FIRE SUCCESS VIRTUALLY!
If there is one thing that a pandemic has shone light on any fitness business, it’s the importance of adding a virtual workout schedule to complement the uncertainty that comes with bricks and mortar studios that are open one minute and closed the next!
There should be no reason why you can’t keep your members engaged in their workouts – staying healthy, hitting their goals, and having fun while continuing to pay their studio subscription. Loyal members want to stay engaged and if you are able to offer virtual workouts to complement your in-studio classes, then your members are less likely to look online for alternatives with other brands and businesses.
FIRE Fitness in Malaysia was able to maximise this opportunity by trialing a variety of online scenarios – purpose-built “on-demand” workouts, to Facebook Closed group and Zoom Livestream.
From our experience, here are some top tips to maximise your virtual classes.
GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT – KEEP IT FLEXIBLE
All of the FIRE workouts in the studio require equipment – spin bikes for RIDE, boxing bags for STRIKE, and weight training equipment for FORCE. By creating flexible formats that allow for fans to work out with your trainers without the cost of purchasing their own equipment, this ensures that the live workouts can be enjoyed by anyone! Keep the workout format as close to the programming as the in- studio experience – warm ups, rounds of work + reps. Change STRIKE to shadow boxing training and maximise body weight workouts for a big calorie burn. Having the same style and vibe in the workout will ensure that your fans feel they are still getting some FIRE in their day.
If you offer spinning classes and weights based workouts, consider liaising with an equipment supplier that will provide the equipment needed for the online classes. An alternative is to have a surplus of your own equipment that you can sell or rent to members and contribute to your revenue.
Be mindful that if you stream workouts via Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, you’ll need to use license free music. A good example for license free music is Epidemic Sound for an affordable monthly plan with some good options for motivating workout music.
Consider offering live stream, on demand or both! Why waste the opportunity of time and money spent offering a one- time experience if you can continue to generate revenue where your fans are willing to pay for the workouts in their own time? Setting up a private Facebook page or YouTube channel would be the simplest way to retain your own trainer’s content. Another great reason for using license free music!
One of the challenges with keeping your fans motivated while they workout from home and don’t have their community around them, is the length of the workout. Consider adjusting your workouts from 30 – 45 minutes. Listen to the feedback from your fanbase and keep your finger on the pulse of your viewing analytics to gauge how long your fans are working out with you. It’s much harder to complete a 45 – 60 minute workout when you are home alone, with no one to watch you smash it out and celebrate the finish.
KEEP IT LOCAL
Turn your in-studio trainers into on-screen Rockstars! The success of your studio(s) is largely based on the relationships that your trainers have developed with their fans. Having your team step up and teach to an audience via a screen can retain your community vibe. Ensure that class credits or subscriptions can seamlessly be used to book an online class. Try to keep the schedule with your trainers as close as possible to the schedule they would teach in the studio. Aggressively market this new opportunity and have the trainer at the forefront of your marketing, just as you would for your studios. Offer a free trial week so your fans can get used to the online workout experience and to stay connected with their favourite trainers.
LIGHTING AND SOUND
While your fans will be forgiving of imperfections in the delivery of the classes, provide the best lighting and sound experience you can afford.
LIGHTING: This could be as simple as a decent ring light or two! Ensure that lighting is in front of the trainer and not shining in through a window behind the trainer. Take sample videos with your lighting to eliminate shadows and blind spots.
AUDIO: Ensure the trainer can be clearly heard vs battling with music and incidental sound. If you are shooting from a distance, this becomes more problematic when your trainer doesn’t have a microphone. Get some advice from an audio expert to reformat your current mixer/music/mic system or purchase a very affordable and lightweight clip-on microphone so the trainers’ voice can be clearly heard while they are teaching. For example, the Comica BoomX – D comes with a tiny receiver that is plugged into your camera or phone.WIFI: If possible, hardwire your filming device – laptop or camera – into broadband, particularly if your WIFI connection is unstable. This will ensure the continuity and quality of the experience. There’s nothing worse than “freeze-frame” or “sound glitches”.
SET THE STAGE
Have your filming space or backdrop match your physical spaces and brand. That way, when your fans engage with your virtual classes, it provides the impression that they are still experiencing the vibe of the space they so fondly love. If your backdrop is black or dark, encourage your trainers to wear brighter and lighter apparel and footwear so they stand out against the space.
Boutique is all about community and engagement. Now, more than ever, people are screaming out to be a part of a community. Maintaining your FIRE community via an engaging online platform will ensure loyalty and of course, allow your trainers to earn from teaching workouts. Offering a workout via a two-way platform such as Zoom is one of the most interactive forms of working out together in a group. Fans can choose to switch their cameras on or off and the trainer will know and see who is joining the workout. The trainer will also be able to offer options, encourage effort, use names and banter as if they were sharing one space.
Provide the trainers with some simple marketing tools they can use to promote their own virtual classes. The potential to build your brand outside of your immediate city is huge when anyone from any city or country can access the online workouts!