5 Tips to Promote Your New Digital Offering to Your Clients

Digitalization is now firmly a part of our lives. Though various sectors had been moving towards digitalization for some years, the pandemic has spurred this growth exponentially. And though we hope that life will recover some sense of normalcy post-pandemic, the digital approach will most certainly remain.

When it comes to gyms and health clubs, many jumped on board the digital fitness train as a way to continue providing exceptional value to customers during extended closures. And now many gym clients, especially Millennials and Gen Z, won’t look twice at a gym without these digital offerings.

However, many health clubs are struggling to get some of their customers on board with the digital approach. Regardless if it’s because these clients prefer the interaction of in-person classes and training, or there is age-related hesitance to adopting fitness technology. These barriers have made it challenging to convince some customers that the future of fitness is “phygital.
Since digital fitness has the potential to enrich your clients’ overall experience, we’ve put together our 5 best tips for how to effectively promote your new digital offering to your customers

Offline Advertising

For those hesitant to adopt online fitness services, you might need to meet them where they’re at: offline. Offline advertising might be seen as an antiquated way of doing things. However, many successful marketing campaigns still take place offline.

Offline advertising includes things like displaying flyers and posters in your gym describing your new services. But also consider sending out postcards detailing the news to previous clients, or placing an ad in the local newspaper. All these are tried and tested strategies to inform your clients and prospects about your new digital offering.

Offline marketing tends to lend an air of authenticity and personalization that online advertising cannot match, and it has a way of building brand loyalty and encouraging strong customer relationships.

Discover more about offline advertising with Effective Communication Tips And Strategies For Gyms.

Email Campaigns

Email is one of the most trusted channels of communication, and the era of successful email campaigns is definitely not dead. With some 3.9 billion users around the world, email is hands down one of the most effective ways to reach potential clients with your new digital offerings.

An email campaign or newsletter can both keep you connected to current clients, and improve communication and reach new ones. According to SaleCycle, 59% of consumers report that marketing emails influence their purchasing decisions and 50.7% of them will purchase from them at least once a month.

Next steps: Improve Your Client Communication with Email.

Your Own Web Presence

Your gym or health club’s web presence is another important factor in marketing your online fitness offerings. This includes things like your website, your various social media channels, or your own branded app.

Make sure to keep your web presence up to date by posting regularly and keeping your customers engaged and informed. Use this space to promote your digital offerings as well as client success stories. But you can also post health and fitness news and other easily digestible content. This way you provide added value to your customers and potential customers.

Consider adding buttons to your website to make access to your digital content simple and easier to use, and don’t forget a user-friendly layout.

Learn more about How to Increase the Online Visibility of Your Fitness Business.

Community Events

We have found that age is one of the most common barriers to adopting digital fitness technology. The older generation feels uncomfortable with the technology they do not understand or are unsure how to use.

When reaching out to the older generation, in particular, a great way to market your digital offerings is by organizing community events.

Having trouble getting your older clients back into in-person training? Check out How to get your older clients back into the gym.

Community events foster customer loyalty and allow you to exchange ideas in person.  Moreover, the health club atmosphere fits in naturally with health, fitness, and family community events.

They can be fun, interactive, or informative– offering food and games, fitness challenges or competitions, flu shots, blood-pressure screenings, workshops on healthy nutrition or cooking, and more.

You can make getting your community familiar with your app or digital offerings a focal point of the event.

At Virtuagym client DAG ÉÉN, participants join a one-day face-to-face session in which they not only learn everything about their fitness program but also learn how to use the Virtuagym app.

It is an essential part of the onboarding process, as some clients have never used a fitness app before.

Everything is done together: installation, step-by-step explanation, and going through all the workouts and nutrition schedules. All to ease anxiety about using a digital fitness app for the first time and get optimal results.

Instructor or Word of Mouth Recommendations

The in-person contact with the customer in the gym is unique. So many things can be exchanged in a conversation between instructor and client that it is important that your staff are adequately trained to address new digital offerings.

Clients value the recommendations of trainers, as it is an endorsement from a well-informed authority on the topic. If the trainer takes some time after in-person classes to discuss your health club’s digital fitness offerings, customers who are less tech-savvy can also be given the opportunity to have these new options explained and shown, resulting in an excellent customer experience.

In the same vein, this is an area where customer referral programs work well too. According to a 2015 survey, an astounding 83% of respondents trust and value the recommendations of close friends and family.

Utilizing an effective referral program can help bolster both your online and on-site offerings. Is your client referral program in need of an overhaul?

Check out 4 Steps to Boost Your Client Referrals.

It’s Never Too Early to Get Your Gym Ready for the New Year

There isn’t a magical ‘right time’ to start your fitness journey; in fact, the best day to start was yesterday. The next best day is today!

The same goes for your fitness business.

Why wait?

Now that summer is officially over, the holidays are fast approaching.

And to make the most of the holiday cheer for your gym, it is time to start preparing.

A change in seasons often means changes to how we train, and the holidays are the perfect opportunity for both fitness businesses and clients to prosper.

This is usually the time we see a wealth of discounts enticing us back into exercise- from Black Friday deals to Boxing Day discounts.

But to really stay ahead of the competition, it’s time to see what your customers have to say.

Get ahead of the game this winter; attract and retain your clients with our top tips designed to evolve and elevate your fitness offerings.

Are Your Clients Getting What They Need?

Now that we are finally waving goodbye to summer, the first step is to check in with your customers and open up a dialogue- are your offerings still of value? 

How could you improve? And what would it take to make the necessary changes?

During the pandemic, we saw a rise in popularity for Livestream fitness classes- and it looks as though they’re here to stay.

As we approach the colder months, outdoor classes and boot camps might be preferred by some, but for others, it might be time to move inside and online.

It is crucial to ensure you are offering appropriate options for your intended client base.

  • Take Your Classes Outdoors

We all remember being told to ‘get outdoors and play’, and science backs it up!

Training outside hosts a ton of physical and mental benefits from improved energy and mood to reduced stress levels and fatigue; the great outdoors is an all-natural medicine.

And it’s social!

Community fitness activities allow people of all ages and ability to catch up nd catch a sweat, as well as encouraging some healthy competition and team spirit.

It’s worth considering if this is something you can (or want to) offer and what you’ll need to get started.

Everything You Need To Know About How To Start An Outdoor Fitness Class

However, if you are keen to take your business online this winter it is important to capture and retain clients who prefer to train outdoors.

How? Keep it social!

A crucial part of outdoor training is the social community it builds, but online classes can promote the same sense of belonging.

  • Take Your Classes Online

We’ve seen virtual fitness take the world by storm over recent years, particularly since the start of the pandemic.

And there appears to be no slowing down.

Harnessing technology is the perfect opportunity to attract new clients and retain existing clients by diversifying your content– all with the simple use of a phone or laptop!

Online classes allow people to train wherever, whenever, and regardless of the weather.

It is also a chance to offer a range of different classes, filmed and streamed at your convenience.

If you’re thinking of making the move online, there are a few basic considerations:

  • Equipment- Whether you own a gym facility or you’re a personal trainer, make sure classes are accessible for everyone and offer a range of equipment options.
  • Environment-
    A good quality camera, tripod, and microphone can transform the workout experience for your clients and enhance engagement.
  • Live Vs Pre-recordedResearch shows that 70% of people use pre-recorded workout videos, while 75% of fitness users attend live workouts!

Will people join in real-time or download content- or both?

  • Content Location- Where will you house and advertise your content? How can you incorporate the use of social media to build community? 

Here’s Our Ultimate Guide For Building Your Online Fitness Brand

Learn more about How To Livestream A Fitness Class

  • Utilize Technology: The Benefits Of Apps For Your Fitness Business

Our lives have been on hold for a while.

Research indicates that loneliness has had a profound impact on our overall mental and physical wellbeing throughout the pandemic.

It is now more crucial than ever to reconnect with our loved ones.

We know the wealth of benefits exercise has on both our physical and mental wellbeing, but the social aspect of training has a real influence on our commitment to exercise. 

People who work out together are far more likely to stay accountable and consistent with their exercise regime, dramatically improving fitness outcomes in the long term.

Technology, and the use of an app, in particular, is a brilliant way to build a fitness community online for clients while keeping exercise challenging and engaging.

According to Exercise.com, mobile app research from eMarketer shows that the fitness app market is forecasted to reach $14.64 billion by 2027.

Why? Convenience!

Apps allow clients to schedule classes, track progress and engage with other users- all from the touch of a button.

Technology makes exercise accessible for both businesses and users.

Essentially, it bridges the divide in location, time zones, affordability, and access to quality instructors.

It might just be time to jump on the wagon!

  • Boost Your Incentives

Social media streams are a great platform to advertise services and elevate engagement.

But what sets you apart?

Custom-building the client experience makes clients feel special.

Referral programs, family and spouse deals, and loyalty programs are all creative ways to attract new clients. But also to retain existing clients and connect loved ones.

You might also want to consider social campaigns offering free classes or merchandise for clients that repost or advertise your services!

  • Invest In Gym Management Software

More clients can mean more paperwork.

, you can make life a lot easier by automating your daily processes so that your time is free to focus on what really matters- your clients and your fitness business.

If you’re unfamiliar with gym management systems, they are designed specifically to streamline administration and keep your day-to-day organized.

From automated club communications and marketing tools to billing process management, lead conversion support, and schedule management – you’re always covered.
Read How Virtuagym’s Gym Software Technology Can Help Your Business Thrive

The Takeaway

New Year fitness motivation can be hard to come by for many people, but putting the preparation into your business early doors can save a huge amount of work further down the line. 

Ensuring your clients remain at the heart of what you do will elevate their experience, meaning they’ll be a part of your community for years to come!

