Fitness Challenges to Keep Your Members Engaged

5 Tips to Consider When Developing A Fitness Challenge

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

In order for your members to reach their fitness goals, consistency is key. And to stay consistent, some people need a bit of extra motivation, encouragement and accountability. Fitness and workout challenges are a great way to help keep your members on track by offering an incentive—and a little friendly competition.  

Workout challenges can also help generate new leads, increase referrals, and assist in building long term relationships with clients. They help your members set challenging yet attainable goals within a time specified timeframe—and when participants start to see the physical results, they’ll also start to associate your gym with success and be more motivated to keep coming back.

5 Tips to Consider When Developing Your Fitness Challenge

If you’re trying to decide what types of challenges to host, the first thing you’ll want to do is determine the end-goal and what you hope to achieve from a business standpoint. From there, here are five key things to keep in mind when developing a fitness challenge:

  1. Once you set your duration for each challenge, be sure it’s communicated clearly to participants so they know what to expect.
  2. Results can be tracked using a mobile app, a fitness tracker, or your staff can create a leaderboard and manually enter results.
  3. An individual challenge has members working toward a set goal, such as running 100 within a certain time frame. Rewards are typically smaller with individual challenges since every participant could be a winner.
  4. A competitive challenge has members compete against each other. Since awards are usually tiered and given in the order in which participants finish, rewards are usually larger.
  5. Once you determine how many people will be rewarded for participating in your workout challenges, you must decide what the rewards will be. Popular rewards include free branded swag, a free personal training session, a discount on membership, or other items that can assist members on their fitness journey—for example, a fitness tracker or other wearables.

So, which fitness challenge is the best fit for your gym? Below, we’ve outlined some popular workout challenges for you to consider.

6 Fitness Challenge Ideas

When it comes to fitness and workout challenges, the opportunities are limitless. You can choose to structure them any way you’d like, and it’s a great way to keep your online and offline customers engaged. Feel free to create your own, or pull inspiration from the six popular fitness challenges outlined below:

  1. Cycling Challenges

    Cycling challenges work especially well for members who may not be able to run. The challenge can be based on distance traveled, the speed at which it was traveled, or the duration.
  2. Running Challenges

    Running challenges are one of the most common types of workout challenges because members can go at their own pace. The fitness challenge can be based on total distance, or the speed at which a certain distance is run.
  3. Rowing Challenges

    Rowing is a popular workout because of its aerobic intensity and full-body training, so consider adding a rowing challenge to your repertoire. You can use the machine’s digital dashboard to set time, distance and speed challenges.
  4. Calories Burned

    The Calories Burned challenge makes the goal an end-result, so it gives your members a little more freedom to choose the exercises they’re most comfortable with. Participants can choose to run, spin, swim, walk, or do any other type of physical activity. And, fortunately, there are a ton of apps that can calculate the total calories burned for specific exercises and the time spent doing them.
  5. Most Club Visits

    Most Club Visits is one of the easiest gym challenges to set up and run, and there’s no better way to incentivize your members to come in as much as possible than with a total check-ins challenge.
  6. Improve Your Personal Best by 10%

    Most people prefer certain activities and exercises, and this fitness challenge encourages members to reach their goals by improving upon their favorite workouts—whether that’s rowing, running, walking, or any type of lift. To successfully run this challenge, ask participants to come in on a particular day to record their best number to-date and document it.

Conclusion

Fitness challenges are a fun way to boost member engagement and retention, and they also help your customers reach their fitness goals by creating a sense of community and rewarding members for participation. After all, who doesn’t love to win prizes?

Have you held any workout challenges recently? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Tips for Creating Compelling Fitness Newsletters

New Ways to Engage Your Fitness Members via Email

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Maintaining ongoing communication with members is fundamental to maintaining your memberships, engagement and customer loyalty—especially in the wake of the pandemic, when face-to-face contact is at an all-time low while digital consumption is at an all-time high.

Fitness newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with your audience on a regular basis and to keep them informed about your fitness business. But with the average person receiving around 121 emails per day, it’s critical to ensure your newsletters are captivating, relevant and tailored to your audience to avoid going unread or ending up in the trash.

You may be wondering if you really need to bother creating and sending fitness newsletters—and the answer is, yes. Regardless of the size of your business, email campaigns are still an extremely effective and valuable marketing tool. In fact, research shows that email marketing offers the highest ROI of any marketing channel—in fact, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can anticipate an average return of $42.

But in such a competitive landscape, what can you do to increase open rates and the likelihood of your emails actually being read? Read on to learn how you can make sure your emails are the brightest in the inbox. 

What are fitness newsletters?

A fitness newsletter is a form of email communication that should be part of your larger content marketing strategy. Fitness newsletters can be used for a variety of purposes—for example, providing updates about your fitness business, sharing relevant industry news and fitness tips, or celebrating members’ milestones.

While the content will vary depending on the purpose and the audience, the ultimate goal of email marketing is to capture readers’ attention and keep them engaged.

What makes the best fitness newsletters?

Preparation is the key to success, so before you roll out your email marketing campaigns, you’ll need to start by defining your purpose and creating a strategy.

Here are some tips to help you get started: 

  • Set your focus & objectives: Starting with a clear understanding of your goals and objectives is critical to the success of your email campaigns. The focus of your emails will drive the content and design, as well as the relevancy to your recipients.
  • Identify your audience: If you want to engage your audience, you need to know about them—for example, their likes, interests and other demographic data. By understanding who you’re talking to, you can create tailored content to pique interest and maximize engagement.
  • Segment your email lists: Segmenting your email lists can take some time, but it’s extremely important to the success of your email marketing campaigns. Sometimes general information newsletters are appropriate to send to everyone, but creating tailored lists enables you to deliver the most engaging and consistent content to the right people. If you send too many emails that aren’t relevant to the recipients, you risk getting blocked or even reported for spam. 
  • Determine the frequency: After you’ve defined your goals and identified your audience, you’ll want to create a distribution plan that outlines the emails you plan to send, what you plan to include, and when you plan to send them. Consistency is key, so outlining your dates and topics in advance will help you avoid the last-minute scramble. It’s important to be realistic with the goals you set, so if you’re just starting out, consider sending one or two emails per month—you can always increase the frequency later).
  • Create a template: To make things a bit easier on yourself, considering creating several templates to use for different audiences and purposes. The templates you create will be the foundation of your email marketing campaigns, so it’s important to ensure your branding and tone is consistent in order to build trust and familiarity with your audience.

What’s Next?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to start creating and sending your fitness newsletters!

Here are some tips to help you create awesome email campaigns that catch readers’ attention:

  • Write snappy, attention-grabbing headlines: The subject line is one of the most important parts of your email. We’re all busy people, and most recipients will make a snap judgment whether or not to read your email based on the headline alone. To entice readers to open your email, your headline should be a balance between being informative and intriguing.
  • Include high quality, captivating visuals: Visuals are the first thing we look for, so the reader’s eye will be immediately drawn to whatever visuals you include. Using rich imagery is a great way to highlight an essential point and keep your readers engaged. But it’s important to find the right balance between text and imagery, because using too many images will increase your load times and risk losing the reader’s interest.
  • Make your text scannable: The simplicity of your fitness newsletters is key to their readability. The majority of your subscribers will open your emails on their mobile devices, and long blocks of text can quickly cause readers to lose interest. Break up your content into shorter, more digestible chunks.
  • Include a clear call-to-action: If you want your readers to take specific action after reading your email, tell them. Guide your readers to a clear call-to-action button so they understand the purpose of your email, and make it easy for them to do what you’d like.
  • Optimize for mobile devices: The vast majority of your subscribers will likely be reading your fitness newsletters on their phones or other mobile devices. For this reason, you want to make sure your template is optimized for mobile use to provide a seamless user experience.

Conclusion

Email marketing remains one of the most cost-effective and conversion-rich forms of digital marketing. Creating and sending fitness newsletters is a powerful way to build stronger relationships with members, improve conversion rates, and generate new leads.

To learn how EZFacility can help you create customized email marketing campaigns, click here to request a free trial and live online demonstration.   

Why People Are Gravitating to Small Group Fitness Training?

Small Group Fitness Training and Member Retention

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

As a gym owner, you’re constantly thinking about ways to retain your members and keep them motivated—especially considering 50% of members quit the gym within the first six months.

So, what can you do to help reduce membership churn?

One solution is to provide consistent motivation. And while motivational drivers vary from person to person, there’s some truth to saying “there’s strength in numbers.” In fact, a study published in the Journal of Social Sciences found that participants gravitated towards the exercise behavior of those around them, suggesting the healthy actions of others can rub off on us.

In this blog, we’ll talk about what small group training is, as well as how it can benefit your members and your business.

What is small group training?

Small group training is an instructor-led, group exercise class that typically includes between 2-10 participants. It’s essentially the same thing as personal training, except with a group instead of an individual working one-on-one with a personal trainer. 

How does small group training benefit your business?

If you’re wondering whether small group training classes are worth your while, here are just a few examples of how they can benefit your gym:

1. Small group training helps diversify your services.

Today’s consumers want options, especially when it comes to their workout routines. And one of the best ways to attract and retain members is to offer a diverse range of services. Not everyone can afford private personal training lessons—and not everyone wants to do a one-on-one workout with a personal trainer. Offering small group training makes your gym more inclusive and affordable for people from different backgrounds, which helps give your facility a competitive edge.

2. Small group training can be more profitable in the long-run.

Small group training classes can actually be more profitable in the long-run than traditional personal training sessions. Consider this—if your personal trainers are hosting individual sessions, they’re limited to one person at a time for a set price, whereas group training provides the opportunity to train multiple people at once. While the cost per individual may be lower, you can end up making a lot more even if you only have a few people in each group. 

3. Small group training can attract new members.

Each of your members will have different preferences in regards to their workout routines. Some will want to workout on their own, while others feel more comfortable going to the gym with friends or family members. By offering small group training, you can accommodate those who may have some gym-related anxiety by offering a comfortable atmosphere where they can exercise with others—which also benefits you by encouraging referrals and attracting new members.   

How does small group training benefit your members?

Now that we’ve covered a few ways small group training can benefit your business, let’s talk about how it can benefit your members.

1. Small group training is an affordable alternative to traditional personal training.

Individual personal training sessions may be too expensive for many of your members, but small group training offers them a similar experience at a much more reasonable price. It’s the sweet spot between keeping the fitness experience large enough to be fun, but small enough to be personalized.

2. Small group training helps members connect with other like-minded people.

Small group training classes are a great way for members to meet, interact and socialize with other gym-goers. It helps them bond with each other, and creates a sense of belonging at your gym. When you have a community of members that are excited to come to your facility and interact with one another, it creates a better overall environment for everyone. 

3. Small group training increases accountability.

Let’s be honest—it can be really hard for some people to stay motivated. But as your members connect and build friendships with other people in their classes, they’ll naturally be more motivated to keep coming back and working toward their fitness goals. A little extra support from your personal trainers and other group members can go a long way—and it can have a huge positive impact on your retention rates.

