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The Fitness World Has Changed. Learn How to Go Hybrid or Get Left Behind

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Here is the second in a series of roundtables we recorded from our recent virtual conference Glofox Connect.

Mike Hansen and Ann Marie Barbour from fitness streaming agency Endorphinz, Mark Wilson, owner of Lion Fitness, Kristina Ejem, and Helene Jafine, co-owners of Girls Just Wanna Box tells us about why you absolutely need a digital offering alongside your in-studio service to be successful in today’s transformed fitness industry.

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This episode of The Fitness Founders Podcast can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and anywhere you get your podcasts.

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Kevin: How’s it going everyone, and welcome to the Fitness Founders Podcast. I’m Kevin Mannion, VP Marketing here at Glofox. If you miss our recent virtual conference Glofox Connect we’re replaying some of the best discussions with industry experts here in the podcast. In this episode called Learn How to Go Hybrid or Get Left Behind, studio owners Kristina Ejem, Helene Jafine, and Mark Wilson, along with live streaming experts Mike Hansen and Ann Marie Barbour talk to Caroline about why you need a digital and in studio offering to be successful in a transformed fitness industry. Let’s have a listen.

Caroline: We’re being joined here by Mark Wilson, Kristina and Helene from Girls Just Wanna Box, Mike from Endorphinz, and we also have Ann Marie as well who is Founder of BeWell Advisory and education need for Endorphinz. The topic of this talk, on this arc, is how the fitness world has changed. Here we’re looking at how we have evolved and I guess everything that has happened recently. We’re looking at how you can bring your and business forward into the future by having that digital element or that hybrid element to the offering that you already have in place. 

I’m going to kick of firstly by running through the housekeeping rules once again just so that we can manage this panel nicely. So, again, for everyone that’s tuned in, you will be excited to have such a stunner line up. It’s a really great opportunity for you to learn from these people in the business; and Mark, Mike, Kristina, Helene and Ann Marie. Please do use that question and answer box there at the bottom of the screen, and be sure to fire in any questions that you have as we run through this session. We will be answering the questions at the end of the session. Really exciting and that we do have a prize for some of the questions that come in, so we’re encouraging you to send in these questions. What our great prizes for this session is an amazing pair of Girl Just Wanna Box boxing gloves. I’m reminding here again to share any questions you have in that questions and answers box for you have to chance of winning the really slick pair of gloves that I have my eye on for a while. I’ve been looking at those gloves since last year. It’s been a long affair running with those, so I’m going to stop screen sharing so we can get our panelist off on the screen and get ready to go. So, to start off with, I’m going to ask each of our panelists to introduce themselves and I’ll go around the room. Let’s start over with Ann Marie. 

Ann Marie: Hi, I’m Ann Marie Barbour. I’m founder of the BeWell Advisory. I just sold the company SoulBody Fitness, my business partner or former business partner has taken that over within a business certifying instructors in pre choreograph programming, programming in the larger clubs and studios to help these big box gyms compete with the boutique market as we saw the boutique market boom. After selling that, started BeWell, still advising this phase a time at Mike with Endorphinz and joining him as an educationally really looking at the virtual or the fitness streaming market. He’s creating an agency; a fitness streaming agency. I’ve been contributing with webinars and articles. I blog as well with BeWell. Now, I’m also managing a fitness center and a gym here. We’re going to build another bricks and mortar. So, kind of have my hands in a couple places but all around for fitness, all within a gym and then also taking that group fitness from the live to the virtual space and really been researching and writing a lot about that.

Caroline: Brilliant. Thanks for that, Ann Marie. You obviously have perspectives in a lot of different areas business side actually physically then in the studio as well. Would I be right in saying that you’re joining us from the US? 

Ann Marie: Baltimore, Maryland. Yup. Supposedly our clubs maybe closing down again. We’re on a big call yesterday, so hoping that does not happen. But, yes, from Baltimore. 

Caroline: Brilliant. Thank you. It’s great to get this international perspective as well. Next of, we have Kristina and Helene who here joining us from Toronto, if I’m not wrong unless you move locations since we last spoke. And so, if you could tell us a little bit about yourselves. Maybe we’ll go to Kristina first and tell us a little bit about Girls Just Wanna Box and what you’re up to at the moment?

Kristina: Okay. Basically, I’m Kristina Ejem. I’ve been boxing for 20 years. I’ve been coaching for 10. Along the way, we decided that Girls Just Wanna Box because we do. We’ve been teaching the classes like since 2007. I used to run a gym and we taught the classes out of the gym. Through that time, we created a 5-level program. Then we realized also there wasn’t any boxing gears specifically made for women. So, Girls Just Wanna Box that there is girls just want to box for fun and for real. It’s those two aren’t mutually exclusive. With the gear we just said, let’s actually design boxing gloves and gear for women, so design the gloves and gears by female coaches and boxers for female boxers and coaches. And yeah, then we have our classes, and recently as you know, we’re able to go online seamlessly using Glofox and the tools that we have there. It’s been pretty fun. I’ll let Helene introduce herself as well.