How to Build Outstanding Fitness Experiences

This week we chatted to Tom Skyrme from Affinity Spaces in our bi-weekly Lunch & Learn webinar. In our conversation with Tom, he revealed how you can build outstanding fitness experiences for your clients.

Affinity’s mission is to fundamentally change the way health is perceived through the creation of active spaces. Active spaces are not a type of facility such as a health club, big box or boutique, nor is it a franchise or workout.

Host Alex von Hagen and Tom discuss how to get online more effectively, how you can build experiences to increase retention and the Space Station modelCurious to what that is, and why organizations should adopt it? You will hear all about it in this episode of FitNation Lunch and Learn.

Watch the full episode here:

Sign up for future webinars

Alex Von Hagen: Welcome everybody; it is that time again for another episode of Fitnation’s Lunch and Learn. We want to thank everyone for taking the time to join us for today’s session. It will be one that shines a spotlight on the role of online presence and also member experiences in the fitness industry that, as we all know, is changing by the day.

The person who’s going to help us give us the insight and the actionable points here is none other than Tom Skyrme. So Tom is the founder and CEO of Affinity Active Spaces. It’s a team of people whose aim is to fundamentally change the fitness industry with a focus on the development of active spaces and they’re also helping usher in a new era for the industry that’s really centered around the ability to deliver personalized coaching at scale.

So in today’s session, what we’ll be discussing is getting online more effectively, building experiences that ultimately retain your members better and then also why organizations should adopt something called the space station model, which Tom has developed and I think has a lot of actionable insights within it as well. So as mentioned, this topic is going to be super prevalent for an industry that is changing pretty much by the day. It will be a really important conversation for those who are looking to keep their competitive edge in the next 12 to 18 months. Tom, thank you for taking the time to join us.

Tom Skyrme: Thanks for having me on, excited for the chat and what a lovely introduction that was.

Introduction

Alex: Thanks. So Tom, always a good background point here, maybe you could tell us a little about your background and what you do.

Tom: Certainly, so I started off like a lot of people in the fitness industry as a coach, started down in the bottom in the gyms doing all the coaching. From there I sort of moved a slightly different angle, I was working towards nutrition and that’s where I first started working directly with gyms with Affinity.

What we were trying to do was help gyms get better nutrition support within that framework of health support. So in a lot of cases there, wasn’t a very clear message going within the gym about what supplements to take, maybe what recipes are good, where to get good meal plans and as we know, there’s that huge opportunity within nutrition as an addition to fitness within the gym spaces.

So what we started doing was working with gyms to ensure that they had much better systems to allow them to deliver nutrition and so that was helping them get nutritionists on or in a lot of cases using a framework that allowed them to gather the right information and then deliver that to their members and that’s sort of where the next stage occurred, which was just before the pandemic.

We were doing a lot of work with helping gyms deliver these nutrition strategies, but a lot of it was online because you didn’t really need to be in the actual gym itself and so the support came through these online networks, whether it was via an app, whether it was via their social media pages or whether that was via sort of just their online sites that they had.

So we started working to make sure that all the information that they were getting was being delivered in a really efficient way through their actual digital platforms that they were having and then all of a sudden the pandemic happened and everyone had a digital platform. So that was sort of when the time came for us as well and we’ve been working with gyms first of all, to get their nutrition online and then we thought, okay, this is really now the opportunity to help, not just from a nutrition perspective, but to look at different elements of health that a gym could provide on top of that fitness services and really then start to stick out in an industry, which very quickly moved online and the market became very saturated and everybody came quite competitive and so it became, okay, how do we add more than just fitness to a portfolio when it comes online?

And that’s where we’ve been really focusing over the past 18 months is how do we get online more effectively? How do we do things differently to the way everyone else is doing? And that includes the likes of Peloton and Apple Fitness Plus that they have that’s really a good way of bringing in members, but in the same way, the average gym has such an opportunity to do something different and to bring in members in a really unique way.

So together with all of those components, we built up all of these strategies and systems that can be implemented into businesses, which is a really effective way of expanding the business and doing more for your members. So it’s been an exciting 18 months of development for us.

Vision and Mission of Affinity

Alex: Nice, definitely. So, yes, it sounds like you guys are really, as you said, growing from nutrition and then pulling in a lot more different areas of this. So as far as Affinity goes, I mean, what would you say is your vision here or ultimately the mission that you guys are really trying to help with?

Tom: The much broader vision and sort of what we talk about on a day-to-day basis is how do we get more people being active and how do we get more people into gyms and studios and I think there’s always been this case within the industry that we target the individuals who want to be healthy and we target the people that are already wanting to invest their time and money into the ends up being active.

So we help apply strategies that reach out to people who are maybe taking their first steps and so we do a lot of work to really consider who are those people that are on the fringe, who are those people that really aren’t active, and what does it take to get them to step one and then to step two and if we will do that as an industry, we can make so much of a bigger market of individuals and make such a difference to the way that we make more people healthy and not just that the sort of 20% that we know are going to continue to buy from us.

So the big picture for Affinity has always been, how do we get more people into the industry? How do we make health more meaningful, more accessible and that’s important to us.

Alex: Yeas, and I’ve also had this conversation with a lot of other people, it’s that 15 to 20%, we knew that they were going to be part of the industry. We knew that they were going to be, as you say, buying from the industry, using gym subscriptions, but as the pandemic hit, you kind of realized that it was that other 80 to 85% where attention should have been focused on because that’s where probably most of the problems occur within the pandemic.

I’m glad to hear that you guys are really focusing on that because I think this is the next stage of the fitness industry, it’s not just about that small 15% and fighting over the same members, it’s about addressing that wider audience and really making health accessible for more people.

Tom: Yes, don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. It’s that sort of situation where everyone wants to be a part of that solution, but it’s never just oh, okay, we need to do more of this since there’s a really dynamic set of sort of situations that everybody is on their own unique health journey and we’re finding people on completely different points and we have to really understand where each individual is with their health and start to then bring that person in step by step and it sounds so difficult.

How do we get one person and how would we get every unique individual to take that step? So it’s about really trying to understand where everyone is in a society that is changing so quickly and with so many different ways of actually influencing our health and so we bring those together and we really try and focus on, okay, what are the best strategies of getting this done more effectively? So no two days are the same when trying to work all these things out.

Current Status of Fitness Industry

Alex: A lot of different things to consider or consider for sure. I mean, it’s a huge population set now that we’re all trying to focus on here. So one of the main talking points we wanted to focus on today was getting online more effectively. Obviously, this show, this kind of reared its ugly head for a lot of operators when the pandemic hit, when they realized they had no solution whatsoever, but at the same time, it also accelerated that move towards digital by maybe some estimates five to ten years for some organizations.

From your perspective or the position that you guys are sitting in, what would you say is the current status of gyms or just the fitness industry as a whole? We don’t really want to target just gyms only here, but I think the industry as a whole being online.

Tom: Absolutely. So a lot of times when we talk about it internally, we talk about traditional health and fitness or traditional fitness, which is like the gym studios, health clubs and what their transition has been from almost strictly physical, maybe five years ago to a very, what we’re now calling a hybrid approach where they have to have digital services and what scale of digital services are they going to apply?

Is it they’re now more a digital service than they are physical service or they find a balance which optimizes more for their members. So there’s definitely that traditional side of gyms and studios that are trying to focus on that transition that they need to make, which is manageable for them as a business and then we’ve got new fitness as well, which is you’re saying connected fitness, the apps that came out of almost nowhere and have tens or hundreds of thousands of subscribers, they’re very much part of the industry and they’re very much a massive support system for bringing new people into the industry.

So if they’re digitally native, then what strategies and services are they using, and why are they so effective in bringing people together online and supporting around a brand.

So, I mean, we’ve seen numbers that 84% of traditional health and fitness businesses went online during the pandemic. I saw 84% in on top of all of those other businesses, there’s a lot of competition, but some of them have dropped off. Some of them have decided, look, now things are beginning to reopen and our physical space is more accessible and profitable, we can go back to just doing that and so there is been a drop-off from a lot of the traditional fitness, which is fine, but then there’s also those who have gone right, okay, we’re really into this market now, and not only are we competing, but we’re really starting to make grounds on the way our business works.

So it’s exciting to see where the blend is between new fitness, new health and fitness services, especially those who work in a particular vertical and then the traditional brands who are really [inaudible 12:51] weigh-in and said, look, we are a more traditional brand and our training and our services are of a really high standard and now we’re doing this online and we’re doing it really effectively. So it’s great to see that sort of amalgamation of all of these brands come together online. So it’s definitely a big step forward in helping more people be active and be healthy and a lot of it is online.

Alex: Nice. Two things to point out from what you just mentioned. I think some good points from my day job, I talked to a lot of fitness chains and I am talking with a lot of different players in the fitness industry, you’re totally right that now there’s just this plethora of new providers on the market.

I mean, I can’t remember this is a big difference in the numbers, so I don’t know how publicly I should say it, but it was something between like either 20 or 70,000 different kinds of fitness apps were released onto the app stores I think in 2019 or 2020. I should probably have these stats a little more drilled down before I announced something like that but the point is that this is a huge number and so, yes, there’s obviously now it’s just like this, what do they call it?

Analysis paralysis on what should be the best one for you on that same note, I’ve also talked to some gym chains who are more or less actively not pursuing the online avenue because in the presence the physical club, like that experience, that face-to-face experience, that’s the most important thing for them. So I think as you mentioned, it’s about helping people understand what’s best for them and understanding what their options are.

Tom: Absolutely. Every business is different in terms of what is going to be the best direction for them moving forward because they can have a really good community of individuals and they can secure that business going forward without having to go online or doing it in a certain way. And like you said, I’ve heard some data similar to what has been rattling around in your head there about 20,000 or up to 70,000 new apps being put onto an app store and I’ll tell you now, 90% of them will not last a year because it’s just not good enough in terms of the standard of coaching they’re providing. It does have to be better online.

