Client acquisition and engagement has never been more difficult. COVID has pushed studio owners into a virtual fitness world, and the rules of engagement online are different than in-person.
But if you learn how to masterfully engage with your clients and acquire new ones in the middle of a pandemic, just think of how ahead your studio will be (and how great you’ll feel) when the doors reopen and the sun shines brightly yet again.
First of All, What is Client Engagement?
In the social media world, client engagement is the “like” or the comment or the “click.” It shows that the content you put online isn’t being scrolled past and ignored. Someone has found it interesting enough to interact with.
In the studio world, client engagement is how your clients interact with your brand outside of the designated class time. It’s how much they post about your brand online. It’s how much they talk about your brand to their friends. It’s how much they schedule their lives around your business.
Got it. Now How do I Increase Engagement?
You want your clients to think about your studio a lot. Because the more they engage with your brand throughout the day, the more likely they are to (1) stay loyal to your business, and (2) tell their friends about your business. Here are some ideas to try on for size:
- Create a weekly newsletter.
Send out a newsletter every Sunday morning to your clients. Highlight the greatness that’s headed their way in the coming week. You can give them, for example, a sneak peek into the movements/workouts/training that they’re about to see. Get creative. Make this newsletter the best thing in their inbox. Get them excited about starting their week with you.
- Take advantage of CGC.
CGC is “Consumer Generated Content.” And it’s very low-hanging fruit. So when your clients tweet about your brand or post a picture after an on-demand workout from your studio, repost it. It’s easy and it gives your audience social proof that people are engaged with your brand.
- Celebrate your members with Random Acts of Kindness.
Have a member that just passed the bar exam? Did one of your clients get engaged? Did one of your members get a huge promotion? Celebrate! Send them something (a gift basket, a gift certificate, a handwritten note, etc.) in the mail to congratulate them on their success. Not only is it meaningful, it’s good business. They’re likely to share this Random Act of Kindness with their friends and family (oftentimes on social media), leading to an organic and authentic promo of your brand.
- Do a photoshoot.
Hire (or barter) a photographer and plan a photoshoot. Invite some of your best clients to be in the shoot. Ask the photographer to get you approximately 150 images. Use those images for your social media posts over the next six months. And put them in a place where your members can download the photos—they’ll likely make your photo their next profile pic! (Quick tip: Ask all the members of the photo shoot to dress in your studio’s apparel. You should be able to see your studio’s logo very clearly in the photos.)
- Start a podcast.
A podcast is another way for you to engage with your members and prospects. Host some of your current members on the show for even more engagement.
- Get active in your studio’s Facebook group.
Your Facebook group is a perfect place for daily interaction. Have fun in there! Post frequently (at least once a day) and use it as a platform where members can engage with both the trainers and their fellow members. (Idea: Post a daily “Question of the Day!” It’s an easy and fun way to get your members talking/engaged.)
- Start a daily email.
Send an email every day to your members. Fill it with interesting content that your audience will love. If your members have an email in their inbox from your brand every day of the week, it’ll be hard for them to forget about you.
What About Acquisition?
What problem does your studio solve? That’s the question you need to answer. Identify the micro problems that your members and prospects have, and show them how you can solve those problems. Do that, and you won’t have any trouble acquiring new members.
Identify Micro Problems
Micro problems are specific, targeted problems. They’re not broad. And they don’t resonate with everyone. But they do fiercely resonate with a small number of people.
Here’s a macro problem:
“I’m fat. I need to lose weight.”
Here’s the micro problem within that macro problem:
“My sister is getting married in two months in Jamaica. Everyone will be in bathing suits. I’m going to be so uncomfortable and embarrassed. I’ll be hiding from all the cameras.”
The micro problem is the deeper problem. And when you show someone that you can solve their deepest, most piercing problem, you’ve got yourself a buyer.
Your job is to find out what the micro problems are for your clients and prospects. Identify 30 micro problems and write them down. Here’s how you gather that data:
- Listen to prospects when they inquire about joining. Why do they want to join? What questions are they asking? What problems are they trying to solve for themselves? You’ll gather tons of research just by listening dutifully to potential clients.
- Interview current members. Ask them what problems your studio has solved/is solving for them.
- Interview yourself. You’re a great resource. What micro problems do you believe your studio solves?
Give Them a Plan and Show them a Successful Ending
Once you establish what the micro problem is, you need to show your audience:
- How your studio can solve it.
- How wonderful life will be once their problem is solved
Micro Problem: “Are you the mom who sits on the bench at the playground, completely exhausted and out of shape, while the other moms are running around and having a blast with their kids?”
The Plan: “Join us for a free week of on-demand classes. You’ll find out fast that our tried-and-true program and elite-level trainers can help make you the most badass mom on the playground.”
Successful Ending: “Before you know it, you’ll be climbing the ladders, scaling the mountain climbing wall, and passing kids on the monkey bars. WARNING—The other mothers will surely be jealous of your fitness and overall glow. Be prepared to answer the following question several times during your stay at the playground: ‘How do you have so much energy?!’
Try this formula out organically on your social media platforms. See what resonates. Take notes. Then turn your top-performing micro problems into paid ads, more organic ads, and prominently displayed website copy. (Remember: Your studio’s website and social media platforms are for leads and potential prospects only. Create content that speaks to your prospects, not your current members.)
More Roads that Lead to Acquisition
In addition to organic and paid advertising online, your studio can host complimentary events. The goal for the events is to bring awareness to your studio. Because before anyone can consider buying from you, they must first know that you exist.
- Host a free workout.
Invite everyone in your network to a free workout. This can be in-person or online. Even if no one signs up for a membership, you’ll have gathered emails, phone numbers, etc. You’ve just broadened the total number of people who are aware of your brand. (Bonus: The people who take your free workout might not be interested. But if you provide an excellent experience, they might know someone who is interested, and put in a good word for your studio!)
- Connect with other local businesses.
Hook up with another local business. Help each other. You can, for example, host an outdoor workout at a local brewery. Now you’ve got the entire brewery’s audience aware of your brand. And you’ve brought the brewery new potential customers. Win-win.
We know that engagement and acquisition is tough right now. And we also know that YOU GOT THIS.
Cheers to engagement and acquisition!
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