Sell More Memberships: Tips to Overcoming 8 Common Objections

Are you putting in a lot of effort to make your gym a success, but simply can’t sell more memberships? We’ve talked to gym and health club owners and put together the most heard of reasons why people might not be joining your gym.

This guide will help you better prepare and train your staff so that they can turn a prospect into a member. Simply put, if you’re able to overcome your client’s objections, you’ll also be able to sell more memberships.

We’ve narrowed it down the list to 8 common objections and tips to overcome them:

1. Your Memberships Are Too Expensive

Let’s face it, life isn’t cheap. You’ve got to keep in mind that your prospective members have monthly payments; groceries, utility bills, clothing, kids and the list goes on.

So, adding yet another monthly bill might be too straining on their wallets. If the fee itself isn’t expensive but your membership plan is too restrictive your prospects might not be ready to commit to a yearly payment.

Tip: Get to Know Your Audience

In order to still draw people in and sell more memberships, you should first do research on the type of members you want to attract. When creating a profile of your prospects it’s good to think not only about their fitness goals but also their disposable income.

By knowing who you want to attract will help you refocus your marketing efforts for that target group and adjust your prices accordingly. Additionally, try changing your membership plan to a more flexible one. By creating and managing flexible memberships, day passes or multi-visit passes, you’ll be able to sell more memberships.

2. Your Gym Does Not Stand out from the Rest

If you want prospects to join your gym you cannot be ‘just another gym’. We’re not talking about buying fancy equipment or attracting famous trainers.

Even if you have basic equipment and clean facilities you should be able to run a successful gym. What is crucial though, is to set yourself apart from your competitors.

Tip: Design a Unique Experience

One of the ways of standing out is by creating an excellent client experience that is unique to your gym. You can do this by building a strong sense community around your club through social media.

3. You Don’t Adapt to Consumer Demand

People are constantly changing and so are their demands. The modern gym-goer wants more than a couple of treadmills and some dumbbells. To anticipate consumer demand, focus on large and younger generations of clients, like Millennials for example.

This group, consisting of young adults in the age group 20-34, make up 48% of all 18+ regular exercisers who do gym-type activities. It is important for your gym to cater to the needs of such a big group.

Millennials use fitness and health apps twice as much as other generations. And 47% will start using wearable tech in the next five years.

Next to the increasing demand for technology during workouts, new fitness fads gaining popularity. From 80s-themed yoga classes, spinning to hot Pilates, it seems like there is new concept every week.

Tip: Technology is a Must-Have

As a gym owner it can be lucrative or even necessary to respond to these developing consumer demands to sell more memberships.

So a couple of new yoga classes or introducing software that helps people track progress could really help your business.

4. Your Gym Is Too Intimidating to Sell More Memberships

A gym can be an intimidating place. Plenty of fit people, grunting, flexing and throwing weights. This could put especially put people off who have never gone to the gym before.

It is crucial to make everybody feel welcome, otherwise, a part of the potential members will not join your gym.

Tip: Listen to Your Gym Members’ Needs

Creating a friendly atmosphere for beginners is a smart thing to do. You could do this by having special hours for beginners only, by putting together a section in your gym just for starters, or by simply encouraging a helpful attitude among your more experienced members.

5. Your Target Audience Is Unmotivated

This is probably one of the hardest groups to get into your gym, because of the simple fact that they are not motivated. Still, getting people motivated to work out is an essential part of the fitness industry.

Tip: Engage with them!

There are two steps in the process of motivating members. First of all, you need to motivate them to visit your gym. This can be done by using incentives and motivational marketing campaigns. You can try to boosting engagement via social media or offer something new.

Secondly, you need to focus on changing that external motivation people get from your efforts into their own motivation. If you want people to stick around, their motivation needs to come from within. Setting challenges and rewards is one way of making sure your members stay motivated and on track to reach their fitness goals.

6. People Like to Exercise Outside

For some people (and there is a large number of them), working out inside is their worst nightmare. They see the gym as a cramped space with lots of noise and musky air.

You can try as hard as you can, but getting them inside four walls may be close to impossible. So what can you do to sell more memberships?

Tip: Combine Indoor and Outoor Trainings

Setting up bootcamp classes in the local park or organizing running groups would be an effective solution. You can offer them home workouts via a mobile club app, for which they will pay a small part of the normal membership.

7. Your Marketing Is Ineffective

In the search for new members, you can’t forget about marketing, online and offline. As a gym owner, it’s essential you keep in contact with your potential clients through for example social media.

Slacking off or being inconsistent in any way on social media will not be rewarded with new members.

Tip: Work on User-Generated Content

To be effective marketing-wise you should involve your current members in co-creating your marketing. Ask them to write about their experience at your gym, post video’s, pictures on your social media. These earned media will give you the most credibility, and on top of that demands no time or effort from you!

Besides marketing, via social media, there are countless other ways to market your fitness business.

8. You Have Too Many Restrictions – Or Too Few

We have talked about choosing the right target group for your type of gym. The type of gym you have also decided the type of rules you need to have.

If you own a gym targeted to the general public, then you can imagine that many people won’t like it when somebody is grunting heavily and slamming weights (see above – it can be intimidating!).

On the other hand, these aspects of weightlifting are normal for a gym targeted at experienced lifters. The same goes for clothing restrictions and the way you use the equipment.

Tip: Find a Balance

It’s important you apply a set of rules that fit your gym and find a balance, since going into either extreme (prohibiting or allowing) will drive away different market segments.

Key Takeaways

Getting people to join your gym is a huge challenge. Whether you have to motivate people to work out, or you have to adapt to their demands, there are many things you have to take into account if you want to attract prospective members.

But most importantly before you do anything, pick your target audience. If you know which crowd you are aiming for, you can start building your way to success and eventually sell more memberships.

How can you increase your business revenue stream?

As we move into the last quarter of the year, we can look back on 2020 and reflect. It’s been a year filled with previously unimaginable difficulties, and while many facilities have now reopened, we are all still adjusting to what’s eye-rollingly (but pretty accurately) being referred to as ‘the new normal.’

For you, that could mean new hygiene rules and social distancing measures in place. It could mean encouraging members to join your classes via video call, or it could have meant taking your classes outside over the summer months.

