Here in the Virtuagym sales team, we speak to hundreds of studio owners every day. Whether they are existing customers or prospective customers, we do our best to not only understand the biggest challenges in the industry but also try to help them overcome these challenges.
Interestingly, 60% of all studio owners cite marketing as their biggest challenge. And when it’s not topping the list of setbacks, it’s still coming in close behind as the other 40% cite marketing as their second or third biggest challenge. Basically, everyone is encountering challenges when attempting to market to prospective members.
Marketing is a tricky business and is essential in order to bring in more members, retain those you already have - and ultimately grow your business.
If you are an established business, you’ve been around for a few years and have invested a few thousand dollars in marketing then the second of the above is probably your bigger issue. The chances are you’re either losing these prospective customers because:
- You’re too expensive and they can’t justify the price point
- Your fitness studio sits outside of 4-mile radius and other competitors are more appealing
- You’re losing to competition
So how can you be more appealing to these customers?
Expand your product offerings
If your facility is offering small group training, PT, classes and/or open training days, congratulations you’re offering the same services as your competition.
One trend we’ve helped our customers capitalize on and get ahead of the competition on is to implement online or hybrid training. This allows you to counter two of the setbacks detailed above and helps our customers to break the 4-mile radius and offer a more flexible service, at a lower price point.
Here is how some of our customers have done it:
With the help of some of our most successful studios, we created an overview of some in-depth and proven online business models that have allowed studios to break through the 4-mile radius and also appeal to customers who are more price-sensitive while increasing their profitability.
Build your brand
Building up a distinctive brand image and voice is essential in marketing yourself in a way that encourages clients to travel the distance to your fitness studio.
Users typically travel around 5 and a half miles for high-end fitness centers such as Equinox and Soul Cycle. Marketing your club in a way that makes it unique, memorable and stands out from the other studios out there is an effective way to encourage members to travel.
When growing brand awareness you should consider exactly who your audience is and the best ways to target them
Some important things to think about are:
- Developing a branded tone of voice
- Creating a website and strong social media presence
- Supporting this with additional technology such as an app
- Consider content marketing
Create a community
People travel past the four-mile radius to visit friends, go to work or clubs that they care about. If you effectively create and engage a community of people that care about one another, you’ll have far more success in encouraging them to sign up for your studio.
The best ways to develop a sense of community are to:
- Put on events such as competitions and encourage participation
- Post about members and their achievements on your website and social media
- Use a community-based software system such as Virtuagym
- Put on interactive classes and actively engage with all members - encourage them to partner up
- Feature a studio member every month/week - create a member-of-the-month and make your clients feel special, highlight their achievements and goal realization
Check out the competition
If you’re losing customers both current and prospective to the competition in your local area or even just outside of it, it’s time to figure out why.
Conduct your own market research and approach the studio as though you were planning on joining. Get to know their onboarding process, equipment, style and class schedules. Figure out what it is about their company that draws in new clients.
Try and think from the perspective of clients and prospective clients.
You should also assess their shortcomings. What do you want from a studio that the competitors cannot offer?
Perhaps the heavy machinery and dark furnishings are intimidating to newcomers and older people that may prefer resistance training. Or perhaps the class schedule doesn’t cater to a particular group. Figure out what your competitors are missing and you will be able to develop a unique position for your fitness studio in the local market.
Reevaluate your price point
After conducting your market research you will have a good idea of what other studios in your area are charging for membership. If you feel that your prices are scaring people away, then it may be time to reconsider.
On the other hand, a higher price point paired with great facilities could position you as an elite training space and pull in more revenue in the long run. Take some time to research the best approach for you and your brand. Remember that a business is always evolving.
Ultimately, your brand is more than capable of breaking through the 4-mile radius and appealing to customers who are more price-sensitive while increasing their profitability.
Don’t just compete in your 4-mile radius, go out and break through it! For an example of a studio that has smashed their business growth, check out The Motion Room’s story.