How Creating Value For Your Clients Will Drive Your Fitness Business Growth

We have already discussed the importance of rethinking your business before (re) opening your facility in this article,  so today we are going to share the ultimate tips to have a successful gym sales funnel for your fitness business.

The type of sales funnel we’re going to design for your business is known as the Value First funnel. While you may not have heard of this funnel type before, you’ve no doubt experienced it. It’s the most widely adopted and effective funnel used by some of the biggest online brands in the world.

Why Do You Need a Sales Funnel?

If you run a gym or studio you can probably tell me right now without much thought who your competitors are. There’s that big-box chain down the block, there’s a boutique studio 2 miles away, there’s a bootcamp that runs in the park three streets away.

Do you need a gym sales funnel for that? Who you’re competing with and how you compete with them is clear for all to see.

  • You provide X classes, while they provide Y.
  • While you have X memberships, they have Y.
  • You are priced to target the X market and they’re focused on the Y.

But the industry has now changed. Do you know who your competition is now? Sure, the competitors that you’re familiar with may still be there, and you’ll continue to compete with them as normal. But with so many of your members becoming familiar with online and self-coaching, can you be certain those are your only competitors today?

What about Peleton who saw a 300% increase in bike sales in March 2020, and a 500% increase in app downloads? What about Planet Fitness who launched an online coaching and streaming service that very same month? They may not have a site near you, but do they need one anymore? What about the immeasurable increase in free fitness content uploaded to YouTube and Instagram?

What The Industry Tells Us About Clients’ Behaviors

In the space of one month, the fitness industry became way more competitive. From billion dollar businesses launching national services to self-employed personal trainers creating free content online. With 18% of consumers already reducing their day-to-day expenses and 70% of consumers asking brands to offer free services to help out, these new players are more appealing than ever.

A freemium offering, like the one we’re about to discuss, keeps you in the fight. It allows you to collaborate with existing and new members alike by empathizing with their new situation. You probably have already seen this kind of funnel, haven’t you?

Launch Your Value First Funnel

First of all we need to explain the characteristics of the Value First Funnel and what makes it different from any other sales funnels you may use for your fitness business.

Any sales funnel starts understanding your buyer persona, the users you want to get to your business. Who are you selling to? What are their challenges? How do you aim to solve their problems? Usually you don’t just have one type of buyer persona, but several different users profiles. You need to be able to connect to each one of them and offer them a great experience.

The value first funnel is noticeably smaller, but it’s mostly different because it delivers value to your clients even before they pay by making use of a Freemium offering.

Freemium is used to describe a highly valuable offering that you give to potential clients before they pay anything to sample the high quality of your service.

That might sound absurd to you, even impossible. How are you going to give your time and expertise away for free? And why would you take that risk during difficult times? You’re not just trying to grow memberships, but also the revenue that those memberships bring in!

Don’t worry. These concerns are natural, and we’ll explain the “how”s throughout this guide. For now, let’s discuss the “Why” of this strategy, as in “Why in the hell would I give my service away for free?!”

Sales Funnel: Do’s and Dont’s

Along with allowing you to compete from a marketing perspective, by allowing you to offer a something-for-nothing service, it also allows you to avoid the inevitable “race to the bottom” where companies start trying to lower their pricing to capture more of the market.

This behaviour creates a no-win cycle of devalued and low cost services where every competitor is trying to undercut the one next to them.

By offering a free option you:

  • Beat them to the bottom to capture more of the market than they can during their “race”,
  • Introduce those members into the quality of service that you offer.

This means you don’t need to lower your prices for your paid services, because you’re justifying their cost by demonstrating the value before asking for payment. In other words, while your competitors are trying to differentiate on price, you’re offering your potential customers an opportunity to experience your service first so that you can differentiate on quality of service (not price!)

These are only two of many reasons why the Value First funnel has become the dominant one across industry leaders in the online space (others include brand differentiation, lead acquisition for nurturing, and many others).

Along with being a powerful approach for businesses, it’s an empathetic approach for consumers. It allows you to offer a service that bridges the gap between Desire and Ability to purchase for them. That’s why it needs to be a core component of any business looking to thrive, not just survive a recession.

Eager to know more about strategies to survive 2020? Don’t miss our latest eBook.

Free eBook here

Get a Grip of Your Time With the Appointment Schedule!

Save a tonne of time with our newly updated appointment schedule software.

Manually processing appointments is an inefficient way of spending time that you could be using to work on your brand, business, and clients. In addition, getting multiple texts, emails, and other messages can be hard to keep track of. It’s easy to miss something or double book a 1-on-1 training session.

Luckily for you, we updated our appointment schedule so you can spend more time on the most important tasks, such as hosting classes and keeping your clients happy.

Fill in Your Own Time

Our brand new design ensures that you can maximise efficiency with ease. You don’t have to put everything in manually any longer.

Instead, let clients book a spot on your agenda. This will help you avoid making double appointments and getting lost in all the messages you usually get.

For example, what if a client wants to make an appointment with you in three weeks? No problem! You can easily schedule ahead of time. Make your gym fun and welcoming to all without the manual hassle, just like Halima and Valeria from FemmeGym did!

“Virtuagym’s online signup helped us grow by 80%.”

Halima Hollenberg, Co-founder FemmeGym.

Of course, you also have a life outside of work – getting a haircut, celebrating a birthday, etc. That is why you can manage your availability and block time periods in the newly updated appointment schedule. Party time!

In case you work with other trainers, you can easily keep track of their agendas too. This ensures that your clients always have a trainer to go to!

With our constantly updated schedule, you can see the weekly activities, set and publish availability, and let clients choose their favorite timing. Besides that, you can easily use a laptop, tablet, or Smartphone to make appointments and update your schedule. Fast handling with almost no effort!

 

Ready, Set, Go!

Are you interested in the new appointment schedule, and do you want to know how to get ready to use it? Well, you’re in the right place!

First, you will need to log in to your portal and go to the system settings. There you can activate the appointment schedule. Afterwards, you can find it in the sidebar. We don’t want to make it too hard for you!