What has become increasingly clear is that the wounds left by lockdown and facility closures are taking longer than expected to heal. Frozen or canceled memberships have taken longer than expected to pick back up, and if you’re like most managers within the fitness space, you might be wondering how you can drive that revenue back up.

In this article, we’ll unpack just that. We’ll look at how to increase revenue growth and even help you understand which pricing strategy is best right now.

So, how do you generate revenue (and extra revenues) in times like those we’re currently faced with?

Increase the price per member

It might seem an unlikely time to start charging for extra services. Especially if your gym is operating at a lower capacity and unable to give your usual range of classes in the facility. But by increasing the value of your memberships, you can increase your price per member too.

This is one of the most effective ways to increase your revenue growth, by encouraging each of your existing members to contribute more.

How do you increase the value of memberships?

With a program like Stronger Together you can give your members a service worth charging for. Stronger Together is a digital subscription program that you can run alongside your regular memberships.

The program is a complete health, fitness and wellness program for your members and includes workout plans, fitness and wellness challenges, food and exercise tracking, exercises with a 3D personal trainer to ensure correct form AND wellness guidance including meditations and relaxing audio tracks.

A program like this is easy to use at home alongside your in-facility training and guarantees you a safety net if lockdown restrictions are reinstated and your facility is forced to close. You can upsell this as a PRO feature and charge your members for use of the services.

They’ll be happy to when they learn that they can access heaps of ready-to-go content and also bespoke content from their favorite gym, club or studio (that’s you) as well!

Invest in digital options

You don’t need us to tell you that taking businesses online has saved many companies throughout the course of this pandemic. There’s more and more uncertainty about what the future holds for the fitness industry, which is why it’s ever-more crucial that you ensure your business can keep operating online if it needs to.

In the fitness industry, a huge switch to a more hybrid way of working out is taking place. By operating your business in-person, but also alongside an all-in-one digital app that offers home workouts and a total solution for online health and wellness, you’ll have a business model that is flexible enough to withstand the future.

No matter what situation transpires with the coronavirus pandemic or other unforeseen reasons for closure, you will be able to service your members. Caps on capacity and regulations on safety don’t have to be show-stoppers when it comes to running your fitness business.

Improve your pricing strategy

Finally, making sure that you know exactly how to improve your pricing strategy will give you simple ways to generate growth in revenue for your business.

If you’re not already upselling – now is the time. Capitalize on the switch to digital and ensure that your website or app is complete with a webshop where members can make purchases that will enhance their experience with you.

You could upsell bespoke training sessions live-streamed via your personalized app (like the one made possible by Virtugym) or you could add value to your memberships and sell them as PRO memberships.

Memberships and the industry as a whole is a state of flux right now, that’s why it’s the perfect time to address your pricing strategy and negotiate what works for you and your business as we work towards the new normal.

Ultimately, if you want to drive growth and an increase in revenue for your business – a hybrid digital model will be the transformation you need.

Key Metrics to Track the Loyalty of Your Members

Nowadays, customer experiences have a massive effect on customer loyalty. The cause of that is the increasing amount of possibilities for brands to connect with their customers, which leads to expectations. Customers want to be wowed every time, and anywhere they interact with your brand.

And rightfully so, because now more than ever brands can create multiple touchpoints to interact with customers in numerous ways. A Facebook page or a fancy website can benefit your business a lot, but keep in mind that your members might expect more from you.

Therefore, try to be connected with your members at all times and make every interaction count. What do I mean with this last statement? Great question! Interaction by itself isn’t enough, I can tell you that much. Make sure that any type of contact is personal. Simply put: act human!

Be everywhere

A recent example of this development is the use of ‘Whappcare’, the corporate use of Whatsapp towards customers, which is just a new and refreshing way to connect.

It also means that a brands omnipresence gets a boost, because now there’s an umpteenth touchpoint for customers to interact with the brand. Keep an eye on the quality though, because with every touchpoint expectations arise. Customers expect nothing less than experiences that surpass those expectations. An unexpected discount, free delivery or another surprising benefit can boost the customer loyalty and ultimately their lifetime value for your business.

Companies like Nike, Zappos or KLM are aware of the importance of creating (unforgettable) experiences and lasting memories. They know that these moments (eventually) will turn into loyal customers. I hear you thinking: You can not compare Nike with my business. Actually, I can.

Creating customer experiences isn’t about money. Sure, they can come up with outrageous campaigns, knowing that their budget allows it, but it isn’t about the dollars as much as it is about the idea. An idea that you know will have a positive impact on their loyalty. No matter the size of your business, there’s plenty of small gestures you can perform – you just have to find out what triggers your members. Never advertise your gestures though. You want to keep wowing your members, right?

So, now you can immediately make the jump and start spending that money, though you’ll be taking the risk that you’ll be filling a leaking bucket. Or, you can take one step back and ask yourself: What do my customers think of my brand and what can I do to find out what they expect from it?

Quality Over Quantity

So, put that wallet back in your pocket and let me help you to understand where you stand as a brand. In order to grow your business, shouldn’t it be better to start at zero and find out how you’re performing in the loyalty department? You could send out a survey asking your members what they like and what they dislike about your business. But ask yourself this: Are these questions really going to help me improve my business?

What your goal should be is to find out what it is that drives their loyalty, how well you perform in that area and to make that quantitative. Admitted, an extensive Q&A about their likes and dislikes will provide you with great insights.

But think about it, do you really want to bore your members with an endless stream of questions? Therefore, in the past few years, some great minds have come up with clever metrics and easy-to-use tools which will set you well on your way to increasing your member’s loyalty, without coming across pushy.

Metrics Even Your Grandmother Gets

Okay, maybe not your grandmother, but take it from me: it’s hard to go wrong with these. I will discuss four different metrics that have similar characteristics and one shared goal: measuring customer loyalty. However, depending on the topic you want to address you might prefer one over the other. But we’ll get to that later.