Helene: I’m the second half of Girls Just Wanna Box. I’m also a boxer and a coach as well. The both are a great pair because I understand what is like to be a boxer. I understand what’s like to be a coach so I can help relate when we do get questions from any other female coaches or female boxers as well. And yeah, we kind of have those 3 silos – education, community, especially now in COVID that’s definitely come probably the number one thing that we working on secondary to are product and education which is the classes, and just any help that any female boxer wants with their journey whether that’s fighting competitively or just staying in there for fun region. We’re really happy to be here and what everyone has to say. 

Caroline: Great. Thanks, Helene. You’re really looking for it to diving into this topic. It’s a good one. On to you then, Mark. 

Mark: I’m Mark Wilson. I’m in the UK, New York. I’m running a business called Lion Fitness. Started the businesses about 5 years ago which is off the back of a complete lifestyle change and work change for me previously working in sales and marketing in the corporate world. Made the plunge to open up my own fitness studio which thankfully has been great success for me and it’s continued to grow. I also run a triathlon squad again based in my region. I do a lot of triathlon and work with a lot of triathlon athletes generally on strength and conditioning which is where it is kind of my area of specialism. But we do a lot of group fitness, obviously a lot of one to one coaching. We see ourselves very much as a community-based gym. Yeah, it’s been obviously challenging at the moment but it’s been an interesting few months. Kind of looking forward to discussing out with you guys this afternoon. 

Caroline: Great. Thanks for that, Mark. And then finally, Mike. 

Mike: Hi guys! My name is Mike Hansen. I’m the managing partner of Endorphinz. We are a fitness streaming agency. I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years. Starting the club side of the world and also have built studios. I’ve introduced multiple markets to fitness. I introduced gaming back in 2005. The first time I started with screen on bikes for interactive fitness side and have worked with approximately 50+ brands and introducing streaming into themselves. I have a pretty deep background and understanding within this hybrid model and how we may think about this as we start to talk about online channel and things in that nature. Looking forward to speaking with you guys. 

Caroline: Brilliant. Well, we have to say that we have a really strong line up here and it’s great to see that we have experience like those running studios, being a personal trainer. Mike, obviously, with having your own streaming agency you’re slightly ahead of the curve there as well with anticipating this. Whereas, maybe, Ann, Kristina, Helene, Mark working in a studio that was initially a physical studio, and then having to work under pressure to get yourselves online. These are all things that we wanted to touch on today, so we’re really looking for getting into it. 

Final reminder, again, any questions you do have pop them into the questions and answers box. We have such a great line up here. It would be a shame not to ask them your questions there while you have them. And then finally the pair of Girls Just Wanna Box boxing gloves are for grabs so I would encourage you to get your hands on those if you have it all. Okay, so I guess to get started. We are looking at how the world of fitness has changed and this idea of going hybrid. The main thing here for me is, and I guess to kick off this session is could you give me your number one reason why you think you need to have this digital element or this digital offering in your business? And I might go to you first, Ann Marie. 

Ann Marie: Well, I think pre-COVID it was already happening. There were a lot of apps that were available to members and people that were belonging to a bricks and mortar that would leave the gym and then they’ve log on when they were working or when they were traveling. It’s been around for many years and really built really nicely. People were buying multiple subscriptions. And a lot of gyms are getting into this space like Golds Gym, and Crunch, and a lot of other gyms and even studios, pre-COVID we’re adding that virtual or that digital piece. I think why it’s such a topic now as we all have seen, clubs and studios shut down, and it was like big scramble, how do we meet our members, how do we still service them, how do we still support them and give this content that we’ve created so hard in studio now where they are at home. 

We saw the mad rush with IG and Instagram Live, and Facebook Live, and Zoom, and then Glofox and Mindbody, and Zype, and then all of these other system management club solutions saying, “Hey, now gyms, you can now access our livestreaming and our video on demand services. We’ll set up a paywall, integrates it into your system.” It’s kind of this mad rush but I think at the end of the day, it is just where the industry is going, and Mike has seen it. I’ve been working with him. It’s been happening but now with just that light switch with the pandemic happen, and now people are scrambling and creating a revenue in streaming and offer that I think is very important. I think the hybrid in studio now and virtual is the new expected experience. I think as gyms maybe reclosing. I heard your panel member before this, they’re charging up to $99 a month for a virtual membership, and people are willing to pay it. 