Conclusion

While many trends in the fitness industry come and go, small group training isn’t just some passing fad. It continues to rise in popularity given the number of benefits it can offer your members, as well as the positive impact it can have on your bottom-line.

To learn how EZFacility can help simplify member management and streamline class scheduling, click here to schedule a free personalized product tour.

Responsive Design from EZFacility

EZFacility’s New UI Experience Is Here

« Blog Product Release Notes | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (2) Comments

In case you haven’t already heard the big news—we’re excited to share that we’re rolling out a major user interface (UI) redesign! Featuring a responsive, modern design across devices, EZFacility’s new UI offers an intuitive edge and solution to workflow challenges fitness businesses have been struggling to address since the Coronavirus pandemic upended the industry in 2020. And our latest investment doesn’t end with design—the upgrade also includes a new hosting partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s largest cloud computing provider.

Continue reading “EZFacility’s New UI Experience Is Here”
How to Get More Online Personal Training Clients

Looking to Get More Personal Training Clients? 5 Proven Strategies

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Whether you run your own personal training business or work at a fitness facility, the ultimate goal is to build a roster of loyal, engaged clients. The online fitness market is booming, but there are a lot of other fitness businesses and personal trainers vying for the attention of your current and prospective clients.

So, what can you do to break through the noise and stand out?

In this blog, we’ll cover five tried-and-true marketing strategies to help you attract more prospective clients to your personal training business.

1. Leverage social media

Utilizing social media is the fastest, cheapest and easiest way for personal trainers to reach their target audiences and potential clients. It also allows fitness businesses to control the narrative by deciding what content to share and when.

Here are a five social media marketing tips to keep in mind:

  • If you’re just starting out, it’s best to pick just one or two social media platforms to focus on so you can maximize your marketing efforts.
  • When it comes to social media marketing, consistency is key. To build an engaged following you need to be in constant communication with your followers.
  • Focus on creating and sharing content that’s relevant, of interest, and will resonate with your target audience to keep them coming back to your social media pages for more. Even better—try to identify a niche or a need you can fill.
  • The communication on social media goes both ways, and followers don’t just want to be talked to—they want to be listened to. In addition to sharing regular and compelling content on your pages, make sure you interact with your audience as well.

2. Participate in local events

Most cities host health fairs or other fitness-related expos several times throughout the year, creating the perfect targeted marketing opportunity for your personal training business. Setting up a booth at these types of events is a great way to introduce potential clients to your personal brand, and face-to-face conversations give you a greater ability to sell yourself and build relationships.

If you bring free swag to hand out, you’ll likely attract even more people to your booth—and it’s a great opportunity to snap some pictures to post to your social media accounts, too.

3. Highlight customer reviews & testimonials

Did you know that 92% of consumers will hesitate to buy a product if there are no reviews left by customers? And 97% of consumers say the customer reviews they read influence their purchasing decisions?

If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to create a testimonial marketing plan. Your online presence is more important today than it’s ever been, and not only do potential clients want to see what others are saying about your personal brand—they expect it. So much so, that 92% of consumers say they’ll hesitate to buy a product if there are no reviews left by customers.

The great news is—72% of customers say they’ll provide reviews and testimonials simply if a local business asks them to! With the right marketing efforts in place, you can easily beef up your online presence by garnering more online reviews and customer testimonials.

4. Incentivize referrals

Countless statistics show that the majority of us are influenced by what others say—for example, 83% of Americans say word of mouth recommendations from friends or family members make them more likely to purchase that product or service, and 41% say they trust a recommendation from someone they know more than a social media recommendation.

Given the power of peer persuasion, rewarding your clients for referring friends to your personal training business is a win-win. Not only will this benefit your business by introducing new potential revenue streams, it will also create a more fun and meaningful member experience.

You can structure a refer-a-friend campaign a number of different ways. A few ideas include offering a discount on personal training services, a free session for a certain number of referrals, or giving away free branded swag.

5. Enhance the member experience

Providing a great member experience is critical to creating a positive association with your personal brand, establishing credibility, and building a robust network of personal training clients. The experience you provide—whether positive or negative—will stay with you and impact your long-term success.

Today’s consumers are more empowered than ever, making it that much more important for you to differentiate your personal training business from competitors, and to consistently deliver an exceptional experience that no one else can.

Conclusion

One silver lining of the pandemic is society’s heightened awareness of the importance of exercise to maintaining total body health. This has created a lot of new opportunities, especially in the digital fitness space, meaning the climate is ripe for personal trainers who are able to effectively utilize marketing efforts to connect, engage and build long-lasting relationships with clients.

To learn how we can help streamline your personal training business so you have more time to connect with potential clients, click here to schedule a free personalized product tour.

macbook-client-profile

The Importance of Gym Management Software

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If you’re a gym owner, you already know how much time and energy it takes just to manage the day-to-day operations. From scheduling staff and fitness classes to overseeing equipment maintenance and inspections, the number of moving parts at any given time can be overwhelming. Without the right organizational tools, clear communication channels, and effective oversight, things can get out of hand pretty quickly and result in costly errors.

Gym management software continues to grow in popularity given its ability to increase efficiency and productivity, reduce the risk of human error, save time and money, and enhance the member experience. On top of that, the low upfront cost structure of a cloud-based software solution makes it a financially attractive option for fitness businesses of all sizes.

In this blog, we’ll cover some key benefits of using gym management software, in addition to how EZFacility’s cloud-based management system can improve your facility’s operations and membership management.

What is gym management software?

Gym management software—also sometimes referred to as membership management software, a facility management system, or a gym software solution—is a platform of tools that will centralize and streamline your facility’s operations. The software makes it easy for gym owners to assign tasks to employees, manage inventory, improve the payments process, and more—all from one secure location.

In a nutshell, gym management software serves as a central hub for gym owners to better manage and oversee their facility, staff, and memberships. 

Benefits of choosing EZFacility as your software solution

If you’ve decided a membership management software is right for you, the next step is to choose your service provider. We’re sure you’ll do your research, but to make things just a little bit easier for you, we’ve outlined some of EZFacility’s key features and how they can benefit your business.

1. Automate & Simplify Administrative Tasks

When it comes to business, time equals money—and our software solution can help you save a lot of time. Here are a few ways EZFacility can save you money by streamlining administrative tasks:

  • Facility scheduling & management: Centralize the scheduling of physical resources and consolidate all classes, clinics, and rentals into a color-coded schedule. At-a-glance locate available resources and master resource utilization reports to ensure your facility is working to capacity.
  • Membership management: Create custom membership plans, manage relationships, sell services online, assign plastic or RFID member cards, track payments, and automate text and email reminders to reduce client delinquencies.
  • POS & inventory management: Need to sell point of sale products from a desktop or mobile device? Or keep an eye on product levels, automate reorder alerts, manage online or in-house coupon codes, and report on product profitability? We have the tools you need.

2. Empower & Engage Clients

We’ve previously talked about the importance of the member experience. Here’s how EZFacility can help you consistently deliver exceptional experiences to keep current members engaged and prospective members interested:  

  • Self-service client portal: Allow clients to update payment information, pay outstanding balances, view your calendar, schedule sessions, purchase packages or memberships, register their kids for summer camp or soccer clinics, and more–all online and all on their own.
  • Marketing tools: Customize and send advanced email marketing campaigns to develop new customer relationships or nurture leads throughout the buying process. With automated email and text message functionality–ensure clients receive the right information at the most opportune time.
  • Online registrations & rentals: Enjoy online multi-enrollments, guest check-outs, and discount codes—all while providing business owners with real-time feedback of event and rental success. In fact, with our Smartwaiver integration, you’ll ditch the paper trail with digitally signed, tracked and organized custom liability waivers and event forms.
  • Text message automation: With our EZMessaging feature– schedule single or multiple future campaigns or assist in delinquent billing collections by sending automated reminders. With a 97% read rate within 3-5 minutes and custom shortcode keywords, it has never been easier to connect and start conversations with members.
  • Branded mobile app: With a branded mobile app clients have access to facility information, business social media accounts, schedules, trainer profiles, push-notifications, promotions, and can even ditch their physical member card by adding it to their mobile wallet. Available in both the Apple and Android app stores.

3. Gauge Success

When you utilize one centralized software solution to manage your gym’s operations, you gain insight into a lot of critical data. Here’s how EZFacility’s membership management software can help gym owners more effectively assess performance and gauge success:

  • Extensive report suite: Get an in-depth look under the hood of your business–including financial, point of sale, marketing, payroll, membership and training–just to name a few. Export reports in a variety of file types available, including .csv, .pdf, .xlsx, etc.
  • QuickBooks Online integration: Easily connect with tools that you already use—like QuickBooks Online. By partnering with an industry leader in the accounting software space—you can save time and stay organized by syncing EZFacility financials directly into the QuickBooks Online platform.
  • Multi-location support: As you continue to grow and open additional locations –rest assured that EZFacility is by your side. Enjoy the flexibility to share clients and bookings across locations, report on vital business data from a central hub, engage clients with a multi-location branded app, and more. 
  • Google Analytics integration: Have you ever wondered where in the online buying and registration process clients are dropping off? With our Google Analytics connector– find out just that and more.

Conclusion

For a gym owner to be successful in today’s business climate, it’s imperative to get onboard with the shift to digitization and to invest in a gym management system that can accommodate changing business needs, in addition to the needs of employees and consumers.

To learn more about how EZFacility’s gym management software can optimize your gym’s operations, click here to schedule a free personalized product tour today.

Owning a Gym Business from EZFacility

Key Steps to Follow When Opening a Gym

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As with any business, before opening a gym you’ll need to do ample research and planning to set yourself up for long-term success. By investing the time to gain a thorough understanding of the fitness industry and the inherent challenges that come with starting a gym and being a new business owner, you’ll be able to put strategic plans in place to help you navigate foreseeable obstacles, mitigate risk, increase profitability, and keep things running smoothly.

Before opening a gym, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is my mission?

    Your mission will drive everything you do—in fact, it’s why you do what you do. Spend ample time developing your mission statement as you want to make sure it reflects your goals as a business owner and resonates with your target audience.
  • Who is my target audience?

    Defining your target market is crucial as it will drive your marketing strategy and marketing materials. While you may be tempted to try to reach everyone, your gym won’t be a perfect match for them all. Instead, try to narrow things down by using demographic data.
  • What products and services will I offer?

    Will your fitness center offer nutrition coaching and personal training services? Will you sell your own supplements or branded apparel? Is there a medical or rehabilitative aspect to your gym? Consider the entire spectrum of products and services you’re able to offer as this is a great way to generate additional revenue streams beyond memberships alone. 
  • What is the personality of my fitness center?

    The personality of your fitness center will shape how you communicate across all boards—from how you communicate with staff, members and potential clients to the tone that’s used on your social media pages and in your marketing materials.

    You must decide how you want others to feel about your fitness center. Do you want to be thought of as modern and upbeat, or would you prefer to be considered more traditional?

