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How to Create an Unforgettable Member Experience

The Future of Fitness is all About Creating an Unforgettable Member Experience

The days of fitness as a commodity and social status symbol are gone. No longer can a studio attract a strong member base and sold-out classes simply by putting out cutting-edge equipment, luxury amenities, and an “Instagram Wall.” The pandemic changed all of that. We’ve all had to reevaluate our priorities, how we feel about ourselves, and who we spend time with, and it’s become crystal clear that connection and community are crucial to our physical health and mental well-being.

We believe that the pandemic didn’t just upend the fitness industry, but accelerated an evolution that was already beginning to occur. We’ve officially entered an era where thousands of fitness options are more readily available than ever before. As a result, the key differentiator of any fitness business has to do with the stories they share and the experiences they provide. The fitness brands that are thriving today understand that creating unforgettable member experiences — ones that make people feel seen and connect with them on a deeply emotional level — is key to their success.

If you’re ready to leap into the future, the first step is making sure that what we call, “The Two End Caps” of your business are in alignment with each other. The first End Cap is your brand, the outward-facing identity and messaging that your clients see. The second End Cap is your promise or the actual workout experiences you provide. It’s crucial that the experience of being in your space lives up to the story you told people to get them in the door. If there is any disconnect between the two, you’re likely to experience a high churn rate with both staff and clients, which is problematic for growth.

YOUR BRAND

Building a powerful brand means recognizing that you’re not selling fitness classes; you’re selling a transformation. The fitness class, equipment, and studio design are only parts of the vehicle to get there. People want to experience a higher quality of life, and it’s your job to contribute to that.

It’s a fact that you can’t help absolutely everyone so: whose lives are you actually trying to transform? Knowing who you’re meant to serve comes as a result of understanding your unique strengths and a particular set of beliefs around what a fitness experience should be. This is essential to establishing yourself as an empathetic guide who not only understands the hopes and frustrations of your ideal client but also has laid out a proven roadmap to the transformation they desire.

There’s no single way that will suit everyone, so it’s crucial to examine your beliefs and how you communicate them through place, action and messaging. Do you believe that the aesthetic and health results will come as a result of pursuing improvements in measurable metrics in every class? Or perhaps you believe that we should all adopt body neutrality, and instead focus on the mental health benefits of moving together in synchronicity with music. Your brand and your messaging should be an extension of who you are.

Whatever it is you believe, boldly plant your flag. Use your marketing strategies to speak to the real needs and pain points of your ideal client so you can attract more people that believe what you believe and are seeking someone like you. Merely marketing your schedule for cycling, yoga, barre, pilates, or HIIT classes isn’t going to cut it anymore.

YOUR PROMISE

Once you are clear on what you believe a workout experience should be and what particular problem you’re trying to solve for your clients, putting together the class experience may become relatively easy. Keep in mind that you’re going to have to put some elbow grease into this. Delivering on your promise goes well beyond hiring trainers with large followings and letting them “teach however they want.”

Recruit and develop a team of instructors that is on board with the values and beliefs of your brand. They should understand their mission and what they are trying to accomplish in the room when they teach. What is the overall tone and vibe of the workout? How is the class programmed and why? What common language does everyone use in class? What type of coaching and cueing is not appropriate? It’s essential that your team has a clear framework in which to operate. This is the only way for their unique personalities to shine and bring the room to life. Too often we see instructors left to their own devices with no direction. Providing them with a strong foundation and structure to guide their choices encourages freedom to play, creates engagement, and fosters meaningful connections with clients. It also ensures brand consistency for your members, which further reinforces trust.

Mastering the two End Caps of your business means that every step you take — every marketing tactic, every choice you make from staffing to retail offerings, is easier. If one End Cap is not optimized, it will heavily disrupt the other. If your brand message is off and you’re not attracting the right people, they won’t enjoy the experience in the room.

So, we ask again: who are you serving and how are you uniquely positioned to help them achieve the transformation they seek? By answering this question clearly and wholeheartedly, you’ll create unforgettable experiences for your clients. Success will follow when you speak to their hearts.

Shay and Barry, founders of Fitness Career Mastery, help entrepreneurs build successful, heart-led businesses and epic experiences for the clients they were meant to serve. Check out their Podcast for hundreds of episodes to help you build a successful brand that matters to your people. Or, book a Free Breakthrough Session, where they’ll evaluate the End Caps of your business and you’ll walk away with actionable steps to transform your brand today.

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Fitness Business Insider magazine was created to support you, our valued fitness business owners, at all stages of your entrepreneurial journey. This endeavor is dedicated to sharing teachings from start-up visionaries and a network of expert business leaders and entrepreneurs who are focused exclusively on providing inspiration, education, and tools for your success. Evolution and education are imperative during this highly competitive, post-pandemic rebuild. We strive to support you, the movers and shapers at the frontline of our industry. Let us help you build back better and stronger!

Len Fridman, WellnessLiving Co-Founder & CEO

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