Here are the top 5 ways to cultivate an inclusive community within your fitness business
- Encourage Group Exercise
- Fitness Challenges and Competitions
- Host Social Events
- Create Online Groups
- Off-Site Workouts
Learn how to build an inclusive community at your gym
Ever wondered why specialised fitness businesses have seen a yearly growth rate that outperforms traditional health clubs by more than 500% on average? Well, because those who can facilitate a more immersive and tight-knit experience are more likely to attract the modern day consumer.
In fact, boutique fitness businesses have become game changers in the industry by embracing the importance of cultivating an inclusive gym community as a means to enhance the overall customer experience. Data shows that a sense of community is one of the top motivators for consumers to join and attend a gym. As such, connectivity, relationships and support have become key features members look for when selecting their gym.
So how do you start your journey toward building a more inclusive gym environment for your members? You create a community.
One of the most effective methods of doing this is through the provision of group exercise where members have the opportunity to workout together in a supported group setting. Why is this important? A strong community will result in higher member achievements, retention and referral rates. There is truly strength in numbers. This is one of the key reasons group training has risen in popularity over the last few years and become a worldwide fitness trend. This is highlighted by the ASCMs Worldwide Study of Fitness Trends, which found group training to be at number two. The annual growth is demonstrated by the fact that group fitness only made the top 20 in 2017 coming in at number 6 and increased to number 2 in the 2018 survey.
The truth is that social experiences are considered the highest motivating factor for joining and staying at a gym. So let’s drive into 5 different strategies you could utilise to build an inclusive gym community.
Encourage Group Exercise
Offering engaging experiences such as group classes will be a great place to start your journey to building a fitness family. This will not only provide an opportunity for your staff to start building relationships but also encourage involvement from the clients during these workouts. 90% of club members say they value communication from staff and will help drive higher retention rates from your clients.
These classes allow you to bring members together who share similar fitness goals and aspirations, resulting in more motivated members and higher member achievements. Why? Because let’s be honest these classes will create a higher level of accountability than any solo workout can. In fact, risk of cancellation is 56% higher among members who just use gym equipment compared to those who attend group training. This means that yes the member’s will feel inspired, but it will intensify their workouts and yield better results.
Research has found that members who are engaged in group training and classes are more likely to be long-term members. So what are you waiting for? Start introducing some simple classes such as HIT training or bootcamps, these will require minimum basic equipment and allow you to get started straight away.
Fitness Challenges and Competitions
Implementing fitness challenges and competitions into your gym is a fun and innovative way to keep your members engaged and increase member satisfaction. This tool will help stimulate member motivation by introducing a competitive edge, while creating a sense of community and encouraging these members to keep coming back.
This same concept of fitness gamification is expected to grow, as studies have found that turning fitness into a game is an effective way of keeping members engaged in exercise. It will provide a fun and collaborative environment, while making your members feel like they are part of something. Don’t be afraid to get creative with these challenges, the sky’s the limit! Here’s some examples below that you could try out:
- 21 Day Challenge
- Most Club Visits Challenge
- Muscle Up Competition
- Squat Competition
- Most Calories Burned Challenge
Hosting these challenges and competitions could lead to other benefits such as increased word of mouth and pave the way to an influx of user generated content, both of which are highly valuable marketing tools for your business.
Host Social Events
Creating an inclusive and interactive culture where your members know each other and engage in socialising is a great goal to strive for. Hosting social events several times a year is a great way to create social cohesion within your gym, improving the overall member experience. Many successful fitness businesses plan and run quarterly social events, a mixture of fitness related and social events. These can consist of christmas parties, rock climbing, blood drives or educational events focused on health and nutrition.
When building an interactive culture you want to encourage your members to bond with each other, not just your staff. It will give your clients another reason to look forward to training at your gym. Social interaction also affects overall member satisfaction, in fact 70% of club members who had made new friends through their membership self identify as club promoters. These members will be extremely valuable to your business, you truly should not underestimate the power of word of mouth. These club promoters will be talking to their family and friends and increasing client referrals.
Create Online Groups
The rise of social media platforms over the last few years has revolutionised how businesses can interact with their members. As such, it’s no surprise that most companies within the fitness industry rely on social media to facilitate two-way communication.
Creating a community platform on social media is an opportunity to connect motivated and like-minded people together – making the client’s experience more personal and valuable. How do you do this? One of the most engaging platforms right now is Facebook with the ability to freely share information in a private group setting. So, posting gym announcements, feedback surveys and personal congratulations can all contribute to the creation of your little fitness family.
Such platforms can even become a portal your members use to seek support and advice, not only from you but other gym members. A place to share their ideas, exciting news and more importantly provide feedback to your business. This will not only cultivate a close community, but also improve the average lifetime value of your customers, resulting in long-term revenue generation.
Though creating a group seems relatively straight forward, it’s important to remember that you have a commitment to both online safety and member privacy. So, be sure to facilitate a judgement-free zone and constantly monitor the content being posted. Beyond this, encouraging your clients to share their thoughts and ideas can actually be a great way to gain business insights. This not only allows you to create a sense of inclusivity but to also gain information that can help maximise member retention rates and implement new processes. So why not fill two needs with one deed? Improve your strategies and product offerings while growing a fitness community.
Having an average retention rate in the mid-60% range, the fitness industry is known to see members come and go through their club doors. Why? The truth is, some of your members might be bored and feel like they need a change to get a spark of motivation again. Repetition and unvaried fitness environments can greatly affect and diminish retention rates, even the most loyal customers can move on should a gym environment become void of excitement.
To avoid your members from seeking out new experiences, you must keep things different and exciting! Organise some off-site workouts and bring your clients together in a different environment, which could be a simple mountain climb, beach workout or park bootcamp. Implementing these field trips on a regular basis can greatly assist in your members getting to know each other and cultivate a sense of community.
Build your community the right way
Whether you run a large franchise, yoga studio or niche gym – creating a sense of community and family in your business can lead to great results. In fact, retention levels, customer satisfaction and revenue generation are just a few ways community can affect your bottom line.
Remember though, good things take time! When it comes to group development, quality is better than quantity. This means moving forward it’s best to create an actionable plan that can guide you on your way to starting your fitness family.
Discover how VIGYR can help you cultivate and grow a community within your fitness business
Looking for an extra edge when trying to foster an inclusive gym community? Well, sometimes it’s the small things! For instance, sending out an email following group workouts or keeping members up to date with the latest training schedule can be an action worth a thousand words.
This is why we built VIGYR, a gym software designed with the end consumer in mind – maximising results for both you and your members. So, whether you run a small gym studio or lead a global fitness empire VIGYR Gym Software can help drive business growth like never before.