10 tips for a successful group fitness business

Jessica Armstrong
8 min read
Check Jamie Stedman's top tips for your group fitness business this Autumn.

Check Jamie Stedman's top tips for your group fitness business this Autumn.

Jamie Stedman, the owner of Fitter Body Ladies Llanelli and Fitter Body Ladies Llanishen, has had quite a successful year. Not only did Jamie and his business partner open a new studio in Cardiff, but they quickly reached their target number of new ladies to the programme within the first few months, while membership continued to grow in his Llanelli studio. There’s no slowing them down.

Autumn is a very important time for fitness business owners and Jamie has been working hard to prepare for the busy season. To help you kick off September strongly, Jamie shared the top programs and strategies that have made a powerful impact on building his thriving community.

From launching new programs and challenges to sharing customer successes, keep reading to check out his tips below.

fitter ladies

Run a timed challenge and show the end results

In September we’re doing a 28-day challenge. A lot of our clients have joined for weight loss and it's not the only reason, but a lot of people tend to be drawn by weight loss. We started with our 28-day program.

Included in the program are 3-4 sessions a week at the studio, an induction where weight is measured, and a physical book to guide them through the program which includes a meal plan, shopping list, recipes, and things like that.

We use social media throughout to stay in touch with our new members and deliver a high-quality and supportive service. We always have photos at the end with results and there are quite a few different elements to the program and it’s fun.

Stay in people’s minds

An important thing for us is awareness. From talking to a lot of members who do sign up, you do find that a lot of people who start have wanted to do this for months to years. I think just constantly being in that spotlight. Whether it’s through your email marketing or your social media presence, stay in people’s minds.

Keep being aware every month because people will plan for a long time but find reasons to put things off. I think just constantly making people aware of you makes a difference.

Let members register early

Since a lot of people are going on holidays we’ve started opening a waitlist for September and I recently opened the registration for that.

Share customer and personal stories on your website

People relate more to an individual. Make it more personal. I write a blog five times a week and I still get a reasonable amount of people reading it. People like knowing me as the face of the business. I share personal stories rather than being a corporate image.

I think it’s quite powerful to share members’ stories rather than just me writing how good the program is. I think it’s a lot more real when say ladies over 30 see my clients who are ladies over 30 and see they have the same goals.

When I think when they see them do it, they think I can do that. I think it’s real. We do a lot of recognition and share success as much as we can. We try to share through their words as well as through reviews and how they’ve found us.

Create a customer referral program

We used to have a referral program that didn’t work very well with physical stamp cards. Now we use the TeamUp referral programme which I like and it’s easy for them to find. We have it ready for the September program and I’m going to remind all of our members about it. One lady has referred three new members so already so will be getting money off her next plan.

The person who gets referred also gets a little bonus.

Hire the right staff to help you expand your business culture

We opened a bigger place in Cardiff and my business partner and I have employed two ladies who are the instructors and coaches. They’ve been brilliant and really hit the ground running. They run it well. My business partner and I then alternate weeks going.

We both go in when we start a new program to give more support but normally we’re running a lot of the business remotely. We hired a lady who does our customer care and she checks in with our members and does a lot of the admin side.

Stay persistent with social media

When you’re first trying to get your message across, it’s going out to such a small group. That’s probably the time when people may give up. We use Facebook more than any other platform alongside InfusionSoft for email marketing.

Initially, with Facebook, I’d put out a post and nobody would engage with it. That’s the time when people will give up because they think nobody’s watching or listening. Push through that because once it’s out there, it’s out there. People might come back to it and think that it was a good article or post, even though nobody commented at the time. It’s worth being persistent with it.

Raise the standards of your business

Raise the standards as much as you can. Members will tell people about it if they have a good experience. Our aim when we do the trial program is to get as many people after the trial to carry on with us on a longer basis, but not everybody will. As long as you’ve given them a good experience and as long as they have a positive experience, even if it was for as short as four weeks, they will share that.

Keep the standards as high as possible and care as well. Genuinely care. We have a good team of coaches who I could argue do too much sometimes. For example, they’ll be on the phone with members for an hour and things like that, but it’s good to have those qualities and not to have a culture where when the clock hits the hour that they’re done, they say right, everybody done and out.

Continue to set higher goals

My long-term goal was to get to a certain amount of members and I thought maybe in 5 years I’d get there, whereas it happened a lot faster, which is great. Now I've set new goals. I think once we get to that point, it would be a case of staying at that level of being full. Then we’d be in a good position to really focus on what we have and to increase the service.

One of our goals this year was to refurbish our studio, and now we have more or less finished that. We’re focused on getting our membership up to reach that number and keeping things as fresh as possible.

Some of the other franchises have successfully implemented ways of tracking member progress and we’re looking into doing this too.

Rely on your gym management software

We use TeamUp reports every week to keep track of any red flags. With the new dashboard, you can see it a little bit more visually, it was a great change and it’s easy to use and the visuals are good, the charts and graphs are handy.

Prior to TeamUp, I had no grasp on the sort of business in terms of even what money was coming in or how many members we had. Within the first couple of weeks of using TeamUp, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to use. Firstly, for a software which does so many different things you’d think it would be quite complex, but it was so user-friendly and it’s easy enough to figure it out yourself. The support options are great.

Scheduling classes and setting up memberships are really easy to do. It doesn’t have to be perfect at the start, so long as you can just get a few classes on the timetable and get yourself set up with a couple of memberships, you’re good to go and get up and running.

With everything TeamUp does you might have had five different subscriptions, one to manage payments, one to manage classes, and one to do all these different things. The fact that you can just run your who business within one software is awesome.

Thanks for sharing Jamie! To keep up with Fitter Body Ladies, check out their Instagram here

Prep your business for your best September yet 

For more resources to help you make this September your best yet, check out our guides here:

Thanks for reading!

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