Are you considering opening a fitness studio or looking to improve an existing one?

Through my work managing boutique fitness brands and consulting with boutique fitness studios, there are three key points I believe boutique fitness owners and managers must always keep front of mind: 1) The power of the consumer. 2) The importance of your product. 3) How to “speak” like a top boutique.

Digging into each of these in more detail:

1. The power lies within the consumer.

Unlike the old days, consumers were locked into 1-year membership contracts meaning consumer income was much more predictable. Now however, due to “accessibility” being a big pillar of boutique fitness, boutiques are pushed more towards a pay and play model. Due to this, boutique fitness studios must ensure their quality of product, community and customer service is on point. If any of these three points are lacking, consumers simply will not want to return and spend money with you.

Question points:

  • What are you doing to ensure your consumers are happy?
  • How often are you listening to your customers? Note, reading their comments on social media is not enough. Face to face is important as is surveying the regulars.
  • How engaged are your customers? Do they really care? Do you know these customers on a first name basis? And do they feel comfortable enough to give you negative feedback as well as positive.

2. Product is king.

The beauty of boutique fitness is that it’s the specialist in its field. It’s the best of the best and product is not diluted with other distractions. Think about the restaurant industry – steak houses, pizza places or an old-fashioned English chippy do NOT deviate from the product they are trying to deliver on. Likewise, a boutique fitness studio must pick a discipline and commit to being the best at it.

Questions points:

  • Have you fallen into a commercial trap of becoming a one-stop shop?
  • Do your instructors have too much to think about? Would it be easier if you stripped the product back and have them focus on one thing?
  • Are your different concepts competing against each other? Does your brand message stay clear and concise or does it become confused?

3. Fitness isn’t life. Living is…

As much as you think they are, your customers are not solely fitness fanatics and, while our life revolves around fitness, theirs does not. An important part of marketing a fitness studio is to be diverse and find out what your customers really want to hear about. To become a part of someone’s everyday life, brands must act like a “lifestyle” brand over a “fitness” brand. Don’t be afraid to delve into new waters. There’s nothing wrong with firing out a blog post that no one wants to read – just make sure you learn from it. Keep an eye on your social engagement levels and your email open and CTR rates. You’ll soon find out what gets your customers excited. Use this as ammo to get their attention!

Question points:

  • Do you struggle to think of new content ideas for your studio? If so, how could you turn your content strategy on its head and talk about something different?
  • What do your customers like reading about? Have you done any research to find this out?
  • What are your content outputs? Are you measuring the success of the content you’re putting out?

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By Lewis Parkinson, Owner, Fuel Works