We talk a lot about what brings people in to your studio or gym, whether it’s your clever marketing and promotions, your prime location, or your well-thought out brand and social media presence. But when it comes down to it, what keeps your customers coming back is a consistent and inspiring class experience. First priorities should be your instructors and your methodology, but below, we share a few of the key elements of a class that might be overlooked but that make a huge difference for your clients.
THE VOLUME OF YOUR MUSIC
You already know music can make or break your classes, but you know what else can? The sheer volume of it. If your music is so loud students leave class with their ears ringing, or too quiet that they find themselves getting distracted and focusing on their neighbor’s coughing instead of their vinyasa, it’s time to do a pulse check with your members and make sure that everything is set just right. “Just right” can of course vary from person to person, so make sure to add volume to the list of elements you consider when launching a new class type or series. If you’re going to test a class out on a select group of clients (or better yet, your staffers), make sure to include volume of the music along with your questions on pacing, movement, etc. as part of the class experience. (If you see your jar of earplugs emptying out after each class, that should be a good indicator, too.)
THE LEVEL OF LIGHTING
Are your members squinting in spin class when the lights flash on, or do they find themselves bumping into each other trying to find their bikes in the dark before class starts? Lighting can have a huge impact on your customer’s experience in your classes—and it isn’t always just about “too bright” or “too dark.” While the level of lighting impacts the comfort and orientation of your clients, think about color too. If you’re striving to lead a high-octane class, employing black lights or neon colors like hot pink or green is a fun way to dictate and energize the class experience. Classes with a more mellow vibe should focus on utilizing natural light or soft amber lighting to soothe and rejuvenate clients.
SMELLS VS. SCENTS
Scent is one of the strongest senses attached to memory, so we ask: what do you want your clients to remember about your studio? A lack of signature scent won’t necessarily take away from your class experience, but introducing a subtle, yet noticeable fragrance can communicate volumes about your brand and what you stand for. Take a page out of Abercrombie & Fitch or Anthropologie’s notebook and consider leaving an impression with a signature scent emanating in your front desk area, locker room or classroom. Our favorites for studio spaces include light citrus smells, like fresh orange or grapefruit, or spa-like aromas such as lavender or refreshing cucumber. Solidify your brand with your clients and keep them thinking about you every time they smell something similar or return to your studio and trigger that sense of familiarity.
CLARITY OF INSTRUCTIONS
When you say “change the resistance,” your clients may be wondering, “which way?” Stating the names “adho mukha shavasana” or “bhujangasana” as you move around class can leave beginner clients in the dark. This level of doubt or confusion may of course vary depending on the advanced level of your clients, but it bears noting that being clear in your instructions as an instructor is key to the class experience. If your members—new or old—feel like they don’t have a sense of what’s going on in class, and that they’re always trying to keep up, they’re probably not going to be eager to return to your studio or class. If you think you’re being pretty clear already, go one step further and define exactly what you’re doing next. Ask a fellow instructor or employee to participate in one of your classes, or try recording yourself to get a sense of where you might be able to elaborate, especially for those newbies.
Barring that basic standards of cleanliness at your studio are already met, take it to the next level by reducing visible clutter in your space. Your clients see your space as a place to escape and forget the stresses of their day and their home, so make sure you don’t add to it with yoga blocks tumbling down when they reach for one or an open closet with cleaning equipment and random knick-knacks from your last event exposed. Consider these helpful storage methods to make a huge difference in the appearance of your studio and add to that zen, boutique feeling of your space.