One more thing I’ll have to say about the gym is there is loyalty. I discovered this through talking to people and some research that even though they could go to the Peloton App or the Plank App or the Obey App; a lot of them just wanted to be on Zoom with their instructor that they love and they have a connection with. I think the gyms are realizing, wow, our influencers are our instructors, and there is this loyalty and they will interact with them virtually because of that relationship and that loyalty. So that’s where I see it right now. 

Caroline: Brilliant. Thanks, Ann Marie. I think some of the points you touched on there were like particularly significant for me from having spoken to people as well with this shifting member expectation as well with this online offering, and then also about the loyalty that’s there and people I guess are questioning the loyalty that other members will have for them when they do change their offerings slightly. We’re definitely going to revisit that in a second. Thanks for that. And then unto you, Kristina and Helene. How about for you, the number one reason why this digital element to your business is so important?

Kristina: I would say because we’ve wanted to do it for the past 2 years and actually I think we talked about this on a podcast. We announced when have our website up into 2018 that we were going to have a virtual boxing club and then it never happened because it’s quite an undertaking and we’re used to being in the studio working with people one on one. So, when this all happen, we were forced to move everything in our homes, let alone just in the studio. We didn’t go into the studio right away. We did it from home. And Helene is at her place, and I’m at my place, and we were able to team teach which was really, really good because then the one instructor or just we’re not playing with the computer and doing other things and doing all those things. Helene was actually injured at that time, so she got to be the DJ and she was tech, she was tech support. I realized that I was now going to have to actually do everything in the classes. I got in shape, actually, again, because now I had to actually do all the moves with my clientele but they actually liked that. They were actually happy that, they loved that I was working out with them. And Helene how did your DJ skills improve pretty good.?

Helene: Pretty good. Now, the only thing I would kind of add is that, especially for us, one thing that really works, boxing you don’t need any equipment. Our transitioning was also I think a lot easier than a strength and conditioning gym that uses a lot of weights or other things. Boxing, obviously you can use little dumbbells, obviously do strengthen and conditioning stuff if they have weights, but you don’t need anything. It was an easy way to just be like you can do it at home. All you need is like a 4×4 square and you’re good which I would think most people had even if it’s at the end of their bed which some people they’ve use. But it’s super important to have both, one, if people are afraid to go back they at least have the option to stay at home. 

And to kind of go to Ann Marie’s point, I think one of the reasons why people were so hesitant before is that I don’t think people realized you could still get that community feel at home. People would go to the gym because they want to see their friends, they want to see the people that they go to that 6am or 6pm class. I think that a lot of people were hesitant because they’re like, “You can’t really get that same feel over a screen.” And because we are forced into it, we made it work and we made it happen. I think a lot of people they didn’t realize how much they could work at home that it was possible, and that they could still get that same experience if it was with the right studio and the right coaches.

Caroline: Brilliant. Yeah, and I think the point you touched on there again it’s like that’s sense of community that’s all important. It is why some people might join fitness or a gym in the first place were that sense of community so that thinking about how you can create this through that online offering that you have as well. I think it’s interesting now to move on to Mark at Lion Fitness. I guess it’s interesting, Kristina and Helene, you had always anticipated that you’re going to go in this virtual route. You just didn’t know when. For you, Mark, was it on the roadmap and how did you pivot into that?

Mark: Yeah, I mean. Was it on the roadmap? No, not certainly. Not to the extent that it has to be over the last 3-4 months. Online has always been something that I’ve looked up in terms of one to one coaching but not in terms of… Yeah, have to react really quickly to what was happening here in the UK and put together an online offering which was still going to keep that sense of community like the other guys have touched on. 

For me, the number one reason why we will still continue to having digital offering is, as a business, it’s allowing us a lot more flexibility. We can look at our time table and we can now be offering classes in the studio and online running concurrently with different coaches offering to the online classes maybe, yoga class, studio class, maybe a strength and conditioning offering. It’s giving us a lot more flexibility with the hours. The studio we ran is relatively small. We only have one class, so that mean us could have restricted us to maybe 2 or 3 sessions on an evening with other classes. Now we can offer 5 or 6 classes on an evening because we can bring them in the studio and online. There’s certainly a lot more flexibility. Obviously, we also need to be prepared. We may well get some kind of a lockdown again in the future so the digital offering will always be there now. Just to pick on Ann Marie’s point as well about the connection of people have with their instructors, I think that’s really important. I think that’s why the hybrid would still work, and I think that’s why, for us as a business at least because people will build that connection with their instructors. They can do that online but as well they can also do that with those face to face. Will be trying to get a nice blend of on-site offering and then remote offerings with our customers so we can still continue to work face to face and to develop that community.

Caroline: Great! Thanks, Mark. There’s obviously a lot of benefits of moving online and catering to your members in this way. I guess for you, Mike, this is your bread and butter with how you have this online streaming business. For you, what are the key benefits of having this digital element or digital offering alongside your business?