You will need to do four small things to get started:

  • create activities
  • categorize your services if you have multiple
  • select staff (or yourself for that matter)
  • choose the kind of notifications you want to receive and send to your clients.

That’s all – now you can begin scheduling!

Start on the schedule overview, where you will see the booked and deleted events.
If you are ready to add your availability, go ahead and click on the manage resources tab. Here you can manage both you and your staff’s availability. Go get that haircut and block the time you need!

Do you want to book a client in by yourself? Awesome! Go to the “Book a client” tab, select the category, activity, and time. Then, all that is left is to confirm, and it’ll be in your schedule.

If you are in a studio or gym with multiple trainers, you can also manage privileges. A club manager, for example, can edit the system settings; a scheduling employee can change the staff’s availability and all the other employees can book clients in.

Working from a Smartphone?

Check this guide!

 

Less Administration, More Free Time

We want you to profit from our work, so let’s see what you win from this update.

  • Spend less time on administrative tasks and focus on what is more important – training your clients!
  • Get a better overview of your week with more time to plan.
  • Experience new updates, it’ll make your life easier!

Ultimately, in addition to these benefits, you will be able to de-stress and focus on what you love instead of all of that administration!

Do you want to get a grip on your time, manage your business better, and be more flexible? Then, get started with the appointment schedule today! Contact our support team to find out more about this feature.

Are you new to the Virtuagym software? Read about our solutions right here!

Check out our solutions!

COVID Pass Integration: New Club Access System for the COVID Vaccination Certificate

With the increase in infection rates, access rules may strengthen, which means a COVID vaccination certificate might be needed and a new club access system has to be set in place. Entrepreneurs will have to abide by these rules and observe them in their club or gym.

In some Australian provinces and Canadian cities, it is already obligatory to show a form of a COVID vaccination certificate to enter gyms. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US already approves the European Union Digital COVID Certificate and the United Kingdom National Health Service COVID Pass. If such measures become necessary in more and more countries, it might also affect your gym or studio.

This might be in the form of the yellow card, a different kind of proof on paper, or maybe even a digital QR code.

In the case of needing a QR code, we already have a club access system for you, so your gym or studio can stay accessible to your clients.

If the rules strengthen and they require some form of check-in, we have a solution that we hope will help you abide by them. At Virtuagym, we created a free option to add to the standard check-in feature of the MANAGE package. With the COVID Pass Integration, your clients can enter your gym each time they go with just one scan. This will save you time so you can focus on engaging with clients.

The integration is not only a time-saving tool for you as a business owner, but we also hope that it will make it easier for your clients to continue to exercise at your gym or studio so you won’t lose any business.

The COVID Pass Integration: Enter the Gym Safely and Quickly

With Virtuagym’s new integration, your clients will be able to enter with one scan using a QR code. Your clients would normally scan their membership card or code to enter. They now only scan the QR code from their digital COVID vaccination certificate, with the COVID Pass Integration checking the membership information simultaneously and matching the data from both.

This is how it works:

  • Your client scans the QR code;
  • The COVID Pass Integration reads the code;
    • Here is a list of all compatible scanners.
  • The COVID Pass Integration matches the information with the membership information from your system;
  • Therefore, with one scan, both the digital COVID vaccination certificate and the membership are verified;
  • The access data is logged, but Virtuagym never stores the data!

Start With the COVID Pass Integration Now

Virtuagym’s club access system for the COVID vaccination certificate is part of the check-in function from the MANAGE package.

This means that after the feature is turned on, the regular check-in system will no longer work. So it’s essential that you inform your customers about the new measures and how you are handling them so they don’t get any surprises.

Communicate timely and directly with your customers about the new check-in system. This can be done via email or via the community feature in your Custom Mobile App or by hanging an explanation at the entrance and instructing your team on how the new system works and how they can help customers. Good and clear communication will make it easier for you, your team, and your customers to deal with the possible new measures. For example, read more of our tips on effective communication here.

Depending on where you are located, local measures may be enforced to get or keep COVID infections under control. An example of what you could say is:

Dear client, as we are updating our check-in system, at some point today you will need to check in with your Digital COVID Certificate. This is so we can validate your COVID status and membership in one scan.

If you would like to use the COVID Pass Integration to help you, it is entirely free of charge.

Are you interested in the COVID Pass Integration, and do you want to start using it in your club? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Virtuagym Account Manager or our Client Success team; who can provide you with more information and turn on the feature for you. You will receive an email as soon as the integration is live.

Handling Privacy

With this integration, the protection of medical data plays a significant role.
This is why, at Virtuagym, we protect your privacy by never saving any of the medical data from a COVID Pass.
As always in the check-in system, we do store that a specific member has accessed the facility.

Are you interested in the Virtuagym COVID Pass Integration?  Contact our Client Success team to turn the feature on. They’re always happy to help!

Expand your Hybrid Business with the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform

In Virtuagym’s most recent global COVID-19 customer survey, two things really stood out. The first was that 45% of gyms, 32% of fitness studios, and 36% of personal trainers said they had used home workout content technology. The second was that 1 in 4 of our customers are using a combination of online and offline solutions to attract new clients.

What does this show us? That the modern-day fitness user is now looking for experiences that go beyond the four walls of their physical gym or studio. They have become accustomed to the freedom and speed of digital services, and want to be able to work on their health wherever and whenever it suits them.

We always want to listen to what our brilliant customers have to say – so with all this in mind we’re excited to bring to you our newest exciting product to help monetize your digital content and grow your reach – the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform!

A Core Part of your Hybrid Fitness Business

Not so long ago, the use of video workouts was minimal. Now, they are integral to a fitness businesses’ hybrid business model. You might have heard the phrase a lot recently – so what does it actually mean?

Due to the evolving demands of modern fitness consumers, more and more fitness businesses are looking to seamlessly combine both their digital and physical services. This has become an important way for fitness clubs, personal trainers, and fitness studios to provide more personalized and meaningful experiences to existing, and potential, clients.  Online video workouts, just like the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform,  are a fantastic way to expand a club’s offering beyond physical facilities and to also appeal to those seeking different ways to achieve their individual health and fitness goals.

