A Note From zingfit
We are so excited to share this in-depth article from KK Hart. KK is long-time partner, friend and contributor to zingfit. We hope this article will help set you up for success in your studio relaunch. For more reopening resources, check out our white paper:
Five Strategies for Reopening Your Boutique Fitness Studio, on Brand, on Time, and Entirely Community-Focused! By KK Hart.
Reopening your boutique fitness studio is an exciting time. Many of you are already considering your reopening timeline, per your local guidelines and suggestions. Although there are many differences between areas of the country and the world, the thing everyone seems to agree on is this: things will likely not go back to normal right away. And that’s actually ok!
What’s more important to consider now is taking the time to prepare changes and create a new normal for your clients and staff. This is how we will shine as community focused, people-oriented boutique business operators!
1. Blend your digital and in-studio offerings
Hopefully even though your studio has been closed, you’ve been maintaining a solid online presence.
Have you been offering virtual classes?
Sharing more content on social?
Debuted any new merch and launched online community events?
Now is the time! It’s important to keep your clients connected and excited about your brand by utilizing your virtual offerings.
When you reopen, I don’t recommend you stop your digital presence cold turkey—or at all! Continue to offer a blended strategy of virtual classes, reduced size in-studio classes, along with high emphasis on communication so all new and existing clients know what to expect for the now and the later.
Create an ongoing conversation with your clients. Survey them to learn what kind of clients chose to utilize your business online and listen to any struggles/advice/ideas they have.
It’s important to create an ongoing conversation with your clients. Survey them to learn what kind of clients chose to utilize your business online and listen to any struggles/advice/ideas they have. This will help improve the online user experience, and help you to refine your virtual fitness target client. Spoiler alert: This will be the key to your success with client acquisition and retention!
If you’ve created a heavier online presence, chances are that is now a step forward for your studio. Your brand just became more valuable and it’s important to use that to your advantage. If done correctly, your online presence can be so much more profitable. That’s the true silver lining in this opportunity!
Many of my clients have worked with me to leverage online search-engine and social-media advertising, to re-structure and optimize their studio websites (aka the most visited aspect of your brick-and-mortar business lately!), as well as automating systems to remain growth oriented throughout this experience. These are some of the most important ways to grow and always will be… don’t be the last to venture out with new sales and marketing strategies!
2. Maintain the client experience, online and on-brand
Your online presence via Instagram, Facebook, virtual classes, blogs, etc. should be unique to your brand and create an exciting client experience. When your business reopens, the virtual client experience you created will determine if you’re going to experience a ‘sticky client’ who is willing to stay loyal to your studio, and desires to trust your efforts to come back in; or at the very least to continue working out with your team virtually! You could even look to tie in offline and in-studio attendance or competitions with some of the move to earn platforms to further incentivize clients.
It’s essential that you improve your online voice and client experience so it is clear to your clientele what you offer and how it benefits them specifically vs. these large brands with big budgets to court your clients.
Many renowned fitness brands have been offering free live online classes, robust on-demand libraries, enhanced digital communities through social media, and they are improving them at rapid pace, with loads of marketing dollars.
Why does this matter to you? It’s essential that you improve your online voice and client experience so it is clear to your clientele what you offer and how it benefits them specifically vs. these large brands with big budgets to court your clients.
3. Keep your team focused on what’s most important
Any staff you choose to bring back or keep on should be involved in the online experience. All instructors and trainers should be improving their virtual workout skills by leveling up on their marketing and sales prowess.
The fitness team of the future is filled with more than technical expertise. They need to learn what virtual clients desire to improve their online experience, as well as ensuring they have the safety protocols of your ‘new’ normal in studio.
Is your team great at giving modifications and at home tips to improve the experience?
Do they shout out your members when they are crushing it in virtual class?
Are they taking the time to connect with and nurture new client relationships when they join for the first time?
When your studio opens back up, your staff, visitors and members will be excited to see each other in person- but make no mistake, they will remember the way your team treated them online. Make sure it’s a consistent, positive experience- every single class, from anywhere and anytime!
4. Refocus key performance indicators (KPIs) to improve monetization
These KPIs allow you to best track your business targets and goals. By tracking your business success closely, you will be able to see where your studio is capable of flourishing and where to improve. You’re now and always will be an adaptable, scrappy entrepreneur—now is the time to monetize that very thing!
Your business should reassess the pricing of its memberships. Are you going to offer virtual services as a part of your memberships? That is a true value increase and that may need to be reflected monetarily as well. It’s important to follow the demand and utilization of your virtual services so you can make the smart decision with your pricing instead of starting back with an even larger gap in revenue.
Tracking online sales will tell you how important the digital client experience is to your revenue goals, and may be the push you need to leverage more opportunities to grow your business presence online.
Your in-studio packages and single-session drop-ins have most likely plummeted with being closed. When you reopen it’s your chance to grow and thrive with the best way to profitably run a boutique business… hello, autopay+memberships!?
An effective marketing strategy is an integral part of gaining online leads. Online leads are crucial to fitness studios. Within the next few months after opening, your marketing campaigns should double down on promoting both your virtual and in studio sessions.
Time to try running ads for the first time?
Never had great results with social or search ads? This is the time to try (and try again!). Strategically executed ads are proving to be more effective than ever before.
Don’t go at it alone though, this is the number one reason a lot of clients lose a lot of money and time. My team and I often work to support boutique business’s online growth, web presence and overall digital marketing implementation—through devising a high-ROI ad strategy, building and optimizing websites, and executing automations that still keep the focus on client connection.
Trust experts to get this right for you the first time and every time! You can learn to ‘DIY’ or have it done for you—but just don’t miss this opportunity to promote your business!
This is one of the most important indicators of your studio, especially now, but always!
Are your clients planning on coming back?
Did you create a memorable virtual client experience that they don’t want to stop?
Have you communicated what they need to feel safe upon returning back to in studio sessions?
You may have to decrease class capacity for a while. If done well, your sales and marketing efforts should fill those classes easily, but don’t just rely on emails and hype.
Automate your marketing to ensure there is priority for clients to make the most of their classes and sessions, while right-sizing your schedule so the path to profitability is clear and consistent from day one.
5. Measuring and investing in the financial health of your fitness studio
The health of your studio can be broken down into two categories: the physical health and the financial health. It goes without saying, that your studio should abide by all government health regulations when opening back up. This helps your members and regular visitors to stay healthy and safe to resume their day-to-day activities, including spending time at your facility!
Equally as important is to re-evaluate all your studio’s KPIs (mentioned above) and set appropriate goals that relate to your financial health. This will keep you on track to achieve profitability once again, or maybe for the first time!
I work with many of the most proactive businesses and owners in the world as a trusted advisor—their keys to success have always been investing in the most important aspects of the business, and planning for the long term.
Boutique fitness has evolved into a necessary luxury in people’s daily lives, and you can bet that they are craving that accountability and consistency more than ever before.
Though the past few months have been a time of uncertainty, remember why we all love being in boutique business! Your people need your passionate, community focused connection to them and their wellness needs.
Boutique fitness has evolved into a necessary luxury in people’s daily lives, and you can bet that they are craving that accountability and consistency more than ever before. Plan to stay financially healthy for them, and for you, so your business is stronger and more agile to any future changes and pivots that may arise!
Meet KK Hart, Certified Business Coach + Marketing Expert:
Certified Consultant KK Hart owns and operates several wellness businesses, in addition to being the CEO of a boutique sales & marketing agency specializing in the health, fitness, wellness and small business industries.
Snag a complimentary business analysis + plan for profitability: kkhart.com
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