You’ll be happy to know that the metrics have one particular thing in common: they exist out of just one survey question. So, which metrics am I talking about? Glad you asked! We will be discussing the following four:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score
  • Customer Effort Score
  • Repurchasing Intentions
  • Net Promoter Score

CSAT: Satisfying Services

Does your business has some kind of service that interacts with your member, whether that’s you by yourself or a whole department? Okay, well you might be interested in considering the Customer Satisfaction score (CSAT) as the mandatory metric for your business.

Having a good read on the overall quality of your service means you need to collect feedback in a large volume across an extended period of time. Making it easy to collect is the only way to go; the easier you make it to give feedback, the more feedback you’ll get.

What CSAT does is measure how your members rate the quality of your support, or service. The better you score, the higher the chance this might influence your customer’s loyalty positively. Easy.[1]

So what should you ask them is: “How would you rate your experience with your recent support requirement?” They can answer with either Very Unsatisfied, Unsatisfied, Neutral, Satisfied or Very Satisfied. This might relate to a query at the reception, but you could also think about applying it to a recent coaching session or group class, for example.

CES: Think Plug & Play, But Better

Earlier, we talked about creating experiences for your members. Well, it’s only fair to highlight another perspective. A few years back, Matthew Dixon published the book The Effortless Experience in which he states that experiences are only getting you so far. Instead, customer effort drives disloyalty. Dixon said that extra effort spent on delight was overrated, and that true loyalty comes from reducing customer effort.

Moments of wow” do add a bit of delight, but extra (perceived) effort severely sabotages how loyal customers are to a company. If dealing with you feels like a pain, satisfaction and loyalty take a nosedive, and no amount of delight can save you.

The CEB, a best practice insight and technology company, now recommends gauging your customer effort score by asking customers how easy they felt it was to get the answer they wanted.[2]

But if you wanted to measure effort, it’d be better to ask: “How easy was it to get the instructions for exercises?” or “How easy was it to find the exercises in our mobile app?” Very Easy, Okay, and Not Easy should work.

When a customer responds with “Not Easy,” you now have an opportunity to follow up and ask why: “Because I followed your documentation step-by-step and still had to contact you! It was incredibly confusing!” That’s feedback you can dig into and act on.

RPI: Can We Get An Encore?

Now, if you would like to know if you can count on your existing members coming back, the repurchasing intentions (RPI) metric is your weapon of choice. The RPI metric indicates the degree to which customers consider a repeat purchase. The RPI therefore say more about the financial perspectives for an organization.

You can measure the RPI by using a scale based on likelihood. “How likely is it that you will be doing a repeat purchase with organization X?” For gyms, this might better be phrased as: “How likely is it that you will continue to use our services?” An important metric since it affects, for example, a member’s decision to renew their membership. As for follow-up questions, you may want to find out the frequency of their gym visits. These insights provide you with more financial certainty in a specific period.

NPS: The Most Popular Kid In Class

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is by far the most commonly known metric in the field of marketing. NPS is a metric that indicates the extent to which your services are worth talking about to others. In recent years, the metric gained popularity because of its simplicity and the direct link with the prediction of profitable growth. Although, you could argue that the new-kid-on-the-block RPI metric provides you with more certainty about the financial future. On the contrary, RPI is fairly new to a lot of companies. NPS is understandable to employees at all levels of an organization. The NPS is based on the basic principle that customers of organizations can be divided into three categories:

NPS

Based on one simple question – “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you will recommend organization X’s services to family, friends or colleagues?” – these groups can be identified. The two extremes are self-explanatory, but you should pay close attention to the Passives, as they are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings. It suffices to say that the Promotors are those members who drag their friends to your gym because they love it there.

Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters yields the Net Promoter Score. NPS can be as low as −100 (everybody is a detractor) or as high as +100 (everybody is a promoter). An NPS that is positive (i.e., higher than zero) is good, and an NPS of +50 is excellent. 3

Although NPS is very popular, it can also count on criticism. NPS would use a scale of low predictive validity, which isn’t helpful if you want predict future earnings. Others suggest that it does not add anything compared to other loyalty-related questions. Whether that’s true or not, it is a fact that companies worldwide trust NPS. It is up to you to decide if NPS provides you with enough certainty.[3]

How To Start Using These Metrics Right Away

So, which metrics should you use for your business? It’s pretty much all up to you, actually. The first thing that you have to do is define your goals. Determine what you want to know and then decide on which metric is going to help you achieve that goal. But rather than using the metric by itself, just asking one survey question, you should always try to give context to your metrics. This means you follow-up with questions to understand why members scored you a certain way. In the end, isn’t that actually what you want to know? So, let’s have a closer look at what your survey could look like.

Let’s say you’re unsure whether your members will be considering a repeat purchase in the (near) future. The repurchase intentions metric is going to help you find out whether they will be coming back or not. Is that good enough? I hope not, because you might want to know why they are coming back, or aren’t. Finally, it might be good to know when you can expect your members to be coming back because the last thing you want is a one-way ticket to Neverland.

Word-of-mouth advertising is extremely powerful, so the last thing you want is members talking trash about your brand against their colleagues, friends or family. NPS is going to help you find out what people think of your brand and if they are prepared to recommend it to their environment. But to get there, you should add some follow-up questions to get some context why they score you in a certain way, whether that’s good or bad. For example, if a customer ends up being passive, ask them what could be improved.

Improvement takes effort, which brings me to the Customer Effort Score. Do you really want to make it impossible for your members to find the FAQ on your website, or force them to fill out a whole survey to send a simple email? Great! So, it might be handy to ask them to rank the amount of effort they have to do when it comes to your brand and all that goes with it. Don’t forget to find out how you could do a better job, by following-up!

Finally, I can imagine you want to make a head start when it comes to the Customer Satisfaction Score. Rightfully so, because when it comes to your support or your service, good isn’t good enough. Try to optimize a specific interaction (support event or service) by asking your members about their satisfaction with your brand. To provide their answer with context, you might want to ask what it was that made the interaction a good or a bad experience, and maybe even ask what they expected.

So, there you go! If you know why people act and react in a certain way, you have the tools to optimize and grow your business to its full potential!