The Virtuagym Video Workout Platform – What Does it Do?

Have you already been using our Video On Demand content? Well, the integrated Virtuagym Video Workout Platform will take your use of online workouts to the next level as part of an engaging hybrid offering that combines in-class experiences with online classes or content.

It allows you to create your own workout libraries in the Virtuagym portal and make them available for your clients in your own customizable club mobile app. And what’s more, you can provide a full screen experience by streaming them to TVs via Chromecast and Apple TV.

Is there more? Of course!

The feature fits seamlessly into Virtuagym’s suite of products, meaning you can assign videos directly to clients at specific times and at certain difficulty and intensity levels. Also, it allows your clients to track burnt calories, which are automatically taken into account for their nutrition plans. And the innovation keeps coming because soon users will have access to an integrated heart rate tracking option, allowing them and their trainers to get a better overall performance summary in a post-training detail screen.

Increase engagement with your clients through digital content

 

Get the Camera (and the Benefits) Rolling!

Having your own branded video library suits modern lifestyles because it gives clients the flexibility to tailor options for their personal needs, picking and choosing the videos most suitable for them, at the best time for them and at the best level for them. This can form part of a far more enhanced training schedule, whether performed individually at home or as part of a mix with sessions in the club. This is important as today fitness customers are increasingly looking for a gym or trainer who can adapt to their lifestyle.

What’s more, the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform enables you to produce a greater variety of different and accessible fitness content, not just in the form of  pre-recorded or livestreamed workout videos but also as a way to provide knowledge sessions, Q&As or just far more personalized business updates. And, you are providing this content to a much larger and more diverse pool of clients –catering for a bigger audience with different backgrounds, motivations and preferences.

 “This has become a core demand of modern fitness consumers, who are increasingly expecting quality experiences and services beyond just the four walls of their fitness facility.”

Hugo Braam, CEO and Co-Founder of Virtuagym. 

Furthermore, our video workout library quite simply provides an amazing way for customers to continue to engage with your fitness brand. This can actively help in building a community between clients and your business itself. With both digital and physical touchpoints, you can grow your brand loyalty and awareness and improve retention – as well as appeal to potential clients!

Finally, the feature’s ability to track and measure physical activity is invaluable in providing data insights from sessions to help inform more impactful, personalized and therefore effective health and wellness plans.

How to Monetize your Digital Content

Right – so you are providing quality and accessible branded videos as part of more personalized and flexible fitness programmes. The question is – how to monetize this digital content?

Through our integrated PRO Membership feature you can upsell the  Virtuagym Video Workout Platform to clients for a small monthly fee as part of your rich PRO Member digital client experience, delivering additional revenue opportunities.

And if you’re looking for more guidance on how to monetize digital content, you can use it within a variety of differently priced subscription packages combining online and offline that you can cross and upsell. This can be positioned in your communications to existing or potential clients as a cost-effective, as well as flexible, way for them to achieve their fitness goals.

Get Ahead of the Game Today

The use of online video workouts is here to stay. Get ahead of the competition today by investing in the integrated Virtuagym Video Workout platform, so it can become an integral part of your hybrid business – now and in the future.

Are you keen to find out more? Get in touch to request a free demo

Web vs. Native: Which Is The Best App For Your Business?

Rarely do you see gym goers without their smartphones. Whether they’re using their devices to listen to their favourite gym playlists, track their workouts, send progress updates on social media, or take selfies of their newly defined bodies, smartphones and going to the gym are a part of their routine.

Research from analytics company comScore reveals that mobile users spend up to 90% of their mobile time in apps, and only 10% browsing the rest of the internet. Developing an app is a great way to engage with your members and embed technology into your business. You can also use it to implement your business’ core values and ensure your members are getting the experience that fits around your brand.

Both Web and Native apps are popular options. Being educated on the benefits of both is invaluable, and could either make or break your app investment. Before you decide on an app, you need to identify your need-to-have functions. Consider some of the following questions:

  • Do you want your app to include device-specific features?
  • How important is the speed and performance of the app?
  • Do you want your app to support multiple mobile platforms and devices?
  • Can your budget meet the estimated cost of developing the app?
  • Would you like to monetize your app in the future?

Next, we need to establish what Web and Native apps are and how they differ from each other.

Web Apps: The Pros and Cons

To put it simply, a Web app is essentially a mobile-friendly version of your website, without complex software to power it.

Some Web apps are now available to download through an app store, with the purpose to drive traffic to a website via multiple links on the app.

Developers have also created Progressive Web apps (PWAs) which have the look and feel of a Native app. PWAs work on any browser and users are not obliged to download them from the app store.

Most Web apps run on any platform, device, tablet or phone with a browser. As browser and Javascript engines get faster with every release, the app speed greatly improves. However, browsers on different platforms do not uniformly support all the latest HTML features and API (Application Programming Interface), which can make developing and testing challenging.

A Web app can be built for around $25,000, excluding long term maintenance costs.

Native Apps: The Pros and Cons

This is an app designed for either iOS or Android devices, and users can download them from online app stores. Native apps are a complex and powerful piece of software that can revolutionise the way your members interact with your business.

However, building a Native app on every major platform requires a longer time to market and a bigger budget to build and maintain. If you want a Native app on both Android and iOS devices, you’ll have to invest in developing separate apps which could cost from $150,000 for something basic, but count on a bigger budget of anywhere between $250,000 to $1,500,000 for an app with a complex interface or backend. That’s excluding maintenance costs.

User Experience

Some Web and Native apps look and work the same way with very minor differences between them. It’s ultimately up to you to decide whether developing a user-centric app, or an application-centric app would work better for your business. Some businesses choose to build both as a way to expand their app reach and provide a good overall user experience.

Web apps have limited scope as far as accessing a mobile device’s features such as device-specific hand gestures, sensors etc. In comparison, Native apps are typically faster and more reliable when it comes to user experience. You can easily access a device’s features, including the camera, GPS location and accelerometer.

