Like many businesses, running a fitness studio is much more complicated than it may seem on the outside. Sure, you might be everyone’s favorite studio owner because of your always encouraging and happy personality. Or maybe it’s your readiness to support and motivate your clients from the moment they walk through your doors.
Your clients see you as the well-poised leader of their fit-tribe. Behind the scenes, however, your mind is likely running a mile a minute. While you’re also a local influencer and representative of your studio brand, you’re a business owner first.
We live in a digital age. You might be a dinosaur if you send a fax or take notes using pen and paper. We resolve issues with 200 text messages and email chains when they can be solved in five minutes with a quick phone call (wait, we might be going backwards there). Like it or not, we have to accept modern technology in order to keep up with the fast pace of today. Hey, you’d be surprised (or not) to learn how intuitive today’s tech tools are and how much they can help you run your business.
Think about your goals as a fitness studio owner. You likely focus primarily on converting prospects, retaining customers, and engaging your members. You make sure your client experience is on point, creating happy and engaged brand advocates out of your clients. Yes, it’s imperative to give people a great experience by forming real relationships in person and in class, and by showing them what makes your studio unique and valuable.
However, managing your studio digitally can take a heavy load off of your shoulders. Here are a few ways that using digital technology can make a heap of a difference.
For… Email Marketing
Building your email subscriber list is key. When your clients are not in your studio, how are you providing them with value? With all of the ways that your brand can be visible online and through social media, email is among the most important. What else can put you in front of your clients digitally with their undivided attention? Finding your way straight into their inboxes is powerful.
Use an email marketing service like Mailchimp. The platform is used to send 1 billion emails per day (Source) and allows you to send studio updates, newsletters, client spotlights, encouraging words, and so on, without taking up hours of your day. Take advantage of Mailchimp’s automation functionality so new clients receive email updates without you having to do it manually.
For instance: you can set up an automated “welcome series” that sends an email once a week to newcomers for, let’s say, four weeks. Each email can contain a different education piece about your studio with vital information, tips on how they can get involved with your community, and email subscriber-only deals, to name a few.
Pro tip: make sure your emails are mobile-friendly. According to TechCrunch, 75% of Gmail’s 900 million users access the platform from their mobile device.
For… Wellness Challenges/Client Support
Maybe you’re hosting a diet/wellness challenge in your studio, partnering with a local juice shop for a cleanse challenge, or have a client who needs extra guidance for their lifestyle change. Whatever the situation may be, MyFitnessPal is a great option for support. The mobile app tracks food and water intake, as well as exercise, all while housing social features that allow your clients to interact with each other, see each other’s activity, and share their updates on social media. Since 2005, users of the MyFitnessPal app have lost 100 million pounds. (Source) The proof is in the pudding (err… healthy pudding).
On top of visualizing your clients’ progress, you can automate your encouragements to reach them directly in their text message inbox. Use a text message automation software like EZ Texting to support your clients with motivational messages, class reminders, event invitations, and more. “Consumers are more likely to open text messages before any other form of mobile communication”, EZ Texting reports.
For… Staff Support
Your studio business is healthy when your staff is healthy. You’ve heard that phrase, “happy wife, happy life”? Well… happy employees, happy business. It doesn’t rhyme, but it still rings true. Amongst the chaos of running a business, making time to listen to your employees is important and helps you ensure that they are healthy and happy with their position(s) within your business. Some tools you can give them to promote their own mindfulness and wellbeing are Headspace and Whil.
Encourage your staff to use these mindfulness practices by creating a meditation challenge, adding meditation time to your studio-wide calendar, or simply being open about the practice within your management style.
For… Task Management
The time has come to take your laundry list and transfer it to the interwebs. Trello is a task management software that uses ‘boards’, ‘lists’, and ‘cards’ to organize your never-ending to-do list. On top of keeping your personal responsibilities organized, Trello works great within organizations and businesses to keep everyone aware of their responsibilities. My favorite part? Due dates and email reminders. I’m genuinely unsure of where I would be without the email reminders I receive from Trello.
Not sure where to start with Trello? Think about the different categories of your to-do list. Maybe it’s separated like this: marketing, staff management, finances, facilities management, events… categorize and create your Trello boards as you would your to-do lists.Then, within each board, create lists. Under your ‘marketing’ board, you can make a list for your studio’s blog, social media, and email. On top of categorizing, I recommend adding lists for items that are ‘in process’, ‘finished’, or ‘archived’, to coordinate where you are with certain tasks.
For… Jamming Out
What’s a good fitness class without killer jams? Speaking from experience, a bad playlist can ruin any workout. Spotify is a great music platform for discovering new music, organizing playlists, and getting social with your studio’s music.
Not only does Spotify allow you to curate awesome playlists to hype up your classes, but its social features can allow for even more brand visibility outside your four walls. A fun way to interact with your clients is to create a presence on Spotify with different categorized playlists that they can listen to on-the-go. Maybe your studio has different playlists for different moods or times of day, like “Post-Workout”, “Class Commute”, or “Namaste in Bed”. You can also create branded playlist covers that represent each mood.
On top of that strategy, Spotify allows for ‘collaborative’ playlists, which means you can promote any playlist, whether it’s for an event or just for fun, and your clients can add their favorite songs to that playlist. Your clients will be thrilled to hear the song they added into your playlist during class!
It’s a given that the personal relationships you build with your clients are ultimately the most powerful tool for building and growing your fitness studio business. However, the digital tools above are beneficial for you in continuing those relationships while using technology for unique and fun tactics to engage and inspire your clients. When your clients aren’t at your studio, keep your brand present and visible to them wherever they go. Whether through social media, email, or your Spotify jams, it’s time to get creative with your digital efforts.