Fitness culture is the most important aspect of client attraction and retention, especially for boutique gyms. Going to the gym initially just might be the most difficult part for people when it comes to getting started on your fitness journey. This is why big box gyms make so much money. They make coming to the gym affordable with the promise of lots of options for equipment to use. Then they get people signed up for contracts they rarely follow through with.
But… why aren’t these people following through with their contracts? Why do they stop showing up? The fitness culture at these big box gyms makes the average joe a bit intimidated and feel unwelcome. However, smaller gyms, regardless of the specification, have the ability to market their fitness culture.
What is an effective fitness culture?
Keeping people engaged in your gym requires that you have an effective fitness culture. People avoid gyms out of fear of feeling judged for everything they do. An effective culture is one where people come to the gym and feel like they can be free of any judgment. Reducing this stigma in your gym allows you to gain more clients.
For clients that you already have, an effective fitness culture means they get good support in reaching their fitness goals. This means your staff exudes the values of your business. They do this by working alongside clients to motivate them, provide them with helpful resources, and guide them. Your culture will revolve around your business values and your mission as a gym owner.
Cultivating your culture revolves around this question: Why did you open your gym in the first place?
What kind of gym do you have?
Effective gym culture is also different for every type of gym! As with anything in business, you have to know your audience. Know who your gym attracts and what types of people your current clients are. Catering to your clients really is the essence of a good fitness culture at your gym.
How you brand your business should coordinate with what your gym culture is like. If you have a CrossFit gym with most of your clients in law enforcement, then your gym culture will be more intense. These clients will probably have a stronger sense of toughness and determination. You might hear some expletives or grunts and groans from the intensity of their workouts. You also just might be a little tougher on your clients.
Go a little deeper than that and understand what your clients value. In the case of having clients in law enforcement, they probably value a sense of camaraderie and pride. These are values you should reflect in your fitness culture if you run a gym of this nature.
What elements play into fitness culture?
There are so many elements that play into having an effective gym culture from the paint on your gym walls to the interactions you have with clients. The process of evaluating and implementing these aspects into your gym culture is pretty much the same as branding your gym. Your gym’s fitness culture should be synonymous with the brand experience you offer as a gym.
Your staff plays a huge role in cultivating an effective fitness culture at your gym. Have you ever watched Broad City? Well, it’s hilarious and it gives us a great facetious example of the type of trainers not to hire.
Don’t hire Abbi if you want your clients to come back for another kettlebell class! Make sure you train your staff well so they can adapt well to different situations. You want your staff to be motivational and supportive of the clients. They play an important role in customer service and making people feel like they can comfortably exercise at your gym. Also, fewer accidents are bound to happen if your staff is aware and responsive to clients while they workout.
The way your gym is designed also contributes to cultivating an effective culture. Depending on the type of gym you have, you want to have equipment that clients will appreciate. The actual paint and design on your walls can affect the culture of your gym in a huge way. If your gym looks like a notable place to be, then it will be much more memorable. Compare this to the difference in working in an office like the one on the left to the one on the right.
Work seems a lot less dreaful if you’re in an exciting office instead of filing into a cubicle to pump out paperwork all day.. The same applies to a gym! People will be more willing to pump out those reps in a place that feels welcoming and exciting.
Let’s go back to the CrossFit gym example. This gym could host a bi-annual fundraiser event for local Veterans or team up with Wounded Warrior. Hosting regular events for your members can be a great way to cultivate an effective fitness culture. Get your community involved in these types events and share the motivation for getting fit!
The people who populate your gym will also have an effect on the culture. If you’re a smaller gym and you can directly control membership, then keep an eye on how your gym members are treating each other.
Marketing your fitness culture
These days, experiences are easy to share because of the multitude of platforms that you can post content on. Marketing your fitness culture is essentially just marketing your brand experience. Offer an experience that is completely unique to your gym.
Marketing this is experience can be a lot of fun and pretty easy! You can use content marketing to share about daily experiences in the gym. Writing blogs about best practices that work for you in your gym is a great way to advertise your fitness culture. Share videos on social media of clients, staff, or yourself exercising in your gym.
Create shareable material that exemplifies what sets your gym apart from others. For members of your gym, give them exclusive gear to let them know that you value their membership and commitment to your gym. It’s the little things that build respect from your clients. Once your clients have an investment in your gym, then they can be the next line of marketing. Referrals are invaluable!
I cannot stress enough how important responsiveness is to clients. Responsiveness on your site or social media platforms is attractive to customers. Taking feedback and answering questions adds to the culture of your gym. Customer service is just as important online as it is in person.
Uniqe gym experiences are what segment the competition for gyms. An effective culture is one that is tailored to the clients you want to cater to and the ones you already have. Get feedback from your clients and staff to get a better idea of how you can evolve the current culture at your gym into a more effective one!
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