It’s certainly different online, but when it comes down to it, a stat that I saw, which was probably more staggering and hopefully I don’t misquote here, but it was 1.1 billion downloads of health and fitness apps and so it’s just a staggering amount of people. A download doesn’t mean they’re using it every day, but it just goes to show there really is a market for people being active online.

Alex: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I also think I’ve seen a similar statistics to that one probably from the same, if not similar source and it shows you where that interest really is and you figure people also have multiple apps on their phone for fitness. I mean, I think I probably have six or seven apps that are related to one form of fitness or another, whether it’s biking or [inaudible 15:48] for my gym or forest tracking progress or something like that. So yes, there are a lot of options out there for people.

Tom: Absolutely.

Strategies for Growth

Alex: Okay. Let’s talk about some of the strategies that you guys are helping or discussing with your partners in order to help best position them for growth. What kind of conversation topics are you guys usually having?

Tom: Yes, sure. I mean, we touched on it at the very start about the space station model, which I know we’ll come on to, but as a company, we look at the idea of the space station actually came from this idea of a galaxy because within online fitness, there is just absolutely so many components that go into delivering it effectively and operating the business effectively and so we were like, okay, how are we going to contain this tool?

And so we started off by saying, right, it’s the galaxy model and so within there is the space station model, which is how you deliver experiences online and then there’s the idea of complete health and that’s an assessment on the different opportunities we have to deliver different forms of health online.

I think in the physical space, as a contrast here in the physical space, we’ve built out for a gym, there are machines there, it’s all built to do physical fitness. But online those same gyms are now capable of delivering nutritional advice, mental health support, creating very unique communities that you wouldn’t be able to harness necessarily in the physical space and so it really opens the door to helping any individual work on their health in a much more dynamic fashion and I think that’s a massive step forward when we consider some of the flaws of the traditional industry was that someone could be working out four times a week and they could be active, but it was their nutrition that let them down, it was their mental health that’s got them going and so it was so uncontrollable for these gyms and that they would lose members because of well beyond their control.

So one thing that we’ve really tried to focus on is how do we make solutions that go beyond fitness and online there are huge opportunities for that. We can dig into that further because it then links to personalization, because again, with the tech that we’re getting, whether that’s the wearables that people have on their wrists or the belts that they wear, the heart rate monitors that they wear, whatever it may be, it adds that layer of personalization. We have more data, we have greater access to what their motivations are, what their goals are, who they’re interacting with, why they’re interacting, what coaches do they want to work with, which coaches are best for that particular set of goals.

We have all of this data, all of this information, and it’s going to be so important to start understanding what data we have available to us as a business and then how do we start applying that data in a way that can personalize every member’s experience, whether we have a hundred, 300 thousand, a hundred thousand members, and that really will be the case of we’re going to be able to personalize a lot of the services.

How do we understand that data? What have we got to use and what avenues do we need to look to secure more opportunities for personalization? So it’s a huge opportunity within different systems and strategies of working online and operating a business online, whether that’s in addition to the physical space or whether that’s as a primary role.

Role of the Community in Effective Online Strategy

Alex: Gotcha. I think when we talk about personalization communities [inaudible 19:20] to start popping up as well, it’s one that they usually mention in the same breath. So maybe, could you talk to us a little bit about the role you see community playing in terms of an effective online strategy?

Tom: Perhaps it’s the most important factor. I mean, I’ve seen so many different brands go online and I’ve seen some incredible programs through my time as a coach, I can tell what’s a good program and a bad program and I see all these good programs, and I see all this fancy marketing and I see all these really good components, but the business has nowhere near the same amount of growth as another business who just clearly has this core community of people who are all doing it for each other, who were there supporting each other and this business is just doing a lot better.

It’s acquiring members quicker, they’re retaining members, all of the key statistics that you’re getting from a good, successful fitness business is coming from the ability to connect people much more effectively and it isn’t easy. A lot of the time when you’re making a community the big problem is keeping people engaged, getting people to sort of be open to other people online, which is always difficult. You’re not meeting someone face to face.

You’re not necessarily building a bond in person. We’ve all been online over the past year and some of us have struggled and some of us have sort of seen the opportunity that’s making friends online and creating relationships online is doing for our own health and it’s doing it for our own wellbeing in general. So community is playing this massive important role in bringing people together and essentially having that accountability and having those people around you to continue to reinforce good health habits and good health behaviors and the better the community is the less it feels like you are building a habit or working out every day or any of those sort of circumstances that a lot of people seem to think are a tool or something I don’t want to do.

If you have a community around you, it completely changes the dynamic of how you adjust your health. So, yes, definitely the most important component.

Alex: Do you have any good examples or initiatives you’ve seen some operators take on that you could share?

Tom: Yes, I mean, there are loads of great ideas and often, when I see it, I’m always writing them down because I’m like, that’s a great idea. Stuff like daily challenges it alerts everyone to something different every day towards their health and so it doesn’t have to be okay, this is our daily challenge, go and do a kilometer or two and a half kilometer run or this is our workout.

It can be get out and meditate in a local park or go and find a recipe which allows you to cook with certain foods, which will enable you to have more fiber in your diet. So it’s challenges that you don’t know what’s coming because it’s a daily challenge and it’s something new and it keeps the idea of being healthy fresh, because you always have something different to do. So I like the idea of daily challenges and another initiative I really like is it’s time away and I can’t remember which brand and what it was called, but what they tried to do was say, okay, we’re going to do half an hour, anyone who wants to do this particular class, you have to stay for half an hour after and all it is is just having conversations with people who have also done that class.

So I think quite often when we’re doing classes online, whether that is the live classes or on-demand, it’s okay do the class and we’re done, next thing what’s going on in life? Have I got to do this, have I got to do that, am I back to work, what might it be? To take that half an hour and to have those conversations with people that you wouldn’t have necessarily had the conversation with, it builds community in a way that a lot of us expect from the traditional, the physical spaces and it gives you a moment because a lot of the time you’re either wrapped up in work or you’re wrapped up in family life or whatever it may be and you don’t get the opportunity to spend all the time with people who are like-minded and so those are some of the initiatives that really help build community online.

Alex: I think that that second one is actually interesting because that is a great community builder right there. It’s almost like a forced community builder, but not one that seems like it’s too forced like speed dating or something. So it’s like, hey, stay have a chat, hang out, see who else is also interested in the same class as you are and yeah, those are the kinds of things when you see those people at the gym, they’re probably going to attend around the same time that you usually do as well and then, yes, that’s exactly how these things start to get built and it’s organic as well, which is really nice.

Tom: Yes, as you say organic is spot on, those are those authentic organic connections that you can get from just setting time aside and the people who would sign up for that class knew that it was just almost semi-compulsory. They want it to be there afterward because they knew other people would be there and other people who wanted to share that time with them as well. It’s not like you’re going into a room and no one’s really paying attention now. Everyone’s there just to be with each other and I think it does feel really organic because people just start chatting and people would just like really feel like they’re in a room together and it’s so important when we’re talking about online fitness, building communities online, it can often feel very disconnected from what it means to build relationships in real life and so any strategies and systems that you can apply, which makes things organic and authentic are absolutely vital to that.

Delivering Content

Alex: Yes, big fan as well of the daily challenge that’s not just about, hey, do a hundred pushups or go run X amount of distance. It’s not just physical, it’s the finding the finding that new recipe to help you do this, and then that starts to just connect it all together. I think that was brilliant. I’m going to start sharing that one with some of the conversations that I have as well. There’s a huge amount of value in that to just get people doing something different. As far as delivering content most effectively, what kind of things are you guys advising on here?

Tom: See, when I was sort of thinking about the best way of delivering at home fitness, which is going to make you unique, you can’t compete with the way that Peloton sets up their cameras and their leader boards and all of that sort of software that they developed, and the same thing with Apple Fitness Plus.

These big brands, you don’t want to try and compete head to head with them, you want to think of what makes your brand unique and what makes your brand different and how do you start implementing that into the way that you deliver your experiences and so if you’ve got an hour of someone’s day, how are you going to make it the best hour of their day and it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be a sort of a 45 minute class and then 15 minutes stretch, whatever the class is, think outside the box a bit, think how can we add different components of the health of sort of an individual’s health on top of what the class may be and so don’t just make it hit class, don’t just make it a yoga class, think of what you can add and so there’s plenty of opportunity to show what your brand is really made of and how it’s unique and definitely lean into that.

Alex: Nice. Also, I mean, it’s worth mentioning, since the pandemic there’s been a lot of at-home videos of varying quality. Do you have any tips here as far as what can we do to up the quality of our video, if we don’t have well, as most people don’t have the endless pockets of the Peloton and the Apple Fitnesses and things like that?

Tom: Yes, sure. I’d say keep it simple. As long as your audio and video are good enough standard. I mean, you don’t need to buy a very expensive camera and all these microphones and apps and all these lights and just make it a good enough standard so that people can hear you clearly, people can see you clearly and make sure you get feedback on that.

Don’t just assume whether people can or can’t, just make sure you’re having those conversations and some of the things that we do with the companies we work with is say, listen, you need to be very open with the way that you’re developing online with your community, because if you’re new to it and if you’re a gym that’s moved online and you have all of these new individuals coming in, some of them were members and are members in your physical space, but some of them are coming in through referrals and through seeing your adverts and marketing and whatever that may be, bring them into the community of we’re building online and we want to know what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong. So give us that open information, because we’re only making things better for you here.

I think a lot of businesses are afraid to say, what are we doing wrong and getting that feedback saying, oh, your video’s horrible but if enough people were saying your video is a bad quality, that’s when you need to know you need to upgrade your video as opposed to thinking, or someone or loads of people saying, oh, we’d love like a leader board, or we’d love to be able to see some sort of data about where we are.

