When marketing your studio to attract new clients, it’s easy to have tunnel vision. You know what works for your core group of clients, and you let that inform how you go about attracting more people to your studio. But you may be limiting yourself.
To fill more classes, consider targeting a more diverse group of clients. By appealing to a range of ages, as well as to both men and women, you can increase class attendance and the revenue coming into your studio.
ATTRACT MORE BABY BOOMERS
Every day, 10,000 people turn 65 in the United States. People 55 and over are now the fastest-growing membership segment for the fitness industry. Targeting this demographic presents huge revenue opportunities.
To appeal to clients in their 50s, 60s or even 70s, you may want to offer a few lower-intensity classes each week. If you offer personal training at your studio, there are big opportunities for pros who are trained to work with this demographic. Typically, personal trainers are taught how to keep people motivated and help them reach specific goals, like losing 10 pounds in three months or getting in shape for a road race. But boomers demand more specialized workouts.
To create a comfortable and welcoming environment for boomers in your class, make playlists that mix popular songs from today with some up-tempo Motown and classic rock hits. (Your younger clients may appreciate mixing up the playlist, too.) When designing certain classes, include balance work, exercises that promote stability, mobility and joint flexibility, as well as body-mind exercises. These are important activities for clients in their 50s and 60s.
Many older clients prefer to work out with older instructors, because is makes them feel less isolated and intimidated. If all of your instructors are in their 20s and early 30s, you may want to consider bringing in a more seasoned instructor to teach a class or two each week.
When you are marketing to baby boomers, focus more on your studio’s ability to change their lives rather than just transform their physique. Your marketing should promote positive messages, focus on the benefits of exercise, be supportive and inclusive, and focus on practical possibilities. Promote the aspects of your classes that help clients combat the effects of aging.
Remember, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is the 50 and over crowd. A saturation of images of young hard bodies on your social media feeds will turn this group off. Instead, post images of healthy, fit people of all ages.
Baby boomers want to believe that 50 is the new 30. Avoid using words like “senior” or “mature” when referring to older clients. Appeal to boomers’ self-image and aging phobia by using terms like “active” and “healthy lifestyle” in your marketing.
Your most effective recruitment tool for new boomer clients will probably be your current clientele, since word-of-mouth marketing ranks among the most powerful motivators with boomers.
ATTRACT MORE MEN
If you’re interested in getting more men into your studio, start with the names of your classes. Calling a class “Disco Spin” or “Stretch and Tone” is like spraying man repellent. Consider offering some more gender neutral-sounding classes, like “Cycle Boot Camp,” “Spring Training,” or “Cardio Hard Core.”
The music played during class can help more men feel at home in your studio. You may want to swap out Britney Spears’ “Work, B**ch” for something more gender neutral like Bleachers’ “I Wanna Get Better.”
Historically, women participated in more group fitness classes, like aerobics and step, than men. While the entire fitness industry has thankfully become much less divisive, some gender stereotypes die hard. To dispel some of these stereotypes in your studio, offer classes that limit choreography. If applicable, incorporate plyometrics, medicine balls, calisthenics and sprinting in lieu of a complicated series of movements.
Of course, one surefire way to get more men in the door is to invite them. If you speak to men directly, you can explain the benefits of your classes and correct any false ideas they may have about your workouts being for women. Ask your instructors and clients to bring the fitness-minded men in their lives. It may sound simple, but the direct approach may work the best.
TO ATTRACT MORE MILLENNIALS
With just a quick glance, millennials (ages 18 to 35) may not seem like the most advantageous market to pursue. After all, 9.1 percent of millennials are out of work (as compared to 5.5 percent of the total population) and shoulder an average of $30,000 of student loan debt upon graduation. But, studies show that this generation, also dubbed the Wellness Generation, is far more likely to spend the money they do have on health and fitness than previous generations.
One way to attract millennial clients – and then convert them into loyal regulars – is to create social opportunities in your studio. Set up a fitness community with a social subculture to attract devoted clients who hang out with each other after class and proudly wear your branded gear around town. Make room for a lounge area or refreshment bar in your studio as a way to get people to stick around and socialize. If you don’t have the space or resources, consider hosting cocktail parties after your last class of the day or juice tastings on the weekends.
When marketing to millenials, focus on the total results your classes will deliver. While they are spending money on fitness, they are also looking to get the most bang for their buck. Studios that offer a single activity do not do as well with this generation of clients as studios that offer a full-body workout. In response to this trend, many indoor cycling studios have begun to incorporate weights into their classes. Along the same lines of efficiency, millenials are also drawn to classes that can burn 700 to 1000 calories in a 60-minute workout.