Marketing Your Yoga Studio in 2022

Effectively Market Your Yoga Studio in 2022

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

The rising popularity of yoga means there’s a sizable industry behind it. In fact, the global yoga market size is expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.6% by 2027—meaning the yoga industry is estimated to be worth a staggering $66.22 billion by 2027.

Industry predictions also continue to show that yoga will remain a constant fixture in the list of global fitness trends for years to come. For yoga studio owners, this means there’s a lot of opportunity—as well as a lot of competition.

To start the New Year off on the right foot, it’s important to make sure that your yoga studio has a comprehensive marketing plan in place that reflects the fitness industry’s transition to digital, and that it includes specific marketing strategies that outline how you plan to reach your target audience across various marketing channels.

In this blog, we’ll discuss four key considerations to keep in mind when creating (or revamping) your yoga studio’s marketing plan. 

The Basics

The first step to developing a strong marketing plan for your yoga studio is to define your brand, your target audience, your business goals, and your competitors.

Clearly identifying and outlining this information is critical as it will be the foundation for your entire marketing plan—it will drive your marketing strategies, help you identify the best marketing channels and methods to use, as well as the tone and voice of your communications.

Remember—it’s important to set clear and measurable goals that align with your business objectives, because that’s what you’ll use later as a benchmark to gauge the success of your marketing campaigns.

Invest In Digital Marketing

We live in a digital world, and you should assume anyone who is interested in yoga and considering your studio will visit your website before deciding if they want to further engage with your business.

When building—or updating—your yoga studio’s website, remember to always keep your target audience in mind. Consider what type of tone and imagery will appeal to them, and make sure your website is visually appealing, engaging, and makes it as easy as possible to locate important information like your studio’s location, hours of operation, how to contact you, links to your social media accounts, and a description of your classes and class schedules.

Content Is Still King

To market your yoga studio effectively, you need to consistently create compelling content tailored to your target audience and what they care about—things like social media challenges, educational articles, blogs, newsletters, infographics, webinars or videos.

By creating a knowledge hub of resources and information about topics and trends that matter to potential customers, you’re more likely to be discovered by the right audience and to grow an engaged subscriber base.

Use the Right Yoga Studio Management Software

EZFacility’s powerful all-in-one yoga management software allows you to create custom yoga studio membership plans and packages, manage contracts and renewals, automate reminders, streamline and track marketing campaigns—and so much more!

To learn how we can help you maximize productivity, save time, increase cash flow, and achieve peace of mind, schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour today!

Catering to Fitness New Year’s Resolutions

Keep Your Fitness Members Engaged Well Into the New Year

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

Despite everything that’s been changing in the world—one thing most people still tend to agree on is that the beginning of each new year is “the time” (of all times) for us all to be optimistic, to set new short- and long-term goals, and to commit to improving ourselves and/or our respective circumstances over the course of the new year.

And so, every year, millions of people make fitness resolutions on New Year’s Eve and commit to joining a gym, working out more often, losing weight, and improving overall health.

But with 2022 just a few days away—it’s still a pretty stressful time for all of us, isn’t it? We’re all encouraged to find ways to be optimistic—while also grappling with the realization that January 2022 means the COVID-19 pandemic has been a global scourge for almost two full years now—and none of us really know what’s going to happen as the Omicron variant continuing to spread worldwide. 

If you run a gym or fitness center, you’re most likely wondering what you can do to help keep your members optimistic, engaged, and motivated to pursue their long-term fitness goals throughout the year—and how you can avoid the dreaded member drop off as peoples’ commitments to their New Year’s resolutions begin to wane during the first few months of the year.

Here are a four retention strategies you can use to reach members before they get to that point:

1. Focus On the Member Experience

Today’s consumers are more empowered than ever, making it that much more important for you to focus on the customer experience you provide.

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 motivation, encouragement, exceptional customer support, and provide an atmosphere and community they can’t find anywhere else.

For more: The Importance of Member Experience, Now More Than Ever

2. Adopt the Hybrid Model

The hybrid model has become the new norm in the fitness industry—and that won’t be changing any time soon.

With the lingering uncertainty around the omicron variant of the coronavirus and the very real potential we may all be faced with another round of forced business closures and stay-at-home-orders, the hybrid gym model continues to makes a lot of sense—for you and your members.

On top of that, online training is ranked as the top fitness trend by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)—and the demand for hybrid fitness options will only continue to increase as consumers’ have become accustomed to the flexibility it provides.