Next steps

Once you’ve answered the questions above, you’re ready to start working on your business plan and thinking about marketing materials.

  • Decide on a name

    First impressions matter, so the name you pick for your fitness center is of the utmost importance. You’ll want to consider what potential customers may think when they hear your business name as that can ultimately be the deciding factor between whether or not they visit your gym.

    You’ll want to pick a name that’s unique, yet easy to remember. You’ll also want to make sure the domain name for the business is still available online.
  • Design your logo

    A good logo should be clear, recognizable, unique and memorable. Pick colors that complement your mission and philosophy, and a graphic that matches your fitness center’s personality. Ideally your logo should also include your business name so it becomes top-of-mind as soon as others see it.
  • Create a website

    A website is the center of your online presence, and one of the best tools to establish your fitness brand. A website is the home base that connects everything—it’s where you can display your mission, promote your fitness center, provide information about your products and services, link your social media accounts, and build credibility.

    When you build your website, it’s important to keep your target audience in mind. Consider what tone, imagery and layout will be most appealing to them. You’ll also want to ensure it’s well-designed, easy to navigate, mobile-responsive, and SEO friendly.
  • Create your business plan

    A business plan is a written document that describes how a company defines objectives, as well as how the business owner plans to achieve those goals in order to build a successful gym. An effective business plan will guide you through the phases of starting, managing and growing your fitness center. Think of your business plan as a blueprint for decision-making based on company goals and objectives and a way to keep your team on the same page and moving in the right direction.

    Having a strong business plan will help you better understand the fitness industry and the inherent challenges you can anticipate as a new business owner, learn more about your competitors and how to differentiate yourself, serve as a guide to grow your fitness center, help you reach company goals and milestones, assist in securing funding, and more.

Set your fitness center up for success

Opening a gym and being a new business owner will require you to wear many hats and juggle various responsibilities, many of which can be laborious and time consuming. One of the best ways to build a successful gym is to start with a solid framework and management software system in place to help streamline administrative tasks, improve communication and collaboration, simplify membership management, and more.

To learn if EZFacility is the right software solution for your fitness center, click here to schedule a free personalized product tour today.

Everything You Need to Know About HIIT Training from EZFacility

Guide to HIIT Training in 2021

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High intensity interval training—commonly referred to as HIIT—continues to rise in popularity largely due to its effectiveness, flexibility, accessibility, and short time requirements.

Because time is one of the most valuable and irreplaceable resources we have, and people want to get results in the fastest way possible, HIIT is a great workout solution that allows people to achieve maximal health benefits in minimal time. 

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

HIIT is a broad term to describe a form of exercise that’s defined by its workout format—a short burst of high intensity exercise alternated with a recovery period of rest or low intensity exercise.

The fundamental concept of HIIT is pretty basic—you can do anything for 30 seconds, or even a few minutes, right? And, after having a chance to catch your breath, you can do it again.

HIIT sessions typically last between 10-30 minutes. The specific exercises vary, but can include cycling, sprinting, jumping rope or doing jumping jacks.

Examples of a high intensity interval training:

  • Run as fast as you can for one 1 minute, and then walk for two 2 minutes. Repeat the 3-minute cycle five times, for a total of 15 minutes.
  • Cycle as quickly as possible against high resistance for 30 seconds, followed by 1- 2 minutes of cycling at a slow pace with low resistance. Complete as many repetitions as you can in 30 minutes.
  • Do burpees for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. Do squats for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. Run for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. Do jumping jacks for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. Do lunges for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. Repeat this cycle three more times.

What are the health benefits of High Intensity Interval Training?

The beauty of HIIT is that it’s meant to be quick and time efficient. And despite the short duration, HIIT workouts can actually be a more effective way to burn calories and lose body fat (and in less time) than traditional steady-state exercise.

In addition to promoting weight loss, HIIT offers a number of other health benefits, including:

  • Improve heart health
    HIIT can improve health by reducing your heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. One study found that a group who did HIIT sessions three times a week for 20 minutes a day saw the same benefits to their blood pressure as a group who completed endurance training for four days a week and 30 minutes a day—despite spending half as much time exercising than the endurance training group.
  • Increase VO2 max
    Your VO2 max—also referred to as maximal aerobic capacity, maximal oxygen uptake or maximal oxygen consumption—is a metric to describe your personal cardiorespiratory and aerobic fitness levels. Your VO2 max is the amount of oxygen your body is able to use during exercise. The greater your VO2 max, the better your body is able to use oxygen to generate energy and power—and the better you’ll be at working out and exercising.
  • Boost your metabolism
    A healthy metabolism can help your body rid toxins more effectively, and help you burn calories even after your workout is finished.Some studies have shown that HIIT sessions force your body to use energy from fat as opposed to carbs,promoting more efficient weight loss.
  • Improve mental health
    Countless studies have documented the correlation between exercise and improved mental health, and HIIT is no different. In addition to releasing endorphins, improving sleep, and reducing tension, the authors of a 2019 review suggest that HIIT can provide a range of benefits for people with mental illnesses, including reducing the severity of depression.

Conclusion

HIIT workouts are a time efficient way to burn calories, lose body fat, and improve endurance and stamina—but be prepared, they are intense. One of the best things about HIIT is you can do it anywhere, at any time, and without any equipment.

And because it’s such a broad concept, you can modify your HIIT sessions based on your personal time and space constraints. Just follow the format—short bursts of high intensity exercise, followed by a brief recovery period. Repeat the repetitions until you reach your desired length of workout.

For more fitness, sports and facility management insights, click here to check out our other blogs.

What You Need to Know When Opening a Pilates Studio from EZFacility

Read This Before Opening a Pilates Studio

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

As the coronavirus swept across the world last year, the majority of U.S. state leaders responded by issuing lockdown and stay-at-home orders to help reduce transmission. While few—if any—industries remained completely unscathed, the fitness industry was hit especially hard.

Faced with sudden forced closures for an unknown period of time, fitness business owners were left scrambling to transition to digital offerings in order to stay afloat, while consumers were left looking for new ways to exercise from home in order to maintain both physical and mental health.

The Silver Lining

One silver lining of the pandemic is that people are significantly more health-conscious since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Activity data from Vida Health found that more than 10,000 users showed a meaningful increase in healthy activity since the onset of the pandemic in early March 2020, and that gym closures haven’t held people back from being active—in fact, daily exercise minutes actually increased by 43% according to activity data.

Considering that many people had to figure out new ways to exercise while being under lockdown, it’s no surprise that low-intensity steady-state (LISS) activities—for example, Pilates and yoga—have seen a resurgence in popularity. The transition to digital fitness offerings, paired with consumers’ heightened interest in full body health and wellness routines, has generated a lot of new business opportunities in the fitness landscape.

And while the market is ripe with opportunity—especially for yoga and Pilates business owners—there are a few key things you need to know before opening a Pilates studio.

1. Start with a business plan

Before opening a Pilates studio, you’ll need to have a business plan in place. A business plan is a comprehensive written document that outlines all pertinent company information, goals, and strategies. Business plans will vary by company, but typically include the following sections: 

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Description
  • Industry Background
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Market Analysis
  • Management Summary
  • Operations Plan
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial Plan
  • Attachments and milestones

Essentially, an effective business plan should serve as a blueprint for decision-making based on company goals and the target market. And although a great business plan doesn’t guarantee success, opening a Pilates studio with a solid business plan and framework in place will set you up for success by keeping everyone involved with your company on the same page and moving in the right direction together.

2. Find the right space

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a location for your Pilates studio business. To help you identify a space that will best suit your needs, consider the following:

  • How many classes or sessions will you offer every day?
  • How many people will be in each class?
  • Will you run sessions simultaneously?
  • What kind of equipment do you need?
  • Is there adequate parking?
  • Do you want your own space, or would you consider leasing space inside an existing facility?

Leasing from an existing facility can be a great way to bring in new clients, but you’ll want to ensure your potential space is removed from noisier activities like basketball and racquetball. A quiet, peaceful environment is required for a successful Pilates experience.

3. Hire the right Pilates instructors

The quality of your Pilates instructors will have a direct impact on the success of your studio, so you’ll want to hire a team of instructors who have a thorough knowledge of Pilates, as well as experience teaching group classes. Because the nuances of Pilates are significant, your Pilates instructors also need to be able to modify exercises to meet the needs of participants.

4. Get the word out

A multi-faceted marketing plan is a must-have when opening a Pilates studio. After setting up your website and social media channels, you’ll also want to consider paid marketing efforts like direct mail, print promotions and online advertising.

If you don’t have a huge budget, don’t worry! There are a lot of inexpensive ways to market your studio, too. A few examples include:

  • Utilize your social media channels to reach your target market directly
  • Create a blog to establish your brand and share industry expertise
  • Use email campaigns to keep in touch

5. Have a management system in place

Opening a Pilates studio will require you to wear many hats and juggle various roles, so you’ll want to have a management system in place to help simplify the day-to-day of running your Pilates studio business. Running any business takes a lot of work, and necessary functions—for example, tracking employee hours, payroll, scheduling, and membership management—require a huge time investment if you’re trying to do it all yourself.

Utilizing a yoga studio management software like ours can help you save time and money by reducing operational expenses, automating billings and collections, simplifying member management, and more.

Conclusion

Opening a Pilates studio is an exciting journey that offers many great rewards, but running your own business will also require a lot of planning, responsibility, and ongoing management. From facility scheduling to employee management, point-of-sale, invoicing, online registration and more, EZFacility‘s robust set of tools does all the heavy-lifting so that you can focus on the high-level needs of your business.

Curious to know more? Click here to schedule a free, personalized product demo today!

Quick Tips for Collecting Customer Testimonials by EZFacility

How to Collect Customer Testimonials and Build Trust

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

When it comes to business, nothing speaks louder than results. And in the fitness world, customer reviews and testimonials are a powerful way to showcase results, build trust, demonstrate your ability to deliver an exceptional member experience, and offer social proof that you’re able to help clients achieve their goals. 

In today’s digitally driven world, online reviews and testimonials are a must-have for your marketing mix. In this blog, we’ll focus primarily on customer testimonials—what they are, why they matter, and quick tips to help you collect more.

What is Testimonial Marketing?

Einstein Marketer defines testimonial marketing as “the use of a person’s written statement expressing their experience, gratitude, or dissatisfaction in your product or service.” And while the terms “testimonial” and “review” are often used interchangeably, there are a few key distinctions between the two:

  • Customer testimonials offer a more in-depth explanation of the customer’s experience with your product and service, and typically includes an explanation about why the customer chose it, and how it’s impacted their lives.
  • Another noticeable difference is where customer testimonials appear. Customer testimonials are typically given to the company directly by the client, whereas customer reviews are typically provided and posted to a third-party site. 
  • A third major difference is that because companies ask for customer testimonials directly, they’re usually always positive.

