Gyms small and large are closing across the country in order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
Health officials, politicians and business leaders throughout the world are encouraging “social distancing” in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
If you’re in the fitness industry and your business can’t open but you’re afraid to lose your members, keep reading!
Gyms Closing To Slow Coronavirus Spread
Just like every responsible business owner, you’ve been monitoring closely the development of the COVID-19 since it reached a pandemic level. Since being active keeps us healthy and helps us fight off infection, opening your facilities to your clients is a noble service.
However, due to the recent evolution of the pandemic, social distance is pretty much mandatory. Your clients have no choice, but to stay at home and wait and your location is no longer open to the public.
Forced To Adapt
During these unforeseen circumstances, you are forced to adapt. The sooner you can make the move and pivot, the better it is for your members.
Your members see you as a leader. They call you coach, for a reason. You might want to take 3 steps back and think about the relationship you have with your “members”.
- Do you have a bond with them? Do you feel connected?
- Members have a sense of belonging. Do you think that your members truly feel like they belong?
- If the physical location can’t be open, how can your members feel like they are part of your business beyond your location?
These are some of the questions that will ignite a new realm of possibilities. You will soon realize that your members want YOU. Sure, they want your location or your studio, but they want access to YOU. It’s time to think about how they can have more of YOU. If you’re a team, the YOU is your support from the team all together and each of the members.
Is Your Subscription Model Virus-Proof?
Your members are, indeed, paying for a subscription, which is a great business model for the purpose of bringing predictable cash flows. Now that your facilities are not open, you might need to adjust their subscription.
Life Time active, club-accessing memberships will receive a prorated dues credit for the number of days the club is closed. But what if you can’t afford giving credit to your members?
What about your employees? Will they get paid if your business is closed?
The good news! You can pivot! Having open communication with each of your members it’s crucial at this point. The key is to replace the value that they see from your subscription. Remember, they buy YOU.
A New Approach To Marketing
Coronavirus could not have picked a more inconvenient season. For the health and wellness industry, Q1 of the year is the strongest one. You probably had planned your spring promotions, discount codes, along with the social media strategies to get new members to sign up. Now that your facilities can’t open and we still don’t have a clear picture of the situation, your marketing needs a new approach.
We have interviewed some amazing fitness leaders and have created 5 powerful marketing strategies that can help you get through this Coronacalypse.
Number One: Market The Value Of Your Community
Just because your members can’t step into your location doesn’t mean that they can’t be connected and pay to have access.
April Hill, owner of Yoglates 2 South in Baton Rouge, LA. pivoted by launching a 30-day virtual subscription.
Well… I began planning last week to utilize our Facebook Private group page in the event this blew up and we were forced to close / quarantine.
To best care for our members we are bringing a routine everyday. This gives those members that automatically renew their memberships what they are paying for. My hope is our members seeing us in the studio or from home will give them a sense of normalcy and bring them peace. It’s so much more than a workout. We are a community. We are a family.
This platform also allows us to offer our unique workout to others as well. People may now buy a virtual 30 day subscription by the link we are sharing. Once they make their purchase they ask to be part of the Yoglates 2 South Members Page and we accept them into the group.
Following the Live video, I post to the page and it remains available for all members in the FB group to view till the next day. This has been well received thus far.
Cycle Bar Cedar Park is embracing social distancing with its members, by doing workouts outdoors. This is a great initiative!
Number Two: Boost Your Social Media Marketing
If you were posting on social media 2-4 times a week and mostly promotions, you will have a challenge these days. Consider adopting a new content marketing plan where you add at least 50% of inspirational content. Be sensitive to what people are going through. Use polls and see how your members are doing. Engage more with them.
- Sharing news from non-official pages
- Sharing content that can enhance anxiety
- Political at ALL TIMES
This is a great time to try new channels, such as Facebook Live and IGTV to find ways to connect with your audience. Even TikTok!
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Use Facebook Live and Instagram TV to connect with your audience. See, for example, how Kendra Scott managed to share with her audience her decision to temporarily close all of their retail locations March 16-29th.
Number Three: Email Marketing And SMS Marketing
While social media might be where everyone is, don’t take that for granted. Your goal is to connect with your members to nurture your relationship. Go beyond the copy/paste messages. Sending personalized emails and text messages will help you maintain your members.
Jennifer Sweet, owner of Pure Barre Lakeway says: We have been in constant communication with our members, beyond social media. We have shared emails and text messages with updates, always adding a personal touch. We could use templates but we rather take the extra time to make each member feel supported and appreciated.
Number Four: Leverage Stories
If you had never used stories before, you might feel confused about what kind of messages should be shared via stories. Generally speaking, stories are essentially messages that are meant to be shared in episodes.
Here’s a good format for your stories:
Episode 1: hello members, I’m here at ___ and want to share with you 3 things.
Episode 2: Thing 1.
Episode 3: Thing 2.
Episode 4: Thing 3.
If you use a video, it will be broken down in segments of 15 seconds and cut after 4 episodes. Since you can combine text, images, videos, stickers, and GIFs, you can share a message without having to use long-form videos or long-form posts.
If there’s something that small businesses have is VISION. On that note, I love this quote from Steve Jobs:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
-Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple
If you’re in Austin and want to connect with our community of professionals & entrepreneurs, join our Facebook Community.
Number Five: Embrace Positivity
Rebecca Remus, founder of Grand Mesa Crossfit is focusing on adding more positivity to her members. Besides from sharing workouts online and via email to her members, they are going beyond the norm to recognize their members. It’s a great way to let the members know “we are thinking about you”.
I hope these strategies can bring you some ideas to thrive during these difficult days.
If you have other ideas, bring it! We are always up to update our content to bring nothing but the best!