The Coronavirus pandemic took its toll on the vast majority of businesses – especially the health and fitness industry. As restrictions start to change, people are starting to return to the gym or fitness studio. But there are still a lot of people too nervous to train at a gym and have either cancelled their membership or are looking for alternatives.
It is safe to say that things won’t be the same again for a long time. Even though the future is uncertain, here are my top ten tips to help your fitness business stay afloat and thrive during this time.
1. Have a plan!
I have always stressed you need a marketing and social media plan to run a successful health and fitness business. But now you must have a Coronavirus safety plan too. Whether you use the one provided by Fitness Australia or create your own, make sure it covers the wellbeing of your staff and visitors, physical distancing and hygiene. And like any plan, it won’t be set in concrete as with future changes to restrictions.
2. Continue Online workouts
A lot of people are still not comfortable about coming back to a gym or fitness studio or training inside. So if you haven’t already, consider live streaming classes, at home challenges or creating on demand workouts to share with your members. It will maintain the loyalty of your current clients and could provide opportunities to gain new ones.
3. Social Media is still so important
Right now social media gives you more opportunities than ever. People all over the world are starting to get creative with their in-house workout routines. Encourage your members and followers to post videos of their workouts and reshare them on your social media accounts.
Keep your audience engaged by conducting a weekly live stream workout session that people can sign up for. Look at what some of the big brands are doing for inspiration.
And don’t forget to keep up your advertising – a lot of businesses have cut back so now it the perfect time to stand out.
4. Create a virtual community
For a lot of people, it’s not just about being fit and the feel-good endorphins, it’s about the friendships from the fitness community, too. The group classes are more fun when taken with your friends and the stationary bike is definitely more entertaining with someone by your side.
Make sure you have a Facebook private group and encourage members to engage by sharing healthy recipes and Netflix recommendations, coordinating FaceTime workouts, and offering exclusive content from your business. Consider marketing your Facebook group as a perk of being a member.
5. Get outside
Research has shown training outside is a safer option than being indoors. There is plenty of space for social distancing and the risk of infection is a lot lower. This option may not be available to everyone but look at holding a number of outdoor classes or bootcamp sessions to attract those people not ready to head back indoors to train.
6. Embrace technology
When restrictions started to ease but numbers are still limited, a lot of businesses had to introduce online boking systems for the first time to manage demand. Some businesses developed apps to help members manage their workouts.
Smart managers will continue to implement and refine their digital services moving forward.
7. Rent what you don’t use
If you have equipment which you are not using, how about renting them out to members. When gyms closed down there was a huge rush on fitness equipment it was hard to find a spare kettlebell at Rebel! So why not hire out those bikes, machines, boxing equipment and weights not being utilised for some extra cash?
A lot of people don’t have access to equipment they’ll need to effectively work out at home—and they may not want or know what to buy from the store so this could be an opportunity to connect with your members.
8. Provide great value for money
Things are tough with so many people losing their jobs or under financial stress, gym memberships and fitness fees are usually the first thing which is cancelled. A lot of people decided to train on their own, go running, cycling or set up their own home gym. So now is the time to give people the best value for their money – instead of reducing your rates, look at areas you can add more value such as:
- Healthy eating tips, recipes, what to look for when shopping
- Physical fitness tips
- Be a resource on staying health during Coronavirus
- Share articles you gave found useful
- Addressing any questions you have had
- Ramping up your customer service – be open and available to your customers whenever they need you
9. Be creative and flexible
If there is anything that COVID-19 has taught us (apart from washing our hands 20 times a day) is to be creative and adapt when needed. It is always important to look for new and better ways to market your business but sometimes you don’t have a choice and if you don’t change, you could find yourself out of business.
It may be a good time to upgrade your computer systems and have a more integrated system. Look at changing your business model for online options too. Keep asking what do your members want and how can you meet their demands.
10. Health and fitness is more important now than ever
In my opinion, we are one of the most essential industries right now for people. At a time where health is foremost on everyone’s mind and we’re limited in the physical activity we can do, people need guidance and tips. This is a real opportunity to reach and connect with current and new clients.
Remember, you are a role model – you are often the most significant role model so make sure you take care of yourself too! Keep informed, but not alarmed, and keep socially connected with friends and family so that you don’t feel isolated during these constantly changing and challenging times, and do your best to set a good example for all those around you.