Although the end of the most recent lockdown is in sight, the introduction of the newly revised tier system still has a great impact on gyms and health clubs across the country with group classes still unable to go ahead. And many of your members may still be hesitant about returning to your facility whilst the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.
During an incredibly uncertain time, the fitness sector continues to be confronted with the challenge of trying to keep their members active and engaged – outside of the gym!
Finding solutions to keep your members engaged during this time is crucial, providing them with resources and frequent contact, however this shouldn’t just be seen as a short-term fix. The more ways your members’ can engage with your club, the more enhanced their overall experience and satisfaction will be. So you need to have ideas that work as a long-term solution.
Although this may be a new challenge you are facing, remember that to your members, you are still the expert! Many of your members see you as their source of all information relating to their fitness and health. Use your knowledge to inform your members and give them recommendations as to what they should do when exercising at home. Many people will feel demotivated and want to give up, so do your best to make sure this isn’t your members!
YOU CAN ALSO DOWNLOAD OUR MAINTAINING ENGAGEMENT GUIDE
If you don’t have time to read the blog, then you can always download our maintaining engagement guide right now, and discover ways in which you can encourage interaction with your members amongst all the uncertainty.
FIND YOUR ONLINE VOICE
Whether your club will be remaining closed or getting ready to re-open it is crucially important to maintain clear and regular communication with your members. To not only keep them informed, but to also help them feel reassured.
But beforehand, you need to define your brand’s voice. Think about what you want to say and more importantly how you want to say it.
As a gym or fitness studio, you will have already identified what your goal is and what you hope to bring to the fitness industry which sets you apart from your competitors, but it’s time to think about taking that one step further.
What is your purpose?
You need to communicate your value and deliver high-quality content to your members and remember how powerful social media and the internet can be! But only if used correctly.
Your members are ready and willing to hear from you, so utilise the communication channel which works best for your audience whether that be via email, SMS, social media or your website. By making the right choice of communication method you are more likely to build a rapport with your members.
CREATE HIGH QUALITY ONLINE CONTENT
Keeping your members informed is one thing, but that isn’t enough to keep them actively invested in your gym. You want to keep your members motivated and provide them with a dose of normality, so offering them regular content is vital to keep them moving and boost their engagement.
Gyms and fitness studios across the country are quickly turning their attention to harnessing the skills of their instructors and personal
trainers to provide digital workouts and classes for their members.
So don’t let physical distance stop you keeping your members in check. Create a timetable to release content to your members so they have something to look forward to and continue to look to your facility for their health and fitness information.
Live Stream Workouts
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or through video conferencing APPS like Zoom; live streaming is a great tool to reach out to your members! Trainers could run daily classes at the same time every day. Get your members involved and for those who aren’t members of your gym now, it’s a great way to capture their attention and convince them to join. Live streams can then be saved and turned into video workouts…
Use pre-recorded workout videos to offer your members a form of exercise they can do at any time. Those with children may not be able to join you for your live stream at specific times, so it’s a great way to engage those with time constraints. You can use video through an email campaign to reach only your members or reach out to non-members through social, similar to the live stream workouts.
Provide healthy recipes to keep your members engaged and to help them carry on their health transformation that they started at your club!
MAKE YOUR CONTENT RELIABLE
Virtual classes and online training and support has come out as king during a year of virtual services.
While these have proven to be very successful at keeping members paying to some degree, and cementing your gym in your customer’s mind even whilst you’re closed, this is still unchartered territory for so many clubs and gyms.
But whilst hosting an online class might sound easy, there is certainly a great deal to consider in order to make sure you are providing your
members with a valuable, quality experience. And although your customer experience is at the forefront of your mind, you as a business owner, must also ensure you consider your business needs and choose a streaming platform that is not only reliable, but also cost effective.
To discover more about the cost-friendly platforms available, read our blog about the best platforms available to host your online gym classes.
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE
During isolation, times of lockdown and when members are not ready to return to your gym, it is easy for your members to feel isolated and alone. Many people turn to exercise to increase their mood and the motivation they get from others – whether it be your trainers or fellow members can be really encouraging.
This is your chance to bring your members together and create an online community. Encouraging your users to interact with the content you produce and make available is a great way to foster two-way conversations between your club and your members. On your social media pages your trainers can set challenges to your members or feature “workouts of the day” and ask your members to comment with their videos or pictures using specific hashtags to bring your online community together.
Social media channels, such as Instagram, also feature interaction tools such as polls, questions and sliders via Instagram stories, making it easier than ever to ask your audience a question and get real-time responses. For example, you could host a weekly “Let your members decide workout” and ask your online community what type of workout (i.e. strength or cardio) they would prefer that day. Give them a 60-90 minute window to answer and then host a workout based on the most popular response.
This not only allows your members to feel valued but also gives them the opportunity to receive what they would feel as tailored training from your club.
MAINTAIN YOUR MEMBERS ACCOUNTABILITY
Staying motivated to visit your gym or complete your workout is hard enough, even when gyms are open! So imagine how much more difficult this is when you are required to stay at home, with no fitness trainer in sight to provide you with encouragement. It’ll come as no surprise that to encourage your members to keep training, it is going to require a little extra effort, not only from them but from you and your team.
Many people rely on their routine to maintain their motivation, so offering a class schedule which almost mirrors your typical gym
schedule will be beneficial to your members. It will feel familiar to them and therefore will be much easier to maintain, as you’re not expecting them to show up at times which may otherwise be out of the ordinary.
You also have a prime opportunity here to utilise your coaches and personal trainers. The likelihood of your team being less busy than usual is high when your gym is closed or you are unable to host group classes, so try to utilise their skillset elsewhere. Give them the task of becoming ‘Accountability Coaches’ to those individual members or groups that might need extra support and encouragement to stay active and continue maintaining or reaching their fitness goal.
YOUR FUTURE IS POSITIVE
It’s easy to see the negative side of the ongoing disruption to the fitness industry and the uncertainty this brings to gym owners and gym goers, but it is important to focus on the positive outcomes this time can in fact provide.
With your clubs doors having been closed, you’ve been able to spend time looking at any repairs or upgrades to your equipment which you might have been delaying as it would typically cause disruption to your members. But now has been the perfect time.
With the help of schemes such as the government business interruption loan scheme, it might also be possible for you to invest in your facility and have something for your members to look forward to when they individually decide it’s the right time for them to come back.
And of course, make sure to keep your members updated on every club development that happens during your closures and even once you have reopened again. This will help you build up a buzz between your current and potential members as they patiently wait to get back inside of your newly improved facility.
This doesn’t need to be expensive either, even giving your club a little facelift with some redecorating is often enough to build excitement amongst your members.
ASHBOURNE CAN HELP WITH EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR CLUB
Unlike most club management services which just give you some basic software and collect your direct debits, the team at Ashbourne knows that there’s a lot more to managing a successful club than simply collecting payments.
From debt collection, to web design, marketing ideas and more – the entire team at Ashbourne Membership Management is at your disposal to help you succeed and master every single element of being a successful gym.
If you want to chat about what we offer, or simply run through how we can help your particular health club, then get in touch with us and our sales manager Grant will be back in touch to talk through everything.