Then you think, okay, well, what software is out there that we can look for to apply that on top of now that we’ve got a good foundation of good video and good audio, so what’s that next step for us. So always be listening to what your community is saying and what your feedback is saying, because that’s where you’re going to get the information of where is the priority of adding to our digital service and whether that is the service and the experiences themselves, which is the delivery of it or whether that’s the backend making it smoother, making it easier for them to decide off and making it easier for them to engage. So there are all those components that just listening is the best way of finding out.

Alex: Nice. I think it’s always really good from a retention standpoint too, is really kind of putting yourself out there and say, look our core reason for asking this is we want to make this the absolute best experience for you possible, what kind of feedback would you have and just it’s all about how you approach it. I think that’s a pretty good tip.

Tom: More and more brands are starting to sort of build-out in public in terms of saying, we’re a business, but we’re as much part of this community as all of the coaches and individuals. So we want to make the business a part of the community and the more you do that, the more open people will be as opposed to saying well, there’s the business and then there’s a community and they’re separate and they’re only sort of linked between the coaches who are the ones who are delivering the experiences.

As a business owner, if you put yourself in the community and say I’m building this business and we want the business to excel, we want it to grow because the more it grows, the more we can add, people to this community, so they’re going to help everyone out and so it helps bridge the gap between the idea of having a community of people and a business and if you bridge that gap, then it makes it a lot more comfortable for the people in the community to provide support for the business.

Building Experiences that Retain Members

Alex: Nice, yes. Okay, and so moving on a little bit to the experiential side of things, one of the things we wanted to really focus on was building experiences that retain members. So just as a basis point, always good to just kind of say what does your definition of an experience at a gym look like? And then from there we can dig in a little bit deeper.

Tom: Yes, absolutely. I know we’ve sort of been saying it a few times here. I’ve been saying experiences in a way that I like to define it and I think in a lot of circumstances, when you say customer experience, you think of everything that is involved in what the customer is going to do within the dynamic of the GM or of the business. The way we see an experience is that period of time where the individual is working on whatever it is to do with their health.

So it could be a class, it could be a workshop, it could be a community discussion forum that is an experience in of itself and I think where services and content are consumed, so if you were to just deliver a hit class, which is a bit more like a sort of a service then it’s just consumed and they just burn some calories, they don’t really know what’s going on with it.

But if you give them experience, which is continuing from the idea of a HITT class, if they understand why they’re doing certain movements, if they understand sort of where they are developing different areas of muscle groups, why they’re burning calories and what this means and so if you build out an experience, you can add ideas of themes and what you’re doing within your brand, learning what outcomes are coming from it and there are loads of these components that help make an experience more defining to each person.

Alex: Nice. I agree with that perspective on it. As far as how you guys are consulting, different fitness professionals on how to help them build these experiences, maybe we can do a deep dive on, you’ve already touched on it a little bit, but maybe just dive in a little bit deeper of like, hey, how can we help you take your, well, I don’t want to say just hit class, but let’s take the hit class example, you offer this, how do we turn this into that much more of an experience that’s going to get people coming back into more and more and more and really understanding it?

Tom: Yes, so I was just say in the particular hit class, what you want to do is you want to build more components around it in the way that enables each individual to take more from it in a personalized way. So if you say like a service, you can get a hit class on YouTube and you can press play and you can just follow the steps and that’s absolutely free in a lot of circumstances.

So you will think, okay, what do we need to add on top of that to make it more accessible and more meaningful to each individual? So it’s being able to have, obviously the coaches who are there engaging during the class is important and so you think of, oh, okay, wait, what are they doing to essentially bring everyone closer into the way that they’re looking after their health and so, yes, they’re doing the movements and they are understanding why they’re doing the movement?

Are they understanding what benefits is having and so you can link it to the way that each individual is working on their particular health and working on their particular goals and so, like we mentioned at the start about the importance of personalization, it’s bringing that back to, okay, why are we working in a certain way? What are your motives to continue to push harder? What are these components that go into the experience itself, which is going to benefit each person?

So I think that there’s all this depth that you can find within the certain avenues of delivering a class online and so irrespective of whether you’re doing a HITT class, or if it’s a yoga class, whether it’s a hybrid, I think we’ve got a lot better at programming for a larger range of individuals and so when we are online, say if 20 people turn up or a hundred people turn up, there’s still the opportunity to provide the depth that is in each individual’s ability to give them that personalization. So there’s all this opportunity that exists within it.

Alex: Nice. Would you say, are there any common things that you see pop up time and time again, that in terms of creating a better experience that you’re telling your customers you know, hey, these are the first two things that you can implement today to craft a better experience? Sometimes it can be a little hard to maybe just blink at that across the whole industry, but I guess what kind of common things are you seeing pop up that anyone listening right now could implement in the next one week or so like that to improve the experience that they offer?

Tom: Yes. Again, I like the idea that I always think is most effective, which is also most underutilized is the idea of emotion. So there’s not enough reflection on, okay, how are we going to make people feel during different stages of this class? So how are we getting them to feel as soon as they log on and as soon as they are in that space ready to go, they’ve turned up, they want to be there.

What emotion are we trying to craft from there? Which is going to heighten the experience for them. Because if we just turn up and say, all right, okay, off you go and then you’re doing this, you’re doing that and then it just gets away from them and it doesn’t ever become a true experience as opposed to just the service of doing a class. If we grabbed that emotion and think, oh, okay, well, we need to heighten the emotion at this period and we need to calm things down here, we need take a breather, we need to understand where our body’s moving and that can happen right in the middle of a hit class and it completely changes the perspective that an individual has of doing that particular class.

Then that kind of, okay, they’re more present in the experience and by being more present in the experience, whatever type of exercise it may be, or even if it’s something to do with sort of nutrition and mental health, which is the other opportunities that exist within experiences is how do they feel and how does that emotion trigger their continued success because they can flash through the class, they can finish it and burn the calories like we were saying, but how are the emotional triggers working to ensure that that’s taking more from the class and what we often find that the end as well is at the end of the session, what are the emotional triggers that are going to make them come back again?

Because we don’t necessarily think it’s going to be an emotional trigger that makes them come back. We think it’s, oh, they’ve enjoyed that class and they’ve burnt a certain amount of calories or they know that they’ve improved their mobility or their strength because of doing the class and we think that the issue of presumed progress is what really makes them come back again. But if not, it’s the emotion that they felt at the end is that, are we doubling down on that euphoric sense of achievement or are we say, okay, good job, well done, off you go.

So it creates that different emotion, which leaves them in a much better position long-term to think, oh, okay, that was a success. Not just because of the way that I did the class, but the way I felt and the way I applied myself during the class. I want to have that again and I want to have the sort of range of emotions that I got from within that class and a lot of people were like, oh, I really enjoyed the challenge of doing that class or I really enjoyed doing something different that I wouldn’t have necessarily done.

So you have to latch onto those emotions and say, right, okay, well, you have to negotiate a way that you continue to put those emotions into the experiences. I think that’s one of those big opportunities that not enough gyms and spaces sort of really reflect on when they’re making the programming or when they are thinking of what classes to put on. I think it’s very easy just to make sure the timetable is full or to make sure that there’s a arrange of an offering for example.

But the reality is if you think about the fundamental reasons why your members and your community are in those classes and are really focusing on different elements of their health and what emotional triggers you can utilize to help them advance the health and that sort of direction, that becomes the biggest opportunity out of all of them when creating experiences.

Adaptation to the Space Station Model

Alex: I definitely agree with that because, I mean, there’s certainly, it’s not everyone, but you can imagine there’s a certain amount of people who are there probably just because they feel like they need to be there and they may be probably on autopilot a little bit while they are there. So if you can start tapping into something a little bit deeper there, then it really starts to shift perspective.

So I think that’s a super good shout what you’re saying that it really appealed to like the different, not only just one emotion, but the different emotions that come throughout a session, whether it’s a HITT class, like you said a few times or a nutrition consultation or some good mindfulness, there are so many different aspects and avenues to go there. Okay, cool. A segue to revisit the space station model that we touched on a little bit earlier, but as you mentioned, there’s a few different things going on here. You feel that a lot of organizations should adopt the space station model and that you guys have created. So maybe we could revisit this, what that means, what’s entailed in that, and then what the opportunity is here?

Tom: Yes, absolutely. Because as you say, we’ve been touching on points throughout this conversation so far, but the space station module itself is a better way of crafting experiences that enable you to put them out efficiently and if you’re putting out new experiences efficiently, whether that is a different type of physical fitness class, whether that entails yoga, a strength class, or whether it’s a nutrition cost, a nutrition workshop, or whether it’s a talk on mental health, whether that is social health components and communication, there are so many avenues you can take when it comes to delivering health and fitness online that you want to have a system or you want to have a model, which works effectively as you go this is what we need to do, and this is how we need to do it effectively. So we broke that down into five stages.

So the first is the discovery stage, and that’s understanding each of your members and as a community, what are the real sticking points that each individual has with their health and that only happens through communication and that only happens by really understanding your community and this needs to be scaled because we’ve worked with sort of smaller gyms who have had a hundred to 300 members, and we’ve worked with others who have 5,000 or 10,000 members.

So you have to be able to gather not just the data itself, but the sort of you have the quantitative side, but you have the qualitative side as well. You have to understand where the feeling is within the community, about where the struggles all with health and that so often comes down to lifestyle components. So you have to work within your community to gain a better understanding. So stage one is always about that discovery. What are people’s real sticking points? There is no point in putting on classes that aren’t as beneficial as what your community really wants when it comes to that health.

So to create an experience, you have to start from the very start of it. What are your communities sticking points and what can you start to do to really work on them and that’s really what leads into the second point, which is the development stage.