 

How member performance tracking can help you engage your clients

Although it may not always feel that way, your members aren’t just coming to your gym to check themselves out in those corona-level-clean floor-length mirrors. They’ve got fitness goals to meet, and they need your help to do it. The best and most effective way you can keep members engaged long-term and keep them coming back to your business is by motivating them and helping to monitor their progress. 

In this blog, we’ll help you understand exactly how to engage members and the best ways to implement a gym member retention program. All it takes are the right ideas, and you can supercharge your gym member engagement.  

Personalize your member’s experiences  

Members who feel as though you care about them are far more likely to stick around long-term. If you create a positive member experience that places your members at the center, they will remain loyal to you and your brand for years to come. 

The best way to create this style of member engagement? Personalizing your member’s experiences. Creating bespoke and detailed plans, progress tracking and challenges that cater to each of your members unique goals and needs is a sure-fire way to keep them engaged. 

If you’re a big club with hundreds of members, you may be thinking that this is almost impossible for you to achieve. But with the right digital solution, you can make it feel as though you are with your members 24/7. By utilizing a digital coaching solution, encouraging members to check in with you via a food app and progress tracking app like those supplied by Virtuagym, you can give them the additional personalized support that will make your business stand out. 

Set realistic goals

Clients and members that meet their fitness goals are guaranteed to believe in your business as much as you do. But this means making sure that you set realistic goals that are achievable is absolutely paramount. In the same way that setting achievable goals is helpful for keeping clients motivated and on-track, it’s also helpful for keeping them engaged and  satisfied with you and your business.

When it comes to helping your clients and members set their fitness goals, you could try breaking up their ambitions into smaller parts. Rather than start with a year-long weigh loss goal, try encouraging members to work towards smaller, monthly goals. Check in with them frequently – this is best done via a member’s app. You should also encourage them to share their progress with others within your community. 

Reward your member’s accomplishments

Rewarding clients and members that perform well is one other effective way to ensure that they stay engaged with your business. You can do this in a number of ways, such as by offering real-life prizes for completion of digital or in-facility fitness challenges. You could incentivize coming into your studio with a points system or provide rewards for challenge winners. 

Offering praise and recognition may sound simple, but it’s a proven way to signify to your members that you care about them and their progress. Encourage them to share their progress with their peers and they will also receive recognition from within your community too. 

Set member challenges 

With an app like Virtuagym, members can participate in online challenges without any involvement from you. Challenges are all run on a community feature and members maintain motivation by competing against one another.

Allow members to score points on a leaderboard and keep track of their progress. Challenges could be anything from weight loss goals, muscle mass increases or repetition competitions. In particular, fitness challenges that focus on a specific compound movement or exercise can be an effective way to keep members motivated – because they are easy to track and progress in. Plus, you can encourage members to share video and photo evidence of their progress within your personalized app or on social media. 

Social media can also be used to set challenges and keep members engaged – post an exercise a day and encourage members to check in with you if they complete it. 

Talk to your members 

It may sound simple but actually just talking with your members and unpacking the reasons they come to your gym can do wonders for your membership engagement strategy. When you talk to them and uncover exactly what it is they love about you and your business, you can take strides to offer more of what they like. 

Keeping in touch with your members can be as straightforward as ensuring your staff approach members on the gym floor (at a safe social distance of course). It could mean sending out a survey or encouraging engagement on social media. It could mean posting frequently within the community feature of your company’s app. Figure out what approach feels right to you. 

When you get the opportunity to talk with members, be sure to ask what they enjoy about working out with you, what do they wish you had more of, and what would they change if they could. It can be hard to take on criticisms, but members that feel listened to stick around long-term and continue to drive revenue for your business. 

Ultimately, increased member engagement all comes down to fostering a sense of community and keeping motivation high. Doing this manually can be a full time job, but with a digital app, membership management is easy.  

Are you interested in our solutions? Book a free consult!

Why a fitness app is crucial for helping clients reach their training goals

The COVID-19 crisis has shaken up the world and is causing us to rethink our habits and routines. To educate the world about the importance of physical activity, the WHO launched their #HealthyAtHome campaign. They advise all adults to do at least 150 minutes of medium-intensity activity throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week. (source

Even though gyms have started to re-open in several countries, it’s safe to say that in many ways we will not fully go back to how things were. The virus will be around for a while, and many of us will feel hesitant to start working out in larger groups and sharing equipment with others. Gyms have started to open up to the outside world and offer outdoor classes and activities to complement their indoor services. Globally, the adoption of online tools has skyrocketed in the health and fitness industry.

At Virtuagym, we believe that technology will play an increasingly important role in global health – and in the fitness industry too. For coaches and trainers, this might mean exploring new ways of finding and engaging with customers, as well as opening up new sales and service delivery channels.

For consumers, technology could play a large role in how healthy habits are built and maintained. Additionally, we believe that exercise routines are more effectively created, shared and tracked with digital assistance.

Let’s see how our (recently updated) apps can help!  

Dennis, who would normally have a regular 9-5 office-job, is now working from home. The new reality of life after COVID-19 means that he no longer has to commute to work, and noticed he wasn’t getting enough physical activity.

To keep himself motivated and to help him achieve his goals, Dennis decided to team up with a Personal Trainer. His coach, Lisa, used the Virtuagym Coach App to prepare a tailored workout plan and added it directly into Dennis’ calendar.

You’ve probably heard that, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” We believe in setting tangible (and achievable!) goals, planning your routine and forming healthy habits over time. In our example, Lisa planned a simple workout plan consisting of two workout days.

On Tuesday afternoon, Dennis will get a quick workout in, mostly consisting of bodyweight exercises.  On Saturday, he would do a more intense session with some cardio followed by a few short strength training activities. 

Lisa decided to add the workouts to Dennis’ calendar. This not only helps him by reminding him of his wish to exercise more, but it also guides him through the routine that Lisa prepared for him.

Let’s have a look at Dennis’s planned training on Tuesday afternoon.

Dennis scrolls through his planned workout and reads the notes Lisa left for him. She lets him know where he should be careful and take a long enough rest in between sets – but also reminds him not to doze off and wait for too long. We all know that rest is an important part of any workout routine!

Time to work out! With a quick glimpse, Dennis is able to oversee the entire routine and notices that Lisa planned for him to do 3 sets of 10 bicep curls.