Why Testimonials Matter

Customer reviews, video testimonials, star ratings, and the like are all designed to inspire trust by providing information about other customers’ real experiences. You can almost guarantee potential customers will take to the internet to look for online reviews and customer testimonials about your business before they make any purchase decisions.

Here are a few statistics that may surprise you:

  • 97% of consumers say the customer reviews they read influence their purchasing decisions
  • 92% of consumers will hesitate to buy a product if there are no reviews left by customers
  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends
  • 75% of people online trust a business after seeing a positive review
  • 94% of consumers refuse to patronize a business because of negative reviews

Methods to Collect Customer Testimonials

Now you know why customer reviews and testimonials matter, but you may not know how to effectively solicit customer feedback. According to BrightLocal’s 2020 Local Consumer Review Survey, 72% of customers will provide reviews and testimonials simply if a local business asks them to. While the best way to ask for customer testimonials will vary by your business and client-base, but here are five strategies to consider:

1. In-person

Sometimes the most effective way to get more customer testimonials is to simply ask your clients directly, face-to-face. Keep in mind that not everyone will be willing or able to provide customer testimonials on the spot, so it’s a smart idea to create a promotional card that clearly explains how, and where, customers can submit reviews and testimonials at a later time that’s convenient for them.

2. Email

Email is often the easiest and fastest way to ask for customer feedback, especially if you utilize a facility management software to streamline the process. If your website already has a landing page with a submission form in place to collect reviews and testimonials, be sure to include that direct link in your email to make it as easy as possible for users to submit customer feedback.

3. Your website

Including a link to your testimonial page on your website can be the gentle reminder some customers need. You’ll want to make sure the link to your testimonial page is visibly displayed, and includes a clear, concise call to action in order to collect more testimonials and reviews on your website.  

4. Social Media

In today’s highly connected world, more businesses are turning to social media to engage with members and build relationships with potential new customers. Highlighting existing customer reviews and testimonials on your social media pages helps establish your brand, builds credibility, and provides the social proof some people will need to see before considering your fitness facility. You can also utilize your social media pages to request customer reviews and testimonials, but you’ll want to space out these requests to avoid coming across too pushy or salesy.

5. Receipts

Including a link to your testimonials page and submission form on purchase receipts ensures all clients know how, and where, they can provide customer feedback. It’s also a good idea to include this information in your other marketing materials—for example, posters, flyers, display signs, and your new member welcome packet, just to name a few. The easier it is to provide customer feedback, the more likely you are to get it.

Conclusion

The best way to get more reviews and testimonials for your fitness facility is to use a combination of the ideas outlined above. The more touch points you create with your customers, the more likely you are to get customer feedback. It will take some time and trial-and-error to determine which strategies are most effective for your business and clients, but securing more online reviews and customer testimonials is vital to promoting and growing your fitness business in today’s increasingly competitive landscape.

To learn how EZFacility’s comprehensive facility management software can help you connect with members, convert leads into long-lasting relationships, and streamline operations so you can focus on the most important aspects of running your business, click here to schedule a free demo today.

5 Ways to Promote Your Fitness Center with EZFacility

Promoting Your Fitness Center in 5 Easy Steps

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

While the fitness landscape is always evolving, there’s no doubt the coronavirus crisis accelerated the adoption of the hybrid model and changed the face of the fitness industry forever. And despite ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus and how it will continue to impact businesses and society at large, the collective interest in health and fitness remains at an all-time high.

With Q4’21 looming just around the corner, now is the perfect time to review your current marketing plan to gauge the success of this year’s marketing campaigns in order to gain a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses, and to identify areas of improvement that you’d like to focus on next year.

And although the negative financial impact of the pandemic has led many fitness businesses to reconsider their marketing budgets, it’s imperative that you continue marketing your fitness center in order to differentiate yourself from competitors, reach and attract new potential customers, and keep current gym members engaged.  

5 Fitness Marketing Ideas for Your Gym

It can be challenging to figure out where to allocate your marketing budget and resources, especially during uncertain times like these. Below, we’ve provided five fitness marketing ideas to help you optimize your digital presence and effectively reach your target audience.

1. Utilize targeted advertising

As of 2021, the number of people using social media is over 3.96 billion worldwide. With the average consumer now spending an unprecedented amount of time online, utilizing targeted advertising is one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience. And, fortunately, there are a number of tools at your disposal to make it easier than ever. In addition to being the world’s most widely used social media platform with an active user count close to 2.8 billion, Facebook also offers a comprehensive targeting solution to ensure you’re getting your content in front of the right users. 

2. Invest in digital content marketing

Outbound marketing is the old way of doing business. With more people turning to their digital devices to interact with fitness brands and to search for exercise videos, at-home workout routines, fitness tips and the like, many fitness businesses are shifting their marketing efforts to focus on digital content creation. Considering content marketing can generate over three times as many leads as outbound marketing—and costs approximately 62% less—it’s pretty clear why investing in content marketing makes sense for fitness businesses.

3. Promote your digital offerings

Digital fitness is in, and it doesn’t look like that will be changing anytime soon. Even as social distancing and other mandates are being lifted, many people have come to prefer the flexibility that at-home workouts provide. To remain competitive in today’s digital landscape, you’ll need to invest in digital content creation (as we touched on in #2) and invest the time required to develop strategic marketing campaigns that highlight your digital offerings. 

4. Update your social media marketing strategy

Social media platforms are always evolving to meet the needs of their users, so it’s important to review your social media marketing plan throughout the year to make sure it’s updated to reflect the current environment and trends. Staying up-to-date on new social marketing tools and features will help you create more effective, tailored marketing campaigns to engage your target audience.

5. Create a seamless experience

The user experience plays a vital role in the online customer journey, and it directly impacts consumer purchase decisions. Today’s consumers are time-sensitive and expect to be able to locate what they need quickly, easily and without interruption. Any delay, glitch or interruption in your online services can cause potential customers to lose interest quickly, or even develop a negative association with your brand.

Conclusion

Let’s face it—the pandemic has changed the fitness industry as we once knew it. And while you may be tempted to cut back on marketing your fitness center during uncertain times, investing in online marketing is an investment in your future success. In today’s increasingly digital world, fitness businesses need to meet potential customers where they are—online.

To learn how EZFacility’s suite of marketing tools can help you attract new potential customers and nurture leads throughout the buying process to grow your fitness center, click here to schedule a free demo today!

How to Craft a Yoga Studio Business Plan with EZFacility

Need a Yoga Studio Business Plan?

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Yoga is an ancient physical and spiritual discipline that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. And while it’s long been heralded for its many health benefits, the popularity of yoga has increased substantially since the COVID-19 pandemic hit due to its flexible nature and the ability for people to practice yoga anywhere, any time.   

The global yoga market size is predicted to reach $66.2 billion by 2027, and is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 9.6% from 2021 to 2027. Yoga is slated to remain a constant fixture in global fitness trends for years to come, which means there are a lot of opportunities for business owners who are interested in opening a yoga studio.

While opening a yoga studio is an exciting adventure and a great way to continue your passion and help others, it can also feel overwhelming at times, especially at the beginning. There are a lot of things you’ll need to have in order before opening your doors, beginning with a business plan.

In this blog, we’ll talk about what a business plan is, why you need one, as well as which key components to include when you create your own yoga studio business plan template.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a written document that describes how a business—usually a startup—defines objectives, as well as how the company plans to achieve its goals. An effective business plan will guide you through the phases of starting, managing and growing your business.

Think of your business plan as the compass that will guide your yoga studio and keep everyone moving in the right direction. Your business plan is the place to put all of your thoughts and plans in one place, so it’s important to take your time to ensure you cover all elements and aspects of your business.

Why do I need a business plan?

The best way to set yourself up for future success is to start with a solid framework. Although business plans are especially helpful for new businesses, every company should have one.

Having a strong business plan will help you:

  1. Better understand your competition
  2. Have a greater understanding of your target market
  3. Serve as a guide to grow your business
  4. Help you reach milestones
  5. Secure funding

What should your business plan include?

Below is an overview of key areas to include when you create your yoga studio business plan template:

1. Cover page:

A small but fundamental component of your yoga studio business plan template is the cover page, which should include the name of your company as well as contact information.

2. Table of Contents:

The table of contents is where you’ll provide an outline of what readers can expect to find in your business plan. It also helps readers quickly skim or skip to the areas of greatest interest.

3. Executive Summary:

The executive summary is where you will provide a synopsis of your business plan in a concise, detailed and interesting way. This section should be no longer than one page, and should answer key questions such as:

  • What are your business goals and how will you achieve them?
  • Who is your target market?
  • What are your financial projections?
  • How is your yoga studio different from competitors?

4. Industry Background:

In this section, you’ll provide past and current information about the size, trends and critical features of the industry. This section should answer questions such as:

  • What is the industry?
  • What is the industry outlook?
  • Who are the competitors?
  • What are the barriers to entry?

5. Competitive Analysis:

Your competitive analysis should provide key information about your major competitors, as well as an assessment of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

6. Market Analysis:

Learning about your target market and their needs, preferences and demographic data is an integral part of any business plan. By identifying and understanding your current or potential customers, you’ll learn how—and where—to reach and connect with them. This section should also demonstrate that there is a real need or demand in the market that your new business aims to fulfill. 

7. Sales and Marketing:

In the sales and marketing section of your business plan, you’ll explain how you plan to allocate marketing resources to most effectively reach new customers and convert them into lifelong members. Be sure to include specific marketing strategies and explain how they align with business goals and objectives.  

8. Cost Projections and Funding:

The financial section is the crux of any good business plan. It should provide current and future projections of your studio’s financial performance, and show how much money you need to generate in order to be profitable and poised for continued growth.

Conclusion

When opening a yoga studio, having a well-researched and comprehensive business plan in place is vital to the success of your company. Your business plan will be your guidebook to growing your yoga studio, and will also serve as a benchmark to measure success year-after-year.    

To learn how our yoga management software can help you achieve peace of mind by streamlining operations and maximizing efficiency, click here to schedule a personalized product tour today.

Are Hybrid Gyms Here to Stay?

Demand for Digital Fitness Options Remains High

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Fitness enthusiasts are heading back to the gym as COVID-19 restrictions ease, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to give up online fitness classes and home workouts. If there’s one lesson the collective fitness industry learned in 2020, it’s that the demand for online fitness options isn’t going anyway any time soon.

To stay afloat during the pandemic amid forced business closures, gyms and fitness studios had to quickly adapt and transition to digital offerings. And although most restrictions have been lifted and people are able to return to in-person workouts, that doesn’t mean everybody is ready—or necessarily wants to.

With cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant on the rise, the U.S. is at yet another unprecedented junction of the pandemic—just under half of the U.S. population is vaccinated, health and safety restrictions are looser than they’ve been in the past 18 months, and cases of the new coronavirus are rising after months of decline.

Because the pandemic continues to create new challenges and restrictions on society, a hybrid fitness model puts gym owners in a more secure position to navigate the current climate, as well as future obstacles that may arise.

What is a Hybrid Gym?