For more: Hybrid Fitness Ideas for the Holiday Season & Demand for Digital Fitness Options Remains High

3. Host Fitness Challenges & Competitions

Fitness challenges and competitions are a proven way to boost member engagement and retention. They also help generate new leads, encourage referrals and maximize customer loyalty.

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 by creating a sense of community and rewarding members for participation.

For more: 5 Tips to Consider When Developing A Fitness Challenge

4. Ask How They’re Doing!

The best way to know how your members are doing and feeling is to ask them. Requesting feedback after key touchpoints during the customer journey shows your members you care about their experience and how they’re doing, beyond just securing their initial sign-up.

A general feedback/customer satisfaction survey is a way for you to check in with your members throughout the year to show you still value their input, and are actively looking for ways to continue improving their member experience. That extra point of communication also helps keep them motivated and working toward their fitness goals.

For more: How to Collect Customer Testimonials and Build Trust

Conclusion

As the buzz around New Year’s resolutions begins to fade in the months to come—consider implementing the retention strategies we covered above to keep members optimistic, engaged, and working toward their long-term fitness goals throughout the year.

To learn how EZFacility’s comprehensive software solution can help you manage member communication and tracking with ease, schedule a free personalized product tour.

Benefits of SMS Marketing in 2022

What is SMS Marketing and What Are the Benefits?

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

Some fitness businesses are going “old school” and reverting back to a much simpler, highly effective, yet often underappreciated marketing tool—the good ole’ text message.

Given the increasingly competitive digital fitness landscape, it makes sense that SMS marketing is making a strong comeback, especially in the fitness industry.

In this blog, we’ll revisit the basics of SMS messaging, talk about why text message marketing is so effective, and discuss some of the key advantages of SMS marketing campaigns to promote your fitness business.

What Is Text Message Marketing?

Text message marketing—also referred to as SMS marketing—is when businesses send text messages to promote their products and services to consumers, provide important updates, and to maintain ongoing communication with their target audience to keep their fitness business top-of-mind. 

Text message marketing has come a long way since the early 2000s, and today it’s one of the most highly effective, and cost effective, marketing methods available.

And although text message marketing and email marketing work similarly—data shows that SMS marketing campaigns consistently outperform its modern-day counterpart, despite its simple and straightforward nature.

Does Text Message Marketing Really Work?

The short answer is—yes. And here’s why.

With the overwhelming majority of Americans (97%) now owning some type of mobile phone, and approximately 85% of mobile phone users having smart phones—everyone’s more connected, and constantly connected, than ever before.

And if you have a phone—which, statistically speaking, you almost certainly do—you know firsthand that a text message is nearly possible to ignore.

Don’t worry—you aren’t the only one who just can’t resist the urge. In fact, 98% of all text messages are opened—and, on top of that, 95% of text messages are read and responded to within 3 minutes of being received. Those are outstanding performance rates by anyone’s standards. 

Benefits of Text Message Marketing

Below are four key advantages of SMS marketing, and how it can help you grow your fitness business.

1. Cost effective

While text message marketing campaigns can sometimes be more expensive than email marketing campaigns (depending on your service provider)—they’re typically less expensive than many paid ad options, especially on popular social media platforms. And because SMS messaging campaigns offer such a high ROI, they’re considered cost-effective. 

2. Attract new customers

You can use text message marketing to attract new members to your fitness facility by offering a free day at the gym, or some free swag if they sign up to receive texts. If you’re currently using a gym management software that offers text message automation, you can easily schedule follow-up texts to be sent to those who didn’t fully complete the online sign up form. 

3. Upsell current customers

It’s often much easier to upsell existing members than it is to attract new ones. Because you want your members to get the most out of your gym, you need to make sure they’re aware of everything your facility has to offer. Use SMS messaging to inform existing customers of the benefits and added value of upgrading their memberships. 

4. Increase conversion rates

The average text message conversion rate is 30%—whereas the average email marketing conversion rate is 3.26%. Even more impressive, text message marketing’s conversion rates rose 102% YoY in 2020.

Conclusion

At a time when so many fitness business owners are still completely consumed trying to transition products and services online, while also redefining their business models to meet changing needs, something we can all learn from the ongoing success of text message marketing is that, sometimes, keeping it simple really is best.

To learn more about how EZFacility’s text message automation makes it easier than ever for business owners to connect with members, grow relationships, increase conversions, and drive sales, schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour.