But Dennis is feeling ambitious; he decides to crank it up a notch and decides instead to plan 5 sets of 8 repetitions. The modifications are easily made in the activity editor.

Dennis decides to use the built-in player to help guide him through his routine. It provides audio and visual feedback and automatically times the duration of each repetition, set and rest in between sets.

All done! A little over half an hour later, Dennis completes his routine and the app congratulates him with his achievements – he burned 573 calories! Time to share this success and get that motivational boost from his friends. With one click, Dennis shares a customized image on his Instagram feed with details about his workout.

Later that evening, Lisa checks Dennis’s calendar to see how he performed and if he left any notes for her to check. For Lisa, this is easy enough – it’s a matter of grabbing her phone and checking his profile through the Coach App.

For Dennis, it is an amazing feeling to get a quick personal message from his Personal Trainer before going to bed; “Great job this afternoon! We’ll work on your pre-workout stretching next time! I bet that this will help you prevent the cramp you experienced. Have a good night!”

Two days later, Dennis is feeling excited to work out again. But instead of asking Lisa for more of her time, he decides to take matters into his own hands and create his very own workout routine for the first time. Luckily, the Virtuagym database boasts over 5000 unique activities, each with detailed instructions and a video tutorial. 

Dennis is persistent about his workout routine and logs everything through the app. This allows him to keep track of his previous performance, share his progress directly with Lisa and motivate himself by seeing measurable results!

On Sunday evening, after a productive week of working out, Dennis feels satisfied but exhausted. Instead of working on his abs, he decides to train his mind. Luckily, his personal trainer helps her clients by working with Virtuagym’s Stronger Together package. To access it, Dennis uses the same app that he used to work out and log his exercises. Instead of a workout, he heads to the Meditation module, puts on his headphones, sits back and relaxes, using the guided audio meditation to come to a full rest.

Dennis not only wants to get a better grip on his workout routine, but he also wants to keep his nutritional habits under control. Again, Virtuagym comes to the rescue!

Because Dennis opted for a PRO Membership, he not only has access to additional meditation content and tailor-made workout plans, but also to the mobile Food App. Within a matter of minutes, his personalized nutrition plan is set up!

Throughout the week, he takes advantage of the large library of food items to log every meal, providing him with valuable information about his diet and intake. After, all, you can’t improve what you can’t measure!

The Virtuagym all-in-one software suite offers great tools for coaches and clients – but also boasts a ton of additional features that help you run your business. Want to learn more? Get in touch!

How to encourage your clients to do Box workouts at home

Whether they’re working out at home or in the gym, it’s more important than ever that fitness professionals keep their clients training. As we’re sure you already know, keeping members engaged and motivated isn’t always easy – especially recently, and especially for professionals working in the Box space.

After all, so much of Box’s appeal rests on the community spirit that you foster in your facility and the heavy weights that members access inside your club. 

But before you start thinking this is going to be harder than your first MU, take a second to stop, read this blog post and learn more about how to inspire your Box clients to work out from home with the same energy they bring to your facility. In the long-term this will lead to loyal clients, a steady stream of revenue and an engaged community that brings in even more members. 

How to do Box workouts at home

Step one is figuring out how to get your clients to keep up their regular WODs at home. That means providing them with the right resources to carry out their usual workouts. 

You’ve got a few options here. Of course, certain workouts (such as those involving Olympic weightlifting) might understandably be a little more tricky to recreate outside of the facility. However, the beauty of Box is that there are so many exercises that can be done at home. Start with these workouts. Build your own home programmes for clients.

You can write these on the board as you would usually and take photos of it to share with your community. Keeping them engaged digitally is crucial here. Whether you post regularly on your Box’s WhatsApp group or motivate them via a video live streaming session at the same time as their usual Box class, use technology as your tool to keep clients engaged. 

How to create a Box plan without equipment

Working with a software provider like Virtuagym can also help with this. You have the capacity to create your own in-app workouts that can be assigned to your clients. The app moves through the workout exercise-by-exercise and pauses and breaks can be altered to suit your needs. Plus you can schedule live streaming sessions directly through the app. 

You can also communicate with clients via the app, enabling you to check in on their progress and make sure that everyone is keeping up. Ultimately, it comes down to using your expertise and imagination to create bodyweight workouts that will make your members as sore as their favourite weight lifting class. 

How to keep clients engaged with your Box studio

Now you’ve taken your first step towards ensuring your members can work out at home.

In this section we’ll take you through the ways you can level-up their workouts and maintain their interest long-term.

  • Start a fitness challenge 

One of the most fun and rewarding parts of Box is the community spirit – and the competitiveness that comes with it. We’re naturally much more motivated to workout if we feel as though someone else can see how well we are doing. 

Set your members challenges. How many T2B’s can they do? More or less than at the start of lockdown? What does their HSPU look like? Get members to record the progress and upload the evidence online. 

It’s all about staying in touch with members and encouraging them to turn to you to celebrate their successes. You could even implement real-life rewards for winners. Use your app to ensure your members join “Fitness” communities, engage and challenge each other to stay fit and healthy,  and win prizes via Virtuagym- that means no heavy lifting from you. 

  • Take your classes outside 

You could also try taking your classes outside. If you do this in the carpark to your facility or in a nearby open space you could even bring along some heavy equipment – your members will be grateful for this after so long without it! 

  • Rent your equipment out 

If members are really struggling without your facility, you could consider renting out your equipment or loaning it to those that really need it. Take deposits and keep a strict log of who has what. 

With the right equipment and some good weather, your clients will be just as happy embracing Box outside your facility. But they’ll still have that crucial attachment to you and your brand – literally, through your equipment. And even better if your weights and equipment are branded with your company name or logo. 

Alternatively you could set up a webshop in your personalized app that sells members the crucial equipment they need to level-up their home workouts. This could be a great opportunity for upselling and generating additional revenue, plus it gives your members access to excellent equipment too. 

  • Use an app for Box at home 

All in all, it comes down to staying in touch with your members and clients, and connecting with them from afar. Technology is going to be crucial for increasing engagement and participation. In particular, utilizing an app with a coaching feature like Virtuagym, is a sure-fire way to ensure that you’re with your members 24/7. 