Hybrid is the new buzzword that’s made its way into almost every industry—and especially within the fitness industry. With a hybrid gym model, your digital offerings are meant to complement your brick and mortar operations. A hybrid gym offers the best of both worlds, and includes a combination of in-person and online workout options. For example, your gym may offer in-person exercise classes that are also live streamed or available on-demand for members who want to continue with home workouts.

Benefits of a Hybrid Model

The hybrid model has become the new norm in the fitness industry—and it doesn’t look like that’s going to be changing. “The pandemic is not over, and delta changes the calculus,” said Joel Wertheim, an associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California at San Diego, during a recent interview with The Washington Post.

Considering the lingering uncertainty around the coronavirus and its future impact on businesses—and society at large—the hybrid gym model makes a lot of sense. Here are three reasons you should consider a hybrid gym model in 2021:

1. Help Reduce the Spread

Providing online fitness options helps reduce the spread of the coronavirus by giving people the ability to workout from home, thereby reducing foot traffic at your physical location. One of the main concerns with the coronavirus all along has been how quickly and easily it seems to spread in confined spaces. Although most gyms and fitness studios have implemented new health and safety protocols, there’s no denying the reality that the more people you have in a confined space, the higher the risk of transmission.

2. Reach More People

With a traditional gym model, your membership base is heavily driven by your location. And because you can’t just change your physical location (easily), the hybrid model gives gyms a greater ability to reach more people and attract new business without being limited by physical proximity. Because a hybrid model includes online workout options, you’re able to extend your reach and provide services to people who don’t live near your facility, ones who are unable to attend live classes (for various reasons), as well as people who simply prefer home workouts. You can also adjust your pricing and gym membership options to include a digital-only subscription service.

3. Diversified Income Streams

When the pandemic first hit and businesses were forced to close their doors unexpectedly, and for an unknown period of time, many gyms and fitness studios were left without a sustainable source of income and scrambling to find ways to generate additional money. By adopting a hybrid model and providing online fitness options, you’re putting yourself in a more secure financial position, both now and in the future.

Conclusion

The fitness industry is still treading uncharted waters, and the pandemic will continue to impact the ways consumers engage with gyms and fitness studios. One thing we do know is that the demand for online fitness options continues to rise, so it’s a good time to consider adopting a hybrid gym model.

Grow and Maintain Your Gym Reputation with EZFacility

Tips for Increasing and Maintaining Your Gym’s Reputation

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Your reputation is the most important aspect of your business—it affects everything from how many people follow you on social media to your company’s bottom-line. For gyms and fitness-related businesses, a positive reputation can help attract new members, entice a better selection of prospective employees, create more business opportunities, improve your search engine rankings, and more. Conversely, a negative reputation can lead to loss of sales, membership churn, high employee turnover, and other costly consequences.

When a consumer is considering making a purchase decision, they want to make the best choice—and they base their decision on which product or service appears to be superior. Nearly 90% of consumers worldwide make an effort to read reviews before buying products, and 86% of customers rely on word of mouth recommendations and online reviews. These statistics illustrate the importance of your online reputation and digital footprint, as well the impact of positive reviews, to grow and maintain your gym reputation.

Read on to learn more about why gym reviews matter, where you can collect them, and what you can do to get more online reviews. 

Why Gym Reviews Matter

Online reviews give consumers the power to tell their side of the customer journey—whether positive or negative—for millions of eyes to see. And, chances are, the first thing perspective members will do is research your gym and read online reviews before making any purchase decisions.

Here are just a few statistics to illustrate the power of online reviews:

Given the impact of online reviews, it’s necessary to actively monitor them as a part of your reputation management strategy, and to garner as many positive reviews for your business as possible. 

Where to Collect Online Reviews

While a number of different review platforms exist, below are three key ones you’ll want to focus on when building your online reputation:

Your Website

We live in a digital world, and you should assume the vast majority of gym goers will visit your website before they decide whether or not to visit your facility. Your website is the center of your digital presence, and it’s one of the most powerful marketing tools in your repertoire.

Your website is the home base that connects everything—it’s where you can display your mission, provide information about your products and services, link social media accounts, highlight positive gym reviews, and more. You can set up a system that allows users to leave online reviews directly on your site, or you can copy reviews from other platforms.

Google Reviews

Google has a whopping 92% market share, making it the most widely used search engine in the world. Google is the first place most people go to do online searches, so managing your Google presence is an absolute must to grow and maintain your gym’s reputation. The first step is to claim your business listing using Google My Business (GMB), which then gives you the ability to update information regularly in order to control how your gym appears in search results.

Google reviews are directly linked to your GMB page, meaning that a user can search for your business on Google, locate your GMB page, and read Google reviews to get a better feel for your brand based on what other people are saying about you.

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social media platform and has over 2.80 billion monthly active users. If that’s not enough to impress you, consider this: Facebook also has 1.84 billion users that are visiting the social networking site on a daily basis. Facebook users are able to leave reviews on any Facebook business page, which will often appear on the Google search page as well.

How to Get More Online Reviews

Below are three simple ways you can get more online reviews:

1. Post Instructions & Information Everywhere

One of the easiest ways to get more gym reviews is to make sure you have the information clearly outlined and visibly posted all around your facility. Consider creating a mix of posters, flyers, and cards that include instructions on how—and where—your members can leave online reviews. It’s also a good idea to include this information in your member welcome packets.

2. Include Review Requests in Your Emails

Emails are most likely the main way you communicate with your members, so it’s a great opportunity to request gym reviews. Consider adding a review request link near your email signature, and make sure you choose a font and text size that makes it stand out.       

3. Keep it Simple

If you’re trying to get more reviews on your website, keep the process quick and simple. Asking too many questions or requiring too much information will drive people away, so you want to make the review process as easy as possible. Consider giving users the option to select a simple star rating, or to also include feedback in the comments section.

Conclusion

Gym reviews are one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business, build a positive reputation, and make your company look more favorable to potential customers. Online reviews also heavily influence purchasing decisions and lead conversion, so it’s important to constantly monitor and respond to your gym reviews to keep your reputation favorable and your business growing.

Proper Gym Etiquette Among Peers

How to Keep Safe and Healthy When Returning to In-Person Workouts

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

Exercising is one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall health—which is especially crucial during the COVID-19 era. Regular exercise helps keep your immune system operating at its prime, and it also helps lowers the risk of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, depression, and more.

And while many restrictions on businesses have been lifted and fitness facilities have reopened, you may find yourself wondering if it’s safe to return to in-person workouts. The answer is yes—as long as you exercise proper gym etiquette, follow protocols, and do your part to reduce the spread of germs.

 Here are five ways you can help keep yourself and other people at the gym safe and healthy:

1. Don’t go if you’re sick (or think you might be)

This should be common sense, yet we feel compelled to emphasize how important it is to skip your in-person workout routine when you’re sick or not feeling well. Even if you think it’s no big deal, the best way to keep fellow gym goers and other people at the gym safe is to avoid exposure until you’re back to feeling 100%.  

2. Avoid peak hours

Most people have a preferred time to get their workout routine in for the day, but it’s still a good idea—if it’s possible—to adjust your workout schedule in order to avoid visiting the gym during peak hours. Again, it may seem like common sense, but shifting the time of your workout routine by even just 30 minutes can have a huge impact on flattering the curve and reducing the spread of the coronavirus.

3. Follow the rules

Rules, restrictions and mask mandates vary by state, as well as from business to business. Make sure you pay attention to the rules at your gym, and follow them. If you see areas of the gym that are closed, or a piece of equipment that’s marked out of use, remember that these rules are in place to keep you and fellow gym goers safe.

4. Wipe down equipment

Germs and public places go hand-in-hand, and the gym is no exception. In fact, studies have found that free weights contain more than 360 times the amount of bacteria than toilet seats, and treadmills contain over 70 times more bacteria than a water faucet. Again, it should be common sense at this point, but make sure you wipe down equipment before and after every use. Germs and other illnesses existed long before Covid, but you can help limit the spread of germs by exercising proper gym etiquette and washing your hands regularly, wiping down your gym’s equipment, and maintaining a safe distance from fellow gym goers.

5. Bring your own supplies

Have you ever gone to grab a paper towel or cleaning wipe at the gym, only to find there aren’t any left? It’s not a good feeling, but it’s a situation you can easily avoid by bringing your own supplies. Bring at least two towels to the gym with you—one to lay on equipment and machinery to create a protective barrier, and one to use to wipe your sweat. It’s also smart to bring your own sanitizer, or sanitizing wipes to make sure you can wipe down equipment before and after every use.

Conclusion

Regular exercise and physical activity have always been important, but even more so now during the pandemic. If you’re ready to get back to the gym and in-person workouts, just make sure you exercise proper gym etiquette and do everything you can to keep you and other people at the gym safe and healthy.

The Importance of Member Experience from EZFacility

The Importance of Member Experience, Now More Than Ever

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

The fitness industry has undergone a major transformation over the past year in order to adapt to shifting demands and changing consumer habits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many government restrictions now lifted, and vaccines available throughout the U.S., fitness businesses are finally starting to see more foot traffic again. In fact, recent research from Jeffries found that traffic at gyms nationwide was back to 83% of January 2020 levels.

While this is great news, it’s important for business owners to understand that customers’ expectations have changed dramatically since the pandemic hit. This is especially true within the fitness industry, where members have grown accustomed to the convenience and flexibility that digital fitness offerings provide. Now more than ever, providing a great customer experience is a non-negotiable for gyms and fitness-related businesses.

In this blog, we’ll talk about why member experience matters, and what you can do to ensure you’re providing a positive customer experience throughout the entire customer journey.

What is the member experience?

In a membership-based business, the customer experience is ultimately what defines and drives your business. The experience you provide is what makes your business unique, and it’s what attracts people to your products and services over your competitors. Providing a great member experience is critical to creating a positive association with your business, boosting customer engagement, and building a community of loyal customers.

The member experience begins at the first point of contact with customers, and encompasses all of the touch points throughout the customer journey. To ensure you’re providing a positive member experience, you need to continuously offer exceptional customer support, anticipate—and exceed—customers’ expectations and needs, and provide an experience your members can’t get anywhere else.

Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience

In today’s increasingly digital world, ensuring a positive member experience is more important than ever. The experience you provide—whether positive or negative—will stay with you and impact your long-term success. In fact, 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience.

A great customer experience provides your business with a competitive edge, improves customer satisfaction and customer engagement, and helps you attract loyal customers. Conversely, a bad experience has the opposite effect, and can quickly lead people to cancel their memberships, or leave negative reviews online and on social media.

In order to provide great customer experience, you must remember that the experience extends beyond just signing up members—it needs to be emulated across multiple platforms and touchpoints. Additionally, you need to understand how your members think, and what they want.

Below are four ways to help you provide a great customer experience:

1. Safety & Hygiene

In the wake of the pandemic, safety and hygiene are critical components of the member experience. Customers’ expectations of gyms and fitness-related businesses have evolved, and they now include the expectation that businesses have health and safety standards in place to minimize the transmission of COVID-19. Maintaining a high standard of cleanliness is the new norm, and it’s key to ensuring your members feel safe and comfortable.

