While temporary closures have brought your treadmills to a halt, that doesn’t mean the wheels of your business have to stop turning as well. Even in these incredibly challenging times, you can find creative ways to offer fitness resources and community connection, enabling your fitness center to retain and even recruit members when your doors reopen.
As Shelter in Place directives begin lifting across the country, now is the time to reconnect and reach out to members and prospects, and reestablish your value as their partner in health and wellness. Implement these suggestions to stay relevant and resourceful in today’s changing environment.
COMPLETE A WEBSITE AUDIT
Prior to reopening, be sure to revamp your website to make sure all content is current for new visitors, including any modifications to your operating hours and class schedule.
Share important information on your temporary club closure, safety protocols & practices, and at-home resources. Additionally, this may be an ideal time to reevaluate your website and take advantage of this opportunity to restructure and enhance the UX of your site. Your website is the best hub for members and prospects to reference important club information.
TIP: Timestamp your web pages with a note of “last updated, 5/11/2020,” so that web visitors know your website has been updated since reopening.
LEVERAGE NEW VIRTUAL PROGRAMS
Many brands rolled out new virtual fitness programming and at-home resources during temporary closures, and these offerings can now be leveraged for referrals and revenue. If you've offered free workout videos on YouTube or your website, encourage your members to share with friends and family. Virtual classes can be advertised with your membership packages or even sold separately to those not ready to return for in-person workouts.
Round out your offerings with partner discounts on other at-home fitness and nutritional products that add value for your members, in addition to fitness tips and blog articles they can share to position your brand as the go-to resource for healthy living.
OUTLINE YOUR SAFETY MEASURES
Whether it’s their first-ever visit or just the first visit since reopening, members are going to research and want to know what to expect when they walk through your doors. Outline your facility’s safety measures on your website, including precautions and protocols your facility is implementing to create a safe and comfortable environment for members and staff, and ways members and staff are doing their part to limit the spread of COVID-19, both in-club and at home. Display and share these safety measures online via your website and through communication on email and social media.
RESTRUCTURE MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS
Begin to think about how your membership structure and offerings may change upon reopening and even during your temporary closure. Will you build in virtual live-streaming and on-demand classes into your current offering, create add-ons for current members or create separate membership types for your virtual content? Clarify your new membership options and make it easier-than-ever to join and make account changes online.
MODIFIED HOURS + CLASS SCHEDULE
Continue to develop and inform on expectations for reopening. How will classes be structured? What will your hours of operation be? How will reservations be taken and monitored? Be transparent on these topics with your members and prospective members. Help build trust by showing you’re creating and working towards creating the safest and most comfortable environment possible upon reopening your club.
UPDATED AMENITIES LIST
Follow your local governing officials protocols and best practices for safely reopening, which vary by state and county, and may include phased reopening of certain amenities. Be sure to update and clarify how you’re reopening, with messaging designed to both welcome members back and ease concerns of those who need more time to feel comfortable returning.
TIP: Transparent and honest communication is key. Setting realistic expectations will help members and prospects better adapt to our new normal.
CRANK UP SOCIAL MEDIA
During this time of crisis and temporary closures, social media is the best way to continue to connect and relay important information and resources with your members and prospects, without flooding their inboxes. With your doors closed, social media has served as an avenue to share live-streaming classes, at-home resources and even personal club updates from your general managers, trainers, instructors, and even your members and staff.
TIP: Post to your social feeds 1-3 times every day, mostly sharing resources and motivation with very few (if any) promotional posts.
REINVEST IN DIGITAL
As you begin to plan for reopening–reevaluate and update your strategy around digital marketing and advertising. You may have paused digital ad spend while temporarily closed, and now is the time to slowly ramp up your advertising. If you’re looking to continue offering a paid virtual offering even before you open your doors, digital advertising is a vital avenue to reach a targeted prospect audience based on your club’s location and target demographic.
RECONNECT WITH PROSPECTS
Your sales funnel likely slowed during temporary closures, but those prospects you contacted before your doors closed may now be interested in re-engaging. Reconnect and let prospects know that you’re preparing to reopen as soon as possible, and would love to support them. Be careful with sales messaging. Your tone should be supportive and resourceful, and call to action should be to simply reconnect and discover what type of fitness solutions they’re looking for (which has likely changed since you last connected!).
However you’re reopening and reaching out to members and prospects, the name of the game is connection and support. We’re here to help our communities navigate these unchartered waters in a way that’s healthy for members, our team and business - and can do the same for you. Learn more about Active’s Transition Services during this time here.
TIP: When creating messaging focus on your core values and while providing an empathetic and humanistic approach.
Written by: Active Wellness Marketing Managers Jessica Isle + Andy Velez
Jessica is the Marketing Manager for Active Wellness and leads our B2C strategy for our partners with a focus on medical fitness. Currently working from her home state in Tennessee alongside her infant and five-year-old sons, she's running on coffee and living for her Marco Polo chats with close friends to stay connected.
Andy is the Marketing Manager for Active Wellness and oversees the marketing strategy for our partner's commercial fitness centers. He lives actively with daily runs around the Minneapolis chain of lakes. He's coping with stress by hanging out with wife Emma, cats Louie and Ella as well as staying connected with friends on virtual happy hours and trivia nights.