Spin studios are opening rooms for row, barre studios are offering yoga and many other types of boutique studios are offering very diverse types of classes. But, is that a smart decision?
THE CASE FOR DIVERSIFYING
Opening up your studio to multiple fitness disciplines also means opening your business up to new types of clients. For example, people who never had an interest in martial arts classes may come in to a MMA studio to check out the tai chi.
Offering more diverse classes can help you better serve your current clients and sell them more classes or bigger packages. While some people can do the same workout three times a week for years and stay energized, others get bored after just a few classes. New types of classes create interests. By offering a variety of workouts, you can keep clients engaged at your studio.
Offering more than one type of class helps your clients get a more balanced fitness routine. “Too much repetition of any one type of exercise is not good for your body,” says Jeana Anderson, fitness instructor and founder of the fitness blog A Sweat Life. “It’s important to reinforce the importance of balance and recuperation with your clients. That’s the reason HiiT studios are bringing in yoga classes. They are saying to their clients, ‘it’s as important to stay flexible and help your muscles recuperate as it is to strength train.’ ”
MARKETING NEW CLASSES TO CLIENTS
If your studio is known for its high intensity workouts, clients may question the credibility of a restorative class. Anderson recommends properly educating clients about why you’ve started to offer these new classes. “Education is everything,” she says. “People need to understand why you are bringing this new type of class in. When marketing these classes, keep reminding people of how these workouts will create balance that is better for their bodies.”
If one of your spin instructors gets certified in Pilates, convincing clients that this person is qualified enough to get up in front of the room to teach may be an uphill battle. Jeana recommends bringing in instructors with the right certifications and experiences. Be sure to promote the new instructors’ backgrounds on the class description and staff pages of your website.
THE CASE FOR STREAMLINING
From a revenue generation standpoint, offering as many kinds of classes as you can to attract as many different clients as you can makes sense. But, this approach can create challenges from both an operational perspective and a marketing perspective.
From an operational perspective, having a large menu of classes can dilute your core business. Giving your business a focus on just one area of fitness means you can put all of your efforts into being the best studio of its kind in the area. When you introduce a completely different type of workout in your business, you and your staff have to become experts in the new activities. While you can bring on instructors who have dedicated their careers to specific disciplines, you want to be able to adequately promote all activities in your studio. All staff members should be able to perform and speak intelligently about all activities in your studio, even if they don’t teach a particular class. Extensive training of your existing staff may be required.
If your studio is known for its amazing Pilates classes, you risk losing that cache once you begin offering classes in another fitness discipline. This can confuse current clients and dissuade new clients from giving your studio a try. From a marketing perspective, you can more clearly communicate what you do and why you are the best at it when you specialize. Offering fewer types of classes allows clients to develop more accurate expectations for the type of workouts they’ll get at your studio.
When a studio offers too many different types of classes, it can weaken the qualities that distinguish it from an impersonal, big box gym. It is easier to build a reputation as the go-to studio with personal service or as the local expert if you have clearly communicated your knowledge, philosophy and approach to fitness.