Engagement

On the internet’s 30 most visited mobile assets, Web and Native app visits are about even, with Native apps holding a slight edge. This happens because most users start out using a Web app before downloading a brand’s Native app. Once a certain level of engagement has been built, users typically switch to the Native app for a better user experience and speed.

However, one major downside to Web apps is limited brand awareness. Your users won’t have your Web app’s icon automatically downloaded to their home screens, so they won’t constantly be reminded to use your app.

Native apps can make use of push notifications, alerting users when their attention is required in the app. This gives you the opportunity to continually bring your members back for more, which is key to having a successful app. Fitness coaches can also engage with clients via the community and push notifications, enabling them to get in touch when it matters.

Accessibility

Most Web apps are easy for users to discover since their pages can be displayed in search results and listed in common search engines such as Google or Bing. The majority of Web apps are accessible to users via a browser across a range of devices from iPhone, Android and Windows. However, as there are so many variations between phones, web browsers and browser versions, it makes it challenging to develop a stable app that runs on all devices without any issues.

Native apps need to get approval from the app store before users can download them. While the app approval process can be long and tedious at times, the user can be assured of the safety and security of the app. Native apps are also available offline which makes them faster to open and provides unlimited access to your training plans, exercise instructions and business information, regardless of connectivity.

Monetisation

Research done by online advertising firm Criteo shows that mobile users view 4.2x more products per session within Native Apps, compared to Web apps.

Native apps also push more people down the purchase funnel, with 3x higher conversion rates compared to Web apps.

Web apps enable you to monetize by way of advertisements, charging membership fees and so on. However, Native apps could help provide a boost to you business’s merchandising and marketing revenue stream if you decide to offer your members workout shirts, water bottles and fitness wearable accessories via your online shop.

Conclusion

An app that captures the imagination of a first-time user is more likely to gain traction than an app that doesn’t. Your members will want a digital companion that they can interact and engage with on their fitness journeys at your club. While Web apps may be quicker to build and simpler to distribute, when it comes to performance, quality and persistence it’s hard to beat the quality of a Native app.

For further information on mobile apps for your business, please see the following:

Half The Effort, Double The Impact: How To Maximize Employee Wellbeing

Wellness programs were often viewed as a challenging initiative for organizations around the world. Finally, times are changing and companies focus on how to maximize employee wellbeing.

The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for a huge change in the workplace with the utilization of technology revolutionizing how, when, and where we work.

Worldwide, an increase in remote and hybrid model working has resulted in the formation of a new normal’ that, in turn, requires companies to adapt how they deliver corporate wellness programs to their workforce. 

The rapidly changing needs of employees have been increasingly recognized by employers worldwide. Companies are understanding the bottom-line value of employee wellness in their organizations better and better. But while change is vital for corporate health and wellness, it can feel overwhelming.

Below, we discuss the crucial role of health and wellbeing programs and their relationship with workplace philosophy and values. If you’re looking to revolutionize your company’s health and wellbeing initiatives, we reveal how digital platforms are leading the way for corporate wellness and discuss some common challenges faced by HR professionals.

Find out more about our Corporate Health software!

Corporate Health and Wellbeing Programs Matter

We are living in unprecedented times. Research indicates that more than 7 out of 10 Britons are not exercising enough, with a quarter of over 55’s not exercising at all since the pandemic began.

In addition, remote working has increased the likelihood of a sedentary lifestyle by up to 28% throughout the pandemic.

Data published by Vitality from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (the UK’s largest workplace wellbeing survey) indicated that the UK economy loses almost £92 billion a year through workplace absence related to ill-health.

According to OECD Health Policy Studies, the direct costs of absenteeism and presenteeism are around £4,600 per employee per year, with obesity resulting in a 3% loss of productivity across the workforce due to illness, lower performance, and absenteeism.

And our Mental Health is Suffering Too!

Research indicates that stress is the number one cause of absenteeism in the workplace, with 50-60% of absent days linked to work-related stress. 41% of people also stated a decline in their mental state since the start of the pandemic.

Organizations are now challenged with recognizing, reflecting, and responding to changes in their workforce. Part of this challenge is learning how to adapt to the unique shift in the wants and needs of their human capital. This means providing tools for employees to nurture their health and wellbeing in a time of extreme stress and anxiety.

The 5 Biggest Challenges for HR Professionals to Maximize Employee Wellbeing

When it comes to nurturing and growing the company workforce, HR faces 5 common challenges:

  • ATTRACTING TOP TALENT
  • ENGAGING THE WORKFORCE
  • IMPROVING EMPLOYEE VITALITY
  • OPTIMIZING PRODUCTIVITY
  • RETAINING TOP TALENT

A company’s health and wellbeing program can either positively or negatively impact each of the above five areas. Many companies are now giving their wellbeing initiatives a more focal position in the workplace.

Data published by Vitality found that 85% of homeworkers stated that companies who take employee health and wellbeing seriously would be an important future career consideration! However, forming an effective, successful health and wellbeing scheme isn’t a simple process.

The Overarching Corporate Health and Wellbeing Philosophy

A wellbeing philosophy is a formalized way of creating a vision and mission statement around wellbeing support and coverage within a company. Traditionally, company culture and wellness schemes were siloed rather than informing one another; this often created miscommunication and misalignment between the two areas.

The new workplace revolution calls for a more integrated approach to culture and wellness, following the increase in remote and hybrid working. By allowing both areas to work side-by-side, the company can foster its culture and respond to the ever-evolving wellbeing needs of its employees.

For example, if a company’s culture is to cultivate community, how can they support this via their wellbeing initiatives? How can they bring people together?

How a Corporate Health and Wellbeing Philosophy is Built

Company culture should define a health and wellbeing program. You can form and manage this philosophy according to these three aspects:

  1. Defining how resources are distributed
  2. Deciding how decisions are made
  3. Determining how things get done

Ultimately, our behavior shapes every stage of formation and management; this creates a culture within the company which can then inform its wellbeing practices.

