When we become qualified fitness instructors, we leave feeling great about our teaching ability, but no one really tells us how to run our classes successfully as a business.
I’ve been there and know exactly how you feel. I now have two successful businesses, but I’ll be the first to admit I made lots of mistakes along the way. I would love to share with you my top tips to make sure fitness instructors and business owners just like you don’t make the same mistakes I made at the beginning of my journey.
Keep reading to find out four of my top tips for boosting your business in the fitness industry!
Do your clients range from children to teenagers and all the way through to adults? Maybe you even have some classes and clients that you do not even enjoy teaching. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of being a ‘yes man’ when you’re self-employed and need the money- I totally get it, I’ve been there! We can feel overwhelmed with the amount of preparation involved when we feel like we have to offer an array of different classes to a range of clients. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! You’re allowed to be picky; in fact, I’d highly recommend it if you want to be successful.
For me, it’s about keeping it simple and choosing your ideal client wisely. I personally made the decision to work with women mainly over the age of 40 who hate going to the gym. When I heard the statistic that 75% of the population don’t want to exercise due to fear of being judged I knew I wanted to do something about it!
For fitness instructors/professionals the norm is to work extremely hard to get all the qualifications under the sun in order teach everything out there. You’re doing this because you want to make yourself an all rounded instructor that everyone is in high demand for. However, not only do you struggle to then choreograph and plan all your classes, you will also feel overwhelmed and stretched! When you get to a point where you feel like you need to teach everything to everybody, this does our marketing absolutely no favours. If you teach twelve different classes a week to twelve different types of ideal client… you’ve got to do twelve different types of marketing (eek)! Unfortunately, one size marketing does not fit all.
Now that you have been picky and you have chosen your ideal client, you can get really specific with your marketing. Stop wasting money on broad marketing campaigns which blindly target every Tom, Dick and Harry. You want to be much more specific with your marketing- as I said above, one size marketing does NOT fit all. I got really specific about who my ideal client was, what they spoke about, what their interests were, what they looked like and what their problems were. Whenever I sit down to write a piece of marketing, I have those specific people in my head. With my ideal client in mind, my marketing can speak to the conversation in their head which says ‘oh, they’re talking to me!’ You want to learn what your client’s ‘problem’ is and then offer them a solution to that problem through your classes. Not only are you helping yourself by being ‘picky’, you are also helping your ideal client to discover something which could be their perfect escapism.
To be successful in the fitness industry it is imperative that you have a unique selling point (USP). What can you offer that others do not?
In order to find your USP I urge you to begin by asking yourself this question- ‘what is your why’? In my opinion, why you do what you do is exactly the thing which stands you out from the crowds. It’s not always about finding a gap in the market, people will buy based on YOU and what YOU stand for. Knowing and talking about your ‘why’ is one of the most important things for marketing and growing your business. Once you have found your purpose, show it and share it!!
How do you know you have found your purpose?
- Your ‘why’ should make you tingle.
- Your ‘why’ should make a positive impact on other people’s lives. It should make you want to get out of bed because if not someone else’s life will suffer.
- Your ‘why’ should make you feel motivated and happy.
- Your ‘why’ is very rarely about money or financial gain – that’s a result. It’s a purpose, cause or belief – it’s the very reason your business exists.
My ‘why’ and what gets me out of bed in the morning is my passion for providing women with confidence, allowing time for themselves and enabling them to find something they LOVE to do in order to get fit!
There are so many fitness classes out there which are amazing! I love that there are so many opportunities for people to find something they love to do as a form of fitness, and to have such a vast range of different genres is incredible. However, this does also mean that we, as fitness instructors and business owners, will always be wanting to grab attention of our ideal client. Have you heard of incentive marketing? In a world where consumers have more choices than ever, incentive marketing helps you to grab the attention of your ideal client. For incentive marketing to be successful, you must know what your audience want and will benefit from.
Offering a freebie is a brilliant way to use incentive marketing in the fitness industry. Whether you do regular free taster classes or offer them as a one-time promotion it is sure to encourage lots of people to try out your class.
People buy based on FEELING. When your potential future customer sees an advert for your class whilst scrolling through Facebook and they like what they see, they may start to look at your website or your page and they will become what is called a ‘warm lead’. They’re interested…. but not quite ready to buy yet. This is where your FREE taster class comes in. If they see that there’s an option to ‘try before they buy’ then they are much more likely to do just that and book their freebie on the spot there and then! Otherwise, you risk losing them to the never-ending abyss that is the Facebook news-feed!! When they come along to your taster class in person, they will be able to try it out for themselves and experience the joy your class offers. Remember- people buy based on FEELING.
“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel”.- Maya Angelou.
Don’t forget why you do what you do. You want as many people through your door as possible, getting them moving, dancing, exercising- whatever it may be. We want people to feel empowered to move more and to find something they love doing as a form of fitness. Offering the FREE taster class breaks down the barriers which people place when they know upfront cost is involved and makes physical activity more accessible and enticing.
Yes you’ve got new clients using the incentive above, but don’t ONLY concentrate on getting new clients. In this industry it can be a struggle to retain your clients. So, what can you provide which will make them want to stay with you?
Remember your ‘why’… why did you start your business in the first place? You are passionate about what you do and you want your clients to benefit from the service you provide.
Did you read my blog ‘is it time to stop charging pay as you go’? Pay as you go, in my opinion, does not serve you or your clients well.
The first problem is that you have no idea from week to week how busy you’re going to be. You haven’t got a clue if a class is going to be busy or not and you can’t plan, project or guarantee your monthly income. Secondly, your clients have little to no incentive to turn up to your class. Isn’t the reason they’re coming to your class because they want to feel better? They want to be slimmer, more toned or they want to do something for them, their ‘me-time’? But by charging pay as you go you are not holding them to task.
My clients pay per month and this gives them the motivation to get out and come to class even when it’s raining outside and they just want to cuddle up on the sofa (we all know the feeling)! By paying in advance they are committing to improving their health and well-being. They turn up because they have invested in themselves and have ‘skin in the game’
Asking for monthly payments is not yet seen as the norm in the fitness industry. I understand that transitioning away from this method, if this what you have always done, can seem daunting as an instructor. However, the way in which we pay for many things now is by signing up to monthly packages (car insurance, home insurance, bills, memberships etc). So, why should fitness classes be any different?
In order for this to be successful you want to ensure that you ADD VALUE to what you offer. You’re not just a class! I personally believe that a fantastic way to add value to your classes is to offer packages. Know your ideal client well enough to know how to design packages that will add value to them and enrich their experience with you!
So, let’s say you’ve made the decision to scrap pay as you go and offer monthly payment packages, your clients are now turning up to classes every week as they have already paid for them in advance. They are feeling motivated! Due to their regular attendance they will be experiencing all of the positive benefits which your classes provide and which you are so passionate about. Isn’t this why you started your classes in the first place?
As they see the improvements this is making in their life over time, they will want to continue with you for so much longer than if they were simply paying as they go and only attending when they feel like it. To conclude, this will not only benefit yourself so that you know where you’re at each month financially, it also encourages retention as you are continuing to benefit and serve your clients!
Is it time you started implementing these 4 key steps in your fitness business?
Thank you for reading!