Business owners in the health and fitness industry have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic more than most.
Gym and fitness studio owners went from fully in-person events to 100% virtual — practically overnight. And if your gym didn’t have an online presence before this, it likely became quickly apparent that you needed one, and fast, if you were going to continue operating.
But with more and more people shuttered at home, stagnant and stressed, health and fitness options became more important than ever — and more in-demand.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or at a loss for creative new ways to power on this year, you’ve come to the right place.
Hear from businesses — just like yours — in our Health and Fitness Power Hour
Our focus is on helping small businesses be successful online. That’s why we recently held a Power Hour for Health and Fitness businesses, bringing together industry professionals with our marketing experts to chat about how they have been able to power on this year.
While we have the marketing expertise to help you create a strong website for your fitness business and choose the right images for your fitness marketing, we recognize that in times like this, sometimes there’s nothing more helpful than hearing directly from peers in your industry.
In this recorded panel discussion, you’ll hear how four Constant Contact customers in the fitness industry have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our panel of real-world health and fitness industry professionals will discuss:
- How COVID-19 has impacted their business
- The changes they have made to bring their offerings online
- How they are keeping their community close-knit (at a distance!)
- Looking toward the future of their business in a post-pandemic world
Ready to find more customers and get expert fitness marketing advice, all in one place?
4 takeaways from our Health and Fitness Power Hour
1. The community you’ve built for your business doesn’t stop just because you’re virtual
If you run a gym or fitness center, or even if you’ve simply been a member of one, you probably recognize how tightknit the community can become. Fellow members are promoted from workout partner to family and conversations in-class often bleed over into the parking lot or even for post-class drinks.
But the pandemic has certainly put a damper on social activities, including those in the health and fitness industry.
Just because your classes are virtual and you may not be able to meet in person at this time doesn’t mean that the community you’ve built has to come to an end.
For Brooks, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Resilience Fitness in Hopkinton, MA, continuing to build relationships virtually is as simple as using people’s names and giving them feedback.
”For me, it’s continuing to build that relationship, even through the virtual connectivity. Use people’s names often, give them feedback, and [don’t pretend] you’re by yourself and talking to nobody… you’re talking to people on the other side of it. You need to foster those relationships because that’s how they’re going to stay with you… you want these people coming day after day after day with you, not just for the next week and then see you later.”
Brooks Farrar, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Resilience Fitness
Looking to build even more community within your client base? Brooks also noted that they started up clubs, such as a book club and a mountain biking club, to connect their members and create friendships that they wouldn’t ordinarily have.
Going above and beyond to keep your members or clients connected during this time will ensure that they will continue to support and patronize your business once we are in a post-COVID world.
2. Your client base can now be worldwide
Prior to COVID, it’s likely that your club’s members or patrons were local. They likely lived in the same town as your gym, or worked nearby, allowing them to attend your classes or utilize your space with ease.
But with your content now being online, suddenly your gym has no walls! You can now reach anyone, anywhere, using content you’ve created during this time.
Leslie Salmon Jones and Jeff W Jones, the power couple Founders of Afro Flow Yoga, have spent more than 12 years traveling the world for retreats. When reality hit in early March of 2020 that their events had been canceled and they would have no income coming in for the year, they quickly adapted, setting up a virtual studio in their living room. Suddenly, they were able to reach all of the communities they had been traveling to from their own home via virtual classes.
“The reality hit, I’d say by March 12th, that oh my goodness… We have no income coming in for the whole year, everything has been canceled. So, we quickly cleared the living room and got on a platform and by Sunday, March 15 we were streaming live on Facebook, Instagram, in our Zoom room, and got flooded. On Sunday morning we sent something out on our Constant Contact newsletter and thank goodness for that because we were able to connect with all of the communities locally where we had been traveling… so many people from those retreats were happy to be in our living room. It was actually a huge silver lining because that has always been a challenge, how do we connect these communities… it put the fire under our butts to do that”
Leslie Salmon Jones, Co-Founder of Afro Flow Yoga
But this doesn’t mean you leave your in-person clients in the dust! Janine Myers, Owner of Janine the Machine Fitness, has returned to doing small in-person events — following all of the necessary guidelines and precautions — while also live-streaming the workouts for those at home. It has been a great balance for her client base, who tends to stray a little older and less tech-savvy.
“I think for me it’s opened a new door completely because it’s [widended] your reach. You can reach people farther away. And now I’m teaching in-person and on Zoom at the same time. So I have my in-person people in front of me and I have my camera and Zoom people on the screen. So now you have this whole group of people who can stay home and work out but you also have people in-person. So for me, I think it’s opened a huge, big new door that will increase… I think my business has done a little better with the classes since going virtual.”
Janine Myers, Owner of Janine the Machine Fitness
During this time, challenge yourself to consider what kinds of content your clients are looking for. At-home workouts, friendly for small spaces and limited equipment, will be appreciated by members who are looking to get a quality workout under restrictive conditions. The work you are doing now may result in increased membership later! People will remember what you did during this time to help them.
3. You have to remain innovative
Much like yoga, running a business demands flexibility, patience, and introspection.
In 2020, businesses that were willing to adapt and innovate saw the most success. This has been a big priority for Timothy Khanoyan, Co-Founder and President of Club High-Rise, a concierge health and wellness service in Boston.
“Something that has been a priority from the start of our business was always just trying to be innovative. You know, look at what others are doing, what the need is, ask a lot of questions, be good at surveying your community, responding to data and trends, and of course we’ve pivoted drastically and, again, the silver lining being that we would have never had the opportunity to create this content otherwise… so I think the strategy going forward is really just how do we continue to be innovative?”
Timothy Khanoyan, Co-Founder and President of Club High-Rise
Use this time to survey your clients and learn more about what they’re looking for in a fitness program at this time. But remember to think outside the box! Try to offer your clients something that they haven’t even thought of yet. Surprise them with a service that they never knew they needed!
4. Communication — with the right tools — is key
Last, but certainly not least, is communication.
At a time when we are all distanced, it’s important to stay in touch — virtually, of course.
Use your email list to reach current customers and keep them in the loop on your current offerings, new regulations if you’ve returned to in-person classes, and general business information that they may find important. Social media can be a great place to find new clients who maybe weren’t a member of your gym prior to the pandemic but are now looking for at-home options.
“In the beginning, communication was huge. We definitely used Constant Contact. I think the beauty of Constant Contact is all of those individual email lists. So I can segment this group with this list, and this group with this list or have them all into one. Communication was huge because they’re connected not just to the gym but they’re connected with other people and to us as the owners.”
Brooks Farrar, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Resilience Fitness
Segmentation can be an especially important tool during this time. Consider creating separate lists for in-person clients, virtual clients, and prospects. This way, you will be sending the right message, to the right people, at the right time, ensuring that you aren’t bombarding your clients’ inboxes with information that is not relevant to them.
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And even more Fitness content on our blog!
Meet the Panelists
Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Resilience Fitness
Leslie Salmon Jones and Jeff W Jones
Founders of Afro Flow Yoga
Co-Founder and President of Club High-Rise
Owner of Janine the Machine Fitness