free online workouts have taken over social media since the beginning of lockdown. But in the long run, free online workouts will damage the industry as they cheapen the value of online workouts. 

With large fitness franchise brands like Orangetheory and F45 expanding into digital fitness, the competition for online fitness is big. This may pose a concern for smaller to midsize businesses fighting to stand out from the competition. With a massive uptick in competition from digital fitness brands as well as new online offerings, you need to have a compelling offer that will not only retain members but attract new ones. In this article, we will discuss why you need to have a compelling offer, how you actually price this offer, and what you can do to add value. 

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Why You Need a Compelling Offer That Brings Value 

In the current climate, it’s incredibly important to craft a compelling offer that drives value to your members. Let’s take a look at the reasons why you need an irresistible offer. 

Competition has Increased  

Consumer investment in digital fitness has risen by 30-35% during the coronavirus pandemic. The increase in demand for digital fitness has resulted in a massive increase in competition. Big streaming businesses, as well as more traditional franchises, have fully entered the online fitness space. For example, Gympass has now expanded its services to include live-streamed classes, virtual therapy, and wellness plans instead of only offering gym memberships. 

Big data from tech giants like Google and Facebook mean you now have the ability to target potential members much more efficiently. Big data is sinking its claws into almost every industry and digital fitness is no exception. Access to that amount of data presents a huge opportunity that allows you to create and target your offer based on a ton of different metrics. 

Financial Uncertainty 

It’s no surprise that people throughout the country are experiencing financial uncertainty. With job worries and financial concerns, if someone is going to pay for something, they need to be confident they are getting their money’s worth. With consumers now pickier than ever over what they spend money on, you need to offer a service that will deliver results that are worth paying for. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal savings rates hit a whopping 33% as Americans curbed spending. Following lockdown, consumer spending started to stabilize in May. Spending, in general, has taken a hit. However, that’s why it’s more important than ever to convince a potential member that they need to invest in your services. A compelling offer shows that it’s an investment worth making and it will change their lives for the better. 

Changing Consumer Needs

Many people have quickly transitioned to working out at home almost immediately with no preparation. The result is that many people are working out in an unfamiliar setting. Because of this, they don’t have access to the equipment they would usually need. A lot of people tend to use the gym and fitness community as a driver to succeed. The gym environment plays a big role in motivation and without that buzz, some people are finding it tough to keep up a fitness routine. 

Consumer needs and expectations are constantly changing. You need to figure out and define the needs of these types of people. When crafting a compelling offer, you need to think about something that will satisfy both an online and in-person setting. Think about how you will meet the demand for digital fitness as well as delivering an in-person experience in a reduced capacity gym. 

How Are You Supposed to Price This Offer 

“Charge someone for it and deliver much more for it.” – Jack Thomas, owner of BASE and host of the Fitness Business Asia Podcast. 

Pricing your offer can be challenging. But, you don’t need to be afraid to have a conversation about money. Setting the right price is an important stage of creating a compelling offer. When deciding on cost, consider the following points.

Don’t Give Anything Away for Free 

No one could have predicted that within the first three months of 2020, the world would stop following a pandemic. During the initial stages of lockdown, some gyms and fitness instructors quickly pivoted to online classes. However, in order to get online quickly, businesses used Facebook and Instagram Live. This means they were delivering free workouts and simply asking for a donation. Free workouts really only have a place in lead generation as a way to attract new members. Realistically, it’s unsustainable to run a successful and profitable business when you’re giving away your services for free. 

The problem with this is that the fitness industry is a service. The reality is that continuing to give away free workouts, damages the industry over time. Eventually, the value of workouts will diminish, despite the expertise and experience needed to produce this kind of content. It has the potential to hurt your business as free content could devalue your overall offering. When there is so much free digital fitness content available, it makes it harder for fitness studios to shift to an online offering. In the long term, this pivot to cheap or even free content could mean that many fitness businesses are unable to survive during economic hard times. 

Charge for It and Deliver on It 

With the changing fitness landscape and the eruption of hybrid fitness businesses, gyms need to look at how they price their offerings. As online fitness businesses charge lower monthly subscription rates than a typical boutique fitness offering, you may need to adjust your pricing. 

In general, digital fitness memberships can be cheaper as one piece of content has the potential to reach a large number of members at the same time. Whereas, you only have a certain number of people who can be in the gym at one time and are limited on capacity and equipment. 