2. Employee Culture

The environment you foster plays a huge role in whether a member has a positive customer experience, or a bad experience. Running a gym isn’t just about laying out equipment—it’s about creating a space that can change peoples’ lives. To do that, you first need to ensure that you’re providing positive employee experiences, too. You’re likely familiar with the saying “happy employees create happy customers”—and studies have confirmed that employee happiness is directly correlated with employee efficiency, creativity, and productivity. If you want to consistently provide positive customer experiences, you need to build a team of happy, engaged employees.

3. Customer feedback

The best way to know if you’re meeting customers’ expectations is to ask them. Asking for customer feedback after key touchpoints during the customer journey shows members you care about their experience, which leads to greater customer satisfaction and higher customer engagement. Customer feedback is also an invaluable way to learn what you’re doing well, in addition to identifying areas for improvement.

4. Convenience

As we touched on earlier, customers’ expectations have changed since COVID-19, and business owners need to be willing to meet the consumers where they are. Data from a recent global study revealed that 70% of responding internet users worldwide were using their smartphones or mobile phones more as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak, and another study found that mobile owners worldwide will continue to increase to 7.33 billion by 2023. For gyms and fitness-related businesses, this means that a strong digital presence is key to long-term success.

Consumers now expect a hybrid combination of in-person and online workout options, and they want to be able to research, book services, and communicate with brands easily. If you haven’t already done so, make sure your app, website and social media channels are updated, user-friendly, informative, and offer a seamless experience.

Conclusion

A great customer experience is what will keep your members coming back, and make them more likely to recommend your business to friends. Remember that you’re selling a continuous service, so it’s imperative that you build a strong team of engaged employees, solicit customer feedback, and continue to monitor digital trends in the fitness space to make sure you’re keeping up with the shifting landscape.

To learn how EZFacility can help you provide a great customer experience and improve customer satisfaction, click here to schedule a free, personalized product tour. 

How Push Notifications Can Increase Member Retention from EZFacility

Increase Membership and Attendance with Push Notifications

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Are you reading this blog on a mobile device? Statistically speaking, there’s a good chance the answer is yes, considering more than half of website traffic is generated through mobile phones.

And if you’re like most people, your phone is the first thing you check in the morning and the last thing you check at night. In fact, one study found the average American checks their phones 96 times a day—equating to once every 10 minutes!—and another study revealed that a staggering 65.6% of Americans check their phones up to 160 times daily.

With so many people constantly attached to their phones, business owners have an opportunity to reach their audience through a number of different communication channels and marketing strategies.

In this blog, we’ll cover one of the easiest and most effective digital marketing strategies you can implement to connect with your members, boost class attendance, increase member engagement, and improve retention rates.

What Is a Push Notification?

A push notification is a short message that pops up when users have your app installed on their device. Mobile app push notifications are designed specifically for phones and tablets, whereas web push notifications are designed for laptop and desktop users. Certain web browsers, like Chrome and Firefox, have pop-up push messages that alert users of notifications. However, not every mobile device supports web push notifications.

Depending on the device, push messages may look slightly different and have different character limits. Mobile app push notifications typically look like text messages, and can only be sent to users who have your mobile app installed on their device if they have agreed to receive push messages.

How a Push Notification Strategy Can Increase Customer Retention

A push notification strategy is an effective way to keep customers engaged with your business, win back inactive members, improve retention rates, and boost revenue. It’s all about relationships, and push messages help strengthen the bond with your customers by offering a simple, familiar way to keep in touch. In fact, one study found that push messages increase retention rates three to 10 times, while boosting engagement by 88%!

Here are a few examples of how you can utilize push messages:

  • Share updates about new classes and digital offerings to spark interest
  • Motivate clients by celebrating milestones
  • Share links to fun and interesting content like recipes, nutrition tips, or How To’s
  • Offer promotions and discounts
  • Encourage members to book services or purchase products
  • Send alerts for upcoming classes, new services, or expiring memberships

4 Tips to Improve Your Push Notification Strategy

  • Define your target audience: In order to increase your open rates and conversion rates, you need to define your target audience. You can use the member data you have on file to create tailored lists by using information such as age, goals, class attendance and purchase history to categorize clients. Doing this helps you create messages that you know will be relevant and of interest to those audiences.
  • Make it personal: Happy members become loyal, long-term customers and brand advocates. One of the best ways to get your clients to care about your business is to show you care about them. While some messages may apply to all, sending too many impersonal and irrelevant messages will likely lead members to opt out of receiving your push messages. Use the member data you have available to keep the messages relevant and personal. Sometimes it’s the little things—like sending a push message to celebrate a milestone or anniversary—that can make all the difference.
  • Timing is (still) everything: The best time to send push messages will vary based on the content you’re delivering. For example, class reminders should be sent 30 minutes before the class begins, whereas the best time to send general information can vary. Generally speaking, push messages sent between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. have the highest open rates, but you should always check the data to see when your customers are most responsive.
  • Keep it short and sweet: When it comes to writing your push messages, you want to keep it brief, clear, and persuasive. While different platforms have different character limits, the ideal length is about 10 words. Since the text will appear differently across devices, it’s always best to keep it as short as possible.

Conclusion

Push messages are an easy and effective way to reach your audience and keep customers engaged. By creating tailored distribution lists, you can deliver relevant and interesting content to defined audiences, which will help improve your overall push notification strategy and retention rates.

Why Fitness Entrepreneurs Need to Talk About Mental Health

Fitness Entrepreneurs and the Importance of Mental Health

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Being a fitness entrepreneur can offer a myriad of benefits—it allows you to create a career that aligns with your values, dictate your own schedule, choose who you want to work with, build a network of like-minded individuals, and it gives you control over important business decisions.

But while owning and operating your own company can be extremely rewarding, being the person who’s ultimately responsible for whether your business succeeds or fails is a heavy burden to carry alone, and it can have a significant impact on your mental health. In addition to harming you personally, mental health problems can also negatively impact your business by hindering productivity, impacting relationships, and negatively affecting company culture.

In this blog, we’ll cover some of the common stressors fitness entrepreneurs face during their careers, why it’s so important to start talking more openly about mental health, and how to build a support network.  

Entrepreneurial Stress

Those who choose the entrepreneurial path tend to know they will face stress and pressure throughout their careers, but COVID-19 upended day-to-day life, global industry, and the world as we once knew it. The fitness industry was hit particularly hard, and many brick-and-mortar facilities were forced to close permanently, while others are still scrambling to adapt and survive in the post-pandemic era.

It’s been an especially tumultuous time for most businesses, but even more so for fitness entrepreneurs who must navigate the obstacles and changing landscape largely on their own. The high level of stress that comes with running your own business can have a dramatic impact on your physical mental health—and, if not managed appropriately—can lead to burnout, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more.

Below are a few examples of common challenges fitness entrepreneurs face:

1.     Assuming multiple roles

When you run your own business, it’s oftentimes necessary to take on multiple roles, especially when you’re first starting out. But when you’re doing everything on your own, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, stressed and burnt out. If you have a team of employees, it’s critical to learn how to delegate so you can focus on the high-level priorities.

2.     Financial burdens

Financial management is a part of every business, and paying close attention to your finances is key to staying in operation. Staying on top of your finances to ensure you’re in the green can be extremely stressful and time-consuming, so it’s important to establish a process for how you plan to manage the books and as well as how you will tackle financial pressures head-on.    

3.     Loneliness

Research shows that many entrepreneurs struggle with mental health issues—and many try to keep it to themselves. According to a recent Forbes article that cites a study from the National Institute of Mental Health, 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to just 48% of non-entrepreneurs.

Without a proper support network in place, entrepreneurs who struggle with mental health issues can experience feelings of isolation and loneliness, as well as depression, anxiety and a number of other health issues.

Making Your Mental Health a Priority

Running a business can be overwhelming, but trying to deal with everything on your own can be very detrimental to your physical health and mental health. It’s important to be open and honest with those close to you, and to seek external guidance if you’re struggling with any mental health problems.

In order for your business to be the best it can be, you need to be the best you can be, too—and that means making yourself and your health a top priority.

Should your company include a wellness plan?

Everything You Need to Know About Company Wellness Plans

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Employee wellness programs are more important than ever as the lines between work and home life continue to become increasingly entangled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With more people working from home, and with many also managing their kids’ virtual learning simultaneously, it’s no surprise that workers are experiencing burnout, loss of productivity and struggling to maintain their physical and mental health. So much so, that employers are losing out on $225.5 billion a year due to lost productivity related to mental wellness alone.

With new stressors piling on workers every day, employers need to take a more proactive role in improving employee health by creating wellness programs that take individual needs into consideration to offer the greatest benefit. What may help one employee, may offer little to no benefit for another, which is why it’s important to offer a diverse array of initiatives.

In this blog, we’ll talk about what an employee wellness program is, and three reasons why you should consider implementing one.

What is an employee wellness program?

An employee wellness program is a collective of initiatives put into place to improve overall health, as well as to provide resources, knowledge and support for employees to manage health-related issues. When thinking about wellness, it’s important to understand that a person’s overall wellbeing extends beyond just physical health and includes other dimensions as well—for example, social, financial, environmental, and mental health.

One-size-fits-all programs tend to fail to meet most employees’ actual needs, thereby offering little real value. The most successful types of wellness programs address different dimensions of wellness through various programs, providing multiple pathways for employees to improve health across all boards.

Why should you offer an employee wellness program?

Investing in your employees is investing in your business, and when your workers are at their finest, your company will reap the benefits. As an employer, it’s important to provide career development opportunities, as well as holistic support, to help your employees be the best they can be.

Key benefits of an employee wellness program:

The ultimate goal of an employee wellness program is to improve your workers’ overall health and wellbeing, but there are benefits for business owners as well.

Here are three top reasons to have an employee wellness program:

  1. Improve employee health
    With the right education and resources, people are able to change their behaviors for the better. Employee wellness programs are a great way to promote healthy lifestyle habits by providing the knowledge and support needed for your workers to make positive, long term changes. Healthy habits lead to lower health risks and fewer chronic illnesses—and, in turn, having fewer employees with chronic illnesses can lead to reduced healthcare costs for employers.
  2. Increase employee engagement & reduce absenteeism
    When workers feel better, they perform better—and they call out of work less often. Offering an employee wellness program shows your workers you’re invested in their long term health and success, which, in turn, makes them more likely to stay with your company. By reducing turnover, employers can save a lot of time and money on hiring, recruiting and training costs.
  3. Workers want wellness
    In the post-pandemic landscape, employees are more stressed than ever. In fact, one recent study found that nearly 70% of workers claimed this was the most stressful time of their entire professional career. With an increased focus on health, more employees are seeking out employers who demonstrate a vested interest in their health and wellness. In addition to keeping your current workers happy and healthy, a comprehensive employee wellness program can be used as a recruiting tool to attract top talent.

