Events at your gym or studio provide a unique opportunity to expand your reach while having fun and engaging with your clients. They help you invite potential clients into your space, encourage your existing members to bond so they feel like they’re a part of a community, and build momentum around your regular schedule of classes. There are so many ways to get creative with hosting events and we’ve rounded up a few ways to get started.
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Reinvigorate existing members
Hosting a class with a theme or for a particular kind of member can help give your clients renewed excitement around working out. Think about the nature and needs of your client base and how you might be able to tie those in with upcoming holidays or events. If your customers are mainly young women, for example, explore trying a partner-based class like couples yoga or a cardio-based singles night for Valentine’s Day. For Easter, Mother’s Day, or other family-related holidays, consider offering a workout that includes kids. After the class, if possible, provide food that encourages people to stick around and makes the event feel more like a special occasion.
Alternatively, you can host a workout that’s marketed as a party. Mindful raves like Daybreaker, which begin with yoga and end in a dance frenzy, are becoming increasingly popular. You can do your own take on this by hiring a DJ, or just preparing a playlist yourself, which goes from guided stretching into freeform cardio. Incorporate strobe lights, glow sticks, or other party favors for more of a social vibe. If it’s a hit, consider adding a weekly Friday night happy hour style class that incorporates those elements. Events are a great way to test out an idea you have and see if they resonate with your client base, or at the very least give you the opportunity to talk casually with clients outside of class and solicit honest feedback.
Connect with the community
Are you ready to start attracting a whole new group of clients? Think about offering your studio up as event space, for book club, knitting group, a phone bank, or other ongoing gathering that your current members might be interested in. If you’re a CrossFit studio, your members and new clients nervous to try you out might appreciate a weekly “education” night to focus on form and how to execute new moves. Or maybe you have students who are interested in becoming instructors or trainers and you can host an open house with light snacks and time to network and ask questions with your staff.
For wider community events, such as a book club or phone bank, it’s a win-win situation. It might not be a huge moneymaker, but you’ll get people curious about your services while they’re there. Some other simple community-based events can include movie nights, a talent show, or open mic night.
Advertise these events by placing fliers at your front desk and at nearby businesses. Get some free promotion through your local newspaper too by submitting your gathering to their online events calendar. (Most publications have an easy way to send the information through their website.) Even a couple of events like this can snowball into more as locals realize your space is open to them. And if people in the area start thinking about your studio as a place that supports them, they’ll be more likely to support you.
Partnering with charities is a great way to attract potential new members while also giving back to your community. Host a blood drive through your Red Cross chapter or collect items for your local food bank. In exchange for a donation, you can give away a “thank you” free class to non-members.
Also consider hosting a fundraising event for a non-profit in the community. People who are involved with the charity will automatically be there with their friends to support the cause, and these organizations often have listservs through which they promote their events. A great option for studios is some kind of workout-related fundraiser like a Dance-A-Thon with healthy snacks for purchase. Donate some classes or merchandise to the fundraiser as a promotional tactic too.
Celebrate the start of workout challenges
Gather more momentum around workout and nutrition challenges by kicking them off with an event. You can begin the evening with a short introduction on the benefits of participating in the program and tips for staying on track. Then, move to some kind of bonding exercise where members fill out a worksheet on their goals and buddy up with each other to review them. The last (and best part) can include some activity related to nutrition such as a cooking class or a healthy potluck. Include this event in the cost of the challenge as an incentive to sign up. Then, at the door, offer people who haven’t signed up a chance to sign up now or pay for the evening.
Gain exposure through partnerships
Sometimes the only reason a person in the neighborhood hasn’t checked out your studio is because they’re already going somewhere else. But if you can encourage them to take a class with you, they might just come back.
Look at what other studios in the area are offering that might appeal to your clients. Then, reach out to those studios to organize a class swap. If you’re a yoga studio, for example, consider hosting a Zumba class with a popular teacher who works nearby. You’ll meet a new network of clients who might be interested in trying out more yoga classes and enjoy the benefits of growing the fitness community in your area.