Mike: Yeah. Let me give you a macro and micro view on this really quick. The industry was going through a format shift previous to COVID already. If you’re not familiar with that format shift that’s obviously where the consumers going to change the way the industry works. No different than cars going electric, whatever it maybe. We identify that last year. The growth rates were already triple digits last year. COVID obviously accelerated that. When I look at what’s the question being the number one reason why is we call it connection as a strategy, you need to connect with people where they wanted to be connected at. And if you look at the people that were in this space pre-COVID, 75% of the users online were not even members of the facility, right. They’re connecting to your product and that was your lowest areas to entry your product. And the reason why is that consumer was able to kind of not access your facility from proximity purpose potentially. Maybe the price point was another factor; schedule I can’t make a 6 flat class because I get out at 6. Then you still have a very large percentage of people that are intimidated like fitness. And the digital offering addresses those things and that’s why you’ve seen this huge pool and this opportunity when everyone shifted online where they saw success is because that customer demand was already existing. 

Caroline: Brilliant. Yeah, totally back what you said there really interesting points on how even though obviously travel is limited now, it’s breaking down the barriers in so many other ways with accessing fitness by going online. I guess some of the issues that we see or maybe gym owners would experience is how do you actually make this experience, this virtual experience as engaging as possible and really allowing for that connection with your members. I might go to you for this, Ann Marie. What would you say, how can you make your virtual classes as engaging as possible?

Ann Marie: Well, I think the gyms already have the formula. They already have the content. They’ve got the instructors. They’ve got the classes. They’ve got all the raw materials that they’re doing in studio. Right, how do you take that and then parlay it or offer it in the digital space, in the virtual space. We’ve already said now with COVID people have created space in their house. They brought products whether it is boxing gloves or weights. They kind of created that space and they are used to it, and they are like, “Wow! I can do this. This is great. I don’t have to commute.” When people are wanting it, they are craving it, they like it at home, whether it is from the pandemic, or travel, or the baby is sick, or work is coming, or whatever it is. But now how do the gyms, what do they do to deliver it. They want the top tier experience but the production and the quality also has also to be top tier because that’s what people are expecting. 

So yes, during COVID, you saw everybody like in their living room and it was dark, you can hardly see him, you couldn’t hear him. That was okay for that time. We were just meeting people where they were and doing everything we could and being there to support them physically and mentally. But now, you got to be paid for it but the production is going to be high because the competition is high. You want to level up your production with your offer and then that’s a whole another conversation. You know, whether you use a third party platform, you do it yourself, you use off site production, you buy the Mevo camera, you use FORTË or other companies that do the hardware and the software. Do you do the hardware and use another platform for the software. All of that I think everybody is figuring out. I know your panelists are using Glofox which is wonderful and a great support. But I’m sure you guys still have to figure out your hardware, your camera, who is pressing play, the production, or you are hiring someone to do that, is it the fitness manager. All of that needs to be figured out. 

Caroline: Yeah, definitely. Like you said, flaws were totally acceptable in the midst of… We are obviously at a totally different point now for people have different expectations. It’s going back to that customer expectation piece that you touched on already. I guess for you, Kristina and Helene, how do you make your experience as engaging as possible for your members? What would you say are the top tips for anyone else that really wants to improve their online offering?

Kristina: Yeah, I think especially with the Zoom classes people still want that accountability. So with the Zoom classes they see the instructor, they know they have to sign in, they know they are going to see us. Especially with boxing we can call a technique during the class, so we have that engagement throughout the class. To make it, of course, like Ann Marie was saying at first it’s a little dark, oh my god the lighting, what time of day is it, what about the music. And we learned a little tick through Zoom that… This is good information. That you can put your music through the internal speaker which a lot of people don’t know although you can’t use it with your ear pods, and there’s all these things. But we finally found a microphone that worked. We’ve got all the lighting and it really makes the difference to give that experience, right? I think just investing in that equipment is very important. Sound is really important. We also, when we were teaching we had to realize, okay, Helene is going to do the countdown and the instructions because she is super clear. I’m away from the camera so I can do the movements. Just working out that balance and making a good experience for your clientele I think is really important. 

Then of course, our second thing that we are going to be doing now is offering on demand videos for basic techniques, and tips, and tricks. That’s going to be new for us but I do have a background in production, in front and behind camera, so that’s helping a little bit. But, yeah, we do need help. We can’t do everything ourselves. 

Helene: I think as well too for the community aspect, before every class we always say like, “Hey, Liz. How is it going? How was your day?” We try and catch everyone before the class starts even if we do start a little bit late. Everyone knows if they’ve attended our class we usually go 5-10 minutes over because, one, we talk a lot. Yeah, we usually start off with like, “Hey, how is everyone doing? How is everyone feeling?” Anyone like injured from either an outdoor activity that they did or maybe an old injury that re-come about from exercising at home and maybe doing a movement they haven’t done in a while. And then at the end we always say very quickly, “Questions, comments, concerns. GO!” And we let our members just chat and whether they want to tell us about anything that has to do with fitness or the class, or it’s about their day because they had a really long meeting and they didn’t take a lunch break, or whatever it is. We really try and talk to them about their personal life, not just class and then it’s like, “Bye! Have a good night. See you later”, and just pay us.        