Conclusion

Successful employee wellness programs are a win-win for everyone—employers can lower healthcare costs by improving employee health, reduce absenteeism and boost employee engagement, all of which contribute to a happier, healthier workforce. 

The correlation between sleep and exercise recovery

How Sleep and Exercise Recovery are Connected

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Everyone knows that exercising regularly is good for your health—it improves your mood, promotes quality sleep, boosts your energy, and helps combat a number of different health conditions and diseases. But when it comes to exercise, more isn’t always better. While it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best ways to get the most from any fitness regimen is to ensure you’re getting enough hours of sleep every night.

Here are five reasons why adequate sleep is critical to exercise recovery:

1. Provides your body time to heal

Exercising creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue, and your body needs time to recover and repair it. While you sleep, cells called fibroblasts fix the damage and help the tissue heal and grow stronger. The more hours of sleep you get, the more time your muscle tissues have to regenerate.

Additionally, your muscles store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen, which get broken down during workouts to fuel your exercise. Your muscles need glycogen to perform everyday functions, and getting adequate sleep gives your body the time it needs to replenish your energy stores before your next workout.

2. Reduces risk of injury

Getting enough hours of sleep every night is essential to staying safe during workouts. A lack of sleep can lead to mental cloudiness, delayed reaction time, and increased risk of injury. When you’re overworked or overtired, you’re more likely to misuse equipment, drop a weight, take a misstep, or fall out of form.

On the days you’re tempted to push yourself, try to remember that it’s always better to pace yourself and provide your body the time it needs for optimal recovery than to overwork yourself and risk long-term damage or injury.

3. Prevents muscle fatigue

Exercise depletes your muscles’ glycogen levels, and your body needs glycogen to function. Metabolic overload happens when muscles are exercised to the point of fatigue, and your body has exhausted the amount of glycogen available.

When you’re asleep, your body continues to digest carbohydrates and metabolizes them into glycogen, which is then stored in muscle cells to fuel muscle contractions. This is why getting adequate sleep is necessary to avoid exercise-induced fatigue and soreness—because it provides your body the time it needs to replace energy stores.

4. Improves performance

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults over the age of 18 should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night. And did you know that increasing sleep time by one hour per night is like the equivalent of getting an extra night’s worth of sleep per week? Making adjustments to your schedule to ensure you’re getting enough hours of sleep per night makes all the difference when it comes to performance.

Overtraining can cause repetitive strain and stress to your muscles, which can lead to decreased performance, reduced endurance, and slower reaction times. Lack of sleep will wear you down physically, mentally and emotionally—whereas adequate sleep will increase your energy and prepare your body for consistently successful workouts. 

5. Boosts the immune system

Numerous studies have reported on the many benefits of a good night’s sleep—and, similarly, how a lack of sleep can lead to a number of negative impacts to your overall health. For example, quality sleep can maximize athletic performance, improve concentration and productivity—whereas poor sleep has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and depression.

A recently published study found yet another way quality sleep can assist the immune system—by improving T cell functioning. T cells play an important role in the body’s immune system, and researchers found that poor sleep may inhibit the ability of T cells to function as effectively.

Conclusion

Many of us tend to think more is better, especially when it comes to exercise—when, actually, the opposite is true. Taking breaks and getting adequate sleep is critical for achieving optimal performance, regardless of your level of fitness or sport. Skipping rest days or not getting enough hours of sleep can quickly lead to burnout, muscle fatigue or injury. As with many things in life, moderation is key.

5 Ways to Maximize Reach on Instagram from EZFacility

5 Ways to Maximize Reach on Instagram

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A common way to gauge the success of an Instagram page is to look at the number of followers it has, but attempting to measure success through such a limited lens can be misleading. While many businesses adopt the “more is better” approach—in the social media realm, oftentimes quality trumps quantity. An Instagram page with thousands of followers who aren’t engaged doesn’t offer much actual value, so it’s important to focus on building a community of loyal followers who are genuinely interested in your brand, what you’re offering, and what you have to say.  

Building a large following of real, engaged Instagram users isn’t easy, and it will take some time, but it’s a worthy investment—especially considering that Instagram now has over 1 billion users worldwide, and 80% of Instagram users say they use the platform for help when deciding to buy a product or service. Instagram’s strong impact on consumers’ buying journey has created tremendous new growth opportunities for fitness businesses—but it has created new challenges, too.

Because of the platform’s continuous growth and changing algorithms, it’s become more difficult for fitness brands to break through the noise to reach and connect with users—but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done! With a little bit of patience and the right social media marketing strategies in place, you’ll be able to boost your Instagram following, build brand awareness, and create meaningful connections with your audience.

In this blog, we’ll discuss five ways you can build a strong Instagram following for your fitness business.

1. Go after your audience

To utilize social media platforms effectively, you need to engage in meaningful dialogue with your followers—but first, you need to find them. One way to find Instagram users who are interested in fitness is to search popular fitness-related hashtags. From there, you can reach out via direct message, or like and comment on their posts. You can also follow hashtags to keep an eye on trending topics, and use that insight to create relevant posts and spark conversations. Center your Instagram marketing efforts around building genuine connections with like-minded users, and try to avoid coming across as too salesy.

2. Focus on the “why”

Your Instagram page may be someone’s first interaction with your fitness business—and first impressions matter! The COVID-19 pandemic created a significant shift in the way consumers interact with brands. Now more than ever, social media users want to build bonds with fitness brands, and they’re more likely to base their buying decisions on a company’s purpose and mission. Instagram is a great way to promote a higher level of transparency, and features like Live Videos and Instagram Stories provide fitness brands with unique ways to offer behind-the-scenes looks and interesting insights.

In fact, a recent Deloitte study finds that purpose-driven companies are better positioned to survive this time of extraordinary change, and that “marketers can and should take an ‘outside-in’ consumer perspective to the C-suite and executive teams. Especially if your business is in an industry addressing one of the many essential needs that have gained importance in the pandemic. That can be your shot at demonstrating the value of purpose to all of your stakeholders.”

3. Tell a story

Because of its real-time factor, Instagram Stories is a great way for fitness brands to show their human side, and it can really help bring your business profile to life. In fact, 33% of the most viewed Instagram Stories come from businesses. Using the Instagram Stories feature, fitness brands can share short clips of personal training videos, fun snippets from the day, or even cheat meals. And if another Instagram user tags your fitness business in their Instagram story, use that as an opportunity to create a conversation by sending them a direct message, or reposting it to your fitness Instagram account.

4. Use the power of influence

As health has become a top priority over the past year, fitness influencers have seen a huge surge in popularity on social media platforms. This has created a golden opportunity for fitness brands to partner with fitness influencers to boost brand awareness and to increase their Instagram following. While many larger fitness brands look to partner with widely popular and well-known fitness influencers, smaller fitness businesses may want to consider working with local micro-influencers. After all, if you’re looking to build a genuinely engaged social media community, working with someone local gives you that much more of an advantage.

5. Encourage community content

Making your members a part of your Instagram marketing strategy is a great way to create a sense of community, and to make your business profile look and feel more authentic. Your members are oftentimes your greatest advocates, and they help boost brand awareness and drive membership for your fitness business without expecting much in return. Consider gifting select members with some free branded swag in exchange for taking photos and tagging your fitness Instagram account on their social media platforms. Everyone likes to feel valued and appreciated—and who doesn’t also love free stuff? 

Final Thoughts

With the global tendency continuing to shift toward more screen time, it’s a great time to revisit your Instagram marketing strategy to make sure you’re getting the most from your social media marketing efforts. With the right approach, you can effectively utilize your Instagram page to increase your number of followers, build meaningful connections with users, and to gain unfiltered consumer feedback that you can use to grow your fitness business.

If you’re interested in learning about how an all-in-one management software can help streamline your efforts, click here for more information.

5 Tips for Managing Fitness-Related Social Media

How to Show Value Using Social Media

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With more people spending time at home and scouring the internet looking for ways to improve their health and fitness routines, audiences are more dependent on digital content than they’ve ever been in the past. In fact, one recent global study found that engagement on social media has increased 61% over regular usage rates since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For health and fitness businesses, this means that social media marketing is no longer an optional component of the marketing mix—it has, essentially, taken center stage—creating both opportunities and challenges for fitness brands. In a world now dominated by digital marketing, consumers’ feeds are being flooded by businesses vying to capture their attention. It’s no longer enough to just create content—health and fitness businesses that want to break through the noise need to understand how to create and distribute compelling content that captures viewers’ attention.

Here are five ways fitness brands can amp up their social media marketing strategies in 2021:

1. Go live

Eighty percent of social media users say they’d rather watch video than read a blog, and internet users collectively watched more than 1.1 billion hours of live video in 2019. It should come as no surprise that with numbers like that, more fitness brands are going live to deliver content to consumers across the most popular social networks. The demand for social broadcasting is anticipated to continue to rise, creating a huge opportunity for fitness brands looking for ways to improve their social media marketing efforts.

2. Be inclusive

Inclusivity isn’t just “in”—it’s the new standard expected of fitness brands. Today’s consumers want to align themselves with health and fitness companies that promote equality, accessibility and welcomeness to all. In fact, 70% of Millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity in terms of its promotions and offers. Fitness brands that choose to ignore this and continue to tout their exclusivity, or limit their messaging to an elite demographic, will not receive the same support or following as in years past.

3. Consider influencer marketing

If you’re familiar with the saying “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” then you already understand why influencer marketing can have such a profound impact on business. Consumers want to be like the people they admire—they want to walk like them and talk like them, so to speak. So, what better way to boost engagement on your company’s social media networks than with an endorsement from a popular influencer? It is worth noting, however, that more fitness brands are shifting to nano-influencers as many marketing budgets shrank as a result of COVID-19.

4. Utilize user-generated content

Almost half of marketing professionals (48%) believe that content created by customers helps humanize their marketing. User-generated content is an important part of social media marketing because it helps to establish trust between businesses and consumers by providing a genuine reflection of what other customers can anticipate when engaging with a particular business. User-generated content also provides fitness brands the ability to showcase success stories, creating emotional appeal that can have a huge impact on buying decisions. 

5. Invest in social advertising

With almost half of the global population using social media, it makes sense why so many fitness brands are investing in social media advertising. Social media advertising capabilities continue to improve, providing fitness brands the ability to reach their target audience with ease and accessibility like never before. In terms of performance and engagement, social media ads that contain video strongly outperform those that use static images, so it’s worth investing the time to create engaging video clips to get the most impact from your ad spend.

Conclusion

Because the social media marketing landscape is always changing, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse and pay attention to emerging trends. Fitness brands that want to stay relevant and competitive need to be willing and able to adapt and adopt quickly to break through the noise and develop lasting, authentic relationships with consumers.

For more health and fitness-related insights, click here to read our other blogs. 