In the development stage where you have a better understanding and now you want to make sure that when it comes to delivering the experience, you’re actually doing it right and you’re doing it in a way that is going to be beneficial. It’s one thing to say, oh, okay, we’re struggling with our nutrition, potentially around sort of summer and less people have keeping on top of their nutrition. So everyone you’ve gauged from that discovery stage that people were needing help in a certain direction and that may differ at different times of the year as well.

So you’re trying to understand where and that second development stages, how are we going to appeal to the breadth of our community and find a solution that is going to work effectively for them, and how are we going to focus on delivering it? So is that going to be like a workshop or is that going to be as just a class or a talk from a nutritionist? Is it something to do with gut health or is it something more broad to do with sort of the way that fiber is an important role within the diet as a whole?

So it has sort of levels of depth and breadth that you need to understand in that second stage, so that you deliver exactly where the struggle is for the majority of people who want to commit that point of view of their health.

So that leads to stage three, which is the practical stage, and that’s actually delivering the experience and that’s actually creating something which is meaningful to every single person. So when they log on and they come to do this experience with you, they’re like, this is exactly what I needed, and it doesn’t come without stage one and two, because you have that understanding and so in the third stage, that’s when you’re applying all of this, and that’s very similar to sort of the conversation aspect we just had about the experience themselves is when they’re there, what are they doing to really optimize that experience and that applies to both the coaches each member of the community and every person involved in the experience themselves.

We like to think of it as a whole system approach, who are the stakeholders, who are the people that have a role within this experience. So everyone needs to have an opinion on what the outcome is going to be, because at the end of the day, that is what is going to make your strongest opinion and that is what is going to allow the coaches to coach to their full potential and to deliver outcomes that are really going to be changing people’s lives long-term because it’s one thing to [inaudible 44:53] an experience and other things to deliver a service.

If you’re delivering just a service, you’re not connecting an individual to their health long-term. So that’s why we find stage three as the practical stage, sort of the pivotal stage, because what it does is it really transforms their idea of that component of their health.

So sometimes it is just a class that they’re doing every week, but when you’re turning into an experience, or sometimes it’s as a completely one off class, which they know they’ve needed for a while and you’ve been able to understand that as a fundamental way of doing it. So that’s what’s great about the build-up to stage three and experience itself is that you have with that information about what is the perfect delivery mechanism and going to really maximize outcomes and that needs to then stage four, which is what we call the specialized stage.

Because in so many circumstances, you can take a component of health and you can get it to a level that your coaches are able to deliver at and then once you get past that stage, a lot of individuals want something more, perhaps there’s a deeper level of personalization, and perhaps there’s more to it but you need specialist help and that is often always the case that there any certain level you can take it to before you need some sort of specialists to come in and really reinforce some of those core lessons. In stage three, you’ll learn a lot from those experiences, because you’ll be able to understand that, oh, okay, well, these are the points that we missed and like we said, at the start with a good set of feedback options, you can hear from your community to say, this is where we want to take it next.

We had a problem, you solved the big part of this problem, but look, if we can keep digging deeper on this area of health, or we can understand more, or we can paint it in a new light, and that’s going to add so much more to the way that we advance our health in that particular area.

So to specialize in the stage four is all about finding the right people to come in and support your brand and that’s certainly difficult and that’s a challenge we’ve definitely faced with working with a number of brands is identifying the right people, not just to come in and deliver something on top of which they may have done two or three times with other gyms or with other areas of their business, but how do they come in and really personalize it?

So we feel like a big part of stage four is helping them build the systems to ensure that they are finding the right individual, they’re asking them the right questions and so they’re getting the best out of that in that specialist, whether it’s a nutritionist, physiotherapists, wherever it may be, they’re getting the very best out of them and translating that into exactly what your community needs as the next step after what is the first level of experience that they would get.

So that often, when I tend to sit in, or when I see recordings of the stage four specialists experiences, I’m thinking about like wow, you can tell that everyone’s really engaged, and you can tell that with all the feedback coming in, that everyone’s really turned a new perspective on that element of their health, because it added more to it and they’ve created that depth and almost asked those questions, well answered those questions, sorry that they were sort of asking internally, but they couldn’t quite get out there and I think in a lot of circumstances within the fitness industry, is there are a lot of unanswered questions about different components of our health and that the services that we provide a good, but a surface level, and to really engage people with their health and to really engage people with the way they manage their health long-term, they have to apply more to it.

So what’s great about enhancing the experience through to what we call the stage four experiences is being able to sort of dig deeper and a lot of people have those sort of mini eureka moments where they’re like, that was the missing piece of that particular bit of puzzle for my health. And now I can move onto the next stage and now I can go and continue to eat in a much short of a healthier way, or I can go on to that advanced class that I was never able to do because I was never able to move in a certain way, or I never thought I was confident enough.

So having that extra layer of specialism on top is really, really effective and from a business point of view, bringing in a specialist in and adding an additional layer to the experiences helps you to charge more as a business and offer more premium services in different aspects. So to try and sort of push that across onto the way that we help with membership structuring as well, is that you can have say 15 to 20 pounds a month, which would be your base membership.

But if you want access to some of the specialists experiences, then you pay up to 30 pounds or a little bit more a month and so you get that advanced metric within your training. So to have those stage three practical experiences within the business setup, then you have the stage four, which is that climb up and you encourage more people to make that climb because they want to, because they know that there’s that extra progression up there and that’s the sort of the exciting addition to it.

Then to sort of cap it off, stage five is all about commitment. It’s all about bringing people together. It’s all about saying alright, you’ve learned, you’ve taken so much from that, how do we apply that into the community? How would you really reinforce the idea of stage five is going to be about retention because you’re going to bring people together at that end and you’ve shared these experiences together, you’ve worked on this area of your health together.

How would you sort of continue that as getting people engaged and really thinking more about how do we help each other’s health from the perspective that we’ve just learned? So stage five I think is great because it then completes the circle of a loop of right now, everyone in the community is talking about this particular experience and they’ve learned so much and had done so much, and they’ve taken so much from it that as soon as you introduce a new experience, so once you start a new idea from stage one and move that to stage two and three, they are already thinking of being engaged in that circle and so you’re adding so much to every individual’s health, because you know more about their health and you are adding so much more depth as you move through the sort of the circle of the space station model and that’s the sort of the crux of it, of like that the ability to work on each individual’s health with so much depth, even within a massive community and that is the space station model in it’s drawn out way.

Conclusion

Alex: Nice. Awesome. We’re going to have to start winding down here a little bit. I think the perfect segue that I can see is for someone listening to this right now, and they say, this is exactly what I am looking for, I need this, I as a business owner need the specialist help, where do people, or where to listeners go to find out more about the work you guys are doing, or get in touch to have them help you out?

Tom: Yes, absolutely. So you can come find me on LinkedIn, so Tom Skyrme, S K Y R M E, shoot me a message on LinkedIn if you’re on LinkedIn. We’re on social as well, Instagram everything. If you want to check out our website, it’s affinityasc.com, go and have a look around their, contact details there and any other questions, any other ideas feel free to message me, I’m always open.

Alex: Awesome. And we’ll of course put some notes in, or some things in the show notes as well. Okay. Awesome, Tom, we really, really appreciate your help and your insights and just kind of the perspective you shared with us today. I hope it was enjoyable for you. I think our listeners are going to get a lot of valuable things from what we’ve talked about today.

Tom: Excellent. Cheers.

Alex: Awesome. All right. This has been another week of Fitnation Lunch and Learn. We will see you next time.

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Online tools to give your fitness club a financial boost

Nowadays, almost everything takes place online. How convenient is it now to just order your new gym kit or equipment online? And how easy is it to just quickly pay by direct debit? This is exactly why it is so important to consider things from a customer’s perspective.

It is likely that you prefer a user-friendly website, rather than one which makes it complicated  to purchase a product. So take advantage of this as an entrepreneur and start offering your services and/or products online.

Especially in these times, having an additional revenue model is hugely welcome. And what’s more,  you don’t have to be a technical expert to offer your products and/or services online. Curious how this works? Then read the tips below.

Tip 1: Make sure you automate payments

First of all, it is important to (re)start your automated payments. This will ensure that your clients can easily and securely make payments without you having to worry about it any further.

Furthermore, this feature provides:

  • A clear invoice overview
  • The ability to create additional revenue sources
  • A way to save time

Tip 2: Link your portal and/or app to your webshop

Offer your current and potential customers the possibility to purchase your products and services through your app or website. Wondering how to add a Virtuagym webshop to your website? Check out the video below.

Through the webshop you can, for example, sell your existing memberships and the PRO+ solution online. This saves you and your clients a lot of time as they don’t have to come to your location and the invoicing process is started automatically. All you have to do is simply add the memberships to your webshop – that sounds like a dream, right?

Does your customer base mainly consist of smartphone enthusiasts? Then we have the ideal solution as you can add the Virtuagym webshop to your app! activate it once in your portal. After the installation, a new tile will appear in your app. Through this button your clients can effortlessly purchase a membership. To confirm the purchase, customers are required to choose their preferred payment method.

Tip 3: Give your customer the freedom to enrich their membership with add-ons

After your customers have purchased their membership in your app or on your website, it is possible to upgrade it with add-ons. This means that an extra service is added to an existing membership. In this way you give your clients the possibility to enjoy a flexible membership, providing them with freedom and flexibility, as well as increasing your source of income. Ultimately, this will lead to increased membership retention.

Tip 4: Allow your client to redeem credits for your services

In addition to direct debit, Virtuagym also offers the possibility for members to pay with credits. Your clients can exchange these credits for, for example, a group lesson or access to your club. Through your portal, you can easily link these credits to a membership or a particular service.

The credit system ensures that you as an entrepreneur receive your money immediately and your client is not tied to a fixed membership.