The Best Practises for Building a Corporate Health and Wellbeing Philosophy

There are 5 best practices for building a philosophy:

  1. ASK YOUR EMPLOYEES (EARLY AND OFTEN)
  2. BUY-IN LEADERSHIP
  3. APPOINT WELLNESS CHAMPIONS
  4. DECIDE A PROGRAM BUDGET
  5. OFFER INCENTIVES AND REWARDS

By incentivizing the process, employees feel involved and invested in the company and its beliefs. But with such an overhaul in workplace practices since the start of the pandemic, how can companies adapt and execute programs to suit ‘the new normal?’

The Benefits of Healthcare Technology for any Company

According to a Workplace Wellness Programs Study Report, employee wellness programs improve long-term healthy behaviors in employees- both physically and mentally. In short, we need them! So how do we make them effective and relevant?

We live in a digital age with a vast array of digital tools at our fingertips; technology is a great enabler for improving workplace culture in this way. Simple mobile applications can allow companies to provide effective, digital wellbeing programs to both employers and employees.

Health and wellbeing content can be rich, varied, and personalized. And so it can facilitate better engagement and enhance community interaction within the workplace. Regardless of business level.

It is also an incredible opportunity to embrace the new working environment by connecting and engaging people regardless of location.

With the rise in the usage of wearable technology for employees, technology has fast become the most intelligent way to access content, whether employees are remote working or in the office.

Maximize Employee Wellbeing: The Takeaway

Well-executed health and wellbeing programs form an integral part of company culture, particularly in more recent times. Technology allows companies to offer a more personalized wellness journey to their workforce, catering to the unique needs of each individual.

By diversifying wellness content, companies can provide more choice and better support for their team with more inclusive and relevant content. After all, we don’t hire the same people, so why do we offer everyone the same wellness journey?

DISCOVER VIRTUAGYM’S CORPORATE HEALTH SOFTWARE

Our 24/7 digital platform is accessible by mobile app and features home workouts, food tracking, meditations, a digital community, and plenty of health and wellness content- all at the touch of a button and connected through HR software.

Gyms Share How Virtuagym’s Fitness Technology Helps Them Thrive

Fitness technology is becoming more and more important to the industry. Rapid digitization has given way to a host of fitness technology trends – it’s hard to imagine running a fitness business without a gym booking app or maintaining an active online community. And there’s so much more! So how does technology actually help fitness businesses?

In this blog, we share how Virtuagym technology has helped certain fitness businesses thrive. We will look at their journeys through quarantine and since reopening. And, of course, how it can help your gym, studio, or as a Personal Trainer to get ready for a tech-driven future and growth!

DAG ÉÉN – Hyper-Personalization Through Fitness Technology

How does technology help fitness? In many ways – but the personal trainers at DAG ÉÉN make the absolute most of the digital tools at their disposal. Their unique and highly successful, yet completely remote, program utilizes Virtuagym’s app for nutrition, coaching, and fitness together with the NEO Health Watch and the NEO Health smart scales.

Specifically, technology helps the trainers securely gather data on their customer’s daily lives remotely. And so they can hyper-personalize the plans for their clients and give them the exact support they need. Ultimately, fitness technology helps their clients to stay accountable, as the trainers successfully lead them through a uniquely personalized 6-week program.

How successful? Let’s just say that since starting in October 2020, there has consistently been a waiting list for new clients.

“It is a daily ritual – every day we check the weight and measurement results, the number of steps taken, how they have slept and their nutrition according to the nutrition plan – it is a lot, but that is the secret to success: data is the means to achieve the goal.”

Patrick Janssen, Co-founder DAG ÉÉN

Your Personal Training – Offering an all-in-one solution for Personal Trainers

One of the United Kingdom’s most successful personal training management companies, Your Personal Training helps Personal Trainers reach their goals with a team of dedicated and skillful regional coaches. So they, of course, could not miss out on the fitness technology trend to help them hybridize their approach.

With Virtuagym’s fitness technology, Your Personal Training launched their ‘Your Wellbeing’ app. This is a unique fitness management app that can be personalized for each user – consolidating the aspects of three or four different fitness apps into one.

Your Wellbeing supports Personal Trainers in running and managing their business in a more efficient and streamlined way. And ultimately this enables them to focus on what they do best – training clients!

By embracing a hybrid approach, our Personal Trainers can give their clients direction and support based on their needs in a cost effective way, helping them to achieve more holistic all-body health”

Aaron McCulloch, Managing Director, Your Personal Training

040FIT – Engaging the Local Community Online and Offline

You would assume that with seven locations, it would be a real challenge to keep clients engaged through the lockdown – and beyond. So allow us to introduce 040FIT, known for the tight-knit fitness communities at each of their locations, who didn’t hesitate to jump on the hybrid fitness trend and move their community online.

Through their gym booking app they offered outdoor classes, slots for indoor work-outs, and livestreamed lessons for their remote customers. In the meantime, staff personal trainers have intensified their efforts with the coaching and nutrition apps too. And so they have made huge strides in personalizing workout schedules for clients at home and in-facility.

040FIT kept their online community engaged with challenges and prizes, but also organized social events such as hikes, which clients could enjoy while socially distancing.

And this all achieved great success. The combined effort of digital outreach to their online community through their app, and good old-fashioned phone calls from trainers to customers, resulted in an average of 1,500 class bookings a month in 2021.

Through the app we were able to coach our clients remotely and support them with nutrition advice, work-out schedules, outdoor training and a lively community! It’s an asset to every club.

Eric Thus, Manager Asten – 040FIT

Power40 – Enabling a Complete Health with Tech

How can you grow your fitness business in the middle of the pandemic and thrive? Power40 did it with the help of fitness technology: by providing their clients with additional value outside their brick-and-mortar gym.

Customer demands have changed, with people looking for fitness services that accommodate their schedules – not the other way around. If you ask this future-focused team, fitness technology and gym booking apps are the way forward. Above all, they will give the customer of tomorrow the flexibility they desire.

