After months of preparation, the day has finally arrived.
Your premises has been secured, you have hired your first members of staff, and you have done some initial pre-sales. It is now time to open the doors for the very first time. The question is; should you open the doors with a bang or not?
Well, the answer is somewhere in the middle. While you don’t need to have a grand opening for your gym that would dwarf a Las Vegas stage show, you shouldn’t let the occasion past without a whimper either.
Putting on an open day gives you a chance to welcome members in who have joined during your pre-sales rush. It also allows you to welcome in those in the local community and show them the benefits of your fitness business in person. As we discussed in our blog on 14 First Class Gym Event Ideas to Boost Acquisition and Retention, one of the bests ways of making a connection with a prospective member is through face to face meeting.
In this article, we will discuss why you need a grand opening day, what you need to do for it and some ideas to help make it a success.
Why Do You Need a Grand Opening Day?
In the Glofox Ultimate Guide to Opening A Gym, we looked at the key things you need to cover when opening your own fitness business. There are a couple of different reasons for having an open day. This includes getting your name out in the area, meeting members signed up in the pre-sale drive or getting to know your prospective members. Let’s have a look at each reason here.
4 Reasons to Have a Gym Opening Day
Raise awareness in the local area: An opening day is a perfect opportunity for you to get your name out in the surrounding area. Invite press to cover the event, so you are featured in the local paper. As well as that post regularly on social media in the run-up and during the event.
Build relationships with the community: Gyms rely on the community as a source of their membership base so it is so vital that you get off on the right foot with the people in the community. Reach out and invite anyone interested in fitness to come along. Another great idea is to try and integrate yourself into the local business community from day one.
Reaching out to the business community will be particularly useful for any partnerships you want to make in the future, especially with businesses in the health and fitness sector. A top tip for your grand opening day would be to partner with a health food company to offer complimentary protein shakes, juices, and health foods.
Connect with new members: In the lead up to opening any type of fitness business, there should be a pre-sales strategy in place to build up a membership base before you begin. This puts you in a position to start strongly and cover some of those overhead costs in the initial months. You can read more about how to develop a sales strategy to help pre-sell memberships in our recent article on the topic.
An open day, therefore, is a brilliant way to introduce them to the business in a relaxed manner. They have the opportunity to meet both you and the staff and familiarise themselves with the surroundings. Similarly, the open day gives prospective members a feel for what your gym is like.
Iron out any kinks: One key thing you should do for your open day is put on some classes! If you want to give the attendees a real insight into what your gym is all about then have a couple of different classes running throughout the day.
Another key reason you should do this is to pick up on any things you still need to work on with your classes. Are classes too long or too short? Are they the right level of difficulty? Is the instructor building a good rapport with the class? Some of the answers to these questions will come through testing out your classes during your opening event.
What is Necessary for a Gym Grand Opening?
To give you the best chance of success for your open day, you need to make sure that you have covered all the bases. This includes things like health and safety procedures, the induction day, and how you are going to market the event.
Key Areas You Need to Cover
Health and safety procedures: Keeping people safe is the number one priority for any business that has members of the public on its premises regularly. This is especially true for a fitness business. Gyms deal with a lot of foot traffic daily, and someone will inevitably be injured on site eventually. To make sure you are covered, have business insurance in place to cover several different possibilities. This includes general liability, theft, compensation, and property casualty insurance. The importance of this can’t be underestimated, and you should have it place from day one.
Making sure you and your staff have even the most basic of first aid training can be very beneficial. If every member of staff has this training, they can respond to serious incidents quickly before they escalate. Finally, before you run any classes make sure you know the capacity of each room so each class can be run safely
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Induction plan: On the day of your grand opening, you should aim to have in place a version of the type of induction that you want to give new members. What you need to realize is that attending the gym can be a daunting experience for new joiners, so you need to make the induction process as user-friendly as possible.
The grand opening day is an excellent opportunity to test out elements of your induction process to see what works and what doesn’t. Teach your staff the process so they can immediately give attendees the induction when they arrive. The only thing you need to remember is that you will probably be giving inductions to larger groups as opposed to individuals, so you need to tailor it to a bigger audience. Lastly, one of the critical parts of the induction is to give the prospective member and evaluation of their current state of fitness and asking them what kind of fitness goals you want to achieve.
How to Promote Your Grand Opening
Local press: As we discussed near the beginning of this article, open days are a great opportunity to get your name out in the local area. A big part of this is getting your open day covered by the local press. Journalists are always on the lookout for interesting stories in the community that they can cover. You should invite a local journalist to try one of your fitness classes on the day of the grand opening and ask them to write a story about it. Because most local press has a digital presence, you will get both online and traditional coverage.
Before the event, buy some advertising space to announce the grand opening. Don’t go over the top with the ad spend as you will be to buy digital ads cheaper.
Social Media: Through both paid and organic means, you can promote your grand opening. Your social media promotion should start from the day you decide to open a fitness business. Post progress of the design of your studio or its construction if you are building it from the ground up. Getting your social media game going means you can build up an audience early. Having this built up will make it easier to get the word out when it comes to the grand opening day.
The other aspect of social media you should focus on is paid advertising. Facebook and Instagram ads especially are powerful advertising tools that will reach the type of audience you want to target. Not only will this be hugely important for promoting the opening of your gym, but it will also be useful for generating leads to pre-sell memberships to.
When it comes to the grand opening itself, create an event on Facebook that you can invite people to and encourage your followers to share the event with their friends. The event page can then be the “hub” of your event where you can post updates about the event.
Promotional materials: On top of the promotional channels we have discussed its an excellent idea to promote the grand opening and the business in general with promotional materials. These could include flyers and posters. However, you could also include in this items such as t-shirts, hoodies, sports-bags, water bottles, and key rings. Hand these out before, during, and after your grand opening. Hopefully, people will become walking advertisements for your gym.
What Makes a Great Gym Grand Opening?
Now that we have gone through what makes a great event, let’s take a look at some ideas you can implement to make sure your gym grand opening event is successful as it can be. How you structure the day is significant and remember – you only get one shot at this!
6 Ideas to Make Your Grand Opening Event a Success
Show your range of classes: There is no point having a gym grand opening day if you are not showcasing what exactly your gym is going to offer! Throughout the day, you should have a couple of classes running that attendees can try out for free. Take pictures and videos that you can use for future marketing materials.
Use live video: Both Facebook and Instagram Live are excellent tools that you can use to stream your open day to your online audience. What’s great about a live stream is that it may tempt people to come down when they see all the fun people are having in your studio!
Offer healthy snacks: Have a range of healthy treats on offer for your attendees so they can refuel after their workout. As we talked about at the beginning of this piece, think about partnering up with a local health food store to provide healthy food and drink to the event guests. This could be the beginning of a fruitful partnership on both sides if it turns out to be a success.
Define who you are: As we discussed in the Ultimate 5 Step Fitness Studio Branding Network, you who are as a brand is what will set you apart from the competition. The reality is, however, that you won’t have a well-defined brand straight off the bat. But you should have formed the basis of the type of gym or studio you want to be. Have this present through all your marketing materials on the day, so it is clear who you are
Time your event: You should time your event to coincide with a type of the year that people are interested in going to the gym. This will usually be around January or just before the summer. Another idea would be to open in and around the Christmas holidays and offer a seasonal discount that they can avail of in the run-up to January.
Avoid over-expense: On a final note, don’t go overboard with your opening event. Treat it as a business expense, not an excuse to have a party! Keep the event under a reasonable budget and don’t try to be something you are not. Set some key performance indicators(KPIs) like the number of new leads or members you want to gain as the result of your grand opening event.
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