Guide to At-Home Pilates Workouts

Looking for a New Home Workout? Try Pilates

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Pilates, named for its creator Joseph Pilates, is a method of low-impact exercise that focuses on improving flexibility, core strength, control and endurance throughout the entire body. It also emphasizes the importance of posture and alignment, which is what draws many to this form of exercise.

Athletes and dancers often practice Pilates to help balance other training, while others use it as a method of rehab to recover from injury. And while it was first introduced more than a century ago, Pilates has gained a renewed interest over the past year.

The Pilates resurgence

So, what’s behind the recent surge in popularity?

Well, for starters, the COVID-19 global pandemic redefined the fitness industry and created the need for people all over the world to find new ways to workout that could be done from home and required minimal equipment.

In addition to that, “it seems social media has been the driving force behind the recent resurgence of the low-impact workout” as we have seen more and more celebrities—like the Kardashians, Hailey Bieber, Lara Worthington and Phoebe Tonkin—switching out their high-intensity workout sessions in favor of Pilates workouts, and posting about it all across social media. (body+soul)

It’s no surprise that with celebrity endorsements like that, we’re seeing a major growth in Pilates culture.

Rethinking the ways we workout

Now more than ever, we’re seeing people interested in learning ways to improve full body health and wellness, rather than just focusing on weight loss or muscle gain. And while many used to gauge the value of a workout by its level of intensity, we’re seeing more people start to gravitate toward forms of exercise that focus on improving the mind-body connection while still offering a full body workout.

Practicing Pilates at-home

One of the most attractive attributes of Pilates is its accessibility—it can be practiced at home with few items, or at Pilates studios full of fancy equipment. But don’t let the volume of Pilates equipment available for purchase—like Pilates mats, Pilates rings, balls and reformers—intimidate you. There are several types of Pilates classes and methods out there, so you may want to do a bit of trial and error to figure out the best fit for you before investing too much in equipment.

If you belong to a gym or studio but want to practice Pilates from home, check their website to see if they offer virtual Pilates classes. Or, if you want to get started on your own, the good news is, all you need is a Pilates mat and a clear space to exercise.

Before you start your Pilates journey, it’s a good idea to spend a bit of time learning about the five different types of Pilates workouts to figure out which is the best fit for you.

Types of Pilates workouts

Below is a brief overview of the five main types of Pilates exercises and the differences between them:

  1. Classical Pilates: Based on the original form first introduced in the 1920s, classical Pilates is one of the most complex methods of Pilates and combines both apparatus and mat exercises. It exercises muscles throughout your full body to help strengthen them and your core. Because of its difficulty and the equipment required, this type of Pilates routine is best taught by trained Pilates instructors.
  2. Mat Pilates: Mat Pilates is considered the beginners level Pilates exercise, and is therefore also the most widely practiced. As the name suggests—all you need for this type of Pilates exercise is a Pilates mat and floor space. It’s great for getting started and for home workouts.
  3. Reformer Pilates: Named for the type of equipment it uses, Reformer Pilates is the second level of Mat Pilates and utilizes a flat, sliding platform with an adjustable resistance bar. While some of the exercises are similar to Mat Pilates, the mechanics differ as they’re meant to be done while sliding back and forth. This is considered an advanced form of Pilates and should be practiced under the supervision of trained Pilates instructors.
  4. Contemporary Pilates: Contemporary Pilates is a combination of Classical Pilates, physiotherapy and some modern variations. What differentiates this from the other forms is that there is no specified set of exercises; instead, exercises are customized and the moves are modified according to individual needs.
  5. Clinical Pilates: Similar to Contemporary Pilates, Clinical Pilates is tailored to the needs of the person. This form utilizes different props and exercise equipment, and is generally intended to help stabilize muscles and relieve lower back pain. It also requires a physiotherapy assessment to determine functional diagnoses and chart directional preferences.

Getting started

If you’ve decided you want to give Pilates a try, get your at-home space set up and ready to go. It’s recommended you find an area with plenty of room to move around, and ideally in a place with good lighting. You’ll also need to decide if you prefer to try a live or pre-recorded class. Live classes taught over Zoom are particularly helpful for beginners as they provide the Pilates instructors the ability to see you and help you adjust your form.

For more health and fitness-related insights, click here to read our other blogs.

5 Fitness-Oriented Business Ideas in 2021

The #1 Fitness Trend this Year: Online Training

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

The COVID-19 zeitgeist has permanently changed the fitness industry as we once knew it. Gone are the days that gyms and fitness studios could rely solely on traditional brick-and-mortar business. To stay competitive and relevant in today’s digital climate, it’s imperative that gyms, health clubs and fitness studios adapt to meet the increasing demand for online health and fitness services. In fact, ACSM’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2021 reports the no.1 trend for this year is “online training”—up from the no.26 spot just last year. 

While it’s been a challenging time for business owners in the fitness industry, with every challenge also comes opportunity. Here are five business ideas you should consider implementing this year: 

1. Amp up your online products and services

Although it may seem obvious at this point, there’s a good reason to keep this top-of-mind. When non-essential business owners were forced to suspend operations last year amid nationwide shutdowns, many scrambled to figure out how to shift their products and services to an online model as quickly as possible, without having sufficient time to figure out how to deliver products and services in the best way possible. Even though health and fitness businesses are allowed to operate from their physical locations once again, the demand for on-demand and online services isn’t going away any time soon. That being said, customers now expect high quality digital offerings, so it’s a good time to make sure that’s what you’re delivering to your client base.

You may also want to consider expanding your online products and services. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you might consider creating a fitness blog where you provide personal training tips, tricks and resources. In addition to giving added value to your existing client base, launching a fitness blog can also help you position yourself as an industry expert, establish credibility and attract new clients. 

2. Consider a permanent hybrid model

Over the past year, many people have grown accustomed to working—and working out—from home. And while some customers flocked to health and fitness businesses as soon as they reopened, others have opted to continue their wellness routines from home for the time being. The good news is, 75% of consumers say they will eventually return to pre-pandemic routines and the actual gym, but many indicated they will also retain a virtual component. If you have the resources to do so, it’s wise to consider a permanent hybrid model so you can continue to fulfill the needs of a larger customer base.

3. Keep health and safety at the forefront 

If you’re responsible for managing a physical fitness space, it’s critical to keep health and safety at the forefront of your operations. By now, you should have a clearly defined and well-communicated strategy in place to ensure you’re adhering to your state’s requirements and keeping everyone as safe as possible. If you have a mask-wearing policy, make sure that information is posted and visible from both outside and inside your facility. If you haven’t already done so, you may also want to consider highlighting your company’s health and safety practices and posting that information on signs around your gym, as well as to your website and social media pages to help everyone feel more at ease. 

4. Host virtual fitness competitions & challenges

A little friendly competition has always been a good way to keep members motivated and working toward their fitness goals, especially during certain times of the year—for example, around the New Year and summer time. While the logistics need to be handled a little differently now, you should still keep hosting fitness challenges about once a quarter. What the challenges entail and how they are structured will vary by the nature of your business, but it’s always a smart idea to incorporate refer-a-friend incentives to encourage members to invite their friends to join your facility. 

5. Focus on total body health and fitness

This year, the concepts of fitness and wellness will continue to merge as society is redefining what it means to be healthy from a holistic standpoint. New considerations focus on balancing diet and nutrition, mental health, and physical activity—as opposed to focusing solely on weight loss or muscle gain. More people are also starting to view health and wellness as a lifestyle choice that requires ongoing effort, so there has been—and will continue to be—an increased interest in health coaching. If you’re qualified to do so, consider offering online health coaching services to help educate your client base on the importance of total body health and fitness, and what they can do to achieve that.

Conclusion

We expect the fitness industry will continue to evolve throughout this year, generating an even greater demand for online products and services. If you decide any of the business ideas we covered in this blog are a viable option for you, start working on your business plan to define how you will translate the idea into action. 

For more health and fitness-related insights, click here to read our other blog posts.

The Best Live Streaming Tools for Gym Owners

Live Streaming is a Must for Gym Owners

« Blog | Written by Kathryn Dressler | | (0) Comments

As the industry continues to shift to digital, fitness trainers are faced with a number of new challenges regarding how to best deliver their services online. Producing content for pre-recorded workout videos and live stream classes is only half of the battle—businesses must also figure out how to deliver their digital offerings in a way that converts it into revenue. 

On-demand vs. Live Stream Classes: What’s the Difference?

On-demand workout videos and fitness classes are pre-recorded and can be accessed through a fitness studio app, web browser or mobile device. All you have to do is select the class you want and click and hit play. On-demand workout videos are great for people who need a specific start and end time, as well as those who need the flexibility to start and stop workouts if the need arises. 

Pre-recorded fitness classes can be released at certain times to function like attending a class, or they can all be stored in a database and accessible at any time. Some fitness trainers prefer teaching on-demand classes because it gives them the ability to re-record or edit the workout routine as many times as needed until they feel confident in the finished product. 

Live streaming workouts, as the name suggests, are live and take place in real-time. With live stream classes, attendees have the benefit of a “here and now” fitness trainer. Many people prefer doing live stream classes because the real-time engagement helps them feel more connected to their fitness trainers, as well as each other. In some cases, live stream classes also provide the fitness trainer the ability to see attendees and to provide feedback and positive reinforcement, which can help boost motivation, participation and accountability. 

Now that we’ve covered the key differences between on-demand (pre-recorded) and live stream classes, let’s talk about three of the most popular platforms for live streaming workouts: 

Facebook Live

When lockdowns hit last year, Facebook Live viewership in the U.S. jumped 50%, with many viewers tuning in specifically for live streaming workouts they could do from their living rooms. Facebook Live is the platform of choice for many fitness trainers because it’s free, easy to use, and it publishes workouts directly to followers’ news feeds. One downside, however, is that Facebook Live is open to anyone and, therefore, it can be difficult to control access. One solution businesses have found is to create private groups for members to help safeguard their digital content and limit viewership to only their members.  

YouTube

According to Pew Research, 74% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube. As the largest video platform in the world, YouTube is an attractive platform for live streaming workouts because it’s also free and easy to use. But despite its widespread popularity, many fitness trainers forgo using YouTube for live streaming classes because of the platform’s copyright policies which inhibit instructors from using whatever music they like during workout routines. Also, similar to Facebook Live, it is difficult to restrict viewership to members-only using YouTube. 

Zoom

Zoom, the virtual meetings app, has quickly become an industry favorite because of its strong video quality, ease of use, and two-way visibility. Zoom can also be easily integrated with gym management software to automate the process of sending log-in information and links to members once they’ve signed up for a class, providing businesses control over who can access their digital content. However, while a basic Zoom membership is free, gyms that want to utilize this platform for live streaming classes longer than 40 minutes will need to invest in a Pro or Business account before doing so.

Which video platform is the right choice for your business?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution in the streaming world. Each video platform comes with its own benefits and challenges, and the best fit for you will depend on your business’ needs and resources. So, before you launch your online offerings, we recommend you develop a digital strategy that supports the long-term needs of your business, as well as your members.

For more health and fitness-related insights, click here to read our other blog posts.