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It’s important that your pricing really reflect the value you deliver as a business. It should reflect the results that your members will see if they invest in your service. Once you have set your price, make sure to go above and beyond to deliver on it. Think about what you need to do as a business and the service you need to provide to hit that value and deliver the results promised to your members. 

The Fitness Business Asia Podcast has a great episode on digital fitness. Jack Thomas welcomes Sean Tan, the Director of True Group, to discuss collaboration, leadership, and digital fitness

How Do You Actually Provide Value for What You Are Offering? 

So, you have your compelling offer and figured out your pricing. But, how do you drive value into your offering? There are several ways you can provide value that will prove to members that they have invested in a service that is completely worthwhile to them. Let’s break down how you can keep delivering value to your offering. 

1. Accountability

It’s relatively easy to find a free workout on Instagram and follow it. That doesn’t mean you will see the results you want. One of the reasons many people sign up for the gym or digital fitness is that they want to be held accountable. In uncertain times, holding your members accountable will be essential to getting them the results they want. 

Ultimately, if you are holding members accountable online and they are seeing results, you will add value to your offer. Due to the current situation, it’s likely that you will be offering a combination of digital fitness and a limited capacity onsite experience. Therefore, it’s essential that you continue to help members achieve results and hold them accountable both online and offline

2. Fitness Challenges 

One way to hold members accountable and encourage results is by hosting fitness challenges. The bottom line is that members sign up to your business to see results. They are trusting that you, as a fitness expert, can help keep them motivated and hit their goals. Fitness challenges are a great way to keep members motivated and accountable. 

When you’re trying to keep your members on track online, challenges are very helpful as there is an end goal in sight. You can track success and show progress by using simple metrics. A program that involves regular check-ins and activities is a great way to show progress so that members keep going. 

You can structure a fitness challenge in a number of ways. For example, it could be a 28-day sit-up challenge or a 30-day squat challenge. Whether it’s a more simple one-month challenge or an eight-week comprehensive fitness plan, develop a fitness challenge your members will love. If you’re stuck for ideas, we’ve pulled together a guide on how to run an online fitness challenge with plenty of ideas to get you started. 

3. Nutrition Plans 

A compelling offer delivers results and value. One of the biggest things that people may have let slip during lockdown is nutrition. Nutrition is often a huge barrier to achieving health and fitness goals. When you offer additional support to members, it helps to drive value into your offer. 

You have the option to offer a more generalized healthy eating plan or take it a step further and develop personalized nutrition plans. The meal plan could include healthy recipes, snack ideas, and nutrient goals such as recommended protein daily intake. Personalization can go a long way in retaining members and helping to offer more value to members. 

4. Diversify Your Class Schedule

A diverse fitness class schedule ensures you have an activity to suit different needs and fitness abilities. When you mix up your class types and encourage variety, it keeps fitness exciting for members. You can offer a combination of classes like HIIT, mobility, yoga, box fit, and barre. 

With plenty of options to choose from and a range of instructors, members can find a class that works for them both online and onsite. Adding variety to your exercise routine can be a key ingredient for fitness success. Any way that you can encourage your members to keep working out and see results will drive value to your offering. 

5. Offer Online and Onsite Social Activities

As a hybrid fitness business, your business is comprised of both digital and onsite elements. With this type of combination, it’s important to focus on community building and socializing in a way that factors in both parts of the business. One of the reasons people decide to join the gym is for the social aspect. It’s important to encourage a fitness community so that you can create a sense of belonging. 

Think about providing extra social activities for your members. Consider how you can create a social environment both online and onsite. One idea is to hold a quiz night, this works for online and onsite members. Why not host an expert panel on Instagram Live where members can ask questions. Onsite social activities could include a picnic at the park, an outdoor sports afternoon, or a meet and greet over coffee. There are lots of ways you can nurture your fitness community and craft a fun and social environment.   

In Summary

With increased competition online and large fitness brands expanding into the digital fitness space, it’s so important that you create a compelling offer that your members will truly value. For the foreseeable future, it looks as if your fitness business will use both an online platform as well as reduced capacity onsite. Therefore, you need to craft an irresistible offer that is suitable for the current situation and too good to turn down. 

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Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

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