Tip 5: Leverage your social media channels to close new memberships

Social Media is an easy tool to promote your website and online memberships and helps to boost website traffic. Once potential customers land on your website they have immediate access to close a membership. This makes this action much more straightforward.

If you have any questions regarding this feature please do not hesitate to contact us via the “contact us” button in your portal.

7 ways to promote livestream classes and workout videos online

So you’ve taken the initiative to move your fitness business online. Maybe you’re starting to livestream workout classes via your app or perhaps you’re giving instruction videos from your social media accounts.

In this essential article, we’ll explore how to promote these new aspects of your business on social media and answer questions like, “How do I advertise my fitness class?

Whatever method you’re using to create and distribute your online offering, the main thing is that you’re reaching the right people.

You could have a workout video that would give Jane Fonda a run for her legwarmers, but if nobody sees it then it will fail to help you and your business grow.

So, how do I advertise my online fitness class?

When used well, online workouts can help engage your clients and members, increase the capacity of your classes and they can help grow your audience. The beauty of posting livestream classes and workout videos online is that they can reach people from just about anywhere – be that five minutes from your studio, or five hundred miles from it.

Curious to learn how to market your fitness classes online? Read our 7 tips to promote your business on social media:

Reach out to your current contact base

Start at home. That means reaching out to all of your current members and clients and explaining exactly what you can offer them while they work out from home. You can promote your online classes simply through the channels that use already utilize to keep in touch with your community.

For most, this would mean sending out emails to your contact list, advertising your new offering of online fitness classes. These emails could include things like class schedules and a summary of your new virtual classes.

If you’re a smaller business it may also mean sending out very personalised messages via Whatsapp. You can also use a community feature built into your own personalised branded app (read more here) – this is a great way to encourage people participating in your workouts to share their thoughts and progress.

This is the first step you can take to market your online fitness classes to your existing community.

Use your class booking schedule to provide a link for members

By putting livestream classes or workout video links into your regular booking schedule (in your app and on your website), you’ll provide easy access for anyone that would like to give them a go. Update your pre-pandemic schedule to include all of your new online offerings.

Learn more about the integration with Zoom, YouTube and your Virtuagym App

How to do online fitness classes
Jacob Lund || Shutterstock

Create (or repurpose) content around it

People are looking for information right now. They want to know how to stay fit at home and how to back-up the livestream classes they are taking with nutritional guidance and fitness advice.

If you have a blog or social media pages, now is the time to get creative. Create videos in which you share your daily routine or best nutrition advice during lockdown and then be sure to promote your online offering when you do.

This is also a great strategy to promote your gym online, as prospects can immediately interact with your content and brand.

Promote your online offering on social media

Of course, this had to make the list! Every personal trainer and their grandma know that if you want to effectively advertise your fitness classes, you have to have a strong online presence. That means, creating and developing an account on sites such as Instagram or Facebook.

These virtual spaces can not only be used to upload and distribute workout videos but can also be used to promote them and your gym. This promotion could come in the form of graphics that trailer the videos or Instagram stories that direct people to a link at the right time of day. Think creatively about how you can use social media to appeal to your unique audience, and market your online fitness classes to them.

Try running a fitness challenge

Social media sites can also be used to run fitness challenges online. This is a tried and tested strategy to promote your gym or studio. Are you a yoga instructor running a live streaming headstand course? Encourage your followers to send before and after pictures. Share these online to encourage more and more class participation.

You could also run a fitness challenge via your app itself. Apps like Virtuagym have a community feature that can be used to track progress and run challenges. You can award members virtual awards and keep them motivated and engaged by growing a sense of competitiveness with other class participants.

Offer rewards

Try offering rewards for a certain amount of class completions. This doesn’t have to be expensive and could come in the form of 1-1 sessions or additional nutritional or fitness advice. Try considering the ways you could create some additional incentive to keep members coming back to your online classes.

You could also encourage current members to market your live streaming classes and online workout videos to their contacts too. A referral program is a great way to keep current members engaged AND attract new customers.

Ensure your business is visible online

Finally, you should make sure that your fitness business is easy to find on Google or other search engines. This is essential for marketing your online classes and promoting your gym or studio online. Now that you have a virtual offering, it’s more important than ever to be seen this way. After all, you wouldn’t open up a studio in the middle of a field with no flyers pointing in your direction.

Try developing your website and optimize it (as well as your social media pages) for Google. That means integrating the search terms that you think prospective class members will be looking for and ensuring that everything is complete (including all contact details) and makes sense.

SEO can be a little complicated, so invest some time into understanding the processes. You can use this time in lockdown to develop your digital marketing skills too.

The 2021 Gym Checklist – Are You Ready for the First Quarter?

It’s the first month of a new year and in order to prepare for the first quarter, there are a few things you should consider in order to make 2021 a year of huge growth for your business.

One of the biggest January cliches is that gaining and attracting new clients is the most important thing you can do this season.  Yes, getting more people through the door will lead to more sales.

But don’t overlook the importance of engaging with your current customers and making sure they stay with you even as the new-year-new-me January crew pour in. And of course, you also want to make sure that your brand new customers like your gym enough to stick around.

This checklist will help you find new ways to engage with your customers and give them an experience that will make them glow as though they’ve just exited a 7 am online spin class.

Get yourself ready for new years with the latest update of our gym software.

How to Attract New Customers

Okay, so let’s deal with this biggie first. Attracting new customers is the best way to scale up your business.

Luckily for you (and thanks to new year’s resolutions), every Instagram influencer and his uncle will be hitting the gym extra hard at the start of this quarter.

This is the perfect opportunity to bring in new leads and score yourself some year-long memberships. Now is your prime time to get those customers in!

Step one in attracting new clients is to implement an effective social media strategy.

This could be as simple as regular posting and could be as advanced as paid advertisements. Around 45% of the world’s population use social media, with an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes spent per day on social networking platforms. Use incentives such as discounts, giveaways or a referral system to make your advertisements stand out.

For more information on how to improve your social media marketing strategy, click here.

Here’s a great example of a fitness brand that is getting it right when it comes to online advertisements.

Ashley Galvin has built her brand as a yoga instructor that runs online fitness classes. She perfectly exemplifies how social media can be used to target an audience and drive them to subscribe to classes.

Ashley yoga advertisements on Instagram collage

These images feature a video advertisement created by Ashley and shared on Instagram.

The short video shows a combination of yoga poses and then cuts to bold white lettering that tells viewers they can achieve goals such as to ‘tone and define’ their whole body. It also invites the viewer to watch a longer video to get more information.

This ad is shown to a target audience as they scroll down their Instagram newsfeed. While a video may require more budget to produce, this method can also be used by creating attractive graphics for your target customer profiles to view instead.

Remember That Creating a Call-to-Action Is Key

You should make it easy for social media users to sign up to classes or for membership directly after seeing the ad. When viewers click on Ashley’s page, they see that her bio also includes a call-to-action.

She provides a link to her website, details her latest class launch and the paid ad also means that a link to watch more on the website is also provided at the bottom of the page.

It’s easy to focus on lead generation. But remember that the flow of potential customers quickly increases management and conversion costs.

This is where Lead Management comes in. This will help you figure out how to communicate and who to communicate with. It will determine your messages and when you send them. Understanding leads and effectively managing them is a great way to increase profits and drive more sales.

The moment a person subscribes to a membership they should receive an email of confirmation with information on your gym and how it works there. Leave a week before sending a secondary email so that you don’t inundate them with marketing.

In this second email, you should redirect them to another point of sale. That could be premium membership, classes or a point of sale online such as a webshop. Include a call-to-action button and links in your email so everything is easier for them.

Use a lead management tool to keep track of your actual and future members so you can focus on marketing and sales. You’ll have the data of all of your leads in one place.

You can also easily interact with them via automated emails and messages – saving you a ton of time in the process. And we know your time is worth GOLD in January.

Engage the Customers

Once the new customers have arrived, you have to offer the best service possible so they stay in your gym and don’t go running off to your competitors.

You can have the best marketing strategy possible but if the service you offer doesn’t live up to the hype, you’re going to lose your clients faster than you can say ‘power snatch’.

For starters, having the right and most qualified trainers for the job is essential. You could also try offering advanced personal training. If you pair this with tracking to encourage motivation, it could place your gym above the rest.

Live streaming platforms and best workout challenges
fixkes || Shutterstock

 

Engaging customers is all about motivating them to keep going to the gym and the best way to do this is to allow them to keep track of their evolution and see the results for themselves.

For this, you need a complete app that can offer full tracking of what you are doing at the gym (or on online classes) but also workout plans that you can customize. This means your teachers can focus on motivating clients, while they are equipped with the best tools to drive results (and keep people coming back for more).

Fitness challenges ideas to boost engagement

Create a Smooth Client Experience

Creating a seamless client experience is paramount to keeping clients motivation up. This will keep them coming back to your gym and they will act as social proof, telling their friends and family about their positive experiences.

You need to give the best tools to work out so your gym becomes a second home to them. You have to make it as easy as possible for them, which will end up making it all easier for you too.

That means implementing great equipment inside the gym – but also great equipment outside the gym. That’s where software comes in.

Utilize up-to-date software tools like a QR code check-in. This means that gym-goers don’t need a card to check themselves in (which means no forgetting cards), making the experience simpler for both customers and staff.

This comes especially handy during these pandemic times, as you can allow the entrance only to the gym members who book their time slot online.

In this way you can always ensure you comply with the COVID-19 guidelines. This is just one great example of how you could improve your customer experience.

Set Up and Use a System of Credits

Another way is by implementing a system of credits to book classes. These credits can be bought on the app to have a clear system of payments, for both the client and for you.

The system of credits is compatible with an online schedule, which allows clients to book classes directly and have it marked on a calendar.

Small adjustments like this will make you stand out in your local market.

Creating an easy, enjoyable experience will drive customers to your gym or studio. Show them what unique features you can offer will encourage them to stick with you, rather than head for the other gym at the end of the street.