How do I attract new members to my gym after the reopening?

We all know that gyms and fitness clubs were among the first businesses to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and forced to close their doors. The majority of fitness businesses have adapted their business models to the new circumstances, taking their services online to be able to keep engaging with their gym members, and do their best to ensure it would survive 2020.

But now that fitness centers are reopening again, there’s a big challenge for you to face: how can you attract new members to your gym (and maybe even try to win back those who left you)?

What do gym members want?

Great question, isn’t it? There is no need to say that the industry has changed a lot since March, and gym members also have new needs you will need to fulfill. Make sure you are there for your former members, but open up to new customers as well.

RunRepeat surveyed 10,824 gym-goers as part of a study to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on gyms reopening and gym memberships. According to the survey, 46.67% all gym members globally will not return to their gyms once they reopen. Another interesting insight is that 52% of women will not return to the gym, in comparison to 46% of men.

Apparently working out at home is less intimidating, and having a digital offering in place is more appealing since people have already set up their home gym spaces.

This means that what they are now looking for is a gym with a great digital offering, plus a future plan to a hybrid one. Where does your business stand in this situation? Were you able to bring your fitness business online?

When fitness facilities had to shut down because of the corona outbreak, the only way to be able to survive the crisis was to create a strong online presence and adapt the business to the market demand.

And people demanded online workouts, virtual yoga classes, digital 1-1 sessions, and a place to meet and share again as a community (even just on the screen of a laptop or a smartphone). And they are not ready to let it go. So, first of all, make sure your digital fitness experience is consistent

Is there a new attitude towards fitness?

Savanta ComRes and Sport England, carried out a survey on a sample of more than 2,000 people to track how coronavirus has affected attitudes and behaviors towards fitness. The data they collected show that 27% of people who don’t have a gym membership say that they would likely join a fitness center. This can be due the fact that lockdown has brought some people close to workouts and fitness routines that they could easily access from home.

Finding new gym members means marketing. And fortunately having a hybrid at-home/ in-gym membership style is going to help you boost your new online marketing strategy after the lockdown.

Checklist to improve your online presence

Do you already have a new plan for the reopening? There are a lot of things that you have to rethink about your fitness business, and you can find a list here.

Since nothing is going to be the way we knew it, your business must adapt to the new circumstances. Lots of new health measures need to be taken, new distances need to be respected and you need to let former and future gym members know what you are doing for them and your staff. Why is online presence important for a business?

  • Online presence is key

Do you already have a website? Can your (future) gym members easily find you on Google? Having a strong online presence is essential to survive the 2020 recession. Do you know how much time people spend on smartphones? According to eMarketer report on ‘US Time Spent with Mobile 2019’, on average adults spent almost 3 hours a day on a smartphone in 2019.

It’s an impressive data and you need to ensure you consider that when thinking about your business. Since we spend that much time on the phone, both your fitness center website and branded app should be on point by the time of the reopening. If you haven’t invested in this during the lockdown, then it’s about time you get started.

  • Create a FAQ Page

Once you have restyled your website, make sure that the latest information about the reopening is easy to find and easy to read. But mostly, have a FAQ page ready for all possible questions your gym members have.

If your phone has been ringing no stop with questions such as “when will the gym reopen?”, “are gym memberships still being charged?”, “what are you doing to keep the club safe upon return?”, then having a FAQ page is going to save you some time (and answer all the questions existing and new gym members might have).

Gather your frequent asked questions, write a clear and complete answer and make sure you update the content on the page whenever you think that’s outdated.

So, if you think you won’t be doing group classes at your gym because of the capacity of your facility, make sure you state that clearly and give options to do virtual classes instead.

If you then decide to use a scheduling feature like Virtuagym’s class scheduling system to make sure customers book their time in advance, update your answer with the new info so everyone is aware of what you are working on.

  • Nurture leads on social media

Besides investing on your current customers positive experience to generate some word of mouth, new members will get to know you through your social media pages.

Make sure you have a striking social media presence and a link to your website. Take care of your Instagram account as if it was your business card: create quality content, share information about your services, explain how you are diversifying your offering.

You can attract new customers by explaining how your offering is different from your competitors and how you are complying with the COVID-19 safety regulations once the gym is open again. Also, make extra sure your pricing plan is well communicated throughout your platforms.

In this article you can find more information on how to use Facebook to engage with your fitness community and attract new customers by customizing the audiences you want to target. In fact, Facebook allows you to better leverage your existing database to find new clients.

Get ready for the reopening and get your own virtual training app now!

Make your Facebook strategy effective by targeting the ideal audience

If you are eager to know how to market your business on Facebook, we are ready to help you with that! Facebook is a very powerful marketing tool that you are probably already using to build your social presence, but have you ever thought of using Facebook Ads to target and reach more people?

Facebook Ads segmentation options are easy to use. We recommend trying a couple of different targeting options: target users based on their interests and target users similar to your current fans by creating Lookalike Audiences.

For both these options we suggest limiting the geotargeting to your city or state, so with a limited budget you can have a better ad frequency (how many times a user sees your ad), instead of targeting a wider audience who might see your ad only one time (the ideal frequency for this channel is between 3 and 4). This will help you increase the effectiveness of the campaigns.

Find your Facebook target audience

Did you know that about 40% of Facebook users don’t like to engage with brand pages? According to Brandwatch study on Facebook statistics this means that the only way to reach potential customer is by investing in paid advertising.

So, How do you get the best target audience on Facebook? First of all, just to be clear, an audience is the market you want to target with your ad campaigns. Facebook gives you three options: saved, custom, and lookalike audience.

If you are wondering ‘How do I create a good Facebook ad audience?‘, below you can find the different types of audiences you can build on Facebook.

Based on the budge you are willing to invest in this kind of actions, you can bid on a wider audience or you’ll have to narrow it down to the prospects that are most likely to convert.

Facebook audience insights is a great tool to explore and learn more about your target audience. What is the difference between custom audiences and lookalike audiences? 

Custom audiences

A custom audience is made from a list of data about your customers. Once you provide Facebook with information about your existing gym members, it will match them with their Facebook profiles.