Hybrid Fitness

Hybrid Fitness Ideas for the Holiday Season

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

The end of the year is a busy time for everyone, and it can be difficult even for avid gym-goers to maintain their usual in-person workout routines during the holiday season. In an earlier blog, we talked about the hybrid fitness model and the benefits it offers to both business owners and members—and the demand for virtual classes and online training is projected to keep rising as we enter the new year. 

In this blog, we’ll talk about five ways to maximize your hybrid fitness offerings to keep members active, engaged and on-track to meet their fitness goals throughout the holiday season.

1. Continue Offering Hybrid Fitness Options

Now that most gyms and fitness studios are back to operating from their brick-and-mortar locations, some business owners may be tempted to scale back on virtual classes and other digital offerings. But in actuality—there are a number reasons why continuing to offer hybrid fitness options can positively impact on your bottomline.

Online training is ranked as the top fitness trend by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), meaning the demand for hybrid fitness options will remain high throughout the holiday season and as we enter the New Year. When your members’ schedules are packed with holiday prep, events, and travel, they’ll appreciate the ability to continue working out from home while still feeling connected to the community.

2. Market Your Virtual Classes & Digital Offerings

You should start promoting your virtual classes and any holiday promos you plan to run as soon as possible. Utilize all of your marketing channels to get the word out and highlight the benefits of at-home workouts.

A few ideas include:

  • Update your website to include your facility’s holiday schedule
  • Post regularly on your social media accounts and share information that highlights the benefits of at-home workouts.
  • Include links to sign up for virtual classes and where to access your on-demand library in your newsletters and social media posts

3. Tailor to Busy Schedules

One way to help members stick to their workout routines is to offer shorter classes during the holiday season. While many fitness classes can traditionally run between 50-60 minutes, consider offering shorter classes (anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes) during the holidays to give your clients more opportunities to fit their favorite ones into their hectic schedules.

4. Test New Class Types & Group Fitness Workouts

The holiday season is a great time to get creative and to test out new hybrid fitness offerings. The holidays are all about festivity, so lean into it and have fun. For example, consider adding a 15–20-minute relaxation and stretching routine to your digital library and market it as a way to unwind and alleviate some of the holiday stress. Any time you test a new class, be sure to follow up with your members to get customer feedback so you can gauge client interest and class success.

5. How You Communicate Matters

When your members opt to participate in virtual classes, fitness instructors can’t greet clients individually or offer tailored feedback the same way they’re able to during in-person workouts—but that doesn’t mean they can’t still create a sense of community and make class participants feel supported and encouraged.

Be sure to remind your fitness instructors that creating a welcoming digital environment is just as important as doing so for in-person classes. You should also ask them to explain each movement and modifications in advance so that members of all fitness levels feel comfortable and will be able to participate.

Conclusion

The holiday season can be a challenging time for facility owners and members alike. Help your clients stay on-track and engaged by utilizing the hybrid fitness model to offer flexible workout options that can be done in-person or from the comfort of home. When handled effectively, virtual classes can have a big impact on your gym’s profitability, while also keeping your members happy and their needs met.

To learn how EZFacility’s comprehensive gym management software can help save you time and money during the holiday season, schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour.

masked-check-in

EZFacility Software Release: Vaccine Tracking, Membership Docs, & More

« Blog Product Release Notes | Written by Miranda Pruitt | | (0) Comments

In EZFacility’s latest software release, we are excited to deliver highly-anticipated features while continuing to build on the release of our new user interface earlier this year. Beyond the usability and time-saving advantages, EZFacility’s new user interface is where you’ll find the biggest and best enhancements our team has to offer. Updates in today’s release include vaccination tracking, flexible membership documents, expanded Google Analytics tracking, and email marketing capabilities. Let’s take a deep dive into the enhancements in EZFacility’s most recent release!

Continue reading “EZFacility Software Release: Vaccine Tracking, Membership Docs, & More”
5 Key Performance Indicators for Fitness Businesses

Top 5 KPIs for Any Fitness Business

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

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics used to gauge progress toward a desired goal or target, and they provide focus for strategic and operational improvement by establishing an analytic baseline by which to measure success. By tracking and analyzing these important values, you’ll be able to visually assess how effectively you’re meeting your fitness center’s goals and objectives.

But with so much data out there, how do fitness business owners decide which metrics matter, and which ones to track? Read on to learn five of the most popular KPIs used for operations financial benchmarking, increasing conversion rates, improving client retention rates, and managing facility center growth.