Accessibility for everyone is one of Power40’s core values. And with Virtuagym’s apps and content, their clients can access a full suite of health and wellness content. Whenever they want it, wherever they need it.

“About a month ago, we had a snowstorm that hit Memphis, and everything was knocked down for about a week, and people were not able to come to our studio. But, through Virtuagym, we were still able to provide them with workouts to do at home.

Wesley Ashcraft, the Director of Power40

 

As you have read, fitness technology helps gyms, studios, and personal trainers in a plethora of ways. Virtuagym’s all-in-one software solution supports your fitness business in all aspects – from scheduling, to payments and your own personalized fitness app.  It’s time to discover what we can do for you – so book your free demo today!

Book your demo

The Importance of a Hybrid Health and Wellness Solution for Hybrid Workplaces

During the pandemic, almost 50% of the US workforce worked remotely.

And the vast majority of employees want to continue working remotely moving forward.

Large tech companies, such as Zillow, have even announced their support by continuing to allow employees to work remotely, even if it’s just part-time.

Hybrid working encourages the best of both worlds by striking a better work-life balance. 

Employees can prioritize health and wellbeing while benefitting from more flexible working opportunities.

The Role of Technology in the Hybrid Workplace

We have seen a monumental rise in the utilization of technology in the workplace to support remote working.

And with 77% of telecommuters reporting more productivity in their workday, it could well be our future.

Technology not only keeps us connected during the remote workday, but can also help teams to stay healthy when working from home.

Therefore, a hybrid workplace also requires a hybrid health and wellness solution that employees can tap into- whenever, wherever.

A complete software health and wellness solution can help alleviate the specific challenges that remote working poses, both physically and mentally.

The question is, in a rapidly changing climate, what are the pros and cons of a hybrid workplace model?

And how can employers ensure their teams remain happy, healthy, and productive in this new working landscape?

Stay ahead of the game and discover the 4 key health and wellness trends in 2021!

The Challenges of Working Remotely

While there are plenty of pros to remote working, some inevitable cons remain worth consideration. Learn more in-depth about how to help employees manage time effectively when working from home!

Physical health

One challenge currently faced by employees is the worsening of physical health. 

Remote working has led to an increase in makeshift home-office setups which can leave employees more prone to potential injury.

Our laptop, mouse, and keyboard setup can encourage poor posture and alignment, causing unwanted strain and tension on joints.

In fact, repetitive motion injury (muscular strain) is thought to cost the US approximately $20 billion per year in worker’s compensation alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And according to research conducted by Nuffield Health,seven out of 10 remote workers reported an increase in aches and pains despite incorporating physical activity into their home routine.

Remote working has also seen a rise of sedentary lifestyles of up to 28% throughout the pandemic, which, coupled with poor ergonomics, can put even more strain on the body.

Mental Health

Mental health plays a crucial role in remote working considerations.

In the fallout from lockdown, there has been a significant decline in mental health, including loneliness, uncertainty, and anxiety about the future and returning to work.

Research conducted by the Mental Health Foundation concluded that 56% of people said they felt more stressed and anxious about work than before the pandemic; this further rose to 72% in 18-24 year-olds and 64% in 24-35 year-olds.

Growing evidence, as reported by Vitality,also suggests that 50% of all homeworkers reported anxiety over physically returning to work.

Expectations and needs have changed fundamentally following the pandemic.

There is clearly a need for businesses to shift towards a more inclusive ‘healthy hybrid’ working blueprint which encompasses change in work-life balance, physical and mental wellbeing, and flexible working.

So, how do you incorporate a hybrid health and wellness solution into the hybrid workplace?

And why should you?

The Pros of Remote Working

Working remotely has produced many benefits since the beginning of the pandemic, including increased productivity and a better work-life balance.

According to Vitality, 55% of homeworkers found they were more productive when working from home, with 44% of remote workers finding it easier to manage their mental health and wellbeing.

An astonishing 85% of homeworkers even stated that taking employee health and wellbeing seriously would be an important future career consideration.

Working in a more comfortable environment, free from the daily commute, has improved the quality of how people work.

Flexible working also provides employees with more time to spend on well-being.

What’s more, data published by Vitality from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, the UK’s largest workplace wellbeing survey, indicated that the UK economy loses almost £92 billion a year through workplace absence from ill-health.

When people feel well, they often perform better in the workplace, creating a shared value between employees, businesses, and society.

When employees feel valued, businesses are more likely to retain talent and increase productivity and reputation.

How to Implement a Hybrid Health and Wellbeing Model into a Hybrid Workplace

The pandemic has made us look at what is important in life- looking after ourselves and others.

Implementing an employee wellness program could just be your answer!

According to a , employee wellness programs improve long-term healthy behaviors in employees- both physically and mentally. 

So, how do you get there?

Corporate health software programs bundle together the very best health and wellbeing tools into an accessible all-in-one package.

Designed to foster healthier living amongst remote workers, corporate health programs make it easier than ever to strike a happier work-life balance.

Technology is central to hybrid employee wellness -read more about the emerging trend of wearable fitness technology!

Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review indicates that corporate health programs can increase employee satisfaction, reduce absenteeism, and increase productivity.

Companies investing in such strategies have proven to strengthen organizational culture and cultivate trust and commitment, alongside making significant financial savings.

Our 24/7 digital platform can be accessed by mobile app and features home workouts, food tracking, meditations, a digital community, and plenty of wellness content- all at the touch of a button and connected through your HR software.

 

Discover Virtuagym’s Health Software

The Takeaway

So, is the hybrid workplace a blessing or a burden?

We do not know what the future has in store for the remote workplace, but there is plenty of sufficient evidence to support remote working as a far healthier and more productive opportunity for businesses, employees, and society.

Let’s support our well-being too!