Caroline: Yeah, that’s such a valid point. I think what you touched on there as well like what’s differentiating your offering versus just watching a YouTube video is the fact that you are giving that personalized feedback and attention that you are giving them that opportunity to connect, and that you are making sure that’s a clear differentiator. And I think you touched on those points really well and how you create an engaging offer. Mark, how about you at Lion Fitness? How do you ensure to get across a professional, engaging class?

Mark: I mean, I would echo the comments of the panelists. Really, in terms of… I mean, we are using Zoom as well and I’m with other coaches I’ve worked with that they have at least 5-10 minutes before the class is due to start so they can have those conversations with people as they dial into the call as they would if they were walking into the studio, so they can ask them how they are, what they’ve been up to, ask them questions about if they’ve had any injuries or anything else since we last saw them. To keep it as engaging as possible it is as you just said there, it doesn’t feel just like a YouTube video that they’ve just downloaded and dialed in to.

In terms of how to keep it engaging, I think another thing which was really one for us was in terms of making sure the process was really slick, so in terms of how to book to a class, how to dial into the class. We all know like any barrier to anything, “Well then. Oh, okay, I’ve had enough. I’ve tried that. It didn’t work”, and well look elsewhere. We’ve been really focused on making sure that there are no barriers or if there are barriers how we can overcome them to make sure the whole booking the class, booking a membership, dialing into the session is a really slick process. So then when they are into the session, we then as instructors are as engaging as we can be and as we would usually be if we were seeing these people face to face.  

Caroline: Great! Thanks, Mark. And then over to you, Mike, an engaging experience online. What can you do?   

Mike: Yeah. I think you have to think about this from a brand perspective as well as an instructor perspective. If you want to engage at the brand level because we think a digital can be a brand extension, then you need to actually potentially invest in production because it’s going to be that branded experience. And you’re not going to be able to have a conversation with somebody where you might call them by name because it’s an evergreen type content that’s played forever. 

On the instructor side of the equation, we’ve had the ability to interview consumers during this time. Basically, what they are looking at before engagement is they like the call out, so you need to call them out all the time, and you will get them to show up more often. The other side of the equation there is this subliminal thing of they like to know that other people are there working out when they are working out. It’s a motivational thing which actually engages them, so they have this propensity to do live. The problem is schedule. That’s the other thing, right. You may teach a class at 8am and they are in New York and you’re 8am in California just doesn’t work, right. There is opportunity to actually engage even more than what already is taking place. And so if you ultimately are looking at the best engagement, it is bidirectional content. We look at it like a funnel system. We say, video on demand for branded experience. It is great for people that have never experienced your brand. It is more about them. They don’t know your instructor. They don’t know you. They don’t care about it. They just want to see what you’re about make sure that product represents whatever the quality of your brand is. People always say, “What’s the quality of content need to be?” I say, “What’s the quality of your brand?” That’s your choice. You already what that is. 

The other side is when you do the single broadcast which is kind of like the Peloton is. You know where it’s they are not having communication. In those sort of situations, you do know potentially people that are joining in and traditionally people… People are saying, “Hey, call this person out”, whatever it may be. That’s what happens in those production settings. And then, number two, is this bidirectional content which is kind of what we are doing here. That is the most engaging type of content there is right now. 

Caroline: Yes, some really good points touched on there. Mike, I actually might direct this question to you as well before we pop on back to Ann Marie. I was wondering, so, how can you use… Obviously it is taking a little bit of time to record your video, to edit it, and maybe repurpose it. But there is obviously a massive opportunity here to use that content you’re making and use it for say the likes of lead generation. Do you have any tips on how you can use your video content to attract more people to your studio?

Mike: Yup. I may give you a couple of different ideas. Number one is you probably have a platform where you play your content right now, and that would be say a tool like Zoom. This is an example. In that tool you need to take people to that tool in order to play that content. Leverage social. Social has and audience with tools. That’s how we kind of think about it… so you can take that content and reuse that content or drive that content there. It’s complete acquisition. It should be free. It doesn’t need to be paid. That’s one thing to think about when it comes to I create content and then I’m going to potentially repost that up in sort of like video on demand type content. Spend a little bit of time with that repost. Don’t just clip it, right, and that can be an intro and outro. That can be a one-time investment. What a lot of times we’ll do is we’ll actually script the workouts or we’ll script the class with the brand, and then we know exactly what the assets are that are needed. And then, we create those once and reuse them all the time, so it’s a one-time investment outside of just the edit. A simple edit can be done… You can probably do a simple edit if it’s one camera, one audio feed and then you potentially are just using graphics. The issue where you potentially need a little bit more help is when you do a multi camera. you are dealing with music, you have multiple audio feeds. 