So if you have collected members’email addresses, phone numbers and addresses, you can use these identifiers to hash information with Facebook and to create well-performing segmentation.

  • Add your customer list

Follow these steps to add your CSV or TXT file.

Ads Manager > Audiences > Create audience > Custom Audience > Customer list

  • Prepare the list
  • Check that Facebook mapped your identifiers correctly and resolve all the errors
  • Upload your customer list

In order to upload the list go to Upload and Create and wait for a notification to know when your audience is ready to use.

Lookalike audiences

Lookalike audiences are an easy way to reach customers that are similar to your existing community. But how does Facebook create lookalike audiences?  Starting to create your lookalike audience is a very simple 5 step process:

  • 1. Go to your audiences page: https://www.facebook.com/adsmanager/audiences
  • 2. Select “Create Audience” on the left, and then “Lookalike Audience.”
  • 3. Select your lookalike source (this will be page likes.)
  • 4. Select your audience location (think statewide or even national, if you choose something too local you may be limiting yourself too much.)
  • 5. Select the size of your audience (leave this at the default, 0% – 1%.)

Saved audiences

In order to use this segmentation, you have to save an audience first. Everything will be saved except for the location, so be aware that you’ll have to select your locations each time you want to use a saved audience on Facebook.

You can always click the Edit button if you want to change your ad. This type of audiences allow you to set up location-based campaigns and target your customers based on:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Interests
  • Gender

How to create a Facebook ad campaign

Now that you have created the audience you can set up the campaign, targeting based on interests or targeting the Lookalike Audience recently created:

  • 1. Start by creating a new campaign here
  • 2. Define your marketing objectives (we recommend traffic, so you would only pay when a user clicks on your ads)
  • 3. Define the name of your campaign, the daily budget, and the bid strategy, which we suggest setting it up to Lowest cost.
  • 4. Now you need to define the targeting. You can select the audience if you have already created a Lookalike Audience, the location (we suggest limiting this to your city or state), the age, the gender and the language of your audience. Another option that we recommend instead of only using Lookalike targeting is targeting based on a users’ interests and behaviors.
  • 5.The next step is selecting where you want the ad to appear; you can use the automatic option, but if you wish you can also select specific placements like only Instagram stories or Facebook newsfeed.
  • 6. Finally, you will select how you want your campaign to be optimized (we suggest link clicks) and also when you get charged, which should be set to CPC so you only pay when users click on your ad.

Be creative with your Ads

With these simple steps, you now have an audience to market to as well as a campaign structure. Excellent, now what exactly do we show them? You need some adverts.

The easiest way to create an advert is to simply reach out to your best customers and ask them to record a 20-30 second clip talking about their experiences with your business. A structure might look like this:

  • Who are they? (Age, job, where they live, interests, etc.)
  • Why did they first join your gym/studio?
  • What was their experience like (how much fun did they have? What are the staff like? Other members? Etc.)?
  • What did they achieve with you?
  • How has their life improved as a result?
  • What would they recommend other people like them do (i.e. sign up to your service)?
  • With a simple recording like this from your most successful customers you’ll quickly have 5, 10, or even 20 powerful adverts!

NOTE: Facebook doesn’t permit before/after pictures or videos/pictures that show too much skin. Keep that in mind when building ads.

If you are interested in boosting your fitness business with a killer strategy to survive 2020, download this eBook now.

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Should I re-engage with gym members before reopening?

We have been talking a lot about the best strategies to face the pandemic in the last couple of months. Since all over the world facilities are  reopening again, you need to prepare for re-opening and this is all you need to know to attract new gym members.

Once you have your packages designed and built out, the next step is to invite former and existing members to your new services. It’s recommended that you make an effort to introduce all existing and former members onto a paid service, and start your outreach with existing members and re-engage with gym members who decided to pause or stop their membership due to the pandemic.

The purpose of starting with existing members is that they present the path of least resistance. This is especially true if you’re including a new package (such as the core package) already as part of their membership. Having current members on your platform will immediately create engagement, so that new members who enter on the freemium package can see the levels of activity already.  What is the importance of member retention?

This is how to re-engage customers

Often we have discussed how to retain customers who are leaving, but this time we want to share tips on how to engage with your former gym members.

If you are planning the reopening you know that attracting new members is already an important goal you need to focus on, but don’t forget to communicate your new services to your existing gym members.

How you initially invite members to your new services will depend entirely on what vendor / platforms you’re using and you’ll need to speak to your provider.

Regardless of your provider, you will need to do more than send email invites. You will need to actively reach out by phone to introduce them to your new offering. Some of the best customer retention strategies include actively engaging with your community.

If you haven’t set your Community space on your Virtuagym portal or app, make sure you read more on the Community feature here and start interacting with your customers to find new ways of improving gym member experience.

  • Reach out to your community

If you are planning the reopening of your facility you want to make sure you give clear information to your gym members in terms of when you are going to open and how you will comply with the new government regulations.

Don’t forget to mention what are the social distancing guidelines, how you are planning on keeping the facility clean and how to use the scheduling features to book the classes in advance. Human to human should be your focus here.

How you reach out to your customers will depend on how many phone numbers you have and your own schedule. However, we recommend calling twice a day every three days. For example:

  • Break all members into groups of 50.
  • Call first 50 twice the first day.
  • Reach out to 50 twice the second day.
  • Call third 50 twice the third day.
  • Repeat steps 2-4 for 12 days.

This structure will allow you to call 150 customers every 12 days, giving you the highest opportunity at connecting. It is recommended to vary your call times to maximize your chances of catching your members at different times.

  • Focus on creating a winning pitch

The next question to answer is “What should I say to them?” And this is an easy one to answer. Once you understand that your objective in the call is first to see if they’d get any value from your new packages and – if so – introduce them to your packages it’s a simple conversation. You can break the conversation into 4 parts:

  • Introduction – Explain who you are, where you’re calling from and why you’re calling.
  • Understand if there’s value – Ask lots of questions to try and understand where, if anywhere, there might be value for your new service.
  • Explain your service – Describe what your service is and why you believe it might be valuable for them.
  • Sign them up and offer Basic Training – Next, ask them if they’d like to get started. If so, then send them a payment link for the membership. Once they’ve signed up give them a quick explanation of where to find and track their workouts.