 

 

How to Prepare your Gym for the September Peak

After gyms finally reopened, hopes were high for a peak in new clients coming in. Clients, who finally, after a long winter of closures and rise in awareness of the importance of health in quarantine, would join gyms in droves. After missing out on the wave New Year’s resolution-ists in January, gyms are looking to recoup some of the losses they suffered during the pandemic.  But as schools are out for summer, and with social life finally getting back to normal, people are pushing their ‘getting fit’ plans back. First, enjoy the summer, then get back to work in the gym.

So what can you do to prepare to successfully entice and convert the prospects that will be looking for a gym to shed the summer-fun pounds? And maybe more importantly, how can you get your business ready to offer them the best possible customer experience in your gym this September peak?

Getting Ready with Your Marketing Strategy

First off, don’t wait. If you want clients to join your gym at the September peak, you need to fire up your marketing machine now.

Competition in September will be stiff: many gym-goers are free agents now. And they will be inundated with offers in September to restart their fitness journey. So you want to stay ahead of your competition – not only with a modern and complete fitness offering, seamless user experience, but you want your brand to be top of mind for your prospects.

When your prospective clients start thinking about joining a gym in a couple of weeks, yours should be the first place they think to check out. By showing them ads on social media or Google, sending emails, or even printing a flyer and putting it in their mailbox, you can prime your prospects to your brand. By the time your prospective clients are ready for the decision, they will already be familiar with your brand and offering. This will put you several steps ahead of the competition on the journey to conversion!

Essential marketing tools to get clients back into your gym

The possibilities when it comes to marketing are endless. From easy-to-use channels like Instagram all the way to optimizing your website with SEO techniques, there is something for everyone. But whichever tool you choose to utilize, make sure it’s the right one for reaching your target audience. Learn more about effective communication strategies for your gym!

Social media is an easy yet effective tool to only increase your online visibility, but also a great basis for building your online community. People are more likely to stick to a brand if they feel emotionally invested – for example, if their friends or family belong to the same community. Go to where your target audience is – Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. – and encourage people to share, download, and comment on your videos can increase engagement and get people talking!

Do you want to start building your online presence? Check out 7 Instagram hacks to boost your fitness account!

Are you looking to invest in quicker conversions? Google Ads is the way for you. Publishing Google Ads based on keywords and local search criteria (fitness studio near me, gym in X, etc.) can bring you customers who are more eager to buy because they are searching for their exact needs.

Pro Tip:Local SEO works wonders in gym and fitness studio niches. Since people search the facilities around them and optimizing your search engine results with local keywords, addresses, and working on Google Maps and Google My Business listings can boost your Google presence basically for free!

Click here for more tips on increasing your online visibility.

Finally, your current clients are your strongest (and cheapest!) marketing tool. Up to 92% of consumers say they trust word-of-mouth marketing, from, for example, their friends and family. So make your clients your ambassadors!

A referral program, or special trial membership for prospects introduced by current clients, is the most direct and sustainable route to take to new memberships.

Go Hybrid for the September Peak

We have all had the chance to get acquainted with the advantages of a hybrid fitness offering – mixing online, offline and outside workouts and classes have given clients more choice and flexibility. And this hybrid trend is far from over!

Despite any ongoing restrictions, you want to be able to serve more clients in your gym. With a digital offering alongside your brick-and-mortar gym, you have an ongoing offer for your clients, no matter the circumstance.

As occupancy indoors may be limited, your clients don’t have to miss out on classes when the physical sessions are fully booked. Prepare your gym for the September Peak with the 5 Things Fitness Businesses Should Have Set Up Online in 2021.

A great way to make your offering hybrid – tried and tested in the last 18 months – is livestreaming classes through social media such a Facebook, Instagram, or even YouTube. This way you not only keep your clients engaged when are not, or can’t be at the gym. And you give them more value for their money!

As local restrictions may still be subject to sudden change, you don’t want to lose prospects or clients. Imagine they need to for example quarantine because of a sick roommate or family member. Or maybe a client is moving away but wants to continue their fitness journey with their personal trainer of choice. By going digital, it is easier than ever to adapt nutrition and workout plans for these unforeseen circumstances.

And the one trend you don’t want to miss out on? Outdoor fitness endures as the most popular option in gyms, studios, and personal trainers.

There’s an app for that

How can you engage your clients from one central hub, and offer them the most seamless customer experience when it comes to booking classes, time slots, accessing video content, and getting in touch with your community? Your own app of course!

Your own branded mobile app is the ultimate tool for the modern fitness business to keep clients engaged and active. And it’s not as difficult to get one as it sounds, trust us.

Learn from Your Personal Training in the UK, who went on the journey to digitize their operations. With Virtuagym they launched the Your Wellbeing App, which supports PTs in running and managing their business by being more efficient and streamlined. This enables them to focus on what they do best – training clients!

A management system will save you time

Getting more clients into your digital gym or online classes means it is important to create a seamless user experience. For your clients, for your staff, and, well, for you! You don’t want to be stuck doing endless paperwork when you should be focussing on making sure your clients are getting the attention they need.

A gym management system will help you get your back end – so your administration, membership management, and scheduling –  automated and integrated. No more paperwork, lost post-its, or unclarity about missed payments or following up prospects. But digitizing and centralizing the running of your business will enable you to spend time focussing on your growth and future-proofing your business. Do you want to learn more? Discover the 10 Advantages of Having a Gym Management System.

And it’s not just about making your back-end operation smoother. To get your gym ready for the September peak, you want to be able to easily convert your prospective clients. Lead Management software is essential to keep a firm grip on all potential clients requesting information, trial lessons, referrals from clients – you name it.

As the competition for new clients will be fierce, you don’t want to miss opportunities by forgetting to call a prospect, or failing to follow up. All this is discussed in depth in Locating Prospective Clients Has Never Been Easier With Virtuagym’s Lead Management Software!

Do you feel like it’s a lot to take in? Don’t worry. Virtuagym can help you and your gym make the most of the September peak. Book your free demo with Virtuagym today, and discover how our software can help your business make the most of the coming months. Because it’s never too late (or too early!) to start with building a better business!