The other side of the equation that I start to think about is you do have the ability to license that content. There’s more and more aggravators that are coming into the market, and the way that we look at licensing is, yes, you can make some money on it but it is promotion. Think about that like if you were to listen to a song by an artist, if you like that song you might go download the album, you still own the album. We say put out the best content there because it is acquisition. 

Caroline: Okay, so you’re coming at it from an acquisition perspective having the high quality content can really boost your chances of getting more people in your door be it your virtual door or your physical door. Great perspective there, Mike. I’d love to hear your view on this Ann Marie. 

Ann Marie: To echo Mike, I think, depending on how you are doing it. If you are doing livestreaming and that’s that bidirectional and you’re really engaging people, and then you can upload that to whatever catalogue you have whether it is just a YouTube channel, or you’re on a platform where you can create library like a Netflix type of library, and then drive people there that couldn’t do the live but can get the video on demand. Use social to drive them to your website, to your secret sauce, what you’re offering, your niche market definitely use social. 

The music is the tough one with this because if you are doing it yourself and your instructors are playing original music from Spotify and iTunes, how do you that with the virtual and then there’s the sync licensing that you need to be concerned with once it is in the catalogue. So if you are working with a third party production team there is ways where they could teach with their music and then when you send it in they will overlay that the royalty free music. The music is a whole another thing. But as far as using that content, absolutely social media, 100%. Tease it out. Give them fit tips, give them learn the moves, meet the instructors, hear the testimonials. All of it a call to action to drive them to your site, then subscribe to your content. 

Caroline: Really a number of ways that you mentioned there about how you can use your content like sneak peeks. Especially I guess with studios reopening, showing that little snippet of a class in progress with your restrictions in place, the spacing that you need to have, and everything like that. 

Ann Marie: There’s so many apps already out there that help you do clips. I mean, there’s a million of them that can make it look really professional. I know people want to do like creative content and do it themselves but if you don’t have that production there’s plenty of third party apps to make your social look professional. 

Caroline: Exactly. Thank you for that. And then, Kristina and Helene, how have you used or have you used your video content for lead generation? 

Kristina: We haven’t used to much as of yet. I think we’ve been maybe to a fault for trying to perfect what we are doing a little bit too much and come out the gates looking the branded way we want to. That’s definitely maybe a fault of ours. We’ve enjoyed the Zoom classes. We’ve recorded a few but, again, like Ann Marie was saying, you have to pull it out. We’re pretty loud with the music that we use and then we didn’t want to have the licensing issues. That’s the fun part about Zoom is because it’s close and you can just do whatever you want with the music and not have to worry about it. But we are going to go into production doing a lot of online videos. We are just kind of perfecting it right now and how to instruct because there is so much to teach with boxing. We are very excited to offer that and we will 100% be using that as an acquisition tool for sure. Yeah.

Caroline: Brilliant. Thank you. And then for you, Mark, at Lion Fitness how about you? Have you used your content? Is there any way that you’ve repurposed it?    

Mark: I guess looking at it from a slightly different angle. I’ve used the recording of our online content to try and increase membership as a way of offering it to members as part of their package. So if they’ve not been able to join a session because of the times, because it’s not suited them for work, commitment, etc., then we are uploading the recordings so they can watch them back at a time that’s suitable for them. But we’ve only opened that up to our members so it’s a discussion that we can have with customers who have considered a membership previously. Maybe because of time commitments, and work and life balances they have not committed to that. It’s another offering as part of their membership package that’s actually something else that you are going to get as part of that package that okay you may not dial into the live classes but actually you can then watch them back on the recordings. In terms of using them for kind of snippets then there are great ideas. It’s not something we’ve done as yet, but yes, certainly something that we will be looking at going forward. Yeah.

Caroline: Brilliant. Yes, so I guess the key things that we are getting from this is that looking at your customers how can you provide extra value to them through using this online and content to then when you do have the online content how can you really make the most of it and make it work for you in generating leads and acquiring leads as well. I’m conscious that there’s been a massive influx of questions. I know Kevin is going to come on to and select some questions to pop out. 

Kristina, your little nugget about how you can add music has gone a lot of questions about that so you might want to share that with them, some of the attendees who’ve asked that question.    

Kristina: Yeah, you know what I’ll let Helene talk about the internal speaker movement. I think it is really helpful if you can have that second person that manages the music while you have someone instructing. I’ve invested in some Apple ear pods which I’m using right now which you can connect to… Well, with Zoom, you can connect this as the I guess it’s the external so you can hear me through the mic, but because Helene would be on another login she’s been able to manage the music that way. But, again, when I do the classes on my own I definitely have… I just kind of stop and start the music but, again, using the internal speaker logging into the computer I’ll let Helene kind of talk with that a bit too. 