1. Revenue per Client/Member

The #1 most tracked KPI for gym and fitness studio owners is Revenue per Client (RPC), a simple calculation determined by dividing annual revenue by number of clients. RPC is a quick way for business owners to determine how many members they will need to be profitable, which then allows them to design marketing strategies with quantifiable goals.

2. Average Class Attendance

Average Class Attendance (ACA) measures the percentage of gym goers who attend fitness classes (spin, yoga, Pilates, etc.) on a daily basis. This KPI is extremely important because group class offerings are one of the largest draws and biggest selling points for many gyms and health club owners. Understanding your facility’s ACA is also critical because it will determine the breakeven point and profitability of each class, allowing you to adjust your class offerings and frequency accordingly.

3. Client Retention Rate

Client Retention Rate measures the percentage of total members retained at the end of each reporting period. Your client retention rate is a critical KPI because it’s directly linked to overall profitability and long-term success. For example, if you notice your client retention rate is low, you’ll want to identify the cause as quickly as possible to remedy it and reduce the likelihood of future loss.

4. Profit Margin

Profit Margin (PM), which is calculated as a percentage of sales, tells you how much money you have left after paying the costs to run your fitness center. Reviewing the PM for all elements of your business allows you to see which areas are profitable, and which may be lacking. Identifying the areas that need improvement give you the opportunity to consider what changes can be implemented, or what additional programs or elements can be added, to turn those numbers around.

5. Average Daily Attendance

Average Daily Attendance, cited as a top KPI by nearly a quarter of fitness studio owners, tells you how many people come to your health club or fitness center, on average, per day. While this is a popular metric to track, it lacks the same level of insight as other KPIs because it doesn’t tell you why they came in, or when they came.

Conclusion

While the five Key Performance Indicators we addressed in this blog are specific to the fitness industry, KPIs are relevant and applicable to all businesses to ensure long-term viability and profitability. EZFacility’s extensive reporting suite can help you get an in-depth look under the hood of your business–including financial, point-of-sale, marketing, payroll, membership and training reports. Schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour to learn more

Fitness Equipment: Lease or Buy?

As a Gym Owner, Should you Lease or Buy Fitness Equipment?

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

To run a gym or workout facility, you’re going to need some fitness equipment. But many gym owners struggle with the decision of whether to buy or lease gym equipment. Members choose which gym to join based on several factors, but one of the most important variables is the equipment that’s available.

Whether you’re just starting out, or looking to make upgrades to your existing facility, there’s a lot of thought that needs to go into your equipment. Gym-goers want to see fitness equipment that’s modern, up-to-date, and user-friendly. You also want your inventory to attract new members, while still meeting the needs of current clients.

Your fitness equipment is arguably one of the most important decisions you’ll make—and has the potential to be one of the most expensive aspects of your business—so to help you decide which option is right for you, this blog will cover some of the pros and cons of buying gym equipment versus leasing equipment.

BUYING GYM EQUIPMENT

The main difference between buying gym equipment versus leasing equipment comes down to ownership. When you choose to purchase the equipment, that ownership can add value to your fitness center in several ways.

Pros of buying gym equipment:

  • You can customize it: Deciding on the aesthetics of your fitness facility is one of the most fun parts of opening a gym. If you purchase your gym equipment, you can customize it by choosing colors and branding your inventory to match the overall look and feel you want. Creating a cohesive environment also helps build a sense of community, which is attractive to both current and prospective members.
  • It gives you an asset: Ownership of fitness equipment is an asset, which becomes especially important for gym owners who decide to sell their fitness facility. The added value of owning your fitness equipment means you can ask for a higher selling price, and it may also entice buyers who don’t want to spend the time or money to find new inventory.
  • You can sell it to offset upgrade costs: Buying gym equipment is expensive, but another benefit to owning your own fitness equipment is that you can sell it to help offset upgrade costs. Not only does this help lessen the financial burden, it also keeps your facility modern and up-to-date, which is attractive to both current and potential new members.  

Cons of buying gym equipment:

  • High initial purchase price: Whether you purchase the equipment entirely out of pocket or have to make a large down payment on a loan, the initial purchase price will require a large amount of your cash reserves. Purchasing loans that require high monthly payments can also put pressure on future cash flows of your business.
  • Maintenance & upkeep costs: When you own your own fitness equipment, you’re the one responsible for covering repairs and maintenance costs. In addition to costing even more money, this can also be inconvenient for your members when the fitness equipment is unavailable.

