With January 1 comes an influx of New Year’s resolutions and with those, an influx of new clients looking to make a change. As a studio owner, you have a unique opportunity to shepherd this wave of motivation and turn it into long term habits and positive results.
Often, the biggest hurdle for new students looking to make and sustain a lifestyle change is simply feeling overwhelmed by all of the newness: new habits, a new practice, a new sport, new studio rules and logistics, new people… it can be a lot.
You can make their transition to enthusiastic participant more enjoyable — and more lasting — by creating a space for fitness that encourages participants to return. From the little touches to the broad strokes of personality you infuse into your space, how your studio creates an enjoyable place to welcome new students influences their experience and your bottom line.
Knowing you’ll be inundated with newbies this winter, here are some things to consider to make your studio extra conducive to new habits, big growth and great word of mouth marketing.
Offer intro classes and intro packages for new clients
Commitment can be scary, especially for folks new to working out. Make it extra easy for new class-goers to sign up by offering trial weeks or discounted packages that get them excited to try out your services and prevent them from feeling overwhelmed by easing them into the new habit. If your studio requires students to use specific equipment — grippy socks, yoga mats or boxing wraps — consider offering free rentals or discounted purchases for first-time New Year’s students. To sweeten the deal, and make the transition from novice to fully-committed, consider crediting the value of the intro package towards a longer-term membership when someone signs up for more classes.
Talk up your uniqueness
What you do and what you offer is special and unique: you want the right students who want what you offer to join you in your studio. Use your studio’s atmosphere and marketing tools to emphasize the benefits and uniqueness of your brand and class experience; this will ensure new folks coming in are clear on what they’re getting and why they can only get that from you. You’ll attract the perfect clients to build your roster and generate excellent word-of-mouth excitement for the very custom services you offer.
Focus on the basics
Ensure you have a variety of beginner-level classes at different times of day. Many of the new clients coming to you in January will need more instruction. Offering classes that emphasize the basics will help them feel safe, confident and prepared.
Make policies and procedures clear
No one enjoys feeling out of the loop, so make your studio policies are friendly but firm and as clear as possible. Post these in your studio and point them out to new clients, and always offer to talk out the details. You may also wish to send an automatically-generated email when they sign up to highlight the things they need to know (Will they need gear? When should they arrive? How can they cancel a class? Do you have towels?) and ask them to digitally sign that they’ve read and understood. Pro tip: make your policies a little clever and fun to read. These can be easier to retain and make for a talking piece in the studio.
Create a January challenge
For clients motivated by big goals or competition, a community challenge might be a way to help solidify their new habits and create a sense of camaraderie in your studio. Consider a “x-number of classes in January” model or, if your format permits, a tally of total miles ridden, rowed or run across the month. Offer incentives, like free classes in February or healthy goodies and track progress in a public space in the studio: it creates conversation, healthy competition and adds a layer of client ownership to their workout experience.
Host a community night
Little is more motivating for a new client coming into a space than to feel like the community is welcoming, comfortable and enjoyable. Host a gathering for your current clients and prospective or newly-joined students to get people talking. A healthy potluck, wellness talk or wine mixer can foster excitement about coming into — and staying in — your space.
Send a postcard
Personal touches tell clients you value their contribution to your studio and that you value them as a person. Send a real live paper postcard in the mail to the address they give you when they sign their waiver, just to say thanks for coming in. It’ll keep your classes top of mind and encourage them to come back.