Helene: Yeah, if you go to the share screen down in the bottom middle section it’s green. You hit that and you hit on the ‘Advanced’. There is the option and it says music and computer sound only. I can’t remember the exact phrase but it’s the middle one. I could picture it now. So, yeah, you go to share screen, advanced, and the middle one which says like music and computer sound only and go okay. It will say at the top that it’s peer sharing your sound so you should see that in the top middle section, and then that means it’s all hooked up and good to go. In that way it will be really loud so try and play with the volume and ask your clients or do a test run with someone else just so that you know because it will be really loud on their end. 

Kristina: Recently, I can see a lot of people asking the mic. I did a lot of research and I got the Rode wireless go mic. I’m not sponsored by them but I should be at this point I’ve talked about it so much. But this with the right cords you can connect it to the internal speaker on your laptop or on your iPhone. We found out this weekend on a live on demand when we should have been muted and we weren’t the microphone actually picks up extremely well. So remember to mute, and I’m going to do that now. 

Caroline: Brilliant, and thank for that.

Ann Marie: I’ll add one thing to that. I discover Loopback which is when we were doing the Zoom which allows… Zoom is a one audio channel for both mic and music, but Loopback allows like your wireless headphones to plug in and then you could play Spotify so it’s two channels. You can adjust the music on one and the voice on the other, so it’s not in one. I believe it’s Loopback. Mike, am I right? Is it Loopback?

Mike: Yeah, because the terminology is audio loops. You are doing an audio loop when you are doing that.

Kristina: Thank you!

Ann Marie: I think it is $100 for the software or the plug in and then you have to do a couple of little things. There is a ton of YouTube videos on how to install it. Once you do it and you use your ear pods it is great because it is almost like using a mixer for two channels. 

Caroline: Okay, brilliant. That’s a real helpful tips there especially when you want music and you want to hear an instructor’s voice as well. Excellent. A really popular question here that’s coming off is all about pricing. I know that tends to be a lot of people’s… and how you package it and how you price it. A question here from Erin, “How do you package your online offering? Or how do you package your offering? Is it in studio online only or a mixture of on demand and/or hybrid. How would you look that if you have a physical studio? How would you tie your virtual offering into that? If anyone has a preference on asking this question you can unmute yourself.

Mark: I don’t mind talking about what we do at Lion Fitness. We basically have a mix of offerings so we have a membership offering which incorporates both in studio and online. The only really differential is for any of the customers who are not members and just want to make it a one off purchase then they can do that for online classes also. But obviously we are quite quick to try and engage with each people to get them to look at the other options which longer term is more financially beneficial for them. From my point of view, I think we have to truncate it for everybody and everybody’s different needs. So whilst we don’t have lots of different membership offerings we have basically one strategic package which incorporates all our onsite offerings and all our online offerings. 

Caroline: Okay, brilliant. I think we are coming to the end of time, but I’d love to get just one more question out there. “What do you think about live classes versus on demand?”, a question from Sydney here. I might direct that to you first maybe Kristina and Helene. 

Helene: I would say that especially for us and as Mike had said, the call outs you can’t do as particular to a certain person. To be honest I will say, when I was injured and I finally recovered I started watching these videos, and just seeing IG, and Zoom, and seeing how they did it so that I wanted to know what I liked, what we should do and whatnot. I did a live on Instagram so they couldn’t see me, nothing, and I actually stop doing the exercise and Helene for some reason was like, “Why are you stopping? Keep going.” I was like is my… I got scared because I was like is this on. Now, maybe IG Live is different. And so there is still a way to call out and be like, “Keep going you got this.” But there are different cues. It is a lot harder because you can’t see them. You don’t know what they are doing so that I think is the hardest thing. I know for me I talk a lot in general but when I don’t see people I talk even more. I’ve noticed that when my video is not on or I can’t see them. There’s definitely kind of rules to follow for live and rules to follow for recorded. I think it is just figuring out, one, what your clientele wants as well to. Some people again like that constant talking. Some people kind of want quiet. Whatever it is I think it’s just going to be finding your groove and finding what works for your community. 

Kristina: Just to follow up on that. I think we are doing something similar to Mark whereas we are packaging all as is where do you… When you buy a class passes from us, right now we don’t have like a monthly membership, so you can take an online class and in person class again because of COVID and the fact that everything is restricted. They are opening up. We call it Stage 3 here on Ontario as of next week but we’ll still keep the classes in studio small because now we’ve been able to open it up virtually to the world which is basically what we want to do. We know we have a unique offering. From running gyms for years, this is just so exciting to be able to not be restricted to only training people who are within a 5km distance of you. This is actually an exciting part of this and we’re going to keep our classes small. Still offer some at home, like, when we are training from at home and training from in the gym and we’re just going to keep the cameras running while we are doing the classes in studio. It’s very exciting and a lot of studios can do that I think now. It is super exciting. 