LEASING EQUIPMENT

While buying gym equipment can offer several benefits like we talked about earlier, it’s not always the best option for gym owners. Leasing equipment can offer greater flexibility, and help you stay ahead of competitors.

Pros of leasing equipment:

  • Lower upfront cost: One of the biggest benefits to leasing equipment is the lower upfront costs required. Although some lease terms may require first and last month’s payment right away, the cost will still be lower than buying gym equipment.
  • Tax benefits: If you have an operating lease, you should be eligible to write off your monthly lease payments as an operating expense on your tax return per The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017. By deducting the monthly payments from your revenue, you’ll lower your taxable income.
  • Flexibility to upgrade more frequently: When business owners decide to purchase the equipment, they’ll most likely keep the inventory for as long as possible. This means there’s a greater likelihood for the equipment to become outdated, or in constant need of repair. Leasing equipment provides greater flexibility for upgrades since the lease term is usually shorter than the equipment’s lifespan.

Cons of leasing equipment:

  • Lack of ownership: The only reason for not leasing equipment is that you won’t have ownership of it. Some lease agreements allow equipment to be considered an asset (with corresponding liability) on the balance sheet, but that doesn’t mean you own it. Unless your lease includes an option to purchase the equipment for a reduced price at the end of the lease, you’ll need to return it once your contract period is up.

CONCLUSION

Deciding whether to buy or lease gym equipment can be daunting, but it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a fitness business owner. To figure out which option is best for you, you’ll need to thoroughly consider your fitness center’s needs and available resources to determine which approach makes sense for your business at any stage of growth.

To learn how EZFacility’s gym management software can help you stay organized and on top of your finances so you can successfully grow your business, schedule a free online demonstration and personalized product tour.

Best Practices for Gym Membership Pricing

How to Price Gym Memberships in 2021

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

Once upon a time, gyms were separated into two pricing categories—budget gyms and elite fitness clubs. Over the years, however, fitness businesses began expanding offerings and experiences, creating the need for new membership models and pricing strategies.

Today, many gyms use a variety of pricing models to satisfy their membership base and their bottom line. But with so many to choose from, it can be difficult and overwhelming to figure out which membership options and pricing models are right for you.

In this blog, we’ll compare a few different options to help you determine which best suits your business needs. 

What is a pricing strategy?

A pricing strategy is the approach you take to determine what you should charge for your products and services. It’s one of the most challenging and important decisions you’ll make as a gym owner.

If you set your prices too low, you’ll risk losing money and overcrowding your gym. On the other hand, if you set your prices too high, you’ll risk outpricing a large number of potential clients and may lose existing clients to competitors who charge less.

What is the average gym membership price?

According to a recent survey by RunRepeat, which analyzed the prices of 16 U.S. gym chains, the average cost of a monthly membership is $37.71.

The average monthly membership fee for some of the most popular gyms are as follows:

  • $47 for 24 Hour Fitness
  • $39 for Anytime Fitness
  • $40 for Gold’s Gym
  • $30 for LA Fitness
  • $100 for Lifetime Fitness
  • $10 for Planet Fitness
  • $50 for Snap Fitness

Popular Membership Options

When determining your pricing structure, keep in mind that cost isn’t the only important factor. Many people are actually willing to pay more if they feel the value and experience is worth the price. Conversely, others may be extremely cost-driven and base their decision solely on the cheapest option.

Below are three common membership options to consider:

  • Monthly membership: A monthly membership fee is one of the most common types of pricing structure. With this model, members pay a set fee every month. Most gyms offer 12-month contracts to be paid monthly, or a set annual fee. Some gyms opt to offer contract-free memberships, but charge initiation fees.
  • Pay as you go: The pay as you go model is an attractive option for gym goers who don’t want to feel tied down. This has become an increasingly popular pricing structure as fewer people want to feel locked into a contract when there are more flexible options available.
  • Hybrid model: When the pandemic hit, fitness businesses had to shift to digital offerings in order to survive. And while restrictions have been lifted in most states, many people have become accustomed to the convenience and flexibility that digital fitness offerings provide—but they still want the option to visit a physical facility.

Under the hybrid 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.

Conclusion

Determining the right pricing strategy for your facility can be the difference between success or failure. Your pricing will impact every aspect of your business, so it’s critical to do your research and invest the time to get it right. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so you may want to consider offering a combination of membership options at different price points to figure out what works best for you and your members.

To learn how EZFacility can help you streamline operations—from online gym scheduling and text messaging, to point of sale and automated billing—click here to schedule a free demo and live online demonstration.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.