Implementing your customer experience vision in your business development plan is one of the most efficient ways to retain clients.

Create Customer Loyalty

Bringing in new customers is great – but studies have shown that retaining customers instead of acquiring new ones is actually 6 times cheaper.

That means that working on building customer loyalty and keeping the customers you already have is the most effective way to build a business.

This is because there is more probability that an existing customer will generate a sale and so they also have a better conversion rate.

Although that doesn’t mean giving up on attracting new customers altogether. It just means dedicating more of your resources to retaining the loyal gym-lovers that you already have.

 

Capture new leads in 2021
Jacob Lund || Shutterstock

To improve brand loyalty, you should also try to build a community within your gym and outside of it. This can be done by making sure that engagement doesn’t end when your client exits the building. Encourage your customers to talk and share things between them but also with you.

This can be done using software such as an online community feature, which helps build a stronger relationship with your clients, keeps them motivated and engaged with your club 24/7, and increases retention as a side-effect.

Ways to interact with customers include mass communication, targeted communication (e.g. only members interested in specific classes), or one-on-one messaging. This is all accessible via your web portal or mobile app, so you can engage with your clients anywhere.

We believe that you never leave a gym that is filled with people you care about.

Key Takeaways

So while gaining new clients might be at the top of your priority list this for the new year. Remember not to lose sight of what the whole picture.

Giving your current clients a winning service and building a real sense of community within your gym (and outside of it) are sure-fire ways to foster a business that will see exponential growth in 2021.

Making sure that the customer journey is seamless from the start will ensure that your customers stay with you much longer – so that money spent on a Facebook ad won’t be going to waste.

Does an Employee Wellness Program Contribute to Your Company’s Financial Health?

Employee Wellness programs are a popular addition to any company’s HR offerings. Think of an employee wellness program as a broad definition for anything the company does or provides that promotes employee health and well-being.

From fitness programs and nutrition coaching all the way to smoking cessation programs and more, workplace wellness programs are generally put in place to help curb the massive numbers of lifestyle-related diseases we are seeing rising not only in the US but also around the world.

Companies like to point to these programs as additional benefits when it comes to attracting new talent, but employee wellness programs sometimes slide into ‘abstract’ territory – meaning it becomes difficult to show real returns beyond employee health, wellness, and happiness.

What does employee wellness mean for you, as the leader of an organization? How does it translate to benefits for your company – be that better rapport, more recognition, or financial gains?

Employee Wellness on the Rise in the US

Over 80% of US enterprises have already implemented employee wellness programs while the other 20% are planning to do so in the near future. So, there must be some concrete returns in order to warrant these sorts of statistics, right?

Employee wellness programs might seem more symbolic than anything but recent data is proving otherwise. We now know for sure that such programs are undoubtedly beneficial for a company’s workforce in ways that pass those benefits back to the employer.

By this, we mean that evidence suggests that a well-rounded employee health program boosts employee engagement, productivity, retention, job satisfaction, company loyalty, and of course, health.

But the bottom line here, literally and figuratively, is the company’s financial health. Financial success is the goal both employers and employees pursue. So, does a corporate wellness program truly contribute to your company’s financial health? Let’s dive into the details.

The Financial Benefit of Employee Wellness Programs

Though employee wellness programs have long been viewed as a fun perk to attract and hold onto new talent, they haven’t always held such sway as a strategic way to save money. This is about to change thanks to a slew of studies and reviews that have since demonstrated the monetary savings that a great corporate health program can provide.

Decreased Healthcare Costs

The first benefit you’ll notice with a solid employee health program in place is the reduction in health care costs. An aging workforce combined with this past year’s sudden increase in work-from-home employees is contributing to ever-increasing health care costs.

A recent Harvard Research study that reviewed 22 different studies relating to healthcare costs and wellness programs demonstrated that the average ROI for a comprehensive employee wellness program was $3.27; meaning that for every dollar spent on the program, the company saved $3.27 directly from reduced healthcare costs.

Decreased Absenteeism

Absenteeism, when an employee is frequently and habitually not present at work, and the connection between employee health cannot be disregarded. Employees who are in good health and practice positive health behaviors, and those who manage their stress levels and weight, as well as those who have healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels all have lower rates of absenteeism.

In short, these are the exact behaviors and health outcomes that a comprehensive employee health program aims to accomplish. What this means is that any employee wellness program that is successful in reducing the amount of absenteeism will see cost savings as a result.

The same Harvard study referenced above looked at the return of investment of wellness programs as they relate absenteeism and revealed that for every spent they can save $2.73 directly related to absenteeism.

Decrease Presenteeism and Increase Productivity

Presenteeism is just as costly a problem as absenteeism can be in the workplace. Presenteeism is low productivity from an employee who is physically present at work but not working. Presenteeism, like absenteeism, is associated with negative health behaviors and poor health. The cost of presenteeism due to poor employee health is currently estimated to be at least two to three times greater than direct health care expenses

The good news is that, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, good health behaviors that are established with a corporate health program can have positive impacts on employee productivity, saving their companies about $353 each year!

Corporate Health Plans: Tax Benefits

Finally, the tax incentives and grants available for employee wellness programs cannot be overlooked. There are potential tax deductions for various fitness and health initiatives like in-office gyms and smoking cessation programs.

Workplace wellness grants are also available, both public and private, for companies who develop workplace wellness programs open to all employees that emphasize health awareness, education, prevention, screenings, and health-risk assessments.

Check with your accountant for potential tax incentives for your business!

Looking for robust corporate health software to kickstart your organization’s employee wellness journey? Click the button below to find out more.

Corporate Health Software

How to Create a Winning Fitness Marketing Strategy

It’s no secret that personal trainers and gym owners are very passionate about helping their clients reach their fitness and health goals. However, most of them have a hard time determining the right marketing tactics and strategies to apply to grow their business.

Do I need a marketing strategy? Which marketing strategy is the most effective for a fitness business? How do you create a winning marketing strategy, and how do you implement it to get the best results and ROI?

To help you answer these questions and more, we have Jennifer Halsall-de Wit – a fitness business strategist and an all-around digital marketing expert with over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry.

Jennifer Halsall-de Wit is the Chief Operating Officer at The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA)and the co-creator of the WIFA L.E.A.D. Program. She is passionate and fully dedicated to helping people in the fitness industry achieve their fullest potential and succeed in growing their fitness business. In today’s webinar, she delves deep into the importance of having a well-thought-out marketing strategy for your fitness business.

Watch the webinar recording below and read on to find out the key highlights from the conversation.

Marketing strategies for your fitness businessWatch the webinar

You Need a Clearly Defined Purpose for Your Fitness Business

The first step in developing a winning marketing strategy is to clearly define your purpose, the goals you want to achieve, and the impact you want to make with your fitness business.

Why does your business exist? Who are your target customers? What are your financial objectives?

“I feel like marketing strategy and customer experience are connected. It’s like your marketing strategy is actually the promise that you’re making to your customers, and then customer satisfaction is your report card on how you’ve fulfilled that promise.”– Jennifer Halsall-de Wit

Having clarity on these questions will guide your services and product development – it will help you create your brand and position yourself to attract the customers you intend to serve in your business.

A clear objective will not only help you have a better understanding of where your business is headed but will also create the right marketing strategy for your fitness business.

How to Position Yourself for Long-Term Growth

The best way to set yourself up for long-term success is by building a strong team to handle the various facets of the business. You can then focus on the overall strategy and vision of your business.

And that means building a well-balanced crew of people who are experts in their areas and giving them the full mandate and responsibility to operate in those areas. This way, you can focus on your area of expertise and champion the overall goals of the business.

Delegating tasks is a sure way to scale and grow your business fast while avoiding being overwhelmed and burdened by the weight of running the business on your own.

“The fitness sector is full of really passionate people who tend to run things full-steam with their passion, but we still need to remember that it’s still a business, and there’s a lot of time and thought, and clarity that needs to go into (the marketing) strategy… and the first big question that you have to be able to answer as a company is, y do you exist? What is the impact that you want to make as a company?” – Jennifer Halsall-de Wit

A Quick Way to Improve Your Marketing Strategy

A winning marketing strategy for a fitness business is all about customer experience. So one of the ways you can improve your marketing strategy is to understand your customers; how they came to know about you/your services, how satisfied they are with your services, how long they stay as members of your gym or studio, etc.

And you can do this through periodic customer satisfaction surveys and by analyzing customer data.

Focus on building good relationships with your customers through feedback loops, increasing touchpoints, and keeping them engaged to improve customer retention. Understanding your customers will help you know where to focus your marketing campaigns and how to structure your marketing message to get the best results from your marketing efforts.

Jennifer goes deeper and gives more strategies, tips, and quick wins that you can use to grow your fitness business as well as mistakes to avoid as a fitness business owner.

You can connect with Jennifer on Instagram and LinkedIn for more tips on how to succeed in the fitness industry. Also, visit the Women in Fitness Association website for more information on the organization and her work.

Don’t forget to visit our podcast page and YouTube channel to listen to our weekly conversations with experts in the fitness industry.

Sign up for our next free webinar by clicking the button below.

Sign up for our webinars

Help Your Employees Get Motivated During The Spring Slump

Springtime has arrived! The days are getting warmer, and the outside world is looking brighter, so it’s pretty fair to assume that our motivation and productivity are improving too, right?

Well, say hello to the infamous ‘spring slump’!

Despite the feeling that the world is waking up around us, this is often the time of year that we start to see a dip in employee performance in the workplace, resulting from seasonal change.

In addition to this seasonal shift, we’re also still dealing with the effects of the global pandemic on our ability to socialize and the subsequent effects of long-term remote working on our mental health.

So, amidst all the change, how can companies better navigate the spring slump and keep employees engaged, connected, and healthy?