If someone says “no” to signing up then you need to understand why. It’s possible that they’re not correctly understanding what you’re offering, or that they have no desire (maybe they’re only a casual exerciser) or maybe they don’t have the ability to purchase.

Whatever the reason it’s important that you ask questions to understand why they said no. Once you understand why they’ve declined your offer you can either clarify their understanding, agree that it’s not a fit, or potentially invite them to the freemium package first so that they see the value on offer.

If you want to know more about members retention and how to survive the current pandemic recession, download your free eBook copy here.

This is how you can provide a great digital fitness experience for your club

‘Digital experiences’ are the new buzzword of the fitness world. If your gym, club or studio can only operate in real-life then you may start to feel left behind as the new wave of virtual fitness washes over the industry.

The key to engage and retain members, while exploring new opportunities to increase revenue and maintain relevance during the pandemic and beyond, is to embrace the idea of digital experiences.

This article will outline the best ways you can bring a holistic wellness experience to your members through their phone, computers or tablets. We have been working hard on having new features to help you tailor your digital offering and get ready for the reopening. And this is why.

Why is digital fitness experience so important?

As we’re sure you already know, the experience that your members have inside your gym is crucial. A positive experience can make or break the success of your company.

A motivational and encouraging members experience can be created through a strong sense of community, a great setting or excellent staff on-hand for assistance. Of course, during the current climate, these factors all become a lot more difficult to provide.

That’s why moving towards creating a digital fitness experience for gym members is the best way to ensure exponential growth for your business by engaging members from afar and providing them with the best service possible at a distance. Remember what people are able to do at home, be mindful of their environment.

Think of a digital fitness experience as similar to your real-life experience for members, only instead it is created using any virtual or digital tools at your disposal.

That could mean a personalised, branded, bespoke fitness app or wearables such as step-trackers and GPS running watches. There are multiple ways you can now reach out and engage with your community: read this article to learn more on how to promote your digital offering to your customers.

Create the ultimate digital fitness experience

Other popular styles of digital fitness experiences that have seen growing popularity during the current crisis include social media workouts, live-streaming workout videos via a website or app, one-to-one training sessions with personal trainers and coaches from your gym.

Today even sites such as Tik Tok with its one minute videos are being utilized to keep members and prospective members engaged and moving. Not to mention all the fitness challenges that are quickly turning Tik Tok into “Fit Tok”.

If you’re wondering where to start with your digital fitness experience offering, you came to the right place.

  • #1 Ensure you have the right software in place

When it comes to creating the best possible digital fitness experience, having the right software is absolutely essential. Software providers such as Virtuagym offer a complete solution for your members and your business needs.

Not only can software be used for booking, scheduling and setting up those one-to-one Zoom sessions, Virtuagym also provides members with access to a virtual trainer complete with over 5000 animated exercises via your own personalized branded app.

Using a program such as Virtuagym’s upcoming Stronger Together feature allows you to combine the real-life experience of training clients and members inside a facility with all of the digital training solutions their members need, such as live streaming classes, virtual training, nutrition and workout tracking and a virtual community to share their results with.

It means that members can continue feeling as though they are a part of the club community and can also support their local gym throughout the difficult period currently faced.

Members continue to pay their club at a discounted rate, and in exchange receive a hybrid wellness solution combining real-life and virtual experiences that cater to all of their health, fitness and wellness needs. This makes it the greatest digital fitness experience.

  • #2 Grow your virtual community

When it comes to replicating the amazing in-person experiences of your club or studio, maintaining an authentic community feel is paramount. Human 2 Human is the new B2C.

You can use an in-app community feature to do this but you can also do this by checking in with clients and members on a regular basis. Keep clear communication on what your next steps are, set up Q&A sessions to ensure that you help them to stay on track and answer any burning questions.

Consider how you can check in with them weekly or even day-to-day in some cases. Encourage your community to interact with one another. Give them a space to share progress pictures and post updates, or even challenge them with customized workout challenges. Community as a method of motivation is at the heart of a positive fitness experience both on and offline.

  • #3 Personalize the experience

Creating a bespoke experience is key to making your members feel connected to your gym or club. This will lead to positive word of mouth messaging and will ensure that they are more likely to stand by you through difficult times.

According to IHRSA, hyper-personalization was expected to be the new thing in the fitness industry. We might just jump a bit ahead in time with the pandemic that forced us all to rethink our business and go digital.

You could create a personal experience by offering one-to-ones and providing unique nutrition and workout advice based on your client or member’s needs and requirements.

You could also try prescribing them specific live streaming classes that are tailored to their needs. If you have a client that is looking to lose weight, incorporate 3 weekly live-streaming HIIT classes into their workout plans. If you have a client with injuries, try incorporating more gentle restorative stretching sessions.

Show that you care about your members on a personal level and they’ll stand by you in the long-run. When gyms reopen you should be ready to provide a combination of real-life and digital experiences that make a difference to your members. Don’t stop creating experiences and habits that are lifelong for your customers. Use Virtuagym to make sure that you are best equipped to return to normalcy.

  • #4  Adapt to new policies

Finally, the best way to create a stand-out digital fitness experience is to combine it with an offline one. While this may not be possible right now in your area, it will be soon. You can check out the Virtuagym heat map, which gives details of gym reopening plans across Europe and the US. Unlike most software companies that attempt to provide you with the tools you need to create a positive digital experience for your members, Virtuagym is working to prepare clubs for the future. 

Virtuagym can prepare you for the transition to post-pandemic life by providing you with check-in software that helps you control access to the gym. Consider the fact that part of your reopening strategy will include new measures to comply the new social distancing requirements.

Real-time attendance tracking will help you know who is in your gym and what is your capacity to host more people. You can reduce or space out the equipment in your gym, but you want to make sure you respect the limit of the number of people working out at one time.

Having this kind of tracking in place helps you managing class schedules as well. Even if you think about starting outdoor group classes you have to set a limit to comply with the current policies. By using Virtuagym online features, clients can easily book their spot in your class and you don’t need to worry about capacity anymore.