One of the most tried and tested tactics clubs can rely on to build their membership base is creating kick-ass events.
Events have long been the bedrock of a thriving club. They remain the most powerful reminder of why members fell in love with your club in the first place and serve as a fantastic example of all the things your club can offer that fitness apps cannot. Great Instructors, pulsating workouts, and a strong sense of community come to the fore, bringing members a thrilling and fun fitness experience.
Like all the best things in life, fitness is an experience best shared with others. Research into the ‘group effect’ tells us workouts are more motivating and enjoyable when we work out together, while we also get better results.
So as consumer demand for live fitness experiences continues to grow, what better way to accelerate your club’s post-pandemic recovery than by hosting an awesome event? Here are 5 simple steps to get you started:
1. Use your star players
Connection is a key driver of member motivation, so securing your top talent to light up the stage is the first step on the road to planning an unmissable event. 79% of members state that Instructors are extremely important, with the quality of Instructor the single most important factor for participants choosing group workouts. Getting your A-Team in place and announced swiftly will encourage early interest and drive buzz for the live experience.
Once your star players are locked in, ask Instructors to promote the event during their classes and on social media, helping members associate your event with their favorite Instructor. The whole club should be across the plans, so make sure everyone on the team is briefed to ask members if they’re coming to the event, reminding them of the great workouts and activities you have planned for the day.
2. Spread the word
Members are your most powerful marketing channel for your events. The magic of a motivating workout means group exercisers refer 20% more new members than someone who works out solo, with one in ten group exercisers referring more than 10 new members to their facility (Qualtrics 2019).
Creating quality events is a way to ensure a steady stream of word-of-mouth wins. Member recommendations will boost attendance, so find a way to reward their loyalty. Referral perks are a great way to incentivize your existing members and remind them how much their support means.
Eye-catching, high-quality promotional material is also key to getting the event in front of your audience. If you’re already a Les Mills partner, don’t forget to use the suite of assets available via Marketing Studio.
Vladislav Rojnov, owner of Moldovan club EcoSport Gym, says: “Having access to world-class video and photo assets is a huge win when it comes to promoting our club on social media and building our brand. It means we have one less thing to worry about and can focus on running a high-quality club.”
3. Work up the wow factor
An event is a great way to drive footfall to your club, but don’t forget to factor in how fresh eyes will view your studio. The member experience starts when they enter your facility and continues through every aspect of the club. You can influence your members’ emotional response to their experience by paying careful attention to what they see, hear and feel in each area of the club.
This applies to the atmosphere in your studio, too. Fitness design guru Rudy Fabiano explains the key role workout spaces play in forming lasting emotional connections for members. “Group workouts aren’t just a class, they’re a performance,” he says. “So the studio has to support that performance and elevate it through design and the way it makes members feel.”
Investing in innovative tech has helped Crunch Fitness, West Florida dial up their club profile and event marketing ability. Christian Dyer, Membership Engagement and Social Director says: “Something I would recommend to every club is buying a 360-degree camera. You can actually launch a Facebook Live stream with a 360-degree camera. We did that for one of our grand openings and it was an absolute hit.”
Content captured at your club’s event can be used as part of a broader marketing strategy, as Christian explains: “We’ll capture content from high-energy busy classes and then use this content to help promote classes in timeslots that aren’t performing as well.”
Providing a window to the positive atmosphere at your club is key to encouraging those reticent to enter the group workout space. By showing the personal connections your existing members enjoy with Instructors, they begin to imagine themselves as part of that community.
5. Do it again!
Great club events needn’t be a ‘one and done’ affair. Creating regular life-changing fitness experiences your members will love reinforces the joy of working out at your club and reminds them you’re in it together for the long-haul, with plenty to look forward to.
The benefits of bringing members together often is a winning formula for the JCC in Bridgewater, New Jersey. By using events to support their focus on in-club community, they’re powering past their pre-pandemic club metrics.
Fitness Director Jess Kichura says: “Things like our quarterly Les Mills launches are calendar mainstays that help light a fire under our timetable, but we’ll also set up day trips and games nights that don’t have anything to do with fitness and are all about dialing up the sense of community.”
With two thirds of exercisers reporting a preference to work out in a group, a jam-packed events calendar offering ample opportunities to socialize is key to creating a lasting emotional connection with members. The journey to success starts with taking your first simple steps – and there’s no time like today!