Below, we’ve collated some top tips to help your company get creative in showing your employees that you care.

Check-In on Your Employees

Around this time of year, people might lack focus or direction which can ultimately impact employee retention.

This is the perfect time of year to check in on them using an employee motivation platform.

Not only does this show that you care, but it also helps you to prioritize any well-being initiatives that you might want to implement.

Here are some ways that you can check in:

  1. Send out a survey to gain feedback on what wellness initiatives employees would like to see. This helps gauge interest and see what is and isn’t working, which can also keep you budget-friendly!
  2. Schedule goal-setting workshops between employees, managers, and HR, to realign and refresh goals. This in itself might reveal any gaps in training or learning that can be fulfilled but can also reignite the spark.
  3. Offer drop-in slots via zoom to allow employees to voice any concerns they might have. This encourages people to speak out if they’re feeling unmotivated or low and can improve emotional connection.

Give Your Employees a Motivation Platform for Health

Find ways to offer more than just workload to your employees. Offering memberships or discounted rates to gyms and classes could make all the difference to their attitude towards work.

After all, physical exercise improves our mental well-being, and releases our ‘happy endorphins’, helping us to manage stress and improve productivity and motivation.

Read more: How to Promote Holistic Health Practices Amid the Lockdown

Via an employee motivation platform, you could schedule free virtual yoga and meditation classes for people to join on their lunch break. People often need encouragement to step away from their work when working remotely. Encouraging active breaks removes the guilt and is a healthy alternative!

Consider giving employees an app for their wellbeing at work that covers all aspects of health, fitness, nutrition, and mental health. You could also use it to stay engaged with them with something that isn’t totally work-related, while still embedding your company’s identity into their daily routines.

You could use an employee motivation platform with wellness health content to run weekly or monthly challenges, lunchtime guest talks, and set alerts for things like nutrition, stretching, or the benefits of yoga and meditation.

If you’re on a tight budget, implementing a weekly or monthly newsletter can be an easy way to reach out to your employees during the spring slump. You can still give tips on daily stretching and ideas around nutrition and well-being.

Offer Flexi-Working

Working from home can instill a little virtual guilt. We’re often a little too close to the fridge and the bed, with our home offices somewhere in between those two seductive spaces.

With our home and work life combined, we are far less likely to step away and switch off, both physically and mentally. This makes it very easy for workplace boundaries to become blurred, resulting in over-tired and less productive employees!

Flexi-hours accommodate the specific and unique needs of an employee.  This helps you retain employees and build loyalty – and also think of it as a crucial way to attract new talent who value themselves.

After all, an employee is not just a worker. Their lifestyles revolve around childcare, personal ambitions, and other things to take into consideration. So, when applying for a job, they’re more likely to prioritize your company over a company that only accommodates traditional working hours.

This can produce far happier, more productive, and engaged employees, according to the World Health Organisation.

App-Up

While working remotely can feel lonely, there are plenty of ways that technology can encourage social connection. Schedule a monthly ‘social’ to help bring people together. This could be a great way to combine a company progress update with some fun.

You could also provide employees a motivation platform with an easy-to-use app that allows them to quickly check in on their health while working. Access to a digital health and wellness app equips employees with a platform that can improve both their physical and mental well-being, all in one place.

For example, the Virtuagym corporate health software suite includes:

  • Nutritional and fitness tracking
  • Home workouts
  • Gamification
  • Forum community
  • Wellness tips

Your employees won’t have to look elsewhere when looking for guidance and will have fitness at the touch of an app – provided by you! It’s a way to show you care while making a real difference in your employees’ lives.

Put Your Words Into Action

Understanding your responsibilities as an employer remains incredibly important to meet the needs of your employees, so make sure you take your share of responsibility in promoting a healthy working environment.

Many companies tout their values, mission statements, and other guiding principles, but rarely act on them when push comes to shove. Throughout the pandemic, desk-bound workers found their health plummeting, and some employers found it difficult to step up during these unprecedented times. The result is not just a loss of trust, but also lower productivity among your workforce.

Ensure you’re aware of any legal obligations which you might have towards your employees, such as ergonomics, insurance policies, or compassionate leave.

Start by swatting up on anything you’re legally obliged to provide for employees. This can help you to differentiate between what is genuinely expected of you as an employer and what can help you to go above and beyond for your employees.

Escaping the Spring Slump Can Save You Loads in Revenue

A survey conducted by Deloitte found that 78% of professionals have experienced ‘workplace burnout’ and believe their employers should provide more tools and support to combat stress.

Workplace stress, according to recent research, costs US businesses up to $300bn a year and remains one of the biggest health issues found within the workplace.

Navigating the spring slump and taking actionable steps to empower your employees will save you money. Healthy employees = happy employees; it’s as simple as that.

To learn more about how software can help you achieve your employee motivation goals, make sure to hop by our corporate health software page.

How to Increase the Online Visibility of Your Fitness Business

We live in an online world. We search for information online, we find services online, we spend money online. The internet has assumed such a central position in our lives that as a business owner, you can’t get around it. The current situation has enhanced this use of technology.

Nowadays if you are not online, it’s like you don’t exist.

The fitness world changes all the time. With so many advances, it might be difficult for you to stay up to date. Don’t worry, you have us to help you!

How to Increase Your Online Visibility

Visibility should be one of your main focuses, more during these difficult times. With the amount of competition that there is in the market. Therefore, you should focus on setting a goal, building a website, preparing a strategy, and choosing the best tools to achieve that visibility you are searching for.

Set your goals

People need to be able to find you on the internet, though that isn’t the only thing. Going online just because the competition is doing it, is a common mistake.

It’s much more important to determine why you want to be found and what your goals are. For example, there are opportunities to:

  • 1 Establish yourself as an authority in your field
  • 2 Considerably improve your business’ brand recognition
  • 3 Increase your reach in terms of prospective clients

Besides that, it’s important to link performance indicators to your goals. Make sure that your activities lead to more visits to your website, people spending longer amounts of time on your pages, more applications for trial classes, etc.

But first, how do I create a gym website?

In order to boost your online presence, you have to create a website to show your clients who you are and what is your offering.

The foundation of your online visibility strategy is always your website. This is where people gather the most information about your business. Make sure the website has a professional and contemporary look and feel. You can only make a first impression once, so make it count.

In order to build a gym website, you have to come up with a domain (a name for your website) and a website building platform that you can fully customize. There are a lot of other gyms, studios, and PTs out there: so, be unique!

Start preparing a strategy

After deciding on your objectives and the reason why you are increasing your online presence, you have to start working on a strategy.

What tools will you use to reach your goals? What’s the timeline concerning the implementation of said tools? Should these tools amplify each other across various media channels, and if so, how?

As far as online marketing tools are concerned, the options are nigh-infinite. It’s up to you to research which tools you think would work best to reach the goals for your business.

5 Essential Tools to Choose From

Once you have completed the previous steps and have a solid website to back you up, the goal of your online visibility efforts should be to employ as many relevant tools as possible to generate additional traffic to your website. A couple of tools are particularly useful for this.

A quick tip if you’re a small (or one-man) business: use a company-related email address (name@company.com) instead of a Hotmail or Gmail account.

1. Social Media

The importance of social media hasn’t stopped increasing during the past years. Situations such as a pandemic, have helped this tool on becoming one of the most used media of communication.

Star getting the visibility you’re looking for through your social media, the sooner the better!

Choose the right channels

Focus your efforts on the social media channels where your (potential) clients are actually active. This can be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, etc. Take your time researching, before you spend a lot of effort on a channel where no potential clients are active.

The effects of social media

By being active on the right social media networks, you can achieve more than just additional traffic to your website. Social media is the perfect place to build a community around your business, to turn people into fans, to stimulate interaction, and (eventually) create a sense of commitment with and between your ‘fans’.

Only when your clients become a fan of what you do, the subject of ‘social sharing’ becomes relevant. Online mouth-to-mouth advertising is a very powerful tool.

2. SEO

SEO is Search Engine Optimization. People who aren’t familiar with your business or industry will often use Google to look for information. Therefore, it’s essential that you can easily be found via search engines and through the relevant keywords.

The first step is to determine through which keywords you want to be found and develop your strategy from there. If you want more tips on ranking high in Google, read about these free tools you can use

Approach

  1. Make sure your website structure is technically sound and get as many references as possible from clients and/or partners in the form of a link to your own website.
  2. Besides the technical side, there’s the content side. Google values fresh and relevant content, which shows your website is alive and kicking. For that reason, you should publish regular articles about a subject in your professional field and make it easy for people to share these articles. The more pages organically link to your website, the more your website’s authority will grow in Google’s rankings.

Keywords

When writing content, it’s important to respond to trends and current events, because these are often heavily searched for. Publish articles about relevant events before and after they happen.

Every article you write increases your online visibility. Make sure you write about things you want to be found on, so Google can link your website between various subjects.

3. SEA

SEA is short for Search Engine Advertising and makes sure you can advertise in Google (and other search engines) to temporarily increase your visibility.

This can be particularly useful if you have a temporary offer or event and you need to generate more traffic during this period. A tool that makes this possible is Google Adwords.

4. Youtube Channel

A very powerful media channel is Youtube. People follow various channels, use Youtube to gather information, and are easily persuaded to share videos if the content is indeed ‘likable’. If you want to actively use Youtube, again it’s important to start with a clear strategy, based on clear goals.

Of course, you can distribute these videos through your website, blogs, and other social media channels for extra effect. Particularly Instagram (because of the hashtags) and Facebook are suited for this purpose.

5. Analytics

When all tools have been implemented it’s extremely important to keep track of how your chosen tools are performing and how they can be optimized.

Google Analytics is the go-to tool for this purpose because you can easily set up performance indicators per tool and immediately see if expectations are met.