Caroline: Brilliant. Thanks, Kristina. I think we have a little bit more time to keep going with this. They might just pop another question now. Do you think your clients or members in general expect live sessions only or do you think that you should provide these recorded sessions to your members as well? Maybe it is a follow up. Maybe I might direct that to you, Mike. 

Mike: Yeah, so if the member has a connection to the instructor there is a strong desire to go live, and then what should people are doing is they are doing this “on course” against those for 48, 72 hours, whatever it may be and then eventually that potentially is also going to be on demand. You still have to offer video on demand because of the scheduling factor. The people have schedule issues still. 90% of Peloton’s content, as an example, is consumed not live. But dive in deeper and you try to find out what they prefer. Over the two, they prefer live. It is just the scheduling issue, so there is an opportunity for technology as well as your approach and process to potentially figure out how can I incorporate this community element to my video on demand products. Things we are looking at right now which is if I can include that instructing if they are not teaching as well.

One thing I want to give you guys just for some insight related to pricing since you guys were talking about that. The top price point that is purchased by consumers is between $10 and $15. It comes out $12.50 when you look at the masses just so you know and that’s like a subscription model against video on demand does not include live. We say, “Price the connection. Don’t price the content.” So you’re going to price the price of this communication because our connection is stronger than just a single broadcast out. Same thing with video on demand. We actually have three pricing tiers. If you are going to try to sell your digital subscription as an upsell say it’s $19.99 online and you’re going to give $9.99 to your members, your percentage of uptake against the membership is pretty low. In the grand scheme of things this is some pre COVID data, right. If you price it into your membership and use it almost like a value add, you’re going to get a higher uptake. This is data from across every other brands that we’ve worked with and we’ve looked the data on. Just want to give you guys some of that insight on the pricing side. I still think the pricing, and not everyone agrees with me so that’s okay, the pricing of whatever you charge in studio still going to be your top. We build funnels from social to in studio and we price across every single spectrum. And we still price Zoom lower because the connection of us talking like this versus the connection of me giving you a hug or shaking your hand is obviously less.              

Caroline: Brilliant. I think that’s a really interesting point rather than seeing it like a separate entity to see it as a value add for your members in your memberships. 

Mike: The other side of this equation these things is people just don’t think about is we dig deep, right, because this is all we planned. And so we know if somebody is doing yoga. We know that somebody who does yoga probably does HIT too, right? So you have all these different things that people do. [unclear – 46:59] You can use digital to supplement what you might do so you can check that box for them. Instead of having to go to two or three places maybe you have that. You can create partnerships with other people who do really good. You can either look at that and try to white label that content, do it yourself, or partner with other brands. There is still a ton of opportunity to exploit within digital streaming here that we are just at the very…

Caroline: Cool. Yeah, and I think that touches on a point as well the some of the questions here are. When you think of going virtual, you’re like, “Wow! Global expansion. I can reach anyone, anywhere.” But then there is also that issue of like how can you also keep it local, keep your original customer base happy and engaged. I wonder is that anything that maybe Mark, or Kristina and Helene, Ann Marie that you’ve had experienced with about using virtual but ensuring that the people in your locality are still catered to. 

Ann Marie: I can pop in really quick, and they’ll know better. I’m not just embarking with running group fitness at one of our clubs we’re building one, and we are adding a virtual to hybrid offer as we speak. I’m figuring out what system to use. But I’m realizing that as far as offering it to people, if you have multi clubs you can offer that subscription or that membership to the other clubs to take all of the classes. You can just record in one studio and offer that to all of your members. I feel like whether you are one club or multiple clubs you can start with your community. I think that’s an easier base. To reach out globally is kind of what the apps are doing. They are really starting with just advertising out there. They don’t have that local following. Definitely go with the local following first. They are already experiencing you, you are in your town or you are in your region, and then you can expand out and get non-members. There’s plenty of non-members that can join but I think you kind of start grass roots first. 

Caroline: Brilliant. Thanks so much for that, Ann Marie. I think this has been a really, really helpful panel for anyone that’s been considering going online and wasn’t maybe sure how or else just for that and additional information that you guys have been able to provide about your expertise with running your studios, and livestreaming, and everything in between. We are going to bring out our next customer spotlight. But I would just like to say a massive thank you to Ann Marie, Kristina, Mark, Mike and Helene. You’ve been a great panel. And thank you so much for joining us today. We’ll be handing out the winners of the Girls Just Wanna Box gloves later on today. Thanks so much everyone. 

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