Financial Planning for a Successful Personal Training Business

Starting a personal training business requires more than just knowledge about fitness. You obviously also need to start considering finances and management. It’s time to do the math and calculate your costs and pricing to estimate possible profit and start a structured and efficient business. The last thing you want is to destroy your dreams because of poor budgeting!

Of course, when you’re working as an employed personal trainer, your finances will be relatively structured. You have set rates, and you receive a regular salary as a personal trainer which will help you stay financially secure.

As a freelance personal trainer, however, this is something you need to be more careful with. That’s why this article will go over the essential elements of financial planning and how to finance your personal training business. It is imperative to have a sound financial strategy for your personal training business.

How Much Do You Earn as a Personal Trainer?

An important question is “How much should you charge for a personal training session?” The answer is, it depends. Rates vary immensely. It’s possible that a client is willing to pay up to $200 for a personal training session. On the other hand, others won’t want to spend more than $30.

What is important, is to understand your location and the people who live there: they are your immediate target audience, so look for ways to appeal to them.  Starting a premium service in a college town for example will limit your potential target audience. It is essential to take this into account for your finance as a personal trainer.

It’s understandable that an experienced trainer will cost a lot more than a trainer who just started out. As a personal trainer who is employed in a gym in the US, your annual salary will range between $40-70k. As an independent contractor, on average, you can earn up to 50% more – at the cost of higher financial risk.

For both independent and employed personal trainers, yearly salaries and rates can be distinctively higher depending on specializations, experience, and education – in some cases, they even reach 6 digits.

Discover tried and tested business models for personal trainers that will lead to a financially solid personal training business.

Initial Investment and Operational Expenses

Before starting any kind of business, consider the initial investment. As a personal trainer getting your finances in order, the first thing you need to be aware of the fact that a certain certification is needed. Therefore, these mandatory costs have to be planned in the cost structure.

If you do not have a gym paying for this, you have to calculate these expenses in your financial planning, no matter if you’re freelancing or employed.  A Personal training certification is not a cheap affair as it will cost you a lower-4-digit sum.

There might be other starting out costs that you didn’t count. Especially when working independently, additional equipment costs such as ropes and kettlebells might come into play, but also electronic devices like a proper laptop or trackers (if you do not own them or prefer not to use your personal items), as well as personal training software.

And don’t forget the marketing: the costs for uniforms, graphic design, website, maybe even social media ads. Make sure you consider all these costs in your financial plan as they come up before you start.

Start off strong with our tips for a great website for your personal training business.

To successfully operate your business, you will have recurring operational costs. If you work independently, you will need to pay a fee to the gyms you work in or rent your own place. For employed trainers, rent shouldn’t be a concern. Other costs include but are not limited to stationery, accounting, travel expenses, marketing, and insurance costs.

Concerning your insurance, security is always the highest priority. Make sure you are insured properly to build up a sustainable and solid business. The costs always depend on how you set up your fitness business and should be taken into account for your financial strategy.

How Much Should You Charge For a Personal Training Session?

You already know the amount of the necessary establishment costs and the money needed throughout your first year. So once you have a clear picture of the size of your investment, it is time to think about the pricing strategy.  But as we did not consider all the other costs yet, you have to take those into account before trying to find the right price.

Don’t forget to account for tax. Taxes depend on the country you’re working in. If you forget to calculate taxes in your planning, your personal savings will be smaller and that new car or dream vacation will be far, far away. But as you can see in the calculation tool, it is not hard at all to keep an overview of the due amount of taxes. On a side note, keep in mind that taking care of your taxes is also a time investment, but necessary for proper financial planning.

Motivated clients stay with your personal training business longer – learn about the right tools and strategies to increase client motivation.

Personal Expenses

Also take into consideration that you have to estimate your personal requirements, like living expenses and personal debts. If you do personal training as a second job, take your regular salary into consideration. You can’t live in a gym, and you can’t eat dumbbells. So include your rent, money spent on food, entertainment and so on.

Furthermore, in case you raised credit, had your equipment financed, plan to pay off your personal debt this year: don’t leave these costs out. As an entrepreneur, you don’t just strive to break even. You also want to earn enough money to have some personal savings and not just operate in the black. So take these extras into account.

Alright, now that you have calculated the total cost and estimated your personal savings, you know how much you need to earn.

First, let’s think about the price for one training session. What pricing suits your level of experience and service, and what’s affordable to the client base you want to target? Don’t forget to calculate taxes per session and add them to your pricing. After that, you can calculate how many paid personal training sessions you have to perform per year to reach your goals.

Balance Your Work

Session cost and the number of sessions per year will allow you to shed some light on the number of clients you need to acquire for financial security as a personal trainer. Nobody but you know how much time and energy you really have. And this is nobody’s decision but yours. Whether you want to take it easy or go all-in, consider beforehand how much you can put into your personal training business.

With fewer clients, you might be able to offer better quality for a higher price, while more clients will give you more options to keep the cash flow going. Also, think about how much time you want to invest in each client. To find the right number of clients for your pricing, you need to determine some other variables. All these things are part of the financial strategy you need to determine

Knowing how many vacation weeks you want to have per year and how often you would like to train your clients, on average, will make it easy to determine the number of clients required. This will give you a baseline to determine your rate, which will ultimately determine the salary you pay yourself as a personal trainer.

When you keep in mind what you personally expect to get out of this, how much is left over at the end, and how many clients you will be able to train, you will more or less get an idea of what you need to cover these costs. As an orientation, most independent trainers charge an hourly rate of $45 – 90 per hour depending on their qualifications, location of the sessions, and the number of total sessions.

Good management software for your personal training business will not only save you time, but will help you keep your finances in order.

Wrapping Up the Financial Planning

All in all, there are a lot of expenses you have to deal with. Whether it’s the cost of your personal life or your operating costs and the start-up capital. Once you have made a realistic estimation of those costs, you can set a price for your personal training sessions.

Also, decide for yourself how many weeks you want to work and how often you want to train your clients. Think about pricing structures, package deals, and add-ons you could offer. But ultimately, a good work-life balance is vital to keep you going in the long run, but it partly determines your income and financial security as well.