by Michelle Steber
The world of fitness has changed over the past 18 months. Studios were forced to get creative and go virtual. Even if the daily workout's production quality was less than stellar, members kept on tuning in. Why? Well, it's plain and simple: they missed you. They missed their gym friends. They are the only ones that could understand the victory in winning the longest plank hold, or finally getting that PR on the 1000m row.
Now that we are slowly getting back to "normal," and members are returning in-person, it's time to plan some events to show your clients how thankful you are for their continued support. These events not only build community, but they are also a great referral tool for your members to bring a friend.
1. Themed Classes: pick a decade
Everyone can channel their inner-rockstar with a killer 80's playlist and big hair. Or go disco with a glittery party-vibe a la Saturday Night Fever. Whatever decade you choose, your members will be buzzing in anticipation about this event.
What's nice about this one is that everyone can work out in their costume (ok, maybe not the wig), and most of these items can be found in your closet already (ok, maybe not the wig, but there's always hairspray).
Pro tip: build excitement a few weeks before. Throw some thematic songs into the regular rotation leading up to the event. Promote early and often on social media. Rotate between posts and stories, and make sure the event has its own Facebook event so members can share and promote, too. Head to the Decades Collection on Spotify for playlist inspo.
The big win for themed events is that they usually draw a crowd, and you get lots of shareable content for afterwards. Win-win!
2. Muffins and Mimosas: treats for your early birds
You don't have to decorate and create special playlists to show members that you care. Picking up OJ (champagne optional) and muffins from your local grocer is a simple way to say thank you. Sometimes your 5 AM-ers miss the fun events in the evening because they're already in bed, so it's nice to show them a little love. Send email invites via Loyalsnap* so they can look forward to this nice treat. Indeed the early bird gets the worm (umm, I mean muffin)!
3. Promote other Local Businesses: in-studio pop-up
Is your studio in a shopping district? Is there a complimentary business that would love access to your members and vice versa? If so, reach out to your fellow business owner and team up.
Find your busiest day and invite them to set-up a table to self-promote, or even sell their goods. In turn, they can hand out your cards at their store/office for some reciprocal promotion.
Ones that I've seen have the best traction are pop-ups around the holidays with unique gifts, or the local coffee shop sampling their house brew and selling their beans.
4. Take a Field Trip: get social outside of the studio
Sometimes it feels good to trade your gym clothes for going out clothes. Frankly, you may not even recognize some of your members with "their hair down." If there is a local establishment close to your studio, reserve a table and promote the event in your monthly newsletter (if you're not sending out newsletters, you need to!). And don't fret, this won't break the bank. You can pay for one round, but after that members can stay and play in a "cash bar" format.
5. Host Private Events: make use of your space!
If your region is just re-opening, people are LOOKING for places to go and gather. Did you know you not only have an awesome fitness/yoga studio, but also an event space? During non-class hours, offer up your space for private classes or community events.
Girls Night Out: make them sweat and then offer the ability to BYOB for sips after. Set a curfew, or they may be there all night.
Team Training: youth travel teams are looking for off-season spaces to rent out and keep active. Discount a regular membership or offer a weekly session dedicated to just the team.
GLOW Workouts for Teens: gone are the days of meeting at the roller-rink for fun. Create a safe workout for this age-group, but dim the lights and encourage as many glow stick accessories as possible. You can even sell the glow for an extra revenue boost. (Amazon has a ton to choose from!) Parents will be thrilled that their teen is out of the house for a few hours.
Charge extra for these special activities so you can pay your staff, but consider giving these groups a discount for the more people they bring in. You never know if that event turns a special night out into a long-term member.
Whatever event you choose, the message is clear: you value your members and the sense of community your studio fosters. This is what keeps members coming back, referring friends, and thinking of their gym as a necessity for their mind, body, and spirit.
* Loyalsnap combines automated email/SMS marketing outreach, email blast functionality, and a client management dashboard to help you reach your business goals. If you'd like to learn more about this tool, visit loyalsnap.com.
Michelle is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer that's built fitness communities in-studio, virtually, and even in her backyard. With a marketing background, she brings energy and insight to the members she motivates and the businesses she supports. In her spare time, you will find her cheering on her son at various youth sporting events, jamming to live music with her husband, or cuddling with her two Chocolate Labs. Follow her @mishfit_training on Instagram.